You’re 3 Words Away From A More Meaningful Life

By Gail Armatys

Do you want a more meaningful life? There are three words that can help you. They can change everything: your posture, your attitude, your actions – your life.  Not that you’re into change – but if it’s change you choose and it makes a difference in the peace you find at the end of your days, why not give it a whirl? Maybe it’s worth knowing and speaking those three significant words.

So what are the words that will help draw you into a better, more meaningful life?

Thank you, God.

Your Posture

Twice a week, I find myself in a yoga class in an effort to, among other things, improve my posture. Previously, I was constantly slumped over driving my car or working on my computer. (I’ll bet you just straightened up a bit, didn’t you?) Having back trouble most of my life, I knew this hunching over was one source of my off and on discomfort. Changing my posture strengthens me and relieves pain.

It is good to change posture in another way as well – one that will impact more than your back. This change in posture  strengthens you and relieves pain as you bend your heart and your knees.

Come, let us bow down in worship,

Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker

Ps. 95:6

little boy kneeling in prayer

There is a pose in Yoga called Child’s Pose. You sit knees to the floor and upper body stretched forward, head to the floor in front of the knees, (yes, it’s possible) with your arms outstretched before you. It is for me the most protective and comforting posture of the class.

And so it is when you bow your heart and soul before the Lord. He sees and his Spirit protects and comforts as the posture of your heart reflects your love, respect, and gratitude toward God. 

Your Attitude

Humility is the fear of the Lord;

Its wages are riches and honor and life.

Proverbs 22:4

Your attitude matters. When you have an attitude of negativity rather than possibility, you live in fear. Not ‘the fear of the Lord’ (translated as reverence: Humility is the reverence of the Lord) in the scripture above. Rather, you have an attitude of fear and worry that is binding and fueled by pride dressed up as confidence. This kind of fear keeps you from giving thanks freely and with the attitude of humility desired by God.

Don’t fret or worry.

Instead of worrying, pray.

Let petitions and praises

shape your worries into prayers,

letting God know your concerns.

Phil 4:6 (Living Bible)

Won’t you replace your negative, fear-filled, and worrisome attitude with humble prayer? Let your sacrifice be that of a humble, thankful heart.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

A broken and contrite heart…

Ps. 51:17

Your Action

I have a distinct memory of a particular day at work several years ago sitting at my desk complaining about something…don’t even remember what now. The person listening to me responded and said, “You should be grateful.” That, I remember.

“I am”, I said and believed. Yet, it was obvious by my words, tone, and grumbling that I was not…that is…grateful.

Give thanks in all circumstances,

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

2 Thes. 5:18

Sometimes you may find yourself feeling frustrated and stuck. You grumble because you don’t feel motivated, encouraged, interested, confident or energetic enough to act. And therein lies the problem. You expect to feel your way into action. The truth is, neither you nor I can feel ourselves to a better place…we must act ourselves to a better feeling.

Feelings are not bad. They are good. They function as indicators that can help you complete the work God planned for you. Ever feel like not doing something you dreaded, but once you started doing it, you felt better about it? If you feel defeated, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what steps to take to gain strength and victory. If you feel overwhelmed, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to a mind of peace.

The expression of your feelings is valid, but it is not the ultimate goal. The goal is action based on God’s loving plan and purposes for your life.

Thank God in all circumstances…regardless of your feelings about them…and take godly action.

Your Life

Piglet noticed that although he had a

Very Small Heart,

It could hold a rather large amount of

gratitude.

Winnie-the-Pooh

Piglet realized no matter his size, a sense of thanksgiving was a big part of who he was.

Have you, like Piglet, taken notice? Is gratitude a big part of your heart?

If so, you have discovered the first step to creating better days.

If not, it’s not too late. No matter your hurt, fears, and delays – once you determine to make “Thank you, God” a big part of your heart your posture, attitude, and actions will change. And in that change you will find…day-by-day…a more meaningful life.

gratitude changes everything

Purpose Steps

  1. Change your posture. If you are physically able, pray on your knees as you bend your heart toward his. Child’s Pose anyone?
  2. Change your attitude. Intentionally choose humility and vulnerability over pride and fear. Pray. Thank God He is in control.
  3. Change your actions. When you sense your feelings leading you – stop. Draw close to God through prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you.
  4. Change your life. Begin your days and your prayers with thanksgiving. Be intentional about filling your heart with “Thank you, God”. Write God a ‘thank you’ note for all he has done. 

