Weariness

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Sigh… Breathe… Do the next thing with little energy… Nap…

As this Coronavirus pandemic drags on, we have found ourselves going from disbelief, to fear of the unknown, to resignation and a we-can-get-through-this mentality. This was followed by a drop in the numbers of cases and hope of the U.S. economy reopening soon. Now that numbers are up and down daily, and we realize this virus will not disappear quickly, many find themselves in a low spot. You may be weary, frustrated, or even sinking into depression. This disease has taken its toll whether you have caught the actual virus or are suffering from emotional, mental, societal, or economic factors.

Ladies, this is when we are called to remember our faith, and to look to our Savior and not to the waves rolling around us. Lamentations 5:5, 9-10 seems to reflect the situation well,

Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest…. But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.”

Weary.  Many whispering “Terror on every side!” Denounce her – publicly declare she is wrong, evil! She blames my political party. They disagree with me about wearing masks. Soak in the sunshine and dance through the waves.My opinion is right why can’t they see it. Everyone taking a side and criticizing their fellowman. If we live in this mindset of constant arguing and fear of disease, checking hospitalization and death statistics and depending on human wisdom, we will find ourselves in a state of weariness at the least and deep dark depression at the worst. So what is a woman of God to do?

We do what we have been trained and discipled to do throughout our Christian life, we turn to God’s Word and prayer, and seek our comfort in the God of the Word not in human wisdom, miracle cures, or any anesthesia this world can offer (Amazon ordering included!)

Our Father is a loving father who cares deeply about us and comforts us in our weariness. In Matthew 11:28 He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Then in Jeremiah 31:25 he tells us “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” He is here for us. Right now. In this time of uncertainty. All we need to do is come to Him. 

I have made it a habit, almost a ritual during this time of COVID-19, of going out on my deck first thing each morning with my coffee, my dog, and my Bible, journal, and pen. He meets me there each day. The sun warms me slowly, the breeze blows, the birds sing all reminding me of His miraculous world and His tender love and care – the setting prepares my heart. Then I pour out my fears and doubts in prayer. I sing to Him and journal my questions. And I dig into His Word – that’s where He meets me. It’s almost as if He’s a fleshly, patient Daddy sitting there waiting for me to spill out all my concerns before He responds.  But respond, He does. His written Word speaks specifically to my weary heart. I hear Him soothing me and reminding me of truths I tend to forget in the dark times.

We are not alone in our weariness. Jesus in His flesh and blood form here on earth grew weary Himself. The writer of Hebrews remind us to “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (12:3) Can you even imagine the weariness our Savior must have felt on this earth as the only righteous person, knowing that His was a lonely mission even though He was surrounded by followers. He was on a mission to battle the forces of evil and bear the punishment of all sins for all time. A sinless man, carrying the weight of the sin of the world. Trying to imagine the weary task is impossible for our small minds, we can only glimpse the man of sorrow sweating drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane and crying out to the Father to remove the weary cup.

Isaiah says in chapter 40, “He [God] 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.” My strength will not come through any outward help, nor through inward trying. My strength for the weariness is found only in stumbling and falling into the arms of my Creator and allowing Him to imbue me with strength through His Word in my quiet moments of prayer with Him. When I put my hope in Him, then will I receive strength to soar above the weariness, to run with tired, sore knees, and to keep walking without fainting dead in my tracks.

In Galatians 6:9 the Apostle Paul tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Ladies, can we join together right now and take this verse to heart? Will you choose this very moment to put one foot in front of the other and do the next righteous thing the Lord has before you? That may be folding laundry, spending time with the Father, painting a room, loving on our children, calling a friend with a word of encouragement, or taking a walk in God’s wide, wide world. Whatever is before you, let us not grow weary. Let us keep pursuing righteousness, faith, hope, love, and all the fruit of the Spirit, so that our lives do not stagnate and degenerate into weariness of soul, but instead flourish as we walk forth confidently in faith in our adoring Father.
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Those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all you wonderful women… May you have a day filled with sunshine and joy, people you love and memorable moments. May you each have health and peace during this time of coronavirus.

Celebrate your role God has given you today, whether you’re a biological mom, spiritual mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, godmother, or beloved aunt! We women have a way of mothering those around us – cherish that God-given nurturing ability!

Comfort in the Face of Fear

Life is different right now.

