Come… and rest a while.

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
Mark 6:30-32 NKJV

These few verses are encouraging when we find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands of the world – but seeing them in the greater passage of the whole chapter reminds me that there is little time for rest and that Christ will provide the strength, He will be the source of our strength to continue in the work that He has in store for us. It reminds me that we can find comfort in our trials by opening our eyes to the circumstances of others and comforting them.

The beattitudes in Matthew 5 tell us the recipe for receiving the “for they shall” by being “those who”. Verse after verse, we are reminded to look out upon those around us and offer them what they need – even before we realize the treasures of doing so. These verses are asking us to “just trust me I’m the Lord, I know a better way than yours”.

If you’ve ever been mourning and fretting and concerned over your own troubles – can’t you look out onto those around you and find someone else that is greatly troubled and hurting? And when you do something to help them, or when you just mourn along with them, doesn’t it give you a new perspective of freedom from the chains that were binding you? Doesn’t it open your eyes?

It’s only when we bottle it up inside and keep it to ourselves, when we cling to it that we become imprisoned by it. Let it go by letting others in to help you – bless them with the opportunity to listen and to stand with you. And look for others in need and stand along with them. It is hard to be tired and sad when there is work to be done helping others.

Yes, this is the way of Christ – not religious practice once in a while – but a life lived following His example step by step, day by day. And this is the abundant life with blessings poured out onto those you serve and love – and onto your own life as your purpose becomes about more than self.

You Feed Them

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a witness for Christ because of the clothes you wear or the things in your past!

We meet a lady yesterday at lunch who noticed our family and our 4 Kids tshirts. She asked about them timidly and mentioned that she was struggling with some challenges, including the fact that religious people had turned her away in the past because she didn’t have the same prefect clothes or perfect life as them. It was the start of an amazing conversation and exchange of information that ended in a loving hug and a life touched by the true gospel – because she needed to be fed and the Lord provided.

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
Luke 9:13-14 NLT

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Faithful Servant

The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew 23:11-12 NLT

I serve each week in a variety of ways. Serving is very important, because it is the activity of the body of Christ manifest in this world through me and you. It took Christ coming to earth and walking it out as a visible example to others for the way, the truth, and the life to become visible to blind eyes. In the same way, our lives are to be signs shining brightly, pointing to Him by loving and serving others.

But the act of serving isn’t the part that determines whether or not I’m participating in His greatness. You see, if I’m doing works to earn favor or reward, then I’m little more than a hired hand. And when the perceived cost outweighs the benefit, I’m going to run away from the trials and the struggle to try to find something else that has a better return for my time and effort. You see, in that perspective, it is still all about me and what I’m going to get. And this perspective is dangerous because we are laying claim to our works and expecting a payment in return. This is pride.

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