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Strength for a Weary Soul

Here it is! Wednesday they call it. This day is also known as “Hump Day”. It’s time to get excited, folks. We are halfway through the week, and, yet… I am tired. I need a great dose of strength. In my ramblings, I am reminded of a story I came across several years ago. Let me share it with you!

A young boy was on a hike through the woods with his father when he came upon a mid-size boulder.

“Dad,” he asked, “Do you think I can move that boulder?”

The father replied, “Yes, son, you can move that boulder if you use all of your strength.”

The boy pushed with all that was in him. He pushed and grunted and pushed some more, but the boulder would not budge. Frustrated, he said, “You were wrong, Dad, I can’t move it.”

The father replied, “You could have moved it if you used all of your strength, but you didn’t use all of your strength because you didn’t ask me for help.”

Many times in life we get weary, tired, and weak in God’s service. In my own life, when I become weary I have to go to the One who has endless strength. God is the only One who never tires, or grows weary. He has strength readily available to lift us up and sustain us. We can find rest for our body and soul at His feet. I have to admit that when I feel myself growing weary many times it is because I have not leaned on the Lord and gained the strength I need from Him. So I go! I go to Him. I sit beside Him and let Him teach me. I find comfort in His words and strength to continue with Him through my day.

Psalm 18:1-2 reads, “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.”

Why do you suppose that David began this Psalm in this way?  By reading in the forward of the Psalm, you will find that this Psalm was written when David was being pursued by an angry Saul who wanted to kill him. David was living on the run, hiding in caves, sleeping on the ground and just trying to survive.  We can certainly see how weary and tired David had become physically and emotionally.  In this state, He chose to praise and declare his love to the one who was his daily strength. David may have been running, but he knew who to run to for the strength and encouragement that he needed.

Are you weary today? my friend. I know someone who has strength for your weary soul. Don’t wait. Sit with Him. Jesus has all the strength you need.

Let Go What’s Gone

I love a good heartfelt story. I guess I have always enjoyed them. I was watching a movie one day where the main character was trying to comfort a friend who had been hurt both physically and emotionally by someone. The main character put her arms around her friend and said, “Honey, you have to let go what’s gone!” The depths of those words have been going over and over in my mind the last couple of days. How often to I try to hang on to the things that are past. They need to be let go, yet I find myself grasping for the edge of those things and fighting to keep my fingertips on them. Like dandelions in the wind we chased as children, they flew away and were gone before we realized it. And yet we continue to reach back to grab the negative rather than turn forward and embrace what is positive.

This morning I was reminded of Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”  There are two types of baggage Paul is dealing with here. First, Paul talks about weights. When I came across this verse for the first time, I kind of read it all together as “weights and sins“, but they are two distinctly different things. Weight, I have learned, can be anything that is holding back our progress. Negative feelings and actions can bind us tight. Trappings of the past and the “what if’s” can burden us to the place where can’t put one foot in front of another.  Hurtful words or actions by someone or regrets of our own makings can be weighing us down. A weight could also be a seemingly good thing. Perhaps longing for the way it used to be can stop you from moving forward. Sometimes I long for the days when the boys were little. Looking back and cherishing the memories of them is good, but it can become a weight when I focus solely on all the changes I would have made, and mourn all my mistakes.  Regrets can be cumbersome, they can tie us up and not only hinder our progress moving forward, but also can be so heavy it pulls us backward dragging our spirit low. This can also lead to depression if we are not careful. We need to lay the weights aside. Often we carry weights that were never meant for us to carry. Friend, what are you trying to hold on to that is locking you down from moving forward for God?

The second part of the verse is “the sin which doth so easily beset us.”  Believers all have sins which seem to give us a fit. We are tempted and find ourselves drawn to the same sin over and over. Our human nature did not dissolve when we became a Christian. It became something we would continue to deal with every day. Before we gave our life to God we didn’t care if we were sinning or not, but now that we are a Christian, and our goal is to be like Christ, we have to deal with our sin as it comes up. That’s where 1 John 1:9 comes in. Confessing our sin to God and receiving forgiveness that God offers moves us forward. It’s time we get serious about letting go of that sin we are trying to hang on to. It is time to let go and let God cleanse you. You must ask yourself, “Is the sin I am holding on to worth what it is doing to me and my relationship with God?”

