When I Can’t

Life is beautiful .Young woman and clouds  .

Philippians 4:12-13 (ESV) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I can’t do this again. I just can’t. Do you feel that way today? Life is hard. Struggles are real. The burdens can be overwhelming even to the strongest person. The harsh reality is that some things are unavoidable. Life does not present options when it comes to the tests, trials and troubles that come with each new day. When the hit comes, the employment ends, the debt takes over, the diagnosis comes or the relationship is broken – you have no other choice but to go through it. When you come to the end of your proverbial rope all that is left is to tie a knot and hang on. I understand. I truly do.

Many years ago, our family vacationed in Orlando, Florida. Visiting a water park, our youngest was thrilled to find out she met the height requirement to embark on the giant water slides. For years, I graciously relegated myself to accompany the younger children while my thrill-seeking husband would go with the older children to ride giant roller coasters and water slides. The truth is that I am not a fan of fear. I don’t like adrenaline rushes. I am not okay with being scared. I hid in the kiddie lands and pools of our trips. However, now I felt the pressure not to allow my fear to extend to her so I agreed to go with her. Ugh! Climbing the stairs slowly – she was bounding up them joyfully to keep up with the “big kids”. Arriving at the top, all I could think was “heck no” as I could see the entire park from the vantage point. It was a straight shot to the bottom. I was already backing up when I saw them pack my itty bitty in the tube and her say, “Come with me, mama!” How could I back out now? I didn’t. I want my children to be brave and courageous. I did not want to give her the spirit of fear. God doesn’t give us that spirit either. At the bottom, my little girl was jumping up and down ready to go again. Overcoming fear is a challenge every day. Some opportunities come with choices, others there is no choice.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I wish I could say that the “I can do” comes before the trial or trouble is over but it is my experience that most days I feel the weakness in certain areas of my life. When our son was in the midst of battling cancer, time and time again people would say, “I couldn’t do it.” Friend, when that thing you fear the most does happen – you have no choice but to do something. It may not be pretty or how you expected to respond but you will do something as long as you are breathing. The Lord offers us strength and power. His Spirit inside of us the essence of His Strength and Power. Looking at the verse right before this power verse that is readily shared, printing, and projected is the truth about the strength Paul speaks of – I know…

Proverbs 8:14 (ESV) I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” is a forgotten truth found in Hosea in the Old Testament. It is true today. Faith dies, hope dies and people die because they claim to know God but simply don’t know Him at all. Jesus is the Word of God who came wrapped in flesh so that people could be brought back to life. The Word of God written through inspiration of the Holy Spirit are pieces of the Bread of Life to be consumed on an ongoing basis just as regular food. It feeds our soul giving us the counsel, sound wisdom and insight that gives us strength. Scripture reading, meditation, memorization and recitation is a form of communion offered to us each day. It empowers us with the truth about every situation. It shows us the possibilities of faith. It adds weight to the anchor called hope. Proverbs 24:5 tells us that “a wise man is full of strength and a man of knowledge enhances his might.” We need God’s Word to feed our spirit and overcome our flesh every day. Failure to thrive in a human being is a condition of malnourishment. It cannot be overcome in a day but is resolved with a solid nutrition plan over the course of time. Is your spirit man starving today? Have you been feeding him or her on a regular and ongoing basis? Proverbs 24:10 states candidly “if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is too small.”

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I can’t. I hate to admit this when it is true. I loathe my weaknesses. I don’t expect to fail so when I do it is the ultimate letdown. Who does? Our person comes prepackaged with this little (or not-so-little thing) called pride. It is the flesh. It rivals the Spirit inside of us because it must die to give up control. Pride fights to the death to be in control. Humility is not fashionable and deemed weakness in the world. What is that thing you have pleaded with the Lord about? What is the very thing that keeps coming back to fight your feelings and flesh time and time again? Why? Why does it keep happening? Why God? It is okay to ask God why as long as we do so with the understanding that His Ways are higher than our own and His Thoughts, so it is with full knowledge that it is probably still going to allude our intellect. I will never let God do until I can’t. There I said it… the truth that must come to light but is never going to feel good at first.

Faith is not about what I can do but what I allow Christ to do in and through me. It is in my weakness that His Strength and Power can work miracles in my life. When I finally quit trying to control the outcome, do everything for Him, or be something that I am not. It is that moment when I cry out to the Lord, “I can’t do this anymore” that He can finally rush in and fill the voided bravado and façade of control to be my strength and my power. He promises to be my strength and shield so while He is fighting my battles, righting my way, healing my body, working every detail for my good – His Hand still keeps me safe. He is covering me. It hurts. I am weak. The Lord offers to be my strength today. He is ready to release His Power in my life because when I am weak…I am strong.

Psalm 73:25-26 (ESV) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” How do I find my way from desperation to delight in the same breath? Reading Psalm 73 this morning, I hear the Lord whisper, “I know the desires of your heart. I haven’t forgotten. I am not done yet.” Oh, how I needed such encouragement. Peaks and valleys do not change the heart or mindset of God concerning His Children. His Intentions for us are always the same. The outcome of the test or trial including our ability to remain faithful in it or not does not change what God is doing in us and for us. It is all working together for our good and His Glory if we can just remember that God is a good father. His Love is constant. His Power is mighty. His Strength invincible. He is working it in us and through us. Our flesh will fail. Our heart might go with it. BUT God…He is my strength of heart and my portion forever. He will never fail because His Love for me never fails.

Psalm 84:5-7 (ESV) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

Isaiah 40:29 (ESV) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Psalm105:4 (ESV) Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Just like that, fireworks for my spirit and soul. These promises are for those who think they can’t do it anymore. Those who are growing weary in well-doing. The ones considering climbing down from watchtower of waiting. The ones who might feel they are drowning in doubt or weighed down by discouragement. The valley is deep but God’s Love is deeper. The night seems dark but Light lives in you. You may feel faint but don’t worry His Strength is about to take over. Maybe the drought in your life is not meant to be doused with rain but saturated by the spring welling up within you. Sometimes it is our expectation that limits us until we put all of our expectation in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the One who promised us a rich and satisfying life so maybe it is His Way, His Truth and His Life we needed all along. Perhaps it had to come to this for us to finally reach out and take hold of Him. Who knows? All I know is that when I feel like I can’t – Jesus not only promised that He can but that He will!

Psalm 68:35 (ESV) Awesome is God from his sanctuary the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

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The One Thing

The One Thing

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Have you ever had those days, weeks or months when you just can’t seem to get on top of it? Tasks are greater than time. Responsibilities are overtaking rest. Frustration eats at faith. Discouragement begins to set in. If not you, then maybe it is only me. I know “this too shall pass”, but sometimes it feels like the season goes on and on. Glancing at the books on the table, a pile stacked high of must-reads for me and some to evaluate for the next Bible Study group at church. It seems the more I try to yield to God’s Calling and Purpose in my life the greater the challenges that seem to come. I am the owner of my time and must distribute it accordingly. I do not ascribe to the idea that I am any busier than anyone else for there is only 24 hours in a day and I get to choose how I spend it. When the demands of family, work, church and life in general seem bigger than the allotment in our day. It is seriously time to evaluate what we are doing and who we are doing it for.

I can do all things through Christ. It says it right there in black and white. Jesus is my strength. Matthew 11 is the offer of my Jesus to let me yoke myself with Him and He will help me carry every load and burden each day. I don’t always remember that. Do you? Sometimes I am guilty of taking control of my schedule, to-do list and expectation. He has promised to do far greater than I can think, ask or imagine. However, the human component called flesh and pride will gladly try to get a foot in the door and take over completely. The idea that I have a worthwhile and meaningful contribution outside of Christ is ridiculous. I am selfish and hardhearted in my human form. It is the Christ in me that produces all the good stuff. The good fruit worthy of others and the potential of my life.

Our life is mostly made of good intentions but seldom is there time to follow through. Giving our time up for lesser things, there is nothing to give to allowing Jesus to overtake us with His Unfailing Love or allow His Goodness to reach us. We are on the run – here and there trying to good things that are futile compared to the Favor offered to me by God. Working harder not smarter for sure as I sometimes lack the wisdom to see that He who lives in me is greater than little ole me.

