We spent Saturday with our children, grandchildren and friends. During supper, Finley, our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, put Ryan, our 28 year old son, into timeout. When asked what he did to get put in timeout, she said, “He hit the dog.” (He didn’t.) His timeout period was quite lengthy. After some encouragement that Ryan was sorry, she finally agreed he could get off the steps.

Timeouts are designed to help children slow down and think about what they did to be separated from activity. It could be any attitude or action a parent or guardian finds unacceptable in the particular setting.

Read: Jonah 1:17-2:10

Jonah needed a timeout. When the Lord asked him to complete a task, Jonah ran the other way. He didn’t want to do what Father asked. A timeout in the belly of a fish helped changed Jonah’s perspective.

Are you in timeout right now? What is it the Lord wants to say that you haven’t wanted to hear? Relax into his presence and see what good assignment he has in mind for you.

Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Psalm 32:1-5, 11

And that, my friends, is worth shouting about! Have a blessed worship day!

Last week flying home from vacation, my granddaughter sat in my lap during the descent into Chicago. As often happens, there were a few bumps coming through the clouds. The first time the plane shook, she looked up from what she was doing and looked toward the window. Then the plane shook again, and her face broke into a smile and she gave the tiniest giggle.

As I watched her response to the turbulence, I wondered at her childlike glee. We were in absolutely no danger coming through the clouds and bumping around, but I prefer a smooth descent. I am quick to imagine the worst and create a crisis where there is none. She just enjoyed the ride.

Read: Mark 10:13-16

Jesus commended the children, saying we should receive the kingdom of God like them. As I watched Finley completely at peace on my lap, unafraid of the turbulence, I glimpsed what Jesus meant. She trusted me completely and could giggle at the bumping. I want to have that kind of trust in my heavenly Father, unafraid of the bumps of life.

Is your faith childlike? What feels more real to you – the bumps of life or the safety of his arms?

Today I awoke with a weariness that I couldn’t shake. Unsure of the source of this disturbing companion, I did the only thing I was certain would help me. I set myself before the Father and laid out my case.

I talked to him about all that was whirling through my mind, all the confusing thoughts that I couldn’t make into sensible streams of thinking. I poured it all out. And I waited.

Later, as I drove to an appointment, I revisited my troubling thoughts. Looking at them one by one, the proverbial light came on. I saw the problem.

There was a voice inside my head telling me lies. I heard: “You are what you do!” “You are what you have.” “You are what others say about you.” And I knew what I needed to do. I began to speak out the truth right then in my car.

My help didn’t come immediately as I knelt before Father in the morning sun. The Holy Spirit revealed it to me later. He helped me to see the true nature of my disturbing thoughts. The light of truth flooded my mind, and as I spoke the truth, the turmoil of my heart was stilled.

Read: Matthew 14:22-31; Luke 8:22-25

Today, Jesus stilled the storm that raged in my mind. He spoke to the wind and calmed the waves. He can do it for you as well. Take your wearies to him and allow the Spirit of God to reveal the nature of your sadness and then drown out the lies with a flood of truth.

Thought: responsibilities of life and a cause worth fighting for can cause weariness.

Sometimes we lose sight of the value of how we spend our time. Providing for families, paying bills, working jobs, supporting causes – all take their toll.

Henri Nouwen once said there are three big lies:

I am what I have.

I am what I do.

I am what other people say about me.

When we lose sight of the value of who we are or what we do, it can be traced to one of these three lies.

We are more than what we have; we are children of God and heirs of a kingdom. See Galatians 4:4-7

We are more than what we do; we are loved and highly valued because Jesus said we are, not because of anything we do. See Ephesians 2:8-10

We are more than what others say about us; we are what God says about us. He declares us righteous, holy and set apart for his good purposes. See 1 Peter 2:9

Read: Romans 8:1, 15-18, 31-39

I am a child of God and heir of the kingdom.

I am God’s masterpiece no matter what I do.

I am valued because he said I am.

Thought: Communication that goes unanswered leads to weariness.

I have pondered this thought today. And I decided it isn’t just that communication is unanswered, it is the waiting. Waiting can be weary. My nephew and his wife just had their second child at a bit over forty weeks. They waited. Ready to see the baby, she was weary of pregnancy.

Waiting…whether it be for communication, promotion, children, school to start, school to end, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, vacation…whatever it is – it can be wearisome. What do we do while we wait?

Read: Isaiah 40:28-31

If you breezed right past the link above, stop and go back. Read the scripture. It holds the greatest prize for those who are willing to do what it says. That is the key to waiting…knowing that we have a God who will give us the strength to wait well, not just endure it.

As a person who struggles with depression, I am too familiar with what it means to be weary. But that is only one kind of weariness.

There is another kind of weariness common to all people, not just those, like me, who know depression. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not a mental health care professional. I know what I have experienced and what I have done to combat it in my own life. And I read scripture and I find it to be very practical in addressing common symptoms of daily life. I speak from that place of knowing.

In the New Testament there are 6 occurrences of the Greek word “ekkakeo” which means to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted.

