Be Honest with Little

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.  And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Luke 16:10-12

Do you know a shrewd manager? Kind of like the one Jesus was talking about in Luke 16? Someone who is dishonest and lacks integrity at work, and then doesn’t seem to understand the dire consequences when they finally get caught? Maybe they even appear successful way up there at the top, but their success is only appealing by the standards of the world, and was won through dishonest means.

What exactly does it look like to be dishonest and untrustworthy with worldly wealth?

Maybe it is climbing to the top of that company ladder, and stepping on anyone you can on the way up. Or owning a business, skimming money off the top, or using it to exploit others for your personal agenda. Anything God deems sinful that we may do to gain funds. Gambling. Sexual exploitation. All to acquire that material possession. That house. That car. That girl. That guy. That love. All the things we think money can buy.

Earlier this week in our kitchen, our youngest was “joshing” his sister about something that happened at school. It’s what middle school brothers do to their high school siblings. It’s a fact of life. To her, this was considered a lie. Though to us-it was simply a joke. To which she began to debate how she had NEVER, EVER told us a lie. Which, in fact…is true. She had…actually not. Aside from pranks and jokes, neither really had.

We had been clear that lying was not tolerated. Lying created a number of problems. For the person lying, and for many others involved. If it involved an action in addition, those actions often had potential consequences. Many that could lead to moral and spiritual dilemma. Integrity may come into question, and trust among others can become broken, taking a long time to repair. One small lie, often leads to bigger lies-as our need to make up for the smaller one we told becomes greater. We see no way out of the huge hole we dig from the first untruth.

We had trusted them when they had told us things, because they had been truthful with even the smallest of things. When they had something to share whether big or small, we were certain whatever came from their mouth would be the truth. Because it had been spoken so frequently prior. If the opposite had been true, we may have had doubts.

Though lying may be a small example, it plays a part in how others will deem us trustworthy and honest in relationships. Regardless of how we handle money, the ways in which we handle our words and our responsbilities to people; whether we honor our word, and keep our promises will also go a long way in whether others will find us a person of integrity and honesty or not. Do we make promises we cannot keep? Do we borrow something and never return it? Do we take something without permission, or steal and pass something off as ours? We may not be dealing with money, essentially, but we are certainly not dealing in a manner that is trustworthy.

God’s character is genuine, true, and honest. This is the character he desires we have as well, as he made us in his image, and desires we be good. If we are to be holy as he is holy, our aim should be to walk in the way that is honest and faithful to truth, and not deceitful in our dealings with others. Not lying to others, and not crooked in the way we handle our finances in an effort to come out on top. We must be people of our word, and most importantly-people of His Word. Honest, faithful, true, and trustworthy.

Promises of God: Trust

Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalm 9:10

According to Psychology Today, the number one reason relationships fail? Trust. Well, lack of trust. I could go into all the reasons for this, but I have a story instead.

When I first learned to swim, it was one summer when I was about 7 or 8. We used to spend summers in Colonial Beach, which is a bit past Fredericksburg, Virginia; on the Northern Neck Peninsula. I remember spending a week on the boardwalk, and also in the deep end of the pool, learning to doggy paddle and swim underwater.

This later transitioned to swimming with reckless abandon in the Potomac with my brother, with countless jellyfish. Until we upgraded to the ocean.

No worries about what dangers lurked underneath. No fear. Trusting our legs would carry us back to the surface, and the waves would not take us under.

But now? Oh, I still enjoy the pool. Because I can see what is under my feet. I enjoy the ocean. The sound. The sun. The feel of the breeze as it blows over the water. But I will NOT be getting in those waters. Because I know what lurks there. My youngest has watched enough Shark Week to keep me from EVER jumping in those waves again. I have got trust issues when it comes to the ocean. Irrational fears of sharks, and other things that may get me and take me out.

I prefer to stay on the sand now. Where it is nice and safe. Because out there in the deep end, where I can’t see what lies ahead? That is scary. Unpredictable. I don’t trust that if I stick my toe in those deep, scary waters that something wont get me, or I won’t sink.

