From the series, “Restoring the Joy”

By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

Psalm 37:7

A little humour for this first week of March, entitled “A Vacation Funny”:

Two friends are talking over lunch in an outdoor patio.

”So what are you doing for summer vacation?” one asks.

The other one replies, “I want to go to Italy again, like last year.”

The first asks, “Wow! You went to Italy last year?”

The other answers, “No, but I wanted to.”

A number of years ago my wife and I went to the Carrier Dome (for you out of towners, that is the dome stadium which is the home of the Syracuse (NY) University sports teams). We were going to take in the Syracuse-West Virginia football game. It was promising to be a GREAT game! By the fourth quarter something was VERY obvious: Syracuse’s defense needed a REST! It got to the point that players were laying on the field and refusing to get up. And the final score showed it: West Virginia 43 Syracuse 0.

Maybe YOUR life is like that! You say, “Pastor, I’m trying to ‘Restore the Joy’.

* I’m not as heated as I used to be over people and things that go wrong.

* I am increasing my trust – my confidence – in the Lord. But more circumstances arise which erode my trust.

* I am learning to desire what God desires, but there are so many things I need NOW.

* AND I am rolling my way – my world – out before the Lord.

But Pastor, that roll seems to be getting longer, not shorter.


Dennis Weaver, the brilliant character actor, starred in the original Twilight Zone’s drama entitled “Shadow Play”. It was about a man sentenced to death, yet instead lived a dream that never ended, only repeating itself over and over. These was the narrator’s (Rod Serling, the producer) closing narration:

“We know that a dream can be real, but who ever thought that reality could be a dream? We exist, of course, but how, in what way? As we believe, as flesh-and-blood human beings, or are we simply parts of someone’s feverish, complicated nightmare? Think about it, and then ask yourself, do you live here, in this country, in this world, or do you live, instead, – in The Twilight Zone?”

You think, “I need to REST!” And that is just what the Lord has for you today: REST!

But not like you expected! Not a 70 year nap and then away in glory. For God’s “rest” is unique. The word “rest” means:

To be silent

To be still

To stand still

To wait with silent patience and…submission!

As safely in the hands of One Who is wiser than us!

So what is “The Rest of the Lord” like? It consists of the “Believer’s Rest”. Alluding to Numbers 14:30, the writer of Hebrews 3:18 records, “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?” The “Rest of the Lord” is NOT for the unbeliever!

God does not take this lightly. It is not understood by the lost. It is often taken for granted by the Christian! When you came to faith in Christ as your Savior, you were “Placed under a Rest” that changed you from darkness to light! It is both a PRESENT REST and a FUTURE REST! It is a present rest, begun by faith. And it is the rest of God from the penalty of sin. Listen again to the author of Hebrews:

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word

which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who

heard it.  For we who have believed do enter that rest…”. Hebrews 4:2-3a

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the

same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11.

And don’t forget that the rest which began by faith at the cross will continue for all eternity. Oh listen to John in Revelation 14:13:

“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead

who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works

follow them.”

Only faith in Christ will give us eternal rest! But the things we do FOR Him on earth will reverberate throughout eternity!

Part of that PRESENT REST is the privilege and joy of the worship of our Savior! Again, John records in Revelation 4:8:

“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and

within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

Another part of that PRESENT REST is the REST OF POWER! The Apostle Paul explains it well in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is

made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my

infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Sounding very much like the author of Psalm 37, the Apostle Paul reminds us of a very vital truth: the trials don’t go away, and neither does the REST OF THE POWER OF THE LORD! In the midst of trial, God’s power is with us!

This is the last lesson in the series, “Restore the Joy”. But it is NOT the end of the lesson! How many of you are familiar with baseball lingo. How about “hitting for the cycle”? For a batter to accomplish the rare feat of hitting for the cycle, in one game he must hit: a single, a double, a triple, and a home run.

To “RESTORE THE JOY”, the believer must get in the cycle of faith that the psalmist has so wisely presented to us!

Read through again the first seven verses of Psalm 37, and note the cycle:


May this cycle become a part of your system, an unconscious automatic process.

Our theme verse:



Psalm 51:12