As we are confined to our homes by the Coronavirus, our minds may be bombarded with questions: Does God care? Has He given up on me and is going to leave me to face disease or financial ruin through this? Can God control this or is this a rampant disease of nature that God has no control over? Will this ever end? Is there hope?

God’s chosen people in the Old Testament also had questions. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet looks toward the future to the time of the coming Babylonian exile. He tells the people of Judah of God’s capacity and desire to deliver them. God had him tell the people, “Do not fear for I am with you.” God said that for a reason – they would be afraid. The people of Israel undoubtedly wondered if God had given up on them because of their sin and if their situation was beyond His power to remedy. The questions running through their minds were most likely the same kinds of questions we have. 

The God who sees and hears and knows knew their heart questions, and He knows ours. Therefore He spoke these words to and through his prophet in Isaiah chapter 40:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1

There is Comfort in the Savior. There is Comfort that our sin has been paid for – that our “iniquity is pardoned.” Don’t we long for that?! A clean slate. A “do-over” as my grayscale-photo-of-the-crucifix-977659grandson used say when he was 4. The sins of all mankind have been paid for by our Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the cross. Our debt has been paid! We are forgiven! We don’t have to bargain with God saying: God if you’ll get us out of these uncertain times I’ll do what you want.

There is Comfort in our Frailty. Until we realize our flesh is faint, frail, and feeble, as James 4:14 says “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” – we feel independent, self-sufficient. Our pride Has us feeling we have no need of a Savior. But through this pandemic we have begun to grasp the transitory nature of our lives, and are more aware of our need of the One who Created us. The Word of God is strong, sure, and secure, the opposite of our frail flesh. He is our hiding place. A firm foundation upon which we can rest. Our sword and shield. Our high tower, protection, security, and salvation. 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25 

There is Comfort in His 2nd coming. Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus coming as the Messiah were fulfilled, which gives us every confidence that His prophecies about the 2nd coming are also dependable. Knowing that Christ will return to set up God’s kingdom on earth and that we will live with Him eternally gives us comfort and a hope found in nothing else. In our normal daily lives before Covid-19, we we had a routine that depended on no one except ourselves. There was no reason to look toward the hope of eternity. But suddenly we are thrown into this scenario that feels like it is fresh out of some dystopian novel, but it’s not. The uncertainty of these times draws us to that hope of eternity with Christ, a longing for the one who is in authority over all things. Thoughts of His coming again brings comfort!

religion-3450127_1280There is Comfort in the Shepherd.  

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

This is one of the sweetest, most tender verses of scripture. He shepherds us. He carries us close to His heart. He gently leads those that have young! (Great encouragement for you young mamas out there quarantined and trying to school a houseful of blessings!) What a picture! Meditate on this verse this week when you are seeking comfort.

There is Comfort that God is the Creator. “Who is like Our God?” Scripture asks. A rhetorical question, of course, because the answer we know is “No one.” Our sovereign Creator can do what we cannot dream of doing.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:12-14

sunrise-1765027_1280No one we know can create mountains and seas. No one can offer wisdom and advice to God. He is the source. Look up at the heavens. Who can bring out the stars? He calls everything out, the totality of creation, He summons them by name. Who can do that? Can you? Can I? Do we have His generative power? Can the smartest doctor or scientist? Can Bill Gates, or Queen Elizabeth or Pres. Trump? NO. There is no on like our God.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?” Isaiah asks. Can you not understand and perceive our insignificance in comparison to the greatness of God? Creation reveals to us Our Father God. Our Comforter. We can rest in Him for the answers for any situation that arises with His creation.

As He Comforts Us, We Wait in Hope!

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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. Isaiah 40:28-31

Jehovah is God and there is no other. We just need to rest in Faith in Him!

  • He is our Comfort.
  • He is our Creator.
  • He is our Hope.
  • He is our Strength.
  • He will Lead & Protect.
  • He is our reason Not to Fear.
  • He gave us a Savior who freed us from sin & is our Righteousness.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

The Power of the Gospel

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:2-5

This week is my favorite week of the year. It is a Holy Week. A week of focus on Jesus Christ, the Gospel story, and the greatest sacrifice and miracle the world has ever heard of. Easter week is time of great joy and renewal in our world, and it has proven to be a time of great joy and renewal in my family. Two of my most precious gifts were given to me during this particular week in years past. And I’m asking the Lord, humbly, not greedily, for another gift this year.

