Tag Archives: following God

Sometimes Sleep Really is Overrated

Many mornings I struggle to rise and shine early enough to spend sufficient time in the Word before I begin my day. There have been seasons when I found it easy to wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 and didn’t even feel tired, but other times it’s such a battle. My desire is to have uninterrupted God time before all the distractions of the day start chiming in, but it seems to come in waves. I have periods where I don’t seem to need as much sleep, and other times I can’t get enough. Nearly every night I ask God to wake me naturally, because I know that setting an alarm doesn’t work. When I force myself to get up, I find myself so sleepy I can’t function. It seems like the only time an alarm clock is successful is when I stay up and moving. It definitely doesn’t work for quiet times, because sitting still is too conducive to dozing off.

Today, as I was reading in the book of Acts, I noticed in chapters 16 and 20 that Paul didn’t seem to get a lot of sleep. In chapter 16, we get the account of Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in Philippi. They were praying and worshipping God around midnight when a great earthquake occurred. Paul was then able to share the gospel in the prison to the jailer and all the prisoners. After that, the jailer took them to his house, cleaned them up, and let them share the message with his family. The entire family was baptized in the middle of the night, and then Paul and Silas were back in jail by daylight. In chapter 20, Paul was preaching “on and on” till midnight (Ac.20:9) when young Eutychus fell out of the window and died. After Paul raised him to life, they broke bread, and he talked to them until daylight.

When I read the Gospels I see the same sort of pattern with Jesus. He would often withdraw to lonely places and pray all night, or rise way before daybreak (Lk. 6:12, Mk. 1:35). On the night of his betrayal he lamented that his disciples kept falling asleep, and told them “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41). I find it interesting that Jesus told them to deny their bodies, and fervently seek God instead. Still, I can sure relate to those disciples. Some people might think that since Jesus was divine it was easier for him to go without sleep, but we know that on at least one occasion he was so exhausted he was able to sleep through a violent storm (Mk. 4:38).

God designed our bodies to need sleep, and even Jesus was not exempt from this need, but there seem to be times when his Spirit can enable us to deny that need. I have noticed that when I’ve gone on mission trips in the past, I have managed to thrive on much less sleep. Beyond that, I have had sporadic bouts of insomnia that I am sure were from God. As I determined to watch and pray through those nights, amazing things happened. I saw spiritual breakthroughs in my life, and on a few occasions received specific answers to prayers. Occasionally, very specific ideas would pop into my head about actions I should take to receive the answer to my prayer. When I later acted on those “ideas,” the outcome was simply amazing. I often tell people that those “middle of the night” times of communion with God are most powerful, because I am finally quiet and still enough to hear.

So, as I sit contemplating these patterns of sleeplessness in scripture (and there are more! Check out Gen. 32:24, 1 Sam. 15:11, Ps. 63:6, Lam. 2:19), I can’t help but think that sleep actually is overrated when it comes to our spiritual lives. Science has shown that some people are “short sleepers” who actually need less sleep, but clearly I’m not one of them. Chances are you aren’t either. However, I believe that having periods of missed sleep in order to seek him can be as effective to our spirits as fasting from food. There is something powerful about denying self, and seeking him wholeheartedly. I believe we just need to avail ourselves to his Spirit, and allow him to speak to us through the watches of the night.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Ps. 119:147-148S

Something New

It seems that God is doing something new in my life lately, and I have found myself at a loss as how to proceed. Even though I am not a very structured person, I still find myself wanting to do things the way I’ve been doing them for such a long time. Change is difficult for us. Even the most flexible of us create our own traditions, and breaking out of them is HARD. This passage from Mark seemed to be exactly what I needed to read today.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” Mark 2:21-22

Jesus came and challenged everything the religious leaders valued. He questioned their way of doing things, and even their interpretation of the law. They constantly criticized him for violating the Sabbath, but he pointed them to the heart of the Law, rather than the letter of it (see Mk. 2:23-28). As Believers, I am sure most of us see ourselves as far more spiritually savvy than the Pharisees and Scribes, but I’m not so sure we are. We get used to our traditions, and begin to see treat them as though they are the very oracles of God.

In my own case, I’ve been doing good things–even spiritual things, but I’ve come to realize that I may have been focusing on things that were not my calling. So now, I find it difficult to figure out how to order my time. Should I continue to do the good things, or should I jump out in faith? God is calling me to take some huge steps of faith, but continuing on the path of least resistance is so much easier. The problem is that it’s not so much more blessed. I know that until I am obedient, I will not be able to walk in his best for my life. So today I’m making a choice to throw out the old wine skins. I reject my own “old” way of doing things, and choose to embrace the “something new”to which he is calling me.

How about you? Have you held on to your old ways for too long? Are you willing to walk in the newness of life he calls us to live? I know it can be hard, but it is the only path to blessing. So out with the old! In with the new!

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. Is. 43:19

BeginningIsNear

 

 

God of Vengeance?

God hates sin, but he loves people. He hates sin, because he knows it destroys us. Yet, rather than seeing his heart of love, most of us believe that he is actually withholding something good from us when he gives us rules for living. While many see him as a God of wrath and condemnation, he does not delight in judgment. He is a God of mercy, and even the Old Testament prophets who preached judgment offered chance after chance for repentance. It was only when the people’s sin had reached a point of no return (including child sacrifice) that God finally allowed his children to suffer the consequences of their sin. Even then, he desired reconciliation, and his purpose in judgment was to draw his people back into relationship. This passage in Ezekiel stood out to me today.

Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?  If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ez. 18:25-32

As I read in Ezekiel today, I couldn’t help but think of the kids who attended Christian school with our kids. When I look back at them, many of them ended up with very broken lives. Why? Just like the Israelites fell into idolatry, because they saw the the rules imposed by their parents and the school as unfair. These kids felt they were missing out on something, and went to great links to be like the world. They didn’t see the good in their parents’ motives, even as Israel could only see what God seemed to be withholding from them.* In the end, in spite of their parents’ good intentions to protect them, their lives became shipwrecked.

The bottom line was that they felt like their parents were holding out on them, and they just had to have what everyone else in society had. They didn’t see that their parents wanted the best for them. They only saw that they were “different,” and they didn’t want to be. The same was true of Israel. Instead of being grateful for God’s care and provision, they looked around at what they were “missing.” They didn’t have multiple gods to help with various issues in life. They didn’t have a king like all the other nations, and so they insisted on being like those other nations—even to the point of sacrificing their children to false gods. God gave them free will to choose, and his desire was for his children to choose him. Instead they chose bondage.

God offers us a new heart and spirit, and too often we run after shallow substitutes that result in bondage. We run to other things for comfort—food, relationships, alcohol, and the like. We don’t want to bow our wills to anyone, so in the end our desire to be in control ends up controlling us. The only true freedom in this life is found in completely surrendering to the one who truly wants the best for us. He does not delight in our destruction, and he knows that when our worship becomes misplaced, that will be the result. He offers a solution, yet too often we run to counterfeits.

Thank you Lord that you care, and that you do not delight in judging us. Thank you for your mercy. The solution for this whole problem is proper worship. Help us never put our own comfort or desires above your best for our lives. We know you want the best for us, so we can trust you. Give us new hearts and spirits that delight in you, rather than hide from you. Teach us that true and proper worship is the key to true freedom. Amen

 

*Now I have to admit that this isn’t the best analogy. Sometimes earthly parents focus a little too much on control, and sometimes that might push kids towards rebellion. But our Lord never forces his way in our lives, and yet we still insist on running from his best.

The Blessing of an Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Ps. 86:11

It’s interesting that David talks about an undivided heart in relation to fearing God. I believe this is because fear is one of the best tactics of the enemy to destroy our spiritual walk. I’ve always said that whatever we fear will control us—that is why is is so important to fear the Lord. For so long I lived in fear of a man, and as a result he became the god of my life. I knew God was there, and I prayed to him regularly, but my heart was very divided. My first thought when deciding on an action was usually how my husband would respond to it. If it was something I wanted to do, and didn’t think he would like it, I might do it anyway and hide it from him. Still, the bottom line was that my life revolved around him rather than God. My divided heart put God second by default. Unhealthy fear enslaved me. An undivided heart is one that is fully surrendered to the Lord, and fears him more than anything or anyone else.

For many years the phrase “fear of the Lord” was an enigma to me, but it really shouldn’t have been. The type of fear that ruled my life with my ex husband was basically one that filtered nearly every thought through his possible reation. I feared his wrath. Although I have been redeemed from God’s wrath, a healthy fear of him would basically do the same. I would be more concerned about pleasing God than anyone else (including myself).  It is not so much a dread-based fear, but a love-based one. My love for him should far outweigh my love for anything or anyone else, and when it does I will give him control over my life. My heart is undivided, because there is no question that God comes first in every decision I make. He is in control rather than fleeting circumstances or unpredictable people. The wonderful thing about fearing God first is that it leads to peace. He is unchanging and all-loving, which means when I place my life in his hands I don’t need to fear anything else. I am surrendered and he is in control, so whatever happens I can trust him for the outcome. That is the blessing of an undivided heart.

Prayer:

Lord, I pray that my heart will be always undivided — that nothing on this earth will be more important to me than you! You are worthy of my praise, worthy of my fear, and so very good. I can trust you completely. Human nature tends towards fearing circumstances and even people, but Lord I know what a trap that is. That is like building a house on the sand. When the storms of life come, “great is the destruction” of that house. Father I ask that my life will be built upon the rock, because I put you first in everything. “All other ground is sinking sand.” Amen

God Uses the Reluctant

I love the story of Gideon. It amazes me that God was so patient with him. Like Moses he argued with God about his calling. Like Moses he saw only his limitations, but God proclaimed who he would be. We see things according to human limitations, God sees the limitless possibilities when we put our trust in him and walk in his Spirit. Gideon would question and test God numerous times before he became willing to step into the spiritual realities God pronounced over him. I love the following account in Judges 6. Gideon was sure the Lord had abandoned his people, but God…

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. “ And Gideon said to him “Please sir if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ’Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you? And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you and you shall strike the Midianites as one man” (Ju. 6:12-16).

The Israelites were being oppressed by Midian because of their sin. The Midianites swarmed in against them and stripped the land like locusts every harvest season. Everything the children of Israel had worked for was stolen when they came. After seven years in this pattern scripture says that “Israel was brought very low… and the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.” It was basically the Lord’s compassion that answered, because nothing here says the people repented. They were just brought very low, and God had mercy. When he answers prayers it is rarely because of our worthiness. It’s more about him than us. When he answers, he comes in and empowers weak and reluctant people. Gideon remained reluctant until God showed up and proved himself to him. God did not say, “Go read the scripture, examine your sin, find my promises, and walk in obedience.” Instead, he answered every one of Gideon’s fear-based prayers, and he proclaimed something over Gideon that seemed completely removed from reality.

