Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rest

“ My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (Psalm 62:1).

On the right handside of this blog you can see that there's a verse of the day. When I looked today, the above is what was there.
Last night we had our worship time together as we do every Wednesday. I was taking the worship and I have been hearing from Jesus over the last few days about rest in Him, and also our need for Him.
I was talking to a friend the other day and he was telling me how much he has realised lately just how much he needs Jesus. He has been reading the word not so much to learn about Jesus or to find out new things, but because he needs it. It's his food.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)

It got me thinking about the importance of scripture and also the importance of just spending time with God. proper time. My friends words had put me to shame. This is because I had gotten up that morning and read the bible (I'm reading Romans at the moment) and then I went all the way into work listening to worship which I love doing. When my friend had spoken about his desperation for Jesus I realised that I had taken for granted my whole morning. I had enjoyed it and I know how important it is for me that I start my day reminding myself of what I live for; however I forgot that I NEED it. It's not an optional extra to read scripture and spend time with God, it's a necessity. i can't function if I don't.

"For in him we live, and have our being." (Act 17:28)

That sums up our great need. It is in Him that is every good thing that flows into and from us. Now to go further into the importance of spending time with our heavenly father we look at Jesus and see how important it was to Him.
In Mark chapter 1 he tells the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue, possibly for the first time, He healed someone (interesting that he healed someone on the sabbath and no one went nuts that day). After they spent time there (he was with his disciples) they went to Peters house and Andrews house where Peters mother in law was sick. Jesus healed her (he liked and still likes to do that). The next day (when the sabbath was over) people turned up from all over the place to see Jesus to be healed. Family's and Friends brought their loved one's to be healed. And Jesus healed them. Now the remarkable part of this passage is verse 35

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

Jesus bailed. He left everyone. I'm not exaggerating to say he left everyone unbeknownst to them as when they finally find him they say in verse 37 "everyone is searching for you".
The incredible thing about this is that Jesus made a habit of it.

"Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
(Luke 5:15-16)

There are many other incredible stories about Jesus leaving people at what we would think are the strangest times. The reason for all this is that he needed to speak to his father.

I'm going to steal a passage from the current book I'm reading (Jesus unplugged) that i think captures this need so well.

Jesus separated himself for prayer so often, and yet few ask, Why? Was he hoping God would tell him what to do, fix his problems, give him courage, or charge his batteries? What was he doing, and what was happening when he prayed?
Yes, he checked out (left) when he was tired, when he was grieving, when he was under pressure, when he was struggling with decisions, and - in the end - when he had to face death. Yes, slipping away for prayer was not a habit, nor was it a compulsion for Jesus it was standard operating procedure.
Certainly prayer was essential to Jesus's life and work. and the heart of his prayer was his intimate relationship to his Father. Jesus called God "Abba", which means Daddy, an unusually casual address, and some might even say an irreverent one.
But the familiarity of this language witnesses to his closeness to God and how often they talked. Jesus checked out and talked to "Daddy" even when it created tension with those around him, and even when they complained about it as an inconvenience or interruption.
Jesus could live with being disappointing and confusing to people, even those closest to him, but he could not go on without checking out regularly and unapologetically.
Dr. Baxter Kruger and I (the author of the book, not me unfortunately!) were discussing this chapter, and he asked me "How did Jesus survive the accusations and attacks? He stood up in the truth of who he was in the face of constant hate and harassment. I mean, they tore him down every day. How do you endure that?" It was a rhetorical question. baxter knows how, and I know how, and after reading this chapter so do you. How else could he have done it? It was by checking out for prayer.

Jesus, seated at the right hand of the father, after knowing everything that we have to go through and more on this earth says this:

"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

(Matthew 11:28)

I know I want to rest in him. In good times and bad. Coming to him is not an optional extra like I have already said, we need it, no matter what our circumstances our. Praise Him that we can come to him and be truly satisfied.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust".

(Psalm 91:1-2)