On this week in 2005 our family headed out for a spring vacation to the mountains of Virginia. Planning the trip we realized that we would be traveling through a Tennessee town where one of our former ministers of music lived. We got in touch ahead of time to see if we could take them to dinner and have a short visit, but as we should have guessed, his current church was presenting their Easter music on the night we would be traveling through. We immediately decided to make their Easter program a part of our vacation.

Rolling into town too late to get supper before it started, we pulled into the church parking lot and managed to get seats within about 6 rows of the front where our wiggly 6-year-old could stay focused and engaged for the hour-and-a-half long music and drama presentation. He curled up in my lap and to our great relief was attentive and tuned in for the whole evening. The Gospel was presented boldly and clearly, with one particular song, “End of the Beginning,” summing up the whole message of the Gospel in a powerfully moving way.

As we got to the invitation, I did as is my habit for years now, and I closed my eyes and began praying for the lost that had just heard the message. The pastor gave an altar call and began to lead the crowd in the sinner’s prayer. I felt a tug on my shirt and opened my eyes prepared to say, “It’s almost over. Be quiet for just a moment more.” But instead I saw sincere little eyes gazing at me, and my 6-year-old whispered, “I want to pray that prayer too, Mommy.”

My heart was seized by love and joy. Of course I told him, “OK. Let’s pray.” And my sweet little 6-year-old – who had loved Jesus from the time He could talk and begin understand the stories of the Bible – prayed to the Father, asking forgiveness for His sin, and telling God that He could rule over his little heart and life forever! My first joyous gift at Easter!

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Flash forward to April 2017. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, our pastor had called our church to a week of fasting. He had challenged us in advance to pray about who we would be fasting for – who were we praying for God to move in their heart. My husband and I both felt compelled to pray for our daughter-in-love. Our beautiful daughter-in-love has always been one of the kindest, most tender-hearted, loving people you would ever meet, but we didn’t know if she had a relationship with Jesus. Now, we are not habitual fast-ers. In fact, this was one of only a handful of times in my Christian life that I had committed to a fast, and never before had it been for a week.

So we started that week with continuous prayer in the place of food. We found it wasn’t as hard as we’d feared. This mission with which God had overwhelmed our hearts drove us to prayer and away from food. I think that was one of the most intense weeks of prayer in my life.

On Easter Sunday at the end of that week our son and the prayed-for-daughter-in-love came to the worship service. My mama’s heart was full. Once again at the invitation time, I bowed my head and prayed for the lost in the congregation who had heard the message of salvation, that they would respond to the call of the Holy Spirit upon their heart. Once again there was a tug on my sleeve. This time it was my husband. He nodded toward the altar. As I looked up, there she stood – my sweet daughter-in-love, the first one down to the altar. That day she also prayed to receive Christ. Another joyous Easter gift!

This year I’m praying for my One. God knows who they are. This year I’ll be worshipping at home over the internet because of the Covid-19 virus; I imagine another tug at the sleeve is impossible. But I know better than to doubt what Our Mighty God can do! So folks, I’ll listen to the message, celebrate the resurrection in my heart, pray when the pastor offers the online invitation, and who knows… I would not put it past God to have a tug on my sleeve and find out my One has come to Christ!

How about you? Who’s your One? Are you praying in faith expecting Jehovah to move in their heart? I’ll join you in praying for them – on Easter Sunday I’ll bow my head and pray for all our Ones to answer God’s call.

The End of the Beginning

I was takin’ a trip on a plane the other day
Just wishing that I could get out
When the man next to me saw the book in my hand
And asked me what it was about
So I settled back in my seat
“A best seller,” I said
“A history, a mystery in one.”
And then I opened up the book and began to read
From Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

[Chorus]
He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
Angels gathered round him underneath the stars
Singing praises to the Great I Am
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see again
And for the first time here on earth
We learned that God could be a friend
And though he never ever did a single thing wrong
The angry crowd chose him
And then he walked down the road
And died on the cross
And that was the end of the beginning.

