For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, January 24, 2015

He'll Give You Rest

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

Exhausted, fatigued, sapped, spent, drained—ever felt like that? Yes? Then you know what it’s like to be weary. Not just physically tired, where a good night’s sleep revives the energy in your body. But, weary. Exhausted right down to the soul. Your heart hurts, your heads aches, your spirit sags. Life’s been sucked out. This kind of life draining experience often occurs with stress, loss, when the same frustrating situation occurs over and over again or when hope is lost. You’re so spiritually beaten down, you want to crawl under the covers and hibernate like a bear. Or sleep the day away like my dogs. And sometimes physical rest is part of the process that refreshes a hurting soul. But there’s more.

Jesus offers to take the burden, carry the stress, and restore the spirit. Anytime I’ve taken my weariness, my burdens, my stress and anxieties to him, I find hope and peace. Not only do I give him my burdens, I take on his ways and pray his gentle spirit and humble heart will fill me. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible relieve me of the weariness the world brings. Asking others to pray with me and for me gives me encouragement. For me being outside surrounded by God’s creation restores my soul. I’m thankful Jesus loves me enough to carry my burdens and give me rest. Praise God for his son!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fixer Upper

1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

An empty house deteriorated as rain beat on the roof and wind blew against the windows. The grey sky reflected the mood of the sad, lonely structure. When the family departed, the heart moved out too. Without someone to care for the old place it fell apart.

My husband and I enjoy watching the HGTV show Fixer Upper. A carpenter, Chip, and his designer wife, Joanna, help couples find a run-down house and turn it into a dream home. As they peel away the layers of the desolate building, they often find bigger issues. Water leaks, mold, lack of insulation, to name a few, have destroyed the heart of the home. The mess doesn’t discourage the builders. They pound nails, paint, tear down and build up until they create a comfortable, beautiful, welcoming space. Then Joanna brings in the finishing touches as the heart comes back to the home.

Sometimes people resemble sad, dilapidated houses. The shell remains but the heart is gone. At one time, they may have had an abundant life, a relationship with Jesus, joy and peace. But sin and the difficulties of life moved in and destroyed the soul. Like the empty house without a caretaker, the person without the Holy Spirit decays. The longer the person sits and deteriorates, the more bitterness, loneliness, sadness, and fear fill the space. There’s one Fixer Upper who will pour life and heart back into a troubled soul. God offers hope and restoration through his son, Jesus. He wants his children to come to him and find peace. Praise God for always listening, always waiting, and always meeting us with open arms.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Don't Believe the Lies

Genesis 1:27-28
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”


The young lady glanced around the classroom. She was surrounded by all the people who were better than her, the cheerleader, the math whiz, the brilliant artist, the top athlete, the homecoming queen, and the tall dark and handsome guy. Even in Sunday school she felt useless and invisible. Yet deep in her heart she knew God didn’t play favorites, he made all of them to be like him. Yet she couldn’t convince her mind of what her heart knew.

Why do we listen to the lies? The media tells us we have to have a certain kind of shampoo to be beautiful. We need to eat, drink, and talk a certain way to be cool. Why do we buy in to the negative when we have the most wonderful, incredible creator who made each of us? And he created us in his image. Even better, each person was born with a purpose, a passion, a reason for life. I know I am a writer and I have a passion for encouragement. It took me a long time to figure that out. In school, I was the wallflower. And you know what? It’s okay to be the wallflower. I learned a lot watching other people. It’s okay to be the quiet one, and it’s okay to be the homecoming queen. To find your best self, the one God created, stop listening to the lies and seek God through prayer and his word. He loves me and he loves you. He made us in his image and that’s the best person we can be.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Faith Replaces Logic

Psalm 74:16-17
The day is yours, and yours also the night;
    you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
    you made both summer and winter.

Spring flowers bloom, summer grass grows, autumn leaves color the trees. Then there’s winter. The season of quiet, cold, ice, snow, did I mention quiet. January brings a sense of serenity after a flurried season of celebration. I don’t know how your holidays are, but mine are blessed with lots of people and activities. As much as I love the busy, fun holiday, I cherish the month of January. And yes, I like winter. The solitude, the silvery snow, colder temperatures, but mostly the time to think. In winter I ponder my relationship with God, my goals, life with family and friends.

God created seasons for nature to roll through just as he gave us seasons in life. Age wise, I’m probably in my autumn years. Logically, these are the days when wisdom wins over daring. But, where God is concerned, faith replaces the logic and I’m willing to step out and follow my Father’s lead. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do listen for what God has in store for me. This is the year of listening and following. Where he leads I’ll go in faith.

What are you doing this year?