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Monday, May 27, 2013

What's In Your Ziplock Bag?

In my last post I wrote about overcoming tiredness. I spoke about the busyness that has taken over our modern lifestyle, leaving us tired and irritable. If you did not read this post, you can read it here. Someone may argue that this cannot be helped, that our family, our work, our leisure pursuits all have to be taken care of, and that may be true, but when they begin to encroach on your relationship with God, then there is a problem.

When I first thought of writing this post, I visualized a ziplock bag full of little balls, representing the way we spend our time, each ball with a label, none of them having anything to do with God. There may even be a few ungodly balls.  Such is the life of a person who has allowed himself to be taken over by the things of the world. If you are a follower of Christ, your ziplock bag should contain more godly balls than secular ones.  

As a Christian, your first and utmost responsibility should be nurturing and strengthening your relationship with God. Everything else should take second place.

Jesus said, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10: 37).

On one occasion when He called a man to come and follow Him and the man asked to be allowed to first go and bury his father, Jesus replied, "Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead"( Matthew 8: 22).

Was Jesus being callous or uncaring? No. He was only trying to teach us how to prioritize our lives. He said, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat , or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on . Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matthew 6 : 25).    

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (v 33).

In other words, put God first and everything else will fall into place.

 The danger in allowing ourselves to put other things first is that we don't realize when they begin to replace God in our lives. Like weeds in a garden, they can easily overgrow and choke out our godly lifestyle if we are not vigilant. Our family, our work, our interests are all important in themselves, but they should not be allowed to erode God's place in our lives. 

If you find yourself being too busy or too tired to pray, study the word or even go to church, then you are in trouble. Step back and take a critical look inside your ziplock bag today. If it's chock full of things that don't pertain to a godly lifestyle, toss them into the garbage and fill it with the things of God. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

How To Overcome Tiredness

When was the last time you took a break from your busy schedule to rest and spend some time with God? One of the complaints I hear very often is tiredness. In today's busy world with so many demands being made on our time, it's easy to become tired. And tiredness leads to irritability, frustration and eventually resentment at our way of life. God does not want His children to be tired all the time. In the book of Exodus, he commanded the children of Israel to rest.

Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest : that thine ox and thine ass may rest , and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed - Exodus 23: 12

Everyone, including the animals, had a time of rest. Later, God commanded that the land be allowed to rest.

And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat : and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat . In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. - v 10 - 11.

When He walked the face of this earth, He often called away His disciples for a time of rest and relaxation.

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going , and they had no leisure so much as to eat - Mark 6 : 31.

Jesus knew the benefits of rest to the human body. However, He also promised rest for the soul.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden , and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11 : 28 - 30.

Hebrews 4 : 3 states, For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said , As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 

If you find yourself being tired and irritable all the time, examine your lifestyle. Are you taking on too much? Are you reluctant to ask those around you for help? Do you find it difficult to say 'no' sometimes? Could you find an easier or simpler way of doing things? Are you a perfectionist?

Some or all of the above can contribute to a perpetual state of physical tiredness if we are not careful.  Mental or emotional tiredness is another matter. Sometimes we need a retreat from people and everyday situations. We need to get away from the crowds, as Jesus urged His disciples to do, so we can rest and refresh our souls.

As you meditate on the above scriptures, ask the Lord to show you how to deal with those areas of your life that are causing you tiredness, then do what He tells you to do.