Whether it is a weight or a sin you are fighting so desperately to hold on to, it is time to let go. Letting go will free us to do what the last part of Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” We all have a race that God has given us to run. It stretches before us and lasts a lifetime. In our hearts, we know we want to run the race well. If something in the past is weighing you down, or a sin plaguing  in the present and regret is locking you down, let go what’s gone. Do not keep dragging it back up. Brake free and run like mad in the race that is before you.  Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Let go what’s gone, my friend. Jesus is waiting for you.

Perspective

I have always enjoyed driving! I guess that is why when I was blessed with a job about 30 minutes from home, I really didn’t mind. Most of the time I listen to music when I am driving along, but that was not the case today. Silence reigned in the car and I was very deep in thought on my drive this morning when I focused on the road ahead I noticed it looked like mountains in the distance. Now I know there are not any mountains in Southwest Georgia at least not since last Thursday. The clouds were arranged in the sky in a way that made it look like the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. For a moment in time my eyes were playing tricks on me. My perspective was tainted; I was seeing something in a different way.

In my walk with God, I often see things differently than the way that He wants me to see them. I often view God from the perspective that I have heard others share about Him. When they tell me how God has been working in their life, I get a glimpse of the essence of God’s character. As I get into the Word of God and study His nature, I begin to learn even more. The deepest lessons I have learned about God however have come through experience.  When I have been betrayed by a friend,  I have come to truly know Him as the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Through brokenness and sickness, I have come to know Him as the Healer. In Financial lows, I have come to know Him as God, my provider. Recently, when my husband went through a health crisis and we almost lost him, I came to know God as the Comforter and God of Peace. People may wonder how I was holding it all together. Well, I wasn’t. God was holding me together. We stand and sing in Worship, “I want to know you(God) more, I want to know you more”, but I wonder if we are willing to go to the hard places and be put in uncomfortable circumstances in order to really get to know God in the way He wants to be known.

Often trials and tribulations comes into the life of the believer. It is the world in which we live it. A perfect creation was broken by man and his sin (Genesis 3). We have been living in a broken world ever since then. God has made a way to restore us back to Himself and it is through the person of Jesus Christ. God wants to have a deeper relationship with you. When we receive Him into our heart and life at salvation, we receive all of God that there is to get. The thing we need to realize is God may not have all of us. We may not even realize there is something we may be holding back from getting to know God more. He wants to reveal Himself to us. Are we ready to let God put us in a tight spot where the only place we can look is up? Perspective sure can be an interesting thing. Thankfully God is willing to take my perspective and turn it toward His way, and walk every step along with me until I am closer to Him than I ever thought possible.

I Peter 5:10-11

10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord Is In The Details

Ok, I’m tired. Maybe you didn’t know. However a lady in the parking lot of Walmart did. I had gotten off of work, and had to pick up a few things, and as I was walking back to my car. A lady stopped me and said, “you are tired aren’t you?” I didn’t realize it showed on my face. A chance encounter came about in a place not expected. I talked about 5 minutes with a lady who was feeling the same. We shared, and agreed to pray for each other in the coming week. I walked away with the realization that God set up that encounter to show me by a stranger’s words that I was loved and cared for by my Heavenly Father.

So often we get in the habit of only talking to God about the big things in our lives. With the world gone crazy and so many hurting in the world, our prayer lives has our focus shifted to things on the grander scale. Wars overseas, cancer scares, government taking our rights away, Missionaries tormented, and countless other things are going on right now. God does care about those things and we should pray for them. I think though that God also cares a great deal about the every day details that only we know about and try to accomplish every day.

