Journey Into Rest

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  10 : 11
Subject: Rest; Peace; Blessings

NASA Astronaut Patrick G. Forrester recently recounted his 5.7 million mile journey into outer space on the space shuttle Discovery beginning on August 28, 2009 and returned to land on September 11, 2009 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Colonel Forrester also told about his own faith journey in “The Meeting House” interview by Bob Crittenden aired October 21, 2009, on WLBF 89.5 FM, Montgomery, Alabama. Forrester shared about his upbringing in a Christian family and his acceptance of Jesus Christ at an early age. In college he grew to understand the basis of Christianity is a relationship with Christ issuing a life of obedience  to Him. During this time he became a Sunday School teacher. He shared that he was married in a Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama. He explained that working in a government organization like NASA affords him opportunities to be a witness for the Lord. Forrester knew God as Creator and Mighty God before his experience of seeing the earth from a distance. On this his third space shuttle mission, he took a battery box from the Piper PA-14 airplane flown by martyred missionary Nate Saint to promote missions and the ministry of Mission Aviation Fellowship based in Idaho. Forrester also requested they play a song titled “There is a God” and one titled “Redeemer” for wake up calls on the trip.1

Referring to his Christian life, Rusty Goodman sings, “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now”.2

We read about the journey of the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Dr. C. Weldon Gaddy wrote a book titled Geography of the Soul. May the Lord reveal to you exactly where you are on the journey into rest.

I. Are You Living In The Land Of Bondage?

Dr. C. Weldon Gaddy writes, “Egypt is a place of allurements, distractions, and temptations. . . . Most folks associated Egypt with sorcery, witchcraft, and magic.”3

We are warned through the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help” (Isaiah 31:1). From the Old Testament, we read Joseph went to Egypt as a slave and God used him to deliver Jacob and his brothers from a famine. Also from the New Testament we know Joseph took Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of the king. Dr. F.B. Meyer (1847-1929) points out that Abraham went down to Egypt without the leadership of the Lord. In his book titled Abraham: or, The Obedience of Faith, Dr. Meyer explains, “That recent failure in connection with Egypt may have been due, to a larger extent than we know, to the baneful influence of Lot. Had Abraham been left to himself, he might never have thought of going down to Egypt: and, in that case, there would have been another paragraph or passage in the Bible describing the exploits of a faith which dared to stand to God’s promise, though threatened by disaster, and hemmed in by famine; waiting until God should bid it move, or make it possible to stay. There is something about that visit to Egypt which savors of the spirit of Lot’s after-life. In any case, the time had come, in the providence of God, when this lower and more worldly spirit must go its way; leaving Abraham to stand alone, without prop, or adviser, or ally; thrown back on the counsel and help of God alone.”4

An old preacher in West Tennessee referred to preachers in two ways, “Them that was sent and them that went.” In a similar way we see those in Egypt. God sent some to Egypt for a particular time and purpose, but many are in Egypt as the children of Israel because they were born there and know nothing else. We were born in the world and are naturally of the world. We are in bondage to sin because we are born sinners. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of

God” (Romans 3:23) and “There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:10).

II. Are You Living In The Land Of Bewilderment?

Dr. C. Weldon Gaddy explains, “Questions dominate the wilderness—relentless, nagging, demanding—to—be—answered—immediately inquiries. Questions are as numerous as the sharp—edged rocks which cut our feet and the hot grains of sand which blow into our faces. No area of life is off—limits to rapid—fire interrogation: What am I going to do with my life? Do I want to succeed at all costs or risk failure? How should I define success? What are my goals? What are my wants and needs; and how do they differ from each other, if they differ at all? How important to me  are the opinions of other people, especially other people’s opinions about me? To whom will I  listen? What great wrong have I done to bring on this period of testing? Is God punishing me or seeking to guide me?