[Verse 2]
“That’s not a new book that’s a bible,” he said
“and I’ve heard it all before
I’ve tried religion
It’s shame and guilt
And I don’t need it anymore
It’s superstition, made up tales
And just to help the weak to survive.”
“Let me read it again,” I said
“Listen closely, cause this is gonna change your life”

[Chorus]
He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
Angels gathered round him underneath the stars
Singing praises to the Great I Am
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see again
And for the first time here on earth
We learned that God could be a friend
And though he never ever did a single thing wrong
The angry crowd chose him
And then he walked down the road
And died on the cross
And that was the end of the beginning.

[Bridge]
“The end of the beginning,” he said with a smile
“What more could there be?
He’s dead
You said they hung Him
Put nails in His hands
And a crown of thorns on His head.”
I said, “I’ll read it again but this time there’s more
And I believe that this is true
His death wasn’t the end, the beginning of life
That’s completed in you
Don’t you see He did all this for you!”

[Chorus]
He was born of a virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem
All the angles singing praises to the Great I AM
He walked on the water
Healed the lame
And made the blind to see
(and for the first time here on earth)
Did you know that God could be a friend
Though He never ever did a single thing wrong
He was the one the crowd chose
Then he walked and he died but
Three days later
Three days later
Three days later
HE ROSE!!!!!!!

Three days later he rose!
You see he came, he lived, and he died
But that was the end of the beginning.

 

What Does a Christian Marriage Look Like?

Part 6 – Love and Respect

Somehow in this age of gender confusion, we have tried to make men and women be exactly alike. Women clamor for equality (sameness) with men. They, we women, want the same pay and treatment and opportunities and expectations on us. Nothing wrong with that. But they/we also want men to be like us: more in touch with their emotions, more nurturing, less aggressive. In all this equality talk there has emerged this unspoken idea that women and men are the same. But I must protest on this one. A simple conversation with my male friends, sons, or husband quickly reveals that there are innate and inherent differences in men and women.

This shouldn’t surprise us. God’s word has it written clearly In black and white that there are differences. Although there are variations in extremes according to personality, women tend to want to be loved and men want to be respected. Our Creator God told us this before our enlightened society tried to make us all unisex.

Ephesians 5:33 instructs us to meet each other’s most important need. It states:

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

In his book Love & Respect Emmerson Eggerichs discusses these differing needs in the sexes and offers ways to live together in ways that offer understanding, respect and love that allows each gender to live to their fullest potential that their Creator made them to be. Upon reading this book several years ago, my husband and I had a discussion. It was more like a “Do you really feel that way?” kind of conversation. I had always assumed that every human in the world wanted to be loved more than anything. But he reinforced Dr. Eggerich’s research with his own anecdotal evidence; he could know I loved him, but if I acted in a way that he felt disrespected it ate away at him even though he was loved.

Ladies, I encourage you, do not expect the men in your life to be like you. Study men. Study their needs and reactions. Ask them their preferences and wishes. Respect them.

So what does a real Christian marriage look like in this respect? I’m afraid far to many of them are like mine was before I read this book – they are well-intentioned, but uninformed and misguided. They go on assumptions that the other spouse has their same needs, but this is not true. Men need our respect.

But ideally, men need us to see them as individuals and see how their personalities and longings and dreams play into the way they want to be treated. Isn’t that what we women want from them –  to be seen for who we are and treated honorably? Men want to be treated well and respected for their contribution to the world whether they work hard physically doing construction, or they seem to play at work coaching, or if they are an esteemed doctor, a truck driver, a hard-working contributor in a gigantic corporation, a craftsman, a journalist, a mechanic, or one of a thousand other things. Whatever they are, wise godly women should seek to give respect to the men in their lives.

Companion Dog

Almost 2 years ago I inherited my “Grand dog” when my daughter moved out of the country. He’s a bouncy ball of fur, and I’m his favorite person.

I didn’t know much about dogs. I had grown up in the generation where you kept a dog out in the yard and tossed scraps to him for food. So my daughter had to educate me on his routine, his commands, his particular food, his immunization schedule, his exercise schedule, all the no-nos about him, and that he was a companion dog. OK. Aren’t all dogs companion dogs? You know, the whole “man’s best friend” thing – that says companion to me. But no. As I read the informative dog book she provided, I found that certain breeds are companion dogs, not lap dogs, or guard dogs, but companion dogs.

dog-3010442_1920As I’ve gotten to know sweet Poppy over the course of this year, I see why he is that type. He loves to be around me. When he wakes up in the morning he lays on my bed until I get ready to go to the kitchen and he follows me. If I’m feeling bad, He snuggles right up against me or climbs up on my side to sleep. If he goes outside, he wants me to sit out on the porch while he lies in the sun or chases squirrels. If I walk out of a room, he follows. He loves for me to play with him. He sits on the bed and watches me fold clothes, follows me to the bathroom, and is up on the couch before I can even get seated. If he’s sitting beside me, I am required to be petting him unless he dozes off. He wants to be with me, to be my companion. He adores me, my touch, my company.