In Luke 18:1, Jesus tells his disciples to never give up praying. Interesting. By the very mention of it, Jesus indicates that we might grow weary in prayer. Perhaps we do not all pray, but doesn’t a one way conversation or relationship also become exhausting? Giving of ourselves and not seeing a return is wearisome.

Thought: communication that goes unanswered leads to weariness.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16 that we should not give up. The whole chapter is about ministry in the new covenant. We share the gospel not for ourselves, but to bring glory to Jesus. But we are not all in ministry and sharing the gospel is not everyone’s concern. It seems that daily responsibilities, working for something we believe in, or going to a job every day to make ends meet can also become wearisome.

Thought: responsibilities of life and a cause worth fighting for can cause weariness.

In Galatians 6:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul reminds believers to do the right thing even when others are not. It is a common experience to be committed to the right thing while others around us care very little about integrity, honesty, values, hardwork, generosity, compassion – all the attributes that make being human worthwhile. It can be wearying to do the right thing when others don’t seem to care.

Thought: Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing.

In Ephesians 3:13, Paul tells the believers not to let his imprisonment and trials make them weary in their faith walk. Suffering comes in all shapes and sizes and we all experience it to some degree or another. Walking with someone who is suffering can drain the most compassionate of people.

Thought: suffering has the potential to produce weariness in the sufferer and the one walking alongside.

Strategies to combat weariness exist. It doesn’t matter so much what causes a person to be weary, the same tactics can be helpful in nearly every situation.

A few of these strategies can be found in 1 Kings 19:3-9. To get the full story, you need to read chapters 18 and 19, but take a moment to read the linked scripture above.

Elijah just finished defeating the prophets of Baal, one of the most important confrontations of his ministry. Afterwards, he went to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed for rain to come and end the three year drought the land experienced. He didn’t pray just once, he prayed seven times for rain to come.

When Jezebel heard what he had done in defeating the prophets of Baal, she was furious and threatened to kill him. He flees the area and goes to Beersheba where he leaves his servant.

Going alone into the wilderness, he sat under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He tells the Lord that he has had enough. In other words, he is weary!

And then he does a super spiritual thing! He takes a nap. An angel wakes him and feeds him and then he naps again. And then the angel brings him more food.

The Lord strengthened Elijah by meeting his needs for rest and food. Elijah put himself in a place to be strengthened by going to a quiet spot alone and meeting with God. Combined, this provided what he needed for the next portion of his journey.

When I am weary, I find I neglect self-care. I run on empty in regard to sleep, food, water, alone time, time listening to God, time talking to God about what is bothering me…Elijah is a great example. He told God he was weary; he admitted he couldn’t go on like this. He went to the desert alone to meet with God and God renewed his strength in the most practical ways.

The account goes on in chapter 19, so keep reading. You will find that God showed himself to Elijah in tangible ways and then provided him a ministry partner who would be his successor.

What type of weariness do you experience? Are you trying to do it alone? Would good self-care put you in a place of strength again to continue the good fight? Does trusting God to renew you seem practical?

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Weariness: reluctance to see or experience anymore of something.

Read: 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Have you ever had that thought? “I’m just done with this. I don’t want to do it anymore.” I know I have.

In the scripture today, Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. In his first letter to them, he spoke about Jesus’ return, emphasizing that it would be soon! Some of the believers took that very literally and quit working. Like, they climbed up a high hill, sat down, looked to the sky and waited. After awhile, they were hungry. Those who continued working were called upon to feed and care for them. It wasn’t a good strategy then; it isn’t a good strategy now.

Paul wrote this letter to tell them to get to work. “If you want to eat, you have to work,” he said. He sensed weariness setting in with the believers who provided for those who refused to work.

Some days, doing good is difficult. Making good choices is difficult. Life feels long. Don’t get me wrong, I love living. But some days, it feels long. This is when I remind myself – DON’T GROW WEARY! Continue to do good, make good choices, keep your eyes on the prize.

Is there something in your life that causes you to feel weary? Are you growing tired? Reluctant to carry on? Take courage, my friend! Reward is just ahead. Father renews your spirit day by day, giving you the strength to take the next step. It feels like a long journey, with no end in sight. But just take the next step, do the next right thing. Trust him for the strength to rise up again.

Read: Philippians 4:2-3

I admit, this is an odd passage to choose for a daily devotional. As I read it again, it struck me in a new way.

Conflict is a part of life. It happens in families, neighborhoods, churches, jobs, committees and teams. It isn’t the conflict that is the problem. It is that we don’t settle our disagreements.

Today as you get ready to be in a community of believers, settle your disagreements. Matthew 5:23-24 give helpful advice about the timing of settling disputes. So today, if you realize someone has something against you, go and work it out and then come to offer your sacrifice of praise.

Daily Reads 08.10.2019

It’s good to be home on my porch soaking up the morning rays. There is no place quite like home, is there? No matter where I wander or where I roam, home is where I want to be at the end of the day.

Read: Philippians 4:10-13

Paul expresses well in this scripture the attitude I want to live with on a daily basis. Whenever I wander, contentment is the companion I want along. It isn’t always easy, but it’s what I aim for every day.

Is contentment your companion today? Does always wanting more or different plague your thoughts? Gratitude is the gateway to contentment. What if you tried that today?