Getting relief from the load

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Imagine all the worries of your daily life as boulders piled into a dump truck. When you dump it and drive away there is a significant savings in fuel costs aka brain space, not to mention wear and tear on the suspension and tires aka health/wellness.

Last fall, my husband and I did a “clean- up” of our backyard. This involved shoveling the fallow soil from our old planter boxes into a U-haul trailer rental. We worked hard and our reward was to get the lower price (4-hour rate vs. 8-hour rate).

When we released the lever at the DUMP, we felt so much relief. Going back to weigh the vehicles, we were given a price for disposal and realized the extreme weight of our load- 3.6 TONS!

In this Psalm, King David is speaking about a very low time in His life. He experienced the betrayal of one of his closest advisers and friends (Ahithophel)- read 2 Samuel 15-17. This was weighty!!

I encountered this Psalm shortly after the untimely death of my younger brother. My question to God was: “Why, Lord, did my brother take his own life”?

Verse 22 jumped off the page as I realized that we are all at risk of being overburdened and failing to cast on God what is not ours to bear (i.e. it could be a spouse’s infidelity or other relationship, it could be financial troubles or pressures that may cause a downcast soul). The answer is to “cast our cares upon the LORD”. If He is able to sustain His creation daily in this galaxy- where everything is spinning delicately in space, then He is able to sustain us- who are part of His creation.

Our job is to keep casting every crushing burden onto His capable shoulders. Casting does not mean just thinking it through but applying an energetic, purposeful explosion of spiritual muscle contractions (faith). In other words, this burden does not belong here so let me exercise my faith in the Almighty. He is telling the truth about us through His Word so we are not doomed to be held captive by another’s lies.

I burned so many calories the day we shoveled 3.6 tons of dirt in 4 hours. We were intentional in our job and God provided the strength. Of course,physical activity is much better than stewing in emotional duress. Let this remind us to exercise our faith, not just ponder it.

Sometimes we need to trust God for an extra oomph of strength to take our next step of faith. He promises to sustain us! -Teresa #turningtoGodnotdealersofalsesolutions #trustintheONEwhokeepsmefromfalling

Psalm 55:22 (ESV)

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.

God of the living

Coming out of the deep http://pexels.com

Those who don’t believe in the resurrection are sad (“Sad you see”- as the old saying goes)!

In this passage, their lack of faith was evident as they focused on earthly semantics (whose wife will she be?) vs. the heart of God (love for each individual and a desire to be united with each one of them). #eternalife

Knowing the Scriptures and God’s power to change a heart imbues wisdom. Coming up out of deep darkness, the darkness of having a driving need to be right or to appear clever to others, only happens when we are in the presence of Christ Jesus our Lord. #humbledandunashamed

He is the Father’s evidence to us of a love that never ends. No wonder God (YHWH) introduced himself to Moses as “I am” (not I was).

Jesus (God’s Son) also introduced himself to the crowds with 7 different “I am” statements (see the gospel of John). #IAM #thewaythereuthandthelife #thegoodshepherd #thevine #thebreadoflife #thelightoftheworld #theresurrectionandthelife #thegateforthesheep

If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the patriarchs of our faith, then my faith is in God’s resurrection powers. -Teresa #Godoftheliving

Mark 12:18-27 (ESV)

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man[a] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Sweet Fellowship

Remembering…at Yosemite

Remembering is helpful to a point. When it brings to light those who have served faithfully as parents, grandparents and great grandparents, we rejoice. When it brings us down and we can’t move forward, it is better to “pray through it” (like the Psalmist) or at times simply leave it behind.

The Psalmist (Sons of Korah) struggled with being physically removed from that which meant most to them. The songs of ascent (Psalms 120-134) referred to here were normally sung on the way to worship together as a community in Jerusalem. Yet, this description shows the Psalmist is in a very dry place (spiritually, like a famine). It appears the cause for the famine was a result of being physically displaced and much farther north in the country of Israel near the great Mount Hermon (described as Mt. Mizar- insignificant and small in comparison to the greatness of God’s presence -Kidner, p. 166). The Psalmist was separated from his spiritual community.

I was touched this week by the life and death of a beautiful saint from our home church in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Shirley Salo). Remembering when we lived near her family, I am filled with good thoughts of a time period when our lives revolved around a vibrant church community. As a child, all the adults (particularly Shirley) knew who I was (not something the children of the megachurches today can say). This makes me grateful and yet sad for my grandchildren.