Trust in the unknown is scary now. Why was it so much easier as a kid?

The world had not tainted me. Yet. No one had failed me. Yet. No one had disappointed me or left me. Yet. Broken my trust. Fed me a big fat lie. Taught me that life was dark and scary. That no one was throwing me a life preserver, or could even be trusted. Yet.

I was hopeful. Full of faith. Until I wasn’t. Until I put my hope and faith in people.

It is the people and the world, and the weight of those that have drowned me. That have taken away the reckless abandon I had as a kid. That keep me worried about the darkness that still lurks, or the things that may reach out, bite me, or consume me.

But it is God who tells me He has got me. Nothing is going to overtake me. There is no darkness out in those waters that I should fear. Nothing too murky for Him to see, and even if I can’t see what is underneath my feet-He does.

Yet, we continue to put our hope in people. Things. Institutions. Wealth. These things that tell us who to be. That are all to unpredictable. That won’t catch us if we drown. That convince us we are not good enough, and if we fall, will often leave to pick ourselves back up. Until we are too fearful to jump into the deep end just to see if we can actually swim out there in the unknown.

We are fearful of all the things we can’t even see.

Until we remember who we can truly trust, and where our protection comes from. Who will not leave us drowning. Whose presence will always be with us in the deep end.

I don’t have to fear what lurks ahead. He knows. He knows where my feet will wander, and He won’t let me fall. He knows the waves may get rough. There may be darkness, but His presence is before me and beside me, helping me to stay above the waves, and to see light through it all.

To keep my faith strong when it starts to waver. To trust in Him when people and the world disappoint.

Trust. Even in the unknown. Unpredictable. Scary. Confident that His plans for me are good. In the waves. On the shore, and in the deep end, He won’t let me be taken under. I can keep jumping in as long as I put my trust in Him.

In the Meanwhile

The Lord replied,

“Look around at the nations;
    look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.” Habakkuk 1:5, NLT

For those of you who have been around a while, you know how much I love post-it notes. They have housed prayers in Bibles. They live on my mirrors at home. My computer. My walls. They have even adorned my steering wheel as a reminder to place Satan underground on a daily basis where he belongs. So it should be no secret that a post-it is responsible for this post.

I am not even sure why I wrote it. I am pretty certain it’s from some book I read. It’s placed above my computer screen, the place where I fashioned a work space during the days of quarantine and telehealth. The days I didn’t much enjoy. A reminder that God was working on something in those moments, while I was grumbling in this same space where I am currently typing. This same space where I know He continues to work. The words written on that note? “God is working the meanwhile.”

Meanwhile back on the ranch…

I know we have seen that phrase. If we have ever read a book, seen a movie, or lived…we have seen or heard it. But what does it mean?

The word “meanwhile” by definition means “occurring at the same time.” So while I may be sitting here typing on this computer, meanwhile someone else back at the ranch may be doing something far more inspiring, or simply taking a nap. Whatever the case may be-God is working. Which means that our lives are also connected through Him. We just don’t know how. We have no idea who the people are God wants us to help, or just how those “meanwhiles” will come together for His purpose. All this happens at the same time without us ever knowing, until He is ready to reveal it to us.

While you are at home praying for that one thing you keep asking God. God is working at the same time. Meanwhile, someone else is praying, too.

Don’t give up. Don’t quit hoping. Keep on praying.

God is working in the meanwhile.

I do not own the rights to video, lyrics, or music.

Trust in the One

Trust. A loaded word.

One word that requires surrender in any kind of relationship. In our personal relationships, and especially in our relationship with God.

Trust. Also the number one reason relationships fail, according to Psychology Today. Or lack of trust, actually. I could go into all the reasons this is, but I have an analogy, or a story instead: Learning to swim.

When I first learned to swim it was one summer when I was maybe 7 or 8. We used to spend summers in Colonial Beach, which is a bit past Fredricksburg, VA; on the Northern Neck Pennisula. Anyway, I remember spending a week on the boardwalk, and also in the deep end of the pool, learning to doggy paddle and swim underwater.

