Midweek Reflections

Finding True Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 & Philippians 4:4-9
“She lays down all the pieces of her existence at my feet, day after day. She brings whatever burdens she is carrying and she unloads them all to me. She knows she is loved, and she can rest because there is rest in love.” This quote came from a portion of a book that was written from the perspective of God. I find these words to be a beautiful and comforting reminder of how much God loves us. God does not want us to carry around the burdens of life on our shoulders. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:1-2.
In order for these words to sink into our hearts and into our lives, we must trust. We need to truly unload our burdens to Jesus in order to find that rest. We need to be like, “okay God, I really do trust you with this.” Only then can we really find that rest. Rest does not mean that we will suddenly be free from all hassles or tough situations. It means that we are trusting God to free us from being emotionally bothered by them. Those problems, those nuisances, those burdens will still be there. They will still sneak up on us, but let God CARRY them for you.
Make It Personal:
Is trusting hard for you? I know it is not easy. I know it is easy to fall into anxiety and blindly grasp anything that we think we can have control over. Unfortunately some of us have had negative experiences with trust in humans. Always remember that God is the only one that can completely meet our expectations. Only God can give our soul what it needs. Only God can love us absolutely and completely.
Do I give my burdens to the father?
Do I trust that he will always be there for me?
Remember: True rest is found in the shadow of the Almighty God! God is in control!

Tell Your Story

Read: Psalm 78:1-8
What story do you have to share? All of us have stories. How often do you share the story of Jesus and what he has done in your life? Most everyone enjoys a good story, especially when it is told by someone who has a personal connection to it. The joy and excitement come through naturally when you have experienced it yourself. We are reminded quite often that we are to share our story.
If you read the entire Psalm 78, you realize this is a story. It is the story of Israel and how God led them out of Egypt and into the promised land. In verse 4 it says “we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done”. It goes on to say that they would teach their children, and the children would eventually share it with their children so that it would be passed on to those not even born yet. I believe one of the greatest gifts we have is our own story of our faith journey. Sharing that with our children and family should be our first priority. The story of Israel has lasted for thousands of years because it has been recorded and told over and over again from generation to generation. Our story is really no different than theirs. Each of us have stories of God’s grace, faithfulness, and provision in our lives. Those stories can encourage others to trust in the Lord as they travel this road of life.
Make It Personal
Sometimes it is hard to share your story unless the right opportunity presents itself. Ask God to provide opportunities and give you the confidence you need to share your story with others. Remind yourself each day, that if an opportunity presents itself, you will tell your story. Telling our story is part of our calling as Christ followers. The great commission is that we share the gospel. Tell someone you know about the praiseworthy deeds and power of the Lord.
~ written by Lamar Miller

God Is On Our Side

Read: Romans 8:28-39
In the Broadway musical Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Aaron Burr sing these words: “It must be nice to have Washington on your side.” They are referring to how Alexander Hamilton’s relationship with George Washington advanced his career and his political clout. Washington was arguably the most beloved and important of the Founding Fathers and his backing would have been invaluable.
As believers, we have someone even more important than George Washington on our side!! God, the creator of the universe is on our side and when we accept Jesus as our Savior, Jesus is on our side!! Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We can feel confident that whatever happens in our life, God will be there for us; he will be on our side!! Romans goes on to say that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. Jesus is on our side!! He is an advocate for us pleading our case in heaven.
When hard things come your way or when you feel God is far away from you, remember the words of Romans 8:38-39. It says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God will never leave you or forsake you!! You can gratefully sing, “It is so nice to have God on my side!!”
Make It Personal
Anytime you are feeling abandoned or forsaken remember the words of Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. God is on your side!!
~written by Nancy Kuhns

