No matter what our title, we are called to serve

I am guessing many of you got up early to be amongst the millions who watched the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. As I watched the service, I paraphrased Psalms 21 https://www.biblestudytools.com/psalms/21.html to express my feelings toward this extraordinary and beloved woman who reigned for 70 years. I used the verses 7 and 13. “For the Queen trusts in the Lord with her unfailing love of the Most High. She will not be shaken. Be exalted in your strength Queen Elizabeth. We will sing and praise a life lived well”

I wanted to write about sacrificial service this week. Her majesty’s funeral service brought what I wanted to share into focus. True service is forgetting about yourself and looking for ways to help those around you. Giving up your time and your God given resources to make a difference in someone else’s life. I found this great essay https://bit.ly/tolivewemustfirstdie written about a favorite book, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. In it Bill Onisick writes, “This we must first die perspective changes our attitude and our actions. Jesus says in Matthew 10:39, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Commentator Albert Barnes explains: “The word “life” in this passage is used evidently in two senses. The meaning may be expressed thus: He that is anxious to save his “temporal” life, or his comfort and security here, shall lose “eternal” life. . . . He that is willing to risk or lose his comfort and “life” here for my sake, shall find “life” everlasting, or shall be saved.”

Her funeral service, which she had planned years before, showed that Queen Elizabeth’s life was an example of a life lived this way. Even though she was born into the monarchy with everyone serving her, her first priority was to serve God. She most certainly had the comfort and security this “temporal’ life but from birth, her life was not her own. She would never be free to live the life she may have wanted. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded us that, on her 21st birthday broadcast , she famously declared that “her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth.” He went on to say that Jesus exhorted  “I am the way, the truth and the life, follow me.” Her late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed.”

What if we all committed to do the same? When we follow Jesus, we too, become heirs to the eternal throne. Romans 8:17 explains it this way. “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we serve/suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Much like Queen Elizabeth, we have to let go of our personal desires so that we can live the life God intended for us. When we realize that there is something for us bigger than we can ever imagine, we will find ourselves humbled that we are children of God. As His children, Our whole lives must be dedicated to serving as the Psalmist writes, the Most High. Only then, can we understand who we are and what is our true purpose.

I will end this post with how the Archbishop ended his sermon. “We will all face the merciful judgment of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”  Here is the full text https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2022/09/19/archbishop-of-canterburys-sermon-for-the-state-funeral-of-queen-elizabeth-ii/

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Ready, Fire, Aim! What can go wrong when we get things out of order.

I have continued to ponder the importance of knowing on where should be your focus. Simon Sinek call this “Knowing what is your Why?” https://simonsinek.com/books/start-with-why/ Rick Warren would argue it is as having a Purpose filled Life. https://www.purposedriven.com/ Understanding who we were created to be makes it much easier to focus on how we are to go about becoming that person. The challenge is to stay true to your principles http://thankfulinallthings.com/where-is-your-focus/, so we don’t get distracted or waylaid by others or our circumstances.

John 8:31,32 says our Focus should be on the Truth of God’s Word. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%208:31-32&version=ESV. I love how it says it “sets us free”. But free from what? There are many explanations of what this statement means. I have used it to mean, that knowing God created me and my life is completed in my relationship with Him, allows me to not worry what others might think of my faith. I live with a desire to serve others confident I can trust that God is in control of the outcome.

Are you living your life with a Ready, Fire, Aim mentality? If so, unless you are really lucky, you will miss the mark of what you want for your life and those around you. The consequence of continually missing the mark is your persistence to hit your target will diminish. The more you miss the target, the less you will try because you think it is not worth your effort.

Are you missing the mark? It is not too late to change the order. 1) Decide you are Ready to live life the way you were created to live it. Acknowledge the nudging that there has to be more to your life that you are currently experiencing. Be willing to admit that maybe everything is not in your control. 2) Take Aim at the target. Think about what it is you really want to achieve in life. Acknowledge it is not just about experiencing success but leaving a legacy of significance.

Bob Buford digs into this concept in his book Finishing Well. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/270860.Finishing_Well 3) Once you find yourself Ready and you have taken Aim, Act (Fire) with the confidence that what you choose to do will make a positive difference in those who will benefit from your actions. The secret to your success will be your persistence. Remember the old adage “if you at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” There are many with wonderful life plans that never achieved them because they gave up on their dreams. They gave up on the 99th chop into a tree not realizing with the 100th the tree would have fallen. Knowing the truth about your purpose (your Why) keeps setbacks or naysayers from causing you to not achieve your ultimate goal.