This later transitioned to swimming with reckless abandon in the water with my brother…the river really-with countless jellyfish. And once we upgraded, in the ocean.

No worries about what dangers lurked underneath. No fear. Trusting our legs would carry us back to the surface, and the waves would not take us under.

But now? Oh…I still enjoy the pool. Because I can see what’s under my feet. And, I enjoy the ocean. The sound. The sun. The feel of the breeze as it blows over it. But, I ain’t getting in it. Because I know what lurks in those waters. My youngest has watched enough shark week to keep me from EVER jumping in those waves again! I got trust issues when it comes to the ocean. Irrational fears of sharks, and other things under my feet that may get me, and take me out.

Nah, I will stay put in the sand, where it is nice and safe. Because, out there in the deep end, where I can’t see what lies ahead. That is scary. Unpredictable. I don’t trust that if I stick my toe in those deep, scary waters something won’t bite me-and then I will sink.

Trust in the unknown is scary, now. But why did it seem so easy then?

Jumping into the deep end, and expecting to just know how to doggy paddle. Swimming with jelly fish, getting stung, slapping some sand on the sting, and jumping back in for more. Jumping in with the waves and expecting to come back up without shark bites, seemed easy as a kid. We were fearless. Brave.

The world had not tainted me. Yet.

No one had failed me. Yet.

No one had disappointed me. Yet.

Broken my trust. Yet.

Fed me a big fat lie. Yet.

Taught me that life was dark, and scary. That no one was throwing me a life preserver, and that no one could be trusted. Yet.

I was hopeful. Full of faith. Until I wasn’t. Until I put my hope and faith in people.

Isaiah 43:2 gives us a different hope: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

It is the people, and the world. The weight of it all that have drowned me. That have taken away the reckless abandon I had as a kid. That keep me worried about the darkness that lurks, or the things that may reach out, and bite me or consume me.

It is God who tells me He has got me. Nothing is going to overtake me. There is no darkness out in those waters that I should fear. Nothing too murky for Him to see, and even if I can’t see what is underneath my feet-He does.

Yet, we continue to put our hope in people. Things. Institutions. Wealth. These things that tell us who to be. That are all too unpredictable. That don’t catch us if we drown. Those that convince us we are not good enough, and that we will fall. Until we are too fearful to jump into the deep end. Just to see if we can actually swim out there in the unknown.

We are fearful of all the things we can’t even see.

Trust. What exactly is it?

Merriam-Webster defines it as a “firm belief in the character, strength, or truth of someone or something; or a person or thing in which confidence is placed.”

In Hebrew the word trust translates to “batach,” which also means “reliability or confidence.”

In terms of God, it means to rely on His protection even when we can’t see good in our situation. To have confidence that the outcome will be pleasant, and purposeful.

It’s like the words of this song…it’s been out for while, and every time I hear it, I think of my need to surrender my worries and fears over to Him again and again…

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior. -Hillsong

Wherever He would call me. Even if it means jumping in the deep end. With reckless abandon, as if I were a kid again. Because His presence is with me now, as surely as it was with me then.

I don’t have to fear what lurks ahead. He knows. He knows where my feet will wander, and He won’t let me fall. He knows the waves may get rough. There may be darkness. But His presence is before me, beside me, helping me to stay above the waves, and to see light through it all.

To keep my faith strong when it starts to waver. To trust in Him when people in this world just disappoint.

Trust even in the unknown. Unpredictable. Scary. Confidence that His plan is oh so good. That He is for me!

In the waves and on the shore. In the deep, He won’t let me be taken under. I can keep jumping in as long as I put my trust and hope in Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

I do not own rights to song, music, or video.

Just Be Still, Already

We heard it as kids. We likely say it as adults now: “Be still. Sit down and just be still.” An instruction often given from parent to child. One that comes after too much moving and less just being. 

You know we are commanded by God to do the same: “Be still?” Yet, even for us, the adults, who demand this over and over from our children…we don’t know how to practice this.

