Scripture reading for August 11th: Hebrews 4
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 4:6-10 “Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again He appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.”
Rest and peace are marks of those who have entered Christ’s kingdom by faith. God invited His people to enter into the promised land but they failed to enter because of unbelief and disobedience that resulted. They hardened their hearts and resisted hearing His voice, insisting that Moses would hear for them. The rest that was promised was acted out by the Jews each week as a celebration of the Sabbath where no work was done but time was taken to listen to God’s Word and rest in His great love and provision. This Sabbath was from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday evening. But the writer of Hebrews declared that God had appointed another day, “today,” to give His people rest under the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. Every day as it arrived was called “today” and was a day of rest in the finished work of Christ for our salvation, healing and provision. We must be diligent to enter into it on a daily basis!
Hebrews 4:11-12 “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 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.” Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for the ‘rest’ that we have today in Jesus Christ. I have ceased from my ‘work’ of trying to be good and keeping law and I now rest today in the finished obedience of Jesus Christ in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Reveal to me anything You see through Your Word that would disrupt my rest in Christ.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Scripture reading for July 13th: Matthew 11
Key Scriptures: Matthew 11:25-28 “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
John the Baptist had been Jesus’ forerunner, proclaiming repentance and baptismal cleansing in preparation for the One to come, the Christ. John was imprisoned and heard of Jesus’ ministry and sent disciples to ask concerning Jesus, if He were truly the Christ. This is curious, because John proclaimed Jesus the Christ and heard the proclamation of the Father after Jesus’ baptism. But many had seen Jesus’ signs and miracles and had failed to respond with repentance just as many rejected John’s message. Jesus prayed to His Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thanking Him for hiding the truth from the hard of heart and revealing truth to humble and repentant believer, whom Jesus likened to ‘little children.’ He declared that only He, God’s Son, truly knew the Father and it was His mission to reveal the Father to those He chose through divine foreknowledge. He then issued an invitation to those under heavy loads and burdens to come to Him and find rest. This rest would involve a deep knowledge of Christ Himself and the Father’s heart to save the repentant and humble! Amen! Let it be so for me and my household!
Matthew 11:29-30 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for Your gracious will of revealing Who You are through Your Son Jesus. I have responded to Your call to come to Him and learn of Him. I have found rest for my soul from my own efforts to be successful and now delight in sharing the rest in Jesus the Christ. Open doors today to share this “Good News!”
Isaiah 66:1-3 “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; what is the house that you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest? All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be,” declares the Lord. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word.”
Scripture reading for January 15th: Matthew 11, Psalm 11, Prov. 11
Key Scriptures: Matthew 11:27-30 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Jesus revealed His great authority, given to Him by His Father. He had known the Father and the Father knew His Son. Jesus was able to reveal the Father to whoever He chose. He then called all mankind to come to Him to receive the revelation of the Father’s love and His great authority. All were invited to take the yoke of a disciple and learn from Jesus. His way was gentle and brought people to find rest from the loads of life. All anyone had to do was come to Jesus to learn His way.
Faith’s Confession: Jesus, I come to You humbly, to learn more of My Father. I find rest in Your yoke of discipleship and trust you for fruitfulness in winning souls.
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”
Scripture reading for January 4th: Matthew 4, Psalm 4, Prov. 4 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.””
Immediately following Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit lead Him to the wilderness where He fasted for forty days and nights. The devil came to Him at the height of His hunger and suggested He prove His divinity by turning stones into bread. Jesus responded with God’s Word: “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.” Jesus made a faith confession to defeat the devil’s temptation and the desire of His own flesh for food. We can do the same!
Faith’s confession: I believe that my life is not sustained by bread alone, but I live by every word God has spoken and rest in His grace. I am God’s child! (Action: Break any addiction today by standing on God’s Word and resisting the devil’s temptation.)
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Scripture reading for June 23rd: Psalms 88-92
Key Scriptures: Psalm 91:9-12 “If you make the Most High your dwelling–even the Lord, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
The psalmist knew true security was found in those who made the Lord their refuge. God was able and willing to protect His people from all harm and disaster. His angelic forces were on call for those who looked to God to rescue and deliver, even picking us up in their strong arms!