This morning would be no exception. The last few weeks at work have been more than stressful with many deadlines and few hands to meet client expectation. I love my job. The Lord has blessed me with a good one. I am thankful for it. It is just one of those seasons. It will soon all fall into place but driving home in the blurriness of exhaustion – it is hard to see past the fog in my head. With Mother’s Day approaching and now just around the bend, one more wake up and I must be ready to bless all the mom’s in our church. I agreed to the task. I am called to serve women. I love doing it as much as I sometimes joke that I do not. I decided from the beginning not to enlist any help in preparation. The women in our church serve every other day so I wanted them to peacefully enjoy their own time. Now on the eve of Mother’s Day, I have a to-do list a mile long. Lord, I need you to be my strength today. I desire you above all things. Life. Life is hard. There are struggles. There are busy times and wasted moments that comprise the summation of our life. Lord, teach me those that are important.

I Corinthians 10:23 (NLT) You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

Each morning when I wake up to spend some time with the Lord is different and unique. There are times it takes a while to meander with Him and find the Word that He has for me. Other times, He gently nudges me awakening me from sleep. Not the case today, I was met with the desperate barks of our new puppy who despite her sleepy owners needed a potty break. I just want to sleep. Find rest. Escape all the “things” waiting for me “to do” today. This morning – the Lord came to me directly and purposefully when I finally stopped doing things to listen for His Voice. This is what He said, “Yes, you can do all things through me. But have you done the One Thing?” It was as if I was a student in the classroom and the Holy Spirit my teacher. The passages written in black on the white dry erase board. Listen. Look at this. Think about it. Meditate on it. Marinate in it. Find your place in this – I can do all things through Christ. I am allowed to do anything. Grace has me covered. Mercy meets me each new day. Christ lives in me so I am free to live my life as I choose to do so. I am indeed allowed to do anything…but not everything is beneficial.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 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.

Understanding the difference between permissible and beneficial and applying to our life is called wisdom. We know a lot of things about the Lord claiming to believe them. Faith is demonstrated by trust. Those who are fully dependent on the Lord yoked in life to Jesus Christ do not grow weak and weary often but those who do not discern the differences between permissible and beneficial often go it alone. God’s Grace allows us to do most anything. His Mercy catches us if we should stumble. But sometimes it is not a matter of sin, but service. We are trying so hard to please others and prove ourselves worthy of a love and grace that is priceless. We wear ourselves out trying to obtain that which is already given. Have you never heart? Do you not understand? The Lord is an everlasting God who never grows weak or weary! He lives in you and me giving us purpose and limitless potential if we would only believe.

Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them. He causes everything to work out right. I love God. I am called according to His Purpose so even when I take on too much or overdo it, Jesus is still living in me with the offer to share the burden and carry the load. I must trust Him. Our good intentions are permissible and even beneficial but must be done with a pure heart. There will be difficult seasons. There will be blinding storms. There will be closed doors that seem impossible to open. Mountains much too high to climb and heavy to move. Pressure moves out of us the purpose that God put in us because it pushes us into His Presence. Are you tired? Frustrated? Exhausted? Overwhelmed? Just plain stressed out? I have the answer…

Psalm 27:4-6 (NLT) The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.

The Presence of God changes everything. All things are possible to those who believe enough to invest faith along with time into seeking His Face, basking in His Glory and spending time in the Presence of the Lord. After long days at work, during my 40-minute commute, I will play my favorite worship songs and dive into His Presence headlong. I know I need Jesus every day, hour and minute. I need His Presence to permeate my life tangibly. Christ lives in me. He invites me to come to Him – I must respond to His Call to come and find myself all over again. To make Him the ONE THING rather than trying to do everything.

I can do all things in Christ. He is my Strength and Way Maker. He is working everything together for my good because God loves me. I have responded to His Love likewise and now try to live according to His Purpose. My purpose is to love and serve Him. To be of one heart, mind and spirit with Jesus Christ. I must remember before attempting anything to one thing first – seek Him. My desire for Christ must be greater than any natural drive that I have. To love Him. Pursue Him. Please Him. Delight in Him as He delights in me. He must be the first thing on every list. The last thing I do every day. The reason I live, breathe, move and exist for every single second and each breath I take. If I can do this one thing, Jesus will give me the strength to do all the other beneficial things that I would like to do!

Psalm 36:5-9 (NLT) Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Sowing Victory

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Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

I am tired. I am weary. I am overwrought. Worried. Stressed and fearful. Life is hard. Pressures are mounting. I believe that there are certain seasons that as the Lord fights for us that somehow it bears down around us in the atmosphere. I know that she is just a little dog. I know that God created her and many would say that she has no soul. Yet, she brings me great joy. She is loyal and loving. She is also very, very sick. As if this week wasn’t hectic enough, still no Christmas tree up, my to-do list not done, not to mention fighting off a case of the holiday blues – our little dog decided to try potpourri – it must have smelled delicious. So she foraged through a bowl of it until she found the scented pod filled with oil and decided to gnaw on it. This made her terribly ill. Now it is the end of the week, she refuses to eat. She is becoming weaker. Two visits to the vet, multiple medications and fluids – still she refuses to eat. I am sick inside. Not sure if it is all about her or the fact that life seems full of the unexpected. You can seldom rely on settled because at every twist and turn the unknown greets you.

Don’t be misled. I am being misled today. No one can mock the justice of God. No matter how I feel in this season, the seeds planted in my last season will grow its fruit. If I planted faith, it will be faith that I feast on. If I sowed worry, I will only become more fearful over time. Those who live in the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. On days like today, when exhaustion and frustration threaten the seed that I am planting, I must take another look around me and evaluate my circumstances according to the Word of God which clearly states through many scriptures that there will indeed be days like this. But it also promises that my current condition do not dictate my future that is defined by hope. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. I must not give up.

Psalm 24:7-8 (NLT) Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle.

The Lord is invincible in battle. He is strong and mighty. He is the King of Glory. He is victory. God never loses a battle or war that He engages in. He is omnipotent or all powerful. He is the Creator of everything. He has predetermined the outcome of every situation according to His Will. Before waging war against our enemies, it is imperative that one believes that our Lord is all-powerful and always victorious. Then…

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Overwhelming victory belongs to me because Jesus loves me. Not occasional wins but overwhelming victory is mine. What about days like today when I do not feel victorious? It is on days like today that the faith and hope sown in my heart yesterday bears fruit to sustain me for today. My life is lived from victory to victory. He changes me from glory to glory. This is a promise. It is not a suggestion. Victory in Jesus is given by His Grace. There is nothing I can do to earn it or precipitate it but rather must accept it. Wait for it. Believe it.

Why? With all my faults and failures, why would the Lord allow me to live victoriously? Because victory was predestined for my life and is not contingent on me but rather my existence. When I was born, God’s Plan for me was set into motion. Each day God’s Goodness and Unfailing Love pursue me. Am I running from it or stepping into it? This is the difference between whether or not I am living in defeat or walking in victory. Faith is the game changer. Do I believe that God loves me? Do I truly understand that His Grace is absolutely enough to make me a winner in every situation, circumstance, trial and trouble that I go through? If not, I should.

Finally, it is important to note that the Lord does not start naming all the seen faith inhibitors but the unseen predators. Death or life. Angels or demons. Fears and worries. Tomorrow. Powers of hell. Nothing in all of creation seen or unseen will ever be able to separate you or me from the Love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Why? His Grace is enough for me. I can overcome and be victorious in all things when faith in Christ is cultivated in my heart day by day.

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NLT) For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

We are not fighting flesh and blood. Even if your adversary has a face and breath in their body, they are not the problem. Ever. It is every – evil ruler of the unseen world, mighty powers of darkness, and evil spirits of the heavenly realm. See you cannot see the enemy although he often uses people to do his bidding. We must concentrate on winning the battle for our heart so that faith is planted and not fear. Guard our mind taking hold of every thought contrary to God and His Word and casting it down, stepping over it and putting it far behind us. We will win a few and lose a few because of our humanness and that’s okay as long as we get back up and get back to it.

These powers and rulers of the darkness – the minions of the enemy of our soul are not after us. They want to destroy the God in us. They want to steal our faith and fill us with fear. They want us to buy into the lie rather than investing in the Promises of God for our life. They are trying to convince us to forfeit that power and authority that Christ has given us to take hold of despair, disappointment and defeat. Well, I say not today devil!

Hebrews 11:32-35 (NLT)  How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.