Purpose Prayer

Thank you, God, for your love, sacrifice, goodness, and mercy. Thank you for being in control. Thank you for my family, friends, church, work, freedom – for my very life and breath. There is no one like you. Thank you, God. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Listen to your HeartSong below.

Thank You/Hillsong

Is it a pile of rocks, or a road paved with stone? (Perspective is everything.)

By: Vivian Wilson

I know there are at least a few of you out there like me, bless our hearts, who, from time to time feel the weight of our responsibilities and commitments.  Add to that pile of rocks the boulders of trials and troubling circumstances over which we have no control.  It feels like we are being crushed and squeezed into a box leaving no room to move and precious little air to breathe.

I have been in that box for a while now. The trouble is, I know that God does not want me to live in the confines of such a place. He didn’t put me there, I put myself there by choice. That is to say, I chose to believe the lies of the enemy rather than stand on the Truth of God’s Word. I may have some limited control over some of my responsibilities and commitments, but no control over the trials and troubling circumstances. I have the ability to control my thoughts, my words, and by actions.

I can choose what I think, what I say, and what I do. That’s it.

The truth is, God is COMMITTED to changing me. He is making me into the image of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:18  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is Christ.

And I know He uses all the “stuff” of life to accomplish this (see Romans 8:28-29). So I can decide to change my perspective of the pile of rocks.

When seen through the eyes of the evil one these rocks produce brokenness and destruction. But when seen through the eyes of God they are tools to shape me producing wholeness and maturity. The rocks and boulders of this world cannot harm me. In fact they are instruments with which God makes me into the person he created me to be.

Trials and Troubles, Rocks and Boulders - all just stepping stones on our path of glory.

There are some practical ways found in Psalm 37 for maintaining a healthy perspective.

Psalm 37:3  Trust in the Lord and do good

          37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord

          37:5  Commit your way to the Lord (cast all my anxiety on him)

          37:7  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

I will also be intentional about thanking him for the rocks and boulders in my life because they have a purpose.  And that is to make me useful in His kingdom and in so doing He is glorified.  After all, it isn’t about me but it is about Him.

So, my dear sisters, be encouraged by God’s grace that enables us to out from under the rocks and boulders that have piled up on top of us.  But also a reminder for all of us, there will always be rocks and boulders.

Because we are enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we need not be crushed by them. Rather we can choose to be grateful for them and embrace them as instruments in our loving Father’s hands, instruments to shape us into the person he created us to be.

James 1:1-4  Consider it pure joy, by brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Thank you, Father, for the rocky places in life.  Help me to see them through your eyes as tools to make me more like you. In Jesus name…amen.

A work in progress,

Vivian

3 Truths You Must Know: You Are Good Enough. You Are Not A Mistake. You Have Purpose.

By: Gail Armatys

No matter what you may think or what others may tell you, you are sacred in God’s eyes. You are good enough. You are not a mistake. You have purpose.

You are good enough. You are not a mistake.  You have purpose.

You Are Good Enough

For much of my young life I felt as though I didn’t belong…didn’t fit in. Mostly because my comparisons caused me to think I wasn’t smart enough…pretty enough…talented enough…you know…just not good enough. Through God’s amazing grace, I came to know and believe that no matter my weaknesses, failures, and disappointments I will always belong and be loved.

“You belong” and “You are good enough,” are not just messages I needed to hear and believe, they are words of truth for young and old alike – a message dear to God’s heart.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name;

You are mine.

Is. 43:1b

…you are precious and honored in my sight…

I love you.

Is. 43:4

We are led to believe by the world, it’s demons, and our ‘self’ that worth comes from applause, money, success, popularity, IQ, outward beauty and talent. If you’ve ever lacked in any of these areas, I hope you’ve come to know the truth…your value comes from Christ.

You and me? We’re good enough because Christ loved us enough. When someone willingly takes your place to spare your life…he loves you. You, my sister, are loved.

