trust & obey

i really appreciate it when the daily blessing e-mails line up so well with what i’ve just encountered in the Word unintentionally. God tries to speak to us all day, every day. Lord, give me spiritual ears to hear You. in Jesus’ name, Amen.

ecclesiastes 9:1 “so i reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous & the wise & what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.”

Trust: Responding to the Holy Spirit

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

God wants you to trust his guidance, so he sent you a Guide.

When you became a believer, God placed the Holy Spirit within you, and he’s been teaching you ever since to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit’s counsel. The Holy Spirit is your Guide, one who walks with you along the way. He knows every step of the journey and understands the blessings and dangers ahead. He knows where you’ve been and where you’re going, and he knows the best path to take.

This is an important issue to understand, because God never intended for you to figure out the steps of your journey without him. In truth, how you get on mission and how you succeed at your mission are God’s responsibilities. Your responsibility is to seek his guidance and obey his directions.

Your job is to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. His job is to set your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). You don’t have to know the reason for everything, and there’s no requirement that you figure it all out before you complete your mission. You just need to trust and obey.

i’m tired. you?

this is too relevant for me & too good not to share…

from today’s daily blessing e-mail:

Try Harder or Trust More?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” – Matthew 11:28-29a MSG

Most of us would like to live a life of extraordinary quality that is not only fulfilling but also carries significance beyond ourselves. That’s most likely one of the reasons you became a Christian, and it is exactly the kind of life Jesus promises if we will follow him.

So why isn’t it happening? Why, instead of the abundant life, do so many of us end up living lives of quiet desperation? We go to church; we read the Bible; we pray; we try to be good people and to serve others. Yet, our life with Jesus doesn’t seem to be much more than an add-on to our increasingly complex lives.

So we try harder to live the abundant life. We work harder, pray harder, study harder, and keep trying to figure out what we’re doing wrong. Isn’t that what Jesus wants us to do?

All the while, he keeps asking, in a sense, “Are you tired of this yet?” Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (MSG).

Jesus calls us away from the “hows” and “whys” of our lives into the rhythms of his grace, standing before us as the Son of God Incarnate, Jesus, God’s Word in the flesh. The answer to our frustrations is “who,” not “what” or “how.”

When we try to relate to Jesus on the level of “what” or “how,” we end up in the never-ending cycle of trying harder to fit into an equation that God never meant for us to solve.

Instead of trying harder, we need to trust more.

praying to understand those “unforced rhythms of grace.”


“get your priorities straight”

today’s daily blessing kind of hit me in the face just now. are you in one of these “too many irons in the fire” / living-by-unrealistic-expectations kind of seasons too?

it’s crazy, b/c if i were to list the things i have my hands in, it really wouldn’t look like a whole lot on paper & i’d probably think, “geesh, what’s the hang-up, sister?” in reality, though, i feel a little stretched lately & a whole lotta tired.

the image came to me earlier of my hubby & i in a whirlpool (like a literal one, ppl…not an appliance.)

{source: national geographic}

this season of our lives has been a little rough for me. i’m sure for him, too, at times, but i just speak for myself here. it’s been a time of tremendous & amazing spiritual growth, emotional stretching & maturation, ups & downs, unpredictability. it’s been really different kind of season in our lives.

the image was so appropriate for me, b/c for the longest time i feel like we’ve been circling this “moment” of being totally swept away into a completely different kind of lifestyle/mindset/something… i’m being entirely figurative here, but change has been coming.

so this morning, i realized i think we’re in the thick of it. we’re spiraling into this whole new place of walking by faith, and while the mister is totally calm, prepared for whatever may come, if i visualize myself being sucked into this place of the unknown, i have a look of pure panic. picture it – we’re swirling, whirling down…he’s all “it is well with my soul,” & i’m all bug-eyed-cat-in-a-bath-tub. spiritually bug-eyed isn’t beautiful. my faith is too low. i need a boost.

this visual combined with today’s daily blessing, really revealed a few significant things to me.

1 – the mister is calm b/c he has a healthy level of faith. he’s in the Word. he’s being refreshed & that has his spirit in rest mode – not panic mode.

