Exhaustion, Part 2

What do we do when we are really tired? When we’ve ministered, served and blessed others to the point that we feel depleted? I once heard someone say, “The most spiritual thing you can do when you are tired is take a nap.” That may be true, but what happens when that is not possible?

In Matthew 14, Jesus takes His disciples to be alone after the death of John the Baptist, but the crowds follow. Instead of sending them away, He ministers to them, heals their sick and feeds five thousand. At the time when they were tired, grieving for their friend and ministering among the people, they find themselves face-to-face with exhaustion.

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him.” (14:22). Jesus then sends the crowds away and then He climbs a mountain to be alone and He prays (14:23).

When we are exhausted, when we have depleted our reserves, Jesus tells us to get into the boat and He takes care of the crowds. It doesn’t mean that we will always get the easy way out, but we need to realize when God is telling us to separate ourselves and rest. Ministering to others can go on, with Jesus leading it, without us.

In the next few verses, the disciples face a major storm, and Jesus shows up. I imagine that the first few hours on the boat were relaxing and refreshing for these seasoned fishermen. God knew they needed that time before the storm came up. So do we. Listen, especially when you are tired, and take the rest Jesus offers you. Get into the boat. You need to reset.

Abba, Father, thank You for the times You put us into the boat and make us take time to restore our souls. Help us to hear Your still, small voice that tells us when we should rest. Help us to be ready for the next challenge. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Exhausted

How do you handle being exhausted when it is not possible to take a nap or get some sleep? What do you do when you are tired and need to keep going? Please let me know–would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

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The Competition, Part 2

So, who are we in a competitive situation? Before you think I am going to say, “Everyone should just get along and get a participation trophy,” just take a look at Scripture. Multiple times, God told the Israelites to defeat their enemies; He gave David the strength and courage to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17); He gave Gideon the victory (Judges 7) and Christ defeated death and hell (1 Corinthians 15).

Since victory and defeat are a part of life, we need to understand who we are to be in those moments of competition. Paul tells Timothy to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1-4).

1. Soldiers fight to win. Soldiers go into battle to win, not to lose. When we compete, it is good to have winning as the goal, as long as we win the right battles for the right reasons. We are to glorify God in everything we do (Colossians 3:17-24) and we are to win with a spirit of humility, because every victory comes from the Father (James 1).

2. They know their enemy. Soldiers don’t do battle against comrades. Yes, they each strive individually to do their best and carry their own weight, but they also understand they are part of a network of soldiers, a team, and they work together to reach their goals and objectives. Many times, we compete with the wrong side (2 Corinthians 10:11-13). We rival our teammates instead of focusing on the competition itself. Especially in the spiritual realm, we need to do battle with the forces of darkness, not the soldiers sitting next to us in church on Sundays (Ephesians 6). And in the physical realm, competing with our own teammates is like going into battle with half our armor; we need to stop sabotaging our own side and encourage and push each other to keep the right focus (Hebrews 3).

3. They use the right weapons. When the Israelites went to battle, they were following God’s orders. Gideon fought with pitches and lanterns, Joshua walked around the city and David used a sword. Each followed God’s instructions and God receives the glory for their victories. God does not give us a guarantee we will win every competition in the physical realm of this world. Saul won the battle, but he lost the war, and his kingdom, when he did not follow God’s instructions (1 Samuel 15). We fight spiritual battles with supernatural weapons–truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (Ephesians 6). We will not win without God’s arsenal and we depend on Him to produce these things in our lives (Galatians 5).

Competition, then, does have its place in our lives, but it is meant to mold us. We learn how to win, but not at any cost; we know the enemy and exert our efforts against them, not our comrades; and we use the weapons we have been issued to win the battles. When we focus on the real goal, the real enemy and the right weapons, we compete the way we were meant to.

Abba, Father, thank You that competition is part of Your design for our lives. It helps to mold us and make us better soldiers for You. Help us to keep the right focus, to know who our enemy is and to use the weapons You provide for us to be able to stand, fight and win for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The Competition

What’s your competitive nature like? When you compete, who are you? Are you the same person one would meet on the street, or do you change when competition arises? What does God say about competition? Please comment below–this is an interesting study!

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Jump Start

Looking for something to jump start your devotional time? Tammy has four books available!

Devotions from Everyday Things–a 60-day journey into deeper spiritual truths using everyday objects. From a goldfish to a steak knife, be ready to find God in the everyday things around you.

More Devotions from Everyday Things–continues the format and topics from her first book. It’s another 60-day journey of spiritual truths found in surprisingly common things we see everyday.

Devotions from Everyday Things: Horse & Farm Edition–a 60-day journey into deeper spiritual truths from the Farm! Horses, a goat, chickens and other everyday things teach us about worship, courage and God’s wonderful design from the farm.

Devotions from Everyday Jobs–her recently released, newest addition to the DFET series! What if your job was more than a paycheck? What if there was a spiritual meaning to the work that you do? Just an everyday job–not in God’s eyes! Come join a 60-day journey of exploring the spiritual principles in the everyday jobs around us–even yours.

You can order any of these books on http://www.amazon.com. For autographed, personalized copies, please email simplydevotions@gmail.com.  Get your copies today!

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Being Content with Your Content

I did some research this morning. I researched happiness and contentment. Opinions abound about what makes us happy and content. Articles, books, blogs and even songs are written about what will make us happy and content. Why is contentment, and by extension happiness, so elusive? Why do we have such a hard time being content?

Being. Defined as existing, occurring, taking place or occupying a position in space (dictionary definitions online). Contentment is so elusive because it is not an action or a thought that we can control–it’s interwoven into our existence, our occupying space on this planet. It is a choice, but a choice that runs to the core of who we are and how we live.

At least fifteen times the Scriptures use the words content or contentment. Some reference the Old Testament saints and their journey in the wilderness, others are by the Psalmist and the writer of Proverbs. Still others are written by the apostles, such as Paul’s familiar words, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance” (Philippians 4:12). So, how can we be content? How do we find something so contrary to our culture and so difficult to define?

  1. Focus. Timothy tells us “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6). We must realize contentment isn’t the primary goal to be achieved. Godliness comes first, then contentment. We cannot have contentment without God as the focus of our lives. That is because anything, or anyone, that is greater in our lives that God is an idol, and idolatry will never lead us to be content.
  2. Fear. Fear the Lord, not the loss of goods, not the changing of circumstances. Proverbs 19:23a says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction…” When we reverence God and give Him His rightful place, He makes even our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). Alongside of focusing on Him, we must reverence and respect Him. Otherwise, we give lip-service, but our hearts are not free to be content. 
  3. Fulness. When we realize the massive generosity of God in our lives, there is no room for being dissatisfied when things don’t work out exactly as we think they should. Being grateful for His many blessings keeps us from being discontent, disillusioned or displeased with our circumstances (James 1:16-18). Knowing His great love for us, knowing He seeks what is best for us, knowing He has eternity for those who have accepted His redemption–these are much bigger than the temporary inconveniences of what happens here. 

We find contentment when we focus on God and living out Godliness in our daily lives; fearing the Lord as we should, and knowing the fulness of His love and generosity to us. It’s not our content that makes us content. It’s how we view the God who gave it all that makes all the difference.

Abba, Father, thank You that contentment is so very deeply linked to our relationship with You that we cannot find it unless we walk with You. Help us to focus on You, reverence You and feel the fulness of You as we exist and occupy space in a new way today. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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What Makes You Discontent?

Is it the latest fashion trend, the new house they are building next door, or the new car your best friend bought? Is it the success someone else had at their career, or is it just that you feel left out? What makes you feel discontent? Comment below.

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