Ever since the book of Exodus was written, God's people have wondered, "Did God really harden Pharaoh's heart, and if so, why and how?" I don't believe God did it through any mysterious, hidden means...but simply by showing him increasing amounts of His miracle-working power! Not about to submit to anyone but himself, the more Pharaoh saw, the more he wanted no part of God or His power.
So, what does this mean to those of us who can't sleep sometimes? It might be very significant if our sleeplessness stems from having attended a service where the power of God was particularly strong and having come away with a negative reaction. Perhaps, instead of rejoicing, a part of us recoiled the same way Pharaoh did. Pulling back, we might have thought, "Leave me alone. I'm not ready for this yet!"
Jesus predicted that each one of us would experience an initial, negative reaction to His power when He said, "...no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, The old is better" But, although we may have initially retreated and said, "The old is better!" the challenge now is not to remain frightened or to harden our heart forever, as Pharaoh did. Instead, be open to growth, pass through this stage, and begin to anticipate the opportunity to go on even further.
If you have ever lived in a house with a basement, I'd bet that whenever you had something uncomfortable to look at, or that you just didn't know what to do with, you simply shoved it into the basement!
That's fine for old belongings, perhaps, but unfortunately that's also what many of us may have done with hurts, painful experiences, rejections and anger that we didn't know what to do with as we were growing up. We simply shoved them into the "basement" of our mind and closed the door. Sooner or later, the area becomes overfilled and can overflow in upsetting ways at the least appropriate times...pain, depression, fear, anger, problems with relationships and loneliness.
What can be done with all this debris left over from the old nature? God has the one solution. Let it die! Don't try to clean the debris out of our mind in the natural...the answer is to renounce these thoughts and pains from the past and ask God to heal our mind once and for all. If they try to come back, watch them die of their power over us!
Jesus has given us this incredible power, as the Apostle Paul says, "The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus...For sin shall not be our master, because we are not under law, but under grace" Let the Holy Spirit help us "houseclean" the basement of our mind. As he brings each distasteful emotion or thought to the surface, renounce it; ask God to bring death to it; and know that another victory has been won.. And myself claim it....
Have you ever gone to bed shrugging your shoulders and saying to yourself, "I have no idea what the Lord is going to do about this problem. I guess I'll just leave everything to Him."
The flaw in this approach is that there are times when the Lord wants to draw you into closer fellowship with Him by having you tell Him what you'd like to have or do! Constantly resigning yourself to an attitude of "I don't know what I want; I'll just see what falls into my lap" can defeat the Lord's purpose of training you to actively work and learn to take co-responsibility with Him. That is why He often asked those who came to Him, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
One illustration of this is the story in the Bible of the blind man, Bartimaeus, who, as Jesus passed, started shouting, "'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'...'What do you want me to do for you?' 'Go," said Jesus, 'your faith has healed you.' Immediately, he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road" Can you imagine the Son of God asking a blind person, "What do you want me to do for you?" This question keenly demonstrates how much He longs to establish two-way communication with each of us. So before we sleep everynight, spend some time thinking through what we really want...what we really want Him to do for us. Then, ask Him and peacefully await His response.
How many nights have you been unable to sleep because of the "traffic" in your head? As one girl put it, "The minute I lie down, the craziest thoughts start spinning around. Some don't even make sense. Like at two this morning, I was awake worrying about who to invite to my birthday party three months from now! How can I stop this mind traffic and get a good night's sleep?
I desire that all the distracting traffic in your head be stopped, not just tonight, but every night. Have you ever seen a chicken sleep with its head tucked serenely under its wing? Imagine sleeping in a position like that...with your mind at peace, tucked safely under the protection of Christ's wings! God wants us to have that same unruffled serenity every time we lie down.
The Psalmist David had this in mind when he said, "the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings...You have been a shelter for me, And a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Know tonight that this peace and shelter that David talks about is available to us.. mentally, emotionally and spiritually as we rest securely in the shelter of Christ's arms and release all cares, concerns and anxieties to Him. He will carry them for you, while you rest in peace
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