Setting the Tone for 2019 – Part Three

Supernatural Strength
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).
When we practice supernatural trust and enter in to supernatural rest, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit with supernatural strength.
Can you imagine that rest could be an active principle? Can we actively rest? Is it possible that when we enter in to God’s blessed rest, we become equipped to accomplish much more than worry and struggle ever could?
Trust is an active principle, and peace is its fruit. Rest is an active principle and strength is its fruit.
You may already be familiar with how Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, in John chapter ten:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (10:11 ESV).
Here’s how the Message translation describes the Good Shepherd:
Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him (10:6-13)
We can clearly see that the Good Shepherd is fully committed to protecting the sheep, even with his life, from the thief who comes only to kill, steal and destroy. The Good Shepherd is not a hired hand, he is the Son of the Father who owns the sheep and can be completely trusted.
Now let’s look at how King David, who was once a shepherd boy himself, responsible for guarding his father’s sheep, describes the Good Shepherd in Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.
The Good Shepherd richly provides for his sheep – so much so that they are content and lie down in green pastures. He leads them beside quiet waters. They are no longer thirsty (Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied - Matthew 5:6 ESV).
Once they are rested and fed, the Good Shepherd leads his sheep along paths of righteousness. Notice that the sheep do not head off into the wilderness on their own. They follow the Shepherd, who knows how to lead them through treacherous territory:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
The sheep aren’t comforted because the Good Shepherd beats them with his rod and staff, but because they know that he will use all his power and might to defend them from every attacker that would come against them (…For the battle is not yours, but God’s - 2 Chronicles 20:15b). We are fed by Jesus, led by Jesus and protected by Jesus.
As the Good Shepherd leads his flock, he also equips them – not only sufficiently, but with more than they think they need (And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over - Matthew 14:20 ESV):
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
God is not hesitant to bless us and anoint us to carry out his giftings in the midst of difficulties or even in the presence of enemies. In fact, the psalmist says that the Good Shepherd has prepared a bountiful table for us even before we arrive (…and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” – Mark 14:14-15). God has already made a way for us to accomplish every desire that he places in our hearts, for his glory.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.
We could say that we have two little sister sheep named Goodness and Mercy who follow along behind us on the way, but I think rather that we can imagine goodness and mercy like a sweet fragrance, something that flows through us and lingers in the air after us, because we are so full of the Master’s presence that we have begun to be like him. In his presence, Jesus’ goodness and mercy have become our goodness and mercy (For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing – 2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV).
Can you see that when we accept Jesus as our Good Shepherd, he nourishes us, he leads us, he protects us, he prepares us and he equips us, until we become like him? We rest in him and we walk with him, until we take up our dwelling in his house, forever.
Resting in Christ doesn’t mean that we become like wet noodles who don’t do anything. On the contrary! As we rest in him, he leads us into greater and greater depths of richness and accomplishment, until we step fully into life everlasting. God places giftings and desires in our hearts, that are stirred up by his Holy Spirit, prompting us to glorify his name in all we do. Supernatural trust and rest provide us with supernatural strength and provision to accomplish all that God has placed into our hearts so that we can live the life that he has given us more abundantly, in Jesus’ holy name.
 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:16-21 NLT).
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