Christianity 201

July 1, 2014

Lay Your Burdens Down

With a few exceptions, we try not to “borrow” devotions from the same source more than every six months, but Stephen and Brooksyne Weber at DailyEncouragement.net are an exception. This is my personal “go to” devotional blog, and I try to make it the first click when my computer boots up in the morning, but sometimes email interrupts!  When I read this, I thought of the video I wanted to include with it, Chuck Girard’s Lay Your Burdens Down, and then realized a few days later that they had the same idea. There’s also a great illustration in the middle of this that I hope to remember. To read today’s devotion at source, including pictures and other suggested videos, click this link.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19). “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

In our final session at the chaplaincy training conference this week we heard Doug Clay share a message on coming to Jesus for our needs. He based his message on the story of the blind man in Mark 8 who came to Jesus to be healed and then came back a second time because he saw men as “trees walking”. Doug shared that this illustrated a persistence in coming to Jesus concerning our needs. One of the lines I really liked from his message was, “Starve your doubts and feed your hope”.

Following his message he asked the various leaders on our chaplain team to come to the front and then extended an altar call for any who may have come to the conference with a special need for which they wanted prayer. I think he was only expecting a few but long lines formed. As I observed the lines I thought of the burdens these people were bearing. For some it was a physical need, for others perhaps a matter in their marriage and family. For others it might have been a financial burden. Perhaps it was a special challenge or hard time for some in their ministry. Brooksyne and I sure recall going to meetings with a heavy heart due to ministry matters in past years.

As I observed the line I considered the burdens those we minister to are enduring. Encounters we have in the course of our chaplaincy, notes and prayer requests we receive from Daily Encouragement readers and those in our church and churches we have served. It was a long line in my mind as I considered specific situations people have and are experiencing.

One of our favorite writers is Robert J. Morgan, a pastor in Tennessee who shared an interesting illustration: he had been on a long trip and was travel weary as he walked through the airport. He was physically relieved when he spotted a long moving sidewalk and headed in that direction. It was here that the Lord spoke to his heart.

He had a bag in each hand but in his fatigue he didn’t even think to set them down. “I was still carrying my load while the moving sidewalk was carrying me. Not until halfway down the hall did I have the presence of mind to release my bags and let the moving sidewalk carry them for me.”

Can you can identify with Morgan’s illustration? In regard to my burdens I tend to set them down (trust) and then pick them back up again (doubt).

As we write this message today I consider several I know who face heavy burdens, part of the long line of people who need God’s tender touch.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” In Scripture God often emphasizes the unit of time we call the day.  In fact it’s the very first unit of time that is referred to in the Bible and the most frequently mentioned starting with Genesis 1:14.

Certainly each of us knows about burdens and we can readily identify with the Lord’s statement that “each day has enough trouble [burdens] of its own” (Matthew 6:34b). A commentary considers the meaning of the daily text in this way: “God daily carries us as a manifestation of His protective and sustaining care.” Such an interpretation brings to mind “Footprints in the Sand” written by Mary Stevenson during her teen years in 1936 as she endured major obstacles in her young life.*

What assurance His Word brings. Believing friend, God is bearing your burdens today, and wants to lighten your load. He loves you, and the trial you are presently enduring does matter to Him. He is faithful and He will see you through to the other side! Don’t try to shoulder your burdens for the heavy load will surely break you.  Instead lay your burdens down at the foot of the cross. Jesus will meet you there.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

*I didn’t want to edit the devotional, but I’ve always heard “Footprints” credited to Margaret Fishback Powers. Either way, the illustration applies. (At least a half-dozen people have claimed the poem was ‘theirs,’ Powers is widely considered to be the author of record.)

May 16, 2011

Afraid of Fear

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This is shaping up to be the kind of week that causes my anxiety levels to peak.  (Your prayers are welcome!) I’m not only worried about a few things, but it worries me that I worry.  So I was glad to see this post from Kelli at the blog Restored Sunshine; where it appeared under the title Dealing with Fear:

“I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 NIV)

I don’t think there is any other emotion that we have that can strike us to move faster or stand completely still.  The above verse is my favorite, because when fear strikes, and it strikes more often for me than I care to admit, I say this verse.  I have also, received more peace, and I’ll gladly admit that, when I say this verse.

Today I started my new job.  My trainer left for the afternoon and I had only been with her for less than two hours!  So, that left me answer the phones… massive, and well deserved panic.

Then I did what I always do when I’m in an unfamiliar place tasked with unfamiliar functions… I ran to the bathroom… okay maybe not (but I never underestimate the power of a well placed bathroom break) I prayed the above.

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

With Jesus we are not fear or be anxious about anything, and as someone who gets anxious about most things I fully understand how hard this command can be.  So for you, who like me, suffer from this ailment, and would like to stop I suggest the following:

  1. PRAY – do this first.
    (Remember to breathe while you are doing so.)
  2. PRAY – do this second.
    (Remember: Greater is He who is in ME than he who is in the world.)
  3. PRAY – do this third.
    (Remember: God did not give us a spirit of fear.)

So, how did it go for me.  One of the worst days.  It was so surreal and I have a ridiculous headache, but I’m okay.  I will figure this out and for only having less than two hours of training and having absolutely no clue about any of it, I think I did well.

~Kelli Wait

Tomorrow we’ll take this to the next level with a Christian counselor who offers a somewhat different foundation for facing fear.

Classic and modern worship
If you check the right hand side of the page, you’ll see that all of the various music resources that have appeared here are now listed and linked alphabetically.  Take a moment to discover — or re-discover — some worship songs with spirit and substance.