May Your Burdens Be light

 

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A Word For The Struggler

There is an old adage that says, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” It’s wise not to take on more responsibilities than we can handle. At some time, however, we will likely feel overwhelmed by the size and difficulty of a task we have agreed to do. This can happen even in our walk of faith in Christ when our commitment to God seems too much to bear. But the Lord has an encouraging word for us when our confidence wavers. The writer of Hebrews urged his readers to recall the courage they demonstrated during the early days of their faith (10:32-33). Despite public insults and persecution, they aided believers in prison, and they joyfully accepted the confiscation of their own property (vv.33-34). With that in mind, he says, “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (vv.35-36). Our confidence is not in ourselves but in Jesus and His promise to return at just the right time (v.37). It is God’s power that enables us to continue in our journey of faith. Recalling the Lord’s faithfulness in days past stirs our confidence in Him today.
When life becomes a heavy load, An upward climb, a winding road, In daily tasks, Lord, let me see That with me You will always be. —D. DeHaan
Trusting God’s faithfulness stirs up our confidence.

 

The Ministry of the Unnoticed

From: My Utmost for HIs Highest

The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This literally means, “Blessed are the paupers.” Paupers are remarkably commonplace! The preaching of today tends to point out a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character— things that are easily noticed. The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him— something very different. At the foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is the genuine loveliness of those who are commonplace. I am truly blessed in my poverty. If I have no strength of will and a nature without worth or excellence, then Jesus says to me, “Blessed are you, because it is through your poverty that you can enter My kingdom.” I cannot enter His kingdom by virtue of my goodness— I can only enter it as an absolute pauper. The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality. Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian. If I wonder if I am being of any use to God, I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness of the touch of the Lord. “He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And if I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord. Who are the people who have influenced us most? Certainly not the ones who thought they did, but those who did not have even the slightest idea that they were influencing us. In the Christian life, godly influence is never conscious of itself. If we are conscious of our influence, it ceases to have the genuine loveliness which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.
There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Decision LYSA TERKEURST From: Crosswalk

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6 (ESV)

Recently I surveyed people through Twitter and Facebook with this question: What do you think is the biggest reason people struggle to make decisions?

Overwhelmingly, fear was the answer.

• Fear of the unknown • Fear of failure • Fear of getting hurt • Fear of what others will think • Fear of rejection • Fear of missing out on something better • Fear of making the wrong decision

I absolutely understand all these fears. I wrestle with them myself. And some wrestling with fear is good. It can keep us from making poor choices. For example, my kids’ fear of being restricted often keeps them from missing curfews.

That kind of wrestling with fear is good. But then other times I can still feel like I’m wrestling with fear to the point where I’m paralyzed from moving forward.

Do you have a decision to make right now where uncertainty is making you feel stuck?

I often get analysis paralysis trying to figure out which choice is the perfect decision. And if I can’t discern the perfect choice I feel paralyzed.

Here’s the thing that keeps me from staying stuck: There is no such thing as a perfect decision.

Perfection is an illusion.

Are there good choices and bad choices? Yes, of course. But at this point in my life, I’m not getting tripped up as much in the good versus the bad decisions.

More often now, I find myself stuck between a good choice and another good choice, trying to figure out which one is perfect.

Should I let my girls take dance lessons they would love but that would require us to eat on the run? Or tell them no so we can have family dinners at home? Good and good.

Should I teach that Bible study every Tuesday night at church or be at home to help my kids with their homework? Good and good.

Should my 20-year-old daughter go on a date with the guy from our church or just keep things between them on a friendship level? Good and good.

What about bigger good and good things?

Should I go on a mission trip or to a marriage conference? Good and good.

Should I quit my job to start that ministry I keep talking about or bring more of a ministry-heart into my existing job? Good and good.

These good and good decisions happen every day. But here’s a secret answer you must know when trying to pick the perfect choice: There is no choice that will turn out perfectly in every way.

As long as you desire to please God with your decisions, no decision you make will be completely awful. Nor will any decision you make be completely awesome.

Every decision is a package deal of both.

In other words, since there is no perfect choice, I don’t have to be paralyzed by the fear that I’m not making the exact right decision.

Again, I want to please God with this decision. Our key verse, Proverbs 3:6, promises that He will make our paths straight if we acknowledge Him in all we do. So I also want to demonstrate my trust in Him by actually making a decision — having made peace with the fact it won’t all be perfect.

There is no perfect job. There is no perfect school. There is no perfect spouse. There is no perfect church. There is no perfect way to raise kids. There is no perfect decision.

Each of these choices will have just enough imperfections to make them some combination of good and not so good.

So here’s where the certainty is: My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on His ability to use well.

Dear Lord, I trust You beyond any fear I have of making the wrong decision. Today, I hand over all my uncertainties to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

August 21

From: Through the Bible

2 Chronicles 30:18-20 (NIV) 18Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone 19who sets his heart on seeking God–the LORD, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

Hezekiah had just come to power. The nation was in shambles because of the sins of the former King. The first thing Hezekiah did was cleanse the Temple and prepare to celebrate the Passover. He invited those from every tribe who had not been taken captive to join them in returning to the LORD. Many mocked him, but a great number humbled themselves and came to the feast.

Some of those who came had not gone through the ritual purification to be able to eat the Passover, but in their zeal to return to God, they went ahead and joined in the Passover meal. Hezekiah asked the LORD, who is good, to pardon everyone who had set their heart on seeking God, even though they had not gone through the ritual cleansing period. God heard and healed them.

The Old Testament is full of illustrations where the heart of man is more important than ritual or the details of the Law. Jesus reminded the religious leaders of His day of David eating the Shewbread that only the priest were allowed to eat. God looks at the heart. When you have people who come out of sin to seek the LORD they are usually not cleaned up or familiar with what is right. They may speak and even act in ways you consider un-Christian. Remember, God who is good, will pardon them if their heart is set on seeking Him. Let the Holy Spirit bring conviction and change. If you feel led to correct them, do so lovingly and gently. In this chapter there was great joy. It would have been dampened had Hezekiah rebuked all who were not up on the rules of the Sanctuary and the Passover meal. Instead, he encouraged the Levites who did know and they did a good job according to the Word of God.

Consider: Be gracious with young Christians as God was gracious with these worshippers.

Evening

August 21

Romans 13:12-14 (NIV) 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Darkness and night in Scripture are the conditions for evil. Those who do evil prefer not to be seen. It is the absence of the illuminating truth of God. We preferred it before we came to Christ, but now we are to step out of the darkness and into the light. We are to clothe ourselves in the armor of light. That means that wherever we go, people should see Jesus in us. We no longer participate in those things described in verse 13. In the light, we can see how destructive those things are. Because the light has changed the value we place on the things of the world, our behavior is different. The armor protects us.

As young Christians, we must allow the light to test our former activities. We have a mindset that certain things are normal or even good, when in reality, they are of darkness. Once the light has exposed the true nature of the behavior, we must then allow the Word of God to correct our attitude toward it. Then we need the Spirit of God to change our habits.

Daily, we need to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are covered in Him, we cannot step into darkness without flooding it with light. His presence shows everything’s true nature. The mind is the organ that most needs His presence. It is there that we entertain deceptive enticements that would have pleased our old self. But if Christ is there as Lord, we recognize those thoughts as deceitful and destructive and reject them.

Are you clothed in Jesus? Is your mind illuminated with His presence? When faced with temptation, consciously think about being in Him. Ask for the light of the truth to reveal the true nature of that temptation. Remember that you are a child of the Day and of Light.

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