Hello LifeLinks Family!
I hope you’re all doing well and looking forward to an excellent Christmas season!
I’m pleased to announce our new LifeLinks “Leader View” blog. Our goal is to have an inspiring and encouraging monthly post from members of our Apostolic Council and other LL leaders. We’ll send it to you via email and will also have it on our website, www.lifelinks.org. If you know anyone else who would like to be on our emailing list please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if, heaven forbid, you should want to unsubscribe, please do so at the bottom of this email or send us an email to that effect.
So, here we go!
It’s been a busy fall ministry season (as most are) and recently I was feeling weary and in need of some rejuvenation. At times like that I’m really glad for daily Bible reading as often the Lord uses scripture to encourage and inspire me.
On this particular day my One Year Bible first led me to a passage in Isaiah 46:4 states “I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (NLT)
Then, after a New Testament reading, I arrived at Psalm 68:19 states “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” (NLT)
It was cool reading two verses picturing God the same way – a loving Father promising that every day of my life he will carry and protect me no matter what difficulties I might face. Such an incredibly powerful and comforting image!
As I continued meditating I sensed the Lord challenging me to begin trusting and resting in that reality. He was in charge of my life, my family, the church I was leading, and I needed to just lie back in his arms and let him carry me along.
Easier said than done however! Letting go of the daily pressures and trusting God to carry you takes a lot of faith.
So, here are two things I’m doing to try and put myself in a place where I can rest more completely in the Lord’s care for me:
1. I’m starting to unplug more from electronics and smartphone use in particular. Our modern technology is a great blessing because it enables us to easily stay connected with our work and relationships no matter where we are or the time of day. It can also be a curse for the same reason.
Over time I found myself increasingly blurring the lines between work and home – rarely give myself downtime to truly rest and focus on other things. While enjoying some evening time with my family I’d suddenly be distracted by a ministry related text. In my quest to read it and respond, my time of relaxation and family interaction was instantly gone – actions that ultimately affected my well being and those I love.
Ultimately, I think my unwillingness to unplug was because of a need to be on top of things and always in control. Our cellphones can give us a 24/7 sense of that but I believe God would rather we place that confidence in our relationship with him – trusting that even when we go offline for awhile he’s caring for us and those we lead.
As I’ve begun unplugging after 7 pm (schedule permitting) my wife Valerie has noticed a difference in me. I’m more at peace and I engage better with her and my family.
2. I’m trying to be more deliberate in giving my cares to the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV) This directive definitely lines up with the picture of God daily carrying us throughout our lifetime.
Philippians 4:6&7 also says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Again, it sounds simple but putting this into practice has been challenging. Rather than becoming anxious and trying to overthink an emergency issue, can I quickly turn that worry into a prayer and then begin believing that God’s wisdom and direction will follow?
When I do that, and thank him for the answer that’s coming, I find peace beginning to fill my heart and clarity my mind. I’m also turning the focus away from me, and my finite resources, to the Lord with infinite power who has promised to carry me every day.
I believe these two simple actions, coupled with continued meditation on God’s desire to daily carry and protect us, are keys to alleviating weariness and bringing peace and rest to our souls.
I hope these are helpful thoughts as we enter this busy season. From my house to yours, may you have a very blessed Christmas and experience an incredibly prosperous and Kingdom expanding 2017!