Like Ready, Aim, Fire, practice Listen, See, and Feel. Listen to the words that come out of your mouth. Do they sound like things that show your confidence in what you plan to do? See you actions. Are you doing the things that will allow you to achieve your purpose? Are your daily actions moving you toward your ultimate goal? How does it Feel to be doing what you have planned? If you are working toward your true purpose (your why) no matter how hard, it should rejuvenate versus wear you out

My hope is you will take the time to understand how your life is best lived and then embark on the journey that will result in you living that life of significance that causes you to have no regret and where God will say, “Well done good and faithful servant” Maybe like Queen Elizabeth, a double rainbow will prepare the way for you too. 🙂

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/other/queen-elizabeth-ii-double-rainbow-seen-over-buckingham-palace/vi-AA11CkZr?category=foryou

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Where is your focus?

If you read my blog last week, I ended the post with the concept of how humility allows us to experience gratitude. I found this 5 year old devotional that makes the point that humility and gratitude are a two way street meaning one can lead to the other. http://www.wisdomhunters.com/gratitude-develops-humility-2/God uses your gratitude to develop your heart of humility and grace.” What we focus on day by day or moment by moment will ultimately decide what we will get out of life. We each have the choice for it to be one filled with gratitude or disappointment from unmet expectations?



As I pondered this question, so many analogies came to mind. “if you want to know what is important, look at your checkbook.” ”Look at your calendar open to acknowledging what truly are your priorities.” “ If you don’t have goals for your life, you don’t have to worry about achieving them” Here is what I want us to consider. ”The consequences of our choices can make us better or make us bitter.” https://www.clarionledger.com/story/business/2017/02/04/better-bitter-only-difference/97392312/
Jesus makes this point with his disciples when He explains the parable in Mark 4. We can have the best of intentions for our lives but can, ”18 like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but we let the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word (our focus), making it unfruitful”

God intends for us to live an abundant life. John 10:10 He wants us to dwell on this promise so ”our Joy may be made full and complete” John 15:11 Humility comes from experiencing this undeserved abundance from God which makes our lives full and complete. When we remember that we are loved by God, gratitude flows. Pamela Bunn sums it up this way. ”It is God’s living word that brings righteousness, teaches trust, and effects flourishing.”

May we be people “Blessed because we trust in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

However you found this blog post I hope you have you been encouraged. if so, please feel free to share it with others. please subscribe so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com

What is true friendship?

What makes someone your true friend? What gives them that honor in your life? Do you have that honor in someone else’s life? I have been reading through 1 Samuel this month which has once again reminded me of the friendship between Jonathan and David. Read the verses below and then write down all that it teaches your about what it means to be a friend or to have a friend like Jonathan. (my italics and bold font will give you a hint)

1 Samuel 18: 3,4 “Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 20:13-15 He blessed him saying, “May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father.  But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness for as long as I live, so that I may not be killed,  and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

In a group discussion I lead each week, my friend Julio Soto shared this link with us regarding the characteristics of true friendship. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/true-friends-are-hard-to-find The points made in this article substantiate what made the friendship of Jonathan and David so special. 1) They each heightened their own joy in God. 2) They helped each other to see their own blind spots and imperfections (sin) that kept them from the life God wanted them to live. 3) Jonathan especially spurred David up in his love for God and wanting to do good works. (Hebrews 10:24) I am guessing knowing Jonathan was Saul’s son helped David not kill Saul when he had the chance. 4) A true friend is there when we feel alone. “Walking through life in a God-belittling world, with our sin-ridden flesh, against a hell-bent enemy, is too hard to be attempted alone.” Jonathan continually reminded David he was there for him no matter what. His taking off the robe and giving it to David, along with his tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt symbolized David was truly a member of his family and that he would be there for him no matter what. 5) Friends will be drawn closer together as they grow in their faith in God. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Another friend shared his personal manta, #TWS. It stands for “Two Way Street”. The power of true friendship is when people are committed to each other in the same way. It results in being the recipient of someone else’s unconditional love while desiring to return it in the same way. It personalizes in a positive way, “what goes around comes around” Like #2 notes above, one must remember each person has their own faults and therefore, their first commit must be to the Lord who is always present and will never disappoint. When we love the Lord with all our heart first and THEN love others as God loves us, we can trust that the outcome will be friendships that heighten our own joy. https://biblehub.com/matthew/22-37.htm We can move forward boldly in life never feeling alone in our quest to be the people for which we were created. That is the power of true friendships. We experience humility when we realize someone loves us just because and out of it flows gratitude that allows us to live out being thankful in all things.  

