Bone Tired Weariness

weariness

8 Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, New Living Translation

Weariness and burdens are our common plight. We all have them. They are shared as sort of common identity, like eye color or hair color. We all have them, and wish we didn’t. Sometimes we feel like shutting down.

Weariness, that bone-tiredness that sleep doesn’t seem to help. We seem to be chronically fatigued by life and what it brings us. We have heavy burdens, we carry a load that only gets heavier (and never lighter.)

Money problems, bills that are past due, marriages, straying children, cars that need fixing, family problems, job hassles, health problems… the list goes on ad nauseam. There are far too many issues, too many problems. I believe boredom and tedium are added to the list as they only intensify the hopelessness. (Its own special kind of suffering.)

Some will choose to ‘self medicate’ with alcohol or drugs. They want something more, and find they only create more burdens (not less.) Some will become hopelessly addicted, never finding relief from their burdens, but only increasing them. Suicide very often is seen as the only way out.

But Jesus will never condemn (leave that to the Pharisees) but instead offers a sort of amnesty to the burnt-out and the burdened. Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Jesus did not say, “Get away from me, I am holy and you are not.” Rather, He makes himself to be the solution to all those who life has overwhelmed. He wants our burdens and takes on our weariness. He wants us. He wants to give us peace and rest.

He invites us to exchange whatever burdens us for the yoke of discipleship.

An easy trade, especially since we are so desperate. Some have evaluated Jesus’ offer and made the transaction–piling up our burdens at His feet. We might be a little hesitant about the “my yoke” part, but will quickly find that discipleship can’t be compared to the weight we once carried for so long.

The non-demands of biblical disciplehip are easyFor my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Following Jesus becomes the best way to live.

29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

 

1brobry-sig4

 

 

cropped-christiangraffiti1 (1)

 

 

How Things Grow, [Work]

plow1930s

A farmer slowly walks behind his plow. The ground is hard and unyielding, but the steel cuts the heavy sod like a knife. He is preparing the soil for receiving the seed. He knows that what he is doing is imperative and he shouts out to encourage the horse. Its getting late and he wants to cut another furrow before night.

Plodding behind the plow he thinks many things. He can break up the ground, till and fertilize it, sow the seed— and then wait. He is powerless it get the seed to germinate and grow. He is limited to cultivating the soil and waiting. That is all he can really do, and he accepts this powerlessness. He can do everything right, and still not have a crop. All he can do is his part.

The farmer works in partnership with God. He is dependent on Him to grow the seed. The farmer must rely on the weather to meet and engage the planted seed. There are no shortcuts here. He does all he can, and then hopes that it is enough.

Farming is a joint endeavor between man and God. The man does what he has to do. God takes what the man has done and then finishes it. The crop will grow because He wills it. The farmer plays a part for sure, but ultimately God must become involved. Afterall, He makes the seed to sprout and grow.

We can say decisively that the pursuit of holiness in a Christian’s life is a joint endeavor between a believer and God.

Each have made the effort. The Christian does what is necessary, and then the seed is finally sown. It is then up to God to make the seed become the seedling. But each must work to finish the growth.

No one can attain holiness in their life apart from the work of preparation (it’s indeed work). The man must prepare the ground through plowing and cultivating. The farmer works the ground in order to make the ground ready. On the other hand, God provides both the environment and the growth needed to grow the seedling. Both the farmer and God must do their work.

A life of holiness is not automatic. It will never come at measured pace, trickling into our souls at a mechanized rate. (It would be nice if it would). Rather it wheat-field-landscape-picture_1920x1200_79595seems to come, in fits and spurts, sputtering rather than simply flowing.

Holiness is like a steamy Amazon jungle, vibrant and full of life. It is saturated with things living and green. It is not like an arid and sterile desert. Holiness is pulsating and powerful, full of lush growing things.

Becoming a person of holiness is the grandest adventure for the human soul. It defies our tendency to be rigid and legalistic. It is quite the opposite. It is tapping into life itself, and who is up to the task? Our morbid ideas of what holiness are not worthy of what really is.

Yes, to be holy is to work. Just as the farmer must prepare the soil for the seed, we too must guide our plows. God is ready to sow, and we should be ready to be ready. That is if we want to be fruitful and productive.

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!”

 Jim Elliot

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

Simple Discipleship, [Understanding]

simple_icon

Each of us who are broken believers will take the following steps. This is simple discipleship. These four will be at the root of everything we do. Our mental illness may influence this walk, but it can’t derail the process. Because it is a supernatural one, everyone starts at the same spot— whether we’ve an illness or not. Each of us must take these four steps and engage them:

  1. Come to Me

  2. Learn of Me

  3. Follow Me

  4. Remain in Me

Disciples will build their lives on these. They are solidly basic but extrapolated out into different unique variations. Each one will be uniquely yours.


