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Rainy Days and Mondays

“The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
Psalm 145:8, NIV

For those who survived the mind-bending seventies―an era marked by anti-war protests, women’s lib, bell-bottom pants, lava lamps, and Saturday Night Fever―the soft, compelling voice of Karen Carpenter was a welcome reprieve within the psychedelic acid rock and hippie subculture of the day.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1950, Karen and her brother, Richard, released more than a dozen hit records by the time she was twenty-four. Less than ten years later she was gone. A victim of heart failure brought on by anorexia nervosa, a devastating eating disorder the general public knew little about until her death. Although known by her friends to be goofy and fun loving, inwardly she struggled to feel loved and accepted.

I write this devotion on a Monday. It’s raining—again. The words of Karen’s 1971 hit, Rainy Days and Mondays, roll through my mind. As she sings of how rainy Mondays always get her down, I note her words in the following line hold the solution to her pain. She states, “The only thing to do is run and find the one who loves me.” I wonder if she knew the One who truly loved her. If those who feel unloved and discarded in today’s society knew the One who loved them, there would be far less anxiety, depression, and suicide. God’s Word tells us that without hope, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). We see this sad conclusion play out daily in the news.

Our Heavenly Father is a God of compassion who desires to lift us above our circumstances. He encourages us to come to him when we are “weary and heavy-laden.” Walking daily by his side is where we’ll find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

Do you know the One who loves you? If so, are you willing to share Christ’s love with someone who hasn’t experienced this freeing reality? Psalm 145 tells us that Jesus is loving and faithful. He is our Protector, Provider, Sustainer. He is our Savior, and he is near. Believers are Christ’s hands and feet in this turbulent world. The words we speak can lift the heads of those who are down-trodden. Be Jesus with skin on.

Rainy days and Mondays don’t always have to get us down.

Blessings,

Starr

Every Day

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” 
Acts 2:46 NIV

When was the last time you studied Acts? The book is significant because it details the lives of the disciples in the tenuous days after Jesus was resurrected. These ordinary men could have easily gone their separate ways and returned to their former lives, which is exactly what the Sanhedrin expected them to do with their leader gone, but instead, filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to work together to carry out the great commission. Here are seven lessons I believe we can learn from these early disciples which are just as applicable to believers today as they were 2000 years ago.

  1. The disciples committed to each other, knowing that their efforts required teamwork and love. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Acts 2:46 NIV.

 

  1. They had not been trained in special schools and they were not religious leaders. They were simple men who had been chosen by Jesus to do His work. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” Acts 4:13 NIV.

 

  1. They shared the word of God boldly, even though they could be persecuted for it. After Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin and commanded by them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, they prayed “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” Acts 4:29 NIV.

 

  1. They selflessly took care of each other’s needs. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” Acts 4:32 NIV.

 

  1. They were not afraid of what people thought. After they were brought before the Sanhedrin again to explain why they continued to teach in the name of Jesus, they replied “We must obey God rather than men” Acts 5:29 NIV.

 

  1. They did not let fear of persecution stop them. “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” Acts 5:41-42 NIV.

 

  1. They did not serve for any human gain. When a new believer tried to pay money to receive the Holy Spirit, Peter said “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God” Acts 8:21 NIV.

 

We tend today to stick to our daily routines, not sharing our burdens with others, afraid we are not good enough, afraid of what other people might think, but God has a plan and as believers we are allowed to be a part of it. 2000 years after these early disciples, we are still here following Jesus. Let’s learn from these men and not stick to our old lives but boldly proclaim what Jesus has done for us to bring in new believers to share in the living water that only comes from Christ. Our job on earth is not to be idle but to live every day for Him.

Walking with you in Christ,

Erin Tabor

 

 

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/bread-farmer-s-bread-crispy-baked-1281053/

Will Anything Do?

“So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to him.And when he had come near, he asked him, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” 
Luke 18:40-41, NKJV

A blind beggar sat beside the road near Jericho. When he heard people approaching, he was told, “Jesus is passing by.” The beggar cried out to him for mercy, but those accompanying Jesus said, “Be quiet.” The blind man was desperate. He was not about to let the one able to heal him pass by. He hollered even louder. Jesus stopped. He stood still and asked for the blind man to be brought to him. When others reached out to lead him, the beggar dropped his outer garment and ran to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?”  Jesus asked.

“Lord, I want to see.” 

He spoke. “Receive your sight. Your faith has made you well.”

Immediately, the blind man could see. He followed Jesus out of the city glorifying God. Those that witnessed the miracle glorified him too.

What a beautiful account of our compassionate Savior. Yet, when reading the story, I thought it odd that Jesus stood still. Wouldn’t it have been easier for everyone, if he’d simply walked over and healed the blind man?

I’ve lived through times of extended trials when I’ve wanted to pound my fist and say, “Jesus, don’t just stand there—do something.” Perhaps, you’ve had those moments too.

Our daughter has Down syndrome. While growing up, she was outgoing and talkative, but around the age of twenty-six, her personality changed. She became despondent and withdrawn. No one in the medical community had answers for us—only educated guesses and an abundance of medications which worsened her condition.

We held out hope for years that our daughter would return to her previous self. “Why are you standing there, Jesus? Why don’t you do something?” We live with a new normal now. Jesus didn’t move as we had hoped, but he did move.

We’re grateful our daughter is no longer despondent. By God’s loving mercy and grace, she’s happy—without the aid of medications. She still talks very little and seldom initiates conversation. Not because she can’t. She simply chooses not to. When there’s something she needs or wants, she prefers to point. That’s when we insist, “Use your words.”

So why does Jesus stand still? Perhaps, so we’ll see our need for his mercy. It’s in times of desperation that we exhibit a profound faith in his ability to meet our needs, drop all that hinders, and run to his side.

Jesus asks, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 

Don’t let him pass by. Use your words. If Jesus doesn’t give you what you want, I can assure you, he’ll give you something far better. He’ll give you what you need. Now that’s a reason to praise him.

Go ahead. Don’t just stand there. Use your words.

Blessings,

Starr