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Tiredness

February 9th, 2017

Exertion is not the only cause of exhaustion

My thoughts and comments today consider, “tiredness.”

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT

Being tired is tiresome. Tiredness seems more pandemic than at any time I recall. In today’s high stress and success driven society, burnout is an undeniable fact. If all weariness was only physical tiredness, a nap or a good night’s rest would be a remedy. Exertion is not the only cause of exhaustion. And rest is not always the solution. Feelings of exhaustion can come from less obvious sources also. Mental tiredness may result from too many demands on your thought or attention. Anxiety is tiring, producing emotional tiredness. Worry is exhausting, as is fearfulness. Spiritual weariness from a restless soul is even worse. Disobedience is draining. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17. Sin is debilitating, even self-destructive.

Just as busyness is not always productive, idleness does not cure tiredness. A person soon tires of doing nothing. You were not created to only work, nor to remain idle. Life has a rhythm – work and rest, activity and inactivity, productivity and replenishment. At creation, God Himself modeled the helpful and healthful rhythm of work and rest. “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:2-3 NIV. Those are not exactly equal parts, but they certainly are equally important parts.

Discover that rhythm and you will have all the strength and energy that you need. Ignore that balance and life doesn’t work as well for you, no matter how much you want or need it to do so. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, ‘Come with Me to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV. Even though they were involved in good things, that was not enough to make it good for them. Do you ever identify with what the disciples must have felt?

I heard a person announce, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” If that could be you, life will only change for you when you finally tire of being tired; only then will you make the necessary adjustments for that to change. David, the Shepherd and Psalmist had it right; “[The Lord] makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3 NKJV. When you most feel like you cannot afford to take time off is often the time you cannot afford not to do so. Rest is wise when you are weary, indicating neither weakness nor a waste of time. The price that is exacted from marriages, personal relationships, quality of life, and spiritual fulfillment is inestimable. Don’t be a statistic. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV.

I think you can trust the Creator to know what works best with His creation. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.’” Matt 11:28-30 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to do God’s work God’s way so you will have God’s blessing.

Christian Communications 2017

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Prosperity and Adversity

February 12th, 2016

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “prosperity and adversity.”

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same . . Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son.”
“If” – Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

When I was a young teen, I questioned my Dad, a pastor, about a young husband and father I had admired in our congregation. He had such a heart for God and an expressed interest in ministry. He was personable, eloquent, enthusiastic, persuasive, and diligent. His natural gifts and spiritual passion were well suited for success in ministry, until he experienced rapid and unexpected success in his construction business.

As he prospered, his plans adjusted as his interests, time, and attention shifted. I well remember his words, “My goal is to make a million dollars by the time I am thirty; then I will become a minister.” The first part of his goal was met and exceeded; the latter intention was neither attempted nor realized. My Dad’s response to my disappointment was specific, “More people can stand adversity than those who can handle prosperity.”

I didn’t fully understand it then, but across decades as a pastor, I have learned the wisdom and accuracy of my father’s words. Adversity is difficult; prosperity can be deceptive. Be careful, riches will be deceitful. In His masterful and practical Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned, “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and [a man] becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 NKJV. Both prosperity and adversity have unique hazards. In the best of times, you may easily forget your need of God’s daily provision; in the worst of times, you can incorrectly assume God will not meet your needs.

Uzziah was a young king of Judah who enjoyed great success during his fifty-two year reign. He beautified and fortified Jerusalem. His armies were victorious. He was feared and respected by surrounding nations. His land was fruitful and his people prosperous. “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 NKJV.

Ominously, the Bible says, “So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped [by God] until he was strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God.” 2 Chronicles 26:15-16 NKJV. Prosperity without humility and gratitude is destructive.

Far from the prideful height of acclaim, success, and sufficiency, Uzziah died a leper under the judgement of God, ostracized from others. For me, Uzziah illustrates the practical wisdom of my Dad’s counsel, “More people can stand adversity than those who can handle prosperity.”

Here is the simple truth Solomon understood, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV. The Apostle Paul gave invaluable advice, “Everywhere and in all things, I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Read Philippians 4:11-13 NIV. 

Today, I pray for you to “prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NKJV.

Christian Communications 2016
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Breaking Points

April 11th, 2014

“We should trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 NKJV.

