3 Ways God Lightens Our Load

David Rawlings guest blogger Jesus Calling website

There’s nothing like the feeling of a fresh, clean home. The floors are swept, the bathtub is scrubbed, the furniture polished till it gleams. Perhaps the biggest chore of cleaning your home is getting rid of clutter. Whenever something comes in, something needs to come out. Otherwise, you’re left living in heaps of things you don’t need.

There are also things that clutter our lives, things we carry out of habit or familiarity—our baggage, if you will.

I wrote a novel called The Baggage Handler to help people deal with things The Baggage Handler, a novel by David Rawlings, guest blogger at the Jesus Calling websiteclutter their lives. For many, getting rid of their baggage is the same process as cleaning their house. They take a look at emotions or situations they no longer need but still hang onto without knowing why, or find they’ve accumulated far more than they realized.

Cleaning up your soul is far more important than cleaning up your house. It’s more than a tidy-up for the next few months. It’s about freeing yourself for the longer-term.

One of my favorite passages from the daily devotional, Jesus Calling, comes from March 5th:

“Make friends with the problems in your life. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be. The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall, if you react with distrust and defiance. The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me. The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them.”

When I read this passage, I’m struck by three phrases God uses to show He can help us find a little more freedom in our souls.

“I am sovereign.” Even the heaviest baggage we carry is not too much for Him.  You may be holding a problem that feels insurmountable. While that problem may be overwhelming, the sovereign God of the universe walks beside us and helps us carry all of our burdens.

“Trust Me.” This is the biggest challenge for me, personally. As a fiction writer, I can create stories and characters, and breathe life into a new world with the stroke of a pen. In my desire to control each situation, I have to remember that there’s no better writer of stories than God, and He’s already picked out the perfect ending for both you and me.

“Thank Me.” It’s easy to thank God for blessings, but it’s much more difficult to find words of thanksgiving when we or a loved one are hurting. Even in our darkest moments, God sends us small blessings if we look for them. Find a couple of things to thank Him for today. You may be surprised by what you find.

May you have the courage to ask Him to help you clear the clutter in your soul and the strength to give your burdens over to Him.


David Rawlings guest blogger for the Jesus Calling websiteDavid Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face. Visit David at www.davidrawlings.com.au.

Out with the Garbage and Flannel Pajamas

NLFCOUPLES

“My lover is mine and I am his.” Song of Songs 2:16

Were you surprised by the definition of romance your spouse offered last night? Romance can mean vastly different things to women and men, but for most of us the word describes that wonderful feeling of being noticed, wanted, and pursued— of being at the very center of our lover’s attention. Women are inclined to define romance as the things a husband does to make them feel loved, protected, and respected. Flowers (if they aren’t too cheap), compliments, nonsexual touching, and love notes are all steps in the right direction. So is helping with the chores. As author Kevin Leman once said, “The greatest of all aphrodisiacs is for a man to take out the garbage for his wife.”

Men, on the other hand, rely more on their senses. They appreciate a wife who makes herself as attractive to her husband as possible. A man wants to be respected—and even better, admired—by his wife. He likes to hear his wife express genuine interest in his opinions, hobbies, and work.

Obviously, these are generalizations, so take your spouse’s definition to heart. Knowing how he or she perceives romance can help you avoid many misunderstandings and disappointments. With a little care and forethought, you can keep the flame of romance burning brightly.

Just between us…

  • What’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever done for you?
  • How do you feel about our personal definitions of romance?
  • How can our differing views of romance strengthen our marriage?

Dear God, thank You for making us unique as a man and woman. Please help us understand and celebrate our carefully crafted differences. We want to become experts at pursuing and cherishing each other. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Keeping It Holy

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

The Lord doesn’t mince words when discussing the Sabbath. He included it among His most important instruction to His people, the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8–10).

The Sabbath is to be a holy time, devoid of work and dedicated to worship, prayer, and praise. When we honor God as a family, we begin to sense the depth of the love, peace, and power that are available to us.

God commands us to keep the Sabbath holy. (They are the Ten Commandments, after all, not the ten suggestions!) But how, you ask, can you make Sunday—or whatever day you choose as your Sabbath rest—a holy day in the midst of life’s many distractions? You can start by unplugging the phone and computer, and turning off the television, washer, and dryer. Begin the day and each new activity with a prayer. Join fellow believers at church. Light a candle as a reminder of the One who is the light of the world. By respecting the Sabbath, you’ll discover a holy, healing calm that will revive you and your entire family.

Before you say good night…

How often do you truly honor God as a family on the Sabbath?

Besides what’s listed above, what else can you do to keep the Sabbath holy?

How might your family benefit from a weekly day of rest?

Father, we need the sweet calmness of a day focused completely on You. Our marriage needs it, and the kids need it, too. Show us Your desire and Your will in making this happen. The first step can be the most difficult! Guide us by Your strong hand. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

PASSING THE TEST

Passing the Test

Real love changes people.

After all, didn’t God’s love change you? Weren’t you blind? You couldn’t see beyond the grave. You couldn’t see your purpose in life until he showed you. And you couldn’t hear either. Oh, your ears functioned, but your heart didn’t understand. You’d never heard of such love and kindness, and you never would have heard of it, but God spoke in your language. And, most of all, he set you free. You are free! Free to run away. Free to harden your heart. Free to duck down side streets and hide behind trash cans. But you don’t. Or if you do, you come back. Why?

Because you’ve never been loved like this before.

God passes the test of 1 Corinthians 13:7. Does he want the best for you? “God himself does not tempt anyone” (James 1:13). Every action of heaven has one aim: that you know God. “He . . . made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him” (Acts 17:26-27 The Message).

And does God rejoice when you do what is right? Certainly. “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Ps. 147:11 NIV). Does he weep when you do? Absolutely! He is the “God of all healing counseling! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times” (2 Cor. 1:3-4 The Message).

Do you want to know what love is? “This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10).

God passes the test. He should, shouldn’t he? After all, he drafted it. May our goal be the same.
Excerpted from A Love Worth Giving
W Publishing, 2002