The Rested Life Ministries

Today's

Word of Encouragement

With Christ, you don’t have to wonder if you are forgiven.
Fact is, you are, because you are loved.

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The Rested Life is an online ministry with the sole mission of unveiling Jesus and His love for you. We want to share with you the importance of His work on the cross and bring you to the intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation that He wants to freely give you.


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    WITH CHRIST, YOU ARE FORGIVEN BECAUSE YOU ARE LOVED

    WITH CHRIST, YOU ARE FORGIVEN BECAUSE YOU ARE LOVED

    This view greeted me this morning. A full rainbow, complete, end to end.

    Now, before any of you naysayers start running the photo through a microscope, let me come out and say this. Yes, it is a stitched photo. Stitched because I didn’t know that iPhones had a pano function. And before I could figure out how to work that, the rains came and the rainbow was gone. So two photos of each end of the rainbow is all I could do. But that’s not the point.

    What I really wanted to do with the photo, was to ask you; what do you see when you see a rainbow? Do you see a scientific phenomenon? Do you see the rain that caused it? Do you see the inconvenience caused to your daily commute by the rain that caused it? Or was the rainbow lost on you because you were, like me, too preoccupied with running to the toilet to answer the call of nature?

    I ask because just this past weekend, the BBC did a feature on a Filipino pastor who started an outreach ministry to help meth addicts kick the habit. He was once an addict, and was on meth for 10 years, till he ‘found a church’ and ‘that was when the transformation began’.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was a touching story, a heart-warming story, inspiring even. But it was what that pastor said when asked if he thought God will forgive him for what he has done. This was what he had to say. ‘I think I will be forgiven.’

    Are you like that? Have you done something so terribly wrong that even you can’t forgive yourself? And so you are wondering if God would forgive you? Well, beloved child of God, wonder no more; think no further; because the answer is,

    You have been forgiven.

    “And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”” Genesis 9:12-16

    When it comes to our Father’s love for us, and His consequent willingness to forgive our sin, we really don’t have to look very far. From Genesis 9, it is clear how our Father feels towards us what our Father intends to do with our sin.

    He has made us a promise, a promise that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. And to mark this promise, our Father put a rainbow in the sky, so that not only He will remember the covenant which is between Him and every living creature that roams this earth, we too can look on and take comfort in the fact that no matter what we have done, He will never be angry with us anymore. For as it is said in Isaiah,

    “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
    For as I have sworn
    That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
    So have I sworn
    That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.” Isaiah 54:9

    Indeed, not only will He never destroy us, He will never even be angry with us, nor rebuke us. In fact, it gets even better for is it said,

    “For the mountains shall depart
    And the hills be removed,
    But My kindness shall not depart from you,
    Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
    Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10

    Not only will He never be angry with us, His kindness shall never depart from us, nor will His covenant of peace be removed from us. Why? Because He has mercy on us. And that is why Paul can say,

    “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.” Romans 8:1

    You know, if you ask a theologian why God is able to forgive us so freely and why we no longer need to wonder, but can now instead be sure that we are forgiven; the reason will be long, and probably very convoluted. But our Father explains it very succinctly here;

    “For your Maker is your husband,
    The Lord of hosts is His name;
    And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
    He is called the God of the whole earth.” Isaiah 54:5

    We weren’t just bought, we weren’t just redeemed, as far as God is concerned, we; the collective union of all who have put their trust in Christ, and so therefore have become saved; we have become the bride of Christ. And we know what that means.

    We are not merely given passes to reside where He is, we have been given a legal right to all that Christ has, ‘co-owners’ if you like, of Christ’s estate, which is a lot. And how did this happen?

    “For the Lord has called you
    Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
    Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
    Says your God.
    “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
    But with great mercies I will gather you.
    With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
    But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
    Says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:6-8

    We were once His, but our willful natures made us turn away, run away from home, and head to the land of sin. Simply put, when given the choice, we chose to do evil instead of good, heed our carnal desires, instead of staying true to our Father’s advice. And isn’t that the reason why we find ourselves stuck in that rut that we are in?

