Am I Doing Enough for God?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

A mother of three young children, who works part-time, recently told me: “I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not doing enough for God.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that?

We live in a world focused on doing to the point of making busyness our badge of success. Multi-tasking in the church is what appears to others—and ourselves—as ultra-spiritual. But while a relationship with the Living God produces a desire to obey and serve Him, that service results in joy and rest, not perpetual stress!

I shared with that precious mom that her ministry was her husband and the three little lives she shaped and influenced on a daily basis. I also shared that God wanted a relationship, not a work record from her.

I believe God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him. We can see that desire in Jesus’ response to a man who asked about the greatest of all the commandments. Jesus’ answer was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV).

God is focused on relationship. We tend to be focused on activity. He is the One who tells us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) and to come to Him and rest (Matthew 11:28). We are the ones who are striving to do more.

Yet, as we spend time cultivating a love relationship with God, we will know how to serve others well. But it will never be at the expense of overlooking our primary responsibilities (our families and those God has placed in our care) or feeling over-extended.

If you are a mom with young children, or a woman who works full time, or someone who has her hands full (and who doesn’t these days?), rest in the truth that as you grow in your love for God, your labor will naturally follow. As you sit at His feet, He will eventually call you to get up and serve Him. And as you are growing in your love relationship with Him, you will learn how to discern the difference between His loving voice and the voice of your own guilt telling you to do more.

Lord, help me to remember that Your greatest requirement of me is to love You before anyone and anything else.

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Am I Doing Enough for God? insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, When Women Long for Rest, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources Cindi McMenamin Long for Rest book cover (1)to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with guilt about not doing enough for God?

Too Much to Do?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:2 NIV

Are you feeling today that there is just too much to do?

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I was drowning under the pressures of being a woman, wife, mother, director of women’s ministries, friend, sister, and daughter. There was so much to do to keep up with family relationships, to keep up the house, to keep up with my job, and to keep up in my walk with God. I literally felt I was drowning in obligations, and continually coming up short.

Today I know that when I feel like that, I’ve taken on more than I was intended to bear. And most likely, more than God wants me to bear.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus gave this invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Jesus recognized the people of His day were carrying burdens too heavy to bear. So, He offered them His burden instead – a burden He said was light. What is the burden God places on us? What is the one thing He requires of us more than anything else?

One man asked Jesus that same question. And Jesus’ response was: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

God’s greatest requirement of us was not to do things for Him. It was to love Him. And not to just love Him, but to love Him passionately, desperately, above any other person or thing.

God’s “burden” on us is not a heavy one. In fact, it isn’t a burden at all. It’s a privilege.

When I consider loving Him as my highest obligation and my heaviest burden, it makes all the other things I think I have to do pale in comparison. My to-do list, my project at work, my financial dilemma …. none of those things is as important as loving my God. And therefore, I truly can take His yoke upon me and find rest. There is anxiety and stress in striving to carry my own burdens. There is peace and rest in loving Him.

Lord, for all the times I start to feel weary and weighted down, help me to remember Your invitation to come to You, lay my burden at Your feet, and find rest.

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Encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin when we have Too Much to Do – @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the Author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When You’re Running on Emptyis written for Christian women who give of themselves relentlessly. What can a woman do when she’s running on empty? Learn how to renew your energy and passion and press on.

Join the conversation: How do you refresh yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

 

Am I Carrying Baggage or Luggage?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble forgiving myself. For some reason I expect a level of perfection from myself that I would never expect from someone else.

Because of this, I also struggle to accept God’s forgiveness.

Somewhere deep inside is the fear that God has finally reached the limit of His patience with me and my constant sin and shortcomings. Just writing this makes me shake my head because it’s so far from the truth. But I’m sad to say it’s something with which I struggle.

The result of this lack of forgiveness is that I carry a lot of baggage that I don’t need to. I’m weighed down with past sins that God has long since forgiven. I also carry the baggage of sins I have not confessed because I’m fearful of returning to God over and over again asking forgiveness for the same thing.

At times, I add the baggage of my own refusal to forgive someone else. I hold on to the way they’ve hurt me and try to make it into some kind of armor against getting hurt again. But choosing to be unforgiving is just more weight to carry.

That kind of burden can weigh a person down.

Baggage is something I need to get rid of. It’s stuff I need to drop it at the feet of Jesus and leave there.

Luggage, on the other hand, is something that equips us for our travels. My luggage consists of the things that God has blessed me with. It also includes the lessons I’ve learned through the struggles and the triumphs of walking with God.

  • It’s the Bible verses I’ve memorized.
  • The praise songs that run through my mind.
  • The stories I’ve heard about God’s faithfulness.
  • My own awareness of His goodness to me.

Everyone needs some luggage to be equipped for the journey has God in store for us. The trick is to get rid of the baggage.

