Come All Who Are Weary And Burdened…

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.…”  Matthew 11:27-29

As a pastor I find these word of Jesus to be both refreshing and comforting.
We all face times in our lives when we feel anything but comforted and rested.  This passage isn’t really about physical rest though is it?  Jesus says that if we learn from Him we will find rest for our souls.

Questions:
“Say is your soul weary?”
Are you dealing with trouble far too heavy for you to care for on your own?
Is your soul, the very fiber of your being, worn out, discouraged, defeated, burned out?
Are you tired of doing it your way only to find another dead end?

If any of these questions resound in you today then perhaps it’s time to let go of the strangle hold that you have on your life and allow God to help you.  It isn’t about losing control of your identity, it is about gaining a deeper, richer identity in Christ.  Our paths lead to temporal successes and failures, God’s path leads us to eternal successes and victories.

Are you in need of rest for your soul?
Are you in need of some soul-care?
His path is not easy, but we will find comfort and peace in knowing that He is with us each step of the way.

TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
  In the light of His glory and grace.

Something more to ponder today…have you allowed God’s Yoke to be placed upon you?  His rest and peace for the soul is beyond measure!  Ponder that!

Devotional Pondering – “I have to sacrifice WHAT???”

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Just the idea alone of sacrificing or giving up something in our lives, at times, seems preposterous.  Why would we ever want to sacrifice anything…it’s an honest confession, and a shared sentiment with many.  Sacrifice can be a hard thing to do in our lives which often include more excess and over-excess rather than “less”.  I’m sure you have heard the phrase “less is more” and in the case of the Holiness this certainly fits, at least in the practical physical sense.  

Question: What are we willing to sacrifice in order to have a closer relationship with God?
Perhaps the idea of giving up something physical in your life bothers you.  Perhaps knowing that the Lord requires this in order to help you grow seems hard even harsh.  Let me ask you this – what consumes your day?  Is it your job?  Is it your pursuit of more stuff?  Are you living beyond your current means?  I don’t mean to pry but honestly mammon or the pursuit of stuff has almost become our worldly false god especially in the Western world.  We see a new commercial on T.V. for the biggest and nicest car and we crave it.  We go to a friend’s house and they show off their new 60′ television with all the new features and we covet it.  Mammon – this pursuit of stuff has a way of choking our spiritual lives to death.  

I’m not saying money or things are inherently evil, not at all.  Some of these things are necessary items and can be used for good…but if it becomes our obsession, then perhaps we have placed things and “stuff” above God.  

Sacrifice requires something from us.  Sacrifice in the spiritual sense means we are willing to think more about our relationship with God and less about our own selfish wants and desires.  Sacrifice is more than just a way of life it has to become a thought process and a lifestyle.  

he (Jesus) humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:8 (NLT) 

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If we are to become holy in our lifestyles, attitudes and actions, then we have to emulate the very attributes of Christ who became death, took death from us, and in so doing redeemed us.  Humility, in the spiritual sense, goes hand in hand with becoming a living sacrifice for God and for the people around us (regardless if they are good or bad).  

Prayer:  Dear Lord, show me what a living sacrifice looks like.  I have, at times, filled my life with pride, arrogance and things that attempted to replace you.  Forgive me of this, help me to see the threat of mammon in my life and guide me in your truths…lead me Lord.  I long to be like you, help me to see how I can become humble in spirit so that I may be your witness to the world around me.  Help me to see others through your eyes and guide me in your truths.  -Amen. 

 

Devotional Thought – “Lord Humble me, and Cleanse me”

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Create in me a clean heart, O God” Psalm 51:10

This is a psalm of David.  He wrote these words after his sins were found out and the prophet Nathan had confronted him.  When someone else knows about your sin, let alone God, the devastation can be total.  David doesn’t try to go “on the record” and defend his actions.  He doesn’t move away or run from his mistakes.  He confronts his sins.  He was a murderer, a liar and an adulterer.  He had been caught, found out, and left wanting.  Yet, David returned to the only place one can return to when humbled by crippling sin – God.  Scripture records this sinner to be “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) but what made David fulfill this kind of criteria in life?  How can we also be men and women after God’s own heart?  

