I want to thank you for your prayers as we went to Indiana this week to do the funeral service of our wonderful friend, Clifton. It was such as honor to be there for his wife, Geri, and family. The Lord definitely spoke through Ed as he shared the love of the Lord. It was a difficult time but a time of blessing as we know Clifton is celebrated with Jesus!
This week the Lord spoke to me about “The List”. This time of year, it’s easy to have a list or two going. There’s the Christmas List – Thanksgiving dinner list – Guest list – Decoration List – Party list and the list goes on:) One day I was making a mental list of everything that is on my plate at this time. I woke up about 4 with about 6 lists running through my head and knew I needed to get to writing down all I was thinking or I would forget it. My list included Ed’s cousin in Tucson’s house that we go do something with next week, Candy’s memorial service we are planning and doing in Tucson, Mom’s paperwork for unpleasant things, AirBNB duties, church events and responsibilities, Children’s church, finances, Clifton’s service, travel, finances, Christmas, grandkids Christmas, Mom’s broken heart. The list sometimes goes on and on in my head and in my heart. Then He said, “Look at how much space these things take up in your mind and heart!” Another WOW. They are real issues, real responsibilities, real parts of life but He didn’t say I had to do them alone.
There’s no way to avoid life – situations – responsibilities. But He gives us His answer to all this that we all have heard, “ Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:8 The last few months the Lord has been speaking to my heart in ways I can’t explain. He wooed me to come closer and I finally listened. He knew I longed for His healing touch and was so overwhelmed with my crushed heart that I couldn’t see clearly on what to do. What He is doing in my heart I cannot maintain with fleshly efforts. He is working so deep that there is no way I can even try to do any of it myself. Actually, doing it myself is what got me to the place of despair.
Sometimes I act as if these lists, the burden to pray, the situations of life are totally and solely on me like He gave me this burden to carry and now I must buck up and get it done. When I was growing up, I was told over and over, “He never gives you more than you can carry.” When I lost my husband at age 23 with 3 babies that is what kept me going but I can have a determined attitude at times. I thought about that and now see how inside I have carried that attitude of the Little Engine that Could too far. Religion tells us that He puts this stuff on and in our lives and if HE put it there, we can do it and we try with every effort in us and sometimes succeed at getting the “task” done and not giving up on the outside but that keeps us from going to Him and casting the cares on Him. I always heard He won’t give you a burden to heavy to carry and cast your burdens on Him. I just realized lately how confusing that is and how some of this old religious works gets deep inside and you don’t even realize why you do what you are doing. It’s a truth that we can make it through anything with Him as our Savior and Lord but it is not a truth that He is giving us the burdens to carry. Life has burdens. Burdens come from life and sometimes we cause our burdens and other times we just get bombarded with stuff from this life. The Truth is He says to cast the burdens on Him. “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” 1 Peter 5:7
Most of us have heard this verse and it is what we are to do. We all try and most of us would say we pick the cares back up again. That’s where the truth of what He is doing in the heart we cannot maintain in our own efforts. Daily we must continue to give Him all our cares, worries, burdens and stuff. How can we get to the place where we are not carrying our own stuff but give it to Him and let Him keep it? We CANNOT keep ignoring His wooing and love. When we take anything into our own hands we don’t trust, or understand, or believe or experience in our HEARTS His love and compassion for us. We don’t really grasp His love and having a deep personal one on one heart relationship with Him. We may know that we can have this but that doesn’t mean it is real in our lives. I was carrying so many things and I truly was going to Him and spending time with Him but somehow, I took these burdens as my responsibility and didn’t include Him. His Word is the Truth and mediating on His Word is the greatest way to let go of things. Just like the “part truth” of the saying I heard all my life of Him never giving me too much to carry or handle, there’s still a deception in that saying. The deception is that He would give you burdens and cares to carry. The deceptions are anything that makes us think we have to do our part and let Him do His. The deception is believing His love and help come to us when we are trying to do what He wants us to do. A sentence, a thought, a belief that has many big truths and only one tiny deception that His conditional love, is not a truth at all.
The other day the Lord spoke to my heart to write on joy unspeakable. I told Him I would need help to do that! Dah!! That’s how we think sometimes. He answers our prayers by guiding us a certain way and we act as if we have to do it alone. His answer to me was, “Have I ever asked you to do anything alone, without My help?” I’m learning😊. I’m listening. He said it’s time to laugh instead of doubt and pout. 😊. Here’s some verses on thankfulness.
“Play the guitar as you lift your praises loaded with thanksgiving. Sing and make joyous music with all you’ve got inside”. Psalm 33:2
“Lift up a great shout of joy to Yahweh! Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere! You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name!” Psalm 100:1,4
“Sing out with songs of thanksgiving to the Lord! Let’s sing our praises with melodies overflowing!” Psalm 147:7
“Singing: “Amen! Praise and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”” Revelation 7:12
“And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure. Because of you, I know the path of life, as I taste the fullness of joy in your presence. At your right side I experience divine pleasures forevermore!”
Psalm 16:9, 11
“Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me! My lips are full of perpetual praise.” Psalm 34:1
Have a wonderful week of thanksgiving. Take time to really soak in His presence and love. Give Him the lists you are preparing and let Him sort them out for you. These have been some of my life-giving verses since I was young. They are powerful. “Go ahead and make all the plans you want, but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps. We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive. Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed. The Lord works everything together to accomplish his purpose.” Proverbs 16:1-4