In our message today, in our ministry in prison, in the outside world, in our internet Bethel, Please grant that nothing I ever do or say will ever detract from the beauty of Christ working throigh me. Help me always in all ways to reflect Your glory. This I can only ever do with Your help. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, In Jesus Loving Name I Pray, Amen
In everything we do, we come to that point where we have completed our efforts, and we have to let go and let God. Then we rest. The seventh day is our Sabbath. It is the day God goes to work and brings to completion all of our efforts.
The simple illustration I have always used is one of baking a cake. If you are going to bake a cake, you have to do your part in the process. That part is your six days of creative activity, where you put all the ingredients of the cake together. Then what do you do? You let go and let God; you let go and let the oven do its work. While you are resting from your effort, the oven, or God, if you will, will go to work and bring to completion your efforts.
When you have understanding faith, (and that means an awareness that God always completes God’s part, and that God is a God of good), then you know you cannot fail. This creative process works, each and every time. We do our part. We put the ingredients of the cake together and put it in the oven, and then we let go and let God.
Of course, what do we often do while that cake is in the oven? We open up the oven door and see how God is doing; we make sure the Divine activity IS really taking place. Then we close the door. We don’t have to do all that when you understand that you really are involved in a creative process with God.
I remember when I came into that awareness. Then the idea came that there really is a system by which I can live. I can really do something about this mess that I have called my life. I can change it. Before then, there was no real system. It was, “Maybe God will act on my behalf, and maybe God won’t.”
Understanding faith is faith based on knowing – knowing that the activity of God is always at work on our behalf. All we have to do is LET IT andt to work with it. Do your part, and then – let go and let God.
Very often the question arises, “How do I know I have done my part? How do I know there isn’t more for me to do?” When it keeps persisting, and you find that your continuing efforts are bringing more disharmony than harmony, then maybe it might be the time to let go and let God. Stop doing whatever it is you are doing, and let the Divine activity truly take over and bring to completion your efforts.
The words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians (chapter 1, verse 6): “I am sure He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
For us, the day of Jesus Christ can be right now. It is the day of completion. Jesus Christ has already come when you and I realize that God is with us NOW; that God is with us as the essence of our being, the fullness of being, the fullness of life, love, peace, wisdom, and any spiritual quality you can think of. When you have that realization, then for all practical purposes, Jesus Christ has come a second time into your present, daily life.
Paul gives us that assurance.
You can count on God to do God’s part in this whole creative process. In the Old Testament, there are several wonderful stories that bear this out – the idea of letting go and letting God at the right time, doing your part and then letting go and letting God step into the picture, and as Paul said, bring to completion all of our efforts.
One of those stories is the story of the Red Sea. The story simply is that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and got them right up to the edge of the Red Sea. This is your story and mine. The Red Sea, spiritually, represents the big obstacle that seems to loom up on our path of unfoldment. What are we going to do? Try to crash our way through it? Run away from it? What are we going to do? As Moses led these people right up to the Red Sea, these are the words he was instructed to speak to the people: “Fear not.” Why? Because the presence and the power and the activity of God was with them and is with you, in your situation.
Friends, if we didn’t have that realization that a God of good was with us all the way, then how could we possibly face these experiences of life?
Moses said, “Fear not. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord which God will work for you today.” He said the Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still. In other words, where is it we find our solution? In the stillness. You don’t find the solution in continued struggle in the outer aspect. There are outer things for us to do. The six days of creative activity are ours to do, but then there is always the Sabbath day, the seventh day.
What did the people do? They became still, right in front of this big obstacle. Do you know what the very next line is in the scripture? As soon as the people became still, the Lord said “Go forward.” In other words, the water parted. In some way, that obstacle dissolved itself and the people were able to move through.
It is the same thing with you and me. Have you ever walked right up to a problem and then stopped, relaxed and became still, in prayer, and then walk right on through the challenge?
Why? Because the Spirit of the Lord has paved the way for you, making it straight, safe, smooth, successful, and helpful.
So, the Red Sea story tells us that in the stillness, not struggling in the outer aspect, do our miracles take place.
How about the story of Elijah and the still, small voice? He found God, not in the earthquake, not in the wind, not in the fire, not in the outer distractions of the world, but in the still, small voice within himself. What an experience that was!
When you read that account in the nineteenth chapter of First Kings, you will see it builds up to a climax of the still, small voice. You can just sense a time of quiet and peace, a time of stillness, that great peace of mind that we all aspire to.
After that, what happens? The Lord tells Elijah to go to work, and gives him three things to do. That is the same way it is with you and me. These periods of coming apart in the quietness and stillness are simply times of preparation for outer activity in the world, for another six days of creative activity.
Then you come to the same point of letting go and letting God, enter the Sabbath rest, and be with the still, small voice within you. Sometimes, we get so caught up in all of this that we want to continue struggling and striving in the outer aspect to bring about our miracle.
Another great story in the scripture is the story of Jehoshaphat in Second Chronicles. He was the king of the southern kingdom of Judea. At one point, three invading armies came in to attack Judea. Jehoshaphat did not know what to do, so he went to a prophet. Do you know what the prophet told him? The prophet told him almost the same words you would have heard at the Red Sea with Moses. They begin with,“Fear not.” The prophet tells Jehoshaphat that “the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not need to fight in this battle. Take your position. Stand still and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf.”
In other words, the prophet told Jehoshaphat, “Don’t do anything.”
“You mean, I’m not supposed to do anything?” How are most of us conditioned? “I’ve got to get out there and do something.” But he had done all he could, up to this point. And when the three invading armies came in, two of the armies mistook the third for Jehoshaphat and fought with them. Then those other two invading armies turned on each other and fought each other. Who was standing there not having to lift a finger throughout the whole experience? Jehoshaphat.
Friends, IF he would have entered into battle, he would have been fighting a battle that he had already won. Does that sound familiar? How often we keep struggling and striving when the battle has already been won? In God, there is no battle to be fought. If you need to think in terms of fighting a battle, know in God, the battle has already been won! This whole scenario we find involved in God with us, in the perfect spiritual pattern with us, is something that simply needs to be played out on earth. That is what you and I are attempting to do.
One more story comes out of the Old Testament that tells us about being still and experiencing salvation. It has to do with a king named Hezekiah. (In II Kings 18-20.) The Syrians had come down (a conquering nation) and had invaded the southern kingdom of Judea. They were surrounding Jerusalem, and the chief representative of the Assyrian King was outside the walls, threatening the people, and telling them, “Don’t listen to your King Hezekiah. Come out and surrender to us because you cannot resist the great King of Assyria.”
This is like what happens in us, in that city within us that we call peace of mind, when all the negative thoughts seem to be beseeching our peace of mind and quiet and shouting out at us, “Worry about this; worry about that.” Do you know what King Hezekiah does? He tells the people, “Do not answer him.” In other words, be quiet. Do you know what happens? The Assyrians withdraw. Something happens in the outer aspect.
Haven’t you noticed that when you let go and let God, something happens, and very often it is unexpected. It is always better than you expected. But something happens, and that which you fear, does NOT come about. What does come about is the perfect solution to your problem.
It is interesting, because many Biblical scholars think that at that time at the siege of Jerusalem by the King of Assyria, at about 700 B.C., that a certain psalm was written (Psalm 46). Psalm 46 begins by stating, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Do you know what verse 10 of Psalm 46 says? “Be still and know that I am God.” Do you see how that statement ties into what Hezekiah told the people in chapter 18 of II Kings when he said, “Do not answer him”? We can take a cue from that. “Be still and know that I am God.” When you have done your part, simply let go and let God.
At the beginning of this three part series, I began this talk by quoting Ecclesiastes in saying, “For everything is a season; there is a time for every matter under heaven.” I said there was a time to keep silent and a time to speak, but we can also reverse that: there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. I think my time of speaking is over, and now it is time for me to keep silent. I have done my part; the cake is in the oven. Now, it is time to let go and let God.
May God give you His gifts of discernment so that the last three weeks of this series become strong in understanding and allow you to live your life in quiet and peaceful happiness, knowing the cake is in the oven and will be done to perfection; and also and most importantly may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart during these last 3 weeks of this series be acceptable to You, Oh Lord, our God and our Savior.
God bless you!
Rest in the silence of prayer. . .
This we do in the name and through the power of the living, loving presence of God through Jesus Christ. . . Amen.