Sometimes we find ourselves exhausted. Tired of doing the right thing when our flesh wants to act out, saying the right thing when our tongue wants to lash out, taking the high road when our human nature wants to sink to their level. Depleted from giving so much of ourselves to others. We ask ourselves whether our efforts are appreciated or taken for granted, as just something that we are supposed to do. Then we begin to question if we should continue this journey and if it’s worthwhile.
This is a good time to grab hold of a promise. Not just any promise, but God’s promise. The Bible is full of them. One that I like to go to in these weary moments is in Galatians 6:9. In this scripture God’s promise to us is that we shall be rewarded, if we continue to sow good seed: “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint”(Amplified Bible).
Halloween is right around the corner. A day to play dress up in masks and costumes and give and receive treats. This leads me to the revelation that some of us wear masks year round. Faces of pretense worn in attempts to hide reality. The false face of success for example. This mask portrays career or business success when the reality is, your career is at a stalemate and your business is in the red, on the verge of closure. Another popular mask is the having it all together face, donned to persuade others that your life is perfect, when the real is, that you are secretly falling apart. We have all experienced problems in our career or business and in our personal lives as well. If you are an exception to the rule, as my great grandmother used to say “just live a little while longer”. Today let’s give ourselves the treat and freedom of taking off our masks.
Peter locked his eyes on Jesus and began walking towards him; now these weren’t any ordinary steps he was taking. Peter was walking on water (Matthew 14:27-29). Can you imagine the awe he must have felt, to be walking not in, but on water? This laws of nature defying moment was short-lived however. The wind began to pick up and fear and doubt overtook Peter. These co conspirators caused him to take his eyes/his focus off of Jesus and he began to sink.
There are times in our lives when we are charging full steam ahead towards a goal, fully focused on its achievement, only to look around at the faces of doubters and hear the voices of naysayers. Then that dynamic duo fear and doubt gain a chokehold on us, paralyzing us.
In the case of Peter, Jesus didn’t let him sink. He stretched out his hand and caught him. Likewise, He will not allow us, his children, to sink either. Keep your eyes on Him.
In the game of poker and in life, sometimes you are dealt a good hand and other times a bad one. In both cases, your control over your hand is limited. Like wise in both the card game and in life you have the option to fold.
Folding in the game of poker means “to lay down your cards and stop playing the hand. You are out. You give it up.” (poker.about.com). In life we can lay down or surrender our lives to Christ, giving up our old life for a new one in Him.. In Matthew 11:28 He beckons us to Him “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.
James 4:10 encourages us to “humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you”.
2 Corinthians 5:17 lets us know that we can be dealt a new hand/ a new life “therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things passed away; behold, new things have come”.
There is an old country song by Kenny Rogers whose lyrics relate to the game of poker and to life: “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. You must know when to hold onto your cards, when to put your hand down, when to walk away from the poker table, and when to run from it. Accordingly, you must know when to hold onto your life, when it’s time to surrender it, and when it’s time to walk away from certain situations and/or people and run to Christ.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made
Crafted in His image
Stamped with His approval
No one exactly like you
Uniquely designed by the world’s greatest artist
With intricate fingerprints that can’t be duplicated
Birthmarks that are uniquely yours
Personality shaped especially for you
Equipped with special gifts and talents for His service
The potter’s priceless vessel
That’s who you are
I love every single inch of it
Though it is not perfect and sometimes there is more of it than there used to be
It is mine and I embrace it
There are scars, each with its own story
When I fail to get enough sleep there are dark circles
Sometimes I cover them with makeup, other times I wear them proudly
Although unwanted, they are still a part of me
As I have gotten older the one mole that I had in my youth has multiplied into a family of moles
I embrace them, they add character
Sometimes my eyebrows are perfectly arched, other times I embrace my natural brow and let the hair grow thick and wild
Pimples used to freak me out, sending me on missions to get rid of them or looking for ways to hide them
Now I accept them as just another slight imperfection
Flaws, scars, blemishes, and all, I love every single inch of this skin I’m in
No matter how good our lives are, we go through “our moments”. Moments where we feel a little down, a little out, or a little down and out. For some of us,if we don’t get a handle on these blues at inception, they spiral into depression. I have found that music can often be a light in that dark tunnel.
A song that has been a guiding light for me since I discovered it a few months ago, is “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. Big Daddy Weave? Yes, a weird name, but the song will truly minister to your heart. On this morning “Redeemed” reminded me that “I can stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”, it made me give thanks that “I’m not who I used to be”, and it reassured me that greater is coming, because “He’s not done with me yet”.
I am redeemed!
The first step is always the hardest. It’s often weighed down with fear, doubt, and their cousins “what ifs”. Each successive step becomes a little easier, as the weights are lifted and eventually set free. With every step forward you begin to focus less on the thoughts that plagued you in the beginning, focusing instead on reaching your destination.
What are you waiting on? In the words of the television character Martin Payne: “get to stepping”.