Many people in my life, including me, are dealing with inner weariness. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (or said!). “I’m all done”. Tired of navigating the confusion around us. Worried about what “might happened”. Nervous to go out and be around people. Maybe you’ve hit your saturation point as well. You are in good company.
As I have been focussing on exploring our identity in Christ, I have been looking for a remedy to my weariness. John 15:9 caught my attention and caused me to pause and ponder its’ truth.
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts.”
LET my love nourish your hearts.
We have all we need, when we can stop and LET Jesus nourish our hearts. He gives us what we really need, and what those around us need as well. Love.
To approach the throne of God requires a brave level of humility. To admit we are powerless over sin. To expose our hearts. To bow our heads. To stand still before our God.
Maybe we avoid approaching God’s throne because of how we have been treated by other people. Maybe we were judged harshly by others. Maybe we have been shamed and ridiculed by those we trusted. Why would we go to God, who is more powerful, would we receive harsher treatment?
But when we do find our way to the throne, we are welcomed by grace. We are accepted for who we are. God is not surprised. We can bravely open our hearts to Him, find forgiveness and the help we need.
I believe that the most important transactions of our lives happen here, at the throne of God. When we come as we are. We will find the help that we need. Sin will lose its power. Our broken hearts will be repaired. Our souls will be restored. He will make all things new.
The verse, Roman 8: 1, had a powerful impact on our lives in 2015. In August of that year, our nephew, Jon, was hanging out with us for the day. He was living with the complications of heart failure, struggling to find the right blend of medication to live outside the hospital.
He attended church with us, on and off for many years and we frequently spoke together of Jesus and our Christian walk. On this day, he was expressing the desire to hear from God and wasn’t sure he was hearing anything. We talked through different ways we believe we hear from God and then we put God on the spot. We gave Jon a list of bible verses that outline our identity in Christ. We asked him to read through it to see if one verse popped out at him – as if God was highlighting it for him. He picked Romans 8:1.
My husband grabbed some bibles and together they read through Romans 8, studying the meaning of this verse. Then we prayed it over Jon. Before he left that day,, I wrote the verse on a slip of paper for him and he tucked it in his wallet.
A few weeks later, Jon was back in the hospital. During his stay, a chaplain came to visit him. During their discussion the chaplain said he felt lead to share a verse with Jon. He read Romans 8: 1. Jon smiled and said, “you’re not going to believe this”. He reached into his wallet to retrieve the verse. God was so faithful to continue to emphasize for Jon, in his final days, that he was free from condemnation, in Christ his sins were forgiven. Jon died in November.
We are comforted, through this verse, to know that Jon is with Jesus in heaven today. ❤️
Before entering a gathering of people, my husband often looks at me and says. “Whatever happens in there, we have a better chance of surviving if we stick together.” He loves to quote his favorite movies and I believe this quote comes from Gladiator. I often told my boys to stick together as they were leaving our house. I knew that together they were both clever enough to solve any problem they may face, but apart, they may not be as strong.
As believers we are all given the gift of the Holy Spirt by Jesus. Jesus’s sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit give us direct access to the Father. We are never again alone, never again without the full resources provided in the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is ever present, sticking with us through thick and thin.
I started working when I was 15 because I wanted to earn my own money. I was a car-hop at A&W. A change machine on one hip and a tray of frosted mugs full of root beer on the other. I can still hear the jingle sound of the change machine that rattled as i walked. I learned a lot that summer, root-beer is sticky, there is an art to using an ice cream machine, co-workers are fun people and I loved working and earning. I still do.
In Paul’s letters, he refers to Christ followers as saints. He describes a saint as somebody who is chosen by God and given undeserved grace. As an “earner”, who strives to achieve, it’s hard to fully grasp what it means to be called a saint and to be given undeserved grace. If you’re like me, most of your experiences in receiving something “undeserved” has been mainly negative and painful. Receiving a gift of such magnitude from God is humbling.
My great-grandmother, Florence, sewed several quilts, most of them by hand. All her quilts were made with scraps so there were many colors and patters to enjoy. As she assembled her squares, she would give them names; Snow on the mountain, peas and carrots. sunny skies. As kids. we would try to guess which one was which, and then we’d pick the square we’d want to be and the one we wouldn’t want to be. But, regardless of our opinion, the quilt was a complete work of art, each square adding its own charm.
When I read Paul’s analogy of being part of the body of Christ, I often think of being part of a beautiful quilt. What piece do I want to be? And stepping back to see the beauty and purpose of all the pieces together.
The first memory I have of feeling alone was when I was six. I went for a walk in the woods with my brother and two of our friends. As we headed home, we came to a fork in the path. I was confident that the path home was to the left. The other three thought we should go right. My stubborn self set off alone to the left.
As my companions voices began to fade, I was sure I would beat them home and I began to run. Pretty soon the familiar path became surrounded by unfamiliar trees and sounds that I was sure I had never heard before. I was too afraid to turn back and too unsure to go forward. Where am I? I was lost. I felt so alone. I sat down and cried with fear.
One of my friends came looking for me when he heard me crying, and lead me home. My hero, Todd.
When we belong to Jesus, we are made one with his spirit. He is always with us. He continually leads us towards a better life and towards our forever home with him. Never will he leave us, never will he forsake us. Our truest companion.
Have you ever used the phrase, “let’s start with a clean slate?” Forgetting what has previously happened, we begin again with a new outlook. I have had many “re-dos” in my life. Second chances, another try, a chance to make something better.
We can never really achieve a clean slate here on this earth. It seems that as soon as we clean something up, new problems arise, or a new mistake is made. If you’re like me, every time you decide to start a new effort to lose weight, you catch yourself slipping in a cookie, or two, thinking one slip won’t matter – only to find it happening again. Now what? Do you throw in the towel and say, “I can’t do this”? Or, do you begin again, with a clean slate? I’ve done both in my battle with self-control.
I think this is why it is sometimes hard for me to fathom the fact that we are permanently made clean when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We are washed “clean as snow”, made right in our Father’s sight, by our faith. We don’t have to try again, it’s given, it’s eternal.
How will you enjoy your clean slate today? I am enjoying mine with amazement.