Are we like a companion dog in our relationship with our Heavenly Father? Are we constantly longing for God’s touch on our life? Is our favorite place resting by His side? Do we jump up and follow wherever we see Him go wanting to be in the room with Him?  Do we want to hear His voice and do we run quickly to Him when He speaks? Do we long to have Him with us as we lay beside Him with no agenda? Do we love to soak in the sunlight of His Word?

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May you find yourself becoming God’s companion this year.

The Tabernacle & Me

Each year as I begin again reading through the Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, starting my yearly journey through God’s Word, I come to some point in between Exodus and Deuteronomy when I say to myself, “What does this have to do with my life?” (I know that’s self-focused thinking, but that’s what I do.) Generally it’s when I’m reading a long list of “begats,” or numbering of tribes, or detailed descriptions of something unfamiliar to me that I can’t seem to visualize.

This year it happened in Exodus. As I was reading through chapters 35-38, about the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings, curtains, and articles, I once again had a what’s-in-it-for-me thought. As I read that particular day, I started asking myself, “How can I apply this?” “What do you want me to learn, Lord?”

And you know what? When we ask, He listens and answers.

I recalled how the tabernacle was the place where God came down to dwell among His people in His Shekinah glory. It was God’s house on earth. I remembered it was Holy and set apart and consecrated. And those thoughts made me think of these New Testament verses:

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

altar-4003119_1920I began to notice in the Exodus description, the rich materials that were used: the finest woods, rich beautiful fabrics, gold and precious metals and jewels. Not only were the materials the best, the craftsmen were the best at their craft as well. The men called upon to do the metal-work, the weaving, the hand carving and such were all noted to be very skilled “experts” in their area. Even the people themselves were called upon to offer their best gifts to be used in the construction and decoration of the tabernacle. They brought materials from their own personal wealth: jewels and yarn and spices for the incense. Not surprisingly, they brought it willingly; Exodus 35:29 specifies that it was a freewill offering. No one was compelled or taxed or forced; they offered to God things to make a perfect dwelling for Him among them.

So we ask: Father, how do these chapters from Exodus, about the building of the Tabernacle, impact our lives as your temples here on earth?

  1. We offer God our best. Not just our best material possessions – which is a given – but the best job we can do, the best/first of our time, energy, intellect, and passions. In so doing, we seek to become the best, the purest, a worthwhile holy gift to give to Him.
  2. We work heartily at whatever our hand finds to do. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Seek to learn, organize, prepare, train – to become better, faster, more expert in any area where He gives us a job. I’m not just a mom, I’m creating a home and training these little ones. I’m not just putting words on paper, I’m using my skill to craft winsome and enlightening prose that God will use to touch others. I’m not just a singer, I’m a worshipper leading others to the throne of God. I could go on, but you get the picture. Are we reading up in our area, keeping up with developments, seeking training, honing our skills, doing improvement exercises in order to give our best self to the effort?
  3. We bring gifts to Him. Tithes and offerings and service in His house and to His people. Beautiful, precious gifts, not our leftovers. Intentional gifts that require much of us.
  4. We give willingly from our heart. If I, as a grown adult, am still giving my tithe just because I’m supposed to, I probably have an issue in my heart. As we grow with Him through the years we give to Him out of love. The giving brings joy. Our heart is in it and we desire to give. In fact, we probably even wish we had more to give! Pray: Father, help me want to give out of a willing generous heart. Amen.

So as you go about your day today, remember that You are God’s Temple – a beautiful temple that He is building brick by brick for His glory. Decorate your temple. Take care of what is furnishing your heart. Make yours a finely crafted temple, made of the finest materials, given to Him from a willing heart!