How much more do I need to say? How many battles are you willing to engage in? How many fights are you willing to face? The faith inside you is under attack. Every force and power in hell is trying to lure you away from God’s Love because they cannot touch you. They can only lie to you. To win a battle means little if we do not win the war. Wars are comprised of many battles with varying degrees of importance. Though what you are facing seems small it may be leading to something much bigger…will you fight for it. Maybe what you are going through today seems impossible…will you give up or choose to endure? God is the God of Impossibilities. Jesus provided enough grace for us to stand in every battle. The Lord is invincible. He fights for us even when we no longer are willing to fight for ourselves. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate.

All those who were victorious attained it by faith? I am quite sure that Daniel was preparing to die when he was cast into a den of hungry lions yet once inside the lions were not hungry anymore. See God goes before us. He goes with us. The Lord works behind us pursuing us with Goodness, Grace and Unfailing Love. He perfects that which concerns us. He makes good of every detail of our life. Every step my foot takes by faith and trust in the Lord leads me to victory. We must sow victory in our life through faithfulness and by trusting the Lord so in the moment of despair, disappointment and destruction – we win victories by faith in God rather than fear of the enemy!

Psalm 144:1-2 (NLT) Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. He makes the nations submit to me.

To be completely honest, frustration got the best of me in the wee dark hours of the morning. As I had to reach inside her kennel and gently rouse our sick and sleepy little dog. I knew she wasn’t interested but I had to try so I once again I began offering anything I could think of she might eat. She just turned her head. I held her close to my face and in a stern whisper said, “You know what if you don’t want to eat…fine. If you don’t want to live…that’s fine, too.” Then I walked her back to her crate. Going into my office to have some “quiet time” with the Lord, I am sure He heard me coming with all my negativity and grumbling going on under my voice.

God spoke just one word to my hurting heart. Victory! You have the victory today! It is up to you to take hold of it, to walk in it, believe in it, and to secure it. I don’t have to fight for victory just fight for my faith that gets caught up in worthless things sometimes rather fully standing on God’s Promise for my life each day. All impossible things are possible. Every negative has a positive exchange. God is fighting for me. The Lord is winning all my battles. I just have to say it is well with my soul and stay firmly positioned in His Presence and stand confidently on each promise.

Thank you Jesus for reminding me today that I have victory in all things. With this revelation, I retrieved our sick fur baby from her bed and began speaking life and resurrection power over her. I had to pull up those words that cursed her and plant words of faith, hope and love in their place. I wrapped her in a blanket and tucked her in on my lap to write this blog and it is where she is sleeping right now. What’s is spoken in our life grows into the harvest of our life? Sowing seeds of doubt, worry and fear will only produce more of the same leading to death. Is there something in your life that needs resurrection power and life today? We must speak life over those things in our life that are dying. We must let go of worthless worry and sinful stress that overtakes our mind and attacks our faith. We must look past this light and momentary troubles to the everlasting glory that is to come. We win. We will win the battle but most importantly we win the war. Walk in victory today my friend! The Lord is with us. All honor, glory and praise to the One who gives me victory today.

Proverbs 21:31 (NLT) The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

If It’s Not One Thing…

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Psalm 138:7-8 (NKJV) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Do you ever feel that way? Trouble comes and goes making room for something else it seems. Last night, my husband and I attended a visitation for a man of God who is the father, father-in-law, and grandfather of many of our friends. The place was packed. People gathered to honor the man and the room resounded his legacy of love and kindness to others. As I walked to the front of the church embracing my sweet friend, I could not help but feel her heaviness and feel completely helpless in alleviating her burden. Her mama so weak and frail standing next to her husband now with Jesus. I could not “do” a single thing to ease her burden or lighten her load. As everyone visited in the little church together, conversation turned to “how are you doing” and “how’s the family” as people began to catch up with one another. Burdens and concerns were shared amongst each other when one person said, “If it’s not one thing, its another.”

Well…getting into the truck to head home, I had missed a call from our youngest daughter. She called to tell me that our little dog was very sick. She had apparently found some potpourri and decided to try to eat it. The thought occurred to me right then and there, too. If it’s not one thing its another. Now as I sit in my quiet time this morning with the Lord, our tiny little creature is shaking in my lap while I wait for the vet to open. She is very sick. Sadly, our family just said goodbye to our other little elderly dog just a couple of weeks ago. I am concerned this morning. Concerned for friends with broken hearts, others with broken bodies, some with broken marriages and more. Though I feel almost guilty for having such concern for an animal with so many friends facing so many things there is comfort in God’s Word. My heart is reminded of this precious promise in Psalm 138 – “the Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”

One might think that this is regarding those who are enduring terrible times and tough trauma. Concern is not the high alert, panic button but it can be that thing causing your brow to furrow a bit or even what gains a second thought. As trouble escalates, it certainly can reach a higher level and without hesitation it is taken to God. But how many times do we say, think or even pray as not to bother God with little things like a sick pet or unexpected anything in life? God wants to perfect what concerns you today. He wants to do His Will and release His Plan for your life. Will you accept?

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)  In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

When Jesus told us how to pray, He was specific. “In this manner, therefore, pray! The prayer model is not grandiose but granular. First, we call Him Father. God I honor Your Great Name today. “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” This one phrase releases our Father God to be who He promised to be and do what He said that He would do in our life. We take a step back and tell Him – You lead the way today. Give us this day our daily bread. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Maybe this “daily bread” is not about what we will eat or drink or even sleep tonight after all His Word says that He will supply all of our needs according to His Riches. Maybe this more about a daily dose of Jesus who is the One that feeds our soul so that as our spirit man grows there is more room for heaven to fill our existence on the earth. Of course, then there is that little thing called forgiveness that keeps all of lives imperfections from growing into bitterness that will kill every godly work in us. We need the Lord’s Help or Helper to keep us from temptation especially the one that tells us to give up or give in along with His Deliverance from the evil one who pursues us relentlessly day and night trying to steal our joy and kill our confidence in our Father God. See we don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Whether what we face is major like the death of a loved one or minor like a sick pet – His Word is true. God is perfecting that which concerns us today.

Matthew 11:27-30 (NKJV) All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

God is in control. He has given Jesus Christ all power and authority over His People. In life if it’s not one thing it will always seem to be another. We were told ahead of time to expect tests and trials in life. Our goal at the end of the day is complete and total trust in Jesus Christ. To trust Him with every major thing and every minor detail of life. To pray about everything and worry about nothing. To revisit our Lord’s request to come those who labor and are heavy laden from this perspective means to give all our burdens to Christ not just the one’s deemed worthy of His Attention. His Word promises that He will perfect that which concerns me today. It doesn’t have to be a big deal but can be the smallest thing and He will perfect it.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NKJV) He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

God is perfect in all of His Ways. Our imperfection tempts us to settle for less than God’s Best. Sin caused us to fall short of His Glorious Standard of Living. When Jesus died on the Cross, He marched into hell and took the keys of death and the grave back. He then proclaimed victory over our life. He handed us the Keys to the Kingdom and now it is up to me if I will live according to His Kingdom or settle for my circumstances here on earth. If I choose God’s Way, it is perfect. It means that I must have faith in what I cannot see and trust that He will perfect that which concerns me every time. It means releasing control and waiting for God to do His Will – not always my will. Yet in doing so, comes the promise that no matter how many times “it’s not one thing than it’s another” that the Lord will take all my burdens and perfect all that concerns me. There is nothing too big or small for the compassion and care of our Savior and Lover of our soul. Give it all to Jesus today. All of it. Holding nothing back until His Kingdom comes.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

Good Advice for Friday

Good Advice for Friday

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

At the end of a race, the runner often will stop and lean over putting their hands on their waist or knees trying to catch their breath. I am not a runner but I know the feeling. It’s Friday! The glorious day that makes way for the weekend is finally here. It has been a long strenuous week. My husband returns from his final training trip which has only added to the pressure of the last five days. For months now, a week has been devoted to company training far from home while mama kept the home fires burning. I feel like that runner today who cannot stop their lungs from burning or hold in enough oxygen to gain back any strength. Even in our best effort to trust and lean on the Lord, we still get tired and overwhelmed sometimes. Marching for the Lord’s Army is a lot of responsibility on any given day. There is opposition. There is responsibility. There is temptation. For those who live in this world but are not of this world, there are two forces battling for our attention. Could it be that there is purpose in our inability to keep going sometimes? When our mind, soul and body begin to shut down to rest? Of course there is.

