With all that's going in the world lately, I shouldn't be surprised by the distractions happening around me. This Christian walk is not an easy one, we have an ever present enemy that hates us with a passion, he will attack again and again and with more ferocity every time. We must be able to encourage ourselves, focus on God and always be prepared! Paul wrote how essential it was to always wear our armor, by following his instructions we will not be weakened by the enemies attacks - instead we will be stronger because of them!(Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT )
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)
I've been side tracked with some difficult things, so I've been trying to not lose sight of what really matters - GOD. It doesn't matter how miserable we get and how fixed upon our worries and woes we are - we have to shift (and keep) our focus on God.
When we keep looking to God, it doesn't mean the burden is gone, it simply means we can carry the burden. When the anxiety builds up, when the fear has settled in and when the tears start to flow - we have to give it over to God. I'm always amazed at how God sees me at my breaking point and brings me small miracles to encourage me to continue on, they are like little love notes to my heart to remind me that He's still here, He's never left me and He's with me until the end.
In the middle of my tears, a text was sent to me out of the blue - a text that I knew was sent by the urging of the Holy Spirit - and I'm so happy she listened to His leading. I smiled through my tears, knowing all too well the timing was perfect and must be a God thing. I decided to turn on some Praise and Worship music, as my heart began to lift from the heavy sadness and soak in the beautiful power of singing praises to our Lord and Savior - I had an idea!
I needed to write down on an index card - my prayer request on one side, then on the other side - the burdens and sins I had been carrying - then I wrote on top of the burdens 'John 3:16,17 & 18' and now over that in the color red I wrote 'Blood of Jesus' - which completely covered up everything I had written. Then I took the card and held it over an open flame and burned it until there was nothing left but wispy smoke and ash. This process slowly set in and as I soaked in the message of this lesson - my sins covered by the blood of Jesus - forgiven - these burdens I tried to continue to carry even after being given to God are lifted from me, I'm unable to take them back from the ashes - Jesus' words echoed in my heart, "Come to me, all of you are 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 at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT) The enemy will do his best to remind us of our mistakes, but we must remember that "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12 NLT).
When we are going through a season of storms, it's hard to build ourselves up, we feel like we've been going under for so long, that we'll never make it out of the storm we're in. The strength we need to continue isn't our own strength - "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless (Isaiah 40:29 NLT). We have to be able to stir ourselves up, encourage ourselves when no one else can - even David had to encourage himself, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!" (Psalm 42:5 NLT). So when the disappointment has settled in and you want to give in, remember that you are never alone, that God is with you, He loves you and calls you His child, He sent His son to die for you and no matter your failures or doubts, He has a purpose for you and will always forgive you, because you are His masterpiece!
Labels: burdens, come to me, focus on God, forgiveness, i've been set free, my chains are gone, set free, strength and encouragement