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Discontent with Our Provider

Are you a contented person? Willing to be satisfied with what you have without all the acquiring and manipulating? Or are you, like many of us, one who tries to fill the emptiness, hoping to get enough to be able to be content? What about when you are in those long, lean, tough times; are you able to be content then? Although I’ve walked with the Lord for years, I struggle to dwell contentedly when times are tough and I’m waiting for an answer from the Father.

This past week, a simple story about the Israelites, which we’ve all heard, brought me face to face with my lack of contentedness and lack of faith. Here’s the heart of the story from Numbers chapter 11.

Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. … The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”…

1. The people complained. God miraculously supplied manna to feed them, but they got tired of it, griped, and looked back longingly to their days of captivity. Sounds like us, huh? Discontent with what we have we begin to gripe and look back to “the good ole days” which were really not that good.

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

2. Moses, their leader then begins to gripe about his job. Also sounds like us. “Lord, look at these people I work with. I’m fed up. I can’t do this. Just kill me Lord.”

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

3. God intervenes. He provides 70 reliable men to help Moses so he does not have to bear the load alone. Father God will send us helpers to walk alongside us as well.

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it.19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

4. The funny interlude from the Lord – at least I think so! I can just hear God saying, “O, so you want meat to eat, do you? I’m gonna give you some meat. so much meat that you will be sick of it.” I’m glad He provides and teaches in kind but memorable ways!

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

5. Moses doubts God. Where in the world was God going to get enough meat for 600,000 people for a month?! They were in a desert. … O wait! … God created all the food in the first place, so hmmm… I guess He could create meat out of nothing…

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” …

6. “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” – my favorite line of our story. That’s a rhetorical question, and the answer is an implied, definite “No!” The Lord’s arm is totally capable of providing for these children of Israel, and it is also totally capable of providing for our every need today. Luke 1:37 says it this way, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

7. And as Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the rest of the story.”

31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. …

8. A wind from the Lord blew in quail from the sea. And not just a little. Quail piled up 1 yard deep for a days journey on each side of the camp. Hard to picture that, huh? I though at first maybe the size of a huge mall and its parking lot, but no, not nearly enough. The World Wide Web tells us that the average healthy person can walk 20-30 miles in 8 hours (a day’s journey would be at least that if not more). Don’t know where you live, but if you’re in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, that is basically from Leeds to Jasper with the midpoint representing the Israelite’s camp! All that area covered with quail a yard deep! Now that is provision, with a little bit of God’s humor, and a little bit of  #theyllrememberthislesson.

Dear ladies, Our God is not only Our Creator, The Lover of Our Soul, Our Savior & Friend, but He is Provider of our every need. We can rest content in our Faithful Lord. He is faithful to us, will we operate in faith towards Him? Will we be content in Him come what may?

I don’t know what you are facing, but the Lord will provide for you! Don’t take my word for it. Take these scriptures to heart and walk forth in faith and contentment.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:1-4

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength…. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:11-13, 19

 Content yourself! Have faith! Trust your Provider! 

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Blessed

I don’t know of a soul on earth who does not want to be blessed. Even the ungodly open arms wide to receive blessings wherever they may come from. So If we were given a formula, a secret, an instruction on how to be blessed, one would think we would listen and follow through. But alas, humans don’t always do the expected or the wise or even the reasonable thing.

But in case you are longing to be blessed and willing to pay attention, may I offer some most obvious wisdom from scripture.

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Psalm 1

We have choices in life. With choices come the connected consequences. Make the choice today to not keep company with the wicked. Instead, delight in and meditate upon God’s Word. This choice will yield a flourishing, fruit-bearing life watched over by the Lord. Whereas the opposite choice yields a drying up and destruction.

Be blessed today through your attitudes, actions, and desires. A heart going after God will hunger and thirst for righteousness, and will be meek, merciful, pure, and peace-making among other things. Things that yield blessing. It won’t always feel good. We will be persecuted. Remember, the right way is often difficult.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5

Seek the Father and His Word and be blessed!

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Erasable Pens

Let me just confess –  I LOVE office supplies! Anybody else?

I can waste money too easily in an office supply or book store, so I avoid going unless I really need something – or have a gift card.