Can I encourage you a little bit today? I need to do so for myself so let’s do it together. We put way more responsibility on our shoulders than Jesus ever would. We try to run faster, harder, and farther than anyone else as if in some competition. When the Lord tells us to trust Him and lean on His Understanding. Is that enough for us? To be more specific, the Word of God says to trust the Lord with ALL your heart. Wow, that’s a lot. Do you trust the Lord today? I know this is always good advice but we will move forward to practical steps once we take in this simple truth which is good advice.

To trust the Lord with all our heart requires a true dependency on Him. Most of the time, we expect supernatural results in our life without applying any faith to the matter. Faith is how we trust the Lord. It is to take His Word and do exactly what it says without looking to the world to satisfy it but just doing it anyway. Seek Him in all you do! Do you look for Jesus in every single aspect of your life? I mean right down to making your grocery list – you can ask the Lord for discernment and He will honor that request. We serve a practical and logical God if we apply the right understanding and wisdom to our cause. I know that you are tired and it has been a long week – but stay with me just a little longer. Let’s walk out this Friday together. Like a walker pacing the other side of the finish line in order to normalize breathing. We must breathe in the understanding that we must seek His Will in all we do and He will show us His Path.

I Corinthians 9:24-26 (NLT) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23) Think about this for a minute. I know you are running late. It’s your turn to bring donuts to the office. Your kid just remembered a project is due this morning resulting in pandemonium. The dog just threw up. Are you ready to give up? Call this day a bust. Why is life so hard? No matter how hard I try to do what is right – why do I always seem to end up right here – facedown and on my knees asking for just a little more mercy and grace to make it to the weekend. Oh wait, will that be better? It’s packed with commitments when I could not say “no”. Keep walking. Keep a steady pace. Why? There is purpose in every step you take. God takes pleasure in every detail of our life. He perfects that which concerns us. (Psalm138:8) He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Do you love the Lord today? Well, He loves you more. Every step you take today whether walking in sunshine, strolling on the mountaintop, battling the storm or the valley of death – God is with you. He loves you. He is working on your behalf. Your job is just muster up enough faith to take one more step no matter how hard it seems because of the promise hidden in each one.

2 Timothy 2:4-6 (NLT) Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

As we consider ourselves part of the Lord’s Army, we must constantly evaluate our weaponry. David would not wear Saul’s Armor because it was too big and heavy for the boy. God had not ordained him to be king yet so the mantle was not for him. Is it possible that we get to big for our britches sometimes and try to take on things that we are not ready for or called to do? God’s Armor for our lives is specific – the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, sword of the spirit, gospel of peace, belt of truth. See God gave you enough protection to make it through the fight to step into victory today even though you are mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, overwrought and overwhelmed. Actually, you have fallen into the place that He desire most for when I am weak – His Grace becomes sufficient for me.

Soldiers of God’s Army – have you gotten tied up in civilian affairs. His Ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Are you soaring with the eagles? Or are you roosting with the turkeys who never leave the ground? It really is up to you where you live. In the Presence of God or at the mercy of people, opinions and this life – soldiers desire peace and prepare for war. They do not get distracted by the common problems all around them but keep their eye on the horizon watching for the enemy’s advances. Sometimes we must get off by ourselves and get washed in the Word, covered by the Blood and back in line with our Commander and Chief to fulfill our commission which is not bickering and fighting among ourselves.

Athletes follow the rules. The Word of God is our directions for life. His Spirit takes the Word and gives us divine discernment and understanding so that it can be applied to life as a whole. When we forsake reading the Word of God – we fly blindly. You might as well close your eyes and start walking. We must be committed to the race of faith. We must fight to win by faith not function. Today are there areas of your life not fully surrendered. If a runner runs every single day and exercises faithfully but eats terribly – will they win? I mean the race is determined by how fast we run. Not always. If it is a marathon, it is based on distance not speed. Life is a marathon. How do I know? The one who endures to the end is saved.

Finally – the farmer bless his/her heart. Works from morning ‘til night caring for his seeds as they sprout and grow into a harvest. When the harvest comes, the farmer is encouraged by the Lord to “enjoy the fruit of their labor”. Me-time is not a bad thing. To enjoy life is part of the fullness of Christ. To live your life miserable and exhausted just getting by is not the standard of living that Jesus died to give us, but a rich satisfying life. Do you enjoy the fruits of your labor? If no, you should.

I Thessalonians 5:14-24 (NLT) Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

I find that many times when I look back at why I am overtired or have run out energy but still have some week left, that it is usually my own dumb fault. Today, for example, I stayed up too late finishing a painting project in our new house. Knowing that I would still get up at 4:30AM, I didn’t go to sleep until well after midnight. Seeking the Lord today, I need strength to make it through today. Lord give me direction on how to get through this weekend rested and refreshed when it is just as full as this week has been. When I read this passage today, I find that He is reminding me of how to live each day not just the one’s I am too tired to invest in but rather showing me solid steps to victory in each moment of every day. They are practical, applicable and will keep me on the right track. Good advice for Friday…well actually good advice period.

It is no surprise that the first step is to keep our eyes on others. It is amazing that as I learn to invest in others I get better at taking care of myself or maybe it is in my obedience and commitment to love others as Christ loves me that I am renewed and refreshed by God so I can pour out more of His Love on others. I am enjoying the fruits of his labor as I labor for Him. Sometimes we gain a better perspective of our life when we look at life through the eyes of others.

We must become grace full. Each day the Lord leaves us new mercies to scoop up and use freely. Do we share that grace with others? To do so is to trust in the Lord because we remove all expectation from other people, this world and this life placing it firmly and completely in the Father’s Hands. Everyone desires grace. I don’t know a person who is not pursing love, affirmation and acceptance from others. I find that what I give then I receive. Give love get love. Give grace get grace. Give Jesus get Jesus!

Always be joyful. Jesus is our joy. We must maintain our relationship with the Lord all day, every day. We do so by talking to Him. Communicating on His Level which is prayer. It is good to maintain an ongoing conversation with the Lord and keeps His Presence tangibly next to us which will result in making better choices along the way. We must be thankful in all circumstances which is a declaration of faith and trust in God alone. We must no stifle the Holy Spirit our guide, teacher, companion and advocate in life. He is not a silent partner, we just tend to stifle him sometimes by ignoring his conviction or convincing in our heart. Do not scoff prophecies. It is easy to study God’s Word and congregate with believers. If we truly believe the knowledge obtained and whispered to us in God’s Word and by His Spirit – it must change our life.

Jesus IS coming back. We must be prepared. Test everything. Do not walk randomly through life but label things good and evil. Choose well. Is what you are doing of the Lord or for Him? If not, walk away. Hold what is good with both hands. Stay away from EVERY KIND OF EVIL. We know the difference. Yet many still entertain dark things in life. It matters what we watch and listen to even in the name of “entertainment”. The very thing that we choose to entertain will dwell with us. God will make you holy if you commit to these things.

It is the surrender and submission of our life that allows Him to meet us in the place of overwhelming exhaustion and lift us up. Last but not least keep your eyes on the prize. This world has nothing for you. He has promised you eternity in heaven. It is worth chasing after and finding your way home even on days like today when you don’t feel as though you can take another step. Sure you can.

Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT) I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

One night over dinner, our teenage son challenged his not-teenage dad to a foot race. I looked at my husband and reminded him that he had nothing to prove to the boy. My husband insisted otherwise. So after a full meal, the two headed outside for a little competition. I tried to dissuade my husband from engaging in the sprint as he had not run in a while not to mention just eating dinner. He insisted he was fine and they were off. Well, father did beat his son…though barely. It is a heavily disputed finish and our son insists that his dad cheated. Nevertheless, walking back inside I found my husband sitting in our room with trying to catch his breath. His face was blood red. I really thought he was about to have a heart attack and I am pretty sure he did, too. He had no business running up and down the road full speed like that but his pride made him do it anyway. How many times do we spend our life, waste our time, and expend our energy on things that don’t really matter because our pride will not allow us to walk away? God has supplied everything we need to live a godly life. In fact, He supplies all our needs. The Lord directs our steps which are sufficiently supplied so we just walk them out. But we run ahead, jump around, get distracted or decide to do things ourselves removing the yoke of faith from Christ to embrace the words, “I will do it myself.” When we allow ourselves to become overwrought and exhausted it is a clear sign that we have engaged in activity that is not from God but of ourselves. When we adopt the philosophy as Children of God that “if I don’t do it no one will” then we have allowed pride to take the place of faith that says, “With God, all things are possible.” There must be balance in our life to run the race and fight the good fight of faith. We must live in this world but remember we are not of it. We must stop engaging in “civilian affairs” because greater is He who lives in me then he that is in the world. It is written that no weapon formed against me can prosper so my wounds must be self-inflicted by disobedience. All those times that I impatiently chose my way rather than allowing God to work it all out. We are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time we started living like it? Good advice for Friday. Good advice for life.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.

