Give Him Thanks for His Unfailing Love

#5 of 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

Psalm 100:5 says, For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.[1] ALWAYS.

I can’t imagine where I would be today without the unfailing love of God active and constant in my life, and yet, I so often fail to thank Him for it. On many occasions, I am terribly guilty of taking His love for me for granted. Instead of a selfless focus, I choose a selfish focus—and that robs me of a deeper relationship with Him and the daily opportunities to choose to step into His rest.

Which brings us to the fifth way to experience God’s rest:

  1. Give Him thanks for his unfailing love.

Psalm 119:90 says, Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.[2]

David—a man after God’s own heart—learned to step into God’s rest. He struggled to stay in that rest throughout His life, but he always came back to thankfulness for God’s love. He could step into God’s rest and give Him those thoughts and concerns trusting He would do all He promised.

We can enter his rest because he loves us. His love never fails. No matter what choices we make or what direction we go—He continually and affectionately loves us. There is nothing we can do (or not do) to cause him to NOT love us.

What has God’s love promised you? What are you thankful for? What does it take for you to step into God’s rest?

[1] ESV

[2] ESV

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Shout Your Praise – 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth[1]. Here you and I (as a part of the whole earth) are instructed to make a loud, joyful noise to the Lord. We can’t shout to Him unless we are in His presence. I imagine myself stepping into the presence of God with a blast of worship and praise.

people-festival-party-dancing pexelsAs a cheerleader in high school, I have many memories of the crowd erupting as the team ran onto the field, scored a touchdown or received a good call from the referees. While that can in no way compare to the shout of praise we should have for God Almighty, it’s a picture of a shout of praise.

Maybe the next question is how to shout that for joy. What do you say to Him? He’s God! He knows your heart and mind. He knows your thoughts before you express them, and yet He wants to hear your voice—your praise.

As I read and reread Psalm 100, I underlined the verbs—David’s instruction of ways we can acknowledge God in our lives and rest in Him—

  • shout
  • worship
  • come before him
  • know him
  • enter in
  • give thanks
  • praise His name!

I think verse two expounds on this, telling us how to shout for joy. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.[2] It’s another picture of what our shout of joy looks like. It’s the act of pouring out our adoration, love, respect and devotion—our worship—with all the happiness, delight, pleasure and cheerfulness in His presence.

[1] Psalm 100:1 NIV

[2] Psalm 100:2 NIV

Agree with His Guidance – 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

Has someone ever come to you with a serious problem? Likely, they asked for your advice. Maybe you took time to pray about it. You probably became emotionally invested in the outcome. You felt like you had some wisdom for their situation—especially if it was a familiar a road you’d walked before them. You spoke into their life—maybe even offered to help them—and then you found out they didn’t take a single drop of the advice or guidance you offered. I’ve been there on both sides of the coin. I’ve received good, even godly advice and didn’t take it. I also offered guidance and direction to someone who went their own way. It can be frustrating.

So, now imagine the Creator of the universe—the one who put you on the earth with purpose in the first place—offering you guidance and direction, but you refuse it. It happens every day. I’ve done it repeatedly. There are all kinds of reasons—from stubbornness and natural desire to do things on our own to being too busy to take the time to hear His voice, or carefully follow His instruction.

As we continue our search for ways to step into God’s rest, we must—

4. Eagerly and without reservations agree with the guidance he gives us.

Obedience is better than sacrifice.[1] King Saul disobeyed God’s guidance when he faced the Amalekites in battle. God told him to destroy everything. Instead, Paul allowed the Amalekite king to live and kept the spoils from battle. Samuel confronted King Saul asking, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?”[2]

God guides us in many ways.

His guidance is available to you ever time you open the Bible. It is His Word to us individually. Soren Kierkegaard said, “When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, ‘It is talking to me, and about me.’” Yet, how many times have you known the Bible clearly said not to do something and you did it anyway? Again, I am guilty. We can easily convince ourselves we know better than God does, or our desire for something allows us to justify our decisions or actions.

When we refuse to agree with God’s guidance, we disobey Him resulting in sin, rebellion, disrespect of God and His Word or idolatry (thinking we know better, or looking to other’s for approval rather than God).

When the Lord started guiding me to step into His rest months ago, I resisted. I had a negative mindset about rest. My resistance caused me to experience some dryness in my soul. My relationship with God suffered because of my disobedience. I learned long ago that when that happens I need to go back to the last thing God communicated to me—and so I did. I asked God to forgive me and to teach me about His rest.

As I’ve continued to allow the Lord to teach me, I’ve discovered once again his ways are higher than mine. A seemingly simple word, rest, is indeed full of God’s power and adds so many dimensions to our lives as believers.

[1] 1 Samuel 15:22

[2] Samuel 15:22 NIV

Accept His Authority – 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

I had the pleasure of hearing Dave Martin speak at Victory Worship Center while visiting my son a quite some time ago in Arizona. He made a statement and it stuck with me. He said, “He is God and I am not!”

I can’t help but think about the many times that I thought my idea, my plan or my way of doing something had to be the way God would do it. So I did it—or I tried to control it—and it ended up like a decorated birthday cake splattered all over the kitchen floor as I tried to move it from the counter to the table.

