Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Soft Place to Land

My daughter was telling me about her favorite thing to do during autumn.  She says she loves to gather up leaves on the lawn, form a big pile, and the jump in it.  She loves to fall back onto the leaves, knowing that she'll have a soft place to land on.  Sounds like a lot of fun too.

I thought about it for a bit.... a soft place to land on sounds really nice.  So many times I have felt like just falling back and landing on something comfy.  So many times I've felt like I'm carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And the burdens seems to increase, while my strength seems to diminish.  And I grow tired and weary.  

My friend could really use a soft place to land. She's constantly meeting the needs of others.  She seldom voices personal demands.  But instead, speaks up for others.  She doesn't like being in the "spotlight" of things, but loves to build others up.  And I often wonder, "Who's there for her?" I often wonder if she's feeling tired and alone.  And where does she go to rest?  Where does she go to her soft landing?  Maybe she knows something I don't know.

I love finding comforting words in the Bible.  I love when I read something that speaks directly to the heart.  And I love when God's words come in the form of a very soft place to land on.  Like in the book of  Matthew, chapter 11 when Jesus offers an invitation.  He invites anyone who is tired and weary to come to Him because He will provide rest.  Rest for the soul.  Not only does He acknowledge that we are burdened.  Not only does He know that we will face things that will make us feel weary.  Not only does He empathize with us, but He offers a  an invitation to receive rest.  He doesn't lecture.  He doesn't advise us on how we should balance our responsibilities and how we should change our "eating" habits.  He simply offers a solution.  He offers a place to come and lay down our burdens.  A place to rest, a big pile of leaves, sort of speak, to be able to fall back on. 

This is the love of our God.  A love so strong and vast, yet so comforting that it provides soft landing.  Maybe this is where my friend goes to for rest.

Now, like with all invitations, we must make a choice to accept or decline.  I pray we see and acknowledge the value in this most valuable invitation.  And may we jump right in!

Matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blessed is the man...

     I'm always taken back when I hear people complaining about how horrible things are for them, and they make it seem like God is not for them.  They talk about their problems, and portray themselves as victims.  They go on and on about how bad things are.  And they seem surprised by it.  Like God is supposed to be always loving... Is He?

     It troubles me that people want the goodness and favor of God in their lives, even though they don't want to be a follower of His.  Oh, they forget to mention that one little side note... they're not believers.  Let me rephrase that, they believe... they just don't want to live for Christ.  They believe there is a God, and they like the idea that He is a loving God.  They see God like Aladdin saw the blue Genie.  Someone who will grant them at least three heartfelt wishes.  Surely God wouldn't turn them away if they are truly in need.  Would He?

     Let me elaborate before I'm misunderstood.  Indeed, God is all loving and merciful.  Indeed, He will answer to a repentant cry for help.  God is faithful, and His greatest gift to mankind was giving up His son to die for us.  What more can we ask for?  Well, let's see... we ask for good health and good friends and good neighborhoods.  We ask for a lot of things.  They're not bad in it of themselves, and God is more than gracious to give us even more than what we ask for.  

     But where do we come off acting like God has to meet our every need even when we turn our backs to Him on a daily basis?  The word of God is clear.  "Cursed is the man who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord." - Jeremiah 17:5.  "But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."-Jeremiah 17:7

     If you are a believer, a follower of Christ, someone who's repented of his/her sins once and for all and God is your shepherd, then praise Him because He promises to be faithful to you always.  And indeed, you should expect His blessings, even in the hardships of life.  That's the beauty of knowing Christ... that He will use even the ugly in life to benefit you and others somehow.  You can trust that.

     But if you are not a believer.  If you live every day looking out for your own good and disregarding what God's will may be for your life, stop complaining about what isn't going right for you.  Your life is meant to be cursed.  In fact, all of us are meant to be cursed, and it is only because of the sacrifice that Jesus paid for us, that we can claim freedom from that curse.  

     In reality, life is hard no matter who you are.  We all face hardships on this side of heaven.  But what an awesome thing it is to trust a living God even in our storms because He is faithful!  And what a sad thing for those who face life's hardships all alone and without any hope because they reject God.  

     If that is you tonight.  If you are tired of feeling "cursed", stop trying to handle your situations on your own.  Don't demand something of God that you are not entitled to.   Instead,  come to Him in complete humility and ask Him to help you see things His way.  Sometimes all you have to do is ask.