July 19, 2017

When You Need Body and Soul Rest


Do we know when we need to rest, or do we think we are super human and can go on and on forever? I tend to think we believe that with enough determination and caffeine we can go on forever. Are we thinking about what our body and soul truly needs when we are pushing ourselves beyond our limits?

What is on your plate right now? Maybe you have a full plate or far too much on your plate. Maybe you have some hard things on your plate right now and haven’t even considered taking care of yourself with some body and soul rest.

We might not want to admit it, even when caring people around us are suggesting it – we need  rest.

If you are experiencing extreme weariness, frustration, and discouragement - the best remedy is to give all your cares to the Lord and rest in knowing He can carry it all. When you finally let go and stop wrestling, and instead rest, you will soon recognize that you are experiencing something new. In letting go and resting, you will find you are growing strong again.

Your strength is renewed when you let go and find God’s rest. 

Can you begin to imagine the incredible source of strength that comes from our Almighty All-Powerful God? Now, imagine… He is offering it to you.

Yes, the ultimate mystery and blessing is that when you find God’s rest you will also find God’s strength.


Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.


(If you click on Verses for Your Encouragement at the top of this page, you will find many references among the verses listed there to God being our strength.)

July 16, 2017

Higher



I don’t know about you, but I find these verses above from Isaiah 55 genuinely comforting. They tell me about important attributes concerning the God I follow and the God I trust with all my heart.

God’s thoughts and ways are for a fact far superior to man’s wisdom. We can rest assured of this truth and that is the comforting part.

There is no doubt that God’s every thought and all His ways exceed our best human endeavors.

When we are bewildered by circumstances around us or wondering why an answer to prayer hasn’t come, or why God hasn’t worked in the way we hoped, we will find encouragement in these verses if we meditate on God’s higher ways and higher thoughts.

There is another aspect to these verses that I find to be the most powerful.
God is in control. 

Just let those words settle in your heart and believe they are true.

And, there is one more comforting aspect.

We are the benefactors of His higher ways. When we acknowledge that His ways are higher (far better!) and He is in control (Sovereign) then we can rest in knowing that the cares of this world that bear down on us, are in the hands of a Sovereign God who knows a lot more than we do.

Psalm 18:30
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

July 12, 2017

Fill Me Up


I don’t even remember now what line of thinking led me down the path to remembering a quote I’d often heard about everyone having a God-shaped vacuum that only Jesus can fill, but I couldn’t remember the exact quote and did an online search to find it. 

Turns out, the famous quote by Blaise Pascal, a famous seventeenth century French mathematician and philosopher, has been misquoted over the years and is actually an interpretation of the original quote. The meanings of both are basically the same. 

Here is the quote most of us recognize: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ."

Since I read conflicting statements on the actual quote and don’t have a copy of Pascal’s Pensées, I will only include the known quote.

After all my research and reading I lifted my voice to heaven and said, “If my heart is a vacuum only You can fill, Lord, then fill me up, fill me up now! Fill me up to overflowing!” This is the deep yearning of my heart and soul today.

Nothing this world offers can satisfy.

It is true. Only Jesus can satisfy us.

Do you long for Him to fill you up today?

I pray that you will know that satisfaction that only comes from the Lord.

Psalm 23:1 
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

July 9, 2017

The Deep Mystery


Psalm 8:3-5 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained. What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

There are days I want to say many things about God and faith, His grace and mercy and other aspects of this mysterious relationship we have with Him. But I can’t find the words that will adequately express what is stirring in my heart. The more I think about the privilege we have in walking in relationship with Him the more perplexed explaining it becomes.
    
The words are hard to find because who can explain God? Why is He mindful of us? Why does He want a close relationship with us? His Spirit that lives inside of me works in secret ways that no one else can explain. Not the highest scholar. Not the greatest theologian. Even the psalmist David grasps for words as he searches deep unto deep--trying to comprehend what cannot be understood.
    
By faith we understand this mystery is the treasure given us by our unseen God. As He lives in us day by day He continually works in us to build the relationship He designed mankind to have with Him – going all the way back to the garden of Eden in Genesis 3 with Adam and Eve. For the rest of the Bible our story unfolds as we see God still pursuing us, always pursuing us.
    
Instead of falling for the lies of the enemy and reaching for the forbidden fruit, let us reach for the Lord. Let us reach for God so we can walk in the garden in relationship with Him. Let’s reach for Him to know Him more.

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Psalm 42:7-8 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life.

July 5, 2017

The Hand That Holds My Hand



There was a difficult time when I was facing a battle and found myself pressed against a wall of gigantic disbelief. Yes, it felt like the photo above of Devils Tower. Yet, God was asking me to believe what I could not find comprehensible to believe. If I was going to know victory in this battle, it would require faith of huge proportions. 

Have you ever had a giant of disbelief towering over your circumstances and you are grasping for the faith to believe God will work in a powerful way?

I thought of David as many of us do when faced with giant-sized battles. And in the blink of an eye I could see young David reaching for the five smooth stones and placing one in his slingshot, the others in a pouch. Then God stopped me in my tracks and opened my eyes to see another hand, God’s own hand coming down and wrapping itself in power around David’s hand.

A sudden surge of faith and courage ignited in my soul as I thought about God’s hand sending David’s smooth stone rocketing like a missile toward Goliath. We all know well the glorious end of this story. The giant came crashing to his death and David saw the victory he knew his LORD would bring that day.

I also experienced victory in that moment. I knew in my heart that my giant would be falling too. God’s powerful hand was wrapping around my own and the battle I’d been fighting would soon be the battle I would win! My gigantic disbelief turned to gigantic triumph, all because of the Hand that holds my hand. Once again I was reminded that the battle belongs to the Lord, and it is He who fights for me!

Every time we choose faith in our intimidating circumstances, we are winning the battle. Day by day we can pick up the smooth stones and hurl them at the giants in front of us—toppling them to the ground. God’s hand will guide us and He will bring the victory. Sometimes it is a quick victory and sometimes it is a slower process.

God gave David the victory over Goliath. He can also give us victory against the giants in our lives.

1 Samuel 17:46-50
46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.