Category Archives: burdens
I did something new this week. I went back to school.
Evidently my brain was due for a workout since, “I used to know this….” has been the catch-phrase of the week.
It’s no secret one of my favorite quotes is by a wise man, CS Lewis. He said: “You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I’m glad God is in the business of new, aren’t you?
Have you felt a tug on your heart to step out in faith and reach for a new dream?
If you’re struggling to find answers I’ve got one for you. Head to the Word.
I say that because there’s this lie we believe about the Bible, the lie that we’ve been there, done that, heard that verse before. We know it. We’ve read it. We’re good. Notice the past tense? Have you ever had those thoughts? Yeah, me too. But those thoughts rob us like a thief in the night.
We’re not good. We’re far from good. Transformation comes from renewing our mind through the Word. You’re right, that’s in the Word and we’ve heard it before. Yet with every delicate page turned there’s something new to learn. We grow. We see things our eyes didn’t see before, because before is when we glazed over that one word that makes all the difference in what we need for today.
Have you read the passage about a place called Gethsemane? Me too. But this time it touched me so deeply. The weight of His Jesus’ sorrow is beyond our comprehension. Jesus knew what He would endure. The weight of our awful, horrific, devastating sin put upon the One who knew no sin. To be crushed beneath the weight like olives in a press. Aren’t we thankful for mercy and grace? He took our place.
Then there’s the way Jesus prayed: “He fell with His face to the ground.” I’ve read those words before yet the picture was missing. We’ve seen images of Jesus on His knees in the garden looking up to the Father, but evidently Jesus face down in the dirt isn’t picture worthy. This posture of prayer is a thing of beauty, a position of reverence and total submission. As He lies face to the ground, He asks the Father if the cup could be taken away.
Jesus’ prayer doesn’t end there though, it’s what comes next that teaches us the difference between what we want and what we should want…
“…Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39b
That’s key. Jesus prayed this prayer not once, not twice, but three times presenting the same request, yet in all those times He never wavered in submitting to the Father’s will over His own.
Am I prepared to accept God’s will over my own?
What God allows to happen in my life often times looks very different than what I would choose, but I’m still learning and He knows the big picture. My big picture is smaller than a speck of dust compared to the infinite grandeur of a picture God has designed. I need to trust the writing of my story to Him. He knows all.
Let’s not believe the lie that we’ve learned everything we need to know. Trying to depend on dusty knowledge will leave us stale and thirsty. It may serve us well for a time, but the well will run dry. Keep learning and stay fresh in the Word.
I’m thankful for this new journey at Liberty U. I know God led me to this place because I’m still not exactly sure how I got there. Boom. You’re back in school. What? I know, I said that earlier. But really, what?
Don’t lose sight of your big dreams and pray God’s will be done. He’s already made a Way.
Have these words touched you in some way? What dreams are you reaching for?
I lift the delicate chain from the hook.
Reaching clasp and eye around opposites sides of my neck, I dip my head slightly and fasten it tight.
We girls like lovely things. Perhaps we don’t all agree on silver or gold, but many of us feel we’re not completely dressed without a necklace.
At a women’s event yesterday, we worshiped together, declaring power in the Name of Jesus. That power can break every chain of sin, hanging heavy around our necks.
We form an image in our minds.
Thick, heavy chains, perhaps pewter in color, dragging us down and binding us up.
Those chains are hard to miss. But what if the most dangerous chains feel delicate and comfortable?
We talk of sins like failing to forgive, giving in to pride, loving those who love us, but not those who don’t.
What if we’re so busy avoiding obvious sins, we miss the not-so-obvious ones slithering in?
Those flesh-eating sins like harboring resentment, growing callous, allowing exhaustion to make our choices.
The enemy can come as an angel of light. What appears pretty, isn’t always what it seems.
What promises to fill us, comfort us, charades as the truth. Its lure attracts us, making us feel better about ourselves, but at what cost? It’s a live wire stretched across our path, waiting for us to step on it barefoot.
Like the friends who tempt, wrapping gossip all up in churchy phrases. They love drinking coffee, and spelling prayer d-r-a-m-a.
Do you have friends like that? Pray for them, they need it. And let’s lay the truth on the line. Let’s unwrap the gossip, and ask them to choose between it and us. Don’t worry, we can still drink coffee, praise God.
How about that little lie? Since when are lies acceptable based on size? I used to think that way; I used to believe a lie to avoid hurting someone was okay. Well, that’s what the world says anyway.
Let’s get something straight, the truth doesn’t bend.