Reality was harsh. The enemy was devouring God’s people. The Israelites were hiding out in caves to escape with their lives. They were basically working for nothing, because everything they produced was stolen. The enemy was stronger that they were, yet God would not let them remain in defeat. When they cried out for help, he was faithful to answer, and to find a reluctant hero to lead the charge against the enemy. First he had to convince Gideon to take on the job, and of course that required answering his doubts and fears. Even after God answered, Gideon obeyed by tearing down the altar of Baal, but he was so afraid of his own family he did it at night. As God continued to prove himself to Gideon he soon began to live up to the angel’s description “mighty man of valor.” Before it was all over, God tested Gideon by reducing his troop size from 32,000 to 300. By this point, God had proven himself to Gideon, and he obeyed in spite of circumstances. It made no sense for a band of 300 to rise up against a huge army, but Gideon did it, because he had learned God was faithful.

This account is beautiful, because it shows me that God uses reluctant, weak people. It shows me that there are no limits with God—all things are possible. It shows me that as long as I am walking with him and willing, he will empower me in his strength. I can express my doubts and fears as long as I don’t run away. I need to wait and watch for his answer. God comes to the aid of the weak. He answers prayer, and he gives his power to the powerless. His reality seems far removed from circumstances and human logic, but nothing is more real! The One who created the universe can certainly turn a reluctant weakling into a mighty man of valor, as long as the man is willing.

Father, we face many impossible looking circumstances right now.  We ask you to show yourself to us, and answer our doubts even as you did for Gideon, because Lord you have great compassion on your children who are being downtrodden by the enemy. This is not about us, but about you, and we are willing to go and do whatever you call us to do. Regardless of our doubts, we will not run away in fear. Instead, we will be your mighty men and women of valor in spite of ourselves, because you will be with us. We will look to you rather than circumstances. We love and trust you. Amen

 

 

Missing God’s Best

For years I lived in a state of divided worship. My main goal in life was to secure God’s blessing on my agenda. Sure, I loved him, but I’m afraid I loved myself more. Worship was all about me, and what I could get from him, rather than surrendering myself to him. Funny thing is that my agenda kept me in complete bondage, because idolatry leads us to a state of total fear. When we direct our worship to anything other than him, our peace and joy are totally dependent on the temporary circumstances we desire. We constantly fear losing the objects of our affection, and that fear controls our actions. True freedom is only found in true worship. When we surrender all to God, we have nothing to fear. He is never changing and eternal. He is all loving, and has a good plan for us, so when we learn to rest in that knowledge, we no longer feel threatened or afraid. We are free. God does not merely demand true worship for his sake, but for ours. He knows that all other forms of worship will lead us back into bondage. His ways are so much higher than ours, and following them is the path to blessing.

The passage that stood out in my reading this morning stressed that truth. Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you. (Dt. 12:13-14)

 As the Israelites took possession of the land, it wouldn’t be a lack of worship that would be their downfall; instead it would be improper worship. The Lord gave specific instructions on how they should worship, but they had their own ideas of how it should look. God warned them not to take on the practices of the nations surrounding them, but it did not take long for them to follow their detestable practices. Within generations they would even be sacrificing their children in the fire.

God calls us to surrender all to him—that means giving up our own agendas. However, far too often our worship becomes an effort to convince God to bless our selfish plans. We sacrifice our children to idols of convenience and pleasure, and there is very little self-surrender involved. To the contrary, we end up surrendering everything good and holy to our desires for comfort and blessing. Basically, we are worshipping, but we are not worshipping God. Our idolatrous desires steal our affections away from him, and rob our lives of his blessings. We reach out for what we think we need, and all the while are throwing away his best for our lives.

Lord, I have wasted too many years focused on false gods, and worshipping in my own way. Help me to be fully surrendered to you, and to worship in spirit and truth. Do not let me be deceived into thinking that anything in this world can offer true satisfaction. Only you are the Living Water that can satisfy the thirst in my soul. Forgive me for ever trying to replace you by digging my own broken cistern that won’t hold water (Jer. 2:13). You are worthy and good. I choose your ways over my own. Amen

 

 

When All is Stripped Away

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. (Dt. 8:2-5)

 God delivers us from bondage, but there is a stripping away of earthly comforts that needs to occur for us to understand that he is our source. We are free, but we are still far too self-reliant. I know that has been the case for me. For the first 20 years of my walk with him, I tried to control circumstances, and even to get him to bless my agenda. Things were much the same for the children of Israel. They wanted freedom as long as it was accompanied by worldly comforts, but as soon as they became uncomfortable they began to complain and doubt God. They were led out into a barren wilderness, and even though God provided, the manna was not nearly as satisfying as what they had eaten in Egypt. Here God explains that there was a reason for the way he led them. He allowed comforts to be stripped away in order to humble them, and teach them that their trust was to be in him rather than earthly resources. Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord disciplines those he loves. Even though those who equate victory with pleasant circumstances might question God for leading his children into a wilderness, this passage shows that he had a good agenda for his people. His intention was to humble them and to teach them to trust so that he could bless them. It was to burn out their pride and sense of entitlement. We tell ourselves that we deserve blessing. However, the human heart is wicked and deserves nothing but the wrath of our holy and perfect God. Still, we get his mercy. In his mercy he disciplines us and leads us as his very own children. In his mercy he transfers us out of darkness to light, and from wrath to favor. What an amazing honor! We can certainly trust his good plan for our lives.