Wherever we may be physically, God is near us. Nevertheless, no matter how beautiful the physical surroundings, our hearts can be even more irrestably drawn to a place in our memory where we once felt a sense of belonging.

His greatness breaks through the clouds of our doubt. His refreshment successfully satisfies us through memories or simply by moving on and seeing what we have learned through our history that will serve to nourish our future generations.

Even when others don’t “see” us or don’t seem to care, God’s presence is astounding. He is not only a rock but He is our salvation!- Teresa #hopeforfuturegenerations #fellowshipcanbe2ormoregatheredinHISname

Psalm 42:1-11 (ESV)

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation[c] 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

1. Derek Kidner, An Introduction and Commentary Psalms 1-72 (London: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 165-168.

Oh you of little faith

Birds devouring the seed http://pexels.com

One thing I realized about myself was that as much as I have a “Finnish” heritage and pride of “Sisu”, I crumble pretty fast when lies start to cloud my vision.

During the time I spent with my small group this past season studying Head to Heart (see http://www.BecomingWhatGodIntended), God opened my eyes to the importance of trust. As Dr. Eckman teaches, when we trust God for even 5 minutes of the day everything looks brighter, helping us relax inside.

In the past, I did not see my heart as one where the birds devoured the Sower’s seed. Now, I see it and repent of my lack of faith -do I not trust what God says about me more than what “Satan” lies about me? There are certain challenges where I’m full of faith (resources, giving to others) but one place that hits me hard and fast is to be maligned or shown aggression from someone I felt to be my friend or loved one.

If my competetive conflict style has a chance to kick in, then I’m pretty sure that I fully forget God’s truths planted in the soil of my heart. “I am a dearly loved daughter” becomes “you will know why that was wrong in no uncertain terms because you just messed with the wrong person”. Precious Moments Teresa becomes Godzilla’s team temper Teresa!

Why? I start to believe the lie instead of trust the truth about who I am. Sure it hurts when someone I admired or respected takes a sucker punch at me, but I’m determined to toughen up at the “get go”. Breastplate of righteousness means their words or false accusations cannot permeate the righteousness of Christ’s work in my heart. In other words, let me check the primary source FIRST. Dear heavenly Father, is this from you? When delivered outside of love, I know it is not!

In that case, consider the secondary source of attack and who they may be influenced by. Don’t let the birds devour God’s Word meant for you. Instead, allow the seeds of His Word to go down deep and bring healing and wholeness. – Teresa #goodsoil #expectaharvest #trustandobey

Mark 4: 1-20 (ESV)

4 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[b]18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

All things new

God’s teardrop. http://pexels.com

When I watched the epic film, The Passion of the Christ (for the first time in 2004), I was overwhelmed with emotion. The line where Jesus tells Mary He is “making all things new” was strategically placed after He endured the scourging and mocking, and was being humiliated on the Via Dolorosa.

It made me realize how capable Jesus Christ the LORD was (is), to literally take on the penalty of sin’s curse for mankind (and continually intercede for us).

The moment in the film when my tears (more like sobs) started and would not stop was at the very end. The teardrop portrayed the Father’s grief, and made me remember that His most precious Son not only endured tremendous suffering but did it willingly for the sake of mankind.

Such love, such tenderness, such compassion from our Creator caused a ripple effect of love into my individual life. #sinoftheworld #debtpaid

I repented over and over telling God that I would no longer see my own “righteous works” as anything significant, it was only HIS provision that mattered and faith in Christ’s finished work. -Teresa

#madenew #fulltimeministrymeans #livingfullyinHISgrace

Revelation 21:5,6 (NIV).

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Winter purification http://pexels.com

6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without costfrom the spring of the water of life.

Matthew 27:24-31 (ESV)

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[a] see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[b] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters,[c] and they gathered the whole battalion[d] before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Give us peace

The splendor of holiness. http://pexels.com

God’s voice thunders and as I respond and recognize His role, I am confounded by His strength and His peace.

Has the voice of social media become so loud, clamoring for my attention, that I forgot WHO is truly great? Has my pain driven me to the maker of my soul, helping me find His truth? #inplainview

My husband and I re-watched a movie this week, “The Impossible”. I was reminded of the force of nature found in the ocean waves, namely a tsunami wave.

God’s voice is powerful enough to be over many waters. As we cry “glory” to Him, He draws us to the safety net of His peace.

King David taught us how to remain humble by remembering the greatness of God. Without Him we are nothing. – Teresa “Indie Hymn”#listentoHisheartofpeace #paindrawsustoHim

Psalm 29English Standard Version

Ascribe to the Lord Glory

A Psalm of David.

