Jesus says in John 16:33; ‘These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace…’ The peace Jesus speaks of here in John’s gospel is directly related to what He says a few verses before about asking God things in prayer. It’s in a place of prayer I begin to understand the source of my frustration with others. I realize waiting on men and not leaning on God is really the fear of man and not the fear of God. This will leave you frustrated and angry with people as they fail to meet your expectations and demands, and it will miss the peace Jesus promises those who lean into Him. Peace is a powerful word of promise, we all want it, but it can escape us when we fail to deal with the fear that keeps us from wholly leaning on Jesus name. Fear will keep you from a Godly mandate to move forward in your circumstances. Others are not the problem, but failure to wait on God in prayer is. Prayer is the pathway to lasting peace with God and it holds promise that I can be part of restoring others rather that being bothered by their perceived failures. The words of an old hymn, ‘learning to lean on Jesus’ encourage us to trust Him in every trial, finding the peace He promises. Jesus went on to finish John 16:33 AMP; by saying, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have prefect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer…[take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted!] For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] Peace, is the victory Jesus gives and He calls us to pray, so we can overcome in the face of every fear.
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
…In the place of overwhelming difficulty We have this word as an anchor to remind us we can be lead to a place the enemy cannot reach! Our cries are the place of heavenly access… We like David, may feel a long way off from that safety, but it’s placed within our reach when we pray!
Something made me think of my Grandmother the other day; she would often call and say, ‘I don’t know nothing….I just called to find out how you were doing’. She was a busy woman, probably too busy, but I was amazed that she could find the time to do the things she did. “I don’t know nothing” may not be good english, but it made me think about her and the love she had for me. It makes me lovingly think of others I care about and how I should find the time to reach them. The truth is, I don’t have much to offer and I really don’t know much… but, for the grace of God I am nothing and I have nothing. While in that momentary thought of, ‘what little I could offer anyone’, I found myself praying; God save my children, save my family, God save me, and Lord save others through my life…oh, how I need Your power.’ Your life is a powerful thing, a tool created really for only for one purpose and that’s to be used by the power of God to influence others for His cause. Your life is to become a living testimony made by what only the Holy Spirit can reflect upon you, so others could be saved. I love the place where Jesus says, ‘Come to Me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest….’ The word says, Jesus lives at the right hand of God (Mk16:19). Residing in power, He lives to make intercession for us’ (Heb7:25). He lives to call us to rest ourselves in His finished work and be connected to His life and power by the Holy Spirit whom He sent as our Helper and His agent of extra-ordinary benefits. He lives to bring you into a restful place to stop thinking there’s anything you could do for Him. He lives so you might realize it’s in only what He can do for you– to reflect His life by powerful changes in your character and demeanor. The Spirit of God moves in the place of prayer connecting us to the will and intention of His heart. While men search for the perfect; the perfect life, a perfect home, the perfect love, it can only be found in the perfect heart of God, known only by time in the presence of His own dear Son. E.M. Bounds one said, “Prayer is far reaching in its influence and worldwide in its effects. It affects all men, affects them everywhere, and affects them in all things. It touches man’s interest in time and eternity. It lays hold upon God and moves him to interfere in the affairs of earth. It moves the angels to minister to men in this life. It restrains and defeats the devil and his schemes to ruin man. Prayer goes everywhere and lays its hand upon everything.” It’s prayer that makes us behold Him who is perfect, so we should reflect His glory. The enemy would have you weak and giving up over the things you see, but Jesus would have you pray and He says, ‘come to Me!’
Jesus plainly tells us in Matthew 11:28 to come to His rest! In John 10:7 He says, ‘I’m the door you must enter through.’ All too often we fail to see the open door Jesus has made for our entry into His House of Rest! This past spring a red bird appeared in the window at our house of worship. At first, everyone was pleasantly distracted by his coming to the window. However, over the course of the next few weeks he would make it his mission to attack every window on our building repeatedly becoming a nuisance to everyone. I found myself thinking, ‘that stupid little bird…’, then God said to me, “you’ve been like that little bird”. The truth is, we have all been just like that little red bird. He might have found the door of entry, but he was too busy fighting his enemies, or so it would seem! In reality, he wasn’t even looking for the door. What are you seeking? Is it the open door of Jesus that brings you into a place of rest, or are you like the little bird? Just what does he see in the glass that keeps him coming back to the place of futility? He sees himself, but he is most deceived thinking it’s his enemy. In his zeal to fight, he is bound by a deception that allows the real enemy to steal what God says is rightfully his. There is a ‘little red bird’ syndrome bound in the nature of all our flesh. The little bird is fighting against his own image though he doesn’t see it. Your image will always make you angry, frustrated, and captivated by Your-SELF and the image IT produces. There is a blindness only Jesus can remove. He says to you, ‘I’ve an anointing that can heal blind eyes so you can see the door of rest.’ It is a place of recovery, it is a place of release and abundance. Any attempt to use something other than the door will leave you beaten and bruised. There is hope and healing at the Open Door of Jesus! His lessons are the cure of our Red Bird syndrome! He is saying to you, ‘Son/Daughter, use the door! It represents the only legitimate way to my service and pleasure and by it you will produce My glory and not your own! Use the door, and you will be able to move freely in my presence where there is fulness and joy. It will be a fulness that will keep you from robbing Me and being robbed of what I alone have given you to possess!’