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Am I carrying baggage or luggage? @EdieMelson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Edie-MelsonAbout the author:  Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction, or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged Edie Melson soul careaudiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, Soul Care When You’re Weary, is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.comand on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: So today I ask you what I asked myself. Are you carrying baggage or luggage on your personal journey?

Even the Little Things

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

One day in the grocery store, I was caught in the fallout of the prevalent “I don’t need a cart” mentality. As I perused the apples, I noticed a man carrying four 2-liter bottles of soda in his arms. Just as he passed me, one of the large bottles slipped from his arms and hit the tile floor. The angle of the impact was just right to be wrong – for me.

The lid popped off and a powerful shower of Coca Cola covered me and my cart. The man glanced at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Huh. Who would’ve thought that would happen.” Then he walked away. No apology. No offer to get me a paper towel. When I got home, I not only had to take a shower, I also had to wash all my groceries before I put them away.

Okay, I’ll confess. Many times, I too have gone into the grocery store and decided against getting a cart because I “only need a couple of things.” As I rush down the aisles to get the bread, milk, and bananas I usually end up seeing other things I really need too. Then before you know it my arms are overloaded and I end up leaving a trail of things behind me as I make my way to the checkout line.

Unfortunately, I do the same thing with life’s little problems and stresses. When just one or two small things come along I often fail to turn them over to God. “I can handle that… and I can handle that…” But before I know it I’m weighed down with a myriad of things I really can’t handle on my own.

If you are anything like me you may sometimes find it harder to cope with life’s little things than the major trials. I trust too much in myself and too little in God. In my sinful independence and arrogance I think, “I can do this. I don’t really need to bother God with this one.” But when I fail to give everything to God right away – no matter how seemingly insignificant – all those little things tend to mount up into one giant mess.

Are you weary from trying to carry an armload of life’s troubles all by yourself? Jesus urges us to bring all our burdens to Him:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

David, the shepherd boy and great king of Israel, intimately knew the great Burden Bearer: Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.  Psalm 55:22 NIV

So did the Apostle Peter: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Don’t wait until you’re buried under a pile of cares before you come to Jesus. Bring the first one and every one to Him.

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The Importance of Remembering to Turn to God Even in The Little Things – wisdom from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Kathy Howard encourages women to live an unshakable faith for life by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. The author of 8 books and a former “cultural Christian,” Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. Kathy and her husband have 3 married children and 4 grandsons. Find out more and get free discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.

Join the conversation: What do you need to bring to Him today?

 

Don’t Worry; Martha Will Do It

by Kathy Collard Miller

I wonder if Martha, the sister of Mary, was the dependability queen in her town, Bethany. I can just imagine at the Women of the Temple Committee meeting for the upcoming women’s luncheon event, the chairperson asking, “Now who can we get to cater the lunch?”

Everyone looks around and another woman asks, “Where’s Martha?”

Mary speaks up, “Oh, she’s at the meeting for the Temple Benevolence committee.”

A third woman raises her hand. After being called on by the chairperson, Lydia says, “Ask Martha. She’ll do it.”

Could Martha have worn an invisible S on her tunic? No, not for Superman, although many most likely called her Superwoman. But S for steadfast and its twin sister, Dependability. Why else would Martha have been so crazy busy when Jesus came visiting? Remember the story?

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

What motivated Martha? Of course we’ll never know conclusively her heart’s motive. But as women, so many of us are like her because we have chosen the same technique to gain approval and applause: busyness and productivity. We know Martha didn’t have to do everything she did because Mary, who was equally considered the hostess, didn’t. I have no doubt Mary did what she was supposed to do and then chose to abide at Jesus’s feet. If Martha is like me, she thought of “one more thing,” “one more dish,” “one more decorating touch,” “one more …” Did she think, “Just wait until Jesus sees this. He’ll feel so important and valued.” I would have.

But Jesus loves Martha’s soul well. He doesn’t want her to carry the heavy yoke she puts upon her own shoulders and the muddy cistern she is gulping from. He doesn’t need anything to make him feel important or valuable. He only seeks his Father’s approval and applause.

In his concern for her he woos her by pointing out the result of her sin: anxiety, anger, critical spirit, feeling abandoned, even blaming Jesus for not making Mary do what Martha thought Mary should do. She accused Jesus of not caring for her. Most importantly, her motive was to provide rather than abide. Jesus was saying, “I love you too much. Please look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Come and abide.”

He says the same things to us.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books and this devotional is excerpted from Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory . She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for 48 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation: Do you seek God’s approval through busyness and productivity?

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Keeping Hope to Keep the Call

by Pam Farrel           

I was weary—a tired to the bone, drop-dead fatigued, completely exhausted, “can’t take even one more step” kind of weary. It seemed we were caught in the perfect storm: the ship of our life being tossed about on a tumultuous sea of unending responsibilities.

