Heavy Load?

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Jesus (Matthew 11:30)

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus (Matthew 11:30)

Are there days when you want to shut down the email, turn off the text, and not answer the phone because yet another person will have something for you to do for them?

Jesus talked about that problem when He said, in essence, that other men will put burdens on us that are too great to bear (Mt. 23:4). We don’t have to let that happen.

It appears that Jesus doesn’t expect as much of us as others do sometimes. Instead, He says something like this: “I am in the yoke with you. Take on only what I give you, not what you want to shoulder, not what others want to put on you, only what I give you. Then we will do it together. There will be joy!”

So, if you have too many burdens, think about the ones that others have put on you that you need to give back. Or the ones you picked up along the way because you wanted to prove something. Let them go.

Jesus promises the burden will be light as long as we are yoked to Him. Maybe we shouldn’t require more of ourselves than He does. It’s something we may need to talk to Him about. Today.

“Empty hands bring peace of mind. Your burden is much lighter than my own.”  Karen Money

Peace Carriers

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” I used to think this was about dignitaries who negotiated ends to wars, counselors who sought conflict resolution between fighting parties, or mothers who settled arguments between their children.

But I am beginning to see peacemaking in an entirely different way. Maybe it means, in part, carrying such a deep quietness within ourselves, that an atmosphere of peace is with us wherever we go.

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You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

How can we carry peace in our demeanor, our conversations, and our relationships? Only one way: By being totally, completely connected to God. By living in a trust relationship with Him, letting Him carry our burdens and direct our steps. By talking to Him, listening for direction, then calmly doing the next right thing.

If we become peace carriers, we will find these things to be true over time:

  • We project a quiet confidence.
  • The room becomes calmer when we enter it.
  • People feel emotionally safe with us.
  • Our peace draws others to Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Peace carriers stand out in the stressful world around us. Many people we know live in a constant state of anxiety. Maybe we can show them, even if just a little bit, the unexplainable, but amazing, peace that comes from knowing and following God.

“Live and abide in My words so others will feel safe in My presence.” – Macrina Wiederkehr

God Started It


“Keep your eyes on Jesus who both began and finished this race we are in.” – Hebrews 12:2a (MSG)

Nothing significant in our lives is started by us. Everything of value is initiated by God. He initiated salvation by sending Jesus. It is our role to respond by accepting the payment He made for us on the cross.

The Holy Spirit initiates our service by giving various spiritual gifts. Our job is to respond to His gifts and use them for building up the church.

See the pattern? He initiates, we respond. When we start projects or ministries or relationships on our own, we will fail. If we wait for God to start what He wants to grow, it will succeed. So how does that look in our daily lives?

  • We ask what His will is before we pray. Then we pray His will back to Him.
  • We ask Him before we put an event on our calendar. That way, our days will be ordered by Him.
  • We pray throughout the day for direction, so our individual steps, too, can be directed by Him.

Result: Success. We will never fail in a plan that God initiates. What He begins, He completes and we can share joy in accomplishing His will on our patch of the earth.

What to do next? Wait for it. . . He will show you!

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” – Andrew Murray

Feeling Guilty?

“. . . return to your God!  You’re down but you’re not out.  Prepare your confession and come back to God. . . I will heal their waywardness.  I will love them lavishly.” (Hosea 14:1-2;4 The Message)

“Prepare your confession and come back to God. . . I will heal their waywardness.  I will love them lavishly.” (Hosea 14:2;4 MSG)

Years ago, a father went to Madrid searching for his son from whom he had been estranged since Paco left their quiet home for the allure of the big city. Discouraged in his unsuccessful search, the father placed a short ad in the city paper: “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana. Noon Tuesday. All is forgiven. Papa.” When the father arrived at the hotel that day, he was greeted by a waiting crowd of young men, all named Paco, all looking for forgiveness.*

We need it, too, don’t we? And we can have it. We don’t have to live with guilt any longer. We can be freed from our past and forgiven completely. Here’s how:

  1. In a quiet time before God, we take full responsibility for what we have done. No excuses. We allow the Spirit to show us our faults and we experience true sorrow for our actions and the pain they have caused God and others.
  2. We confess our actions or attitudes as sinful and we ask God’s forgiveness. He may or may not direct us to seek the forgiveness of another person as well. If He does, we obey.
  3. We celebrate. At that point, we are free, happy, and beginning to experience the wholeness God has promised those who stay near His heart, living in forgiveness.

Like Paco, forgiveness is already ours. We just have to show up before our Father and receive it. Today would be a good day to do just that.

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”  – Brennan Manning



*Story attributed to Ernest Hemingway; I’ve not been able to verify.

What Kind of God is He?

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." - Psalm 30:5b

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5b

You know that God is able to solve the problem you face, don’t you? Then why doesn’t He? What kind of God could answer your prayers if He wanted to, but just doesn’t do it?

Often our first thought is that He must not want to help. The problem with that answer is that it is not consistent with what we read about God in the Bible. We are told that He created us for His pleasure, He loves us, and He wants only the best for us. When Jesus was on earth, He faithfully showed His compassion and mercy.

The best answer? He has a God-sized purpose for us – one that cannot become reality if He answers our prayers the way we pray them. Instead, He envisions a weaving together of our lives and others, of today’s circumstances and future good, of His mercy and our dependence.

The best path? Keep praying and believe that His plans are always for our good.

The best part? As we pray, He assures and reassures us that He’s with us in the middle of the sickness, the pain, the storm of life – right beside us, arms around us, whispering words of love into our ear. I have found that whatever I am going through, there is nothing more satisfying than sensing at my deepest core that He is there. As I think about that, I realize that He is answering my prayers in the best way possible. So thankful . . .

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas

Paying Taxes

"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." - Zechariah 4:6b

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'” – Genesis 1:27

When the religious leaders asked Him if it was right for them to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus asked them to show Him a coin. He looked at it and then asked, “Whose image is on it?”

When they said “Caesar’s”, He said, in essence, “Then it must belong to him. Give it to Caesar.” Then came the zinger, “And give to God what is God’s.”

Caesar had claimed a right to the money by stamping his image on it. God has claimed His right to every human being by stamping His image on us. In God’s eyes the money doesn’t matter – give the government what is owed.

But, people! Oh how much each of us matters to God.

We belong to Him! He has made us, stamped us, sealed us, and written His name on us. We belong to Him, to His family, and to His kingdom. So, let’s pay our taxes. After all, we are simply giving money to the government. But we do not give ourselves to anyone but God. We are His.

Somehow, that puts lots of things into perspective for me. Belonging to God keeps me above the fray and gives me security, dignity, peace, and joy. Makes me want to do something good for Him today.

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. . . and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:10


O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.  – Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897