In Exodus 25, God begins to reveal to Moses all the details on how the Tabernacle of the Lord was to be constructed. I had forgotten how detailed the Lord was in showing the people how to make each piece that would be going into His place of worship. He took 6 verses to describe the candlestick that would be placed on the table.  God is concerned with all the little details in your life too. He wants you to talk to Him about them. I Corinthians 6:19-20, tells us our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Just as God was concerned with the details of the tabernacle, He is also concerned with every detail of our lives. Take time today to share all the little things with God, and let Him show you He holds all of it in His capable hands.

God’s Promise of an Eternal Home*

Have you ever been in a place where your longing for home was so intense it was overwhelming?  For me it was when my parents dropped me off at college. I was standing in the parking lot watching them drive away, and I felt such a since of loss and loneliness. I was excited about the new things to experience, but I felt, for the first time, very alone. For the Christian, we ought to feel a longing to go to our Heavenly Home even though we haven’t been there. The feelings I experienced as an 18 year old, I believe is even more intense today. As I have grown in my faith, the feeling to be in God’s presence is something I long for. I also have several loved ones I am looking forward to seeing in Heaven, My Grandparents, My Mother, and the babies I never was able to hold here on earth are all waiting on the other side. The Bible tells us that we should hope and pray for the day when we go to Heaven to be with God forever. It will be a wonderful time.

Our Scripture is Revelation 21:1-8. John, the Apostle, wrote about the new Heaven and the new earth that is being prepared for us by God Himself. In the first three verses, we see that John shares with us the wonders of the Holy City. He first comments on the brightness and beauty of the new city. He compares it to a bride coming down the aisle toward her husband to be. God looks at us, the church, in this way. He see our spotless beauty made perfect in righteousness by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In the third verse, God proclaims that He will now dwell among His people and we will be living in the presence of our wonderful God. Imagine being able to sit beside Him, talk to Him, and even reach out and touch Him. What a humbling and amazing time that will be.

In the following verses, He lets us know some things that will not be in Heaven: no death, no grief, no crying, and no pain. The cause of all of theses things will be removed. I am thankful that at this time we will never have to fear losing another person, therefore the cause for the pain and grief we feel in our heart when loss occurs will be gone. We never will shed another tear because of the hand of someone reaching out to harm us, or tears caused by our own wrong choices. The effect and the toll that sin has taken on us will all be removed. The consequences of sin and the weight that sin has had in our lives will be gone forever. I am thankful also there will not be any pain. A few years ago, I would have looked briefly at that one and moved on. I do understand a little better what it will be like to not hurt with pain everyday. I also can empathize with those who experience chronic pain on a greater level than I. The fact that there will not be any pain of any kind is a cause for celebration.

In verse 6 we read,” And he said unto me, “It is done. I am Alpha and Ome’ga, the beginning and the end.” In the beginning it was all about God reaching down to man, and in the end it will be God lifting man up to dwell with Him forever. We can look with anticipation for the return of our Lord, and going to the place that He has prepared for us. What a great day that will be! Until then hold on to the promise that one day we will be with God for eternity in a brand new home!

*This is a summary of a Sunday School lesson is based on “Bible Studies for Life” printed by Lifeway Christian Resources. While The main points and focus questions are printed in our Sunday School curriculum. The Commentary on them is based on personal experience and lessons learned from my own life. This is offered to my SS Class members who are unable to be with us due to work or health issues. Thank you.

Stronger Together

“Red Rover, Red Rover send John right over!”  Of all the childhood games I played, I would have to say that “Red Rover” was not my favorite. Probably due to the fact that my hand grip was not very strong. In the game of  “Red Rover”, the line on the other side always seemed to know just the right place to hit to burst through our line. Children often are able to perceive the weakest link fairly quickly and where the line is most vulnerable. Unfortunately, I was targeted far more than I would like to admit. There came a time on the playground when I did what most children do. I grew. I got stronger. So only when I got stronger did the game of “Red Rover” become more fun. I was able to hold on tight. I was able to help my team out to a far greater degree. In those first few years of playing “Red Rover”, I would often wonder “I sure wish I could have some help down here on my end of the line.” Someone who would be willing to stand behind me, and help me hold my spot. Someone who could fortify my position so that I would not be the weakest part of the line. That is not how the game is played.

