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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Freedom From Burdens (and other devotionals)

Freedom From Carrying Your Own Burdens
Freedom From Carrying Your Own Burdens 
Guest Writer: Meet my friend Shana Schutte. We are blessed to have her as our guest writer.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18 

There have been seasons in my life, as perhaps there have been in yours, when I have tried to carry the weight of life alone. During one of these seasons, the Lord began to minister to me about trusting Him rather than living like a spiritual orphan, resting in His love rather than striving. One afternoon, with pen and notebook in hand, the following thoughts came to mind. They are written as if God is speaking. If you wrestle with striving, you have a difficult time believing the Lord will provide for you, so you live like a spiritual orphan. I hope these words are an encouragement. If you are one of Wisdom Hunters’ male readers, I am pretty sure these words still apply even though they are written in more of a feminine voice.

The daughter who has forgotten that she is fathered, that she has an Abba who loves her, will try to do life independently of Me because she isn’t sure I am with her; she isn’t convinced I will take care of her. So she strives and works and strives and works like an orphan who must take care of herself. She acts like she has no Father while she confesses that she knows Me. Indeed, she is Mine, but she isn’t allowing Me to parent her the way a good father does. Instead, she tries to carry the weight of her life and her responsibilities all on her own. She has forgotten that true rest is found in belief and faith.

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:18-19).

The person who does not trust cannot rest even if they want to, because they are always driven  out of their unbelief, to self-protection and striving. “I will do it myself!” But the dependent child brings everything to her Daddy. She brings her worries. She brings her responsibilities. She brings her fears, financial needs, and friendships. She brings her love life and loneliness. She brings her marriage, her money, and her mate. She brings Me her life.
She lays down all of the pieces of her existence at My feet, day after day. She brings whatever burdens she is carrying and she unloads them all on Me. She knows she is loved, and she can rest because there is rest in love.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Prayer:  Lord, I praise You that You are such a faithful, loving Father. I praise You that I don’t have to carry my burdens all alone. What a wonderful God you are! Help me to remember that you want me to bring all of my concerns to You.

Application: Find a quiet place today and make a list of your concerns. Then, pray over each one and thank the Lord that you are not a spiritual orphan.

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Key #5 to Effective Prayer—Endurance
The next key to effective prayer is the need to be patient.  You need to be willing to endure.
Hebrews 6:11-15 says,
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.  For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Do you realize that once God gave Abraham and Sarah the promise of having a child, it was 25 years before Isaac was born?  There was some patient enduring that took place before they obtained the reality of God's promise in their lives.  And so it must be with us.
Perhaps you have been praying for things in your life, and you are getting discouraged.  You must remember that God does not always work things on our timetable.  He works according to His.
I just want to encourage you today:  Be patient.  Patience is that long-lasting quality of your faith.
A number of years ago I heard one person say that faith is like your hand and patience is like your arm.  When you exercise faith, it is like holding up your hand against the problem, and as you do, things are being worked out.  But if you take your patience down, your faith comes down with it.
Patience is the thing that keeps your faith applied until the answer comes.
Patience is a critical key to effective prayer.  Whatever you are praying for, patiently endure.

~Bayless Conley~

Today's ReadingDaniel 11Jude 1

Today's Thoughts: In Time

 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. - Revelation 1:3

The key word in today's verse is the word "time." When the Lord says, "the time is near," He is referring to time from His perspective, not from the perspective of time that we have. Our minds cannot comprehend God's concept of time, which puts us in a place of trusting Him for His perfect timing in all things.
Time seems so finite to us on earth, but in the kingdom of God, time is very different from what we know today. Even setting the clocks back one hour throws our schedules and internal systems off. It takes many of us all week to get adjusted to the time change. How can we begin to even imagine time being eternal? But it will be eternal for our spirits, and the choice of where we will spend it is up to us. For those in Christ, eternity in Heaven awaits us and the concept of time will no longer matter. For those who die without knowing Christ as their Savior, eternity consists of a Hell too terrible to comprehend.
Today, we should value time from the perspective that it is too short and is running out fast. Let's get out and spread the Good News before time runs out. The book of Revelation is written so that we will know of what is to come and to believe that the "time is near." We must never become complacent or apathetic regarding the Lord's prophecies and promises. His words will come to pass…in time.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is achieving for us a weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). (Weymouth)
The question is repeatedly asked--Why is the life of man drenched with so much blood, and blistered with so many tears? The answer is to be found in the word "achieving"; these things are achieving for us something precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation. It is the cry of the dear old hymn:
"Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee,
E'en tho' it be a cross that raiseth me."
Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, "I shall see Him face to face," were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment.
It is comforting to know that sorrow tarries only for the night; it takes its leave in the morning. A thunderstorm is very brief when put alongside the long summer day. "Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning."
--Songs in the Night
There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.
A peace that lives not now in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
'Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,

But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.

~L. B. Cowman~

Key #6 to Effective Prayer—Humility

Humility is a very important key to effective prayer.  In 1 Peter 5:5-6 we read this,
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
God resists the proud.  He gives grace to the humble.
Humility, more than anything else, is an attitude of the heart that says, "I recognize I am not self-sufficient.  I am open, I am teachable, I am thankful.  God, I am willing to bow my heart before You and confess that I am in utter need of Your assistance."
Contrary to what some people say and think, humility is not to be equated with lack of courage.  In fact, it takes great courage for a person to admit they have need.  Meekness is not weakness.  Meekness is a sign of strength.
King David said in Psalm 18:35Your gentleness (or Your meekness) has made me great.  Moses was called the meekest or the humblest man on the face of the earth, and yet we don't think of him as a weak person.  He is one of the greatest leaders to ever step out of the pages of the Bible, and very few people in history have had power with God in the place of prayer like Moses did. 
Jesus, our Savior, said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (KJV).  Friend, that ought to be one of the hallmark qualities of our lives— especially when we are praying.  It is a key to effective prayer.

~Bayless Conley~

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