Lord, I have been stripped and humbled time and again. I suppose I am slow to learn, but I appreciate that you love me and have a good plan. You are lovingly using these humbling circumstances to teach me to trust you and to recognize that you are my source. You are stripping away my self-reliance and teaching me that I can live by every word that proceeds from your mouth. Thank you for loving me so much. Help me to live in a manner worthy of that calling. Amen

Standing Alone in Faith

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Nu. 14:1-9)

 Standing in faith is never the stance of the masses. It seems to go against every bit of human logic. Ten out of 12 of the Israelite spies came back with negative reports based on fear, but only Joshua and Caleb reported in faith. Only these two would be allowed to enter the Promised Land, and the rest would perish. After the other 10 died, the people who had been swayed by their report decided they would go into the land after all, even when Moses warned against it. The result was complete failure, and the Amalekites and Canaanites chased them out of the land. The bottom line was that they wanted to be in control of the situation. First they fell into fear because of the negative reports of the ten, and when faced with the consequences of their disobedience they decided to “fix it” in their own strength. What a typical reaction. It’s so much easier to barge ahead than to wait on God in faith. It’s also not easy to face the consequences of our sin, so we usually try to figure out how to avoid them. The problem is that our actions generally make things even worse.

The better place to be is standing in faith, and trusting God, even when it seems foolish by human standards. Sometimes the blessing is not immediate, and even if the Israelites had been able to enter the land at this time, they would have faced many battles (just as they would in 40 years). Standing in faith does not guarantee an easy path. In fact, the easier path here would have been to remain in Egypt, where at least all their physical needs were met, (even though they lived in bondage). Isn’t that interesting? They wanted to go back to bondage, because walking by faith into the Promised Land was too hard. Waiting on God is not easy. Believing in spite of circumstances is not easy, but that is the path to blessing. Only the 2 spies who believed would enter the land, and their blessing would be delayed by the unbelief of the majority. Still, they never wavered, and when the time finally came to enter the last, they were blessed beyond all others. Waiting and standing in faith is not easy, but it’s always worth it, because he is faithful.

Lord, I ask you to keep me from being swayed by what seems most logical, especially when it contradicts your calling on my life. You have called me to walk by faith, and sometimes it seems absurd, but I trust in you. I know you have a good plan, and I know in your timing it will all be clear. Help me never choose bondage over the adventure of living by faith. I love you so much, and choose to stand in faith. Amen

Treasures from Leviticus… Say What!?

I’ve got to admit that reading through Leviticus is not one of favorite pastimes, but I want to be acquainted with the whole counsel of scripture, so I do it anyway. It recently came up in my yearly bible reading plan, and I actually found myself complaining to God about it. Rather than deciding to skip it, I decided to ask him to help me get through it and find something valuable for my spiritual walk. Who knows? Besides the clear references to Messiah Jesus in feasts of the Lord in chapter 23, I could possibly find some other nuggets of truth for daily living. I realize that the temple was a shadow of Jesus’ sacrifice. The book of Hebrews seems to connect the dots fairly well. However, there is still so much I struggle to get through in this book. Take all the blood for example. When you read it, you realize what a bloody place that temple had to have been. The pathway to the Holy of Holies was covered with blood. For a woman who gags over raw meat, it’s just not a pleasant read. Yet, Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. The penalty for sin is death and separation from our holy and perfect God (Rom. 6:23). In the Old Testament, the priest laid his hands on the animals, and the animals bore the penalty for the people. When Jesus laid down his life, the sacrifice was made once for all, and animal sacrifice became unnecessary. Interestingly, the temple was destroyed within a generation of Jesus’ death, and sacrifices have not been made in Israel since then. He was the perfect, spotless Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Because of his sacrifice, we can come boldly before his throne (Heb.4:16).

Under the old covenant, only the high priest could come into his presence only once a year, and he ran the risk of dying if he failed to follow every detail of instruction on atoning for sin. However, now “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10). I find that completely amazing! In a world that is so tainted by sin and evil, we have been washed and made holy— even as he is holy. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Co. 5:21). That just blows my mind. Can you believe that you are the righteousness of God? That you are holy? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that, because I know how weak I am. I fail daily, and yet my amazing and gracious Lord sees me without spot or blemish. Wow! I truly do stand amazed!

This morning as I read chapter 14 of Leviticus, I found myself pondering verse 14. The verse pertains to lepers who had been cleansed. Many believe leprosy to be a picture of sin. The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. When I did a little research I saw that Moses had done the same thing to Aaron and his sons when they began making sacrifices in the wilderness tabernacle. After the sacrifice had been made, the blood was applied to these very specific areas. Obviously, we hear with our ears. Faith comes from hearing (Rom. 10:17), and Jesus often ended his messages with “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Obviously, our hearing has to be redeemed so that we can hear his message. The world’s message is loud and clear, but hearing and understanding spiritual things does not come naturally. In these Leviticus passages, the blood was mixed with oil to anoint the ears. Oil in the Old Testament seems to represent the Holy Spirit; so not only do we need redemption to hear his voice, we need his Spirit. These things are foreign to those who have not been redeemed.

After anointing the right ear, the priest would anoint the thumb of the right hand and the toe of their right foot. As I thought about this, it seems the hands represent doing. Redemption involves a change in what we believe, but “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20). Those who have been set free become his instruments of grace to a lost and dying world. This is not about following a bunch of rules, but putting action to our love for God and others.

Finally, the priest would anoint the foot of the cleansed person, which would seem to represent going or walking. Galatians 5:16 tells us that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. It is so easy to follow our own desires and once again, without his Spirit, we cannot do it. We must daily surrender our flesh to his Spirit, and keep in step with him. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are empowered to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). As his children, we are called to be his hands and feet in this world. We should reflect his goodness and grace in all we say and do. Thank God it is not dependent on us, but his finished work on the cross and his Spirit. When we fall in love with the one who loved us and gave his life for us, we will be forever changed. He imparts his Spirit into us, and as we daily surrender to him, we will listen for his voice, do his will, and walk in his ways to impact this dark world for his kingdom.