As I finished reading the devotion relating to this very thing…just sitting and waiting on God, I audibly heard the verse from Psalm 46:10 repeated to me: “Be still and know that I am God.” I have this verse in various places around my house. A reminder to sit, pray and let God do His thing. But as I heard that verse I had read over and over, I reflected on its meaning. The message version states it this way: “Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God.”

Step out of the traffic. Essentially…get out of God’s way so He can BE God.

For a number of years, I was in the traffic. Ready to assist at the sign of any jam. Any accident. Any crisis. I was there. Running to save as if I was God. Until it took a toll and I needed saving. There is a time to run into traffic, but God’s command to be still, is a command to let God do His thing. However, we don’t do this. We move. We move because we don’t like His timing, thinking ours is better. We move before we are ready. We move outside of His will. 

We move and play God, when He simply asks us to be still. 

You. You pray. Be still and pray. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Maybe for this season, that’s all God is calling you to do. Because God is the one who saves. God does crisis intervention, and He takes care of traffic jams. You. You just need to get out of His way. Pray and let Him do His thing. Because when you pray…He WILL do His thing. 

Get out of the traffic today. Get out of His way, and you? You just simply be still and pray. 

I don’t own the rights to the music or video.

Let There Be Light: Faith in the Unknown

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6

Abram. Deemed righteous by God because of his faith. What does that even mean? First, to answer that-we must know what we are referring to when we discuss faith. According to Hebrews 11:1 and 3, “faith shows the reality of what we hope for, it is the evidence of things we cannot see (v1).” Or…”by faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command; that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen” (v3).

We didn’t see God form the earth, but we believe. That’s faith. We don’t get our prayers answered right away, but we believe God will answer, even if we don’t actually see it. That’s faith.

As far as the Christmas season? Well, what does faith have to do with it?

Let’s get back to Abraham. He is not only known as one of the “Faith Hall of Famers” (Hebrews 11), but he is also known as the “father of many nations.” A title given to him by God after he had left his homeland, moved wherever God said to move, obeyed His commands, and didn’t hesitate.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. Genesis 17:1-5, NLT

And God did what He promised, providing a descendant that would provide rescue.

Jesus. Yes, Jesus is one of these many descendants. It’s why the family tree we may skip in the first part of Matthew is so important.

God keeps His promises, and we must believe this even if we cannot see it. That’s faith.

Faith and righteousness is how a young virgin was chosen to give birth to a Messiah on that long ago night. Her trust in God is how Mary dealt with the rejection, and the realization of what was to come. Was she scared? She had to be. Did she reject God’s plan due to fear? Doubt His promise because it seemed ridiculous? No. Her response to Him was simply this: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38

As it was, that word. Fulfilled through the birth of a Messiah that was sent to save the world. Save you and me. Through the simple faith of his ancestor Abraham, and a young virgin Mary.

So the question to be asked is this: If that kind of faith can birth a nation, and a Messiah, then can’t it birth God’s purpose in us? What doubts do we need to leave at His feet so we can place our trust in His plan and promises, even if we can’t see the end goal? So we can be like Abraham and Mary-counted as righteous because of our faith?

It is what it is

The phrase in the picture above. It’s one of my favorites. Coined by my bestie and I to remind ourselves to not worry over things we can’t control. It has carried us through tough things. Even trivial nuisances. I even have a bracelet to commemorate our adoption of the phrase.

However, I heard in a sermon on-line in the past not to say the phrase. Not to use it at all. Like…what???

But it’s my favorite. What do you mean, don’t say it?

For a while I felt a bit convicted about it. Caught myself every time it came out of my mouth. Stopped wearing that bracelet.

But then I started therapy. Started working on acceptance. Of myself. Of life in general. It’s ebbs and flows. What God allows, and what He allows to remain a mystery. What He controls. What He gives me the power to control. What He allows to remain, be. What for Him just “is.”

And I realized “it is what it is.” Most things about this life are simply that.

