Conscience Tells

“I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” The Apostle Paul

As far as the Jewish understanding of law in their day, Paul stood condemned. But Paul knew He was following God in all his decisions that led to this day in his life. He was working to bring in a new covenant, according to God’s will. Though the people did not understand and deemed him guilty, his conscience was clear.

This is the litmus test of our paths, for there is no condemnation in Christ. It doesn’t matter what others judge of us as long as God gives peace and assurance to our heart’s righteousness before Him. He leads to righteous paths. He tests hearts and minds. Seek Him. Follow Him. Hear Him. Obey Him. Walk in peace unscathed by the turmoil around us.

Be BLESSed, Beloved.

(Acts 23:1; Rom. 7:14-8:1)

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 3: that I may know God’s repose.

“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His…”. (Hebrews 4:1-10)

To date we discussed Gods call for us to be still, cease striving, let go and let God be God. We do that through obedience that leads us into God’s rest, where we find Him waiting, ready, and able to empower our ability to obey. In His rest, we find rest – stillness.

In my study on this topic, God showed me something that took me deeper in understanding His rest and it’s provision for us. Before looking at that, let’s lay some groundwork, turning to where God’s rest is first revealed to us.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” — Genesis 1:1, 31, 2:1-3

Rest here has the same meaning. God stilled Himself, ceased all striving, and took time to enjoy the good of His labor.

One thing that has always struck me in the Genesis story is God’s enjoyment of the good. We see it at the end of each day, as He surveys the day’s accomplishments and sees it is good. He does that every day except day two. When He created the expanse to separate the waters, putting some below and some above the expanse, He did not note it’s goodness.

I asked God the first time I truly noticed that change of pattern why that was. The understanding He inspired in me is this: the God, who knows the beginning from the end, was brought to sadness in the moment of creating the separation between like-waters, because He knew the people He would create in His likeness would be separated from Him by the great chasm of sin sickness.

God does not like being separated from us and, in that moment of sadness, could not call it good. However, by the end of the sixth day, when all was finished and in play for His eternal purpose, surveying the work accomplished from beginning to end, He said to Himself, “It is ALL good.”

We enter His rest with Him best when we can trust God, who knows the beginning from the end, and we say with Him, “It is all good.” He has a purpose and a plan that He is working, and all we survey is playing into the completion of all things good and wonderful. The best we can do is our best to follow His will and do it. When we are sure we have done that, the expanse is bridged by obedience and we enter His rest assured of His faithfulness. In that place of rest, we are one with Him: which leads to the thing God showed me that I pray I can rightly and truly express to you. Read it with me.

“‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Or what place is there for My REPOSE? Was it not My hand which made all these things?’” – Acts 7:49-50 NASB

I noticed this scripture because it was in the list of NT verses using the same word that is translated “rest”, listed in Part 2 of this series. God is saying that man cannot make for Him a place where He can cease striving, be still, and rest. Or, as Jesus put it, He has no pillow on which to lay His head and find His rest – His Repose: a putting to rest, causing to cease. (Matthew 8:20)

Here is the thing I understood as I considered all of this. We cannot make a place good enough, big enough, sufficient enough for God’s repose, BUT HE DID. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap and fill the expanse that separates us from His likeness. And through Jesus, He gave us His Spirit to empower our obedience, so that we may be as He is, those created in His likeness. As we walk in His provision for us, we enter His Rest and He makes us to be His Temple – the place for His repose.

As we rest in Him, He finds the place for His grace to fulfill it’s purpose. His power is perfected as it finds in us the place His power is intended to work. His power is perfected in bringing strength that transforms our weakness. When we reach the place of abiding there with Him, we are made one with Him, in whom we rest, thus giving Him a resting place: a place for His repose.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; …” because He is my rest, my ability to cease striving and find stillness in the midst of the storms ravaging this world. (Psalms 23:1-6 NASB)

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS ”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” – Hebrews 4:1-10 NASB

The election that started me on this journey is done. I sought God and voted according to His will as He instructed me. My work in it is done. Now, I enter His rest with Him and wait to see what comes. He who knows the beginning from the end will not fail His purpose. It is finished. Repose.

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 2: that I may know God’s resting place.