And that group who mentions Jesus, and it all sounds good because they speak His Name? Listen closely, because they don’t really know Jesus, or who He is, or that He Is.
We can easily be drawn in, and those delicate chains we thought lovely?
They tarnish and rust once the clasp is fastened. Links disappear one by one, and the ones remaining grow tighter.
But we need not despair.
Because there is power in the Name of Jesus, and He truly can break every chain. Not just the obvious ones.
Be alert and armor up. Stay close to the flock, and stay grounded in the Word.
Because the one who deceives as an angel of light, cannot fool those who know the truth. And as we know, the truth will set us free.
- Let’s pray often, better yet, more often.
- Let’s not just read the Word, but study it. Break out study tools and dig in deep. Girls are smart.
- And let’s keep reminding each other of this: When we get in those what-about-me moods, and why-is-this-happening-to-me moods, and why-isn’t-that-happening-to-me moods, that it’s not all about us, and the most important us is in Jesus.
Who’s with me?
If you’d like to read more inspiring posts, hop on over to Purposeful Faith where this post link appears with many others! Be blessed!
We don’t have to live in fear.
Isn’t that great news?
Yes, if only.
In a previous post, “How Do We Fight the Fear?” we touched on specific types of fear.
But really, when it comes down to it, fear is fear.
Ever feel like this:
Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.
You’re not alone.
David, a man after God’s own heard, cried out these words to God in prayer. That’s Psalm 55:5. Countless people in the Bible felt fear. God allowed us to know that for a reason.
They were human, and so are we.
But just because we’re human, doesn’t mean we have to be bound by fear.
Ever realize fear can be misinterpreted as being love?
Often times our fear stems from worrying about those we love, doesn’t it?
In counseling training we’re taught this:
Fear and worry can be interpreted as love, which is unhealthy.
When looking up the word fear in the dictionary,
we find this:
- to be afraid of (something or someone)
- to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
- to be afraid and worried
- anxious concern
Look closely at the list.
See any characteristics of God?
See anything here that would remotely resemble His plan for us?
When we compare our fear to God, what once seemed enormous becomes small in comparison.
If that doesn’t click, we’re looking at God through human limitations. We’re talking about God, who has overcome your world of trouble and mine.
Taking action helps us work through fear.
Let’s try this:
- Take out paper and pen
- Write down the root of your fear
- Write down the source of your worry
- Write down the cause of your anxiety
There are proven health benefits to journaling,
and now we’re going to add proven spiritual health benefits:
- Take the key word from each bullet point, and find a scripture about it (you can even Google phrases like: scriptures about fear; scriptures about worry; scriptures about anxiety).
- Choose a scripture pertaining to that key word.
- Write out the scripture.
- Pray this: “God, when I feel fear of ___________, Your Word says: ___(insert scripture)____ , help me to believe it, grab hold of it, live it.
Memorize the scripture, stick it on your mirror, tape it to your dashboard. Hide it in your heart.
Fear needs to be dealt with, we need to face it down, run to it, like David and the giant.
Fight it. But not by our own might, but by the Spirit of the Lord-the Sword of the Spirit.
Fear is real, but there’s nothing more real than God.
Have you ever thought about fear being a lack of trust in God?
Ouch. Yeah, that’s the reality of it, the root of it.
God’s love is bigger than our biggest fear. Here’s another tidbit from counseling training:
Love is the enemy of fear ~ if we put on love, fear has to go.
God loves us, holds our future, and knows our tomorrows.
His plan for us doesn’t include living in fear.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
Feeling fear doesn’t mean we’ve lost our faith, it means we need to cast out fear in Jesus’ Name, and reel back in the measure of faith we’ve been given.
Take every thought captive under the obedience of Christ; cut off the downward spiral of fearful thoughts.
So we may boldly say:“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…
We know it’s the enemy, because God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. He gives us a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Check out 2 Timothy 1:7.
When fearful thoughts come, push them out. Meditate on scripture, sing a worship song, call a friend.
We have no time for fear in our lives, we’ve got things to do.
We’ve got a world to change, and we are the light.
Let’s not allow the enemy to scare us into a dark corner.
What fears have you fought?
Have you felt discouraged lately?
Hanging on like an Autumn leaf, fearing the slightest breeze could send you plummeting?
Guess what? You’re not alone.
This word discouraged. Seems it’s been a common thread running through conversations over the last several days. I’ve been there too.
We get tired; we grow weary; we have thoughts of giving up. We wonder where our passion has gone; why the fire feels as though extinguished.
