Come unto Me

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-30).

How comforting these words of our Lord Jesus Christ are to all his elect! Come unto me and I will give you rest. It seems that sometimes that is all we wish for in our busy lives – just a little rest. We can find ourselves so caught up in the stress and business of life that it can be so hard to find even a small window of time to enjoy some peace and quiet. The pile of papers continues to grow, deadlines loom nearer and nearer, and the to-do list seems to go on endlessly. When will you ever find the time to just relax?

But that’s not the kind of rest that Christ is speaking of here. “Come unto me… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The rest our Lord promises is rest in the truest sense – not a mere break from physical labor that replenishes our earthly energy for a brief time, but a lasting spiritual relief for the soul from the constant battle it wages in this life. Daily we struggle with fierce spiritual enemies that attack us from every side as we fight the good fight of faith. Satan and his hosts lurk around every corner, poised with fiery darts to hurl at us when we are least expecting it. The world tempts us to abandon the straight and narrow path, sweetly inviting us to “have a little fun.” But when, by the grace of God, their invitation holds no appeal to us and we refuse to join in their revelings, we are faced with hateful mocking and ridicule. And perhaps most taxing on the soul is the sin residing within ourselves. Daily we must fight against our own sinful natures that are part of who we are. A constant war wages within our own beings – the old man of sin versus the new man of regeneration,  so that we confess with the apostle Paul, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:19). Truly we need rest!

And truly our Savior Jesus Christ is the only place we can truly find rest. He is our High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.  He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). He is the sole source of our rest and comfort for He made Himself a propitiatory sacrifice on account of our sins and imputes His perfect righteousness to our account before the Almighty Judge of heaven and earth. He gave us the ultimate victory over all our spiritual enemies and daily gives us the strength to fight the battle of faith through His poured-out Spirit. And one day He will bring us to be with Him in everlasting heavenly rest and covenant fellowship with God in heaven. That final reality is not ours yet, but we do have a small foretaste of that heavenly rest here on this earth. Every week when we enter God’s house of worship, we receive a small glimpse of the perfection that is to come. We sing His praises with fellow saints, come before the throne of God in prayer, and hear the voice of our Lord through the preaching of the gospel. When we hear and receive the preaching, we hear Christ. And doing so, we come unto Him and receive rest for our weary and heavy-laden souls. So let’s prepare ourselves to enter into that rest tomorrow. Prepare yourself to lay your burden at the cross and be comforted. Come unto Him and you will find rest for your soul.

Anna Langerak

Becoming As Little Children

Imagine yourself standing at the foot of a giant redwood tree, looking up at a massive trunk that extends hundreds of feet into the sky.  Or in a boat in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight and water stretching out endlessly in every direction.  Or lying on the ground, looking up at a night sky filled with countless stars.  Or standing on a ledge overlooking the vastness of the Grand Canyon.  How do these images make you feel?  Small?  Filled with amazement and awe? Like a child?

In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  He says that those who will enter into the kingdom of heaven must become as little children, and one of the most obvious attributes of children is that they are small.  The eyes of the three-foot-tall toddler open wide in wonder at the huge world around them, the same world that we see and pass by without a second glance.  This humility, this living in awe, is part of the “becoming as little children” that Jesus speaks of.  Just as children are so easily filled with joy and wonder, we too should stand in awe of God’s creation, awe that leads us to grateful worship and humble trust in our Creator.  When we humble ourselves before God’s greatness, we should be filled with the joy and gratitude of a child, eyes wide in wonder of our awesome God.

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day.  After a whole week of seeing God’s goodness, we should be filled with this childlike joy as we enter His house.  Yet so often we find ourselves going through the motions of worship without joy in our hearts, without actually thinking about what He has done for us or being filled with gratitude.  Unlike the child who is humble, happy, and content even in the little things, we take God’s gifts for granted and come into His house out of habit or even grudgingly.

Why are children filled with joy so easily, while we find it so difficult to live a thankful, joyful life?  It’s true that children, being small, are more easily filled amazement.  But another reason children are so easily made content is that they aren’t filled with expectations.  We have a sense of expectation and often see God’s gifts as something that we deserve or are entitled to, but children do not have this sense of entitlement and receive everything as a surprise.

A few weeks ago in church, we sang Psalter #204, which contains the words, “O it is good that I may still to God draw nigh, as oft before.”  How often do we take it for granted that we are able to draw nigh unto God?  He is the almighty, all-powerful God, yet He has given us the right to come to Him both individually and together with His church.  What an amazing gift, yet one that we so often take for granted.

As you prepare to enter God’s house tomorrow, think upon all of God’s amazing works.  Look at His creation.  Meditate on the ways you have seen Him at work in your life.  Count the blessings He has placed in your life this week, the gifts that you may have taken for granted.  And tomorrow, come into His house with the joy and trust of a child, humbled by His love and goodness.

Amy Kaiser

 

 

 

Ready to Grow in the Fear of God

We must come to the worship service tomorrow ready to grow in the fear of God. Why? This is the reason: When we have the knowledge of who God really is and why we must fear Him, all of our other fears and concerns will be allayed. When we understand how great our God is, we will earnestly desire to praise and reverence Him at all times. David understood this: “O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Psalm 34:9-11).

What is the fear of the Lord? Let’s take a look at how the Bible defines it.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever” (Psalm 110:10).

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27).

To sum up these verses, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, hatred of evil, and the fountain of everlasting life. Fearing God is coming to an understanding of who He is: finding out how holy, just, merciful, and perfect Jehovah is, and how we really cannot even comprehend how great He is. We can only come to this knowledge by the grace God gives us, and even that fact humbles us and causes us to bow before our almighty Lord.

The world we live in, however, constantly tells us to forsake the fear of the Lord. We are tempted daily to turn our eyes from God and instead fear man. The culture of victimization that we live in shows this plainly. How common isn’t it to say that it’s the other person’s fault? “They did it, they made me do it.” This is basically saying that our behavior is controlled by other people. We are succumbing to the fear of man, looking to man to solve problems instead of looking up and putting our trust in God. When we fear man, many problems ensue: we worry about what others think about us, we love ourselves instead of loving God, and sometimes we even demand answers from God.

Because we are so prone to wander from God, we must constantly seek to grow in the fear of the Lord. How can we grow in this knowledge? Every Sunday we have the opportunity to grow—and not only is it an opportunity, but it is a requirement for God’s people. Our Lord requires us to come to the worship service ready to grow in His fear. Using His servants that preach His Word, He calls us to learn who He is, how needy we are, and why we must worship Him. We cannot come to worship with a heart that doesn’t want to grow anymore. Instead, we must be eager and longing to know our God more and more so we can put our trust in Him alone.

Be ready tomorrow, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! Prepare your hearts to grow in the fear of the Lord!

Grace Medema