Finding Rest in a Restless World

Finding Rest in a Restless World

“ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soul.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

One of the greatest needs of mankind is simply just to rest. In spite of the economic and technological marvels of the modern era, never has life been so hectic and restless as it is today.  At the same time, the pursuit of pleasure has intensified like never before, pleasure that gives a false sense of rest, a temporary relief at best.

Into a weary world that is stressed beyond exertion, comes an invitation from Jesus Christ to come to Him for rest.  It is a call to all who labor and are heavy laden with burdens too heavy to bear.  Christ confronts us with an offer:  He will give us the rest we seek. 

But we need to come to Him, and take His yoke upon us. Absolute allegiance is required.  If we are to be yoked to Christ, we are to put ourselves under His instruction and teaching. A yoke takes only two — the teacher and the follower, so to be yoked to Christ is to forsake other teachings, to cleave to Him, and learn from Him.

How does Jesus give us this rest?

First, there is the rest of forgiveness. When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are justified by faith and obtain peace with God.  When confronted with our past failures, shortcomings and sins that are beyond our own ability to rectify, we have the assurance that Christ has borne our guilt and sinfulness by His death on the cross, and paid the price for it all. He gives us rest from our conscience, rest from within. The rest of forgiveness.

Second, Christ gives us a new life as a result of being born again into the Kingdom of God.  The new birth is not simply a moral teaching or moral effort: it is a miracle wherein Christ gives us His own nature; we become like Him.  Christ gives us the rest that comes with a new nature, a new understanding and outlook in life, and a renewed mind.

Third, Christ promises to give us the Holy Spirit through Whom we receive the power and the strength to live this new life.  We become partakers of the divine nature: God dwells in and within us, transforming and enabling us to do even those things that may seem impossible to the outside world.

True rest comes when our souls are at rest.  Jesus Christ gives this true rest as our souls find our rest in God, a rest which Christ alone can offer as a free gift.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ only asks you one thing. Do you need rest? Have you failed to find it, are you desperately in need of it? Well if so, come!” 1


 C. H. Spurgeon, “Rest, Rest”, A Sermon delivered on the Lord’s Day January 8, 1871 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, UK

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Heart of the Gospel, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1991, pp. 154-192


1 Ibid., p. 186

*** Photography: Heron by Preston Manning

Last Days of Summer

Last Days of Summer

Lemon scents linger
from blooms of white magnolia,
while a cool breeze tiptoes,
donned in ornate lace
into a summer dusk cathedral:
I hear the mellow sound of shaken leaves
upon their sun-tanned branches,
harp strings stroked by fingers
of the wind —

The purple grosbeak’s song endures
into the night,
nectared notes delight
as I revel in these ardent days
of crimson apples,
the primrose pulp of aubergine plums,
the musk-white fragrance of orange
the golden cloak of summer’s warmth
upon the vibrant flowers.

by D. G. V. © 2012

** photography by Roman Niku

Persecution, Followers, and Stalkers

“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.” Mark 12:13

Since the inception of the Christian Church, mankind has witnessed the blood of martyrs  splattered across the pages of history.  And although manifested in different forms, Christian persecution persists to this very day: across continents, within countries, in communities, at places of work, within families.  How and when did the persecution begin?

It began with Jesus Christ.  He died a violent death, put to death on the cross.  Why? Because he proclaimed that he was the Son of God, that he was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These were his very words, as witnessed by his apostles, his disciples, and as documented by four separate Gospel writers.

Some of those who heard him may have said: “how brazen, what gall.”  The scribes and Pharisees in particular were beside themselves.  They rent their clothes. They screamed. They plotted. They got their pound of flesh. They were not followers, but stalkers, trying to catch Jesus in His words, doubting Him from the very start, and at every turn.

But Jesus Christ had followers, and his followers believed in Him. They believed His words, His teachings, and the things He said about Himself. No one comes to the Father except through Him. They cling to this as truth.

How insensitive this view is towards other religions. How politically and sociologically incorrect! Who is this Christ, this carpenter that compels a person to leave everything and follow Him? What sheer madness.  Emperors got riled that their subjects adored this Christ, this carpenter, above them.  The world is irritated at their peculiar behavior, at the light in their hearts and in their eyes, their faces shining with joy. So the powers fed Christ’s followers to the lions, led them to their deaths at the hands of gladiators. They stoned them and spat upon them.  And some they crucified.

Christ polarizes people.  Either His claims about Himself were those of a lunatic, or His words are truth.  He requires total commitment.  Either you believe in Him, or doubt His words.  Either you are a follower, a stalker, or something else.

And if a follower, then at this very moment, you share in the fellowship of His sufferings. You become a target for persecution.

By D.G. Vachal © 2012

*** posted at Narita airport, en route to somewhere in Asia