We were at a cafe having a little bite to eat after a busy day. An empty table in my view was quickly occupied by a young father and his little boy, probably about aged four. While they were waiting for their food to arrive they chatted together but I noticed the daddy was a little distracted! He was occupied with his mobile phone just out of sight of the child ... but I could see ... being the 'people watcher' that I am! (Some say I'm being nosey but I tell them I'm being ... 'observant.') :)
Anyway, give the father his due, he was quite attentive to his little boy ... most of the time! Well, there were a couple of times when this was not the case. Once when he was in conversation with someone he had called. And then there was this one more time when the little boy asked his dad something - daddy was unresponsive! So he tried again proceeding to call to him over and over, but again unresponsive. He tried again, and once again without success. Out of frustration he raised his voice and said: 'Daddy, are you listening?' To which the dad was snapped out of his mobile trance to give to his lad the attention he needed.
At last the mobile was closed and placed in his back pocket so he could resume his conversation with his son.
Thankfully, this fortunate little lad the attention from his Dad he was craving, which warmed my heart. However, it was the little boy's question to his daddy kept ringing in my ears. ....
You see, I have a Father in heaven, and so does every child of God who has been born into His family through faith in what His Son Jesus accomplished on the cross in suffering in the place of needy sinners.
There will never be a time when He is distracted and we cannot have a audience with Him. He invited us to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. (See James 4: 8.)
He hasn't invited to us to approach Him because we need His company,
He has gone to ultimate lengths to restore what was taken away and spoiled when sin came into the world. Before that day, He came regularly for fellowship and to enjoy the company of Adam and Eve, but when Adam sinned that sweet relationship was ruined!
As usual, He came to spend a while with them but from that moment they hid from His presence, and the human race has been doing that ever since.
God, out of love and mercy to helpless folks like us reached out with the remedy for our relationship problem with Him. We can and will be restored to Him through faith in the perfect work and in the Person of His beloved Son. His Son is the only remedy and the only way. There is nothing we could ever conjure up that could or would ever do just as well!
The reason for this is because the ultimate Son always had an unbreakable relationship with His Father
He who said: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me ... thou hearest me always." John 11: 41-42, experienced for the first time in eternity what it was like to be separated from God. He felt the desperation of crying to Him and getting no answer ... "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27: 46. He cried because, such is the greatness of our sin He bravely bore that God who is holy could not look on Him and had to turn away! The greatness of the work He accomplished there in those dark hours on the cross demands our humble submission and complete trust. And God responds to such trust creating in all that do a clean heart from which a new life flows.
But every child of God needs to know that there isn't a moment of the day or night when the timing isn't right to draw near to our loving Heavenly Father. The way is always open and His people are always welcome. He is always attentive to the heart cries of His people and is never too busy looking after the universe, stars, black holes, and white dwarfs etc., to be attentive to you personally when you lift your heart to Him.
If you are truly His own dear child, then: 'Daddy, are you listening?' is something you never need to ask Him. We can come into His very presence with our burdens, with our sin to confess, with all our joys and sorrows. He values an intimate relationship with His people and proved this when He demonstrated just how much He was willing to pay.
" ... While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
How much value do you place on a relationship with Him?
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you ... "
"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him,
Rest a While is currently having a makeover. This is a regular occurrence that takes place around about every three years because the company that powers this website called 'CREATE' has also updated their software. So there is usually some work going on in the background in order to make visiting Rest a While an enjoyable experience.
You will notice a few changes but overall, Rest a While is the same ... but a little different! Enjoy :)
Oh, and just one more thing ... I am looking forward to resuming my video work in the not too distant future if all goes well.
>> Do you have any questions or comments about the wonderful news that Jesus is alive? I would love to hear from you -
"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ...
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6: 20-21
In the middle of last month the world looked on in varying degrees of dismay as the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral succumbed to flames which burned a large amount of 850 years worth of Parisian heritage without mercy.
The beautiful building has survived several wars including the Nazi regime only to fall victim during a massive restoration project! O dear! After taking over 160 years to build during the gothic period it has been beautifully preserved up until that fateful evening on the 15th April!