The opposite of discourage is encourage; within both, courage can be found. In every discouraging circumstance in our lives, we must dig deep and find courage. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Christ. In. Us. What could make us braver than that? God knows we face discouragement; yes, Jesus endured so we would not grow weary. Then the flicker. It’s still there.
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:3 (NKJV)
Feeling discouraged? I’ve been there too. Reach out to a friend. Reach out for prayer. Reach out; because when we reach out, we aren’t holding in.
Discouragement isn’t cause to give up; it’s cause to step up. Grab courage right out of the middle of discouragement. tweet it
God has given us gifts to use; He has positioned us where we stand at this very moment in time. What could be more discouraging than not using our gifts? God chooses the weak to shame the strong. It may be a harder road than we would choose, but I’d rather be chosen than choose easy. How about you?
“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NASB)
Here are 4 ways to fight discouragement:
1. Pray. It may seem obvious, but we’ve been known to forget. It’s okay to talk with God about our discouragement. It’s His joy to refresh our souls.
2. Redirect our focus by boasting in the Lord, instead of thinking more of ourselves than we ought. Discouragement can be a form of pride. We feel sorry for ourselves for what we haven’t achieved; for what we haven’t accomplished; for where we’d hoped to be by now; for not being more appreciated; for feeling we don’t have a voice. Let’s redirect our focus off of ourselves and onto God. Let’s release the burden of self. God inhabits the praises of His people. Praise changes things. Praising through difficult circumstances takes our eyes off the difficult circumstances. Supernatural changes happen when we praise Him.
3. Believe the Word, really believe it. If I asked you if you believe what the Bible says is true, most of you would say of course I do. Do you believe it’s true for you? I’ve said this before, it’s easier to encourage others than it is to grab hold of it for ourselves. Believe the promises are personal. Wait on the Lord. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it” Philippians 1:6. I’m thinking you’ve encouraged someone with that truth. Be encouraged, the you in that scripture means you.
4. Take time to rest. Discouragement and exhaustion go hand-in-hand. In music, a rest means you don’t play a note. Maybe we’re playing too many notes and ignoring all the rests. When we do, we aren’t playing the music as it was meant to be played. Rest in Him. Speaking of music, pop in your favorite worship music. Uplifting and encouraging lyrics is food for the soul. Maybe it’s as simple as knowing we’re not alone. Not the way the world says misery loves company, but the way the Word says unity through humility.
Remember friends, feeling discouraged doesn’t mean we’ve been defeated; it probably means we’re doing something right. Press on. His mercies are new every morning.
Blessings and Peace to you,
What thoughts deluge your mind in the quiet of night and stillness of morning?
For years, my daily routine brought stress and anxiety. I’d stay up late, hoping exhaustion would override the to-do, didn’t-do, should’ve done lists waiting to flood my thoughts as my head hit the pillow.
Upon waking, another rush. It wasn’t necessarily unpleasant occurrences or circumstances, just everyday challenges of a working wife and mom, with bills and responsibilities too numerous to count.
You know that silly Jimmy Dean sausage commercial with the guy dressed as the sun? The familiar tune plays (dum, dadum, dadumdum) as he scolds listless planets for skipping a good breakfast. The planets eat a sausage biscuit, and suddenly revival takes place; a rotation dance ensues around the sun, and all is as it should be.
Of course, although quite yummy, we know sausage biscuits won’t rid us of pesky, troublesome, and at times overwhelming thoughts.
It seems every negative and glass-half-empty circumstance in our life hits us hardest in the quiet of night, and the first light of morning.
These critical times of day and night can be gravely effected by these thoughts. When they come at night, sleep is robbed. When they come in the morning, joy of the day is robbed.
Would we allow someone to rob our home by intentionally leaving the door unlocked?
Too often, we allow the enemy of our soul free-reign of our thoughts. He can read our thoughts, but he doesn’t have to since we practically tell him. We leave the door unlocked, or worse yet, wide-open and vulnerable to his cunning attacks upon our mind.
As difficult as it is to ward off thoughts of troublesome circumstances in our lives, we can choose to replace them with blessing-thoughts. Surrendering our concerns and circumstances to God frees us from the impossible task of trying to fix everything we were never meant to fix in the first place.
This takes practice and discipline, but most of all, it takes a God-focused life. It takes God.
Pray with the power He has given us in the Name of Jesus.
Allow worship songs to wash over thoughts, meditating on words of truth.