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Life lessons from golf (Part 2)

Many of you know I started a golf fellowship group earlier this year. I wanted to being people together who loved Golf and wanted to learn more about life with God. We call it FORE! It stands for Focused on Reconciliation for Everyone. This week was my turn to share what it means to walk with God using golf analogies. My blog post this week summarizes what I shared that led to a great discussion. My thoughts came from reading a chapter in the In His Grip https://www.inhisgripgolf.com/ devotional book, More than a Game.

The golf scorecard and the yardage book brought some ideas to mind. Every time to go out and play, you get a new one. No matter how you played the last time out, you get a chance to learn from the past round so you can improve on the upcoming one. God gives us the same opportunity. The bible in 1 John 1:9 https://biblia.com/bible/esv/1-john/1/9 reminds us when we make mistakes one day, we can start the next day with a fresh slate. As I wrote a few months back http://thankfulinallthings.com/what-golf-teaches-us-about-life/ God’s Word like a golf course yardage book instructs us where to and where not to hit the ball so we stay out of trouble. We get into trouble when we don’t pay attention to the book or think we can do it a different way then how God design life to be lived.

Another golf thought is how crazy is it the a 6 inch putt counts the same as a 300 yard drive. Interestingly, our sinful nature is judged the same way by God. Big or small, A sin is a sin and creates imperfection that only God’s grace and Mercy can redeem. https://biblehub.com/romans/3-23.htm

The third parallel thought is everyone has a different golf swing. The challenge of being a good golfer is learning to be your best with your natural swing. In our faith journey, we are called to be the best person we can be versus trying to be someone else. This is where a golf instructor can be so important.

During a lesson, the pro can figure out the flaws in your swing which allows you to improve. It doesn’t make sense to practice if we are just going out and continue to do the wrong things. In life, we need friends that, like a golf pro, can point out our blind spots. We need folks we can trust to share when we can’t see what we are saying or doing is wrong.

Finally, Golf is both a mental and a physical game. You need to study the course and improve your swing to have a successful round. Life is the same. I believe God’s Word teaches us how to best live our lives. Someone can know the bible backward and forward but if you don’t practice what it teaches, you never know all the Lord has in store for your life. John 10:10 says God wants us to experience an abundant life filled with peace and joy not a mediocre one where we wonder shouldn’t there be more. Read the scriptures and find someone who can guide you along the way. Give them permission to be honest with you. I am confident that only good will result when you do.

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We all think we know what we want, but do we?

Our move back to Charlottesville has given me the opportunity to become friends with many UVA coaches. One friendship resulted in my serving as a character coach for the UVA Men’s tennis team for four years. During that span they won 3 National Championships. Several coaches here have also led their teams to National Championships. When I talked with them after the excitement died down, each made a similar comment. They were surprised how quickly the high they felt in reaching the pinnacle of their profession, turned into a feeling of “Is that it”? Each of them spoke of being discouraged because, the exuberant feeling they had worked so hard to achieve, only lasted for a very short period of time. For those of us who have never had that kind of success, we might wonder how that could happen. The answer is quite simple…….

Although they had a worthy goal, it did not fill the void that has been created in each of us. The void that can only be filled with God. St, Augustine explained it this way. “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you (Confessions 1.1). When we seek to fill our hunger for God with anyone or anything but God, no matter the success, we are left wanting for more.” It is like the childhood toy that is a ball or a box that has different shapes cut out.

The goal is to find the shapes and fit them through the appropriate shape until they are all inside. No matter what achievement or great relationship with someone, it will never allow you to fulfill your true purpose in life and as Augustine teaches, your heart will remain restless.

