Posted by: judyhitson | May 10, 2019

A Lifestyle in God’s Rest

A Lifestyle in God’s Rest
by Judy Hitson

Psalm 37:7a NASB Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him…….

As I contemplated on this lifestyle, the hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” written by Helen Howarth Lemmel, kept coming to mind. Meditating on the lyrics gripped my heart. The three stanzas of this hymn spoke to me of what a lifestyle in God’s rest looks like. Jesus must be first, not anyone or anything else.

When worry, fear, anxiety or doubts pierce your thoughts:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

There was a time in my life when I was desperate for God to deliver me from areas of bondage. A friend’s church brochure caught my attention for a series starting that week on deliverance and inner healing. Thankfully, I followed the prompting of the Spirit to go. When the teacher said, “God works when we are desperate,” it shook me to the core. In a state of desperation, I found that to be true when I received prayer during ministry time. It was a miracle to be set free from bondage, walk in the light of God’s promises and embark on a life lesson. That is, learn to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, not rush ahead from earthly perspectives to make fleshly decisions.

Too often my mind is on things of earth. The Lord exhorts us, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, Col. 3:2.

It is a process to surrender and yield ourselves to the Lord. We receive  profound blessings as we learn to walk and live in the Spirit. This leads us to a lifestyle in God’s rest.

Here are some questions that come to mind for us to consider:

Do I think of the Lord when I wake in the morning?

Is He on my heart through the day?

Do I walk with Him, talk with Him and hear what He is saying to me?

Is He my first love?

Is He on my mind when I lie down to sleep at night?

Prayer: Father, a lifestyle of rest is what You want for Your children. For this I ask by Your Spirit who gives us life. In Jesus name. Amen.

Posted by: judyhitson | April 15, 2019

Rest in the Waiting

Rest in the Waiting
by Brenda D. Flowers

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
T
hey shall mount up with wings like eagles, . . .
Isaiah 40:31a NKJV

What a beautiful promise we are given from the LORD! If we wait on the LORD, He shall renew our strength; We shall mount up with wings like eagles, . . .

As I meditated on these words, God spoke clearly to me. Rest in the waiting, Brenda.

Have you had times when you cried out to the Lord because of hard circumstances you were facing?

Like me, you may be crying out for God’s help to change the circumstances. Or you may be crying out for His guidance or His answers to difficult life questions.

Sometimes God does not answer right away. He may seem distant. You may start to wonder if He even cares. But, it is during these times of waiting, when God may be speaking even in the silence. He wants us to learn to rest in Him.

In a recent difficult season of waiting, God revealed this truth to me. I found comfort and hope meditating on scripture.

By searching deeper meanings of key words in scripture, we can discover new revelation.

This happened to me when I found out that the original Hebrew word for “wait on” the Lord is a verb meaning to wait for, to look for, to hope for. Its root meaning is like that of twisting or winding a strand of cord or rope.

God wanted me to see that as I was waiting on Him for answers and help, He was right there with me, united with me. God knows my circumstances and my needs, and He knows what is best for me. He is my lifeline, my cord of hope.

We can rest in knowing that God is with us, united with us.

We are not alone as we are waiting. God is preparing us. There is power in this truth and it is in this revelation that we can find rest.

Father, thank you for showing us that you are with us when we are waiting. You give us strength to carry on even in difficult circumstances. You are joined with us and we can trust that You are preparing us. Thank you for being our Lifeline of Hope. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Posted by: judyhitson | April 2, 2019

Maintain God’s Rest

Maintain God’s Rest
by Judy Hitson

Hebrews 4:10 NKJV For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

To enter God’s rest is one thing. To maintain God’s rest is another. Both require dependency on the Holy Spirit who gives us life.

Think of it this way. To be in good physical health, we maintain a healthy daily diet, exercise and rest. The same holds true for us to be in good spiritual health. We need to maintain a healthy daily diet of God’s Word, spiritual exercise of Bible reading and prayer, and rest in the Lord our God.

When reading the Bible, do you sense God’s presence and receive revelation and understanding for your life circumstances or relationships?

This is Holy Spirit giving life to live Christ. Consider Philippians 1:19-21.

We need the life of the Spirit to maintain God’s rest. That is to enter His rest and cease from our work.

It is Christ in you, the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27.

It is like Galatians 2:20 NKJV I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Jesus said in John 15:5b without Me you can do nothing.

