Hope and Rest – Abba

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“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalm 23:3 (NLT)
When you call God by His name, it shows your love for Him. God wants us to bring honor to His name. “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) God loves us so much and He wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants this relationship to be a loving relationship. He wants to be our Father, not just any father. He wants to be so close that we can call Him “Abba”. Which is a term of endearment. It is a term of showing our love for our father. It is using the term ‘daddy;” which is what we call our fathers when we show that we love them. God guides us and leads us so that we can stay on the right path. Just as our earthly fathers want the best for us. God wants the best for us. He wants to protect us and be our shepherd. We bring honor to God’s name by showing the world that God is our Daddy.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Hope and Rest – Our Guide

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“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)

“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

“The path of righteousness is a narrow, winding trail up a steep hill at the top of the hill is a cross.” (Max Lucado) Jesus tells us, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) God is with us to lead us on the right path. This path is not an easy path. The path is narrow and at times it is hard to stay on the right path. I know this from experience. I have the hardest time staying on the path that God has for me. Not just stay on the path, but staying on the right path. I had a cat that was amazing. You called him home and he would come home. He knew his name and he would start in the direction of the house when he heard his name. It just may take him a while to get home. On his way home something would get his attention and he would get off the path. I am the same way. My attention span is not that great. I start on the right path and then something looks interesting and I get off in the woods somewhere. The amazing thing about God is, when that happens, God always brings me back to the path of my calling. The path of righteousness that He has for me. The path that will bring the greatest honor to His name. Are you on your right path? If not, look around and let God lead you back.

Hope and Rest – My Soul

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“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)

“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

I love the difference versions of scripture. I often read the scripture in at least two versions. Both of these say about the same thing, but in a little different way. God restores my soul. When He restores my soul, He restores my strength. I need God to restore my soul daily. It seems that our souls can leak. We need our daily time with God so He can restore the part of our soul that the world takes away. Our shepherd restores hope to our soul. No matter who we are or what we are going through, God can restore our soul. God does not reform; He restores. He does not camouflage the old; He restores the new. God will pull out His original plan and restore it. He will restore the vigor. He will restore the energy. He will restore our hope. He will give us the rest that we need so that we can be restored. In restoring our soul, He will renew our strength. He will give us the strength to continue on with our calling from God. He will give us the strength to battle the storms that come in our lives.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37) Jesus is waiting to restore your soul and your strength. Are you willing?

Hope and Rest – Wasted an Hour

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“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Psalm 23:2

“I wasted an hour one morning beside a mountain stream, I seized a cloud from the sky above and fashioned myself a dream, in the hush of the early twilight, far from the haunts of men, I wasted a summer evening, and fashioned my dream again. Wasted: Perhaps. Folks says so who never have walked with God, when lanes are purple with lilacs or yellow with golden rod. But I have found strength for my labors in that one short evening hour, I found peace and power. My dreaming has left me a treasure, a hope that is strong and true, from wasted hours I have built my life and found life anew.” (Author unknown) I have had this poem for years and I don’t even know where I found it. God brings me back to this poem quite often. I love wasting an hour beside a peaceful stream. God wants us to stop and smell the roses. We are too busy. We are too busy to live. God gives me a scripture every year; this is the scripture for this year. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) I think God is telling me to slow down and wait on Him. He is telling me that I need more patience. I know that is true, so I think I am going to waste more hours. How about you? What is God telling you?

Hope and Rest – Rest in His Love

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“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Psalm 23:2

“Nestle deeply in the tall shoots of love, and there we will find rest” (Max Lucado) Yes, this is where we will find our rest. I am so weak that I need God to help me lie down and rest. God shows me His love and it is in His love that we can find rest. Sheep cannot by themselves find a pasture that is safe or a place that they can rest. They must have the shepherd to lead them to this place of rest. We need God to lead us and show us that we are loved beyond words and that if we just allow God, He will wrap His arms around us and show us this great love. I need the green meadows of God’s love. Several years ago I felt that I needed to start a business with my photography. I had a gentleman tell me that if I did my photography as a business I would lose the joy that it brings me. I believe the man was right. I believe that this happens with everything that we do. I know in my writing when I feel that I just must get something out the joy is not there. We need to do everything that we do in the mode of rest. The only true rest that we can have is resting in the love of God.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) We can change eternal life to eternal rest. This rest is not just someday in heaven, but it is here on earth also. Learn to rest in God’s love.