COME TO ME:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, ESV

The source is Jesus, and his presence is sought. Our heavy issues are relieved by his nearness.

 

LEARN OF ME:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Jesus shares his yoke with every disciple. We are to learn at his feet, and it’s there we learn of his humility. Rest is your evidence of his proximity.

 

FOLLOW ME:

 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

A cross awaits every disciple. Self-denial is critical for every believing disciple. Jesus will show us how it’s to be done.

 

REMAIN IN ME:

“Remain [abide] in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

This involves drawing and extracting life from him. We are a branch that pulls its life essence from its core, he is our vitality and our strength.

“Whatsoever one would understand what he hears must hasten to put into practice what he has heard.” –Gregory the Great

 

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

 

Having a Resurrected Heart, [Brand New]

“You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side.”

Colossians 3:1, CEV

Paul’s explanation is given that is meant to clarify things for us.  Perhaps it is too simple, too straight-forward.  We seem to prefer the complex; ideally a 12 point plan, on ‘PowerPoint’, that makes us feel holy and strong, and even ‘spiritual.’ We’d feel much better if it was just a question of intelligence, rational mind and ‘practical thinking.’ Paul shares with this young Church of the Colossians. By the time he gets to chapter 3, he is ready to communicate an essential truth, which is meant to challenge our weak and faulty understanding.

“You have been raised to life with Christ.” The truth is this; the real world starts for you when you understand your resurrection as already taken place.  You were once dead, and now you are alive!  The life that you live is a resurgent life.  You have awakened from death. Essentially, you entered ‘piggyback’ on Jesus.  He has carried you into the deepest place in heaven.

It all can make sense if, set your heart on what is in heaven.”  This is the first mention of us taking action. Up to now, Jesus has did everything.  But at this precise moment, we must act– to set our heart on the deep priority of eternity.  To commence becoming who you really are.  You’re now a spiritual man, or woman, who just so happens (at this point) to have a physical body.

It is a place of triumph and power, “where Christ rules at God’s right side.” This is no inconsequential place. This is the ‘very center of the center.’  The presence of God is all-powerful, and all-knowing.  And it is accurate to say that we have been brought into that same atmosphere, where we breathe in the ‘shekinah’—  that is God’s glory.

Embedded in this single verse in Col. 3:1 is a vigorously rich sense of how and what is the spiritual life.  It should never be formulaic or mechanical.  (We will not find our intellect charging the way into God’s presence.)  Simply, we must believe in our hearts what has happened already.  We enter by faith. It is so easy, but can be quite challenging. You are now a ‘citizen’ of heaven.

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”

Philippians 3:20

bry-signat (1) cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

Mother Teresa’s Heart, [Mercy]

“Intense love does not measure; it just gives”

“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8, NLT

These are all quotes from Mother Teresa, born ‘Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu’, 1910-1997. Here are some of the things she wrote or said. I hope they will inspire and encourage.

***********

Be the eyes of God. See what He sees.
  • See the world as God sees the world.
  • When God sees a homeless man. He sees a precious person who has a painful life, whom everyone else has cast aside.
  • When God sees people fighting against each other, He is grieved because they have allowed their small differences to destroy what they have in common.
  • When He sees a child without parents, He sees the lonely heart abandoned by people who themselves have pain.
  • See what God sees.
Be the ears of God. Hear what He hears.
  • God hears the silent tears of the lonely. He hears the voices of the oppressed. He hears the shouts of injustice. He hears the cries of pain.
  • Learn to listen and hear as God hears.
Be the mind of God. Think as He thinks.
  • Seek to understand the mind of God, to think as He thinks. Observe things around you and have conversations with Him. Seek His wisdom and knowledge. Know that He wants to bring you to a higher consciousness of His Kingdom.
Seek to understand the heart of God.
  • Be the heart of God. Feel what He feels.Feel the pain He feels for those who suffer. Feel the tears He feels for the lonely. Feel the magnitude of His great love and compassion for us His creation.
  • The heart of God is filled with overflowing love and He desires us to participate in His work to bring back wholeness to the world. See that the heart of God is indeed filled with unconditional love.
Be the hands of God. Do as He does.
  • God asks us to take everything we have learned from Him and change things. He asks us to use our hands to do His work: To stand up when there is injustice. To love as He loves. To do things no one else wants to do. By making a connection, volunteering, joining a community or offering to help, we do what God hopes for us all to do: love people to Him.
  • Listen to God and do what He beckons you to do. There is so much that needs to be done, but so few persons willing to do the work of God. We can no longer be just bystanders on the side of the road asking God for handouts, comfort and security. We each have a part in His great plan to bring salvation to the world.
  • Many believe that being spiritual is cerebral. Our minds seek only to contemplate and meditate on God, but that is only part of it. Thinking on God is 1% spirituality. Doing the work of our contemplations is 99% of it.
  • Action above all is what is hardest for us to do; yet, ACTION is the fruit of deep spirituality. Contemplation may be spiritual, but when there is no action behind our spiritual thoughts, they become worthless.

