O Lord, I’m tired…

We sat together, a group of women ranging in age from young mommy to less young with grown children (like me), around several tables pushed in to make one.  The chatter was bountiful as we brightened our doodle sheets with many colors.  The word LOVE was sketched vertically down the black and white page our teacher handed out.  You might have the impression we were helping out in a children’s class; but no, we were gathered up for Bible study.  All of us women folk – coloring and doodling, chatting and laughing.tired 030918

My spiritual daughter is leading us in discipleship training through Titus 2 over six weeks this spring.  This was our third week, and we were getting ready to talk about loving our husbands well.  We would even dare to uncover and discuss our Father’s view of submitting ourselves as wives under the headship of our husbands.

This young friend who prayerfully walks ahead of us on this journey through Titus 2 asked me, momma, to open us with prayer.  My first words were these…  “O Lord, I’m tired…”  I exhaled a long deep breath from the bottom of my weary lungs.  I whispered again…”Lord, probably everyone here is tired, and so this is why we come to sit at Your feet…”

It’s true, you know?  We’re all tired as the result of something or tired of something.  I can’t speak for everyone – just me.  But I’m tired from the constant pelting of these sharp cords against my heart and mind…

Angry words, hateful attitudes, and accusations are often hurled ruthlessly.

Violence, abuse, and brutality – one human being against another.

Families are broken and separated.

Pathology reports, diagnoses, hospice care and death.

Job loss and financial ruin.

Anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide attempts.

And then I remember the days of horrific torture Jesus endured leading up to His crucifixion and death.  He took all of these angry lashes upon His flesh and more.  Every sin ever conceived of satan and perpetrated by man – Jesus bore it.  He chose to do it in obedience to His Father’s will.

Then the ruling priests, over and over, made bitter accusations against him, but he remained silent. So Pilate questioned him again. “Have you nothing to say? Don’t you hear these many allegations they’re making against you?” But Jesus offered no defense to any of the charges, much to the great astonishment of Pilate.  Mark 15:3-5 tpt

Jesus silenced His tired, weary heart and mind and just took it – all of the evil of all time from the Garden of Eden to the Battle of Armageddon.

If I think I’m tired… and I am… surely my Savior, Jesus, understands why.

Ponders:

Is there something weighing you down to the point of weariness?  Is living in this broken world making you tired?

Do you believe Jesus bore that thing in His flesh?  Would you like to ask Jesus to take (_name it here_) from you and give you rest?

Ask Him.  He will do it.  Jesus delights to be our peace.

Come Holy Spirit of God and bring Your comfort.  Let us gather tired at Your feet Jesus and receive Your rest for You are peace.  Thank You for lovingly hearing our heart cries. amen.

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Today I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {tired}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Oh so simple!

Renovation Anyone?

I love the story of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament.  The young king was only twenty-five years old – the age of my sons – when he undertook a major reclamation of God’s temple.  He opened the doors and repaired them.  He assembled the priests and Levites in the temple square for the first time in years and commanded them to do two things.

  1. Consecrate themselves.
  2. Consecrate the temple of the LORD.

(2 Chronicles 29:3-5)

Generations of God’s people had turned away from His goodness and toward objects of idol worship.  As a result, God’s people were scattered.  Many were taken into captivity by foreign rulers.  The temple of God was defiled and Judah was left in ruins.  It was a shameful sight.

But this is where my heart gets encouraged.  Young Hezekiah, rather than grumbling, blaming, punishing or shaming, rolled up his kingly sleeves and got to work on a restoration plan.  He reminds me of young friends in my city who have a heart for renewal and restoration, as well as a revival in the hearts of God’s people.  Their reclamation efforts are purposeful to make God’s name great.2 chronicles 29.3

Two couples have joined in a business venture to buy rundown properties, cleanse and restore them for families who will become neighbors.  Recently a city church, whose congregants are mostly young professionals and students, pledged financial resources above the initial request with the goal of expanding their ministry to reclaim their city in the name of Jesus.  And another young couple moved to a nearby village, which bears deep wounds of racial strife, with God-sized vision and compassionate hearts longing for reconciliation and restoration.

Calling all daughters of Father’s delight.  Come young daughters and bring your youthful passion to restore and energize your older sisters in the joy of the Lord.  Come back, all daughters who have been scattered from God’s people due to distrust and disillusionment.  Come together, all daughters of the King, let us taste and see that the Lord is good.

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I have the honor and privilege of writing weekly devotionals for Daughter of Delight on Instagram.  This post with some slight variation was first posted as an original devotional for Daughter of Delight on Instagram – 2/10/2018.

I invite you to please take a moment to visit @daughterofdelight on Instagram.  I feel certain you’ll be encouraged and refreshed!

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

Saturday Share with Marie Gregg

Saturday Share coffeeWelcome to Saturday Share!  

The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus. It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line.  Our stories are not finished and that’s the main point!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer:  Marie Gregg

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Little Spaces

by Marie Gregg

Like any other writer, I dream of book tours and lecture circuits, but the actual reality of those things is far beyond my comfort zone. Planes, trains, and automobiles whirling about the country, carrying me off to places unseen and people unknown…my heart begins to thud with the mere contemplation.grace 2 Peter 3.18 MG

I’m not a brave person.