Midweek Reflection: 8-17-2022

Read Hebrews 11:29 – 2:2
The writer of Hebrews addresses the faith of many Biblical heroes in this passage. The people mentioned are more than the author has time to cover and though a short list was made, it still was not all-inclusive. The Bible is filled with the stories of many who showed enough faith to allow God to accomplish his will through them, but even their faith was insufficient to see the full revelation of God’s promise to them.
Many would see only partially the salvation story that God was laying out for the world, but the great faith of these heroes was never going to save them or their people. While they received a relatively great reward for their faithful actions, their faith was not enough. The author says they were waiting for the “perfecter” of their faith. Far after these individuals were dead and gone, Jesus made their faith perfect. Their faith in God was shown well-found and though they died ages before, Jesus made their faith perfect through his work on the cross.
Make It Personal
The smallest faith is nothing and everything. It is nothing in that it comes from us and, apart from the work of Jesus, has no power to save. And it is everything because Jesus’ sacrifice has acted to fulfill his promise to all who would believe. By faith these people followed God in big and small ways, so too will God honor our own faith, small though it may be.
~ written by Jeff Marner

Let Go and Do Not Fear

Read Mark 4:35-41
On a recent trip to Mexico I was on a boat enjoying the sunshine and relaxation. When the boat stopped in a cove and the captain announced it was time for a snorkeling adventure I was not excited. I stayed on the boat and watched my sister jump into the water. She came back so excited and said, “You have to do this – you will not believe the beauty!” After much persuasion I reluctantly jumped in. The water was cold and dark and the mask was tight. I was not enjoying this. Once I relaxed the scenery below came into focus. There was a world of beauty hidden below. I saw small colorful fish, some sardines, a sea turtle and beautiful rock formations. The only way to experience this was to face my fears and jump in.

God commands us many times in the Word, “DO NOT FEAR”. In the middle of a storm Jesus asks His disciples in Mark 4:40, “Why are you so afraid?” In our world today it is easy to have fear filled thoughts. We can worry about our health, accidents or shootings, storms and loss of loved ones. That is why Jesus tells us to cast all our cares on Him, with the assurance that He cares for us.

When we can let go of our worries and fears God can open our eyes to beauty all around us. That beauty is not visible when we are rushing about. How often do we hurry about our daily activities and just skim along the surface of life? We need to stop and appreciate all the blessings and beauty in our lives. The goodness and gifts of God are all around us when we slow down and take time to notice.
Make It Personal
Let’s invite Jesus to take over our worries and fears and then open our eyes to the blessings all around that we so often take for granted. Appreciate the beauty, slow down and give thanks.

~ written by Gloria Yoder

Spiritual Grownups

Read Ephesians 4:1-16
Did your parents ever tell you to choose your friends wisely? I remember my parents telling me this when I was young. How hard could it be to make good friends? What did that mean actually? I am sure many of you, like me, look back at your childhood through the lenses of an adult and see “choosing your friends wisely” to have a far clearer meaning. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Bad company corrupts good character.” Children should choose friends that treat them kindly, know how to stay out of trouble, friends who care about doing well, friends that will go to Sunday school and youth group with you, and friends who have similar interests. I am sure there are several more qualities on the list that parents may have, but these are often qualities that follow a child into adulthood and show maturity. Sometimes these are the qualities that belong to the friends that last a lifetime.
Just as a child chooses friends wisely, I think it is important for us as adults to do the same. We should surround ourselves with people who are spiritual grownups, and also be spiritual grownups ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with people who are moving forward in their faith will also encourage us to move in the direction of God. Proverbs 27:17 ” As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Having positive friendships as an adult is very important. God created us to connect with people and share in the goodness of God. Like in our adolescents, we should choose people that will not bring us down. We should surround ourselves with friends that will lift us up, pray for us, and help us talk through the tough situations in life. Surround yourself with friends who Love Jesus!
Make It Personal
Spiritual Grownup Inventory:
1. Am I clear about my choices?
2. Do I know my bible well enough to have an answer before the question?
3. Do my choices mirror immaturity or maturity?
4. Do I sway my opinions or do I stand firm in what God says in his word?
5. Do I show the love of God to the people around me?
6. Do I understand that I cannot justify sin with “it makes me happy”?
7. Do I speak in truth and love?
~written by Emily Kauffman

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