    But look at what our Father says, He has called us saying,

    “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
    But with great mercies I will gather you.
    With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
    But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
    Says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:7-8

    But wait, when did He forsake us? When did He turn His face from us? Were there times when you felt like God was absent from your life? Were there times when you felt like God didn’t care? Were those the times when He forsook you and hid His face from you? Not even close. Because this is what happens when God turns His face.

    “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
    Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
    The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
    And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
    Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Matthew 27:45-53

    Did the world turn dark? I’m sure it did for you, but did it, really? Any curtains got torn? Rocks split, maybe? Graves open? I know you probably felt like you did things that would make your grandpa roll over in his grave, but clearly not enough to pop back out to give you a smack on the back of your head, right?

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make light of your situation. Your pain is real, and good on you. Because that you feel remorse, that shows that you’re not a fan of the devil. But does remorse mean that you are not forgiven? Not at the least.

    You see, when Jesus lay down His life, He did so for a reason. It was to fulfill this mission for which He came.

    “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

    Jesus lay down His life, He allowed His blood to be spilt, so that many could receive remission of, or as the Amplified puts it, a substitutionary atonement, for our sins. A substitutionary atonement, substitutionary because Jesus was the one who atoned for our sins for us. As it is written,

    “But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
    And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
    Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
    Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].” Isaiah 53:4 [AMP]

    We do, don’t we, ignorantly assume that He was stricken by God. But the fact is, Jesus wasn’t. God didn’t throw a lightning bolt and miss, this was all in His plan. In fact,

    “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
    The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
    And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.
    All of us like sheep have gone astray,
    We have turned, each one, to his own way;
    But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
    To fall on Him [instead of us].” Isaiah 53:5-6 [AMP]

    And that is why John said,

    “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name— who were born, not of blood [natural conception], nor of the will of the flesh [physical impulse], nor of the will of man [that of a natural father], but of God [that is, a divine and supernatural birth—they are born of God—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].” John 1:12-13 [AMP]

    Do you believe in Him? Have you once received Him into your life and welcome His presence in your life? Do you believe in, adhere to, trust in and rely on Him to, simply put, sort out the hiccups in your life, both big and small? If you do, then you have been given the right, the authority and the privilege; because you have been made a child of God. Not by any man’s say-so, mind you, but it is God’s will that you are spiritually transformed, renewed and sanctified. And I put it to you that that you are here today, right now, reading this, and accepting this message, the transformation has begun, the sanctification has already taken place.

    But what if you have not? What if you have even rejected Christ and His message in the past? Is it too late now? Well, my friend, not at the least. Remember, Jesus says,

    “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.” Revelation 3:20 [MSG]

    So if you are hearing Him knock at the door to your heart, and would like to open the door to your heart to Him right now, then say this with me.

    “Jesus, thank You for dying for me. Thank You that by Your death, You have given me complete and unconditional remission of all my sins. All that I have done, all that I am about to do, they have all been borne on You. Thank You Father for giving me this path to salvation and thank You for drawing me to You. Although I may have hardened my heart to Your call in the past, thank You for being patient with me and never giving up on me. So Jesus, I heed Your call right now. Come into my life and supper with me. Guide and provide for me so that I may see the spiritual transformation that You died to give me. Amen.”

    So, beloved child of God, Jesus died for our sins. That means that they have been forgiven. So as far as forgiveness is concerned, what’s there to ‘think’? Go on, be sure, have confidence, and declare that you have been forgiven, for isn’t that what trusting Jesus means? He said He’s sorted out your sins for you. And if you trust Him, should you trust that your sins are sorted?

    And that’s my point.

    When we open the Bible, every time we turn the page, we should be looking out for the rainbows that appear; the signs of His love, and declarations of His promise to us; the promise that He will never leave us, nor forsake us; that He will never again be angry with us because Jesus has already borne all our sins on the cross. Beloved child of God, don’t miss those rainbows in the Bible, for they are certainly so much more beautiful than those that appear in the sky.

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    WHEN GOD WILLS, HE WILL PROVIDE

    WHEN GOD WILLS, HE WILL PROVIDE

    A piece of good news has just came through from a good friend of mine. The time has come, he feels, to commence work on a new church building. Now, before you go off thinking that he’s some multi-millionaire pastor from a mega church with a huge congregation and therefore he has astronomical takings from his parish; no, he’s not that kind of pastor. His parish is small, it’s isolated, and it is also poor.

