>Birthday Reflections

>So it’s yet another birthday for me. “Older than dirt” would seem to apply…but as I jogged this morning I knew I’m in better shape now than I was in my 20s and 30s; and, regardless, our times are in His hands. As a plaque in my office reads, “Age is mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

I heard something the other day that is worth contemplating…”If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you think you were?”  In my case, mid – thirties…sometimes younger!

I know a lot of crabby teenagers…crabby 20 and 30 somethings…and some young-thinking 70-80 year olds.

Attitude determines actions which determine accomplishments.

So, yeah, I’m another year/day/hour/minute/second closer to heaven…but so are you!

Here’s a few shots of my biggest blessings: Dad, Jacob, Janelle on log ride at Silver Dollar City last week;
 Jane, Jacob, Janelle at Sight&Sound in Branson, Mo; Josiah and Joel at our new above ground pool (what a hassle to put up…thanks to Randy Rogers for helping); Janelle and Jacob in front of Sight & Sound (where we saw Noah production last week…phenomenal); Joel (left) photographing a wedding in Wisconsin over the weekend; Mom and Jacob enjoying the (ice cold) pool!

>God Owns the Battle

>  It is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s. 1 Samuel 17:47
 
     This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

    As I celebrate yet another birthday today; I find this prayer from SCOTTY SMITH a tremendous encouragement as I, like you, go forth not into “my best life now” but to fight the good fight of faith; praying I never get involved in mickey-mouse fights!

Dear heavenly Father, I love it when you’re selfish with things I don’t really want anyway. So I’m gladly reminded today that you claim ownership of any battle into which you place me. Though you call me into spiritual warfare and though you give me armor to wear (Ephesians 6:10-18), it is you that I must trust in as the Divine Warrior. You’re not calling me to be a disengaged passivist, but a fully engaged worshipper—beholding the salvation of the Lord.

     Whether we’re talking about a mere skirmish or an all out assault from the powers of darkness, the battle belongs to you. Fear and discouragement are not the order of the day, faith and peace are.

     When I’m afraid of events in world history—when it seems like evil and terror will triumph, once again, let me hear the laughter of heaven. Let me see your installed King, the Lord Jesus. Show me the occupied throne of heaven and it will shut up my fears. (Psalm 2)

     When I’m under attack by the seducer, accuser and condemner of the brethren, once again, let me see Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. Jesus, you have become all the wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption I need (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). My boast is in you, not in anything in me.

     When I’m in the presence of evil people… keep me thinking, feeling and choosing with gospel sanity. When I’m in broken circumstances with broken people (which is most of life)… let me see Jesus more clearly than the storm and waves. When my own divided, duplicitous, easily-distracted heart wages war inside of me, give me confidence in your commitment to bring to completion the good work YOU began in me.

     When the biggest and most fierce opposition… when the most present and garish enemy… when “hugest” and most daily battle is actually against all the non-gospels and anti-gospels with which this world is filled… keep showing me more and more and more of the glory and grace of Jesus. So very Amen, I pray, in his tender and triumphant name.

>Give Them Back – Good Stuff from Warren Wiersbe

>Read Psalm 55:22-23

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (v. 22). This promise tells us that Christians do have burdens. David is not talking about concern for others, although it’s good to bear one another’s burdens. Instead, he means the burdens that the Lord allows each one of us to bear. One translation reads, “Cast what he has given thee upon the Lord.”

Burdens are not accidents but appointments. The burdens you have in your life today are what God has ordained for you–unless they are the result of your own rebellious sin against Him. Burdens help us grow; they help us exercise the muscles of our faith. They teach us how to trust God and live a day at a time.

This promise also tells us that we can cast these burdens on the Lord. Peter said, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:7). The Lord gives us the burden, and then He says, “Now give that burden back to Me. But don’t stop there; give Me yourself as well.” If we try to give Him our burdens without giving Him ourselves, He really can’t help us. It’s like stepping onto an elevator with many heavy packages and failing to put them down on the floor until you reach your destination. Let the elevator carry both you and your packages.
Notice that the verse doesn’t say He’ll keep you from problems all the time. He’s going to use problems to build your character. But he’ll make sure the righteous will not be moved. Cast your burden on the Lord. Let Him sustain you today.

Giving your burden to God is an act of faith. But giving yourself to Him and letting Him use that burden to help you grow is taking an extra step of faith. He will invest that burden in building your character. Give your burdens to the Lord today.