Oh Father, I am so grateful for your provision. Thank you for sending Jesus to take the penalty for my sin, and for sending your Spirit to empower me to walk in your ways rather than mine. Thank for the love, joy and peace that flow from walking in your Spirit. You have freed me from myself! Hallelujah! I praise you and ask that you will help me to daily yield my ears, my hands and my feet to you so that my life will make an eternal difference in this world. Amen

Choosing Joy, Refusing Fear

I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:4-5)

 Oh how true this has been in my life! When I sought answers and relief from my troubles, my fears only increased, but when it became clear that all my solutions had failed, there was nothing left to do but seek him. As I found comfort in his love and care, my fears diminished. His perfect love truly does eliminate fear (1 Jn. 4:18). In time, I learned to refuse fear and seek him instead. Now fear no longer controls me, nor does it urge me to try to control everything around me. When I lived in fear, I lived with shame. Everything was hidden. I did not want people to know the truth about our lives, so we kept secrets. I was ashamed that our family was so damaged, and I could not fix it. But when the light came shining in to expose the dead bones behind the façade, the shame was exposed to the world. My response was to seek God. Everything else, and I mean everything, had failed. I always say it was a terrible and wonderful place to be. It was terrible, because all my secrets were exposed, and because I was being betrayed by the person who had become my idol. It was wonderful, because the idol toppled, and there was nothing left but God. He was and ever shall be enough! His love brought me through, and used the trauma for good. Knowing his amazing love does eliminate fear, because we know he’s got us and that he will redeem whatever we experience. Hallelujah! That is cause for great joy!

Lord, remind me daily that I never need to fear as long as I am looking to you. There is nothing on earth that should cause me to live in fear, because you have it all in your loving hands. I bless your name, and trust you. What a joy it is to be your child. I pray I will radiate your great love to others. Amen

 

Selective Blindness

“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Ex. 32:32-34)

 I can’t help but laugh when I read this account of Aaron’s role in the golden calf incident. Not only did he resort to the typical blaming of others, he acted as if the calf that he so skillfully formed just popped out of the fire without his input. I’ve seen this sort of reaction time and again in my life. People act shocked and surprised that sin basically took over, and indicate they had no control or say in the matter. I am sure that on more than one occasion, I have done the same thing. The funny thing is that when is comes to other people, it’s a completely different story. It’s so much easier to see their faults. Aaron’s statement, “You know how prone these people are to evil,” shows that he recognized the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, yet when it came to his own, it was completely accidental. I call this selective blindness. We find it easy to judge others, but completely evade our own culpability. The sad thing is that feigned blindness does not prevent very real consequences. In this case, the result was deadly for thousands.

It is our human nature to try to cover up our own iniquity, and to blame others. The problem with that approach is that it doesn’t change the outcome. There are consequences to straying from God’s path, and trying to deny, cover up or blame others simply adds insult to injury. I think about the difference between the first 2 kings of Israel. When Saul sinned, and the prophet confronted him, his reaction was similar to Aaron’s. The result was that God removed his Holy Spirit from him, he was eventually killed in battle, and the kingdom was taken from his family. When David sinned, his actions were much worse, but when the prophet confronted him, he was quick to repent. Even though there were still consequences for his sin, his genuine repentance redeemed the situation. God called David a man after his own heart, and I believe that is because he refused to cover up or choose blindness when he was forced to face what he had done. He pleaded with God not to remove his Holy Spirit from him. David treasured God, and therefore chose to look honestly at his own heart. The heart that chooses blindness is self-centered, and cares far more about self than God. The heart that loves God will deny self, but as a result will find the path to abundant life.

 Lord, please help me to always be willing to look at my own heart honestly. Do not allow me to be so insistent on my way that I fail to seek yours first. Let me always be willing to confess and willing to repent. Help me to see my own sin before I see the sins of others, and help me not to judge. My sweet Savior, help me to love you more than I love myself, and in doing so make your ways a priority over my own. These days my sins are usually heart issues rather than blatant actions, and when I look at other people, I tend to judge their heart attitudes too. Open my blind eyes Lord, and help me to see  my own failures before I start pointing my fingers at others. Amen

Holding Nothing Back

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.” Ps. 22:14

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. Is. 53:12

 There are days when I think I have nothing left to give. I become so exhausted by the demands and tugs of world that I nearly shut down. Usually I try to figure out a way to pamper myself so that I can recharge, but when I think about it nothing I have faced has ever required everything I have. Even when I was experiencing the worst abuse, I was holding on to every vestige of control I could muster. When it seemed utterly hopeless, I cried out to God for help, and the comfort I received was that he completely understood what I was experiencing. He assured me that he knew what it was like to be betrayed, abandoned and abused. The thing that struck me in that moment was that he chose it! I certainly would have done anything to avoid it, but in his great love for us, he completely emptied himself (Phil. 2:7) to the point of death. He held nothing back.

In counseling it’s not uncommon to find people who are upset with God. They are angry that he is allowing them to suffer unjustly, or that he didn’t stop the latest affliction in their lives. Many have faced one horrible experience after another to the point I become heartbroken, and find myself joining them in asking God why he allowed so much misery. Yet, we often forget that our God did not merely leave us here to suffer alone. He came and entered into our suffering to the fullest extent possible. Sometimes knowing that is all we need to know, because there is great comfort in the “fellowship of his suffering” (Phil. 3:10). That is why support groups are often so helpful, because we know we are not alone in our pain. We do not have a God who abandons us and watches indifferently from heaven, but a God who loved us enough to sacrifice everything because of his love for us. When he poured himself out in pain, he was simultaneously pouring his great love onto us. Choosing gratitude for his sacrifice during difficult times can help us overcome the urge to question why and see God as unfair.