    Yet, blessed with growth, his ministry has been, so a new premise is needed. But the funds… well, let’s just say that that did not grow proportionally to the growth in souls.

    So, what to do? Growth in numbers, but no growth in funds. Premise needed but nothing to build it with. Sound familiar?

    Indeed, my friend is not the first, and he certainly will not be the last, to be moved into action before the resource was made available. Note, I say ‘before the resource was made available’, not ‘when there were no resources’, and definitely not ‘and given no resources’; because, think about it, when was the last time God commanded but did not provide?

    Remember when the Lord said to Moses,

    “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10

    Moses was not a great and persuasive public speaker. He was not even eloquent. And he surely did not have the following of a thousand. In fact, Moses was merely tending to his father-in-law’s flock when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him (Exodus 3:1-2) and this was how he described himself.

    “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

    Who was he indeed. But look at what our Father said in response.

    “So He said, “I will certainly be with you….” Exodus 3:12

    And our Father was with Moses every step of the way, wasn’t He? No matter how many excuses Moses had, our Father always had a remedy, a solution, a resource. And we remember that He sent 7 plagues to convince Pharaoh, did He? And in the end, this was what Israel left Egypt with.

    “Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.” Exodus 12:35-36

    They ‘plundered’ the Egyptians. Israel wasn’t given just what was due, Egypt let themselves be plundered. Now’s that’s what I call provision, wouldn’t you?

    And in the desert, they were provided. When they were hungry, there was food, when they were thirsty, there was water. Even when it was cold, there was fire; and when the heat got too much, there was cloud. They stepped out in faith, and our Father certainly delivered on His promise, didn’t He?

    And they weren’t the only ones.

    David had the sling and found the stones when he went off to face Goliath. Daniel had the lion’s mouth shut when he went into the den. Peter found the money for the tax in the mouth of a fish. Those who followed Jesus received enough bread to not only have their fill, but have baskets left over, twice. Even Noah, when he was 500, was given resource enough to build that ark. And the most classic of provision stories, Abraham, after being given a son at a ripe old age, was given a ram to sacrifice in place of Isaac, even though sacrificing Isaac was supposed to be a test of his faith.

    So from the evidence in the Bible, it would be reasonable to assume that when God wills, He will provide. But what about your life? How has it been for you? Was there a time when you had to step forth in faith with next to no resource? How did that work out for you? Were you provided?

    Then look at the situation now. Can you trust our Father again?

    Don’t get me wrong, beloved child of God. Stepping forth in faith is scary, mostly because you have got next to no safety net to catch you if you fall. But remember that for us who have put our faith in Jesus, we need no safety net, for as our Father said to Moses,

    “I will certainly be with you….” Exodus 3:12

    So shall He certainly be with us too. Not behind us, not under us, not simply there to catch us if we fall either; but there with us beside us, taking every step we take, feeling everything we feel and most importantly, providing for everything that we could ever need.

    So if you are called to step out today, go ahead. For with Christ, you are never stepping out to take the plunge; but stepping out to be lifted up.

    Monday, March 27, 2017

    THAT SOMEONE IN YOUR WAY MAY NOT BE A BAD THING

    THAT SOMEONE IN YOUR WAY MAY NOT BE A BAD THING

    Truth be told, I am an impatient, selfish man. I have many flaws, and chief of all, are impatience and self-centeredness; and the worst thing that anyone can do to me is hog the road in front of me.

    But not too long ago, my wife and I got into an accident; and in my quiet moments after that incident, when I began to replay and reflect on the series of events that led up to that accident, I realized that had I been hogged, had there been an extra red light, had there been heavy traffic that day, I might not have had that accident. And that made me realize, maybe road hogs aren’t such bad people after all.

    You know, this reminds me of the time our Father led Israel out of Egypt. Some Bible scholars agree that the usual time it took to travel from Egypt to Canaan was about 11 days. But instead of taking that route, our Father led them on a route that took 40 years. And this is not conjecture. God Himself confirms and admits to this in Exodus.