 

When I Am Weak

When I Am Weak

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I am weary. Actually, I am exhausted. I feel like when I sleep each night that I am regaining just enough strength and energy to last through the next day. The empty light of my body is burning brightly. Going through the motions of life, I feel like I am living from to-do list to to-do list without enough time in a day to catch up. We moved out on Monday, closed on Tuesday, moved in the same day, unloaded and unpacked for two days until it was done. Wednesday was back to work along with five days of church/revival. Late nights and long days have taken a toll on my body and mind but not my spirit. Physically and mentally, I am worn slap out as they say in the South. Poke me with a fork…no please don’t…I am done.

Internet is out this morning with an error flashing on the modem. Add it to the list. My body needs rest. My mind needs quiet time. As I sit in my daily conversation with the Lord today, I cry out to Him from this place of sheer exhaustion. I need rest, Lord. As I read Matthew 11:28-30 again today, I try to tear it apart into bite size pieces that will nourish and replenish my weary soul. Come to me. Here I am, Lord! Yet in this place with you, Jesus, I am still tired, weary and exhausted. I need your rest. Where do I find it?

“I will give you rest.” It sounds so simple. We interrupt the elongated to-do list, overbearing schedule, ridiculous routine, and overwhelming responsibilities carried in life for this message from the Lord. Jesus wants to give us rest today. It is up to us if we will take this Gift from God just like every other blessing and promise that He offers. I am learning day by day that the inheritance of God with all of its favor and prosperity come to us as a Gift. A humble offering from the Hand of God offered to His People. It is up to us whether or not it is accepted and applied to our life. Many of the burdens carried by God’s People are not given by the Lord but self-assumed by an inability to trust and depend on Jesus.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” There are some key words in this verse that are often overlooked by overachievers. Those people who think that they serve a performance driven task master rather than a perfect Savior. I am not pointing at you because I am do busy self-identifying. The key words are “take”, “learn” and “will”. We must take His Yoke upon us. We must learn from the Lord. Those who do will find rest for their souls. As our soul prospers, so will we.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) Therefore since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have on who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

“Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” (John 4:6) Jesus was tired. He was weary. He was thirsty. Jesus knows our weakness and limitations firsthand. He understands the weakness in our flesh that leads to weariness. The Lord ministers to the woman at the well despite his physical weakness and hunger. When the disciples arrive, they are concerned about their Master’s state. Jesus tells them, “My food is to do the Will of Him who sent me and to finish His Work.” (John 4:34) What feeds our soul? Serving the Lord in all humility with total and complete dedication. Is it enough to overcome human limitation and shortcomings? Absolutely.

In Deuteronomy 25:17-19 comes a warning for those who serve God. The enemy attacks us when we are weary and weak. We need Jesus more than ever during that time. The Amalekites seized the opportunity to attack and overtake those who lagged behind in weariness. The enemy watches and waits for the moment that we fall behind due to fatigue or exhaustion. He just has to catch us off guard or sleeping. We cannot allow such things to hinder us. When we are tired, it is not the time to sleep in but get up and press into the Word of God, His Presence, and pray until our burdens are once again yoked to Christ. Do not forsake your fellowship with other believers. Just as you push to make it to work even when you are tired and sick or sick and tired, it is important to gather with those who urge you, stir you and motivate you to a closer walk with Christ.

Matthew 26:40-41 (NIV) Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he said to Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Continuing to read this passage, it tell us that the disciples continued to sleep even as the Lord pleaded with them to watch and pray. In verse 43, it says, “When he came back, he again found the sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.” We have weak flesh. We need a willing spirit to overcome the insufficiencies of our flesh. Even in our willingness, it is hard to overcome our humanness some days but God offers a wonderful solution for us. It is called His Grace. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Nobody likes to admit weakness. But the Lord promises that those who rely on His Grace will find that it is enough for those times. In fact, “when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Could it be that we are allowed to reach our limit so that God can effectively apply more grace to our life?

In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, Paul talks about becoming weak to win the weak and becoming all things to all people. It is time for the church to stop acting like they have it all together and live perfect lives. People need to see that our struggle is real. We get tired. We get weak. We have help. Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who came to live among us. We need the Word of God every day. The High Priest who overcame our weaknesses has given us His Spirit. (Romans 8:26-27) We must rely on the Holy Spirit in our life to help us in our weak moments. If the world does not see a human church overcoming weakness by God’s Word and His Spirit – they will never know true worship because neither do we.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I encourage you to declare these words over your life if you are tired, weary and need rest. There is rest for the weary when they look for in the Presence of God. We can come boldly before the Lord today and He will give us more of His Wonderful Grace. Weakness is part of the process by which we discover the Power and Potential of God in us. Let Him be your strength today. It is not a sign of weakness but readiness to be filled with new life, new faith and new hope from the Lord. It is a readied state of receivership for those who know where to go to find rest and restoration. Let the Lord feed and nourish your soul today by doing the Father’s Will in spite of how you feel physically or even emotionally. As our soul prospers so do we.

Psalm34:8-10 (NIV) Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Word for the Weary

Word for the Weary

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

 

Are you weary today? Tired? Exhausted? Are you physically or mentally overworked, overtired or overwrought? Are you fatigued and pained by the pressures of life? The life of a believer is called the good fight of faith which reason. It is a battle to remain standing against the assault of the enemy. It’s early. I was up late. I am so tired that tears are involuntarily falling down my face. Yawn after yawn arise without warning. I was tempted to hit snooze on the alarm and get a few more minutes of sleep but experience tells me that God gives me more in thirty minutes than a well-earned nap ever will so I sit down behind the glare of the monitor and open my journal to a clean new page. All I can think to write is “weary”. Just weary. Lord, do you have a word for the weary ones today. Those who live in your Love by faith holding tightly to confident hope yet feel the strain their heart nevertheless. Surely there is a promise or two for those of us who refuse to let go thought struggling to hang on.

 

This is not about giving up on the Lord, walking away or choosing to backslide or wander. This is about holding on to the promise that God made you until it comes to pass. It is waiting well past our understanding with a mustard seed size of faith to a hope that overwhelms us and seems too unrealistic to expect or undertake. Yet something inside of refuses to quit. Will you meet me in this place Lord? Or is this just part of the test? When I pass it, then will you come to renew and restore me like you promised? When will the weary find rest and replenishment?

 

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Hold on? Those who wait on the Lord SHALL (plan to, intend to, expect to) renew their strength. Is it always up to the Lord to give us new strength? Do we as human beings inhabited by the Holy Spirit have the ability to produce renewal from the inside out? If so, then how? Why must we wait on the Lord? What does patience have to do with anything if Christ lives in me? Good question.

 

Matthew 9:35-37 (NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

 

Jesus was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered. Note – He healed every sickness and disease so this was not physical illnesses and imperfection. There were multitudes of weary people. I wonder if the weariness that Jesus saw was that of the people looking for the Messiah living in the valley of decision who were waiting for something or someone but couldn’t see that He was right there standing in front of them so they were scattered. The harvest is plenty. The laborers are few. Many people walk into church one way and leave just like they came. We must have compassion like Jesus and become mission minded. I can meet the physical needs of others simply by sharing what I have. It doesn’t require faith or trust just a change of heart. We can tell others how to walk in righteousness or we can take them by the hand and escort them to Jesus. Either way their walk does not impact my ability to seek and trust God on my own. Weariness is exhaustion produced by hard work. When we give our all to follow Jesus and seek His Presence in our life, even when the reward is not clearly evident or seems impossible, yet we continue to wait on the Lord it can and will produce weariness in our heart, mind, soul and body…with good reason.

