August 21, 2006

Finding True Rest For Your Soul

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

I had recently heard this verse of Scripture mentioned during a sermon and I felt encouraged to write about it a little more to share with people in the blogger world a little bit more about these two verses.

Every day we come across people who are working tirelessly at their jobs either because they are striving for a promotion, a salary raise or bonus, or they are just workaholics and find it completely satisfying to spend long hours each day at the office. You might be one of those people if you are reading this. There are many benefits that result from hard work, I understand this, but to do this excessively just does not make sense, especially if time with your spouse and family is being sacrificed because of selfishness and greed.

The dangers here lie not only emotionally but physically too. When one becomes overworked, overstressed and receives little rest in between the result becomes damaging to one’s health, even life threatening. Don’t get me wrong now. I am all for working hard, especially when I am reminded of a verse of Scripture in Colossians that reads, “And everything, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (
Col 3:17) It is a great way to be productive in your work on a daily basis. In addition to that, our attitude can be influenced even more when we view to whom we are presenting our work too. (Col 3:22-24)

As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, presenteeism occurs when employees put in unnecessarily long hours, take work home, and fail to take sick leave and vacation time because they see that behavior as admirable. Then they underperform because they are tired, bored, sick, depressed, stressed or distracted by family issues or other problems outside the workplace.

A study in the Harvard Business Review recently estimated that presenteeism costs American business $150 billion a year. It can result in employee medical problems such as depression and substance abuse, leading to higher medical costs. (
Virginia Business Magazine)

So many people though work 70, 80, 90 or more hours each week only to put their lives in jeopardy for something dangerous or deadly to occur to their bodies.
The story of the man who worked tirelessly all of his life, climbing the corporate ladder, sacrificing time with his wife and family, because of business trips and long hours at the office to provide for them, one day finds himself lying in a hospital bed on the edge of death, because he neglected to take care of his body. You would hardly find a person like this to say, “I wish I had spent one more day at the office.” The preciousness of life holds an entirely new meaning to someone in this condition. All that time spent in selfishness can never be bought back and there may not even be enough time to make up for the time that was lost. Years of emotional pain cannot easily be repaired and nor can our physical bodies.

Jesus was teaching his followers that He can give every person true rest for their lives. He says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden (or burdened) and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, emphasis mine) Jesus is saying to those who are overworked, overstressed and just running on so little energy in their lives, to come to Him to find rest and relief. I believe that Jesus is also speaking about those who labor for spiritual rest yet cannot obtain it.

So many people continue to live their lives with a casual attitude and belief that they will immediately be granted a place in God’s Kingdom upon their death. This is a great misconception. No one is entitled to enter Heaven especially if his or her sins have not been forgiven. Yet people mistakenly believe that passage from death to eternity in Heaven is as automatic as collecting $200 to pass go in Monopoly. No such automatic passage exists for someone who has not been forgiven of his or her sins.

The burden of God’s eternal judgment that a person carries truly is too much for any person to bear. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world. The burden that Jesus took upon Himself to bear the sins of the world physically was enormous. There isn’t a single person on earth who could satisfy God’s punishment for their sins within themselves. His wrath is too great to endure and the torment of eternity in Hell is also too great to comprehend.

Hell is patiently waiting for those who have refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ in their lives as the One who paid the penalty for their sins. Hell is pleased to see the continuous rejection of God’s love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

Yet God is, “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Yet God, "desires that all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)

Yet God, has “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (5,6)

Yet God, “did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Yet God, “demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

God will never force Himself upon anyone to love Him or receive His gift of grace and forgiveness. It has to be personally obtained.

Take note of this commentary from Matthew Henry regarding this passage.
Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority.
God offers to people the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as the satisfactory payment of their debt of sin toward Him. The wealth of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Warren Buffet combined multiple times over cannot even come close to the price that Jesus paid for the sins of the world. His blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins is priceless to everyone who freely receives Him.

The yoke that Jesus carried was the cross that He was crucified on. If a person brings their burden of sin that God will judge him or her for on their day of judgment, Jesus will give you a peace in your heart and remove the enormous weight of punishment from you that has already been placed on Jesus Christ. Receive God's free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. (
Romans 6:23)

The bible says, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) There is no second chance when the last bit of life is exhaled from your body. You may not even have the energy to confess your sins and receive Christ at that time either. No one should vainly acknowledge knowing that his or her sins are forgiven. That is just lip service and God can see right through the lies knowing that their heart is truly not right with Him.

There is not enough work that could be humanly done for anyone to earn God’s gift of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. The true rest for one's soul can be found only in Jesus Christ.

God does not want anyone to carry the burden of judgment for their sins. He wants you to receive redemption from His judgment, through Jesus Christ and I would encourage you to come to Christ, to find rest for your soul. Place your faith in Jesus Christ alone and not in the things that you have done or could do, to earn God’s grace and forgiveness.

You may be old enough to remember the commerical about Rolaids. Do you remember the question that was asked in every commercial? How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Rolaids may offer temporary relief, but God gives permanent redemption to anyone who wants it and His plan of redemption is spelled, J-E-S-U-S.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. Colossians 2:13-14

August 9, 2006

The Middle East conflicts and the return of Christ, are you ready?

The following article links I feel are important that every person should read them. The ABC News article discusses the support Christians have for Israel and the need to pray for peace in Israel. Many of the events that have occurred, I believe, are preparations for the return of Christ. I am no expert theologian, nor one with the gift of prophesy. Something within my spirit tells me though that we will see the return of Jesus Christ in this generation.

ABC News article:
Save Israel, for Jesus?

The article written by Billy Graham could not have been found at a better time to be communicated to the world. The only thing that a person must do, in order to receive God's gift of eternal salvation, is to give their life to Christ, recognizing and acknowledging His death on the cross as the satisfaction of payment to God for their personal sin against Him.

Billy Graham article:
Are You Saved?

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21

Photo is from

If you want to be absolutely certain that you will go to Heaven when your time comes, you can visit either of two websites to learn How to Know God or Steps to Peace with God, to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10

Will you be found innocent or guilty?

August 8, 2006

The Greatness of God's Love

No one could possibly imagine the great price Jesus paid for their sins. Whenever temptation is beating heavily on a person's heart and mind to persuade a believer or a non-believer, to accept the temption and sin against God, they have immediately forgotten about the pain Christ received when He was scourged and beaten, when He was nailed to the cross and instead have become selfish for their own pleasure not considering the pain it caused the Lord.

Please, do not be misled, I have been guilty of allowing myself to sin against God because I was more interested in the pleasure for myself rather than remembering the pain it caused Christ to die for the sins I had committed, what I was about to do, or for the sins I would commit (hopefully not) in the future.

I once heard Dr. Charles Stanley say in one of his radio messages speaking about sexual sins when he said, "Sexual sin is powerful in its deceptive offer of immediate pleasure without penalty." That is so true! Even if it wasn't used to describe sexual sin, sin is still powerful in its deceptive offer of immediate gratification without penalty. How much would the divorce rate decrease if men and women who committed adultery realized this? Let's read this with a different perspective if God were speaking to us in plain and simple English. He might say, "Adultery is deceptive and powerful to make you think it will offer immediate pleasure without suffering any consequences for your actions, not only here and now, but eternally too. It's just not worth it."

That is just an example and one that people can identify with. Don't think that if you haven't actually physically committed adultery you are innocent. Jesus himself said,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28.
It is a conscious decision to look continuously at a person of the opposite sex while having sexual thoughts of that person. The desire for something encourages one to continue looking, especially if it might be something they cannot have. No one is excluded either. Homosexuals as well as heterosexuals can be guilty if they have looked at someone with lust in their heart.

I cannot be thankful enough, to fully comprehend the weight of my sin that was placed on Jesus Christ, where the punishment of my sin was placed upon Him. The free gift of God's grace I now have because of something that God didn't even ask if it was ok for Him to do for me. He did it out of love. Though I have not seen the Lord physically yet, and though I love Him now, my love and gratitude for Him will multiply infinitely more on the day that I enter into Heaven for all of eternity.

A few verses of Scripture found in Romans chapter 8 really bring this home for me.

First, I'll have to start with verse 3, "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh," Since the Ten Commandments are supposed to be our boundaries to live safely from the temptation to sin, each and every person falls short of living perfectly according to the Ten Commandments. (Romans 3:23) God did not want any of us to realize the full effect of the punishment of sin because He loves us, so He placed the punishment of our sin upon His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Instead of condemning us for the offense of our sin, He condemned it in the body of Jesus Christ. How is that for someone "taking a bullet for you"? The effect of that is greater than we realize because if a person recognizes this substitution payment of sin and give their lives to Christ, their eternal lives are secured and the judgment of sin by God is seen by the cross and not by the sin.

Next, I would have to mention verse 1, "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." If a person is found in Christ, they will not be condemned because of their sin. How can I describe what it would mean to be in Christ? Well a few examples would be, you walk into a house, you get into a car, you put dirty dishes into a dishwasher...get the idea? One of Webster's definitions of the word into is, to the form, substance, or condition of. A person steps into a relationship with Jesus Christ to avoid being condemned of their sin. When a person becomes born-again, they first become a new person spiritually and as time progresses, through discipleship and fellowship with others, through small group bible studies, personal study and prayer, as well as regular fellowship and ministering of the Word of God in church, their lives will gradually turn into the form, substance or condition of becoming like Christ in their life.

Finally, there are verses 35, 38 and 39, where the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate a person on this earth, whom God created, from His love that is found in Christ.

The apostle Paul said he was the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) who had a warrant to arrest Christians and even permit them to be stoned to death. Yet, when Paul met Jesus on his way to Damascus he was not condemned when he met Jesus along the way.

"As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one." (Acts 9:3-7)

How comforting it is to know the peace we have with God by His grace that has saved us, through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
Psalm 32:5

If you feel that what you have just read applies to you, I would encourage you to accept Jesus' death as the payment of your debt of sin against God. You can visit either of two websites to learn How to Know God or Steps to Peace with God, to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

August 2, 2006

Are These the End Times - MSNBC article

The coauthor of the popular 'Left Behind' series explains why he believes Christ will return in our lifetimes. Click the title above to read the article.

Have you betrayed Jesus?

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray ...