Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!
The Bible says the Lord loves a grateful heart. Let’s be determined to be thankful for all that He has done for us every day of the year. God is so good!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
Busy, busy, busy … we are always so busy. Many of us are driven by the urgency of our schedules because we have wasted so much time on relatively purposeless activity. We need to evaluate:
What things in my life can I replace with time for me, so I can have a chance to recharge and just breathe?
I have found that the greatest gift I can give Nick and the girls is a healthy me, and the only way I am able to be the best me is if I have taken the time to recharge my soul and spirit.
An essential by-product of stopping to breathe and still our spirits and minds is that it gives God time to get a word in edgewise and speak to us. So much of our mental confusion, emotional upheaval and physical exhaustion would greatly dissipate if we would simply take the time to stop, breathe and lean into the presence of God.
Today, take some time to stop and breathe.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
If we’re to fulfill our God-given purpose, we need to master the art of simplifying our lives. When Jesus began His ministry here on earth, He brought a message of life, liberty and simplification to people who were bound by the complexity of over-demanding laws and regulations.
The Jewish law, which originally consisted of the ten simple commandments given to Moses, had evolved into a list of 613 commandments by the time Jesus walked the earth. Can you imagine going through each day trying to remember (let alone obey) 613 laws about every detail of life? There were strict rules about how to clean certain dishes, how to wash your hands, how to eat your food, how to deal in business, how to tithe to God, how to interact in society – the list goes on. I wouldn’t have been able to make it out my door every morning without breaking at least eighteen of them.
Jesus felt compassion for people who were bound by these unnecessary yokes and burdens of religion, because God never intended such complexity for our lives. In fact, in a single exchange with the Pharisees, He whittled down the 613 Mosaic laws to just two.
Luke 10:27 says, He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
It was my mother’s seventieth birthday party. Within a span of hours, I was characterized by different people in a variety of ways. To one, I was my mom’s only daughter; to another I was Nick’s wife; to another, I was Catherine and Sophia’s mom; to another, I was George’s sister. Some old friends considered me the “weird one” who had “got religion,” and friends from church know me as a Bible teacher and author.
While it’s true that the way each of the partygoers identified me is a legitimate aspect of the various roles I fulfill in life, none of these roles is who I really am.
If we allow ourselves to be defined by our roles instead of allowing who we truly are in Christ to define our roles, we’re going to get all messed up.
No one role completely defines us. In other words, who you are is not determined by what you do; that is, your do is not your who!
If we try to get our identity, significance and security from the roles we play, ultimately our lives become focused upon mere functionality and doing more, rather than something deeper.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is this: When no one is calling us parent, spouse, sibling, mentor, boss or friend, who is left?
“... I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
I see my life as a wheel and all parts of my life as spokes from the hub in the middle of that wheel. I find that as long as I aim for that hub that is Jesus every day, the wheel will keep turning. The oil that keeps the wheel spinning smoothly is the Holy Spirit. As I keep my ear inclined to the Spirit, He will tell me which spoke needs more attention on any given day. He will keep the wheel spinning; I do not have to spend my time paying attention to every detail but simply be obedient. I ask, “God, where do I need to focus my time?”
If I am in the right place in my spirit, it is amazing how much I will hear God tell me about what is going on and what I need to pay attention to. I need the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking in my heart. Jesus does not expect us to try to live a supernatural destiny using natural means. He gave us the Holy Spirit as our helper to do just that – help us.
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD … (Micah 3:8)