The positive included constant travel for our ministry, which we loved, but it did take a physical and mental toll. We also had ongoing multiple book projects, which are wonderful blessings, but require much labor.

And in the midst of it all, we were dealing with aging parent care, which required Bill to drive through grueling Southern California traffic for months on end. We were both at the end of our proverbial ropes.

I knew that the Word has some prescriptions for handling weariness.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV )

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalms 62:5 NIV

“. . .Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV 

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex 33:14 NIV

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work…” Ex 23:12 NIV

I knew I needed rest, renewal, revival, rejuvenation—and recovery! So, when the Professional Women’s Fellowship hosted a one-day retreat at a lovely private estate, I went. And begged God to speak to me there and give me HOPE!

During the hour-long quiet time, I stretched out under the shade of a large tree near the pond. As I opened my journaling Bible, I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 23 as I lay down in “pasture” that was “beside still waters.” So, I continued to pray through the psalm: Lord,  refresh my soul….guide me along the right paths  for [Your] name’s sake.  

I flipped opened my Bible to other Psalms, as I nearly always gain refreshing hope there.  I landed on Psalm 55:22 (NIV): “ Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

I thought, “Wow Lord, this seems the perfect verse for me, but exactly what does it mean to “cast my cares” on You?  And what does it mean that you will “sustain” me —because I REALLY need some sustaining power!”

After praying out my weariness, I looked up and found the word translated as “burden” could also be translated “assignment” or “gift”. I thought, “A gift? Really?” I was beginning to see that I had been viewing the responsibilities God had given me as a burden rather than a blessing. Obviously, I needed a paradigm shift to a more heavenly viewpoint!

I also saw the promise that God would “sustain” me– He would nourish, strengthen, and support me — and make me sufficient to handle my assignment.  God was whispering hope to my soul, that whatever my ministry was depleting, God would pour back into me—and more!

In that moment, peace, relief, and a rejuvenating hope washed over me. To lock this insight into my mind, I sketched out two hands, representing God’s caring hands. In one palm was my “gift” of cares and in the other… myself.

Both you and your calling are held up by the Good Shepherd. We are in His sustaining, caring hands. God’s got us!

pam ferrelAbout the author: You too can find hope from God in the Psalms: Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience by Pam Farrel, Jean E. Jones, and Karla Dornacher, from Harvest House. Find out more at discoveringhopeinthepsalms.com.

Join the conversation: What burdens do you need to cast upon the Lord?

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Last Straw at Walmart

by Kathy Howard

 It had been a really bad day. Issues with my family, issues at work, even issues with my hair. I had complained to God and one of my close friends. But I was pretty determined to be in a bad mood. I only had one more errand before I could go home and wallow in self-pity for the rest of the evening. Since I only needed a handful things from Walmart – milk, toilet paper, and fabric dye – I expected to be in and out in just a few minutes.

Storming around the store with my “poor me” attitude, I found the fabric dye on the aisle with the laundry detergent. Dark brown was only available in the liquid version. I needed a lot so I started pulling bottles off the little shelf over my head. Each time I grabbed one the others were pushed forward by a spring-loaded mechanism on the shelf.

As I lifted the next to last bottle the one behind it shot out and up. There was no time to take cover, it all happened too fast. When the bottle hit the tile floor the cap popped off and dark liquid squirted across the aisle splattering everything in its path, including me. As I surveyed the damage, God spoke to me quietly. “Okay, you’ve been whining all day. How are you going to respond to this?”

While I sponged myself off with the paper towels hung on a nearby post, I considered my options. I could continue down the path I’d been on all day and let this dark mess be the last straw that pushed me over the edge to a full blown, self-absorbed tantrum. Or, I could remember that God is in control. He not only is aware of all the problems, issues, and worries in my life, He cares about each one. In that moment of decision, God brought a Scripture passage to mind.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Rest in Jesus or throw a fit on the detergent aisle in Walmart? This time I chose Jesus. And I pray I will next time too. God’s peace and rest is always available to His children in the midst of chaos, trouble, and even the generic “bad” day. I still sometimes react to difficulty in my own strength, but thankfully, I rest in God’s peace more now than I did even a year ago.

On my way home I called the sweet friend I had complained to earlier in the day. We both laughed as I recounted the flying dye story. Sometimes God uses unique ways to get our attention. On this day, He used a bottle of brown, liquid dye to remind me He was right there, waiting to carry my burden and give my weary soul some much needed rest.

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Kathy Howard helps women live an unshakable faith for life. The author of 8 books and a former “cultural Christian,” Kathy encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God through difficulties or ease by embracing real, authentic faith. Find out more and get free discipleship tools and leader helps at: www.kathyhoward.org.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random unshakable faithnumber generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Kathy’s Bible study book, Unshakable Faith: 8 Traits for Rock Solid Living, please comment below. By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win! If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled with a bad day? How have you dealt with it?