Monday, May 10, 2021
Sometimes we don't want to let go because we don't know what God's going to do with it. Sometimes we don't want to let go because we just would rather go with the familiar even if it's painful, than the unfamiliar even if it's pleasant.
Monday, May 10, 2021
I want to talk to you about a passage that, to me, screams "let go and let God" like none other. And it has to do with those of us who are weary. You know, we live in an age where people are just tired. Work asks for more from you. Life asks for more. I honestly just had a week where I feel that weight. It's what drove me to this whole passage, because this past week I was doing funerals, Midweek Bible Study, Sunday meetings, spring-time events, and a friend of mine opened up a new building for his dental practice, so I went to that. There were just lots of different things. So, I needed to let go and let God. I need to let go of all the things that are worrying me, and let God do something with it. That comes from a passage that's very familiar to those of you who have read the Bible. It's Matthew 11:28-29. I want you to take in these words if you're struggling with letting go and letting God with respect to your weariness. Jesus said, "Come to me, all 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." The key, the part that's really central to experiencing this rest, is where Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you." In other words, don't take the burden or yoke of life upon you, take the burden or yoke of Christ upon you. He gives you a light load, a light burden.
Sometimes we have big burdens because we think we're able to handle them. Sometimes God allows us to go through them to say you can't handle them. He says, "Take my yoke, take my burden." Whose burden are you taking these days, your own or God's? Sometimes we take our own burdens because we expect ourselves to do certain things. That's me. Sometimes we expect that others expect us to do something. That's me too. Sometimes we just expect that the job's got to get done, and nobody else is there do it. Whatever it is. Sometimes we have to put down our expector and stop carrying somebody else's burden, or the false burden of needless pressure. And we just need to carry Christ's burden. Maybe some of you need to hear that today. You don't need to carry more than you're designed to carry. If you take Christ's burden, or his yoke if you will, which is pictured as a mature ox and an immature ox working together, where the mature ox would do the bulk of the plowing with a yoke around his neck, and the younger ox would follow along. That's the picture. So, we let Christ lead the plowing of the burdens of your life for you, so you don't have to carry them.
Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for the reminder that not all the burdens we carry are meant for us to carry, and that we need to give them to you. We just carry your burdens, because your burdens and yoke are easy and light. Speak to people who are listening to me today who are just overwhelmed, and give them the wisdom to know what yoke they need to carry and what yoke they need to give up. Replace it with the yoke of you. Help us to rest in you and find rest for our weariness, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, March 5, 2021
As some of you know, I lost both of my parents back in November to COVID-19. I just think back to that time; there was so much communication going on when my parents were sick between my sisters and I and between the doctors and other family members.
Friday, March 5, 2021
As some of you know, I lost both of my parents back in November to COVID-19. I just think back to that time; there was so much communication going on when my parents were sick between my sisters and I and between the doctors and other family members. Then, when they passed, it was just a barrage of texts and phone calls, making funeral arrangements, and all of this is going on in the middle of a pandemic. But you know it became, at least for me, overwhelming (and in some ways, a good overwhelming) because people really loved on us and were checking in and caring for us. However, in another sense, it was a very busy time. Life was still going on. I was managing tensions at work, making sure that the kids were getting to where they needed to go, and there was a period of time from when they passed until we were able to actually have the funeral.