Rejoicing in our Refuge: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. . . .What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:28, 31-32)
Scripture reading for June 15th: Psalms 61-65
Key Scriptures: Psalm 62:5-8 “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Selah
David encouraged himself in the Lord. He had healthy self-talk and healthy God-centered worship! We find him confessing rest in God alone in this psalm (vs 1) and then commanding his soul to find rest in God alone! (vs 5) He declared that God was his only hope of salvation and honor and his refuge! He encouraged all peoples to make God their refuge and cast their cares on Him!
Jesus calls us to rest in Him: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Scripture reading for February 16th: Numbers 34-36, Deuteronomy 1-2
Key Scriptures: Deuteronomy 1:29-32 “Then I (Moses) said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until your reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God.”
In Deuteronomy, Moses is recounting the history of the Israelites deliverance from Egypt and God’s dealings with them in their unbelief. God had been patient with them, even though most rebelled. This had cost those 20 years old or more to die in the desert, except for Caleb and Joshua. God had led them through the desert experience and carried them to the door of their inheritance!
Rejoice in the victory of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ, our ‘Joshua’, carries us into our ‘rest’ and promised inheritance! “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Scripture reading for January 26th: Exodus 33-36
Key Scriptures: Exodus 33:12, 14-16 “Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.”. . .”The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to Him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? ”
Moses knew he needed help in leading God’s rebellious people. He asked the Lord for that help and God promised him that His Presence would go with them. Moses told God that he would not go without Him! Nothing else would so mark Moses and God’s people as set apart from all others!
Overflowing joy: God provides His Presence dwelling within each of His people through the Holy Spirit! “And you were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a Seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” (Ephesians 1:13)
Scripture reading for January 16th: Genesis 46-49
Key Scriptures: Genesis 47:29-31 “When the time drew near for Israel (Jacob) to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” “I will do as you say,” he said. “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on top of his staff.”
Jacob had lived in Egypt for seventeen years and knew that his departure was coming soon. He called Joseph and gave him instructions for the burial of his bones. He wanted to rest in the land of promise with those of faith who had preceded him in death. When this was assured by Joseph, he worshiped his God as he leaned on his staff!
Cause for rejoicing: God gives us vision concerning eternal life, removing the fear of death from our hearts! His promises are sure! “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.” (Hebrews 11:21-22)
Scripture reading for October 8th: Matthew 8-11
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
This portion of Matthew is one I have preached on often and love to return to on a regular basis. It seems that I have a tendency to love to work and take on lots of projects. It is like I have a subtle need to find my worth in what I do or how much I can do. This is hard to admit and even harder to detect the true motives. I must remember that my work earns me nothing because salvation is all grace!
In the time of Jesus, a rabbi was a master teacher whose disciples were training to be like their teacher. When a student was fully trained, he would be like his teacher and could also become a rabbi himself. (Luke 6:40) It was an honor to follow a rabbi and only the brightest and best were usually asked. However, Jesus the “Rabbi”, went among the common people and called those who appeared to be the unqualified. Jesus looked at the heart and took those who were willing to leave all and follow!
The ‘yoke’ of the rabbi was his authority and his teachings. A disciple would learn to follow the master so closely that it is said that the dust of the rabbi was on their clothes. Jesus asked followers to come under His authority received from His Father. (Matthew 11:27) Sickness departed at His word! (Matthew 8:2-3) Demons in people left at His command! (Matthew 8:28-34) Sins were forgiven and a paralytic healed. (Matthew 9:1-8) A dead girl was raised to life at His word! (Matthew 9:23-25) Blind men received their sight at His touch. (Matthew 9:27-31) At His command, the disciples were sent out and miracles were done through their hands! (Matthew 10:1-8)
Following Jesus requires a complete surrender to Him. His ‘yoke’ of authority is easy and His ‘burden’ light. He has all authority and has given authority to us to do His work! We are promised even greater works because He has gone to the Father! (John 14:12-13) Are you under Jesus Christ and His yoke?