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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 11:28-30’

Submission or Subjection?

September 27th, 2017

Joy and satisfaction are found in submission to the ways and will of God.

 “Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil.” James 4:7 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today ask,

“Submission or Subjection?”

I may be corrected by an English teacher reading this, but I am intrigued today by two similar words that sometimes seem alike, but can infer a dissimilar process. Those words are: submission and subjection. I think a distinction between them is important for proper application – practically, relationally, and spiritually. The first of those words – submission – describes your voluntary willingness to comply with another’s request or requirement of you.

You submit when, by your free will, you forego your rights to do otherwise.  Submission suggests a voluntary willingness and readiness, choosing the better option for the right reasons. Your relationship with God is based on willing submission and joyful obedience. James advised, “Therefore, submit yourselves to God.” James 4:7 NKJV. By your choice of submission, you subject yourself to obedience as unto the Lord.

The second word – subjection – includes the idea of coercion and subjugation. “Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” Psalm 106:42 NKJV. Coercion occurs when someone attempts to impose their will on another person. Anyone who demands compliance at the threat of their disfavor or unwanted consequences is trying to force you to do their wish and will. In both submission and subjection, the end results are similar but the motivation and strategy differ vastly.

Submission is your voluntary response to what is asked of you and is beneficial and appropriate for you to do. God patiently awaits your submission. In contrast, subjection relies upon coercion, demanding by threat of disfavor or punishment to gain compliance you would not otherwise give. Our better nature responds more positively to a request or rightful expectation. Our baser nature – and we all have one – is oppositional, expressing reluctance, resistance, or outright refusal to demands contrary to our own will or perceived pleasure.

Submission is a choice that only you can make. Joy and satisfaction are found in submission to the ways and will of God alone. Conversely, subjection is imposed from outside by others. Only frustration and displeasure will be found there. Others will try to overlay their expectations, plans, and will upon your life. Trust the sacred environs of your heart and life to none but God. Our God never imposes His will on your life, nor should you allow others to impose theirs. He offers His ways and will for your good.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV. Subjection burdens you with concerns you did not choose. Submission to God frees you to elevate your life to all that is higher and better. The choice is yours!

Today, I pray for you to know joys of submission to God and His ways.

Christian Communications 2017

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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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A Sabbath Life

June 10th, 2016

Life was intended to be neither hectic nor laborious.

“God ended His work . . and He rested.” Genesis 2:2 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a Sabbath life.”

Work is an unavoidable, important piece of everyday life; yet it is just not meant to be the only piece. God gave the first work assignment to Adam. See Genesis 2:8-15 NLT. God placed Adam in the midst of a bountiful garden, “to tend and watch over it,” instructing Adam to partner in all God had created. Partnering with God in His will and purpose is your life’s work. You do so in your daily circle of influence and opportunity He has given you.

Your work is your assignment of ministry and your ministry assignment certainly includes your daily work. When your work is different from your Godly assignment, you are neither happy nor fulfilled. Without a sense of assignment, you lack the understanding of what you are doing, the clarity of why, and the conviction that you serve the Lord God. Labor was meant to be fruitful and productive in what God entrusts to your hands. If you read Genesis carefully, you will note that labor, as did most of life’s responsibilities, became hard “work.” I find it interesting that because disobedience, God told the woman that her act of birthing would be with pain and man’s work would be with sweat and struggle. Both of which we now call “labor.” Read Genesis 3:16-19 NLT.

At creation, God established a Sabbath principle by His own example and later established the Sabbath principle in His Law, the Ten Commandments, “six days you shall work, and on the seventh, rest.” Read Exodus 20:8-11 NIV. Life is designed for a natural, complementary rhythm of both work and rest. Life is better lived when you are diligent in your work and provide ample room in your schedule for the principle of Sabbath. “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you . . we encourage you to do so more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 NLT.

Sabbath is the attitude in which you live your life before God and others. Here is Jesus’ simple, straightforward invitation: “Come to Me, all of you are who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest . . you will find rest for your souls.” Read Matthew 11:28-30 NLT. Rest is more than inactivity. Jesus could say, “The One who sent Me is with me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29 NIV. A Sabbath life is found in doing only what “pleases Him.” Rest for the soul comes from knowing what you should be doing and doing so as unto the Lord.

Life was intended to be neither hectic nor laborious. When your work becomes unsatisfying, wearying, or worrisome to you, you have lost perspective or misplaced priorities. If your goals are not being achieved however hard you work, your goals are not the same as His goals for you. When your life feels out of order, prayerfully check your priorities and activities and adjust accordingly.