 

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Who celebrates hard times and trials in life? Not me. But it is totally possible to have joy and find praise in our heart during the rough spots and overwhelming trials that occur in our life. We must dig in even when our legs are shaky along with our hearts. Even when my hands struggle to find strength to worship the Lord, I must find a way to do it anyway. My faith is strong but my body weak. My heart beats for the Lord, but my weary soul is not rejoicing. I must find my praise in this position more so than the rest. This is the birthplace of patience. The very thing that I need to be complete lacking nothing. Why? Why press on? Why dig deeper? What’s the point of wearing myself out for a promise that is whispered and the glimmer hope that I have found? By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:19)

 

Romans 15:5-6 (NKJV)  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We serve the God of Patience. He will grant us comfort if we decide to be like Him. As we grow in patience, there will be more grace in our life. When we cannot see His Way or find His Footsteps, His Grace meets us and takes hold of us pulling us closer to Him. Our pursuit in the Lord is to develop a lifelong relationship with the God of Love. Not only that, we are to be patient like Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Hebrews 6:11-12 (NKJV) And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

Do you desire the promises of God to come to pass in your life? Patience is a requirement although it makes us weary. Attached to the full assurance of hop that what we desire will come to pass in the end, we decide to hang on. We must be very, very careful not to become sluggish or weary in doing good. (Galatians 6:8-10) As believers who desire God’s Will and Perfect Plan, we must have our heart and mind set yielding to the Holy Spirit for His Holy Inhabitation and commit to mold and shape us into who we were called and created to be.

 

2 Samuel 17:1-3 (NKJV) Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king. Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace.”

 

Ahithophel had a good plan. David had an even Greater God. Knowing that his army could not overtake David and his mighty men in hand-to-hand combat, he devised a plan to overtake them when they were weak and weary. Friend, the enemy has a target on your back as a born-again believer who is striving to live in His Love and produce His Patience. He is coming for you! Weariness produces weakness and vulnerability that the enemy is keenly tuned into especially if you are always griping and complaining about it. The Lord protected David and his men from the attack. Esau gave up his birthright and inheritance for one meal. He grew weak and weary and when he smelled the good food desiring natural satisfaction and immediate gratification – he forfeited his future. (Genesis 25:29-34; Hebrews 12:16-17)

 

Galatians 6:8-10 (NKJV)  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

Let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Are you disheartened today? Fighting the good fight, but it seems to be falling short? I am right there with you. One of David’s mighty men was a warrior named Eleazar. (II Samuel 23:9-10) Going to battle, he had the Israelite army with him. Once engaged, they retreated but Elezar arose and attacked the Philistine giants until his hand was weary and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought him victory. Why? He did not give up. He did not give in. He became weary and kept swinging. Do not put down your sword. Do not drop that shield of faith. Do not leave behind the belt of truth or breastplate called righteousness. You have been called to fight of your faith so do it.

 

Jacob wrestled with an angel. The angel struck his hip when Jacob’s persistent nature refused to let go. Why would the Lord do such a thing? Jacob wanted the blessing so He refused to let go. The Lord wanted to fill his life with grace.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV) Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 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. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Weariness produces weakness. God’s Power works best in my complete and utter inability. When I cannot do another thing, speak another word or even attempt to wait any longer. I am filled with the sufficiency of God’s Grace. Patience leads to possession of our soul. We must learn to wait on the Lord even when we are weary. To embrace our weaknesses as the birthplace of faith that allows our soul to prosper in God’s Grace. Stop beating yourself up because you are weak or weary but understand that you are positioned for His Grace and Glory to rise up from within you. We have a measure of faith that we are born with. When that seed begins to grow, other things must give way. Things like impatience and agitation, etc. Jacob’s persistence paid off but it came at a price physically. Oh how I understand this all too well. That thing that broke you is a blessing in disguise because when you finally were empty – God was able to fill you up again.

 

I Timothy 6:11-112 (NKJV) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

Keeping swinging that sword today, no matter how tired you have become. If you are weak and weary allow the Lord to fill you with His Grace and Love by yielding it to him fully. We must pursue godliness, faith, love, PATIENCE, and gentleness in every endeavor. We cannot and must not give up in the good fight of faith but consistently and persistent fight harder for new levels and depths of God’s Grace, Love and Mercy. We must hold tight to the eternity with full assurance that God will do exactly as He promised accepting the Grace of God through Jesus Christ more and more. To say, I can’t but God can rather than grumbling and complaining all the time is important. I am weary today. There are some things that I just do not understand. Nevertheless, the Lord has promised to satiate (my) weary soul and replenish (my) sorrowful soul as well. To admit weakness allows the sufficiency of God’s Grace to restore us right where we are if nothing immediately changes. Our soul is safe and secure in the Lord. Breathe deep today. Talk to the Lord. Stir up the Holy Spirit to produce those fruits that nourish our soul and satisfies our thirst for more of Him. Do not give up when you are tired. Do not give in when you are weary. Press on in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Dead Batteries – A Devotion

Dead Batteries

Psalm 94:18-19 (NLT)

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

 

A few months ago, I bought a Swiffer mop. It is a handy device that sprays solution on the floor so you can quickly “mop” it up with the disposable pad. I like it. However, my only complaint so far is that the darn thing goes through batteries quickly. I was using just plain ordinary household batteries but those died with a couple of weeks. Switching to industrial batteries when it was clear cleaning less was not an option, those too did not last very long. It seems batteries run our life. During a layover traveling, I noticed that the airports have now installed power outlets between the chairs at each gate. No more rushing to find a plug and hovering next to the wall like winos around a flaming barrel. Our life is run by batteries. There is one in the mode of transportation we rely on. In the computer we use at work. The technology that keeps us informed. The phone that keeps us in close contact. The only concern we have is if that battery goes dead. I have experienced firsthand the total meltdown of a teenager whose battery life in their phone has not met their expectation or lasted through the day. One would think that it is death of a pacemaker or oxygen machine. Dead batteries are a nuisance and inconvenience in life. But there is more to this dead battery thing than this…

What about our batteries? The ones that keep us ticking. Why can’t there be a power outlet for people to plug into right before they burn out or give up? My battery single is flashing. I am feeling drained and weary physically, emotionally and spiritually. How about you? Life has a tendency to be parasitic but not consider the source. With total disregard for the person, its demands dry us out, use us up and suck the life right out of us. Discarding what is left of the person for the next one who comes along. I woke up this morning with two words circling in my head, “Renew me.” I prayed right there in the bed, but not for renewal about all the other people and things on my heart. Then I heard it again, “Renew me.” Like the signal given off that resonates through the house when the smoke detector battery is about to give up the ghost. Persistent and insistent for attention. “Renew me.” I need to be renewed. There are some areas of my life that need to be restored by the Lord. They are personal. Yet I feel as though others might be able to see the “flashing” indicators. I believe it is the Spirit of God within me telling me…I need to be renewed.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 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.

 

I have heard the rumor that one should drain a battery completely before recharging it the first time. This is a rumor. There are a few types of batteries that actually have a memory of sorts but for the most part a battery should always maintain a charge of 20 to 80%. Google is a wonderful thing. Balance is essential in our life. We cannot run on high speed all the time. Those who do not run at all will never win. We must learn to live a life of balance. I believe this is God’s Plan for our life. However, when we grow tired and weary feeling almost completely spent – there is meaning and purpose in this place, too. After all, we are the sons and daughters of God who have a detailed plan and purpose for our life that leaves nothing out. I have read this passage in Isaiah 40 over and over. I can recite it from memory as many Christians can. But when I read it today, I found something new. New to me that is.

He gives power to the weak. He gives strength to the powerless. God will give me His Power… when I am weak. God will give me His Strength… when I am powerless. The only thing that I can do when I have no strength is trust the Lord in my weakness. The only thing that I can do when I am powerless is to ask the Lord for His Strength. In that moment when God’s Grace becomes my sufficiency I have everything I need to be renewed. Perhaps these times of feeling weak and weary are not without meaning but meant to fulfill my purpose. Could it be that it is a divine run in with God and His Purpose for my life? God, I hope so.

