JESUS, HIS PROVISION AND HIS REST

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JESUS, HIS PROVISION AND HIS REST

There once was a girl who lived with her parents in their little cottage in the forest. One day, as this girl was playing in the woods, she chanced upon a house. From an open window, the flavorful scent of freshly cooked porridge wafted into her nostrils. Hungry from a morning of play, she cautiously wandered into the house. Seeing no one around, she sat down and helped herself to the porridge. The first bowl was far too hot; the second, too cold. But the third was just right.

Yes, the lesson for today comes from the adventures of Goldilocks; because, if we look carefully, we can learn a thing or two about what Jesus wants for us and how sometimes His message of love for us can get lost in translation.

Firstly, the bear’s house is like the kingdom of heaven; but instead of Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear, there is God our Father, Jesus our Brother and the Holy Spirit our Helper. That notwithstanding, the interaction that our Father wants us to have with them is similar to that which Goldilocks had with the bears; to be fed and to be rested.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

We need always remember that we are our Father’s children; and since that is the case, our Father’s love, provision and protection is always for us and with us. That is why Jesus said,

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

And more than that, Jesus also wants to rest us from our troubles. For He said,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

So in so far as we are carrying a problem in our minds, hearts or bodies, we are carrying one problem too many; because we can lay them all on Jesus.

Now so far, this is all the easy stuff. We know all this; simple. But beloved, are you fed all the time? Are you rested all the time? The food is there, the bed is there. Why are we not always rested? Well, why was Goldilocks not fed and rested in the beginning? Yes, because the porridge was either too hot, or too cold; the bed, too hard or too soft. So beloved, from here we can see that our perception of our Father’s provision matters and it influences our willingness to partake of His provision.

Common quips heard after church on Sundays are, ‘that message was too admonishing’ or ‘who does he think he is to preach to us like that’. Sometimes it could go the other way and end up being ‘that pastor had no presence’, ‘he was too nervous’. Either way, the delivery of the message became either too hot, or too cold, and if we are anything like our dear Goldilocks, we will not want to eat it.

The same thing too can happen with rest. Perhaps the message you heard made you feel like you were lying on a bed of nails; or a mattress of down, made by a company too cheap to stuff it properly. Indeed, some preachers too get overwhelmed by the occasion and either feel like they need to breathe fire from the pulpit for the congregation to listen or feel like they have such big shoes to fill, they are perpetually swimming around in them, not able to see the light.

Well beloved, if you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t focus on the delivery but focus instead on the provision. Hot, cold or just right, it did not change the fact that Goldilocks was eating porridge. Hard, soft or just right, it did not change the fact that Goldilocks was resting in a bed. So likewise, hot, cold, hard or soft preaching, it does not change the fact that you are hearing the word of God

Now of course this is not to say that we should not be discerning about the message that we are receiving. For indeed, Jesus has warned us to

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” Matthew 7:15-20 [MSG]

But if you are hearing the truth of the gospel, cut the guy behind the pulpit some slack and focus on the meal that he is laying before you. For if you don’t, you will still remain hungry and weary.

So what then is the truth?

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

Beloved, the truth is not knowledge. The truth is a person.

“They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:33-36

The Truth is Jesus.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

By His death on the cross, Jesus took your sin, your guilt, your shame, your punishment and exchanged it with His perfect righteousness, making you sinless and pleasing to our Father, once and for all. Just as Isaiah said,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

So “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 are loved, you are favored, you are blessed, you have

“…an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4-5

Anything told to you that is not this is not the truth.

Beloved, hot, cold, hard or soft, it does not change the fact that

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:4-6 [MSG]

“Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12 [MSG]

And even though we messed up and sinned,

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.” Ephesians 1:7-10 [MSG]

This is why,

“It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.” Ephesians 1:13-14 [MSG]

So beloved, don’t let your own perceptions keep you from the provision and rest and Jesus really wants for you. Focus on the message He has for you, the message of love that called you into an eternal salvation in Him in the first place. And don’t let the other peripheral, unimportant issues hinder you from partaking of His love, His provision and His protection. Remember, for us who believe,

“He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

So that,

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.” Psalm 23:6

And if by chance you have never known the love of Jesus, or the message has always been too hot, too cold, too hard or too soft for you, but today, the message that our Father put into your heart hits you just right and you want to respond to Him, you want to be part of His family, to partake of the wonderful abundant life of provision and rest which Jesus came to bring you, then say this to Him right now,

“Heavenly Father, thank You for placing in me a message that is just right. Thank You for taking away all the distractions that used to cloud my perception and hinder my willingness to receive from You. Father today I receive Your love. I receive Jesus and His gift of eternal salvation. I receive His blood that was shed to give me full remission of all my sins. I accept baptism into His death for by His death, I too die to sin and by His rising, I too rise into a new life in Him. Father I now come boldly knowing that I have been made right with You and am now pleasing in Your sight. I come to partake of the provision, protection and rest which You have lovingly prepared for me. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Don’t let anything distract you from partaking of this truth.

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