Tools to fight Covid weariness

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Covid IS wearying.  Now more than ever I come thirsty to my Bible.  Each morning I pray before I read, acknowledging my hunger and the fact that both God and His Word are alive and full of power.  I want to SEE Jesus.  I want to BE corrected.  I want to BE filled.  I want to BE awed.

This week I chose two of my daily mediations that have to do with gratitude and life that energizes. Both helped me combat the fatigue of this ongoing pandemic.

Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD!” Genesis 29:35 NLT

The summer I turned 20, while employed in a little hotel-restaurant in Switzerland, I envisioned my future. Joyfully speaking French all day long, I dreamed of marrying a Swiss, working locally and raising our children to be tri-lingual.

God in His goodness directed me differently, all the while nurturing the desires He originated. I married Mike, lived only 4 more years overseas, but started teaching French and German in Virginia after son # 2 arrived.

Because God kept me on His path, I became a Christian. But like Leah, I revisit my dream from time to time. Not the Swiss husband, but the living overseas.

But in His mercy, the Father has shown me how He has been satisfying my desires.  I DO live immersed in languages, although stateside.

May I keep on seeing and praising the One who knows how best to satisfy His children!

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The righteous will live by faith. Romans 1:17 NIV

This morning, I lingered and indulged one of my passions.  The phone app Blue Letter Bible provides many Greek and Hebrew meanings and nuances for our English translations.  Boy, was I enriched and strengthened! Here’s what I found.

The ‘righteous’ are those who “are approved or accepted by God”. If you are a believer, you know that Jesus’ life-work and sin payment on the cross imputed to us is the only way a holy God can welcome us.

‘Live’ encompasses much more than biological forces.  “Enjoys real life and vigor, feels fresh and is active.”

Finally, let’s look at the key word – faith. ‘Pistis’ includes depending on the “faithful character of God”.

Do you recall John Bunyan locked up in Doubting Castle? Only when he found the Key of Promise and believed the promises in the Bible, could he insert the key and walk out.  That is a beautiful example of exercising the privilege of being accepted by the Father and relying on all His promises.

Grappling with my identity and some bothersome feelings

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Grappling with my identity and some bothersome feelings

How freeing it is to know that Jesus’ door is always open. He has unlimited time to listen to me.  Theologian A.W. Tozer once wrote something to the effect that: ‘What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us’.

So, if we wrongly believe that we have to edit our communication with Jesus or even keep back sharing of shameful feelings, we damage His reputation and deprive ourselves of much needed correction and comfort.

Here are two meditations from this week’s writing and thinking project.

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Matthew 2:6 NIV

‘But I’m only a _____!’  Have you ever said that to yourself?

Consider those shepherds described by Luke, busy doing their shepherd-thing the night Mary was birthing our ‘Shepherd-Ruler’.

This morning in my reading, I noticed that Jesus’ rule is likened foremost to a protector and caretaker of sheep. In Jesus’ day, people despised and minimized this lowly profession. But God, the ‘re-orderer’ of status, calls shepherds fundamental.

Maybe angels first appeared to these rough-hewn men to correct THEIR identity. I can imagine God’s message: You shepherds serve in the same profession as the Messiah, the Divine Shepherd, who will govern my people. Don’t listen to what the world says about you.  Continue to be good shepherds, for this is a noble calling, worthy of honor.

Whose voice are you listening to when you repeat: ‘I’m just a ____’?

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Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lamentations 2:19 NIV

Buying Christmas gifts for adult kids is challenging.  I thought I had found something creative and different when I read about a local Alabama man who crafts custom bowties.  Neither of my sons has a bowtie. Why not choose a fun accessory, to be worn on a special occasion?  I picked a themed pattern, and through in some novel socks.

Elder son didn’t mention our gift.  When I asked him, he said: “Not something I will ever use; I haven’t even worn a regular tie in nine years, but thanks anyway.” I felt hurt.

Michael comfortingly empathized with me.  Resolving just to let the hurt go, I mentioned to Jesus what I felt and invited His input.  Unsurprisingly, He agreed I should forgive. What He then brought up gave me pause.  ‘What about all the times you have ignored my gifts, failing to thank Me? How do you think I have felt?’

It helps to release and receive from Jesus!

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