Like the Good Samaritan, what matters is that love is manifested into action. Not just concern, not just prayer, and not just sympathy, but ACTION.

  • The energy that gets the ball rolling and sets God’s love into motion is ACTION.
  • So many of us pray when someone needs help, yet, no one just goes on in and helps. We pray for someone else to do the work, but perhaps we are the ones who should heed our own prayers.
A person of God, sees, hears, thinks, feels and then DOES.
  • Spiritual thoughts are fruitless until they become a part of your life. One who does, follows through with what he has learned and produces fruit. It is the result of our conversations with God. One who thinks only entertains himself. One who does, entertains God.
  • God is excited when we allow our hands to be His hands, because only then can things begin to happen. Only then can work be accomplished.
  • We can no longer remain complacent and removed from everything. He challenges us to walk along with Him and be His eyes, ears, mind, heart and hands to do His work. To walk a closer walk with Him.
When our hands do as God does, then we are truly walking side by side with Him toward the Kingdom of God.

“We have not come into the world to be numbered; we have been created for a purpose; for great things: to love and be loved.

Mother Teresa

Sources: http://epistle.us/articles/deeperspirituality.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa
 
 cropped-christiangraffiti1 (1)

All About Flawed Lives, [Hope]

perfection-is-a-myth

“Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.“ 

— Michael Yaconelli

The principle is sound. We let go of our flaws, and make no effort to redeem them. Sounds easy. Although I feel no qualms in doing so, I still wonder. Can He forgive so much, and so many brazen sins?

We can so easily turn on ourselves (at least that’s the tendency) and find accusation.  We become our worst enemy, we desperately carry our guilt like some overloaded and heavy pack all throughout  our broken lives.

We must finally realize we can no longer seek perfection (or its facsimile) by our conduct. Things have gotten far beyond this. We are rascals and ragamuffins– and are likely to remain so. Unless God intervenes decisively.

But love has a way of loosening our rigorous thinking, like a rusted nut on some corroded metal bolt. He wrenches us, and wants to forgive us of everything. He has decided to love us. You must respond to find his forgiveness. Plain and simple.

Instead of seeking perfection, we should be really seeking God. I suppose this can be daunting. But God is comfortable in our difficulties. He rules over our personal confusion. We come with less then zero. He gives us everything.

We can do nothing but accept. His grace. Grace moves us beyond our personal tragedy. Finally accepting we can do nothing, he does everything.. And where does this leave us?

Our striving for a final acceptance comes down to this:  He rules over all our ‘issues,’ and we’re constantly made aware of this excessively extravagant grace. We are rich, only because he has made it so.

There is no one else who can make us worthy. There is no one else who can connect with our sin and then at the same time make us holy in his eyes. There is only God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

On Your Knees

kneelingprayer

“Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.”

Psalm 95:6-7

I can think of nothing more significant than to pray. I especially like it when the Holy Spirit gives me a tug, and then reels me to Himself. Sometimes I respond, not always. I mentally assent to the idea of praying everywhere, and at all times. But yet the posture of kneeling is special. It smacks of humility and need, and fixes me on the Lordship of my Father. And that is good.

I guess kneeling has fallen out of favor among today’s believers. I hope that this isn’t the case of you.

In the olden days, common people would kneel in the presence of their sovereign king. It was an affront if you didn’t kneel. It spoke of disrespect and lack of submission to the king. I suppose it could be overdone; exploited by some. But these misunderstandings do not nullify what is true about this custom.

I know that kneeling prayer is not the only way one can approach God. But it seems that verses in Psalm 95 carry the implications of the believer having the following relationship:

  1. a maker or creator
  2. a God who is real and all-powerful
  3. and a shepherd who tenderly cares for us

Perhaps these special needs that we have are channeled through a saint on his knees. It could be kneeling prayer is where we encounter these three answers to our needs. When I’m in need of His tender shepherding, the venue becomes a prayer that kneels. This might transmit to us just to meet our ‘need of the moment’ (Today, I feel like I need a shepherd.)

Kneeling to pray is often the only thing that keeps me strong enough to stand. It humbles me before my maker, my God, and my shepherd.

I’m thinking of Peter after experiencing the miraculous catch of fish. Kneeling becomes the only response he could really make.

“When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”

Luke 5:8, NLT

“And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.”

– William Cowper

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg