I want to start this 5 day devotional with just a quick introduction. We are going to go through 5 scriptures of understanding what God wants from us a little more, and the promises he gives us during hard times. The world we live in today is hard. It is stressful, it is busy, it is judgmental, and it is cruel. Sometimes we just simply do not understand why things are happening, or why the are happening to us. One thing I will say, kind of as a disclaimer, is we well never fully understand God. We are not designed to. But, our smallest efforts are greatly rewarded. I read in a devotional that I was reading the other day a great line about this “The time it takes to dig deep into the heart of God is often repaid by striking a vein of Gold or Oil. The effort is repaid with joy and power beyond all expectation”. Hopefully the next 5 days helps with some things you are struggling with.
Matthew 11: 28-30
Do you ever feel like the days work never ends? That you are constantly doing things for everyone else, but you never have time to do something for yourself. I know this feeling all to well, I am known for this trait. I give myself panic attacks if I even think of spending money on something for me. I am not sure when I required this trait, I think it is just a part of the mom guilt we all know to well.
In this verse Jesus is telling us to join him when we are feeling weary or burdened. When the to-do list is getting to long, and the overwhelming feelings rush over us. In the time of Jesus,people were definitely over worked, many of them were farmers, or even slaves. He is not telling them that the work is going to stop. He is telling them that when they give their life to Christ, there will be a feeling of relief, rest, refreshment for their souls.
He goes on to say “Take my yoke upon you”. When he is saying this phrase he is actually talking about what farmers used to do. It was called yoking, when they would take a tired worn out ox or farm animal and partner it with a younger healthier one, so they could share to work load. The older farm animal would then teach the younger one how to do the work. So what he is actually saying, or doing in fact is he is inviting us to partner with him. For him to share the work load in our lives, and then also, him teach us his ways. He finishes this by saying “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
He is reaffirming his promises to us, that being Christians can be hard work, being a good person can be hard work, just being a human in general is hard. We all know this, life is not easy. But, if we partner with Christ in our paths, he will lighten our burden.
How are some ways you can partner with Jesus? What is some of the work load in your daily lives that you could share with him? How do you think doing these things, will help lighten your load?
Take a moment with God and talk with him about sharing the load. Partner with Christ in your day to day lives, that is what God wants for us. That doesn’t mean he is going to lighten our work load in a “physical” matter, but he will lighten our burdens in a spiritual manner.
Day 3: Matthew 6: 25-34
Worry. What are things that you worry about constantly? I know as a mom, like every mom I have ever talked to, my biggest worry is if I am doing enough for my kids. I worry if I am teaching them the life lessons they need in life to be successful adults. By successful adults I do not mean financially. Of course I hope that they never have financial burden, but you could be the richest person in the world, and not be a successful human.
In this passage, it is pretty cut and dry on what God says. He is simply telling us not to worry about materialistic things, because he will always provide. One of my most favorite lines in this passage says “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” The answer is no.
We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, I feel like we are adding extra stress into our day to day lives. We worry if we are enough, we worry if we have enough, we worry if we are doing enough, it is just a constant inner battle that we as humans have. This passage though tells us God does not want us to have those worries. It says “But first seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. God is simply saying that the only thing that we really need to be striving for is Him. If we take the time to understand that “things” come and go, but the mercy and love that he gives us is with us forever.
I was talking to another mom one day and we were discussing our hopes and our dreams for our kids. I was listening to her and her worry that she wasn’t raising her children properly. She was a single mom as I was at the time and we were both really struggling financially. She said she just felt so bad that she couldn’t get her kids the latest things all of their friends had, and that she feels they are going to resent her as they grow. I too had these worries in my life, but in that moment they seemed like insignificant things to worry about. I told her, and she still will bring this up to me here and there:
“When your kids look back on their life. The things they are going to remember is the core values that you teach them, and the time you spent with them. They aren’t going to remember having the latest tennis shoes, or the coolest phone. I know I don’t remember those things from growing up. I remember what my mom taught me, and the time she spent with me” It was one of my prouder pep talks in life. She stopped for a second and you could just see this weight lifting off her shoulders. As the years have gone on and we have grown even more in our faith, and our lives, I can say that her kids are absolutely fantastic, and she honestly had nothing to worry about.
God is telling us the same thing. He is saying why do you worry about what you will eat? or what you will wear? The pagans run after all of these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. He will provide for you.
Jesus ends this teaching by simply saying “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own”.
It’s so true to. We tend to get tunnel vision in life and we never really broaden our horizons on the big picture. That God is telling us, point blank, to not worry.
I want you to write down a few things today on what has been worrying you. Some things that have just been weighing heavy on your heart lately. I want you to take that piece of paper and open your bible to this passage, I want you to place those worries into your bible, and shut it. Just leave it there. Leave it at the section where God is telling you that he’s got your back, and he is going to do great things for you. I can assure you, it will make you feel better. And, maybe one day you will open your bible up to the same passage, and find your old worries, and they will probably seem a little less significant to you, because God was handling those worries.
What are some things that are worrying you right now? Feel free to reach out to me, and we can pray about them together!
Happy Praying Everyone!
Day 2: Psalms 42-
Hopeless, there is nothing that will make you feel more alone then feeling hopeless. On those days where you are just in a funk, and for some reason you can’t pull yourself out of it. Many thoughts float around in our minds throughout the day, from what am I going to make for dinner, to something larger like, will I get my test results back today, do I really have cancer?
Whenever those negative feelings start flowing into my mind I always turn to Psalms. I love Psalms it is definitely one of my favorite books in the bible, because the songs they are singing to the Lord are so pure. In Psalms 42 the person talking to God is feeling helpless, feeling just great sadness. Exiled north to Jordan and with a longing to just get back to Jerusalem. In this song he doesn’t hide or ignore those feelings, he is casting those feelings up to God, proclaiming his thirst for God. Most importantly, even though he is feeling such helplessness he is praising God.
In Psalm 42:5 he says “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior, my God”
He is explaining and praising God because he understand that what he is feeling is completely normal. It is normal to feel helpless a times, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed, and anxious. All of those feelings are valid in our every day lives. Yet, he also understands God’s character, and he is praising God because even though he is feeling those things, our God is there to help him through it.
The psalmist encouraged his soul to praise God, in other words to acknowledge him, or to affirm and adore him. Our souls need similar encouragement. When we choose to dwell on the negative it is easy to constantly feel helpless. All that does though is make it worse. Instead of constantly worrying about what you can’t control, start praising and encouraging what you can control. That is what God wants from us. He wants us to put our love, hope, and praise into Him, and also into our own souls, even if we are feeling a little down.
What thoughts are you having right now that are making you feel overwhelmed or helpless? What kind of words does your soul need to help you with those feelings?
Take a few minutes and quietly praise God. Sing to him, thank him for his loving-kindness, his goodness, his power, his faithfulness and most importantly his mercy. Quietly just sit in his presence. Breath slow, take a minute to just meditate in God’s awesomeness. I guarantee a smile is on your face, and those feelings don’t seem as important as they did a minute ago.
“If we want to bolster our souls with hope, we must fill out mouths with praise”
It is amazing even when we are feeling such negative feelings, after a few minutes of singing and praising God, the peace that goes into our hearts, and our souls. I encourage you to start your day with this exercise. You will be amazed at how quickly your attitude changes towards the things that are bringing you discomfort in your soul.
I hope today’s devotional helped reset your own soul. Giving our souls a good talking to every once in a while is what keeps us moving through life. Just make sure you are praising yourself, the same way you are praising God.
Day 1: Luke 10: 38-42
Life can be busy, between running kids around, to working, to cleaning, to pretty much every daily task we put on ourselves, some days seem near impossible. I know for me I love to host things. My husband and I are slightly crazy and actually really enjoy huge family gatherings, or small game nights, or even a party. For those who have been at our parties, the number one priority as most Italian households, is food. I spend weeks planning menu’s, finding recipes, and days chopping, prepping, and cooking. I am lucky that my husband also enjoys cooking, so this is something we do and bond over. To be honest though, there is NOTHING more overwhelming to me than hosting. The day of the big event I have every last minute planned out. Obviously there are hiccups, and maybe something didn’t turn out just right, but by the end of the night, when all the hard work is done, and the crowds have cleared, there is never any doubt someone left hungry, and didn’t have a good time.
Jesus was on his travels when he got to Martha and Mary’s house. You hear of Martha and Mary a few times in the bible, and it is assumed that they were actually very close friends of Jesus. When their brother Lazarus dies, and Jesus sees their despair, he actually weeps openly as he raises him from the dead. So, Martha invites Jesus in, she’s like “Come on in! Let’s have a party!” Jesus is doing his usual thing, preaching the word of God, teaching lessons, doing what we know him best for, and Martha’s sister Mary is at his feet, listening to every word. Martha though, is frustrated, she is in the kitchen alone, doing all of the work, she is feeling overwhelmed, so much so that she actually goes to Jesus and is like “HEY! Don’t you even care that my sister is not helping me?! Tell her to help me!” Now, first off, Martha just yelled at Jesus, so you know she is mad. Second, if you’ve ever had a sister you know the frustration that Martha is feeling.
Jesus I am sure just looks at Martha like “Woah Lady!”. I am Jesus, you don’t yell at Jesus. Well actually he says:
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her”.
This is what I like to call a Jesus mic drop. He is telling Martha that Mary is listening to the word of God, there is nothing more important than the word of God. I was reading over this verse a few times because as someone who really likes to host, I can relate to Martha. I can feel her frustration and her anger as she is just pleading for a little help. The lesson in the story is more then that. It is about setting what we think is needed at the time aside, and listen to what God is telling us. What you think is important in that moment, is not actually that important.
In today’s world, we tend to push God aside for our own priorities. I even have a hard time finding time for my daily devotionals that I do. But, it is just me being selfish with my own time, and not giving time for God. The reality of it all is though, I couldn’t get through my day without God. Life is simply to demanding and overwhelming to think that I could manage without him. So I make sure that no matter what is on the schedule, there is one on one time with God, everyday. Neglecting to need to know God better is what Dr. Packer so wisely says “to sentence ourselves to stumble and blunder through life, blindfolded, as it were with no sense of direction or understanding of what surrounds you“. It is simple, as Jesus said: There is nothing more important then the word of God.
Do you consider yourself to be like Mary, or are you Martha? Do you know that there is work to be done, but God’s word is top priority. Or do you get yourself overwhelmed by the tasks, and set God aside?
It is okay to be overwhelmed at times. We all are, the world we live in today is not a easy one to navigate. Just remember that you can not navigate this world without the proper tour guide.
What can you set aside right now in order to still your mind and hands long enough to listen for God’s voice? Write down a time in your day to really devote yourself to God. Try to calm your mind of daily tasks and allow God to work through you on life’s real goals, learning, and understanding HIM.
I hope you enjoyed the beginning to this weeks devotional, check back tomorrow for the next devotional!