I wonder if Matthew 11:28 might not be the most used, preached, spoken, yet unexperienced scriptures in the Bible?  They're Jesus' words, and His invitation.  He says, "Come unto Me all you who labor and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."  We have banners in our sanctuaries that declare this, and sermons and teachings that trumpet it.  When we speak to those who do not know Him, we often use these words as part of our invitation to them to enter into and know that rest.  Yet, the question comes as to whether we who give that invitation, know and are experiencing His rest ourselves?  The book of Hebrews says that "there yet remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God."  This is a rest that lives in the very center of His peace.  It lives in the very midst of He who is Peace.  He invites all to enter into it, yet do our lives, our homes, our fellowships give any indication that we have?
     T. Austin-Sparks wrote that we have no right to invite the unsaved into His rest unless we too know it, that His rest is the "practical outworking of the belief that He is Lord," and that "His Lordship is struck at by the unrest of His people."  Can we dwell in the light of that statement for a moment?  Do we, who speak so much of His rest, really know, and experience it for ourselves?  One of the things I so often hear from people, good, lovers of Christ people, is that they are exhausted, worn out, stressed out.  I've not just heard it from them, but have heard it from the depths of my own heart and spirit as well.  It happens whenever I slip into living outside of Him, when I end up living by my own strength, my own wisdom, and my own understanding.  When this happens, I can be sure that anxiety, irritability, and a hardness of heart and spirit will begin to grow.
The longer I stay in that life mode, the stronger these traits become within me, and as Sparks wrote, the truth and reality of His Lordship, of His life, is struck at by the very unrest that is on display in my life.  I don't have to ask if it's the same with you; we all know that it is.  When such unrest is showing forth in me, any invitation I give, in whatever form it may take, to come unto Him, is an empty one, for His rest, peace, power and life are missing in me.  They can't be seen.  Only when I, we, have truly entered into His rest, believing, trusting in the One who is Lord over all that conspires to steal rest and peace from us, can we really show forth a life that really does bear witness to His truth.
     Jesus described Himself as a Door, a Gate, that He calls us to come to, to go through.  I think for so many of us, we come to that door, but we never fully go through.  Sparks wrote that "the Door is essential, but it is what it leads to that justifies going in at all."  What it leads to is the perfect peace and wholeness that is to be found once we've gone through the door, and continue to journey further and further into the depth and wonder of who He is.  It is an ongoing discovery of the rest that remains for His people.  Until that has been our experience, until that rest is really entered into, His Lordship, which we profess to trust in, will be struck at by the one who is both His enemy and ours.  Satan, who seeks to steal our rest like he seeks to steal all that Christ brings, cannot as we abide and live in He who is perfect peace.  Where do we live and abide today, in the place of stress, exhaustion, ever growing anxiety, or in the very center of His rest?  We're at the Door.  Will we enter in and find all that is waiting for us on the other side of it?

Blessings,
Pastor O
 
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  April 2018  
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