29 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,[a]
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.[b]

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth[c]
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless[d] his people with peace!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 29:1 Hebrew sons of God, or sons of might
  2. Psalm 29:2 Or in holy attire
  3. Psalm 29:9 Revocalization yields makes the oaks to shake
  4. Psalm 29:11 Or The Lord will give… The Lord will bless

Many who are first will be last

When u feel like the line is too long http://pexels.com

Those who hinder others from seeing the truth of God’s love may have an air about them. #Firstinline #Josephsbrothers #bullies

Those who are hindered from experiencing God’s love may have their heart set somewhere else. #Riches #workethic #spillsintospiritualworks #elderbrother #parableoftheprodigalson

Those who have left all to follow Christ may be astonished at who can be saved. #Godoftheimpossibleshowsup #BillyGraham

God is in the business of altering our paradigm. Just when we think we have it figured out, He opens our eyes to a paradox. Help me, Lord, to trust and obey. -Teresa #holdlooselywhatismine

#thelastwillbefirst #fewrichpeoplewillbesaved #rewardsaregiventothegenerousofheart #Josephlefthisbrothersandland #becamesecondtoPharaoh #Godsplan

Matthew 19:13-30English Standard Version

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

The Rich Young Man

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,[a] when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[b] and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

As fine as dust

Dusted. http://pexels.com

When David spoke about the complete take down of the violent man, he literally beat them finer than the dust. What a metaphor!

When God saves us and brings deliverance from sin, He does it completely. Where is my faith and focus? Is it on phantoms and mere dust in the wind or is it on the Lord?

Always remember who rescued you, who exalted you and who delivered you. He is the Lord of all.

He is worthy of our praise!! #Worthyisthelamb #greaterthanoursuffering

Sin is violent and would like to destroy God’s work in and through us. #getridofthis #unbeliefakasin

I’ve reminded myself today to be dead (or not respond) to the things that want to destroy my life and not let phantoms (or lies by others) determine where my faith is. Or who I am.

David’s complete trust in who God is and the position God gave him, as king, fueled him through a very long period of waiting and being hunted. It also taught him when the time was right to pursue and conquer with abandon. #yearsofwaiting #swordofthespirit #wordofGod

Remember His character is rubbing off on us in the waiting time. – Teresa #forgetthedust #rememberthedeliverer #beamazedatHim

Psalm 18:37-50English Standard Version

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me,[a]
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

43 You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48 who rescued me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you delivered me from the man of violence.

49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50 Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

A cup of water

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Jesus was much more than a prophet. He was sent by God. Those who follow Christ’s teachings are disciples and similar to his original band of followers, we can trust Him who has the words of life.

John 6: 68-69 (ESV)

Simon Peter answered him,

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 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

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69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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As often as we show tangible love to our brothers and sisters in Christ, I have seen the “watching world” gasp. I had an experience like this, while travelling by bus. Since I was young and inexperienced, I failed to realize my ticket had an overnight layover in the heart of Chicago. After phoning home from a payphone (yes, this was before cell phones). My mom made a call to our Pastor’s parents, who lived nearby. They came to pick me up and let me stay in their home, provided me food and a ride back the following morning. On the thank you note for them, I quoted the verse from Matthew (below). I was the one gasping at how God miraculouly provided for me.

Matthew 10:40- 42 (ESV)

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for opening a way for us to be right with the Father. I have tasted your goodness and also respond in gratitude.- Teresa #JesustheHolyOne #showsushowtolove

Need good things? ask God

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Sitting in the sunshine, I felt a familiar tug at my heart. I knew that other’s expectations could not reach me here. Maybe that’s why I was finally able to relax, lie down and doze off.

Upon awakening, even before I opened my eyes, I noticed the tantalizing aroma of ripe strawberries and fresh-baked bread.

I hadn’t asked anyone for this preparation. Could it have been my husband’s plan all along to help me enjoy the day?

It was a sweet touch, alright. Maybe even better than what I would have asked for, or imagined. As I woke from my reveries, it remained.

This moment of relaxation engulfed me and helped me remember all the good things in my life. – Teresa #beblessed #loverofmysoul #heavenlyfather #Heknowswhatweneedandwhen

Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Ephesians 3:20,21 (ESV)

Now to him who is able

to do immeasurably more than all we ask

Me and my friend from work, celebrating!

or imagine, according to his power

My husband and me

that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.