As in the game of “Red Rover”, I wonder if we have the same mindset  in the church. We band together to stand strong, but we are never hit where we stand the strongest. We are hit in the places where we are the weakest, and the most vulnerable. The Bible states in Romans 15:1, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Often times we go to church and sit in our place, worship through song and message, fellowship with our fellow believers, or participate in the ministry God has placed us. These are all good things and we should be active in our churches and serve as God intends us to, but do we take the time to really see our fellow brothers and sisters  in Christ? Do we recognize the signs of one who is struggling? Do we pay attention to those who are trying to put on a good front, but in their eyes we see their pain? It is in these moments that we need to build them up in their faith. We need to take time to pray with someone who is crying in the bathroom, or mentions their frustrations in passing. If you are late for the service or singing in the choir, so what, it would be so much better to take hold of those “God divined” moments and bear up a brother or sister in Christ. We need to build each other up in our “most holy faith”. It is time to be proactive in our worship and our faith by putting our hands together and hanging on against the attacks from the outside. We can be so much stronger. We can be stronger together!

“Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2

May God bless you in the journey,

Amy

Expect the Unexpected

“Things don’t always turn out the way you plan,” is a line from one of my favorite movies. I was thinking about this today as I sit in my recliner with my feet propped up.  I am a planner by nature. When I get up in the morning, I think about all the things that need to get done that day. I schedule in my mind how long it will take me to do each particular task. I make long mental to do lists, and often write them down so I can have the opportunity to cross off the tasks when they are completed. Perfectionist, You may ask? and you would be 100% correct. I just can’t help it; that’s how I roll. 🙂  Even the best of planners have unexpected things happen on a daily basis that throw the to do list out the window. Things carry from one day to the next, so there are days when you just have to let it go.

Here lately, I have the unique perspective of having my daily routine turned completely upside down. My to do list now only consists a few things. 1. Stay put and keep your feet up. 2. Get Well Soon! Expansive I know. If you could see my face right now, you would know that I am smiling and throughly tickled with myself. It’s not that I am upset with my circumstances. It is that  I am learning to take them at face value that it is what it is for me right now. Would I rather be up doing for my family? Of course, Yes, but that is not what God has for me to do right now. I know that this is a part of God’s will for me. Will it always be this way for me? I don’t think so, but I know that whatever I am going through God is with me. He has answered so many prayers for me. He is teaching me so much through this time in my life. I have learned that I can practice patience, and rely on God’s strength rather than my own. God is also teaching me to rely on others to do things for me. I think most women for the most part want to be a “Superwoman” aka “SuperWife”, “SuperMom”, “SuperCo-Worker”, “SuperMinistryWorker”. and “Super______”.(You can fill in the blank.) We want to do it all! Didn’t the Proverbs 31 Woman do it all? Isn’t it spiritual to do it all. I am learning that I can’t do it all. God doesn’t want me to “Superwoman”. He wants me  to follow Him, and be submissive to His will for me today.

I have shared this to say to you that even with my overwhelming schedule 🙂 I am learning also that days like this can also bring the unexpected. An unexpected phone call to let me know that prayers are being offered up for me. I received some flowers from the church where I work that were a blessing to me. Cards that I have been receiving every week from my cousin have been an encouragement. Packages from family and friends have made me feel loved and uplifted.  Even a hug from my 15-year-old while I was typing this post was an unexpected blessing. I could list so many more things that have happened over the last several weeks that I would love to mention, but I wouldn’t have enough room in this post. I know that no matter what you are facing right now God can send you unexpected blessings in the middle of it all. He knows what is best for you and for me, so I am going to continue to expect the unexpected. It happens more often than you may realize.

Blessings to you all!