    “Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near;…” Exodus 13:17

    Instead, “…God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” Exodus 13:18

    Had your GPS led you on a roundabout way, instead of leading you by the way that was nearer, what would you do to it? If there was a road block ahead of you that made you have to make a detour from your familiar route, what would you say?

    Yet, did it to Israel, our Father did, and this was the reason why.

    “…for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”” Exodus 13:17

    ‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war’; and now that we have the benefit of hindsight, we don’t blame Him for making such a decision, do we? The Bible is replete with examples of Israel grumbling over the slightest things when they were in the wilderness.

    For example, when they were caught between Pharaoh and the deep Red Sea,

    “Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”” Exodus 14:11-12

    And when they were hungry,

    “And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”” Exodus 16:3

    And when their water bottles ran dry,

    “Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink….”” Exodus 17:2
    Whiney little brats, weren’t they? Do you blame God for making sure that Israel never encountered war when they walked out of Egypt? I know I don’t.

    What about us? Are we whiney little brats too? When things don’t go our way, do we get upset? When our GPS makes us go one mile more, is that one mile too far? When someone hogs the road in front of us, do we get all hot under the collar and throw a hissy fit? I know I do.

    But what if there was ‘war’ in front of us, and by delaying us, He prevents us from certain calamity? What if the person we never wanted to see would have crossed our path if not for that slight delay? What if there was a traffic cop up ahead? Wouldn’t you have been caught for speeding if not because that hog made you slow down?

    Yet, hogging is the least annoying of our obstacles, isn’t it? Sometimes, the obstacles we face have a far greater impact on our lives; like a bad boss, a scheming colleague or even intangibles, like a bad government, a poor economy, poverty or even disease. Can we still face these obstacles with the same attitude and see that there is a reason for their existence? Well, yes we can. And here is why.

    You see, a long time ago, Paul too had his fair share of obstacles. In fact, so annoying was one problem that he called it a thorn in his side.

    And “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8

    How many times has that happened to you? I know I’ve pleaded with the Lord to remove bosses, powers, principalities and road hogs from my midst, and often, to no avail. But do you know why that is?

    “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”…” 2 Corinthians 12:9

    When there are obstacles in your life, and especially when these obstacles seem insurmountable, these are times when God is rolling up His sleeve and getting ready to show off.

    ‘…My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy)’ says Jesus, this grace ‘is enough for you [sufficient against any danger’. Why? Because it ‘My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.’

    The weaker we are, the less we are able to do about it, the better things are, because the more it is time for our Father to take over and show off.

    You see, we often forget that Jesus said,

    “Ask, and it will be given to you…” Matthew 7:7

    And you know, I’ll never understand why, when someone promises us something, we have no qualms about asking them to make good on their promise; but when God Himself promises us something, we don’t take Him up on it.

    Yes, I know, we’ve asked but it doesn’t come. Well, this is what the scripture really means in its entirety.

    “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you;…” Matthew 7:7 [AMP]

    And in the same,

    “…seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 [AMP]

    He didn’t say ‘do good’, He said ‘ask, seek, knock’. And neither did He say ‘maybe you’ll get it’. He said you ‘will receive’, you ‘will find’, you ‘it will be opened to you’.

    “For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” Matthew 7:8 [AMP]

    ‘Everyone’ beloved child of God, ‘everyone’. Not ‘some’, not ‘a few’, not ‘take a number’, everyone.

    And that is why, when we are faced with an obstacle, when we are faced with a road block, when challenges come our way to threaten our progress AND we are powerless to overcome it, that is exactly when we should just be like Paul and

    “…Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 [AMP]

    For wouldn’t it be great if you still received when you had no power to overcome? Wouldn’t it be great if you still found when you were too blinded by the world to see? And wouldn’t it be great if you still had those doors of opportunity opened to you despite never knowing where they were in the first place?

    And isn’t it then, in the moment of your greatest weakness, that you realize, it was all Him at work in your life after all?

    So beloved child of God, if there’s something or someone hogging your road today, take heart. There must be a greater reason behind it. And fret not if you never know what that reason was, for just like Israel never saw the wars that our Father brought them around to avoid, rejoice for not knowing what calamities you might have faced if not for those obstacles.

    And know that it has been, is and forever will be Him at work in your life all along.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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