Greater love has no one than this,

that he lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus, John 15:13

Yet, accepting our worth in Christ can be challenging. It is much more than repeating a catchy mantra or sharing a compliment. It’s not self-help, self-motivation, or even pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Believing we are good enough is a full-on attack of faith. It saves us from:

  1. striving to be good enough through accomplishment;
  2. believing all is futile when we fail;
  3. searching for significance and acceptance in all the wrong places;
  4. succumbing to darkness that can lead to self-inflicted pain and loss of life.

You were created, claimed, and saved by God.

Believe it. Experience it as you sit in stillness wrapped in the arms of Christ.

You.  Are.  Good.  Enough. 

You Are Not A Mistake.

You were meant to be born exactly as you are. You are a unique, intentional, God-inspired design created with love. There is no one like you. It’s undeniable. Your fingerprints are yours alone. Your eyes belong to you. Your hands, feet, hair…all and only yours. You are different by design. God made you beautiful, unlike any other because He loves the idea of you! He desires the you that you are.

So why don’t you believe it? Maybe it feels safer to live undercover – secretly hiding the desire to thrive. You can’t get hurt if you aren’t known. And besides, the pain is deep.

I pray today you step out of the shadows, draw close to God and listen to the One who created you…Beautiful.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with loving kindness…

Jer. 31:3

You are intentional. God does not make mistakes. He creates beauty.

You.  Are.  Not.  A.  Mistake.

You Have Purpose

The words, “What difference do I make,” used to tumble through my mind. I couldn’t see my impact. The truth is, sometimes we don’t. And to be frank, our need to measure our contribution is more about pride than about the difference we make.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

Before you were born I set you apart;

I appointed you as a prophet.

Jer. 1:5

“I appointed you…” God spoke these words to Jeremiah, and He speaks them to you and me. He may not have set you apart as a prophet (or maybe he has), but you have been given talent to develop and gifts to share. They are not given in order that you might keep account of your impact. They are given that you may show Christ’s love to others as only you can.

You were born for a purpose. And, you were born to carry out your purpose in a specific time and place.

From one man He made every nation of men,

that they should inhabit the whole earth;

and He determined the times set for them

and the exact places where they should live.

Acts 17:26a

It is not an accident that you were born of your parents, in your town, amongst your friends and acquaintances, in your country, at a specific time on God’s timeline. He has a plan to fulfill and you have a role to play in that plan.

You.  Have.  Purpose.

So embrace your sacred worth. Be dazzled by God’s miraculous truths. Use your gifts and talents as only you can. Express the love of Christ through the opportunities given you in this time and place by the gracious hand of God.

Because the truth is…

You are good enough.  You are not a mistake.  You have purpose. 

Purpose Steps

In your time alone with God each morning this week,

  1. Thank Him that through Christ you are good enough.
  2. Thank Him for your uniqueness and beauty.
  3. Thank Him for the plans and purposes He has for your life.
  4. Ask for forgiveness for disbelief and that He strengthen your unbelief.
  5. Choose to overcome and embrace your sacred worth.

Purpose Prayer

Father, thank you for making me. Thank you for my beauty and unique design. Help me believe I belong and I am beloved so I may love others and fulfill the plan and purposes you have for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listen to Your HeartSong!

Beautiful Things/Gungor

Live the song written on your heart.

It’s Complicated…

By: Ms. O

“It’s complicated.”

I have heard that statement more than once in my life. At times I get sucked in…thinking I can work my way through the problem and come out the victor…ready, set, CHARGE…only to realize that it is much bigger than me…and I admit defeat.

Math is not a friend of mine. Sure, you math minded people can take some algebraic equation and act as if you are doing simple addition. Me? Hmmmm…no.  The worst was word problems. It would start off simple…Jo had ten apples…he gave away four…found ten more…stepped on one third of them….ran into an apple cart and picked up sixty percent more…blah blah blah blah blah…who cares. I will go buy my own apples…make them Honeycrisp…I’ll pay top dollar. Too many twists and turns, switching gears…and I’m lost.

It just gets….complicated.