Jim Denison made this point when writing about the great sportscaster Vin Scully after he died this past week. “You may not be as legendary as Vin Scully in the eyes of society, but your soul matters to God as much as if you were the only person who had ever lived. His Spirit is ready to fill the “infinite abyss” that only he can fill.” https://bit.ly/vinscully We need to stop chasing what is only temporal and focus on the things that only God can provide us. https://biblehub.com/2_corinthians/4-18.htm

The Lord is our strength, He directs our lives, and He is our deliverer. There is no substitute for our need of the Lord. Our tendency is to live life our way without looking to Him. We may experience temporary and short lived happiness but as Psalms 1:4 reminds us,

“it is like chaff that dries up and the wind blows away.” Proverbs 17:3 says this about where our purpose lies. “The crucible is used to test the purity of silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

What will God find when He tests your heart? The world’s successes and blessings are great but the reward of His presence on earth and the eternal glory to come, is our true life’s purpose https://www.shortform.com/blog/the-purpose-driven-life/and, unlike the feeling of a National Championship, will never disappear.

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  Fredrick Buechner

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The impact of your own safe harbor or fort

I spent a couple days this week travelling to Hampton, Va. for a company event. I lucked out with my travel plans finding a hotel looking out on the Hampton Marina. While driving down here I saw signs for Jamestown, Fort Monroe, and Fort Story. It got me thinking about what it must have been like to literally live in a fort or the relief felt after crossing the Atlantic especially when facing a storm to find a safe harbor like the one pictured here.

Scripture uses both of these locations to describe how we need a place of retreat allowing us to be refreshed, nourished and encouraged for whatever might come our way. Isaiah 25:4 – “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.” David writes in Psalms 91:1,2 “Whoever dwells in the shelter (fort, city) of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

When we come to God, it is like sailing into a harbor where the water is calm and away from the wind and waves that been battled out in the open sea. For us land lubbers, a fort provides that same kind of feeling. We are relieved to see gates open as we return tired and hungry and feel even better as they close behind us so we feel safe and protected. Psalms 91: 5,6 Where “you will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Forts and Harbors are places people go to seek refuge from danger. The Bible time and time again tells us we are to do the same with our spiritual lives. In fact, just in the book of Psalms, its noun and verb forms occur again and again—more than 40 times in all, as in “take refuge in him,” “the LORD is his refuge,” “he is the saving refuge of his anointed,” “be a rock of refuge for me,” https://biblemesh.com/blog/refuge-in-the-psalms/ Our Lord want us to come to Him just like a child comes to a parent when they need to be comforted or feel safe from when in danger. Even yesterday I watched my granddaughter run and hide behind her mom when I entered the room. Uh Oh, here comes that big, scary, MRG 🙂 When we do seek refuge in God, He promises to provide peace that is beyond human comprehension. https://www.bible.com/bible/116/PHP.4.6-7.NLT

I went to a friend’s funeral yesterday. It was a service that left everyone with such hope. Why? Because he and his family had no doubt Lee had gone to the ultimate safe harbor. To a place described in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him—”

The service ended with this quote. “And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

May this blog help you understand that God is your mighty fortress. Not matter what challenges you face, may you seek your refuge in Him. Please subscribe to this blog so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com

Don’t we all wish we could be more like Peter?

I just love Peter and what his life teaches me about what it means to be a follower of Christ. He was so strong in His faith and had such a love for Jesus and yet, he failed Him in such significant ways. In a weird way, it encourages me in my own failings or falling short in my own faith walk. Paul, in Romans 7:18,19 writes, “I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Peter went through the same dilemmas throughout his life.

Even though he saw Jesus perform miracles, He doubted when Christ told him there were fish to be caught. Luke 5:5 “Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Kind of like a sassy “OK, if you tell me to”

He was bold enough to get out of the boat and walk on water toward Jesus but when he remembered the wind and waves, He splashed down like an anchor. Mark 14:22-33. He realized that his lack of faith was because he took his eyes off Jesus and instead focused on the storm. Jesus was teaching him that He will help navigate whatever comes our way if we stay focused on Him.

Peter loved the Lord and said he would never deny Him and even fight for him but not too long afterward it says in Mark 14: 75 “And immediately the cock crew and Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

and finally, when the same thing occurs after Christ’s resurrection in John 21, Peter doesn’t have to be taught twice. “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”“No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

The final lesson Peter teaches us if that when we have failed God wants us to humble ourselves so that we can admit our wrong doings. Oswald Chambers writes, This is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor. The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus works best” John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness”

Peter, Do you love me?