Today, I pray for you to enjoy your work and rest as equally satisfying.

EDL Sabbath

 

Christian Communications 2016

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Spiritual Practices

October 9th, 2015

“The Father has blessed us . . with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV.

Essential spiritual practices necessitate leisure and solitude.

My thoughts and comments today are about “spiritual practices.”

Days can be busy and noisy, leaving you over-stimulated and weary. Everything seems rushed and everyone hurried. All too often, the urgent displaces the important. The pace of our lives and the noise of our surroundings diminish things vital to our well-being. More tragically, you can lose something of yourself somewhere in the noise and busyness. Unrelenting activity produces a confused identity. A conviction of spiritual identity provides: certainty about purpose, clarity of direction, and sufficiency of your God-given gifts and abilities. So much depends upon a true sense of your God-given identity.

Essential spiritual practices necessitate leisure and solitude. We are so much like the disciples – often busy and tired. Jesus invited His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV. Time alone with God is where you rediscover your identity in Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV. In his epistles, Paul wrote prolifically about your life, “in Christ.” Read Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV.

Let me suggest Biblical disciplines that strengthen your spiritual identity. Begin with this. Practice Sabbath rest. The Sabbath principle incorporates the whole of one’s life before the Lord. All other spiritual disciplines begin and extend from a heart that practices the principle of Sabbath. More than a day set aside from usual and necessary activity, Sabbath is a deliberate time – without worry or hurry – to reorient your body, soul, and spirit with the Biblical practices that encourage and celebrate your faith. In Jesus, true Sabbath is found. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV.

Prioritize quiet and solitude. Practice to be quiet and content in God’s presence. “I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child with his mother.” Psalm 131:1-2 NIV. Prioritize time in God’s Word. Psalm 1:1-3 NIV. Regular attention to the reading and meditation of Scripture is critically important. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16-17 NKJV. Prioritize prayer with thanksgiving. Communicating your heart and gratitude to God results in communion with God. “In everything, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV.

Prioritize Praise and Worship. Grow comfortable expressing your heart in joyful adoration. Psalm 100 NIV. Prioritize edifying Fellowship. You were made for community. Acts 2:46-47 NKJV. That is where you grow and serve best. “Let us not neglect our meeting together . . but encourage and warn one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT. Spiritual practices develop a life that abides in Christ, trusts His finished work on the cross, and celebrates your identity in Christ.

Today, I pray for you that your identity is rooted and built up in Christ Jesus.

Christian Communications

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Weariness

June 2nd, 2015

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened.” Matthew 11:28 NIV.

To be holy and healthy, you need safe places, still times, and special friends.

My thoughts and comments today are about “weariness.”

Too frequently our lives could be described in the terms of, “hurry, worry, and weariness.” Busyness and noisiness produce weariness of body, soul, and spirit. The relentless pace of daily lives and the incessant noise of crowded surroundings become exhausting – physically, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as relationally destructive. The result? Marriages struggle; families suffer; relationships are strained. Too often people are busy but ineffective. As efficiency and effectiveness diminish, multiplying your efforts is rarely the best solution.

Mark’s Gospel reports a productive, but equally draining time, for Jesus’ disciples. They preached; people repented; demons were cast out; sick people were healed. The disciples were busy about matters important to the Kingdom, doing exactly what Jesus commissioned them to do, and with remarkable success. The more the disciples accomplished, the more there was yet to do. Jesus wisely foresaw that they would experience the “law of diminishing returns,” growing efforts producing waning results.

“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 by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:30-32 NIV. There have to be moments when you draw aside from the rush and routines. Read Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV.

The venerable King James translation reads, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Come apart . . and rest a while.” There are occasions when you need to be wise enough, “to come apart,” before you literally come apart – physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Whatever your activities, maybe today you feel life unraveling – weary of soul, depleted of energy, empty of resolve, dissatisfied with success, or a tiredness that is never rested.

If experiencing one of those times, Jesus’ invitation is the best advice I could give you, “Come to Me, all you 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV.

Gordon MacDonald, a favorite author of mine, wrote, “Restoring Your Spiritual Passion.” Thomas Nelson Publishers. He gave three essentials things for spiritual passion: (1) Safe Places. You need a map of your life marking where you find Sanctuary, free from disruptions and misdirection. (2) Still Times. You need a calendar showing when you will observe Sabbath, apart from the demands of depleting schedules. (3) Special Friends. You need a life-restoring Fellowship, people who inspire, encourage, correct, challenge, and affirm you.

Today, I pray for you that draw strength and hope from a source that never fails.

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