I love to bake desserts. Hello…I love sweets….probably not a good combination. There were times I would see some fancy schmancy dessert on the cover of Southern Living…think I am the next Julia Child and pay high dollar for the magazine…and the ingredients…confident that I could replicate it. Let’s just say, I realized after throwing away many unrecognizable attempts…wasting money…time…and a way too much chocolate…that I am a simple girl. I like comfort food that takes less than two dozen ingredients. I don’t want to have to be precise…I don’t like terms that I have to google to understand…and it does not have to look like a masterpiece…it simply needs to taste good.  Frankly I would have loved to see how many attempts it took to make that cover worthy dessert until it turned out the way it did. I will take simple any day over intricate…taking more than an hour to make…desserts that are way too….complicated.

There were many years that I tried to be something…someone…I was not. I would see outfits that looked so cute on slim svelte figures and convince myself it would look the same on me.  Passing by make up counters, I would be suckered into thinking that if I bought a purse full of their products, magically….miraculously…the picture perfect model they use to represent their line…would be what I would see after I played…dress up.  And hair…wow…the biggest challenge of all time. When I was in my high school years it was my goal to have hair that was full…flowing…thick…curly….all adjectives that described…someone else. I tried perms…body waves…curling irons…hot rollers…and then a ton of hair spray. In the end I realized that was just not me. I am a jeans…flowy shirt…minimal make up…as in I wear it so rarely that it expires before I use it all….and my hair works best when I let it do what it wants. I know that being something I am not wears me out…makes me look like I am trying to be someone I am not…I am more of a simple girl…and do all I can to avoid the wide world of glamour…it’s too complicated…for me.

Have you ever felt like you'll never get all of the Jesus Rules right? And since you can't, then why bother at all? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. But you need to know that all Jesus wants is….

When I gave my life to the Lord I will admit I went into panic mode. Being the people pleaser I am, I knew I had to go into overdrive to go much higher so that I could please the Lord. I listened to how people prayed…wondering how they were so free in their dialogue with the Almighty.  I was amazed…and petrified…at others vast knowledge of scripture. I wondered how in the world I could get all this “Christian living”….right. Would this be too complicated for me to handle…could I cut it?

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?

                                            Micah 6:8

I was shown this passage once…by a friend who wanted me to see the shear power of simplicity. As I struggled to figure out how to serve the Lord…and live FULLY for Him…I missed the forest for the trees.

God has told me what is good…HIM…and this great love He has for me. And what does He require of me? Memorizing all of the Old Testament? Sure that would be incredible…and amazing…but not plausible…for me. Do my prayers have to contain theology…SAT quality words that show my affection? I would have to carry a dictionary with me…two…Websters…and a Bible Dictionary.

What God asks me to do is simple…

Do justice…as in do what I can to level out the playing field. Help out those who need a hand up…see what breaks His heart…and stand in the gap showing mercy…and do what I can to further the healing that needs to happen.

Seek the kindness that He has placed in my heart and don’t be afraid to show it. Sure there will be times it might be misunderstood…or thrown back in my face…but that should not keep me from doing all I can to be…loving…and kind…without wondering if it is “deserved”…that is not my role…that is what would make this task…complicated…so go back to simple.Just…be…kind.

And finally…to walk humbly with God. Don’t try to take the lead….don’t fall too far behind…keep in step with Him. He has created me to be…me. It is me that makes that more complicated…thinking I need to be taking charge…trying to figure His next move for me…when instead I need to walk in joyful obedience with Him.

Life can be so complicated. Way too many choices…dozens of decisions that we make from the moment we wake up till we collapse in bed. Why do we make it so hard to serve the Lord?

He did not want it to be so elusive that we would get frustrated and give up. He asks us to be…Christ like…which may seem complicated…but it truly is not. That does not mean it will be easy…that is a different story…but it is worth the challenge…each and every day.

Clear your mind…stop trying to figure it out…so you can take control. Believe me when I say this is a hard concept for me…as in HUGE. But the way I look at it…He did the hard part for us…so I need to “uncomplicate” my efforts…and be ready to be simply devoted to serve the Lord. The great part is…He doesn’t care if my hair looks great.

…amen…and amen.

What To Do About The Selfie Image Crisis…

By: Amy Dalke

Maybe it’s because we’re on the front end of bikini weather, and I’ve already seen more teenage skin than I ever wanted to on Instagram.

Maybe it’s because my friend has a teenage girl, and I see the front lines of an identity battle.