It’s the hard, straight-up, honest truth.

People don’t like me. “It is what it is.” I can stress over it. Mold myself to fit into boxes He never wanted me to fit into. Or I can accept the fact that some people just won’t like me. Just never will, and be OK with it. I like me. And so does He.

People disappoint. “It is what it is.” We are flawed humans. We hurt. It’s a part of our sin-filled nature. A manifestation of the fall. I can sit and wallow in the hurt, or I can forgive and move on. Create better boundaries, and hope I don’t get hurt in the same way again. Learn from it, so that I don’t dare do the same to anyone else.

Change will come. Both good and bad. “It is what it is.” Some change I will like and I will embrace with open arms. Other change I won’t like so much, and I will fight like crazy to avoid. But fighting won’t keep change from coming. Avoiding won’t keep change from coming. It still comes.

Life has ups and downs. It comes with some worries. Some big. Some small. “It is what it is.” It’s the price paid for living until we see the promised land. I can either wallow in worry endlessly, or I can relish in the fact that there isn’t a worry or a trial He has not seen me through. Even if some have been harder than others.

“It is what it is.”

I am not accepting defeat here. I am not laying down my flag and saying that life has no meaning. No purpose. Or that suffering will always be this way (though the Bible does tell us we will have suffering here….).

What I am saying is, for me…I am accepting life as it comes. I can go through it in a constant state of panic, defeat, or sadness. Or I can let life ebb and flow as it will. I can let God handle things as He will anyway.

It is what it is, because He is what He is.

He will bless you (and them) through it

I’m going to touch on something today I have not wanted to talk about. I’ve tried to shove it down it down deep where I hoped it wouldn’t find me, but God knows my heart. He searches it daily. And He’s relentless in the things He wants you to examine, and even at times the things He wants you to speak into existence. To breathe life into someone else who may need to hear of His hope in the midst of what you think is no longer possible.

He tells us when it’s just simply time. And it’s time.

I don’t like new things. I don’t like new places. I don’t like meeting new people. What this means is that I often hold tightly to the old things, and the old people of those old places. The places I may not have wanted to leave.

New things. New people. New places. They bring me anxiety. They cause me to think only of the things that are uncertain, and the one thing that becomes certain: At some point these people. These things. This place. It. They. This. Will be gone, too.

Those feelings are borne from the painful and misunderstood cycle of complicated grief. And I know that all too well.

But here’s the thing about grief we don’t talk about. 

Grief for the things and people that are still very much alive. 

Oh, we talk about grief. We talk about it all the time. See we are acquainted with grief in the ways of death. When a loved one dies, we can commiserate, we can empathize, we can acquaint ourselves with that level of grief. Someone loses someone to death and we can understand why they are angry, sad, confused for months and years to come. We offer ourselves to them to support and encourage. We get it.

But what about other loss. The loss of a job. The loss of a marriage, relationship. The loss of a person due to complicated circumstances…a pandemic for goodness sakes. The loss of a sibling to the system. Over and over. The loss of a person who is very much alive. 

We grieve, too. Sometimes over and over. But often without anyone acquainted with that kind of grief. With the need to hold on so tightly as to not have to feel that kind of sorrow again and again. Or detach so greatly as not to dare get hurt. 

My way of dealing with this complicated grief? I hold onto people. Probably longer than I should. Longer past their expiration date. But sometimes I give up on them before their prime, too. It takes someone who desires to support you to really understand why you are carrying the baggage in the first place. 

And that’s where the time to tell the story of the “blessing” begins

I had started this particular employment journey with a heavy heart. I had vowed not to get involved. Not to get too close. Not to go too far. Because of loss. 

And someone could sense this. Someone saw the power struggle. The woman vowing not to do a thing about it. And all he did was tell me this: “Numbers 6:24-26. Pray that. Over he and his family. I know you haven’t laid that burden down. So pray that.

I was reluctant. I didn’t really know if it would help. But I did. For weeks. Months. Years. That prayer eventually became a song that would make me cry. I started praying it for other people and families. The song became one of my favorites. I had seen changes, in little bitty small ways, and I believed in His blessings. 