In this fallen world, there are no easy answers, and I’ve learned that going down the “why” trail can be very dangerous. It will lead us to bitterness and hopelessness. The better question to ask is “What would you have me learn in this Lord, and how would you like to use this situation for good?” We may never understand why some things have happened on this side of eternity, but we can be sure that He has a redemptive purpose. Even as Jesus endured the shame of the cross, because of the joy set before him (Heb. 12:2), we can endure knowing that he will work everything together for good, and that his plans for us are good (Rom. 8:28, Jer. 29:11). We know that we have a God who specializes in redemption. There is no pit so deep that he cannot redeem. There is nothing he cannot use for good.

After Hurricane Katrina, I went down to the Gulf on 2 separate mission trips to help with the clean up efforts. I met people who had been traumatized beyond words. Some had lost family members, and all of their worldly possessions. Their homeowners insurance did not cover their losses, because they did not have flood insurance. I went because my heart had been broken as I watched the sheer anguish of it all on television after the storm. When I arrived, I saw multitudes of children dealing with PTSD and was even more broken. Yet, over the course of that week as God’s people came in by the hundreds, I saw God’s redemption at work. Children who would have grown up in violent, poverty stricken neighborhoods were relocated to better areas. Churches adopted and helped whole families get a fresh start in life. I saw multitudes of volunteers showering traumatized children with healing love, and some of them were eternally changed as a result of that awful storm.

That is the power of our God. He can take the most horrible situations and use them for good, and the ultimate example of that is the cross. His great sacrifice on our behalf reconciled us to God when we were hopelessly alienated. Not only that, as he willingly emptied himself he experienced the worst of human suffering. The penalty for our rebellion was poured on him, and though we continue to live in a fallen world, we do not live without hope. Knowing that our creator would come down, take on vulnerable flesh and then fully pour himself out for us should change our hearts. Our response should be to surrender our all to the One who gave his all for us. It should fill us with gratitude and comfort to know that we are fully loved, and that even though we will suffer in this world, he has overcome it, so that whatever we experience here is only a shadow preparing us for his eternal joy.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

Revolutionized Quiet Times!

I hate to admit it, but in the past few years the bible study part of my quiet time has become a chore for me. I love spending time in worship and I love writing out my prayers along with the answers I perceive in my heart (many that come straight from the Word), but I have become completely bogged down when it comes to bible study. Maybe it’s because of all my seminary training– I think I have to do a formal exegesis of every passage. Maybe it’s because of some of the intensive discipleship classes I’ve done. One even had us diagraming every sentence like I did in 9th grade English class. Bottom line is that somewhere along the line, my formal time in the Word became too formal, and lost its life. Sure I have found myself completely blessed by passages of scripture in spite of myself. He has continued to use the Word hidden in my heart to speak to me regularly, but recently I realized that I have allowed myself to become legalistic about studying the bible. God forbid! There’s nothing I hate more than legalism. I have to say that lately he has been breathing fresh grace into my life in every area, so I’m so glad that he is shining the light on this area now. Yes, there are times for intensive study, but I do not think that should the basis of our daily quiet time.

Recently, I was introduced to the book Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. It was exactly what I needed. Cordeiro says that rather than trying to analyze every verse its better to ask God to give you just one scripture or one thought that you can carry away for the day. It’s a lesson I’ve been learning in business. When I have team meetings, I realize that if I try to give my folks too much info, they seem overloaded and the meetings are not that productive. A business coach suggested I stick to one main topic, and since I started that things are much better. It makes great sense to approach scripture in a similar fashion, with the heart attitude of “What do you want to teach me today Lord?” Since I have been doing it, he has been faithful to show me something special every day. I always tell people that scripture is God’s love letter to us, and as such we need to seek something from God’s heart for us daily. Again, I am not putting down intensive study! Failing to learn about the background or context of a book can be a dangerous thing. You should study the Bible intensely, but not to the point that you lose your passion. So for me, this approach is a breath of fresh air. I am going to my Heavenly Father seeking fresh bread for the day, and I am no longer getting bogged down. It fits the idea of a quiet time much better, because it’s part of my special time with God. I no longer feel obligated to exegete every passage, but rather I am seeking my Father’s heart. I am taking the exegesis out of my quiet times unless the Lord prompts me otherwise. I can’t tell you what a blessing and a relief doing it this way has become for me.

Cordeiro uses the acronym SOAP– Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer as a guide for this method. He suggests you journal the lesson you get each day. Here is how mine looked today. Note: I had one main thought rather than one verse of scripture, but that happens most days for me. Hopefully, if you’re feeling the same way, this approach will help you revitalize your scripture study too.

Scripture— Genesis 41

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream (41:1)

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. (41:9)

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (41:15-16)

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (41:41) 

Observation: It seemed as though Joseph’s suffering continued because of people. First, he had been betrayed and sold into slavery because of his brothers’ jealousy, and then he was falsely accused and imprisoned because of Potiphar’s wife. Even after he had proven himself by interpreting the dream of pharaoh’s cupbearer, he continued to be unjustly imprisoned, because the cupbearer got released and forgot him. It seemed as though people were in control of Joseph’s fate. However, what if Joseph had been released 2 years earlier? What if he had not been sold into slavery, and what if he had not been imprisoned? He would not have been available to pharaoh when he had his dreams. God’s timing was perfect, even though it seemed that people were jerking Joseph around. If he had never been sold, his whole family would have perished in the famine. If he had not been in pharaoh’s prison at the time of his dreams, he would not have been able to help save the whole region. The interesting thing is that during his time, he never lost his faith in God. Perhaps the trials even strengthened it. When pharaoh gave him credit for knowing how to interpret dreams, he was quick to turn the credit back to God. He could do nothing, but God would.