A breaking point may actually become your breakthrough.

My thoughts and comments today are about “breaking points.”

Breaking points are times when you come up empty – no further resources, no fresh ideas, no better options, and you are left with nothing in reserve, financially, mentally, emotionally, or physically. At the end of yourself, you will meet God there. You are not alone. The prophet Elijah was at a breaking point – in fear for his life, fleeing from an angry monarch, drained physically, feeling alone and abandoned, and wishing to die. Read 1 Kings 19:1-20 NIV. Elijah was empty and exhausted – disappointed with people, discouraged by threats to his safety, and depressed about the future. That’s what a breaking point looks like – until you meet God there. Let’s consider some practical truths for such moments.

Quitting is not an option. If you think giving up is a viable option, you will eventually find an excuse to do so. My dear friend, Kenny, often reminded me and others, When you find yourself at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on tightly till help comes. The Bible 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.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV. Perseverance is a virtue. “Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us . . do this by keeping your eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish . . so that you do not become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-4 NLT.

Don’t pick up what is not yours to carry. Over-involvement in too many things or assuming too much responsibility for too many people soon becomes an unbearable burden. Keep the load light, and remember, As your days so shall your strength be.  Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. Jesus will give you wisdom and daily strength if you, “[Cast] all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV.

A breaking point may become a breakthrough. Paul found the renewed strength and assurance he needed, when at his own breaking point God said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT. That discovery is life changing when embraced in faith. Read Hebrews 11:32-35 NLT. In God, your breaking point may be preparing you for a breakthrough. When you can’t be strong, let God be strong in you.

With a future dire and uncertain, Paul affirmed this practical, liberating truth, “We were burdened above measure, beyond strength, so that we despaired even of life. We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in Whom we trust He will still deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NKJV. Think about your Heavenly Father as, “God who raises the dead.” If God can do what is impossible, the most extreme circumstance can still be alive with hope. “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you are always preparing yourself for a breakthrough.

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Prayers God Hears

December 28th, 2012

 When listening to a person’s words, be sure to hear their heart.

“God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:19 NIV.

Have you ever been listening to someone, then realized you had not heard very much of what they were saying? I think everyone has on some occasion, either as a speaker or listener. When listening to a person’s words, be sure to hear their heart. Hearing is more than just a physical capability; it can and should be a practical means for an emotional connection. Disinterest, or some measure of distraction, can lessen a person’s ability to truly hear what another is saying.  Hearing someone – really hearing with your heart – requires interest, attentiveness, and identification with what concerns them. Listening attentively and hearing compassionately build meaningful, caring relationships.

Let’s apply those thoughts to the practice of prayer. Ever wondered why you sometimes may not be as motivated to pray consistently or confidently? I think prayer can become inconsistent if you are unsure God will be listening. And it logically follows that any lack of assurance of His attentiveness to your needs reveals uncertainty about His personal care for you. Those doubts inhibit prayer. Peter encourages, “Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. Listening and hearing reflect genuine caring. Be sure of this; on God’s part, genuine caring is never in question.

Joyfully, the Psalmist wrote, “God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer nor withheld His love from me.” Psalm 66:19-20 NIV. You are more eager to pray and more confident when you do so when you are persuaded that God loves you, and listens to your voice and hears your heart.

Additionally, the Bible is clear that the will of God must be uppermost when you pray. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV. I suggest the description, “righteous man,“ implies a person desiring the will of God in their life above all. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. Effective, fervent prayer begins with a lifestyle of submission, submitting every plan and desire to God’s sovereign will.

Ask boldly, but trust His wisdom completely – “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Read Romans 12:1-2 NIV. That should be how you would always describe God’s will for your life as, “good, pleasing and perfect.” Trust God to answer sincere prayer, always at the time and in the way consistent with His will and wisdom for your life.

There are times you will carry a burden requiring prayer, but may be unsure of God’s will in a matter about which you pray. God’s Word has an answer for such times. “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.” Romans 8:26 NLT. Could that describe you or your situation presently? Here’s the answer: “But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Read Romans 8:26-30 NLT. Read that thoughtfully, then consider it joyfully, “the Spirit pleads for us . . in harmony with God’s own will.” That is prayer to which God listens and hears – and answers!

My prayer for you today is that you know God cares and hears when you pray.

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