Until one day that prayer became too much for me to handle. And I stopped. Stopped praying for blessings. That song made me weep more than I could stand, and I hated singing it, hearing it, and I flipped it off every time it came on the radio. I couldn’t see any of those blessings, and I didn’t want to be reminded of those things for which I was grieving. 

Loss. It’s not felt. Experienced. Or explained by anyone in the same way. 

But it’s still a loss.

Blessings. May not come when we expect them. May not be seen. May not be what we even want to pray for some days, but they come just the same.

See, we pray those verses in Numbers. And we sing that song, but do we understand the context of what any of what God was asking Moses and Aaron to do meant? 

God instructs Moses to have Aaron give this very message to the Israelites, a message given to them. A blessing spoken to them. A promise provided to them right before they were to enter into a time of hardship. That time of hardship, you ask? The wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. This blessing was to serve as a reminder that God’s presence was before them, beside them, and behind them. In their coming and their going. In the morning and the evening.

I have not known of the hardship of wandering in the wilderness, but I have known hardship. I have have also known the kind of grief that walks in and out of doors of varying kinds for the better part of close to 30 years. But I also know of His blessings. Some I have seen, and some I have yet to see. Some I may have to wait to see, and some I may never see. The never seen? Well, we will get to those blessings next week. This week?

‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’ Number 6:24-26, NLT

And just as God promised to Aaron, when spoken in His name, He will bless them.

I do not own the rights to this video, music, or song.

Placing your burdens in His hands

“You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Matthew 21:22

Prayer. It is our connection to God. The way we seek answers, and intercede for those we desire to be healed, saved, or to find peace. Prayer is a daily act of thanksgiving, surrender, and sometimes even our heaviest burden. Especially when we pray endlessly for the same thing, and don’t see any results.

How are we burdened by prayer? Our requests become heavy when we pray, but we pray out of duty, because it’s an item on a checklist. Or when we pray, we don’t let God truly handle it-we start taking the wheel, and controlling the outcome. So we show a lack of trust in Him. A lack of faith.

Our hope and our faith becomes wrapped up in our ability, and what we see happening around us. We start to manipulate things the way we want them to be, and doubt creeps in when it doesn’t happen the way we want it; or the way we asked for it to. We start to believe we have the strength to move all the mountains before us.

This is how our burdens become too heavy. Those mountains become too steep.  Because we were never meant to carry them. And, we were not meant to move them.

Prayer requires a whole ton of faith.

When the deepest sorrow weighs on your heart
When you’ve prayed for answers but the answers never come
For every tear that you cry
There’s a promise He will make your burdens light. Jamie Kimmett, “Burdens”

Prayer requires we relinquish our control, and let God do what He promised.

But these burdens, the ones we have carried for so long. We hold onto them. We tend to them. We hope to fix. We run to save. We pray, but we still keep picking it back up again. Until they are too heavy.

We don’t have to.

We can pick up our load. Our baggage. We can walk it to him. Lay it down at His feet, and say: “God, take it. You deal with it. I can’t anymore. It is not mine to carry. I give it to you. Deal with it, as you will. As YOU will, not me. I didn’t ask for this burden. So You fix this, God.”

And then BELIEVE that He will. And this is what it means to have faith as you let go.To truly lay the burden down at His feet. You can’t see what may happen. You can’t see the end. You have no clue what’s gonna happen after you lay it down, you just know He promised. You believe in those promises.

And then…watch what happens.

You are gonna change. Like a visible change.

Because you ever seen someone carrying a burden? They have a look. They look weary. They have lost a light, a bounce, a luster. They are physically, mentally, and more often than not emotionally exhausted.

Matthew 10:28 says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

So, when you take that heavy burden, and you lay it down…you look different. It’s not just a physical rest. It’s a soul rest. Because here’s what’s happening before hand. You are not only carrying the weight of everything, or that person, because let’s be honest it’s usually a person, or a situation that involves a person…and what’s happening is we are all like-“but I can save them, but they are going through hard times, they need me…” well yes, but they need God…and God will fix. You lay it down. Tell Him to deal with it, and then they (God and that person) can hash that out.