As I shared in the first part of this series, concern over the presidential election led to God’s instruction for me to be still and know God. Be still, cease striving, let go and let God be God. I know He is the one who lifts up one and brings down another for His purposes.

Though many feel the election is being stolen, scripture assures us that no one can thwart God’s purpose. He is on His throne and He has not surrendered that authority to another. I know and believe this true. So, though I grieve the direction this election appears to be going as I write this post, I do not have to let grief rob my rest and destroy peace in me. Nor must I surrender faith in God to fulfill His purpose, giving self over to fear of things I see.

We ended Part 1 with a verse from the New Testament book of Hebrews: “For we who have believed enter that rest…” (chapter 4:3). “Rest” in the Hebrews passages we will look at today means “a putting to rest, causing to cease”. Those who succeed in entering God’s rest through believing trust in Him find the power in Him that puts them in the place of being rested, ceasing the peace disturbing thoughts and emotional upheaval of doubt and fear. That said, let’s look at this author’s warning to the Hebrews, and through them, to us.

“And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His REST, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” – Hebrews 3:18-19 NASB

Hebrews 3:18-19 warns that unbelief leads to disobedience that blocks our ability to enter God’s rest. In God’s instruction for me to “Be Still”, I immediately recognized that as a call to think on the things I believe true of God. Doing so was my act of obedience spurred by all I believe true of God in these days. God was faithful to respond to my obedience in taking every thought captive by putting me in the place of rest, ceasing the peace disturbing thoughts and emotional upheaval of doubt and fear within me. Whatever comes of this election, I can trust God’s purpose and plan, and I can know that He will be with me as we walk through life together in whatever life brings in the days to come.

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. … For we who have believed enter that rest…. FOR THE ONE WHO HAS ENTERED HIS REST HAS HIMSELF ALSO RESTED FROM HIS WORKS, AS GOD DID FROM HIS. …” ‭‭- Hebrews‬ ‭4:1, 3, 5, 10-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬ (More on this in Part 3).

Obedience spurred by faith causes us to enter God’s rest, where He takes over by putting our fears to rest, causing them to cease, thus making our work of faith easier.

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 1: that I may know God.

“Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment.” – Isaiah‬ ‭41:1‬ ‭NASB

God used this verse last evening to instruct my heart to “be still and know Him” so my strength may be renewed.

The noise of a hotly contested election entering my thoughts, mind, and heart had me flustered and distressed with everyone else. This instruction is vital to any hotly contested issue. We cannot reach peace and unity until we listen: to one another, yes; but, more importantly, to God’s opinion, His judgment, His instruction. That, of course, took me to:

“Be still, (cease striving), let be and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭AMPC‬‬ (NASB)

The purpose given in Psalm 46:10 for stillness is to know God. We cannot please Him or rightly represent His interests on earth when our hearts and minds are so caught up in the noise that we can’t hear Him, so as to know Him. Being still enough to hear God through the noise means we must deliberately cease striving for our own understanding and desires long enough to discern and know Him, how he would have us respond.

I have this cool Bible app one of my sweet granddaughters put me onto, The Literal Word app. It links each word to it’s original language from the New American Standard version of scripture. In it, two defining parameters of this stillness catch my attention. One is to be quiet. We must still our thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, anger, fear, etc., so we can hear God and others to truly know them.

The second word is “sink”. As I considered that, my mind went to movies where someone has fainted or been knocked unconscious, or incapacitated in some way requiring another to carry them. You know the best, most trusting actors by the way they sink into the arms of the one carrying them. They give their entire weight to the part: arms, legs, and head limp and bobbing with every move.

That’s what God wants me to do right now: to trust Him enough to sink my entire being into His capable arms and let Him bear me up to carry me through these days.

How about you, Love? If we are to truly hear God so as to know Him that we might rightly and truly represent Him, thus exalting Him, we must trust all we are and all around us to Him.

That doesn’t mean we never say or do anything in response to the noise. It means we speak and do, think and pray, out of this position of complete trust in God, rested with full assurance in Him, in this place that enables right and true hearing, and that stands us on the firm foundation in strength and power.

“For we who have believed enter that rest, …” – Hebrews‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NASB