Humility

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It should be noted that David was identified as such a man before his downfall; but this psalm and his actions following his downfall should also give us a clue into His humble character.  David was a shepherd as a young person.  He worked a lowly job which, at times, was considered one of the dirtiest and most undesirable jobs.  While working as a shepherd he wrote songs of praise to his God.  He understood where his joy came from and also his blessings.  

Following His downfall into sin, his reaction to being caught was not one of indignation but rather humility and grief.  He had broken God’s heart, and David pens these words of regret, remorse and was in search of God’s forgiveness.  Right relationship with His Salvation was his desire.  Sure he had messed up royally (no pun intended), but he longed to recover that which had been tarnished and nearly destroyed.  Scripture records David tearing his cloak, putting on sack cloth and pouring ashes on his head.  This is a sign of grief and mourning but is also a very humbling picture for us to see of a king.  

How humble are we?  Do we recognize how in need of a Savior we are daily?  We are all far from perfect people.  We all struggle with sin and temptation.  Do we seek after God with great passion just as David did, or do we merely think about Him on Sundays or special holidays?  Our lives were given to us as a gift.  Each one of us comes with struggles and concerns, but we don’t have to carry them alone.  Connecting with The Father connects us with the Divine and unburdens us, but we must first become humble.

Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Prayer: 
Dear Lord, I confess my sins to you today.  Forgive me when I have stumbled along this path.  Help me to be who You have called me to be.  Restore me, renew me and cleanse me.  I long to be a person after Your own heart, show me how I ought to live.  Instruct me in Your ways, and walk beside me every moment of every day.  -Amen

Help, Safety and Provision

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He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep…the Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”  -Psalm 121:3-6

Isn’t it encouraging to know that we are never alone?  Despite circumstances in life, we have a God who loves and watches over us!  I find solace in these verses.  To me it brings to mind a sovereign God who cares about me and wants to provide and protect me.  He wants to do that for all of us if we allow Him to.   This wonderful provision and protection comes straight for the source of all life, and if He says that He will not let our feet slip then we are armed with the best and the strongest!  

Got any rivers you think are impossible?  Got any mountains you cannot tunnel through?  God specializes in things thought impossible, and He can do what no other God can do!”  

 God can do this for all of us today!  He wants us to know that He is there for us and that He is watching over our lives.  Find comfort in these verses today, and celebrate His care and love through the way that you live it!  

 

Today Superman is as sick as a dog.

Isn’t it interesting that inspiration is spontaneous and seeks us out in the oddest of circumstances. Me? It found me today, bent, back aching from coughing all night, sick as a dog minus fleas…at least Im pretty sure i don’t have fleas. Medicine induced funky dreams that make as much sense as spaghetti in cereal…I know yuck! For everyone else in the world who is currently sick or about to get sick…I feel your pain, and it ain’t pretty…did I just say ain’t (don’t look now my red neck is showing)?!

I digress. I’m sick today hacking worse than a man with one lung In a marathon (no offense to my uni-lung compadres). Headache will undoubtably be at the door soon begging to come in. I’m frustrated with much to do and house bound…this truly sucks. Here today, I’m reminded though that I am not superman. I never was, and I never will be (is that a kick to my macho ego? Yep, it sure is). So in the spirit of the unhealthy and the unwell, I am putting the cape, silk yet indestructible, away today…(can I still hold on to it for a moment?).

There’s a passage in the Bible that says “apart from me (Jesus speaking) you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I’m really feeling that verse today. News Flash: I am not invincible. Sub-title: Jesus is.
Hmm…in my weakened state today, hacking and feeling achy…I realize that in every aspect of my life, I am better off with Christ than without him. There…I’ve admitted it…I don’t feel any less like a man, in fact I realize that I am not whole without my relationship to God through Christ.

He is healer, savior, friend, defender and so much more…and not just today when I’m hangin’ with the crud of sickness, but everyday.

Inspiration: I don’t want to be apart from Him…ever. It doesn’t mean that I there wont be days when I forget and try and reassume this role of superman, cape and all…what it does mean is that I’ve become more aware of this earthen vessel that is temporary and breakable…yet in my weakness He is strong.

So here I am today sick as a dog, yet feeling mighty blessed to know the one who has Saved and Redeemed me is unbreakable, mighty and everlasting. Do you still have a strong hold on your Superman cape today? Can I refer you to my Heavenly doctor? ;).

-Blessings on you today…keep reaching for Him, he’ll never let you fall!

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