But there is a growing frustration in my gut about all these Shorty Shorts and Barely Bikinis that make private parts hardly private anymore. How has it become okay for our daughters to walk around without their clothes on? And then to broadcast their bodies across social media like it’s just the thing to do? Y’all, THIS IS NOT OKAY.

But before I jump on some high horse, let’s be clear: this issue doesn’t rest on teenage shoulders. Because the shallow, skin-deep emptiness that pervades the teenage social media newsfeed is learned behavior. This started with us.

No, we didn’t strip to our swimsuits and post it on Facebook, but little by little, our teenagers have watched us place a premium value on our appearance. My initial self-righteous angst over All This Naked fell into a gracious awareness that it is OUR responsibility to teach these precious girls what they’re worth.

How can you keep your daughter from believing her worth is found in her appearance?

But we can’t really model the truth to the generation coming up behind us, when we still believe the lie ourselves. It doesn’t take a long, hard look at the stats to discover that we say one thing, and then buy another. We talk about inner beauty and God’s truth and all that, but when Americans spend 12 billion dollars on cosmetic procedures in ONE YEAR, you can’t tell me we really believe true beauty comes from the inside.

I’d be a hypocrite to stand on this soapbox and pretend I’m totally innocent. But by the grace of God, I’m learning more and more that my life’s worth has nothing to do with what my body looks like.

As a society, we have a massive image crisis. For crying out loud, do we really want to spend this one life of ours constantly trying to fix what we look like?

Am I the only one that just can’t stand it anymore?

When our daughters see us stressed out when none of our clothes fit; or if we’re constantly debasing our bodies for frivolous imperfections, you can bet your Spanx that she gets the message that appearance matters more than you say it does.

When we stand in the mirror and groan about the extra-ness around our upper arms, she sees that, too. And all the while we claim that beauty is on the inside, but when you come unglued over numbers on the scale, there’s little wonder which story she believes.

Is this the life we really want? Is this the life we want her to live? One where we spend more time agonizing over what to wear than we do working on our character? (But good clothes and a good body can cover up lots of things, right?)

If your identity is stuck in the mirror, READ THIS.

Are we settling for a life where magazine covers and movie stars define our worth? Are we still doing that? Isn’t that as veritable as those surveys we used to take in Teen Beat magazine?

Come on, y’all. Who writes our story anyway? 

Not only are we missing the Good Life ourselves, we’re raising our daughters to stand on a faulty foundation. It’s never been more critical to make sure their feet are planted on the solid ground of truth. Because when selfies are the social trademark, appearance is magnified on an unprecedented level.

Like me, you probably didn’t spend your teen years in this social media age. But our kids are growing up in a culture where 243,055 images are uploaded to Facebook each minute.* We (and our daughters!) are inundated with images across a 3-inch phone screen that serves as our cultural yardstick for self-worth.

We model life for the generation coming behind us, whether we like it or not. So the power lies within us to change the world. Literally.

This whole thought process was born from a hard look at my own behavior, so rest assured, I’m not one to point fingers or act like I’ve got this all figured out. It’s just time for Jesus people to stop swimming with the current of cultural lies as though “that’s just the way it is”. In the name of Truth, let’s live differently than the Lie! 

It may be Pollyanna-like to think that we can change our culture. But Christianity as we know it came from a small band of disciples who took on the charge to go and spread the gospel into every part of the earth. Since we have the same God they did, I’m confident the size of our truth-telling band isn’t an issue.

But here’s the key: the gospel of Jesus was spread because the first Christians did more than talk about Jesus. They proved that Jesus was a big deal by the way they lived. Talking about the truth won’t change anything. It only matters when we live it out. 

So what IS the truth we need to teach our daughters? Here’s a good place to start:

You are fearfully & wonderfully made. God planned out every intricate detail of your body; He chose your unique personality; and decided exactly what your smile would look like. And he did all this…wonderfully. (Psalm 139:13-14)

In Christ, you are an original masterpiece, God’s one-of-a-kind artwork. (Ephesians 2:10) You weren’t made to fit anyone else’s mold, so quit wasting your uniqueness trying to be someone you’re not.

You are loved. (Ephesians 2:4-5; Romans 5:8). God’s love is unending, unstoppable, unshakable. And that’s enough.

