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“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?


-Acts 7:49

WHAT WE CAN BEAR 

BY MARY WILDER TILESTON


Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. - PSALMS 119:54

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - PHILIPPIANS 4:19


HOW must the pilgrim's load be borne? 

With staggering limbs and look forlorn? 

His Guide chose all that load within; 

There's need of everything but sin.


So, trusting Him whose love He knows, 

Singing along the road he goes; 

And nightly of his burden makes 

A pillow, till the morning breaks.

LUCY LARCOM


THEY live contented with what they have, whether it be little or much, because they know that they receive as much as is profitable for them; little, if little be profitable, and much, if much be profitable for them, but the Lord only can, who has an eternal end in view in all things which He provides. 

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG


I hope you will learn, what I am always hoping to learn, to rejoice in God continually, knowing that He is really ordering all your circumstances to the one end of making you a partaker of His own good-ness, and bringing you within His own sympathy. 

THOMAS ERSKINE


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength.

- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/what-we-can-bear#sthash.GTGIPhLW.dpuf

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Life Is Too Short For…

 

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

 

One day when I was caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, my friend Bill McNabb sent me some thoughts entitled "Things That Life Is Too Short For." His thoughts forced me to take a look at my own life and reevaluate my priorities. Perhaps you need a dose of reality today:

 

Life is too short to nurse grudges or hurt feelings.

It's too short to keep all your floors shiny.

It's too short to let a day pass without hugging your loved ones.

It's too short not to take a nap when you need one.

It's too short to put off Bible study.

It's too short to give importance to whether the towels match the bathroom.

It's too short to miss the call to worship on a Sunday morning.

It's too short to stay indoors on a crisp fall Saturday.

It's too short to read all the junk email.

It's too short not to call or write your parents (or children) regularly.

It's too short to work at a job you hate.

It's too short not to stop and talk to children.

It's too short to forget to pray.

It's too short to put off improving our relationships with people that we love.

Life is just too short. Way too short to settle for mediocrity!

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What does Matthew 6:34 tell us not to do?

 

2. Matthew 6:34 also tells us today will have enough trouble of its own. What difficulties will you face today? Take a moment to pray and ask God to take control of your day and any difficulties you may face.

 

FURTHER READING:

Philippians 4:6

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

Lessons We Learn About Acceptance -

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

 

The desire to be accepted by others is a common, if not universal one. Do you know anyone who doesn’t seek to be accepted? I don’t think I do. Growing up, I felt that I had to perform in order to be accepted. When I was good at something it seemed that others would pay attention; that they would like and accept me. Experience quickly taught me that good performance equaled acceptance while poor performance often meant some kind of rejection. So, driven by the desire to be accepted, I worked to achieve. Still, I was nagged by the suspicion that whatever I did would not be enough.

 

Unfortunately, I also learned this same lesson in church and in a variety of ways. For example, as a kid, I was part of our church’s Scripture memory program. Every week, we learned a new Scripture verse and on Sunday morning we would recite the verse for a listener. If we learned the verse, we’d get a gold star in our Scripture memory booklet. Another star was added next to our name on the bulletin board for everyone to see! Of course, most of us forgot the verses within a few days, but that wasn’t the point! Getting your gold star and more gold stars than the other kids was point! I actually remember being happy when one of my friends was absent because it meant I could get ahead in the race for most gold stars!

 

The lesson was unintentionally taught, but so much of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus became reduced to performance. I learned lessons like Jesus loves good people; people who follow all of the rules; people who get more gold stars than anyone else. This has been a hard lesson to unlearn.

 

Fortunately, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned more and more about the real Jesus. While obedience to Christ is important, I’ve learned that Jesus’ love for me and His acceptance of me does not depend on whether I’m always obedient. I’ve found Jesus is far more loving and accepting than I had ever imagined. I am convinced that His love for us never fades nor falters. He accepts us without conditions of performance. He always treats us the same way. Yes, He loves us on our best day. And, He loves us just as much on our worst day. The ultimate proof of his acceptance was his willingness to die for us – “while we were still sinners”.

