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When Life Overwhelms Us

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14: 22-23, NIV

I’ve recently thought about all the “hats” that a mom wears. Wouldn’t it be something if we tried to wear them all at once?  Our responsibilities are myriad. As a chef, we don an apron for our cooking role. We put on fashion wear to meet the beauty standards we’re held to. We could carry a children’s book to show how we should be reading to our children, with a robe over the whole mess for the romance we need to put into our marriage. Wait!  We also need a checklist and calculator to frugally stay within the household budget. Of course, we can’t forget our workout gear because we need to stay healthy. Let’s also carry a Bible for our daily devotion. I think we may need a few more hands!  A 2013, Business Insider article reported that “Based on the 10 most time consuming tasks listed by more than 6,000 mothers, Salary.com estimated it would cost $113,586 a year to replace them.”  That is a lot of responsibility!

    I could go on, and on, and on. Do you know how difficult it would be to walk around outfitted for all those different roles at the same time?  Often I become overwhelmed with the expectations placed on me. Instead of looking to Christ, who promises his yoke is easy and his burden is light, I put a magnifying glass on my own life and my own problems. Can you relate?  The problem is self-focus.

    How identifiable Peter is to me. He so desperately wants to be close to God and the work He’s doing.  But he becomes overwhelmed by his own earthly circumstances and physical limitations. Jesus responds immediately and catches Peter’s hand, reminding him of His power right away. He asks why Peter doubted. I suspect it’s a gentle reminder to keep the focus on Jesus instead of the circumstances that so easily overwhelm us.

    This week, keep your eyes on the real priority, Jesus. All those other pieces fall into place when I’m focused on Jesus’ perspective. He will immediately reach out to help me.  And when my faith falters, I’ll just trust Him, a life preserver in the middle of an ocean.

In Him,

Amy

Like Clay in the Hand of the Potter

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” 
Jeremiah 18:3-4 NIV

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Old Testament who had the challenging task of proclaiming to the Israelites that they would be destroyed in divine judgement. One day the Lord spoke to Jeremiah and told him to “Go down to the potter’s house” Jeremiah 18:3 NIV, to witness a man working at the wheel. To picture this scene, we can imagine that Jeremiah most likely went down the grassy slopes of the Valley of Ben Hinnom near the Potsherd Gate (overlooking the dump for broken pottery). At his house, the potter began shaping a piece of clay at his wheel and it became marred (the Hebrew word means “ruined”) so the potter took the same clay and formed it into a new pot. The Lord then gave Jeremiah a message based on the scene he had just watched. “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? … Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand” Jeremiah 18:6 NIV. This hopeful message meant that even though Israel would be destroyed, God would keep his promise and renew them. The verses here are specifically about Israel, but the Bible also shows us that this metaphor about clay is universal. Isaiah 64:8 NIV says “you are our Father; we are the clay and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Even though this is an Old Testament story, we can still learn from it today. What strikes me most about these verses is that the potter did not repair the clay he was working with when it became ruined, but he formed it into a new vessel. This means that when we are broken, God does not piece us back together and repair the cracks, but uses the same clay to make a whole new pot. It means that we can be healed completely from our brokenness if we surrender our lives to God and let him mold us. Psalm 30:2 NIV says “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Amen to that! Sometimes we struggle for years over something that we feel we can never overcome, but with the realization that healing from these bonds can only happen with the power of God, we put our trust in the right place and find victory through Christ.

In Christ alone,

Erin Tabor

Wake Up!

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36, NIV

In 1917, New York artist, James Montgomery Flagg painted the World War I poster Wake Up, America. A young lady is shown sleeping while the storm of war brews behind her. Dressed in red, white, and blue apparel, she wears a Phrygian cap, the symbol of liberty. Flagg painted the poster with hopes that it would inspire Americans to wake up and do their part for the war effort. In response to calls like his, thousands of men, women, and children stepped into their respective roles. The dedication and unity of those who answered the call to serve changed the tide of war and secured America’s victory and the freedoms we now enjoy.

Today, another storm brews across our land. America is undergoing a tremendous shift in its social, political, economic, and religious atmosphere. As we move farther and farther away from the godly principles upon which our nation was founded, there is a steady rise in division, discord and strife. The Scripture text exhorts believers to be ready to serve and be lights in the dark days prior to Christ’s return. Are you prepared for what lies ahead—am I? Are we ready to respond to God’s call to serve? Will we open the door to His daily presence in our lives and move forward in the power of His Spirit?

In Genesis 14, when Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive by the enemy, he rallied his troops and stepped out to rescue him. Yes, Lot chose to live in the wicked city of Sodom, but Abram never gave up on him. Because of his unconditional love and valiant effort, Lot’s freedom was restored.

Two of my favorite verses in Scripture are Romans 8:35 and 37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Wake up, children of God! United in prayer and service, we can change the tide of the spiritual war raging around us. Fight for the souls of those you love. Christ gave His all for their freedom. The enemy is a defeated foe. Believe it. Suit up. Step out. Step into the role God has for you. His presence is with you. We are more than conquerors!

Starr Ayers