You are a new creation of infinite worth. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Your worth can’t be measured on scales, can’t be determined in a mirror, and it can’t be defined by someone else’s opinion. Boom.

You are completely forgiven. (Colossians 1:13-14). Your sin cannot outdo God’s grace. And that’s just the greatest news ever.

You are absolutely complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10). We need nothing more than Jesus to have everything we need. Period.

So now what? Do we just nod our heads in agreement, then we go on with our day as though this isn’t any kind of life-changing truth? We could. Or you and I can decide to intentionally practice this truth so that TRUTH shapes our everyday lives. Because unless we live the truth on purpose, we choose by default to hand off the baton of lies to the next generation.

Will you have the courage to choose the truth over the lie? 

Amy

*IACP Center for Social Media, June 2014

You Are Invited To Come

By: Gail Armatys

You are invited to come. If you are tired and in need of rest. There is an invitation awaiting you. Please, won’t you come?

Three Kinds of Tired

There is a ‘good-tired’. Tired from fun, working hard, and serving others. There is a ‘sick-and-tired’. Tired of the struggle of illness and pain. Then, there is a tired that is due to frantic running, anxiety about the future, the search for success or the success of others (perhaps your kids), running from the past that haunts you or the fears that keep you stuck. If this is your kind of tired…you are not alone.

This last type of tiredness is not uncommon. In fact, it is epidemic – a way of life for many – and it reminds me of…well, it reminds me of…squirrels.

It’s the squirrels’ constant movement, searching, and digging that suggests to me, perhaps God looks down from above, shakes His head at all of our running about and says, “Oh, that you would stop running, searching, and digging for whatever you think you need. Accept my invitation…you are invited to come to me.”

It’s the squirrels’ constant movement, searching, and digging that suggests to me, perhaps God looks down from above, shakes His head at all of our running about and says, “Oh, that you would stop running, searching, and digging for whatever you think you need. Accept my invitation…come to me.”

  invitedtocome

Invited to Come

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus, Matt. 11:28-29

While there are things in our lives we try to but cannot control, we can control our choices. Accepting Jesus’ invitation to rest in Him is a daily decision we need to make to live ‘good-tired’, joyous days.

Choose Rest

How can you choose rest when there is so much to do, become, worry about, forget, flee, start, finish and say? Jesus’ point exactly.

God’s design is that life bring us joy, but often its challenges and seductions are more than we can bear. It can be wearisome and leave us feeling empty and defeated. Like squirrels, we run here and there searching for our buried treasure of love, money, things, control, happiness, meaning…whatever. Once we find it, we gobble it up and start searching again. All the while God lovingly watches and reminds us – if we will listen – that our search would be over if we would each day accept His invitation to come.

Rest Found through Action

Although rest suggests lack of movement, getting to that place requires action. Not the redundant motion of our whirlwind and burdened lives. But purposeful steps toward God that draw us nearer to His promise of rest.

Jesus reveals these steps in Matthew 11:28-29.

  1. Come to Jesus. Jesus presents the invitation to us. We choose to decline or accept it. There is no need to be shy. He is the most welcoming Host. Arrive early. Bring only your burdens and brokenness to leave at his feet. Will you come?
  2. Take His yoke. When two animals are yoked together one animal is dominant and another submissive. To avoid constant struggle they must work in harmony. Taking on Jesus’ yoke is a choice to submit to His will. Will you surrender?
  3. Learn from Him. Learning from Christ requires choosing to spend time with Him and in His word. As we walk with Christ, we are conformed to His ways, gain strength, and begin to imitate Him. Will you dedicate time to be with Him?
  1. Find rest. There are a lot of things we desire to find: treasure, reward, satisfaction, attention – but Jesus tells us to find rest. It is an active, participatory process. He even tells us where to find it. Our rest is with Him. Will you accept His invitation?

We’ve all experienced the weariness created by ‘self’ and allowed by God’s grace, and we can choose how we make it through. We can scramble and scurry frantically like a squirrel. Or, we can find rest. When we find rest with Christ, we find joy in any circumstance.

Listen. Can you hear His gentle call? “Come to me all who are weary and burdened…”

No matter your kind of tired…you are invited to come.

Accept His invitation. He is waiting for you.

Come. Find your rest.