I remember as a young person thinking, If I give God control, he’ll make me do something I don’t want to do. I was determined to hold on tight and control the outcome of my dreams. Eventually I learned those dreams, (Yes, even the ones I thought at first might never come true because of the choices I made on my own), were dreams He put inside my heart. I discovered only with him could those dreams become a reality. Once I let go and gave it all to Him, He made a way when there seemed to be no way at all. In most cases His way far surpassed every expectation I ever had.

So, the third way you can step into God’s rest is to:

3. Accept His authority for every detail in every area of your life.

The song, It is Well from Bethel music speaks to my heart on this. Part of the lyrics—“Let go, my soul, and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.” If the waves and wind accept his authority and obey Him, we can too.

I admit there are things even today that I try to fix on my own, instead of giving it to him full control of the journey. His ways are so much more than I could have imagined. Still, letting go and trusting Him is a part of the rest He’s invited us to enter.

Value Him as Your Creator – 5 Ways to Step into God’s Rest

David’s next step to help us move more toward God’s rest—

  1. Value of Him as your Creator.beach-breakers-coast-913 pexels

This is a form of worship. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.[1]

I looked in the margin of my Bible and notation to see Psalm 46:10 took me back to that scripture I wrestled with years ago that says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”[2] A few pages over I was drawn to another “rest” scripture. Psalm 116:7 instead. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.[3]

This immediately made me think about listing the ways in which God is good to me as a form of worship to value Him as my Creator. There are many examples in the Bible, especially in the Psalms where David worshipped God by reciting God’s goodness in his own life and in the lives of his people.

The struggle for me is often where to begin, but I realize God doesn’t care where I start. In prayer and in worship to Him I begin with something like this:

  • You, O’ God, saved me from death and healed me as a newborn following my parents’ car wreck.
  • You spoke to me in the times I was afraid as a child and as an adult, and comforted me.
  • You gave me courage to obey you!
  • You filled me with discernment and helped me to make safe choices so that I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time for calamity and disaster to touch me.
  • You blessed me with favor.
  • You set me on a path that you alone know.
  • You have given me many opportunities to grow in faith.
  • You have placed amazing people in my life to love and share this journey with.
  • You have taught me well—even when I refused to listen. You never gave up on me!
  • You gave me a wonderful husband and taught me about marriage—even when I thought I couldn’t do it.
  • You are faithful to forgive me when I fail.
  • You put a song in my heart and encourage me to sing it—especially when I feel down.
  • You gave me beautiful children, who have grown up to become responsible adults.
  • You are with me always, even when I don’t hear you or have difficulty understanding your will or your ways.
  • You’ve strengthened me in the hard times and never given up on me!

He made the earth and everything in it. He created you! He deserves to be worshiped as Creator.

How has he been good to you? Make a list and take it before Him today!

[1] Psalm 100:3 NIV

[2] NIV

[3] NIV

Five Ways to Step into God’s Rest

Quite some time ago, I woke up and my first thought was Psalm 100. The Lord speaks to me that way sometimes. So, I turned on my computer, pulled up my favorite Bible study site, and read Psalm 100 in several different versions. I was sure I would spend the next few days or weeks studying this because it was another path of “rest” I needed to explore. For more than six months, the Lord pointed me to what it means for me to live in His rest.landscape-mountains-nature-man pexels

The next evening I pulled out my Bible read Psalm 100 again. I found as I read it and then researched corresponding scriptures, it’s about how to rest in God’s presence. Many years ago the Lord repeatedly spoke the words “Be still and know,” to my heart, which is another “rest” verse. I don’t like waiting. I want to know what the plan is and take action. If it’s a timing thing, then I can wait pretty well if I have something to do in the planning stages.

But, this season of rest is completely different.

It’s was a deeper, more concentrated level. God wanted me to get it this time. i feldt stuck in a place of learning about rest until I gained a new revelation that only He could make known to me.

David, the psalmist and author of these verses seems to have had the same struggle with rest. As I read and reread this Psalm, I realized there is a lessons here that I needed to take to heart. It’s not a formula to follow but a revelation that I pray will help me to experience God’s rest in a new way. David shared five ways to step into God’s rest.

Five ways to step into God’s rest:

  1. Shout your praise to God.
  2. Accept His authority for every detail in every area of your life.
  3. Eagerly and without reservations agree with the guidance he gives you.
  4. Give Him thanks for his unfailing love.
  5. Value of Him as your Creator.

(*Watch for more over the next few weeks on each of these points.)

Faith to Rest

 

The theme of God’s rest, the desire to understand it, and experience it, continues to thunder in my spirit. It’s been going through me for almost a year now.

It’s the theme of Hebrews 4. I wanted to share my time of study with you today.

For indeed we have had the good news [of salvation] preached to us, just as the Israelites also [when the good news of the promised land came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not united with faith [in God] by those who heard (Hebrews 4:2 AMP).

The knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice and His rest that comes with it does no good unless faith is added to it.

Knowing the good news is not enough. It takes faith to step into His rest and experience the gifts that come through personal relationship with God.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will not settle for head knowledge about You and Your Word, but allow the message of Your rest available to me to become a revelation in my heart. May I accept and experience your rest today by faith.

For further study see Hebrews 4:1-16.