It is in His Strength and Power that I find everything I need to live out the Plan and Purpose of God for my life. When my battery light is flashing and my spirit calls out for renewal, the Lord is inviting me to come closer, go deeper and get a better connection. What I do in my weakness determines if I will find strength. What I choose in my powerlessness signifies if I will discover His Power.

Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd. I have all that I need. I have all I need to rest. I have all I need to have peace. I have all I need to have strength. I have all that I need to make good decisions. I have all that I need to bring honor to His Name. I have it already. I just don’t know how to use it properly some days. The key in all this is who is in charge of my life. As my “Shepherd”, He is responsible for providing all these things and He has. I just have to get connected to the source. Just like any battery that needs to be recharged must simply get plugged in, I too must be conscious of my proximity to the Lord and in my walk with Him. If I am weak, I just need to get closer. If I am having my doubts, I just need more of His Word. When life is chaotic, I must find my place in His Presence. He has everything that I need to have strength and power consistently in my life if I am committed and consistent in Him.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Praise will renew us. It is a good starting place. Reminding our heart and mind of all the things that the Lord has done and is doing in our life will definitely change our attitude. Sometimes that is all it takes. We forget at least I do. The hope we have is unseen but hard times and hardships are real. We see them, feel them and are touched by these kinds of things. Healing is a lovely and comforting thought but hard to see when our loved one is undergoing radical chemotherapy. The Lord is our provider seems logical and biblical but when evicted from a foreclosed home it is not the first thing we think. Faith is not easy. Hope is unseen. But those who trust the Lord will be renewed. You aren’t supposed to be the strong one. Weakness releases God’s Power in our life. We are not supposed to be the strong one just the steadfast one to experience His Strength. We forget in the midst of battle who it actually belongs to. Praise puts us back in the right frame of mind. It reshapes our thoughts. Calms our fears.

God’s Word can do the same thing. “I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.” (Psalm 119:40) Let’s be real and transparent for a moment. There are a lot of people who read the Word of God and extricate the promises that they desire. But few really read the Word for instruction as to how to live. See you will not have God’s Promises your way. You will have it the world’s way. But when you read God’s Word and apply it to your life, do what it says, and live how it implies – then God’s Promises that are His Goodness apply to your life. You will have those things you read about because you are doing things God’s Way.

 

“When you give them your breath, life is created and you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30)  The Breath of God is His Spirit. His Spirit lives in us. He leads us. He guides us. He is speaking to us. God’s Spirit is constantly on a mission to renew us from the inside out. This is the prospering of our soul. When our soul prospers, so does our life. It is the renewing of His Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit cultivated in our life produces all those things that we long for. The things that sustain us, satisfy us and renew us day by day. We must learn to look to Jesus to renew us day by day rather than going long periods of time on yesterday’s word or encounter. He is the Source of everything that we need, long for and desire. When we maintain a life balanced in our prayer life, studying the Word, applying it to our life being led by His Spirit – we are consistently renewed day by day, moment by moment and breath by breath.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

 

As the Spirit of God renews our thoughts and attitudes, I believe that there will be times when we feel weak. We are throwing off our old nature to take on the new one. (Colossians 3:10-11) It is an ongoing process that is happening whether or not it is something we are aware of. The regenerative work of God in our life is constant as believers. He never grows weak or weary and is working even when we are not to produce good things in our life making good out of every detail of our life. Our humanity gets in the way sometimes. Thank you Lord that we have His Spirit to guide us and influence us when we are not living up to our full potential in Christ. When we are dry, the water of His Word permeates the hard, dry cracks reaching the seeds of righteousness planted by faith and watered by our tears. It renews us. (Psalm 126:4-6) Lord, revive me again. Renew me. I give you my life. I am plugging back in. I want you to be my source of life – for all my life – in all things. Forgive me when I think of giving up – it is my humanity talking. Lord, I long to be continually renewed by you! No more dead batteries for me. I will stay plugged into your Presence. I need you more than anything else this life has to offer. Renew me today.

Job 29:19-20 (NLT)

“For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me and my strength is continually

Know Rest – A Devotion

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

There is no rest for the weary. Uttered by many times in the midst of hurriedness with too much to do and not enough day to do it. A list of obligations and not nearly enough provision, we live in a weary world, yet Jesus is calling “come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” So people call on the Name of Jesus asking for more time and less responsibility or more money and fewer bills which have absolutely nothing to do with the draining of the soul but seem to be logical relief from one’s everyday problems. If only there was more money to go around or if God would give me a car, house or job, then everything would be better. Things will never give a person real joy only momentary happiness. Stuff can never satisfy your soul only increase longing and desire. Jesus is saying, “Come to me.” To come to Jesus one must leave the world behind. He is only interested in you! Weariness is the state of physical and/or mentally exhaustion. It also means to be impatient or dissatisfied with something. Rest is the direct opposite of weariness as it means to be relieved or free from troubles. Rest is mental and spiritual calm. It is the root word of restoration which means to “take back” what you had before. Salvation is a gift that should satisfy our soul. It is not a “Get Out of Trouble Quick” card. The weight of sin is one that is born throughout a person’s human life. God is refining His People daily to expose righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is calling all people to come to me. He is saying, “All of you who are physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted who are dissatisfied with life and impatient for salvation” to come. The yoke of Christ is to crucify the flesh and expose righteousness which is far from the prosperity implication of the church today. A house payment is a burden. Car maintenance is a encumbrance. Money brings responsibility. All theses “things” are not bad but they are not what the Lord is calling us to in Matthew. He is calling His People to find rest for your souls. Rest does not bring burden but relief. A yoke is designed to attach something whether it is two animals together or a pack animal to its load. Jesus is essentially telling people to attach themselves to Him. He promises to be gentle with your exhausted heart beaten to death by the confusion of conditional love and compromised commitment. He is inviting you to experience a satisfied soul one that prospers in righteousness. The things that you once desired, once secondary to Jesus Christ, will come without burden to those who live in the Favor of God. There is no rest for the weary who live in the bondage of want and desire for the things of this world and strive to have them. But those who lay aside wants and desire to attach themselves to Jesus will experience a restoration like never before as vessel of your heart is satisfied and there is no more leaky faith that must have things to see God. Now by faith we are made whole, rest is found for the weary when they lay aside everything and fix themselves on Jesus.

 

Hebrews 4:1-2 (NLT)

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.

God has promised freedom and relief for His People who choose salvation through Jesus Christ. But there are many who will not enter the peace and rest of God because faith is a requirement. It requires moving from the darkness into the Light of His Love. It is transference of your residency on earth to the Kingdom of Heaven. Such behavior will subject you to the wrath of the enemy as he attempts to reclaim your life for his use. The battle will rage and claim those who choose not to attach themselves to Jesus and accept righteousness as their yoke. You must live a life of holiness, righteousness and consecration to experience the rest of God. Freedom is found in this place. You are not bound to Christ as punishment but rather He will lead you to a more fitting place. It is a place of fulfillment and restoration that cannot be found in this world. Are you weary today? Tired of fighting the “good fight” of faith? Questioning your commitment to Jesus Christ? It is time to release your hold on this world and embrace fully the Lord Jesus Christ. Your heart and hands cannot hold on to Jesus and this world. It will create direct conflict full of doubt that will deteriorate any faith foundation being built and sweep you back into the “rat race” called life. Weariness will continue to overtake you. Dissatisfaction will overwhelm you. Impatience will sabotage your commitment to Jesus Christ. Reach out now and take hold of Jesus Christ. He is reaching for you. His Intent is rescue and restoration. He wants to bring you back into fellowship with God, the Father. He longs for you to be filled with the Glory of God once more. It sounds more like surrender than self-help when one realizes that all Jesus is asking for is our burdens, dissatisfaction, impatience, weakness and exhaustion in exchange for relief, freedom, and calm. This world will not afford you anything of this sort just more and more problems.