When I think of the word brave, my mind conjures up images of people who have done great things. Florence Nightingale, caring for wounded soldiers left in appalling conditions during the Crimean War. Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who saved the lives of up to 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa. Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus.

Me? I’m lucky if I can put together one coherent sentence when in the presence of a stranger.

Great things? Acts of heroism?

Yeah, right.

I am far more comfortable in the little spaces, the hidden places.

I wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego felt the same way. Sure, they agreed with their friend Daniel when it came to obeying God’s commands about what they could eat (Daniel 1:11-16). Yes, they were promoted, became part of King Nebuchadnezzar’s inner circle (Daniel 1:19-20). But their story doesn’t require much ink. They go along, doing their thing.

Until Chapter 3, the statute and the flames.

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you experience various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-3 (CSB)

Rach, Shach, and Benny found themselves thrust into the middle of a situation that they may not have anticipated. In a split second, they had to choose. The King or God? Life or death? They got to live out the words of James long before they were ever written. Their little space, their hidden place, was suddenly exposed.

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So it is with you. And me.

We need a broader understanding of what it means to be heroic. A brave person is not made in a single moment, on center stage, but in the thousands of little choices that go unseen by all by God. For me, bravery is built every time I choose to walk into a room believing that I am a daughter of the King. It’s not something anyone else notices. It’s a war inside my head, a battle across my soul. Who am I going to believe, the voice of the Enemy that spews lies to break me down and keep me isolated, or the voice of the Holy Spirit that empowers me to do what He has called me to do?

I don’t always make the right choice. More days than I care to count, my head is down, eyes studying the floor, hoping that I can sneak by unnoticed.

My trial: Anxiety.

My test: Doing it anyway.

Publishing a blog post, meeting someone for coffee, leading a small group, making an announcement in church. It all scares me. My mind jumps to the worst-case scenario every single time.

Jesus meets me there. Just as He gave those three men the courage to defy a king, so He gives me courage each and every day. All I have to do is reach out and take it. Make the choice to trust Him and watch another brick be placed on the Wall of Bravery in my mind. My hands shake in the effort to cling to His steady ones. Sometimes, slick with the sweat of fear, they slip away.

He holds on when I cannot.

“…solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity…” Hebrews 5:14-6:1 (CSB)

It doesn’t happen overnight, this bravery. It’s a growing thing, a pressing thing. It’s part of the lifelong process we call sanctification, the way that Jesus smooths the rough parts and shapes us into the people He designed us to be. Bravery is found in letting go of what has gone before and reaching for the deeper things that lay ahead. It’s found in putting one foot in front of the other, even as the entire body trembles, because Jesus says, “You can because I Am.”maturity Hebrews 6.1 MG

You, like me, may always be content to live behind-the-scenes. Our voices may always be quieter than others, our actions subtler. But make no mistake: We face the statue and the flames all the time. When we’re tempted to run from God’s assignment for us, tempted to hold a grudge, tempted to take a second look, tempted to open the bottle or take the pill. A thousand variations and a million different choices.

 

Jesus is there, in all of it.

You and me, let’s choose Him.

Even in the little spaces.

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Marie Gregg headshot

 

Marie Gregg lives in North Idaho with her husband and two fat, neurotic dogs.  She is the author of several books, all of which are available on Amazon.  When she’s not engaged in Bible study or competitive napping, she writes about life and theology over at Along the Way.  Join her on the journey. (Facebook    /   Instagram   /   Twitter)

FMF: Motivate

New Year – 2018 and a whole new set of Five Minute Friday free writes with Kate Motaung.  Thanks, Kate, for getting us motivated with a great first word of the year.fmf logo

{Motivate}  Set the timer for 5:00 and here we go!

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

This scripture describes me as a physical child, absolutely.  It also describes me as a spiritual child.

When I was a younger woman I had so much to say and I wanted to be heard.  I was known as a woman of many words.  People who had little time and/or patience avoided me in the grocery store.  They pretended not to see me 10 feet away though I was looking straight into their gaze.

I was motivated by wanting people to hear what I had learned.  I was new to the Bible and digging into truth.  One of the most exciting aspects of life for me was sharing with anyone who would listen, the really overwhelming Good News which had come alive to me.

However, I was motivated incorrectly.  I wanted to be heard.  I wanted to be right.  I wanted to have a platform, and make a difference.  I wanted to do something important.  None of these activities or desires or passions are wrong when motivated by the plans and desires of God.

As I began to sense a need to be trained and matured by my Father, the verse which struck a deep place…  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4 ESV (paraphrase)

My one-word for 2018 is obedience.  I have learned and pray I will continue to learn my greatest freedom comes within the boundaries of my Father’s making.  It is in obedience because of my delight in my Creator Father that I find the desires of my heart fulfilled.motivate

If that sounds like fluff to you?  Maybe you’re thinking that’s nice for you, but my life isn’t like that.  Know I used to think that too.  So, don’t take my word for it.  Rather take God at His Word.  Ask Him to teach you.  Taste and see the Lord is good, and His Word is true.  He is faithful to grow us up when we ask and desire to grow under His instruction.

Bless you to know Him better in 2018!

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

Lisa