Grace & Peace


Monday, January 8, 2024

Christian - Rest begins in your thought life!


We must be a doer of the Word and the next step after believing the Word of God is to let or allow the Word to capture your mind, thought life, and your imagination. The enemy knows if he can capture your thought life, he has won a great victory. You cannot keep thoughts from coming to your mind, but you can keep them from staying there. You can't stop someone from knocking on your door, but you can decide who you  want to let in. And so, dealing with the devil and his thoughts and suggestions, we must do it right when they come to our mind, whether it's doubt, whether it's fear, or lack, whether it's strife or unforgiveness. Whatever it is, whether it's sin (misbehavior) or disobedience; whatever it is, you deal with it right there at the door, and you have authority. In other words, as a believer, if you don't exercise your authority in your thought life, you'll never exercise your authority in your outward life. 

"Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowlege of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Cor. 10:5 KJV  

It's the anointing that destroys the yolk of bondage; in other words, any kind of bondage. So when you meditate on the Word, the anointing comes up into your soul (your mind, will and emotions) and destroys bad imaginations, it destroys old thought patterns and attitudes, so that the new creature (creation) and the reality of what has been done for you in Christ now -comes up and gets on your soul and then that overflows into your body. And so, when you meditate on the Word of God, you're taking spiritual realities from the Word of God and you're allowing that to capture your imagination. (Above quoted from Mark Hankins Ministry)

"And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."  Gen. 4:6-7 KJV

Cain didn't do a very good job of dealing with what lieth at his door. He bought the lie and the very next verse tells us that Cain rose up against his brother and slew him. (ref. Gen. 4:8) Cain also didn't deal well in his response to the Lord's question of 'Where is Abel thy brother?' He (Cain) said, 'I know not: am I my brother's keeper?' (ref. vs. 9) The answer to Cain's question is yes, you are your brothers keeper. 

The Hebrews who came out of Egypt were at the door of the Promise Land and their ticket in was faith; the only trouble was, so few of them had one. Faith has a faith object and most of them had a dim view of theirs. When faith is missing, the only thing left to fill in the void is doubt and unbelief. Scripture tells us, "He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel." Ps. 103:7 KJV  The NLT translation reads, "He revealed his character to Moses, and his deeds to the people of Israel." The aspersions and murmurings cast against God's character went something like this. 

"And ye murmured in your tents, and said, 'Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us." Deut. 1:27 KJV  Also, as found in Exodus, "And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, oh Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Ex. 32:4 KJV

God said, "Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I swear in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Heb. 3:10-11 KJV 

Stephen, the first recorded martyr for Christ, said in speaking of the Israelites exiting Egypt, "To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what has become of him." Acts 7:39-40 KJV

We, as Christians, can find ourselves wanting to turn back. We, too, like the Hebrews coming out of Egypt, have been set free. They were delivered and set free from the cruel Egyptian task masters who held them in the bondage of slavery, externally forcing them against their will to do their dictates. The Hebrews were not their own to do as they would, but were property owned by someone else. Moses wrote, "And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers." Deut. 6:23 KJV  Biblically speaking, Egypt represents sin and bondage. "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" Gal. 4:9 KJV  

The law is an external dictate and doesn't win the will of the heart; a dictator forces submission on you from without, but someone you love captures your heart and will from within. Paul writes, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Rom. 8:14-16 KJV "Wherefore thou art no more a servant (slave), but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Gal. 4:7 

We've gone from dictator to Father, from slave to son. Bondage to lusts and additive habits are the results of a deceptive lure and enticement to turn back to sin (Egypt), but perhaps the most deceptive is religious bondage (legalism), a striving to earn your acceptance with God. Our rest is in knowing we are accepted and approved (in right-standing with God) all through the finished work of the cross, a complete work of grace. "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." Heb. 4:10 KJV  It's His righteousness we adorn.

When we rehearse the righteous acts of God, we willingly submit. This truth is found in the song of Deborah. (Read Judges 5:1-31 for the entire account) "Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves." Judg. 5:2 KJV "The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel? My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the Lord. Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way. They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates." Judg. 5:7-11 KJV

Lets examine two scripture verses that really bring the song of Deborah to life. The first is found in the 28th chapter of Isaiah, as follows, "In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of His people. He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate." (Isaiah 28:5-6 NIV, emphasis mine) The second verse is found in the 12th chapter of Isaiah: "And in THAT day you will say: "OH LORD, I will praise You; Though you were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song, He also has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." (Isa. 12:1-3 NKJV, emphasis mine)  God's anger is turned away. Deborah states at the beginning of her song that when the people of Israel chose new gods, war was at the gates and the people of Israel were unwilling to fight, but when they rehearsed the righteous acts of the LORD the people willingly went and contended with the war at the gates.

Gates and doors are entrance points that allow access in or out. Again, the Lord said unto Cain, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him." Gen. 4:7 KJV  We, as born-again Christians are accepted of God and we do well to rest in this truth, to rejoice in this truth and deny access to the door of our heart anything that speaks otherwise. (ref. Isa. 54:17) "For we which have believed do enter into rest," Hebrews  4:3a KJV  Most of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt stalled in the wilderness and could not move forward to claim the promises. "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Hebrews 4:2 KJV

We, too, can have a time of testing in the wilderness, let us do as Jesus did in His wilderness temptations. He knew and spoke the truth to overcome the temptations of the enemy; we also believe and therefore speak. (ref. 2 Cor. 4:13) He knew He was and is the beloved Son of God and didn't have to prove it to satan. We can overcome these trials in faith and be assured of the victory, but most importantly, rest. It's from this position of rest that we obtain the promises. We are to enter into His rest, ":although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (ref. Heb. 4:1,3b) 

This is referring to what's stated primarily in the first three verses of Genesis chapter two, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." Gen. 2:1-3 KJV  This is not referring to God resting as though He were tired, like we get tired physically or emotionally, etc., but that His work of creation was complete. You can liken it unto an artist painting a picture or a sculptor creating a sculpture. When he or she finishes it, it's perfect and complete. One more brush stroke or one more chiseled piece removed is not needed, so the artist sets the brush or chisel down and rests from their creative work. So He, (God) rested on the seventh day and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. 

The book of Exodus tells us, ":wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:11b KJV (hallowed means to make it holy) We too, as Christians have been made holy-we've received the Holy Spirit and are now saints. We've been sanctified and set apart for His special purposes; we are complete in Christ. (ref. Col. 2:10) He, (Christ) is our sabbath rest. We were made this way the moment we became born again. It's all grace. "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." Heb. 7:19 KJV  

Our rest, as Christians, is a spiritual rest that we are meant to enter into continually. (ref. Col. 2:6) Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Mat. 11:28-30 KJV  Our rest is achieved by our remembrance that we are complete in Him, all by grace and faith in His blood. (ref. Heb. 13:9, 20, Rom. 3:25) The Apostle Peter wrote, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:"  "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1 Pet. 13-14, 22 KJV

And yes, be your brother's keeper.