I'm not going to get occupied too much about the building or what has been lost because at the end of the day, it is only a building after all. However, there are a couple of things that made an impression on my mind as a result of this tragedy I would like to share with you.
Firstly is the fact that something so beautifully created and carefully kept and preserved for all those years was so easily destroyed in just a couple of hours - just like that!
There is no sense in investing so much time, talent, finance etc., on something so easily burned up; for the Bible tells us:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6: 19-21
It is all too easy to try to make a name for ourselves. And with effort we can build our little castles and become independent even of our need for God! But the Bible asks a very important question:
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
There is a part of us that is eternal and when our little lives come to an end where will we go? The body in which we live isn't something that is going to last forever. We can see signs of aging and decaying right before our very eyes and no matter how well we look after our body we will have to give way to the inevitable one day sooner or later.
That sounds really depressing if we look at the subject from the viewpoint of someone unprepared. However being prepared for eternity gives to us the opportunity to live life to the full with meaning and the purpose of bring to God our Maker great delight.
The Bible tells to: "Prepare to meet thy God ..." Amos 4: 12. And the Lord Jesus has told us just how to do to do this:
It's all about trusting in a work He has already done ... on the cross! The cross is where the most important act ever took place and the greatest demonstration of love ever to have been expressed. Continue reading and you will see the reason why.
Then something else about that really struck me as I am sure impressed many folks worldwide. There was a picture generated over the Internet of the burnt out interior of the Cathedral the day after. There in the midst of the charred remains is the large golden cross, which still stood prominently as if untouched by the fury of the flame which destroyed so much in its path.
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 14-16
What a message this is! The cross Christ and what was accomplished by that precious Man is the central theme of the Bible and has been the message of His people down through the ages since the day our beloved Lord Jesus was crucified for poor lost sinners like ourselves.
This message and its symbol has been under furious attack down through the ages. And yet it still remains shining in spite of the world's rejection it, and the One who occupied it to die there.
No matter what the world thinks or does against what the cross represents, no matter what the powers that be think or do against it, and no matter what powers in the demonic realm seek to do against it, all the efforts to destroy the message of hope it brings have so far and will forever come to nought.
No matter what happens all around us the message of the cross of Christ
remains unchanged and unmoved by time and circumstances.
What happened on the cross that fateful day when Jesus our Lord suffered, bled, and died there has changed the course of history, and nothing will ever be the same again. The enemy tried to do his worst to Him, He used the world to do its worst to Him, and when the Lord Jesus died there the devil thought he had won the day. But he was wrong!
Those hours alone when a supernatural darkness shrouded the scene hid from view the work He came to do. This was between Him and God. The sinless One dying in the place of the sinner. 'The just for the unjust, that He might bring us back to God.' The Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep.
Every soul who has been touched by such great love know we do not deserve to be loved like that. But God chose to do so 'while we were yet sinners', and it is indescribable goodness like this that God uses to reach people like you and me to bring to repentance our otherwise hardened hearts.
It is our sin that separates us from God and all the goodness He wants to bestow upon us. And because of love and mercy Jesus the beloved and sinless Son of God took upon Himself the dreadful sin that has separated us from Him and became separated from God on our behalf.
He truly knew what it was like to feel alone and forsaken ...
so that we might know what it is like to treasure a living, intimate relationship with Almighty God. Because of love He entered into this realm to die as our Substitute bearing in His own body the consequences of our sin so that 'in Him' we might know all is well with our soul.
Although it was an empty golden cross at Notre Dame that survived the flame, we know from the Bible that the cross upon which Jesus died is now empty. His work is finished and after dying He was taken by loving hands, anointed and embalmed, and laid in a tomb where no one else had ever laid before. And thankfully the tomb into which His body was laid for a short while is now empty also, because it was not possible for death to keep Him!
The Man in whom countless people down through the ages have trusted is a real Man alive in heaven today. Our hope is in Him. Our security is in Him. Our joy, our rest, our comfort, and desires are all found in Him. "In Him," the Bible says:
"we are accepted in the beloved."
