“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy
burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let
me teach you, because I am gentle and humble at heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT)
Lord, I am so tired, I just need to get some rest. Sound familiar? I
think we have all been there. If this is your statement on a regular
basis; if a normal day contains this feeling, then perhaps it is time
to focus on one of Jesus’ greatest promises.
Consider this, if extreme weariness is your normal state, perhaps
you are practicing religion instead of enjoying a relationship with
Jesus. Jesus would teach, preach and work miracles for hours,
but when He began to get weary, He would steal away to pray,
sometimes all night long. He knew that the restoration He needed
was only found in His strong relationship to His Father.
The powerful, amazing truth is that we have this same
opportunity. Jesus invites us to come to Him and rest when we
are weary. Talking and listening to Jesus will strengthen your
relationship with He who loves you most and best, your Creator
Father, thank you for being there when I need refreshing in my soul. I am grateful that you care so much. Amen.1
I pray, that is just who I am. Some may wonder why I spend time in conversation with God, God who is unseen and yet omnipresent.
First, God knew at the moment I was born in 1946 exactly who I would be in 2018. He knew in advance all my strengths, my weaknesses – He knew I would sin in various ways throughout the past 72 years. He also knew that I would struggle physically with Parkinson’s Disease and that I would occasionally get depressed about that.
Further, despite that knowledge, He loved me. He loved me. He did not love my sin, but He loved the me that He knew I would be. He took the time to plan for my life, and that His plan would cause me to prosper and not harm me, a plan that would give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He recognized that to see His plan fulfilled in me, I would have to be cleansed of the sin that was in the world and was in me. The only way He could do that was to provide a sacrifice that once and for all would allow me to have fellowship with Him. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to live as a man, take all of the sin in the world – past, present and future – on to Himself and take that sin to a horrible death on a Roman cross. That death assured that I could have access to the God of all creation.
His love didn’t stop there. Even though His son paid the ultimate price to restore my relationship with Him, I continued to rebel and sin. Each time, upon my confession, He forgave me, forgot it ever happened and restored me to full fellowship.
Why do I pray? I pray because I can. I can pray because I have full access to the ear of God through the intercession of Jesus Christ His son and the power of the Holy Spirit. I talk to God because He wants to talk to me. I talk to God because I want to be separated from a life of sin and be totally sanctified as His disciple. I don’t understand it at all, why He would be so interested in my life, but I will pray.
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
Mark 6:34 NLT
The compassion of Jesus towards the crowds he dealt with while on earth is well documented in Scripture. He felt their hunger, he felt their pain, he even cried over their death. He demonstrated this compassion by forgiving their sin, healing their sickness, restoring their sight and even raising them from the dead. This trait of the compassionate Savior is understood by and accepted by those who profess to be his disciples.
We need to also know, however, that Jesus may not be physically walking the earth today, but the compassion of the shepherd towards his people hasn’t changed. He continues to have compassion towards us and feels our pain and our failures.
One of the things Jesus taught us throughout his ministry and continued to drive home through the ministry of Paul, Peter and the other apostles is that as his disciples today we are to demonstrate that same compassion towards our neighbors.
Look around you as you go about your day. When you see a situation where you tend to feel sorry for someone, go the extra mile and see if there isn’t something God will lead you to do about it. This action is the essence of true compassion.
Lord, allow me this day to become sensitive to the needs around me and not to merely feel sorry and move on, but empower me through your Holy Spirit to reach out and touch someone’s life in a tangible way that will serve to draw them to you. Amen
Meet Red, my able assistant. Red is what is known as a rollator. Whereas a walker is usually just a frame with four tiny wheels, a rollator has large wheels, handbrakes and is much better suited for outdoor use.
You may or not know that I have Parkinson’s disease. One of the ways it has affected me is that my stability and balance are not what they used to be. I have always been a runner, but with my current issues I am not only unstable but my legs get very fatigued in a short time. I had to stop running after taking a fall and cracking four ribs. Yeah, wake-up call for sure.
So I took up the next best thing – fast walking. I am too unstable to fast walk without support so I started out using trekking poles. The poles help, but I still feel unstable on the sidewalk or at the mall (where I walk 3 or 4 days a week). They still are good on the trail but I needed something different to allow me to fast walk. That’s when I found Red.
I started thinking about what it would be like to have some sort of walker to walk behind that would enable me to walk fast. Poking around the Internet I soon found Drive Medical and the Nitro Rollator. It’s like a hot red sports car for a guy in mid-life crisis, except I am not exactly in mid-life. I will just say for now that Red has been just what I had hoped. I will do another post later with more detail.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not something you just decide to do one night and wake up the next day a bona-fide disciple. I have been a follower of Christ for 49 years. I have served Him well, with some noticeable ups and downs and have managed to make it to 72 still being on the right side of the battle between the enemy of my soul and God who is my Creator.
That being said, in many ways I feel like a brand-new Christian looking for my ultimate purpose. I have taught Sunday School, preached sermons, served sandwiches to street people and cleaned church floors and rest rooms. I have served on church staff, church boards and ushered worshipers to their pews. All those things have to do with the activity of ministry. At this point in my life I want more. I need to answer to the call. God promised me in Jeremiah 29:11 that he has a plan for me, a plan that will give me hope and a future. It may sound unrealistic to think about a future when I am 72 years old, but realistically I could have another 20 years of future ministry. So I have to ask myself, what would that look like? To answer that question I have come to some realizations.
First, from a practical view, I must stay healthy. That may not sound particularly spiritual but 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells me that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So if I am 20-25 lbs overweight (which I am) and feel tired all the time (which I do) I will find it very difficult to be at my best as a representative of Jesus Christ. The answer then is that I must drop the excess weight and get to my healthy fighting weight so that I might effectively carry the full armor of faith. This is going to involve a commitment to eating properly and eliminating some unhealthy eating habits which are sabotaging my health.
This is the beginning but there are some spiritual changes that I must make to find my place in ministry over however many years the Lord may allot to me to be used for his glory. I will be dealing with those in subsequent posts.