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Bearing burdens

Lamentations 3:27-33 – “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”

This was my son’s Scripture choice for the devotion he did for us last night. Deep content for a 15 year old boy, but he nailed it. 

When it comes to bearing burdens, we all are challenged by it. Sometimes we want to take the burden from our friend or loved one and carry it for them. Sometimes we want to give our burden away because we just don’t want to deal with it anymore. 

But neither one of those options is the way God wants us to handle things. He wants us to carry our own burden while allowing Him to lighten the load. Sometimes He does this by sending someone into our life to walk alongside us and help ease the load. Sometimes He wants us to give the burden completely to Him and let Him deal with it. 

Nowhere does it say to let another human take care of our burden. The Bible does tell us to “bear one another’s burdens” but that means by prayer and assistance. Not taking it on completely as our own. We have a tendency to want to take over when it comes to something like that. We want to own it and make it better. I think that’s the pride in our life wanting to do that. 

Yet, when we bear our own burden, it can sometimes get tough. We may feel overwhelmed and overtaken. We may feel buried under the weight of responsibility. Yet, God knows exactly where we are at in the situation. He knows what we need and when we need it. And waiting for Him can be hard. When it gets hard, I think that is when we go running and whining to someone else to take the difficulty away. What we need to do is buckle down and carry on. 

During my son’s devotion, he said that it was good for kids to learn to bear their own burdens while they are young and have parents there to help. He said that they needed to learn to take responsibility even when it is hard. And part of that responsibility is knowing when to turn it over and knowing when to ask for help. 

He’s a pretty wise young man. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with him because I know it will be incredible.

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The crazy plant and the sprinkler head

Lamentations 3:21-26 – “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

A few weeks ago, I was removing some bushes. There was a sprinkler problem around one of the plants. So, I get in there with my shovel and rake and begin to attempt to unroot this monster. I’m carefully poking and chopping and otherwise mauling this thing to death when I notice the sprinkler line. It is up in the plant. And not just a little, I’m talking like 12-18 inches of it! The plant had eaten the sprinkler!! It had consumed it! It took me a good solid 20 minutes to dig that sprinkler out of the plant. The plant had taken the sprinkler line and grown in such a way that it had pulled the line away from the original PVC line and water was spraying everywhere every time the sprinkler came on. It was crazy!

It made me stop and think about life according to the sprinkler head. Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways, I know.
The job of a sprinkler is to water the vegetation. It does not make the vegetation grow. It just broadcast what the plants need – water.
It is our job to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every one. We are to broadcast it out there and let God do the growing. But sometimes we forget to do our job. Or we get swept away in something that keeps us from doing our job. That plant had grown around that sprinkler head and had started to grow another direction. If we aren’t careful, we will see a sin and allow it to give us a squeeze. And before we know it, we are totally wrapped up by it and are being pulled another direction. Sin will keep pulling and pulling until it tries to pull us away from the Source. And that makes our ability to broadcast unprofitable.

If someone had been paying attention to this bush of mine, maybe I could have rescued it. It needed to be trimmed and manicured. But sin isn’t like that. You can’t manage it and make it do what you want it to. It’s like Kudzu – it takes over everything, unsparingly. The best option is removal – total and complete removal.

So today, princess, be on guard for that sin that is trying to creep into your life. Yank it out before it takes root. And if you have sin in your life that is consuming you, ask the Master Gardener to remove it. It may be painful and scary, but you won’t be facing it alone. It is keeping you from so much. Don’t live in the shadow of your sin any longer. Get out and enjoy the Son-shine!

Look and listen

Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Yesterday, we were driving to school. Let me try to paint you the picture of what I saw. The sun was just beginning to make it’s presence known. It was not yet in sight but you could see it starting to paint the sky. The background was a pale shade of baby blue. The clouds that dotted the horizon were being painted an orangish-pink color. And as the moments passed, the clouds became pink, then more orange and then a shade of purple. It was amazing. I love watching the sun rise. But shadowing over all of this was the moon. Not the whole moon, but rather just a sliver. It looked like a smile in the sky. It was like God was welcoming the new day by this fantastic display of color and then sitting up in heaven smiling about it.