A couple of years back a bibliophile friend of mine who also loves to write, clued me in on a new erasable pen that came in many colors. I was hooked just hearing about them. I went home and ordered a package of the pens based solely upon what I had heard of them. When Amazon Prime delivered, I was not disappointed. They were amazing! I began using them for everything: calendaring, taking notes, journaling, writing letters. You name it. Until…

I had taken notes, with said pens, at a planning meeting for an upcoming event, then headed to Target for some things I needed. I left the notebook on the dash of my car in the Alabama summer sun. After finishing my errands I got home and took out my notebook to follow up on some of the plans. Lo and behold, my notes had disappeared on half the pages! Then I begin to connect the dots, the ink in these pens erased by rubbing with the eraser… rubbing caused heat… the sun in my car was hot… Ugh!

sharpie-4333165_1280I still love the pens. They’re good for calendars and whimsical artwork which sometimes need to be erased. They are not good for my journals or business notes where I want a permanent record of what I write. This got me thinking.

Some things in life need to be written in permanent ink.

Other things need erasable pens.

“Jesus loves me this I know” needs to be written in bold permanent marker across your psyche. So does “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and “I know the plans I have for you” and “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Permanent reminders about our identity, of how to live, and of how to treat others need to be seared into our brains. Permanently. Lessons learned and wisdom gained through God’s Word applied to life need to be recorded in indelible ink. Every scripture verse and word of Godly wisdom needs to be chiseled in as if in stone.

Sometimes these truths of scripture and lessons learned in our walk with the Lord get erased. Our enemy comes along and steals certain truths from our minds, or blinds us to the spiritual reality temporarily just to thwart God’s work in and through us. We must be diligent about hiding His Word in our hearts systematically, and of following up by reviewing this words! (My weak point is follow up.) We must also realize that we have an enemy who wants to blind us to the truth we know. We must frequently pray that the Lord will not let our mind forget any of the wisdom He has taught us. And each of us need a group of godly “go to” friends who will speak the scripture into our lives when we seem at a loss to retrieve it ourselves.

Other things, those that should be written in erasable ink in our hearts, are our mistakes, our failures, hurtful criticisms of others, wounds from friends, confessed sins, and condemning things from our past. Those things need to be “left on the dash” so to speak, to be erased by the warmth of the Son of God and His love for us. They may not be erased immediately, but under His care they will slowly fade if left in the “Son.” With time we will be able to remember the lessons of the past without the heaps of guilt and regret. I don’t speak of this theoretically, I speak from living and learning this lesson.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3_16 ~In my early 20s, there was what I considered to be a huge sin and failure in my life. (All sin is huge to the Father, you know.) God stopped me in my tracks, rebuked me, corrected me, and set me back on His path when I humbled myself, confessed my sin, and asked for forgiveness. (The 2 Timothy 3:16 principles at work!) For about 10 years after that I struggled with guilt over my failure. It crippled me in many ways. To be broken-hearted over my sin was an appropriate response, but Satan had taken my memory of my failure and broken my spirit and made me define myself by my sin. As God taught me to give my failures to Him and leave my sins in the hands of my Savior, I began to experience God’s grace for me which allowed me to forgive myself and move forward. I began confronting Satan’s condemnation of me with the truth of God’s love and forgiveness of all my sin, using scripture to put my enemy in his place. Just last night my husband said something that triggered the memory of my failure. There was no more guilt and shame attached to the memory, and I was shocked to recall it. I had forgotten it! It has probably been 10 years since I thought about it at all. What had been a consuming regret, had been erased by the grace of God and the constant application of His Word to my situation.

Take some time to think about erasable things that you may be hanging on to, that thing that your enemy keeps bringing to your mind. It may be like mine, a sin that haunts us and controls us even though we have repented and asked for forgiveness. Maybe it’s a comment about our appearance or a judgment from when we were a child, or perhaps that humiliating memory that we won’t let our self forget. It could even be an offense against us that we choose to hang onto that is eating away at us. These things need to be erased. We need to let Scripture and the Holy Spirit work on our hearts and minds so that we can walk in freedom, fulfilling God’s purposes in our lives.

You may say “But these have been written in permanent ink. I’ll never be free of them.” Not to worry. God is omnipotent; He can change permanent ink to erasable ink if we offer it to Him, just like He changed the water into wine in Scripture. So I challenge you, make a decision that you are willing to let these things be erased. Then pray and ask God to begin that erasing process to free you from these negative labels, harmful memories, and controlling thoughts of fear and failure. Begin writing on your mind and heart every day the truths of His Holy Word. You will one day wake up and be so free you will have to be reminded of the past.

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