It comes to mind that to maintain God’s rest, we must maintain clean hands and a pure heart to ascend His hill, Psalm 24:3-4.

God has given us a wonderful promise in 1 John1:9 NKJV If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is not a long to do list. It is utter dependency on the Lord our God, to maintain His rest by His Spirit in us, that He can work in and through us. It is to walk in the Spirit and to live in the Spirit. Review the contrast lists in Galatians 5:19-25.

Let us live a life of love and obedience, John 14:21.

Prayer: Lord help us not go astray in our hearts but rather know and walk in Your ways. Help us believe You the living God. Help us fear You Lord God, be in awe of You, treat You as holy and not come short of Your rest. Thank You that You understand our weaknesses. Thank You Lord for Your word and Your available grace and mercy in our times of need. Amen.
(Hebrews 3:10-19; Hebrews 4:1, 12-16)

Posted by: judyhitson | March 6, 2019

Enter God’s Rest

Enter God’s Rest
by Judy Hitson

Mark 6:31a NLT Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”

To enter God’s rest, it takes time. It takes practice. It takes focused attention on Him. Let us not come short of it as we are exhorted in Heb.4:1.

“It takes time to be apart – to replenish not only our physical strength, but also our spiritual and emotional well being.” (Kate R. Thomas)

What is God’s rest?

Is it not a place of peace in His presence by His Spirit?

To be honest, I thought I understood how to enter God’s rest and mature to maintain that place of rest in Him. Sensing the Lord’s call to write on this topic from experience, I return to the basics. Yet, doubts attempt to dismantle what the Lord taught me. The question from the serpent in Gen.3:1 comes to mind, “Did God really say…..?”

I hear, “Dispel the darkness when doubt knocks at the door of your mind. Listen and sing the lyrics of  “Jesus, I Am Resting”.”

In following that word, I let faith arise and enter God’s rest, secure in Him.

Yes going off with Jesus to a quiet place to rest awhile is key for us to enter His rest. To experience it, we need discernment of the enemy’s subtlety versus the peace of Christ. When we go with Jesus to a quiet place, we discover we may enter His rest in quiet or amid busy circumstances as we find in Mark 6.

Come with me a moment.
Be quiet.
Take a deep breath of Holy Spirit.
Experience His presence. He is here.
Bask in His love, joy and peace to enter God’s rest.
Be refreshed, renewed and revived by the Spirit of God in you.

That spiritual exercise takes but a moment to acknowledge the Lord, our need to be filled with His Spirit and our need to be rid of enemies of the flesh, world and devil. This is what I’ve learned as a divine exchange. Let us not be trapped in our human understanding to live life but rather rely on the Lord our God, Jesus Christ. Then we can enter His rest, assured of His presence and peace regardless of our circumstances. Peace, be still! These words the Lord spoke to the sea in the storm, Mk.4:39.

Prayer: Thank You Lord. There is a rest for the people of God. Amen.

Posted by: judyhitson | February 7, 2019

The Promise of Rest

The Promise of Rest
by Judy Hitson

Hebrews 4:1 NKJV Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

Do you find it amazing as you read familiar passages in the Bible when one comes alive with a new perspective the Holy Spirit highlights?

That’s what happened to me with our key verse, Hebrews 4:1. I thought, Lord I know You taught me a lot through this chapter. I cannot get passed the first verse. You stop me in my tracks here. So I breathe in deeply Your Spirit, trusting You to reveal what You want to say to me and those who read this devotional.

Hebrews 4 is the second Scripture passage the Lord taught me about His rest. This chapter, as I recall, is packed full of lessons on rest for us believers. Yet as I read it, Heb. 4:1 struck my heart. In its simplicity, there was depth to consider. First, it is a promise of God.

Being a slow, methodical learner, I tend to slow down and soak in words that capture my attention. In this case, it is God’s promise of rest for us. Come with me, slow down and contemplate on this promise:

Let us receive the reality of  it.
Let us fear and not come short of it.
Let us be cautious in our walk with the Lord and in awe of God, who is our rest.
Let us not miss this promise as we read below what happened to the Israelites.
Consider what the Spirit said recorded in Hebrews 3:10-11 NKJV
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.”

God’s promise of rest is vital. It is life for us.

Are you familiar with the old hymn, “Standing on the Promises?”

This hymn impacted my life. It is good to pause and consider the lyrics with all five stanzas and ask,

Lord, Am I standing on Your promise of rest?