 

Isaiah 11:2 (NLT)

And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

 

When the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, was prophesied it was said that the “Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.” The Spirit of the Lord did rest on Jesus Christ. However, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Lord sent His Spirit to live in the heart of mankind. His Spirit is accepted at the time of salvation. By calling on the Name of the Lord, we invite His Spirit to “rest” upon us. The Spirit may not be visible but packs an amazing punch for those willing to acknowledge His Presence in our life. The Spirit of the Lord “rests” on us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit is not a burden but a helper to mankind who need assistance in working out their salvation. (Philippians 4:12) The Spirit of God brings relief and freedom to God’s People by exposing sin and leading to repentance. The Spirit of God brings “mental and spiritual” calm to those who receive His Presence in their heart through wisdom and understanding. When the fire of testing is too hot and the trial too long, His Spirit will lend counsel and might to God’s Children to keep going until you make it through shining bright as the Son. The Spirit of Knowledge and the fear of the Lord are essential in creating a faith base that is a platform for life. One that allows us to find comfort in pain and triumph in tragedy as we endure life on the way to Eternity, the Spirit of God is a must to make it through. Jesus has the Spirit of the Lord rest upon Him. You must do the same as Jesus to experience the fulfillment and freedom of salvation. Do not ignore the Holy Spirit in your life or demote Him from the Trinity. It takes all of God to be God. The Trinity is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit each one playing a dramatically different part in the Lord’s Plan but all of equal importance as the Character and Identity of God.

 

Psalm 116:6-7 (NLT)

The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me.

 

Knowing God and increasing faith will bring rest to your soul once more. It will quiet the storms of life and allow you peace in their midst. The Lord requires “childlike” faith. What is “childlike” faith? It is not based on human knowledge but dependent on the one he chooses to believe. “Childlike” faith is totally dependent on its caregiver. Children will “attach” themselves to the one who meets their needs. All it knows is once I was lost and now I am saved building a life of faith around Knowledge of God and Hope in Jesus Christ. It is solely based on God’s Goodness and Love rather than some logical choice. God’s Way is seldom logical to man. We cannot comprehend such love and goodness with a mind tainted by lust and compromise. Faith is a requirement of rest. The weary will find rest in faith in the Lord. Peace and patience are characteristics of the faithful. Satisfaction and fulfillment are its reward. How is your faith today? Who do you trust? When your only hope is the Lord, you will be restored. God will bring back your joy.

 

Psalm 51:11-12 (NLT)

Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.

 

The joy of salvation is satisfaction. A prospering soul will enable you to live victoriously no matter the circumstances of life. God wants you to enter His Rest and remain there. It is found only in His Presence. It is maintained by His Spirit in your life. Cry out to the Lord to restore the Joy of Salvation. The song of a sinner who has been set free is the sweetest words ever spoken from the purest heart. The Favor of God will spoil you. But without maintaining the joy of salvation, Jesus Christ as Lord of your life it is all counted as garbage. (Philippians 3:8) Could it be that while living in the Favor of God experiencing the Presence of God that His People are spoiled by His Giving and Goodness missing the point entirely? Things are meaningless when compared to knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our only gain. Losing perspective will drain the human soul creating weary believers and tired followers who give up rather than pressing in to know Jesus more. Release the burden of gluttony created by envy and jealously of a world that has everything but lost their soul. Embrace Jesus Christ. He is the Prize we seek as a reward. He holds the freedom you are longing. He is the One Thing you desire. Get rid of all the garbage and lay hold to the One who is holding you. There is rest for the weary. It is found in Jesus Christ and knowing Him more!

 

Isaiah 35:1-10 (NLT)

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

 

The Highway of Holiness is not depicted with fast cars, big houses and mountains of money. It is a road through the wilderness and wasteland. The redeemed walk on it – you are the redeemed of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. This road was paved for you. Some days it will be lonely and long especially when faith is weak and doubt is strong, but for those who will look beyond the riches of this world and grab hold of Jesus Christ as their prize, they will make it through and experience the Splendor of God. They will not be weary but set free to live with God and experience relief from the burden of sin and shame. No longer will you be exhausted from doing the right thing but oh so glad you hung in there. Peace and satisfaction will fill your life to overflowing when you see His Face. There will be no trouble or tears. Hold fast your confession of faith. Attach yourself to Jesus Christ. Listen for the Voice of His Spirit guiding you in righteousness and repentance. Never give up just keep walking in the Light of His Love. Release your desires into the fire of refinement until all you want, need, desire and seek is the Lord Jesus Christ. Your life will be filled with joy and gladness. You will be satisfied. The weary will find rest in the Hand of God fixated on the Heart of God.

 

Psalm 23 (NLT)

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

 

Meet Jesus on the Highway of Holiness today! He will give you the rest!

Give It a Rest – A Devotion

Hebrews 4:1-3 (NKJV)

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 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, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”

 

Are you tired today? Weary in well doing makes you grumpy as you face another day of crucifying the flesh and dealing with a world that threatens your sanctification in every way possible? Does the stressfulness of life seem to be draining every ounce of your energy and robbing you of every glimmer of hope? Does your faith seem a bit empty rather than full? You are not alone. It is an age old struggle that began with the Israelites who as God’s People spent their life working and toiling rather than entering His Rest. God left them to their disobedience as they continued to circle in the wilderness constantly following the Sign of God while chasing something else in the their hearts. Just because a person continues in their routine of work, church and life does not mean that faithful obedience is their guide. Attending church, serving the community and following all the “rules” does not allow one to ever rest. These are all merely tasks. In fact, the more that we cram in our life the less likely we are to finish the race of faith and enter God’s Presence which is His Resting Place.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 (NKJV)

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Throughout the New Testament, one can track the progression of Saul who became Paul. From conversion, his life became quite different from the comfortable existence he had experienced prior to his meeting with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He was chased, beaten, imprisoned and more only to get up and keep on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His words offer great encouragement. Seldom do we realize that many of them were written with shackled hands in squalid cells of rotting prisons. His body was sore from the many beatings that he endured and malnourished from neglect. Great exhortations of the joys of following Jesus Christ go on and on even as he faces death. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering.” When was the last time in total exhaustion, hungry and hurting, your testimony was of great encouragement and love to others while sharing the Gospel of Christ. Most of the time, we do not feel saved let alone act like it when we have even minor discomfort. If our rest is elusive, like the Children of Israel, it is a heart issue rather than a physical condition. It can be remedied by those who change their focus from their labor and focus on their relationship with the Father.

Like everything else about the Lord, it should not surprise you that His Rest is found in obedience. It is not a matter of discontinuing what you are doing. We expect rest to be luxurious but God’s Rest is in the midst of activity. It does not remove you physically from life and the situations surrounding the finishing of your faith. It is found in the midst of constant and chronic well-doing as we advance on our mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ not only with our words but also through a life dedicated to radical obedience and consecration. Separation from earthly attachments and notions will maintain our focus on the Rest which we desire. It will make peace our resting place where no matter what this world throws at us not only can we finish the job with excellence but also with great energy and exuberance for Jesus who is enabling us.

From the very beginning the Word, which is Jesus Christ, existed as a facilitator of the Will of God. From the moment God released His Word into the atmosphere everything began to change and develop for His Usefulness. (Genesis 1) When man could not seem to find it in his wicked heart to find God, the Lord sent His Word in the flesh to live among us and guide us into His Rest. (John 1:14) Still man does not completely comprehend all that God was offering. Salvation is much more than a Promise for the future. It is a purpose for today! By working diligently to perfect our faith, we enter the rest of God despite our position as carriers of the Gospel. It is our responsibility to finish the race of faith but in doing so we are to experience the overwhelming peace that is only found by lingering with the Lord. God finished all the “work” in Genesis, man spends his entire life trying to work their way into a place that is complete and not lacking. It is the rightful place of the righteous. There is no other source of arrival just as there is only one Word. Jesus is the only way to enter the resting place of God. It has to be His Way. (John 14:6)

Philippians 2:12-16 (NKJV)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

 

What are you working for today? If it is for money, God already has provided everything you will ever need so what’s the point? If it is for more stuff, God will not allow it to become a hindrance to your dependence on Him and will remove it to have you. If it is for love, you will never find anyone who loves you like Jesus Christ so why continue searching. There is nothing worth laboring for more than your faith that works out doubt in your salvation. Doubt causes us to toil over things that have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God and everything to do with a disobedient life. There is nothing more that you can work for that has not already been given to you through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Obedience will release all these things in your life. Has your light gone out as you have allowed the fire of your faith to dwindle while directing your attention to the wrong things? Hold fast to the Word of Life today who is Jesus Christ. Divide your thoughts and release those endeavors that are for the satisfaction of man and turn your heart to obedience in the Lord. Stop using your energy to chase the world and please other people. All that you seek is in your salvation. Spend time working it out today. As for everything else – give it a rest!