This gave me a beautiful sense of peace and wonder. I never cease to be amazed at what God can do in the sky. From the beauty of a sunset or sunrise to the majesty in a storm. He has it all under His control. And that is amazing to me!
The peace that I found in this situation was gently whispered across my heart in the form of this verse: Lamentations 3:21-23 – “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God faithfully brings the sun around every morning, whether we see it or not. His love for us never fails us nor does it leave us. Just because we don’t see the sun, we know it is still there. We may feel that The Lord has abandoned us from His love. But in truth, He is still there. He is just waiting for us to realize He never moved.

So today, princess, I want to encourage you to look around you and see what message God is sending you in everyday, common occurrences. He is speaking. Are you listening?

The Presentation

Lamentations 3:25,26 – “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

The youth of my church have been working for months on a presentation that they will make tonight at their state youth meeting. They have practiced every Sunday night for…I don’t know how long. But I do know that my daughter has had a part in a sign language presentation of the song “He is.” If you haven’t heard that song, go and find it. It is great! It goes through each book and characterizes God in each book.

Any way, they had a dress rehearsal Sunday night for the congregation of my church. It was fantastic! The skits focused on how we get trapped in sin and then how we fail to listen to God – always talking, never listening. The presentation ended with the signing. It was beautifully put together and presented.

The thing that was most amazing was the response of those watching and listening. Tears were shed, hearts were touched and a decision was made. One young lady decided to follow Christ after seeing the presentation. How awesome is that!!

My point in this rambling is this: You may work for months or maybe even years for The Lord and never see the fruit of the seeds you plant. But, you may see the fruit today. Whatever the case is, don’t give up. Keep working. Keep trying. And keep shining your light for Him.

Homecoming day

Lamentations 3:21-26 – “Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait on him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

Today is the 11th anniversary of my Daddy’s homecoming with The Lord.

I will never forget the day that I got the phone call that he was gone. My heart broke. My son turned 3 months old on that very day. I was so sad.

I remember my pastor coming over to console me. I remember him telling me that the sun would still come up in the morning. I wanted to punch him! How could he say that to me?! But looking back, I see he was right. What he was trying to get me to see was God’s mercy and compassion. He was trying to encourage me to keeping moving. I had to – my son was still a baby. He needed his mommy.

I have learned over the last 11 years that grief lingers. I still cry because I miss my daddy. I still have moments when I want to call him and get his advise or tell him about something my kids have done. Time is healing the wound but I will always have a scar.

But – I have hope. I will see my Daddy again – and soon! You see, my Daddy was not perfect, but he was forgiven. He walked with The Lord. And because of that choice he made many, many moons ago, I will get to see him and my children will get to know him. He left a legacy of faithfulness. Not a legacy of perfection. That is was Jesus’s thing.

So on this anniversary, if your Daddy is still around and following The Lord, would you give him a hug for me? Thank him for his example. Hold him just a little longer. And for those of you like me, remember your Daddy today. And thank God for the example that he was in your life.

Good Morning

Lamentations 3:22-23 – “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I have a Mandisa song stuck in my head this morning, well two actually. One is dealing with the morning and the other with joy and sorrow.
I know of at least two families that will be burying a loved one today. I know what it is like to say goodbye to someone close to you. I said goodbye to my Dad 11 years ago in March. It is not easy. You dread the upcoming days and months without him.
I remember when I found out that he had died, my pastor came over to console me. He told me that despite my great sorrow that the sun would come up tomorrow. At the time, that made me upset. How could he say that to me! I couldn’t think beyond my nose!
But he was right. He was trying to get me to see that this would not overwhelm me and that God’s love would see me through.
So whatever you are going through today, princess, remember that God’s love will see you through and that His mercies are new every morning. It is a good morning.