Recite favorite verses that renew our minds and remind us of who God is; that He is faithful; that He is good; that He has plans for us; that He knows our name and sees us, always.
Name every blessing, every good thing by name. Seen and unseen. What is good in your life? Resist the lie there is no good, and even if you can only think of one good thing, think of one good thing.
I once asked a group of women what threatened to steal their joy. One woman wrote “LIFE” all in caps. That spoke volumes.
When LIFE threatens to steal our joy and zap our strength, we must seek the Giver of LIFE whose joy is our strength.
Here are a few encouraging verses to write on your heart:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? … Matthew 6:25-27
Breathe deeper. Love deeper. Seek deeper. Walk deeper.
A sausage biscuit can’t solve our problems, and the sun can’t fix our failures; but I know a Son who can. His warmth and light brings hope and life. Jesus.
What scriptures have you found particularly comforting in this season of your life? What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you through His words today?
Blessings and Peace In Him,
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
What’s the first thing a mom says when her child is hurt?
“Come here, let Mommy see. We’ll put a nice band-aid on it.”
Tears streaming down, they run into our arms; we draw them near. We stop the bleeding, kiss the boo-boo, and bandage the wound.
As women, we want to be the band-aid, don’t we? But we’ve got that all wrong.
The band-aid doesn’t comfort the child, but rather the loving words and open arms inviting them to draw near comforts them.
We are not called to be the band-aid, we are called to be the loving arms of safety.
You see, there are times when our arms of safety protect against the hurt, and other times our arms of safety are there to comfort after the hurt. Sound familiar?
God may prevent our hurt, or He may allow it. He invites us to draw near to Him, and He promises to draw near to us. We can run into His loving arms of safety; not only when we are hurting, but always.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, and that my friend, is better than a band-aid.
Life can be overwhelming.
A difficult situation may hit us head-on suddenly, or perhaps we saw it coming and failed to take precautions.
We may not realize the stress building up in us, until the day that last straw person pops the top, and we explode like a shaken can of coke; usually in the middle of the frozen food aisle.
What causes us to feel overwhelmed?
We can become overwhelmed by every-day life routines such as housework, parenting, careers, and marriage.
Conceivably, we manufacture a considerable amount of our own overwhelming circumstances through, lack of sleep, unwise choices, overcommitment, time management issues. A clue for that last one is steering the car with your knee while applying deodorant.
However, there exists overwhelming circumstances which are more difficult than others to overcome: grief, health-related issues, abuse, sick children, divorce, financial crisis, caring for aging parents…
I Googled the phrase “I feel overwhelmed” and a resounding 33,600,000 hits were available at my fingertips in a matter of seconds. By the time we’re Googling for answers, we may already be beyond the point of melt-down.
Although we cannot prevent difficult seasons in life, we can we minimize the impact and remain steadfast in faith before life gets hard.
Here are a few suggestions:
- At the start of your day, pray
- Read the Word before the Wall Street Journal, local newspaper, or social media
- Get plenty of rest and practice healthy eating habits
- Meet regularly with an accountability partner who knows you well; choose one who will call you out when you’re wrong, and can sense when you’re stressed
- Be courageous in severing ties to toxic relationships
- Evaluate your current commitments; is your schedule too full? Even ministry can become overwhelming if we are running in too many directions at once.
- Manage time wisely by prioritizing tasks. For example, getting dressed is a non-negotiable;dressing before performing negotiable tasks, such as checking Facebook, may afford you extra morning minutes.
God has not overlooked the fact our fleshy hearts can feel overwhelmed. We know this because He has provided an answer. He is the answer.
Living in Florida, we have five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, and hurricane. June 1 officially ushers in the 2014 hurricane season. Here we go again, from now through November all eyes will be watching the Atlantic for developing storms. Each storm is named, oddly enough, as if it were a child forming in the womb. Ironically, these storms have a few things in common with birth. In early stages of development, they are small and weak, there are showers, and they continue to grow larger and stronger.
Thankfully, the last few hurricane seasons have been uneventful, but that wasn’t always the case. When the storms do come, we evacuate or hunker down, and inevitably we lose power. The power can be out for hours, days, or even weeks. When the power goes out, there’s not much we can do but pray for it to come back. We are thankful for the convoy of power trucks, many from out of state answering the call for help.
When storms come, they aren’t always the kind meteorologists track. Storms in life can be just as devastating as a hurricane. Our storms have names too, don’t they? Worry, anxiety, fear, addiction, sickness…
When we release and surrender our storms to God, He pulls down the strongholds, there is change within us. The storms may wreak havoc, but they cannot crush us. The storms may feel threatening, but God will never abandon us. Storms can be destructive, but they will not destroy us. When we are weak we are strong in Him. He is greater than a convoy of power trucks. He dispatches Angel Armies.