Ephesians 1: 6.
Acceptable to God in and through the Lord Jesus. No props, just Him!
There's no safer place to be on earth. Let the fires of the world and the enemy's fury burn around us but 'in Christ' we are safe from harm. Let the waters of suffering overflow us but 'in Christ' we will find comfort and hope.
The cross may be empty, and the tomb in which His sacred body once laid may be empty but our hearts are filled with the lovely man who once occupied those paces. One soon day we will occupy the place He has been long preparing. Soon we will answer to the call to come away from this sad old world that wants nothing to do with the Christ, the beloved Son of God. And soon His people are going to behold the One who has occupied our hearts when faith gives way to sight ... at last!
"And there was delivered unto [Jesus] the book of the prophet Esaias.
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.'
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.
And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Luke 4: 17-21
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“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things,
and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed,
and after three days rise again."
Mark 8: 31
The body of the Lord Jesus was taken down from the cross by loving hands, namely those of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. There may have been others but the Bible doesn’t tell us about them.
When all of the rest of the world was afraid, these two men boldly came out from the shadows and identified with the risen Christ. This wasn’t a spontaneous action but something they were both prepared for and waited for quietly until the right moment. A tomb had been prepared for the sacred body of the Lord Jesus by Joseph, and herbs and spices were prepared by Nicodemus. Jesus Christ had a burial fit for a king; so that Scripture might be fulfilled:
“And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death ...”
Isaiah 53: 9.
Both Joseph and Nicodemus were Pharisees, so they would have been familiar with this particular verse of Scripture as well as many others that spoke clearly of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Both of these men had an important role to play and they were about to embark on an act that would separate them once and for all from their former life. By handling the body of this Man who had been rejected by the world they were identifying themselves with Him and therefore -
Life for them would never be the same again - and they knew it.
Because of their noble action they would immediately be expelled from the Sanhedrin; which was the ruling council of that day and probably ostracised by all if not most people who were part of their lives, but they didn’t mind; for they had what they wanted and were doing what they knew God wanted them to do.
As they carefully carried the body to the tomb and laid it to rest, there were some women who watched from distance so they could come back at the first available opportunity to do their part later on. There was nothing else for the men to do after the anointing oil and swaddling bands had been applied, their work was finished, so reluctantly they left and a stone was rolled across the entrance of the tomb and sealed shut. Roman guards were posted there to make sure no one could tamper with the tomb’s contents. The sun later set on the scene ....
What heaviness and what emptiness must have filled the hearts of those who had previously followed Him. What bitter regrets must have been there in the heart of those who knew they should have been with Him in His darkest hour but forsook Him and fled. What inconsolable sorrow must have been Peter’s lot after having denied his Lord with oaths and swearing. Their Lord was dead, and the brutal way that He had been taken away from them only added to their sorrow.
When He was alive He brought so much promise to everyone He met. The change He brought people’s lives was phenomenal. Who else had the ability to do what He could do and more importantly, who else spoke like this Man did? Earlier on officers had been sent to arrest Him and take Him away but they returned empty handed – their reply to those who sent them was:
“Never man spake like this man"
John 7: 46.
Peter said on one occasion:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
John 6: 68.
Somehow when He was with them their lives were complete but now all everything was so dark and empty!
That was until the third day had arrived ... Everything changed on that day!
The sorrow and bewilderment of the women who came to anoint His body only to find that it wasn’t there anymore was soon to be replaced with comfort and joy. The sorrow of a woman called Mary who remained at the tomb was soon to be replaced with unspeakable joy when she encountered the risen Lord. Peter’s inconsolable sorrow and regret dissolved when he had the privilege of being the first of the disciples to have an audience with his Lord.
The rest of them who were locked behind closed doors for fear of the Jews were emboldened by the risen Lord Jesus who appeared before them. And so on and on it went, one incident after another of once shattered lives on account of the horrifying death of the One they loved so much were restored, comforted and emboldened at the sight of the living Lord Jesus.
