Lay Your Burden Down

Have you even been so busy that you just don’t know what do next? Maybe you have so much to do on your list, you just shutdown and don’t do any of it. Ever felt overwhelmed? Anxious? Can’t catch your breath? You know, other things…

I have, and I’m feeling that right now. When I teach my youth group or preach I often remind people that everything I teach is something that I need to hear or has been on my heart. This blog is no different. The burdens for me right now are: school, big events for the church and youth group, health insurance (I’m getting out of the Air Force and Tricare is going away), our vehicles need some work, and a few other more private matters.

Here are some scriptures that I have been thinking on and praying about today.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalms 55:22)

 

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

And this song:

 

What are burdens you are carrying today? I’ll be happy to pray for you and I’d appreciate your prayers for me.

Family Defender?

Again, I find myself not posting in quite sometime. This time its been over a year! I also haven’t been using this as a personal blog like I had planned. My intention was, and is, to share my thoughts as a Christian dad but I have really only been sharing devotional thoughts. Which are great and I’m not planning to stop with those types of articles, but I also want to share my everyday thoughts and concerns as a Christian dad and husband. One long standing thought of mine is family and self defense.

I have been avoiding this topic a bit because for some reason it becomes a hot button issue. It can degrade into arguments very easily, but we’re not going to do that here. I appreciate comments and your thoughts on the issue, but I don’t appreciate rudeness or arguments for arguments sake.

As I get older and my children get older, I find myself becoming more and more aware of my responsibility to defend them. I fall into a spiral of self doubt. Am I doing enough to keep them safe? What would I do if someone tried to hurt them? How would I respond if someone tried to take my child at the grocery store or at the mall? Could I even do anything? Do I have any skills or a plan to defend them? Or even myself? As a Christian, do I even have the ability or authority, to physically defend myself or my children? Am I still a child of God if I have to hurt or kill another person to defend my wife’s, children’s, or my own life?

We will often go to the book of Luke to justify our ability and need for protection. Jesus told his apostles to sell their cloaks and buy a sword if they didn’t already have one (Luke 22:36), so we assume that we also have the right to protect ourselves. I think we need to be careful to apply this to ourselves, Jesus reminded them in verse 35 that before they didn’t need to take anything like gear, money, or weapons on their missions to spread news about Jesus because he, the Son of God, provided those things for them. But, after he is crucified they would be going out into the world, past the borders of Israel, without his protection. He is telling them as you go out this time you are going to need to provide these things for yourself. I’m not saying that this precludes you and I today of needing protection, but in this case he is speaking specifically to a certain group of people in their current situation.

But take a look at Nehemiah, basically a governor, and his work in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

 

Nehemiah 4:11-14

Some people didn’t want to see the wall rebuilt, these people liked having an unguarded city and easy prey. Evil people. These people planned to sneak in and kill indiscriminately so the wall couldn’t be completed. The friendly Jews who lived in surrounding areas warned Nehemiah, so he made sure there were armed men hiding in wait, willing and ready to do violence, to protect those who were working. Then he charged the rest of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to fight! Why? To protect their friends, their families and themselves.

Paul wrote to Timothy that a person doesn’t provide for his family he is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Paul doesn’t specify what he means by provide, but I know my wife and I provide food, clothing, and shelter for our children. But shelter also needs safety and security, also know as defense.

But why? Why do I feel the need to defend my family? Why did Nehemiah want his people to defend themselves? Why did Jesus warn his followers they would need to take their personal safety into their own hands? Love. I love my family and want to be sure their safe – by any means at my disposal. Nehemiah loved his people, and wanted to see them safe. That included seeing them properly armed and a protective wall built. Jesus loved his followers, and he loves us, and wants to see us all safe from evil people.

John Lovell of the Warrior Poet Society has some great content about being a lover of people, willing learn how to and to do violence to protect innocent people from the evil people of the world.

How big is a Mustard Seed?

Moses grew up as a prince in the then world power of Egypt. He ran away after he killed an Egyptian slave master in defense of a Hebrew slave. Moses settled in Midian, became a shepherd, and started a family. One day he was called by God to go back to Egypt and lead his fellow Hebrews to freedom in Canaan. Moses came up with several excuses why he couldn’t do what God had asked: “they won’t believe me”, “they won’t listen to me”, “I’m not a good public speaker”, and so on. But a question Moses asked God is interesting. He asked, “Who am I?” It seems that Moses didn’t think he had what it would take to do what God called him to do. He lacked faith in himself, he lacked self-esteem, he seemed to feel like he wasn’t worthy to take on the task. But mostly, he lacked faith in God.

But look at Elijah. Elijah took on 450 so called prophets of the false god Baal in a battle of faith on Mount Carmel. He was so bold and courageous that he mocked the prophets, and their god, when they were unable to bring supernatural fire down to burn their sacrifice. When it came to Elijah’s turn, he prayed to God to bring fire from heaven and show who the one true God was. He didn’t just hope or think that God would respond, he knew it. He knew it and believed it with every fiber of his being! He had a mountain of faith in God’s power, and God delivered in a spectacular way.

Who do you feel like most days? Do you feel like you can’t do what Jesus asks of us and share his good news? Do you lack the faith to change the world?

When some followers of Jesus couldn’t cast a demon out of a boy, they asked Him why. He told them they lacked faith. Then He said that if they only had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains. Did you read that, they could move mountains!

We don’t need to lead a nation to freedom, face down idolatrous hordes, slay a giant, or build a boat to change the world. We only need faith the size of a mustard seed.

How do we grow our faith? Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians in Rome that faith is built by hearing God’s Word preached. We need to worship and study to grow our faith. Solomon prayed for wisdom, we also need to spend time in prayer and be asking for the Spirit to strengthen our faith. Pray for ourselves, pray for each other, pray for the church, just pray!

What could you do with faith the size of a mustard seed?

Life Changes Ahead!

I’m currently enlisted in the US Air Force, my plan was to serve my 20 years while completing my bachelor’s degree in Bible/Ministry and a companion master’s then retire. After retirement I wanted to go into youth ministry or teach Bible at a Christian school. Well, after many prayers and discussions with my wife and family, I have decided to start applying for open positions and if hired, join the Air National Guard or AF Reserve. I’ll then focus on my ministry and completing my education.

I’m looking for a medium sized Church of Christ in the South Eastern United States (SC, NC, GA, AL, TN, FL Panhandle). Please shoot me an email if you have any leads! And feel free to download a copy of my resume.

More importantly, I would like y’all to pray for me and my family as we look to making a huge change in our lives.

Thank you!

Should we make a mess so allowance can abound?

Closet Nightmare!My wife and I are just starting an “allowance” for our kids, more like a chore incentive program. They do their chores, they earn a little spending money. My 5 year old son was looking for his remote control ‘Mater and said it was at the bottom of his closet, which is a nightmare! I told him not to make a huge mess, his reply: “Its ok, if I make a mess I can clean it up and get some money!” I told him that’s not how it works, you can’t create the mess on purpose just to clean it up and get some money.

Paul said something very similar to the Christians in Rome:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!

Romans 6:1-2a

 We have a gift of grace from God, but if we sin intentionally knowing that we can ask for forgiveness and He will forgive, we are wrong! That’s not how it works! Just like my son with his intentional mess, we also can’t make an intentional spiritual mess and expect to be forgiven! Of course we will all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but if we do our best to walk the Christian walk, and to be Christlike, then God will forgive our sins (1 John 1:5-9).

 

I pray that y’all have a great day!

 

Your children are listening!

A while back I wrote about the music that we allow ourselves and our children listen to. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are indeed listening to the music that they hear. We were in Target a few days ago buying school supplies when my daughter saw and read aloud something that said “Hello my name is…”, then my 5 year old son finished the thought with, “child of the One True King”! He was quoting a line from a song by an artist named Matthew West called “Hello My Name Is“.

The song deals with different issues that we as humans deal with on a daily basis, and that even with all of our faults and failings, we can be children of God. Its a great message, and my son knows it and sings about it! God is good all the time!