Convictions threaten to wilt and die, under the relentless pressure of a wilderness struggle.”5

Allow me to remind you there is a legitimate “Wilderness Experience” for every believer. The length of time is a crucial difference between believers. The writer of the book of Hebrews shares the tragedy of those who fail to go on in the faith. They live the rest of their life in a state of protracted infancy. We read in Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:14-16, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Tragically, many church members are living in this state of protracted infancy as they wander aimlessly in the wilderness. They never hear the voice of the Lord behind them saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). They do not know the joy of saying with our Lord, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world” (John 18:37). They are missing the best because they continue grapple with issues of good and evil they should have settled long ago. They follow  the thinking of the world that pursues “the lust of the flesh”, “the lust of the eyes” and “the pride         of life”, instead of “the will of God” (1 John 2:15-17).

III. Are You Living In The Land Of Blessing?

Dr. V. Raymond Edman (1900-1967) wrote a book titled They Found the Secret containing twenty biographies of men who discovered a deeper life with God than they knew before. He titled the first chapter “The Exchanged Life.” Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the  Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) chose Galatians 2:20 for his life verse as he shares in his book titled Not I, But Christ.

If you became aware that you held a title deed to some land, undoubtedly you would want to investigate it. Abraham investigated the land as we read in Genesis 13 and camped at Hebron, which means “fellowship”. The book of Joshua contains a promise for the Israelites of the land promised to Abraham years before. Ephesians is the New Testament counterpart to the Old Testament book of Joshua. God instructs believers through the book of Ephesians to possess our possessions spiritually whereas in the book of Joshua, the Israelites were to possess the physical land of Canaan.

We read about the rest of faith in Hebrews 4:8-11, “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”

Dr. Cleland B. McAfee (1866-1944) penned these words (1903) after two of his nieces died from diphtheria. The Park College choir sang the new hymn outside the quarantined house.

There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God.

A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God.

A place where all is joy and peace, Near to the heart of God.6

James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a British missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (now OMF International). Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country that began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian converts, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces. His favorite hymn was “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting,” by Jean Sophia Pigott (1845-1882).

The following words have been variously attributed, "Rest is not quitting / This busy career; / Rest is the fitting / Of self to one's sphere.”

Robert K. Brown, Mark R. Norton, William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen share the following in The One Year Book of Hymns, “We find it difficult to be at rest – to be still – in a society that is always on the move. We live in a world of ten-second sound bites and short attention spans. We are taught to be dissatisfied with what we have and to strive for more.

In one of Christ’s grandest invitations, He offered rest to the weary: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” God told the Israelites in Isaiah 30:15.”7

Dr. Kerry L. Skinner shares the following in an article titled “Choices: Stress or Rest”: “Jesus said, ‘For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’ (Matt. 11:30). Oh really!

But just what is a yoke? A wooden frame placed on the backs of draft animals to make them pull in tandem. The simple yokes consisted of a bar with two loops either of rope or wood that went around the animals' necks.

You might say, ‘This sound like something involving work to me!’ Work, however is not synonymous with stress. Two animals in a yoke produced great results of work. But as long as they did not fight their yoke and did what they were supposed to do, they produced work, not stress.

Jesus has given us His commands to obey. These commands are what born again people are designed for. When you fight the commands, you produce stress. When you go with the flow and work for your true Master, then His burden is light. Why? Because people enjoy doing what they are gifted to do.

If Christians begin doing things they were not designed to do (disobeying God's rules) then they will become stressed.

Check out your life today. Ask the Lord if you are resisting His law or obeying. Obedience will yield productive work, but it will be the kind that brings fulfillment. In this sense, it is easy and light. Striving against obedience will produce stress, not rest. Remember, the choice is yours--stress or rest!

Always Think Scripture!”8

We are reminded in the January 24th reading from The One Year Book of Hymns, “If we focus on God, as [Jean Sophia Pigott] this Nineteenth-Century Irish author [of “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting,”] did, we can rest, finding that He will satisfy our heart and its deepest longings, meet and supply our every need, and compass us around with blessings.”9


Paul writes in Romans 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”

Dr. James Mahoney observes in his book titled Journey Into Fullness, “No, you cannot accept what Jesus did for you, apart from accepting him—and Jesus cannot be anything else than what he is. He is Lord! Therefore, you must accept him as Lord—and Lord means ‘boss!’