So what can we do? We can:
- Pray for the courage to surrender all to God. It’s time to be free.
- Turn off our inner Weather Channel, and tune in to God’s Word.
- Trust not in man or circumstances; trust in God He Is our Strong Tower.
These jars of clay we are in contain Power and Light and no storm can destroy what God has planned for us.
While reading through my Facebook news feed, I saw that a friend had posted a scripture verse from Romans. After posting it, she caught an error. Instead of using the word “bondage,” the word “bandage” was used. How strikingly similar these two words are in form, while strikingly different in meaning.
A bandage is used to cover, dress, or bind up a wound, while bondage is the state of being a slave to something. So in essence, bandages bind wounds, while bondage causes them.
How many times have we slapped a bandage on a sin that keeps us in bondage? We’ve tried binding it up, covering it up, dressing it up pretty, hoping no one will notice. Instead, it winds up looking like torn off toilet paper stuck to a shaving wound that won’t quit bleeding through.
Addiction, depression, abuse, loneliness,…..
Pain is real; bondage is real; a bandage won’t fix it.
Let’s stop wasting bandages on our bondage, and instead do this:
- Surrender it to God through prayer
“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;you will stand firm and without fear.” Job 11:13-15
- Submerge yourself in the WORD
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
- Surround yourself with trusted, godly friends:
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
I’m glad I didn’t miss my friend’s post. God can use even a wrong word at the right time to speak truth to our hearts.
What truth has God spoken to your heart today?
After coming home from the grocery store last week, I found my shower curtain, rod and all, sprawled across the shower floor. At first glance, it startled me since I knew it wasn’t that way when I left the house. Had an intruder gained access to my home while I was out? Looking around, nothing else appeared to be out of place; nothing seemed to be missing. It was highly unlikely that someone had crawled through a window just to take a shower or something from it (although, those Venus razors cost more than some of my jewelry!).
Upon further investigation I realized what had happened. The poor rod had collapsed under the weight of three water-logged bath towels that had been flung over top of it. One towel might have been okay, but three? That was just a little too much weight for my shower curtain rod to bear. After all it wasn’t designed to be a towel rack, right?
At first I tried lifting the whole thing at once, get that mess off the floor and fix it…
I soon learned that this “quick-fix” method obviously wasn’t going to be the best approach. Those towels were huge! Have you ever tried carrying a bunch of huge, wet towels? If so, then you know what I mean. I could feel the heaviness that caused the collapse.
Lifting the towels off, one by one, I restored the shower curtain, rod and all, back to it’s rightful place to once again serve the purpose it was intended to serve.
The burdens of life can sometimes feel as if we’re carrying a ton of wet towels on our shoulders. Ever feel that way? Like when we can’t let go of the past; all that old baggage that can weigh us down: past relationships, a career that ended, a wrong choice…
Or maybe it’s what’s happening in the here-and-now: illness, financial issues, job loss, the loss of a loved one…
So much heaviness to bear, as one towel becomes two, then three…. As we know, my shower curtain rod reached its breaking point at three, so how far can we go carrying all of that heaviness? To the point where we could just collapse under the weight of it all?
We were not designed to be towel racks, well, you know what I mean. We don’t have to carry all of those heavy burdens. We don’t have to fix everything, because frankly, we can’t.
Here’s the good news, the hope: we have a loving God who can. We were made in His image; we have a God who cares so much for us, He became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus paid the price and took our sins to the cross, yours, mine… It’s personal and it was for me and it was for you.
So pack up that baggage, including those wet towels and lift it all up to Him; He’ll take it from you, that’s a promise, His promise. Let Him lift it from you so you can move forward to fulfill and serve the purpose you were intended to serve.
“Cast your burdens on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
Lord, thank you that I can cast my burdens on you; and when I feel overwhelmed with the cares and worries of this world, Your Word tells me I can lift my requests to you in prayer, and the peace that passes all understanding will be mine. Thank you Lord, that you have plans for me and through You I have a hope and a future. Direct my steps Lord, as I trust in You; make clear the path of life, so I may serve You and others, doing the good works you prepared in advance for me to do according to Your will.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
*Please feel free to share a testimony or praise report on how the Lord lifted a burden in your life…. you never know how He might use those words to encourage someone who is hurting…