Hope and Rest – We are His Sheep

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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

In the world that we live in, we are all looking for hope and rest. There is only one place that we can have hope and rest and that is in making God our shepherd. Jesus invites us, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) This scripture tells us that God is our shepherd. If that is the case, it means that we are His sheep. David wrote this knowing all about sheep. Sheep need a protector always. They need someone to lead and guide them every step that they take. This shepherd that David is talking about owns all the cattle on the hill and the gold under the hill. All that we own belongs to Him. We own nothing. We are completely dependent on this shepherd. This shepherd sleeps during the storms, but then He awakes and calms the storm just by His words. I don’t know about you but I need this shepherd in my life. I need Him to hold my hand as I journey this life. I need Him when the storms get to the point where I cannot walk; He will carry me. I shall not want. What else could I want except to be guided and taken care of by this Great Shepherd? Wherever I go this shepherd is there. “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)

Revolution, God’s Way – Divine Guidance

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“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14

We had a new business that opened in our community this morning. He is a friend that I have known for several years. While I was talking to him, he told me that he and his wife had prayed about this business and where to open the business. He told me that he wrote scriptures and put them under the new floor so that the presence of God would be in the business. They were seeking divine guidance. If we are living in the Spirit the way we should be, we should seek divine guidance for all that we do. We should never do anything without asking God what is His will. When we seek divine guidance, it does not always mean that it will always work out the way we feel that it should. Seeking guidance does mean that it will work out to our good. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) To receive divine guidance, we need to be open to the voice of God and what He is telling us. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) At times listening to God’s voice and following His leading takes patience. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Revolution, God’s Way – The Spirit Rules

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“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to
the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
The Spirit rules. Does the Spirit rule in your life? More than anything else I want the Holy Spirit to rule my life. I know that when the Spirit rules, my life is much better. When the Spirit rules, we don’t worry. If the Spirit rules, we know that God will meet all of our needs and He will take care of us no matter what is happening. We may be going through trials, but God is with us when the Spirit rules. When the Spirit rules, we know where we are going; we have detailed direction and unclouded decisions. I need this in my life more than I need anything else. I always want to know that the direction I am going is in the center of God’s will. When we allow the Spirit to rule, we know our path God has set out for us. When the Spirit rules, we will never be intimidated by demonic harassment. If the Spirit rules, we know the power we have in Jesus Christ. When we allow the Spirit to rule, we will never fear man. We will have the boldness to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel without any hesitation. If we want the Spirit to rule, we need to seek more than His direction. We need to come into God’s presence and get to know His heart, His desire. To have the Spirit rule, we need to know God.

“For God is Spirit, so those that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

Revolution, God’s Way – Freedom in the Spirit

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“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

What is freedom? The definition of freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Most people in America today feel that freedom means that you can do anything you want and no one should say anything. With freedom comes responsibility and accountability. Living in the Spirit and living for Jesus is some of the greatest freedom that we can have. It is freedom from sin and death. When we are out in sin, we feel that we are free and we don’t like anyone telling us what to do. The problem is we are not free; we are enslaved to the sin and to the world. Jesus tells us, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36)

Paul tells, “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:21-25) When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He set us free. We are only free if we have the Holy Spirit living in us; letting the Holy Spirit control our lives.

Revolution, God’s Way – Destiny

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“You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” Psalm 73:24

“Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.” Ecclesiastes 6:10

On the night of May 10, 1940, Churchill was invited by King George VI to form a government and lead Britain against the forces of Nazism that menaced Europe and threatened the free democracies. Churchill later recounted, “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but preparation for this hour and for this trial.” God has a destiny for all of us and I believe that our entire life is a preparation of that destiny. As I look back on my life, I can see where God has been preparing me to fulfill the destiny He had planned for me.

Our destiny becomes our passion. The fire in our hearts. Moses and the burning bush. “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.” (Exodus 3:2) He was called to his destiny at the sight of a bush, burning yet not burned up – as if God was telling him from the very beginning that his call would set him on fire, but the fire would not consume him. We need to find our destiny so that the fire of the Holy Spirit will burn in our hearts.

God’s calling is the key to igniting a passion for the deepest growth and highest purpose in life. If we are to see the revolution, we need to find that burning passion of our destiny.