Prayer: Father in heaven bless us as Your children to stand on Your promise of rest, walk in light of it by Your Spirit and be pleasing in Your sight. In Your name Jesus. Amen.

Posted by: judyhitson | January 23, 2019

God’s Nature of Rest

God’s Nature Of Rest
by Kathleen Shore

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Ps 91:1 NIV

Before we begin combing scripture to learn all we can about ‘rest’, we must first come to realize that ‘rest’ is the very nature of God. Made in His image, we are to cultivate this characteristic of ‘rest’ as a part of who we are, in our being…not a list of doings. As we cultivate this internal posture of ‘rest’ within us, we are giving God His rightful resting place, the place He longs to dwell.

There are many good things in His word that speak to us of ‘rest’. However, these are meant to align us with God’s character of ‘rest’. They bring us into the revelation of knowing Him and becoming more like Him. If we are not careful, we will begin by “trying” to find rest in our doings…instead of learning of His nature as who we were made to “be”.

God paved His divine nature of ‘rest’ into everything He made.

From the very beginning, He began with emptiness…a great void out of which all life emerged simply at the sound of His voice.

This empty was deep with purpose and the promise of life. An emptiness that was not barren but pregnant, with the very seed of God. This empty (or void) was the restful assurance of His nature that was full of the perfect love within the trinity. God wants us to recognize HIM, before all that He made…

Learning to live and grow in His Divine Nature of Rest will pave in us the most intimate and infinite relationship with God…literally, no limits. It is a place that is both completely empty of self which ushers in the full Power of God, living and dwelling in us.

So as we begin this journey in 2019 down the path of to know God’s nature of rest as a part of who we were made to be, are you willing to live empty of that which clutters and fills up the capacity within you that was designed to be His resting place?

Prayer:
Father, thank You for sending Your Son, so that I would have the gift of living and dwelling in Your presence here on earth. Your presence, provided for me through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is my resting place. I want to go deeper with You, Lord. Take me deeper into You…

Posted by: judyhitson | January 8, 2019

Receive Rest from Jesus

Receive Rest from Jesus
by Judy Hitson

Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

Have you experienced times of being weary and heavy-laden?

I sure have.

It wasn’t until I was in my latter thirties, young in my walk with the Lord as a born again Christian, that I began to learn how to rest in the Lord. He blessed me to meet a sister in Christ who had a heart for prayer. Each time I called her, thinking she would pray, her first words were, “Just rest Judy. Just rest.”

What was she talking about?

I had no idea! Those words frustrated me.

Finally I said to the Lord, If I call her and she tells me to rest one more time, I think I’ll scream.

Then one day in my Bible reading the words of Matthew 11:28-30 came alive. The Lord began to teach me from Scripture what my friend was trying to say. He spoke His word to me, “Come to Me Judy, you are weary and heavy-laden. I will give you rest.”

But how do I do that Lord?

Whether at home with our children or at work with difficult challenges, I was desperate to find rest in exchange of being weary and heavy -laden. I wanted to be gentle and humble in heart like Jesus instead of being loud when upset with the children or sense failure at work when given a difficult assignment.

With God’s promise to find rest for my soul (my mind, will and emotions), I’d pray, Lord teach me to put on Your yoke for this is hard and heavy. You say your yoke is easy and Your load is light.

This was the beginning for me to receive rest from Jesus. It brings to mind the story of creation in Genesis.

In the beginning, God worked six days and rested from His work on the seventh day. This is key for us to learn, rest from our work so God can work through us.

Prayer: Jesus thank You for giving rest to our souls when we come to You weary and heavy-laden. Amen.

Posted by: judyhitson | December 20, 2018

Today I Trust God

Today I Trust God
by Judy Hitson

Hebrews 3:15 NASB ….”TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS,”

Wake up!

Are you willing to get personal with God?

If so, proclaim, “Today I Trust God.”

Prayer: God soften my heart and give me a teachable spirit to trust You more. Help me stand on Your promise that Your sheep hear Your voice, that You know us and we follow You, John 10:27.

It is paramount we rely on the Lord, our God, Jesus Christ. He is our life, Col.3:4. Let us give Him all the glory through our trust in Him today and every day.

Thinking about our need to trust God daily, my heart was struck for us with this promise of God:
Exodus 34:11 NIV Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizittes, Hivites, and Jebusites.