Yes. That seems harsh, because we also read we are supposed to carry each other’s burdens. But here is the thing-we are not supposed to play God. God does the heavy lifting. The mountain moving. We plant seeds. We encourage. We build up. We leave the saving. The moving of the spirit. The transforming to Him.

Carry it. Lay it down. God, you deal with it. As you will.

Look, I get it. I realize how hard it is to drop that burden, and leave it there for God to handle. Some time ago I had a burden. I had it for years. I probably put it on myself a bit, but I do believe God also gave this burden to me. But it became too heavy.

In the final moment when I realized I had to surrender, I wrestled with God, and I found this passage in 1 Peter 2:

He never sinned,
    nor ever deceived anyone.
He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
    nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
    who always judges fairly.
He personally carried our sins
    in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
    and live for what is right.
By his wounds
    you are healed.
Once you were like sheep
    who wandered away.

But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
    the Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:22-25, NLT

We can’t carry everyone. We can’t pick them up, and carry all their weight. We can’t do all the heavy lifting. Those burdens are heavy.

But God can.

And I knew then, when I laid it down. And I know now. Even if. Even if I never see it. Never see salvation in those lives I pray for. It is well with me. Because I did what God asked me to do. I prayed. I surrendered. I asked for forgiveness. I showed love. Compassion. Mercy. Even if. It is well. I showed Jesus to those who didn’t know Him so that one day they may turn to the guardian of their souls, too. I am praying for that, laying them down, and letting God take over.

That is faith.

I had a choice to surrender. They have a choice to choose.

Even if. I will be ok.

And that is where we have to be. Ok to lay it down. And ok with even if. Ok with being the surrendered one and saying “God, you got this, right? You deal with it. I’m gonna pray it out, over here, while you work it out over there. You carry the burden. I’ll pray and rest.”

God’s got you covered. And guess what…he has them covered, too. That burden. As long as they want it.

Lay it down. Pray it out. Let it go. It’s out of YOUR hands. So today, simply put that burden in His.

I do not own the rights to this song/video/lyrics.

You can go here, but not there…

There is something about being at the beach that seems to bring about the idea that life really does make sense. Maybe it’s the salty air. The sounds. Or the fact that our ever moving minds and bodies are truly in “vacation” mode. But here…I hear His Spirit once again and it revives me.

As I took one of my long morning walks along the shoreline, I took note of the pattern and rythym of the waves and thought of their movement. How do they know where to stop? The waves that is. How do they know how to get to shore, and know they can only go but so far?

I, the Lord, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set. Jeremiah 5:22

They can only go but so far. God created boundaries so the earth would not be covered by the sea. As we walk along beaches we trust in the one who demands the wind and waves obey. Knowing they cannot cross His boundaries.

But what about those boundaries he sets for us? What happens when he tells us “You can only go this far?”

Do we listen? Or do we venture out on our own into territory He hasn’t set out for us?

Just like He commands the seas to stop at a certain point. Tells them you can go here, but not there-he sets the boundaries of right living for us as well. “You can go here, but only this far. Going any further without my guidance, against my better judgment will consume you.”

He provides us direction and boundaries because His way is always far better than ours. The direction we want to take isn’t always the one God intended. So in an effort to ensure we are not tossed by the waves, or consumed by the waters of the sea, He tells us, sends us as far as He is willing to let us go.

His boundaries are to protect not to harm. His boundaries are set to keep us safe, not to stifle us. His boundaries are set because His ways are higher than our ways.

Are we going to trust His judgment? Or are we going to stray too far away? Are we going to keep pushing boundaries until we are taken under?

What boundary are you pushing that is keeping you from going where God intends for you to go? Maybe it’s time to let Him direct you, and finally listen when He says, “You can go here, but there? I am not sending you there.”