2 – i have my mind in too many places. forget the list of “things” – it’s my mind that’s going in 50 million directions at once, which is proving to be exhausting.

3 – i don’t have a scheduled, established time to be in the Word. i am up several times a night & being exhausted, i sleep until the last possible minute before the kids wake up, often forgoing even a shower for the day (sorry tmi, but don’t worry, i get one later), & my night consists of mom/wife/housekeeper/coupon-er/cook/everything-under-the-sun-except-devotions stuff…

soooo…bottom-line…this is not God’s will for my life or my day. my soul is panic-stricken, b/c my spirit is being malnourished. i need to step back, schedule that time & ask God for an extra dose of grace, energy, & faith to see my time with Him through every day.

i often thought being a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom would allow me to have this glorious, unstructured day. the kids are all on a routine w/their meals, sleep, activities, but somehow, i’ve convinced myself that i don’t need that. it may be exactly what i need though to really get what i need to accomplish done. i’m seeing that even in my “non-professional” profession, i still desperately need those daily “prep periods” – maybe i should have the hub install a bell system, too? 🙂

so anyway, sorry if i talked you into utter confusion, but if you could understand these ramblings & can even relate, be encouraged with me to bridle yourself a little bit, surrender to a schedule, submit your thoughts to some alone time with the Lord, & RELAX.

i’m going down this figurative whirlpool with or without the overwhelming worry, so i may as well give it my all to direct my focus entirely to the One who already knows the outcome.

from the daily blessing:

Get Your Priorities Straight

Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Most of you are doing too much right now. Your schedules are too busy. You have so many irons in the fire that the fire is about to be put out. You’re smothering it.

How do you know when you’re doing too much in your life? How do you know when you’re out of God’s will? How do you know if all the things you’re doing are what God expects you to do or if you just put those expectations on yourself?

The answer is simple: You’re always tired. It is not God’s will for your life to always be tired. God never intended for you to go around with that heavy a load. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying your heavy loads, and I will give you rest” (TEV).

What’s got you burdened? Most of us carry a yoke of burden that we’ve put on ourselves because of unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. We’re trying to prove that we matter. You matter to God. You don’t have to do anything to matter to God. We put all these burdens on ourselves.

making our home our sanctuary

Protect Your Children in the Storms

Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security. -Proverbs 14:26

Life is full of storms that batter us, bruise us, and beat us up. Life is very tough, and we all need a place of safety, security, peace, and protection. God has planned that our homes be that place.

There are all kinds of storms that come into our lives, but here are three every one of us will experience:

Change. From day to day, relationships change, jobs change, our health changes, where we live changes. Studies tell us that too much of any change — positive or negative — is stressful. So we need a place of security and support, where we know everything is going to be the same.

Failure. Nobody wins all the time. Sometimes you get passed by for the promotion, you don’t make the team, or you fail the test. And it hurts. But failure is more bearable if you’re coming home to hugs, if you know that when you get home, you’re going to be encouraged.

Rejection. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel criticized, pushed away, or not allowed to be part of the “in” crowd. A lot of that starts on the playground, where kids can be mean, laughing at the flaws of others and making fun of those who seem different. Coming home to acceptance and love helps children through the storms.

How do you build a home that can be a shelter in a storm?

Hear. Listen to the people in your family. Don’t be too quick to come up with a solution before they even get the words out of their mouths. Sometimes they just need to vent or tell you how they feel.

Hug. Express affection. Do the things that say “I love you.”

Hope. Build up the people in your family with affirmation. Make sure you’re giving good input to balance all the negative they hear outside your home.

Help. Make sure that you do whatever it takes to get help when your family is going through a tough time. Unhealthy families ignore their problems or they say, “We can make it without help. We don’t need anyone else’s input. We’re not talking to anybody about this. We can handle it” — or worse, they say, “What problem?” Healthy families are willing to look at themselves realistically and say, “We’re having a tough time right now, and we need some help.”

You may not be able to protect your children from the storms of life, but you can help protect them in the storms of life by making your home a place of security and support.

~Paul Phillips’ “Daily Blessing” for today, May 3rd