With determination I searched for seven “ites” I recalled learning. Deuteronomy 7:1 included Girgashites, not mentioned in Exodus 34:11. Deuteronomy 7: A Chosen People is worth reading prayerfully, asking God for personal revelation. Consider Deuteronomy 7:22 NKJV And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.

May we realize the victory we have in Jesus. God will deliver us from all our enemies little by little. A teaching I heard years ago on the “ites” in the Bible was paralleled with our lives today. If I remember correctly, the Amorites signified anger issues to overcome with the Lord, Canaanites signified the enemy of our flesh and need to walk in the Spirit. With Google search, I found a teaching from haroldherring.com to get rid of the “ites.” It was primarily in regard to finances. What touched my heart was that the enemy cannot touch us unless we allow it and we are to take authority in Jesus name.

“Occupy until I come,” are words I heard as I contemplated the Lord’s victory available for us over enemies of our own lives like anger, jealousy, fear, doubt, unbelief,  pride, bitterness, fleshly desires and others. I believe God wants us to get rid of the “ites,” the enemies of our lives, until He comes for us.      

Prayer:
Psalm 143:8 NKJV Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Posted by: judyhitson | December 5, 2018

Trusting His Testimony

Trusting His Testimony
by Brenda D. Flowers

Read John 20.

But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called “Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!” (John 20: 24-25, HCSB)

Have you ever experienced doubts, like Thomas, about the reality of the resurrection of Jesus? As I read over John’s eyewitness account in Chapter 20, I am challenged by this question,

Have I doubted?

Thomas, one of the twelve disciples called by Jesus, had walked alongside these other disciples for more than three years. Why did he doubt his friends’ testimony?

His doubts have been reviewed over and over again by people from all over the world who search the holy scriptures. Why did Holy Spirit inspire John to record Thomas’s doubts?

I don’t think God wants us to remember Thomas’s time of honest expression so we can label him as “Doubting Thomas.” Do you?

As I review John 20 again, I discover that Thomas was not the only one who had fear and doubts. But Thomas was the only one who spoke out honestly about his doubts.

If we had lived when Thomas lived and had not yet seen Jesus, I wonder how we would have responded to the testimonies of those who had seen Jesus.

What is God teaching us through the words recorded by John?

I notice that Thomas’s friends did not rebuke him for not believing their testimony. It seems like they understood how he felt.

When Jesus appeared to the gathering of the disciples the second time, Thomas was included. It was at this time when Jesus spoke personally to Thomas and presented His wounds for Thomas to see. Jesus even gave Thomas the opportunity to touch His scars. Did you notice what Jesus did?

He came to Thomas, and lovingly spoke to him. Jesus didn’t condemn him for his doubts but it is clear that Jesus knew Thomas had doubts. Jesus so loved Thomas that He came to have an intimate time with him.

And now the light bulb in my head comes on.

Jesus, that is what you did for me. I had heard the words of testimony from my Christian friends in graduate school. But I still had doubts. Then on January 21, 1976, You came to me intimately and I believed.

Like Thomas, I proclaim, “My Lord and my God!”

I trust Your testimony. I believe Your Word is true. I am Yours and You are mine.

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31 NKJV)

Posted by: judyhitson | November 26, 2018

Trust God’s Ways

Trust God’s Ways
by Judy Hitson

Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Are you familiar with God’s ways?

When I read, Ps. 103:7 He made His ways known to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel, my heart is gripped for more revelation and understanding on the ways of God.

We need to walk in God’s ways and not our own. The trust factor is the clincher! Let us ask:
Do I trust God’s ways or my ways?
Do I walk in His ways or my ways?
Am I God centered or self centered?
Am I selfless or selfish?

The answers to these questions determine where our trust lies, in God or self.

Many questions come to mind but the bottom line is, God says His ways are higher than ours. He also tells us to set our mind on things above, not on things on the earth, Col. 3:2.

Think about Jesus who did nothing apart from Father, John 15:19b NLT  Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. Let’s think about our lives now and consider  Luke 9:23 NASB And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This is an example in God’s word to understand one of God’s ways for us as Christians.
Do I deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Jesus?

While asking God how He made His ways known to Moses, it struck my attention that Moses was alone on the mount with God. This brings to mind our need to spend time alone with God, to hear His voice, learn His ways, then trust and obey Him.

Pray with  me from Exodus 33:13-15NASB:
Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.”
Thank You Lord that Your presence will go with us and that You will give us rest. Don’t bring us up from here if Your presence doesn’t go with us. Amen.

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