What a difference this living One makes in the lives of all who trust in Him.
As important as His death is to those who believe on Him and trust Him fully, it would be without significance were it not for the fact that the One in whom we believe is alive! For the Bible tells us:
“... If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable.”
1 Corinthians 17: 17,19
Because of what happened on the third day after He was crucified we also can know the joy and comfort of His presence with us. He promised He would never leave those who have trusted Him fully. And because He is alive we can face the problems that life brings before us, no matter how great or how small those problems may be. The knowledge of the fact that Jesus is a real Man alive in heaven today makes all the difference in the world. One thing is almost certain – if Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t have the quiet assurance that their Lord was going to raise again from among the dead they probably would not or could not have faced the outcome of their actions.
So, the question must be asked just one more time - what does this all mean to you?
Here's a little bit of Easter joy for you at Youtube.
why not say hello down below! ♥
"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary,
there they crucified him, and the malefactors,
one on the right hand, and the other on the left"
Luke 23: 33
Outside the city walls of Jerusalem is a place called Calvary. This spot on the map is designated as probably the most important place on earth! Not because of any noticeable beauty because it doesn’t really have any; in fact it was known in ancient days as “Golgotha” (the place of a skull) because its geographical setting rather resembles the appearance of a human skull. Calvary became the place of great significance because of an event that took place there 2000 years ago.
This was the place where common criminals were put to death for their crimes by means of crucifixion. This had to have been the very worst, most torturous way to die. Devised by the cruel Roman Empire and those who were impaled to crosses were lifted up and left to die. It took many hours for the victim to die, and for some it even took days before the inevitable came upon them. They were lifted up high for all passersby to see.
This was the place that had seen an end of many people before and this was just another day for some like the Centurion who presided over the affairs of such a barbaric occasion. However as the events of this day unfolded it soon became evident that this was going to be a day like none other before.
Three crosses were ready to receive their next victims and routinely each man was impaled and raised up to die – but, there was something different about the Man occupying the centre cross! There, suspended on that cross, as if the very worst of the three was the only Man to ever walk this earth without sin. But why was He there? What had He done to deserve such a cruel death? After all, His cross was originally for a man called Barabbas but he was spared from his fate ...
Because this Man was going to die in his place.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God came into this sad old world just 33 years before specifically for the purpose of coming to this place to accomplish a work that no other was able to do. It was there at this place that a mighty exchange took place when:
“(He) once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust,
that he might bring us to God ...”
I Peter 3: 18
This is when
“(God) ... made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”
2 Corinthians 5: 21
It was then that God made to meet upon Him all of the sin accumulated from the past and all sin anticipated from that moment on, and He bore the mighty wrath of God against the sin of Mankind (our sin included,) until His wrath was expended. (See Isaiah 53: 6)
What sort of a mind could have devised such a rescue plan like this other than the mind of God? What could have motivated Him to do such an extraordinary thing other than love beyond measure to those who He has gone to such great lengths to redeem?
It may appear to some that the precious Son of God died as a result of man’s hatred and brutality, but the truth is that nobody took His life from Him that day ... He gave it freely as an offering for sin once for all! And if this is so, and we know it surely is, then why the cross? Why couldn't He have given His life some other way? Why did He allow Himself to suffer at the hands of man in this manner? May it be suggested that it possibly was to demonstrate to us how exceedingly sinful sin really is?
When the Lord Jesus was just a tiny infant of no more than a few days, He was taken by His parents to the Temple to be circumcised as was the manner of the Jews. It had earlier been revealed by the Holy Spirit to a faithful man of God called Simeon that this child was the means by which Salvation from God to man would come. With great reverence and respect he moved forward, gently took up the baby in his arms and gazed into the face of this precious child and declared to God his utter and complete trust in This One who in His very Person is the very Salvation of God.