Application: Joseph could have easily become bitter and angry with God during this time. After all, many injustices had occurred. He had every right to be upset. His circumstances just weren’t fair, but he continued to entrust himself to God. As it turns out, God’s timing was perfect. Joseph did not get puffed up with pride about the injustices, but he turned to God. This verse comes to mind. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6). God’s due time is rarely when we think it should be. One of my pastors once said, “I have never known God to be early, but I’ve also never known him to be late.” His timing is always perfect, and we must trust that in his time he will use everything for his good intentions (Gen. 50:20). Many times in my life I have questioned why bad things have happened. I have wished I could go back and do something differently so the outcome would be different. I have wished that I could control it all. I have lamented that people were jerking me around, and yet when I look back, I see very clearly how God was using it for good in my life. No, being abused was not good. Being betrayed by loved ones was not good, but as I entrusted myself to God in each situation, he was so faithful to use all the bad for good. I have a relationship with him that I wouldn’t trade for the entire world. He has been completely faithful in it all. When I look back at the worst of times, they were also the best of times spiritually. Jesus held me and spoke to my wounded heart in the most awful circumstances. Those experiences have been amazing tutors that have worked together for good in my life, and in the lives of those God sends my way (Rom. 8:28). I have learned to stop asking why these days, and instead ask, “God, what do you want to teach me in this?” He always shows me, and in due time, he always lifts me back up. What an amazing God we serve!

Prayer: Oh sweet Lord, how I thank you that your ways are higher than mine! I thank you that even when I cannot see any good in a given situation, your plans cannot be thwarted, and you will work it together for good in your perfect timing. I do not have to stress. I do not have to become indignant when people seem to be treating me unfairly, or when circumstances don’t seem fair. I can trust you! You are utterly faithful, and you see the whole picture. Thank you for always being right on time! Amen

Laughing with God

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. (Gen. 17:17-19)

 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (18:11-12)

Is anything too hard for God? (18:14).

*************************************************************

Sometimes God just makes me laugh. I have walked with him long enough to know that he rarely does things the way I expect, but beyond that, his ways often seem downright crazy from a human perspective. Years ago, when I met my husband, I started to get the idea that God had put him in my path, in spite of my protests. I had lived through abuse, and really wasn’t open for a new relationship, especially not with somebody who was so…well, so flawed and human. Yet, the more I objected, the more God seemed to change my heart and convict me of my judgmental attitudes. I continued to voice my complaints in the form of prayers to God. Oddly enough after each prayer my soon-to-be husband would, without any provocation from me, volunteer the answer to my prayer concern. This happened 3 specific times to the point I was just dumbfounded. If I hadn’t been praying silently, I would’ve thought the man had my house bugged. I struggled for a few weeks in prayer, and the answers kept coming in ways that blew my mind. Finally, when it became undeniable that God was in it, I said, “Lord, this is not what I expected!” In my spirit I could almost hear him laughing and asking me, “When have I ever worked in the way you expected?” Good question! Because as long as I have known him, his ways have surely been higher than mine, and have never gone according to my preconceived notions. I couldn’t help but join God and laugh at myself for forgetting that wonderful truth.

As I read the story of Abraham and Sarah this morning, I recognized the all too familiar dynamics. In Genesis 15:6 Abraham believed God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations, and it was credited to him as righteousness. By chapter 16, Sarah and Abraham decided to help God out. Sarah was past her childbearing years, so even though they believed God, they figured he was going to work in a way that seemed possible on human terms. I’ve done this many times. “Sure I believe you God, but obviously, you must have meant you would bless me this way.” The problem is that when we decide to “help” God it often complicates the situation greatly, as in the case of Hagar. We think we are helping, but usually we are hurting ourselves by failing to wait on his best. When God came back and let Abraham and Sarah know they were wrong in their assumptions, they both laughed. God’s response was to tell them their future son’s name would be Isaac, which means, “he laughs.” Isn’t that great? For the rest of their lives, they would be reminded that they laughed at God’s promise. I can’t help but think that God was laughing back at them. They were limiting him to the realm of human possibility, and he was about to show them that mortal limitations are nothing to him. I’m sure he takes great pleasure in doing that. Like any good parent, he enjoys teaching his children. And what a lesson it was! By this this point both had lived long, full lives and knew how things work in this world. So when God showed up with something completely unexpectedly, the result was laughter. They were laughing at how preposterous it was, and yet I am sure they both felt a twinge of hope.

That is how it has been in my life. When God shows up unexpectedly I shake my head and laugh at how absurd it seems, but I also know that something wonderful just might happen. These things don’t happen every day. If they did we wouldn’t laugh, because they wouldn’t seem impossible. We live in a world bound by limitations, but every now and then God comes in and blows them to smithereens. It’s not something we can contrive or force, but for those who walk faithfully with him, it is bound to happen every once and a while. Sometimes the absurdity requires action on our behalf, so we could possibly end up looking pretty foolish too.