While recently waiting at an airport with my wife and son, I reflected upon a story my wife had told me some 18 years before during a holiday visit home to Texas when we were living in Maine. My wife was always a good-mother to be there for her children; she took great pleasure in seeing our children were well clothed, well taught and well cared for (something I will always honor her for). Isn’t it interesting in a world that says, ‘woman get out there and make something of yourself’ your real blessing will depend on your children and what they say about you. On this particular occasion, she was traveling alone with our children. She would often dress them alike or in coordinated outfits. A well remembered favorite of mine were the little denim dresses my two daughters wore to match my son’s blue denim hat… all that to say, she was making a statement that said to the world around her, “these are distinctly mine”. As I’d reminisced about the story she once told me, I got her to tell it to me again. It seems her plane was late in arriving to make a late night connection for Dallas. When they arrived at the very large metropolitan airport they got turned around and had to run hand in hand to the connecting gate. When they finally found their gate, the attendant said that the plane had already left. My wife realizing there were no more planes out, leaving her and our 3 children stranded in a strange airport, began to cry as they walked about holding each other by the hand. The cries were tears of what if, and why, and how come. As tears continued to flow, my wife felt my son’s small hand begin to gently pat her face. Isn’t that like the son, a loving touch to say, ‘I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright….’ My son always did have a very good sense of direction! A short time past and a very important looking man came by and saw her crying. He was moved as he saw her tears and the children holding hands beside her. He asked what was wrong and she proceeded to tell him the story. “Quickly”, he said, “come with me.” Understanding there were no more planes to Dallas leaving out that night and her dilemma, he got on his radio speaking to someone all the while whisking them downstairs and onto the tarmac. She said from there he put them on little cart and drove them at full speed across the runway to board a plane that He had held up to take them aboard. As she re-told what happened, I had to choke back the tears, but I was moved by the reminder God uses small things to tell one very big story. He reminded me that while I could not be there, He was able to use my only son to accurately convey His love and sentiments! I believe He is saying to you, ‘I see you in your tears and I understand your problem, I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright….trust Me!’. I believe the Father wants to say, ‘I’m going on ahead of you, moving on your behalf and if you’ll trust Me, I’m holding some things up to get you where you need to be. It may not be the most comfortable means, but if you’ll trust Me it will be okay. It will be better than okay, it will be a testimony of My Unseen Power that moves others and moves out ahead of you to change what you cannot foresee.’ ‘You must trust me and receive my touch and the Son of My Love.’ ‘He has the mantle of my blessing and is able to touch you offering comfort in your long standing pain. Believe Him and trust Me.’ There is and should be a moral to every story, but how seldom we see it as we stand blinded by our fears and our tears. God says receive the touch and obtain the promise. What about your story? God is writing a story on the pages of your life– a story little different from the one I just told. I’m so moved sometimes when my wife tells me of these little miracles of how she believed God’s hand was moving in her life. Our lives are always better for having acknowledged how the hand of God moves on our behalf helping us in times of trouble! This little story has been stored away in my files for months; I kept coming back to it, but couldn’t delete it because of the truth it conveys. I believed God saved this story for your benefit, so that you might see in your sorrow, when in your tears, the Spirit of Jesus gently comes alongside you to touch you and say, ‘I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright… Trust Me!’ Today in your struggle, don’t fail to see Jesus; He’s there beside you; He walks with you; He moves ahead of you, to command your miracle in spite of you, and to open what has been shut, and to shut what has been opened! He’s waiting for your response of complete trust, and through it He is moving to bring forth your story–a unique testimony of His advancing power that comes in your present circumstance to say to you, “You are distinctly Mine, all and only because of the Son!” Trust Jesus today and don’t miss this opportunity; God saved it especially for you!
The stone wall behind our barn brought a great revelation to my heart. These stones no one wanted. They were in fact dumped on the property and have spent the last 7 years or so without purpose. These stones were not purchased they were the waste product of some failed project in some other man’s field. But as I looked at the worthless stones now fit into the wall, God reminded me they have been redeemed, and as such they are part of a priceless plan to gather in souls for His kingdom. They now are part of a great purpose–a heavenly plan to retrieve what was lost. The Spirit of God says, come hear ‘the gospel of the ruined stones.‘ 1 Peter 2 says, Jesus, who although rejected by men was the chief cornerstone of God’s building. The word further states, that in Him, we are living stones being redeemed into His building becoming fit only for His divine purposes. What are the ruined stones and what is the gospel that they preach? The stones say: “what is rejected by men will become alive and useful to God.” They no longer declare an earthly cause, but live for a heavenly purpose. The stones reveal to your life that Jesus does not build by conventional means, but with supernatural power to take your ruined places and make them a thing of His beauty. Will you hear the gospel of the stones and what they can say about your worth to God? Understand your waste places can be redeemed. Understand your reading these words right now say to you God’s heart is to take the wasted space and fill it up and redeem it with the priceless purpose of Christ. Say yes to God, say ‘Lord I want you to redeem and change me’. Do it now!