The secret of a victorious Christian life is maintaining that Lordship! This points out the greatest deficiency in Christians today. Jesus is not Lord! Some claim him as Savior who have refused him as Lord. Thinking they are on the journey, they have accepted him as Lord, only to let self reign the throne of their lives. They are saved but enslaved. Together, these two groups make up the majority of our church membership. . .”10 Dr. Mahoney later further explains, “. . . Lord means boss, master, owner, commander, or God!”11

Dr. Michael L. Ford recently shared a devotional by Dr. Greg Laurie, titled, “Words That Don't Go Together” in his Thought Today Digest. Dr. Laurie begins, “‘No, Lord,’ Peter declared. ‘ I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.’ But the voice spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’--Acts 10:14-15.” Dr. Laurie explains, “There are certain words that don't go together and certain words that do. ‘ Yes, Lord’--that works nicely. ‘How, Lord?’ --that is fine. ‘When, Lord?’ or even ‘Why, Lord?’ work too. But if you are a Christian, you should never say, ‘No, Lord" or ‘Never, Lord.’”12

Dr. David Haney perceptively notes in The Idea of the Laity: “The emphasis of the church today in on the Saviorhood rather than the Lordship of Christ, an interesting reversal of the Biblical emphasis.

Likewise, we tend to view Christ as Savior as the cause; and Lordship as a possible, but not necessarily, effect. Biblically, however, Lordship is the cause and salvation is the effect! One is saved because Christ is named Lord; salvation is a consequence.”13

We read in Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? ‘ The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Where do you stand? One hymn writer mistakenly writes, “On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, and cast a wishful eye / To Canaan’s fair and happy land, / Where my possessions lie”14 as if Canaan referred to heaven. Are you a natural person, living in the land of bondage; or a carnal person, living in the land of bewilderment; or a spiritual person, living in the land of blessing?

PARADE Magazine recently carried the article by Christine Wicker titled “How Spiritual Are We?”15 It is my prayer that you will go forward in your journey into rest.


1Bob Crittenden interview of Space Shuttle Astronaut, Colonel Patrick G. Forrester Available from: Accessed: 10/22/09 Aired on “The Meeting House” WLBF 89.5 FM Montgomery, Alabama. NASA Astronaut Patrick G. Forrester Bio Available from: Accessed: 10/22/09

2Rusty Goodman, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” Available from: Accessed: 10/22/09

3C. Weldon Gaddy, Geography of the Soul (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 25

4F.B. Meyer, Abraham, or The Obedience of Faith (New York/Chicago/Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1890), pp. 44-45

5Gaddy, Geography of the Soul, p. 54

6Cleland B. McAfee, “Near to the Heart of God” (1903) Available from: Accessed: 10/22/09

7Robert K. Brown, Mark R. Norton, William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen, The One Year Book of Hymns (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1995), January 24 Reading

8Kerry L. Skinner, “Choices: Stress or Rest”/ website: / email: / Via E-mail: 10/30/09

9Brown, Norton, Petersen and Petersen, The One Year Book of Hymns, January 24 Reading

10James Mahoney, Journey Into Fullness: From bondage to conquest in the Christian life (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1974), pp. 23-24

11Mahoney, Journey Into Fullness, p. 31

12Greg Laurie, “Words That Don’t Go Together”, Thought Today Digest Number 2330 / via E-mail 11/01/09 Available from: Accessed: 11/01/09

13Mahoney, Journey Into Fullness, pp. 22-23

14Samuel Stinnett, “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” (1787) Available from: Accessed: 10/31/09

15Christine Wicker, “How Spiritual Are We?” PARADE magazine (New York: NY: PARADE Publications, October 4, 2009), pp. 4-5