When my sister was young, she got caught up in a pretty harmful lifestyle. I had been praying diligently for her salvation and deliverance. One day she called to tell me she had been in a motorcycle accident, and was home from work unable to walk. After we got off the phone, I got the strongest impression to go pray for her healing, and as much as I tried to fight it, I couldn’t shake it. That night our church had an evangelist speaking, and this crazy thought kept nagging me that if I would go pray for her healing, and then get her to church, she would commit her life to God. Crazy!! I argued, “Lord, who do you think I am, Oral Roberts?” But as crazy as the whole idea seemed, I had enough concern for my sister and enough hope in God to act on it. I called my mom, who had faith to pray for anything, and she agreed to drive the hour with me to go and pray for healing. When we arrived, we briefly explained to Paula that we were going to pray for her healing. Being a captive audience, she had little choice but to agree, so we laid hands on her and prayed. Nothing happened! I began to wonder if I missed God. In fact, with all the pain meds she was on, she actually fell asleep. Mom and I looked at each other wondering if we should go or stay. We decided to stay and chatted for about 15 minutes. Suddenly, Paula woke up and ran to the bathroom! The knee that was swollen and unable to bend earlier was moving just fine! When she came out of the bathroom, we pointed out that her leg was better, and her eyes got as wide as saucers. I then suggested that since God healed her, she might want to come to church with us that night and thank him. She agreed, and sure enough, at church she committed her life to Jesus. She has never been the same since, and it all started with a laughable thought that I feel sure God planted in my mind.

True faith will inevitably bring you to moments that will seem absolutely absurd, foolish and even laughable. Like Abraham and Sarah you will find yourself asking, “Really God, are you kidding?” Surely the father of our faith and his wife had prayed for decades to have a child, but it was not until all hope seemed lost that God showed up. That’s just what he does. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that reveals a pretty good sense of humor on his part. Just when we think we have it all figured out, he comes in and completely turns all of our perceptions upside down. He does it to remind us that even though we are limited by time, space and brokenness, this world is not all there is. We have a God who lives outside the boundaries of the earth, and occasionally gives us a glimpse of life beyond it by miraculously suspending the rules of nature. Can you imagine the twinkle in his eye, the smile on his face, and even the chuckle in his voice as he gently reminds us that he is so much greater than anything here in the temporal realm? I love Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Cheer up! Maybe even stop and laugh for a moment. Take joy in the One who delights in you and invites you to share in his joy. A life of faith is one of laughter and surprises. What an awesome privilege we have to share it with our amazing God!

Running to Rest

Oh Lord, time just flies by, and I continue to spin my wheels on things that don’t matter! It’s a vicious cycle. I get overwhelmed with all I need to do, skimp on my time with You, and get busy. I then realize that the good things I chose to do were not the most important things. The only solution is to jump off the hamster wheel, and force myself to get quiet long enough to hear your voice. It’s not enough to check off a box with scripture reading and a quick prayer. You haven’t left me here without guidance, and I know how to hear your voice. My problem is that I don’t take the time. Truly the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I am fully aware of my limitations and weaknesses. It would be disheartening if I didn’t know that You specialize in revealing your strength through weak vessels. Hallelujah for that! So once again I come to You asking for mercy and strength to overcome myself. Help me to be completely yielded, and please help me get past the foolish notion that something I “have to” do is important enough to rush through my time with You. Your patience amazes me. I know how weak I am, and yet You pour grace over me and multitudes of your other imperfect children every day. Thank You! I am so grateful to be your child. Help me to walk in step with your Spirit today and everyday. That is goal for this new year. There is nothing more important, so help me to walk in that truth. Amen

My dear child, I have abundant patience, because I know that plans I have for you will be fulfilled. The final outcome isn’t really up to you little one. I will be faithful to complete the work I began in you. Obviously you should never use that as an excuse for idleness or disobedience. However, you can rest in knowing that, rather than beating yourself up for being human. I do not expect perfection—always remember that I look at the heart. A heart that is fully devoted to Me will act, but if you stumble in the process I will not scold you. Delight in Me, and I will give you the desires of your heart. That means I will form the desires in your heart, and I will bring them to pass. Rather than loading yourself down with the burden of doing, come to Me and let those burdens go. Let me carry them, even as I carry you (Is. 46:4). Remember that in my economy being is so much more important than doing, but as you progressively become a sanctified vessel for my kingdom, good works will follow. If they do not, then you need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. I do not condemn you, so come and find rest from your self-condemnation now.

 Rest in Me dear child. I love you more than you can even imagine. Rest in my love, and you will find all the strength you need there. Ironically, you must strive to enter into my rest (Heb. 4:11). The only way to walk in the Spirit is to hold onto Me. Do not rush ahead, but wait for my move. Remember that the key is to keep your eyes fixed on Me. That is something you cannot do if you are looking at other things all the time, nor can you do it if you looking at yourself. Successfully finishing a race depends on keeping your eyes on the finish line. I am the author and finisher of your faith, so look to Me, or you will find yourself running towards the wrong things. My desire is for you to finish strong dear one. There is some discipline involved in that, but discipline alone is never enough. If you do not do it in love, it is nothing but legalism. Every day I ask you to come back to your first Love. When you first fall in love, it is easy to focus on the object of your love, but over time you begin to lose the enthusiasm you once had. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to let the little irritants in life overshadow the same relationship that once held you in awe. It’s easy to begin to perceive awesome as common. Do not let that happen my child. The ones who accomplish the most for my kingdom have one thing in common. They never lose their passion for Me. Wandering eyes indicate divided passions, so return to your first love daily. As you spend time in my presence, I will rekindle your passion. You cannot manufacture it on your own. That will only lead to weariness. When you act out of love and passion for Me, you may become physically weary, but you will find rest for your soul. So strive to spend time in worship; then watch and see what I will do.