Listen to Your HeartSong

Come to Me/Kari Jobe

Purpose Steps

  1. Come to Him. One way to come to Jesus each day is to commit to rising early-er and having a time of worship. Can you commit to this?
  2. Submit to Him. Review your plan for your day, month, year, and life. Are your desires His desires? Submit to His will. Seek His calling for your moments and your life.
  3. Learn from Him. Learn about and live more like Jesus by spending time listening to and reading in His word. How, when, and where might you do that?
  4. Enjoy the rest found in Christ.

Purpose Prayer

Thank you, Father, for your promise of rest when we accept your invitation to come. I pray to know you and resemble you more. Help me to walk like you as I submit my days and my life to your will. And may I find joy in my rest, no matter the circumstances. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Stone of Hope

Ms. O

I have a small stone that sits on my bathroom sink. It is not decorative at all. A simple stone…that speaks to me each morning as I get ready for the day….and every night before I go to bed.

It is my Ebenezer.

I am a tactile learner. If only my science teachers had known this, I might have been easier to teach…and it would have not been so hard on me either. The periodical tables were a mess period. A jumbled scramble of letters that made no sense to me…at all.…they still don’t. Chemistry…ugh…biology…double ugh. I need to hold it in my hand…try it out…make it tick…and then it begins to make sense to me.

Ebenezer stone

One of my favorite lessons I taught to the youth is about the Ebenezer stone. If there ever were a teacher that could have gotten through to me…it would have been Samuel…and God of course.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

I am all about history…love it…love it…love it. And this little slice speaks volumes. I want you to picture this.  The Israelites are going head to head with the Philistines. Past history had not boded well for the Israelites…because they left out a key component….relying on God. Samuel seeks….sacrifices…coming before God….crying out for the people of Israel….and the Lord answered him. The victory…first time in the nation’s history…was won.

It was at that point that Samuel takes a stone…no clue how big…or little it was…that is not the point.  In front of the battle worn crowd he sets it up and names it…Ebenezer….the stone of help. What is even better though is what he proclaims for all within earshot to hear….

“Thus far has the Lord helped us.”

I absolutely LOVE that visual. I can just picture Samuel…glancing backwards…at the battlefield…and then toward the crowd…and then into the distance that lies ahead. Those words had to be a powerful statement…a reminder…a touchstone. God has helped us this far…you know He will take us all the way “home”.

Last year when we were in Israel, we were scaling a hillside…which was quite an incline…to get to the top of the rise that looked out over the Valley of Elah…where David fought Goliath. I was gasping…I’m being serious here…apparently climbing the stairs at the church was not ample training for the forty-five degree angles of Israel. As I reached the top of the hill…and looked backwards to where we had been…and then to the valley where the battle that every Sunday school class around the world has heard about….was fought…I was reminded of the Ebenezer. That stone that David used to slay  the giant was his stone of help…a reminder that God was with him…and was not leaving any time soon…like never.

There have been quite a few times that I have camped out in the desert…wondering at the future…what lies ahead for me. I use the word camped for a reason…because I felt like I had set up home there…in the valley of “no hope”. The band warms up…so it can play the mournful strains of the pity party…as the worry takes hold of me. What will become of my life…it is not going according to plan…am I in this alone….I think you catch my drift. It is at that point I feel the stone that is set before me, waiting for me to stumble…so I can get a better view….of where I have been…and Who is waiting ahead.

When I hear the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” I can’t help but tear up…especially when it comes to the second verse.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer

Hither by thy help I’m come;

And I hope, by thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.

When I feel weary from fighting battles…up against the unknown…I hear God speaking to me softly…firmly…with the confidence of the All-Mighty….”Linda….look back…see where we have been together…see the marks along the way…places I have picked you  up…dusted you off…carried you. Mark this day…thus far I have helped you…I know the way Home…and I will lead you there. Don’t lose sight of Who I Am…raise your Hope…your Ebenezer…so we can keep moving forward.”

So each morning as I brush my teeth I see my Ebenezer and know that the day ahead is dedicated to the Lord…with Whom I put my hope. And each evening as the sun sets and I look in the mirror into weary eyes…and a tired soul…I glance at that tiny stone and tell myself…thus far the Lord has brought me…He will bring me the rest of the way…Home.

Amen.