Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“ ESV
It’s happened again! This one verse just happened to show up twice out-of-the-blue in a week’s time. It’s meant for my heart. It still surprises me to be reminded in such a simple way that the Word of God is meant for that specific purpose. It’s not just accidentally falling into place.
God has a plan for your life:
the right Word at the right time in the right place.
The right Word is COME. That’s all Jesus asks. Don’t clutter it up with anything else like needing a perfect place or time or whether it happens to to feel meaningful right then. The main thing is the choice to come. I know you want to validate your time but if you will just come, Jesus will do that for you.
The right time is NOW. NOW is the word used to draw attention to a particular moment. NOW is the moment when so many of life’s systems seem to have fallen apart. NOW is the moment when our labor is being challenged and redefined. NOW is the moment when hearts understand heavy laden in ways never before imagined. NOW is the moment when so many are behind closed doors. NOW is the moment of availability “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9). NOW is the moment of opportunity “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.(Rev 3:20). NOW is the particular moment to come.
The right place is YOU…”Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)
Jesus simply says “come to me“… that’s the “rest” of the story.
Dis·cern·ment – the ability to judge well.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Reality and healthy survival demands our being able to judge well to live well. That ability to judge well is what our Sovereign Judge, Resurrected Perfecter an Evidence of Truth have united to provide us. Defining the “division of soul and of spirit” requires more imagination than the grisly image Hebrews paints of a sword whacking through bone to reveal the living inner part, the marrow, that actually provides it needed nourishment.
Hebrews is saying the soul is like a boney structure we might identify as the biblical hard heart. The penetration of that boney structure has to happen to reveal the marrow, the Spirit, inside that hard heart. That allows the Spirit and the Word of God to become the needed nourishment of our growth, impact the intentions of our heart and teach us to judge well. It’s the total package.
•Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
•Matthew 4:3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3]’”
Jesus was sending his disciples out for a very special purpose. That didn’t just happen, it took time to prepare. That’s what makes his instructions to the disciples so interesting. “He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” It seems like comfort and convenience weren’t to be a part of their preparation. I wondered about the “no” parts.
The disciples were prepared to go out to “proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” but why not send them out with those small things that could give them comfort and convenience? Did Jesus have in mind his own experience of being tempted in the wilderness as he gave them those instructions? His own temptation had not been about hunger at all. The tempter had used comfort and convenience in his failed attempt to entice Jesus to settle for any means to an end and become a “convenient” Messiah.
Jesus still wants his disciple’s focus of preparation to be on proclaiming the truth that protected him from the temptation to settle for any means to an end – the word of God. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” There’s bread enough to last until tomorrow morning. I invite you to check back then for fresh Maundy Thursday Bread.
Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
It seems harder to deal with repenting after you’ve walked with Jesus for a while. The “big” stuff was so obvious there was no hesitation about what needed to go. That was good, but this is the season to take another look. There’s a hidden closet where the evil one has stashed some of my less obvious sins. That makes them really easy to forget about. They’re smoldering, fiery darts that will be used as weapons of contempt for God’s “kindness, forbearance and patience” and to discredit the reality of his work in me. I caught a whiff of smoke and realized where there’s smoke…there’s fire. it’s time to put out these fires.
• The well-meaning prayer request with “too many details” about someone else’s crisis can become a weapon that impacts other people’s response to them. I need to remember God already knows every detail!
• The wrong tone of voice, even when used with “just the right” words, is a devilish eraser capable of wiping out the validity of God’s work in my life to the ears that hear them.
• Using the Word of God as a weapon to verbally discipline someone or manipulate their behavior is a serious violation of my trust in God’s sovereignty, and it’s unkind. The power of the Word lies in “realizing that God’s kindness is [what’s] intended to lead you [both] to repentance.”
The closet has been aired out. I’m waiting for the smoke to clear. Amen [So be it!]
Posted in Luke, Romans, Sunday
Tagged Fiery Darts, Hidden Closet, Kindness, Less Obvious Sins, Repentance, TMI, Tone of Voice, Weapons, Word of God
Psalm 119: 161-168 ש Sin and Shin – Tooth
161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you
Shin – tooth is an interesting title because it brought to mind this image. The Psalmist is like a dog with a bone. He fiercely defends his faith…and the Word of God, his bone. Try to take it away and there will be a struggle that ranges from a slight tug of war to fierce defense.
He’s sunk his teeth into the Word of God. It’s his “great spoil;” his bone to chew on to satisfy appetite but also to keep his “teeth” sharp and healthy to aid digestion.