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Effort, rest and peace

Sunday word BY PROSPER TINGINI

In the book of Joshua 21:43-45, it reads: “Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land which he swore to give to their fathers; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers, not one of their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

Rest can be used to describe a variety of things that gives a freedom from some exerted pressure of any kind. Any activity initiates a motion whose inertia continues until that state is changed by some other force. When whatever the pressure is released, then a state of rest can be achieved. We all live under various kinds of pressing situations in our lives. Burdens, afflictions, wars, disputes, want of money etc are all part of our everyday living. Each of us needs a rest of some kind.

The Lord our God promised the Israelites a land of milk and honey, but it was not going to come on a free platter. They had to go through numerous trials and tribulations over many centuries before they could finally come to rest in the Promised Land. There has to be some effort first before we can achieve a state of rest. Effort carries people across many obstacles if applied continuously until they reach a destination that would ultimately lead to a desired state of rest. Peace is a state of fulfilment and contentment brought about by an effort to create freedom of both mind and surroundings.

Effort needs energy. We can energise ourselves to overcome obstacles and achieve rest. We can also seek the assistance of others to carry us through to a state of peace. Above all, we should always seek the divine energy from the Lord our God to make the required rest and peace a reality. Each prayer we make to the Almighty gives us more value and adds to the divine energy. It is a supernatural energy that knows no bounds and that can power us into a state of rest. There are many examples in the scriptures demonstrating the efforts of God’s divine energy at play in various spheres of life.

Fleeing from slavery and the Egyptians, the Israelites were stuck at the Red Sea with the enemy in hot pursuit. There seemed no solution in sight, but a divine and supernatural energy came on to both Moses and to the rod he was holding in his hand. All he had to do was to make the small effort in lifting up the rod towards the sea and the people would be saved. God’s simple instruction to Moses was: “Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people may go on dry ground through the sea.” If Moses had not lifted up the rod, the sea would not have divided. God requires some effort on our part, whether big or small, on each road we travel to a destination of rest. Prayers alone sometimes do not guarantee us with the peace in the absence of an accompanying effort on our part.

When a state of rest is achieved, a feeling of peace engulfs us. Peace is harmony, a freedom from tribulations, a calmness of mind. It is the Lord our God who takes us to this level of tranquillity. Only Him can keep us in this zone. To maintain it, we all need His protection to fend off enemies, misfortunes etc to defend the peace. It is crucial that we have the faith in God’s ability to protect. Indeed, He is a protector and we need to trust him. Throw yourself into His hands of protection. The only effort needed is to pray. Prayer connects us with God. In times of need, of fear, of doubt and everything else, pray and trust Him to defend, guard and to keep you from harm.

Your surroundings can only become peaceful when all the dangers are removed or kept afar. In the New Testament, we have the story of the raging sea when Jesus Christ was out at sea with his disciples. In the book of Mark 4:35-41, it reads: “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with Him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the storm, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you care if we perish?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’ And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?’

God the Father and the Son have the powerful energy encompassed within their commands or voices that galvanise things to happen or to disappear. At creation God commanded things to happen; the earth, seas, creatures, stars, sun and moons etc. At the end of it all He was pleased and satisfied and He rested. Resting on the seventh day after finishing His creations was giving Himself a state of contentment, a fulfilment of accomplished wishes giving rise to a rest mode.

Jesus Christ was in a state of rest, sleeping in the boat after a long day of preaching to the people. He was happy and content about his works until there was the danger of the storm of wind threatening to disturb the peace and capsize the boat. A simple command from him calmed both the wind and the sea.

If we trust in God or in His Son and put all our faith in both or any of the two, we can achieve the rest we desire on our journeys to the fulfilment of our dreams and the protection of our accomplishments to give us the peace of mind we all cherish in our lives. However, most things also require an effort and prayer on our part. A peaceful environment breeds further progress and success. Let’s combine our own energies with those of the divine form to achieve both a state of rest and the peace in our lives.
Amen.

Prosper Tingini is the president of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: ptingini@gmail.com

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