If I can be honest with you, I became very overwhelmed through all of this and I don't know about you and how you feel when you get overwhelmed, but it's in those moments that God really wants us to draw close to Him. We see this in scripture with Jesus and His disciples. In Mark 6:31 , they were in a very overwhelming situation. There were people that needed to be fed, people that needed to be healed of sickness, and people were coming and going. There were false teachers that needed to be rebuked, there were demons that needed to be cast out, and there were lives that needed changing. This is what Jesus came for, and all of this was happening in the shadow of the cross that Jesus was to face. So in Mark 6:31, we're given a glimpse of this. It says this: "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'”
You know, this is an invitation by Jesus for you to go with Him. To be with him, the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the lover of your soul. He is inviting you in those times when you're overwhelmed to go away with Him. He wants you to be alone with Him. He doesn't want others around; it's time to forget about the kids for a moment, forget about your spouse, and maybe your parents that you're taking care of. He wants you to spend time with Him by yourself in a quiet place. Put the phone away. Don't worry about the office for a moment. I'm not saying that you totally neglect all of these things, but Jesus wants us to spend a part of our day with Him. May I suggest the first part of our day, and not a place where there's a lot of traffic, like a coffee shop or maybe your house at 8:30 when people are running here and there. Instead, go to a quiet place where you can listen for the voice of God. God can hear clearly from you what's on your heart. Why does God want us to do this? So you can get some rest and some peace, and so you don't feel so overwhelmed with the burdens of life. This is what Jesus has in mind for us to give us that rest. This is my go-to verse when life becomes stressful, when I'm overwhelmed, and when I can't focus. That happens often, but I have to remind myself to spend time with God. As I mentioned, for me, it's in the morning. Maybe for you, it's in the evening, you know, before the kids get up and people are showering and they have to get on a bus and go here and there. That's when I have to focus. That's when I can focus with God. That's my appointment with God.
When is your appointment with God? How do you get away and spend time with God? I'll tell you, my days tend to go more smoothly when I put first God and I listen to Him. When I have my Bible, I pray and I ask God to speak to me from what I'm reading so I can apply that to my day. When I do that, my day tends to go a little bit better. My days are still crazy, but the way I handle the craziness is markedly different than the days that I don't spend time in my Bible with God, by myself in a quiet place. How do you handle that craziness? How do you get away and spend time with God? Thanks for following along with Life Lifters this week. Don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day!
Friday, January 8, 2021
Sometimes strengths, weaknesses and limitations just lead to weariness. Some people are so weary that a good night's sleep, a stiff cup of coffee, and a week's vacation can't solve it. You've experienced soul fatigue. What do you do when you're weary, or when you just feel so weak?
Friday, January 8, 2021
You wait on God. You turn to God. I want to look at a very classic passage in Isaiah 40:29-31. I think these verses speak mostly for themselves. I just wanted to encourage you, if you're weak and weary, take these words in. Isaiah says, "He 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." What's Isaiah the prophet saying from God? He's saying everybody is weak and weary. It's not just a physical vitality thing. That's what I said at the beginning. It's the immaterial side. He says that even youths grow tired and weary, even young men stumble and fall.
Isaiah tells us to hope in the Lord. Hope is an interesting word. Another translation says, "Those who wait on the Lord." When you're hoping on God, you're waiting on God. Waiting is not a passive activity. It's an active activity in the text. Those who wait actively through hope on God will renew their strength. They will get back the strength that they were lacking. When you do that, you'll be soaring on wings like eagles. You know, if you watch eagles soar, you'll notice they don't flap a lot. They know how to leverage the wind around them to just glide. It's a beautiful thing to watch an eagle glide. What's he saying? He's saying when you wait or hope on the Lord, he'll renew your strength. And you'll glide like an eagle, you'll fly above the problems of mediocrity, and it won't take that much work, because God is working through you.
Isaiah also says that you will run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Well, I don't know about you, but I run to the mailbox and I'm winded. Well, I'm not quite that bad. But I get on the treadmill for a half hour, and I'm tired. He's saying you will run and you won't grow weary when you wait and hope on the Lord. You will walk and not be faint. This has the idea of going for a long, long walk. A day's journey was 20 miles, meaning you can walk 20 miles in a day. That's a long walk. And so you can do that and you won't faint. Here's my point. When you're weary, wait or hope on the Lord. renew your strength in him. He will give you mental reinvigoration, spiritual vitality, emotional booster shots. He'll encourage you, but you have to wait on the Lord. To wait on the Lord means you're looking to him. You're hoping in him. you're basing everything that energizes you on him. Life will drain you faster than anything. God will replenish you. I often think of coming to church as like a rechargeable battery for people. There aren't as many of those today, but you plug them in and they charge up. Every Sunday we charge people up and, hopefully, get them through another week. I hope this passage will also do that for you.
Let's pray. Father, there are people listening to me who are weak and weary. I pray that they would find a renewed strength as you promised through your prophet, Isaiah, in this text. I pray that they will run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. That they'll soar through life like an eagle, effortless, gliding, riding the winds the way you created them. I pray that you strengthen them now. In Jesus' name, amen.