Moved by the Spirit he then spoke to Mary His mother of the impact upon the world that this child’s future would have and then old her solemnly: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed,” (Luke 2: 35) alluding to His future suffering on the cross. It is that statement “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” that is of particular interest; for if we read carefully we find that there was somebody from every known nation represented there at Calvary, someone from every walk of life there also, and most importantly there was someone representing every possible frame of mind there at the place where our Lord was crucified!
We can all very well identify with somebody who beheld that scene that day.
The cross revealed what man was really like – some were cruel and sadistic, others were mockers. Some were cold and indifferent while others were afraid! Very few were prepared to come close to the cross and be identified with Him, but thankfully there were a few!
And somebody there at that place called Calvary was somebody just like you!
For the unsuspecting Roman Centurion mentioned earlier a great change took place in his heart that day; for after watching this Precious One suffer, bleed and die and after witnessing the events to follow He was heard to declare from the depths of his heart:
"Truly, this was the Son of God."
Matthew 27: 54.
The question is, what does this all mean to you?
>> Do you have any questions or comments about what Calvary means to you? I would love to hear from you -
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"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day."
2 Peter 3: 8
When we think of God in all His greatness and Majesty, it is not too difficult for us to imagine what it is for Him to look at a thousand years as a single day according to His perspective. After all He had the ability to create the heaven and the earth and everything in them with just a spoken word in only a small amount of time. In fact He could have probably created it all in a moment if He so desired, but the Bible tells us that He did it in only six days! :)
It also tells that: "... Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ... Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11: 1,3.) So God didn't need something with which to work with and we do not need evidence!
His spoken Word is sufficient and our faith is all that's needed!
And so the Sovereign was able to heal the sick, with a touch or spoken word, He was able to control the weather, and even raise the dead - what immeasurable power and greatness!
But then on the cross while atoning for our sin, even the sin of the world, it was a hands on task! Suspended between heaven and earth on a cruel Roman cross, nailed there by His hands and feet He suffered, bled, and died as a Substitute for poor lost sinners. This actually happened as recorded as a fact in history, and was the ultimate demonstration of a holy but loving God to the likes of you and me. What love!
"God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5: 8
But here we are locked into a domain we have absolutely no control over. We live in a dimension that is governed by a thing called time! It affects everything we do, and we only have a small opportunity to make an impact before we have to leave. Is there anything worthwhile we can do in such a small allotment of this valuable thing called time?
Some who are reading this may be looking back on a wasted lifetime. So many years have passed and cannot be recalled. You cannot turn back the clock and do it again! But ... you can do something with the time you have left, from this very moment onwards.
If you are already a child of God and on your way to heaven you are in the right condition to do something with your allotment of time. If not, today is the day, and now is the moment in which to turn yourself over to the living God and trust in His beloved Son. He will set your feet on a pathway investing in the eternal future, and this is all that really matters and all that is realy going to count. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What you do with it now will matter forever!
I have a word to encourage you today that will give to you the hope you need to look forward to the future, knowing that the moments you live right from this day will have eternal value.
The eternal God is not only able to look at a thousand years as one single day but able to perceive time the other way around also.
One single day of our lives well lived is as a thousand years in His sight!
This means that to God every little kind act performed because you are a Christian, every moment of prayer, every little appreciation of Him is multiplied a thousand or more times!
Perhaps you are a young Mum surrounded with little ones and are feeling a little suffocated, investing in your little ones will never be a waste of time. But you may be thinking that you only get a few moments to read your Bible or a few moments to pray, what significance is this to the eternal God? Well, our Father in Heaven measures the value of those tiny moments you give to Him as something of essence value.
May be the best years of your life have now passed. You look back with a heavy heart knowing those years have gone, and you simply cannot to what you did back then. The Lord has a high estimation of all those little things you feel are not worth as much as what you once gave.
Perhaps you are looking back on a wasted life and you wonder if it's worth trying now! The Bible tells us that 'the Lord is able to restore what the locusts have eaten!' (Joel 2: 25.)
God has the ability of making up for time that has been lost and multiplying what you have left.
So it's up to each one of us to use what we have left wisely, because even though the living God lives outside of the time domain He created, He still values every minute and every second of it ... And so must we!
>> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