 

Today, if you feel like much of your acceptance in life is based on performance, take a few moments to be comforted by the truth that there is One whose love is not based on what you do or don’t do. Jesus loves you for who you are at this very moment. This is perhaps one of life’s most important lessons to learn!

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Does knowing Jesus’ love and acceptance isn’t based on performance cause you to want to be more or less obedient in following Him? Why?

 

2. In what areas of life (or to which people in your life) do you give or withhold acceptance based on performance? What can you do to change?

 

FURTHER READING:

Romans 8:31-39; John 8:1-11; Matthew 9:9-13; 11:28-30

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Perfectionism is Overrated!

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?

Hi, my name is Sandy, and I’m a closet perfectionist. And I know that perfectionism is overrated!

No one would know my secret if they looked at my house, my hair, or my clothes, but somewhere down deep there is a desire for perfection. My heart races and my nerves shake when things are not in order. I used to tell my children I could not make them lunch until the counter was clear and everything was in its place. Considering the fact that this rarely happened, it is a miracle that my children have not starved.

This uncomfortable trait has hounded me my whole life. I just never fully understood it until I became a mother. The demands became greater. My house became messier. My mind and body became overworked. And peace fled the scene. After all, if you can’t rest until everything is perfect, then rest will rarely be yours to enjoy.

Thankfully, I can say that God has been working on me in this area. He gave me five children to stretch my limits and help me see that perfection here on earth is a myth. I have learned to turn a blind eye to unmade beds and piles of laundry. I have gone to bed with dishes in the sink. I have snuggled with my children when the “to do” list was longer than the toilet paper unrolled on the bathroom floor. But there is one area where the struggle persisted.

In my heart, I not only longed for perfection I wanted to be perfection. I deeply desired to do everything right so my children would follow God, be loving to each other, and be kind to others. I wanted to get it perfect so they would get it perfect.

The popular slogans for success, “Strive for excellence” and “Give life 110%” became my unspoken mantras for motherhood. I would give this huge responsibility of raising children all I had. I would have devotions every day. I would pray with each child every night! I would model what a perfect follower of Christ should be.

It wasn’t very long before I realized this was impossible. Perfectionism is overrated! How can you give 110% when you only started with 100%, and after the overflowing toilet, the runaway dog, and the all-out sibling war there is only 17% left?

After some frustrating failures and deep soul searching, God finally helped me to see the problem. I was relying on my own strength and wisdom. My motivation was commendable, but my expectations were wrong. I was not perfect and neither were my children.

He was doing a work in my life making me more like Him, but I wasn’t there yet. And the truth is, I will never be perfect this side of heaven. He was the One who would use my feeble attempts to shape my children into who He wanted them to be. It wasn’t up to me. It was all up to Him.

I have come a long way since my children were little, but I have to admit that I still fall into the perfectionism trap. When I do, I remind myself that the Lord’s expectations of me are much lighter than my expectations of myself. He does not require me to have the house spotless all the time. He does not require me always to feel energetic and playful. He does not require me to be everything to everyone. All He expects of me as a person and a mother is to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. Even in these things I need His help. I am powerless to do them in my own strength, but He gladly gives me His power as I rely on Him.

I cannot keep my children from arguing, but I can be just in my dealings with them by seeking the truth and relying on God’s wisdom to handle the situation appropriately. I can model repentance when I blow it and show mercy when others ask forgiveness. Most of all, I can love the Lord my God will all my heart and soul and mind and walk humbly with Him on a daily basis. These are the things that will make the biggest difference in the lives of our children.

None of us will ever be perfect on earth. So before your 110% dwindles down to 15% or less, consider what God requires of you – to live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

After all, perfection is overrated!


This post first appeared here and is shared with permission.

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