Jesus does the same with Peter after he swims to shore and serves him and the others breakfast. Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times so makes him answer the question “Do you Love me three times”. Peter is hurt but responds, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times so makes him answer the question “Do you Love Me” three times as well. The Lord then challenges Peter to “Feed my sheep” which meant be the leader of the church. No matter how many times we fall short, Jesus is there to forgive and challenge us forward. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2021&version=NIV

The moral of this blog is like Peter, Love the Lord with all your heart! Be passionate in your desire to honor Him and bring Glory to His name. And when you fail at it, know that Jesus through the Holy Spirit will be there to hear your simple prayer, Help Me! As He did with the one He called the Rock, He will lift and carry you back to the boat so that you can rest up and be ready “Feed His sheep or go through whatever storms (adversities) He has for you next.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. My hope is it will encourage you and others who read it to remain Thankful in all Things. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you can receive email notifications when new content is written. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com

The importance of having routine in your life

I met with a young friend last week who asked me about the intentionality he saw in my life. He wanted to hear how I went about living a life of faith in God which led to this blog post. Two things came to mind.

1) When Guillain Barre Syndrome https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/guillain-barre-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20362793 left me paralyzed, God made Himself present in so many ways. I shared how my illness and subsequent recovery deepened my faith by making it so much more real for me. If you haven’t already, you can read my GBS story at www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie

2) I also explained having a routine was instrumental in my recovery. I have pretty much followed that routine for the last three plus years with my morning routine being most important. My friend asked me what a morning routine looks like. For me to make the most of each day, I need to get it started out right. I try not to schedule early morning meetings because it leaves me feeling rushed into what is almost always a crazy, jam packed day. Heather Riggleman writes about routines using Mark 1:35 “One of the reasons Jesus got up early was to be alone with God. If nothing else, choosing this step is vital. It is so worthwhile to seek first the Kingdom of God. God wants to meet with us. He has so many things he wants to share. He’s waiting to commune and communicate. He’s waiting to fill our souls before we race through the day.” Glenn Lundy writes about his proper morning routine in https://themorning5.com/ebook

My morning routine starts the night before. For me to get up at least an hour and a half before the day’s activities begin, I have to go to bed at a regular time. That way, my body is ready to wake up between 5:30 and 6am every day. If I am honest, there are nights where I go to sleep looking forward to my coffee in the AM. I set it up the night before so all I have to do is push the button when I wake up. My devotionals start before the coffee is ready. It consists of reading scripture and other devotional books and blogs. I pray and journal asking the Lord for guidance on things I know will be happening throughout the day. As people come to mind, I text and email them to let them know I am thinking about them. I then create and send out via social media and text a motivational thought for the day and for fun, post a recently taken picture with a personal haiku. Knowing I am going to do that keeps me focused during the day on something I will want to post the next day which I hope will help people be thankful in all things. Another way of walking in faith throughout my day is what I call the 6-9-12-3-6-9 BSKHIG smart phone reminder. On those hours of the day, my phone reminds me to Be Still and Know He is God no matter how the day has gone so far. It makes me stop and do a reset. Often times I recite my own paraphrased versions of The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23.

This type of routine might not be for you but I encourage you to find one that fits your schedule. This anonymous quote sums it up. “If every day while waking up, you put yourself at the top of your to-do list and take care of your needs first, then everything else will fall into place.” Michael Hyatt shares, “Like the air bags in the airplane, If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t have the ability to help others”

Over the last three years, my routine has reinforced Ms Riggleman’s thoughts on having an established schedule. “We were created to work in rhythm with the world around us through rest, work, and play. This includes how we start our days, what we put into our bodies, being nourished by God’s word, and how we move our bodies.” We do this by remembering John 15’s teaching “that we are the branches and God is the vine. Only by being attached to Him can we be nourished to produce the fruit so that others can be nourished too. Each morning and throughout the day, I remember Oswald Chambers charge. ”Ask yourself, who am I to serve. ”I cannot give up my will, I must exercise it. I must will to obey so it is never a question of what He will do, but of what I will do to serve and honor Him.” Answering like Isaiah did, ”Here I am Lord send me”

Thanks for reading this week’s blog. Please share it with others if you think they would be encouraged by it. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. I can be reached by email at michael@mrg7175.com

Taking time to rest

Dan Allender “The leader who doesn’t feel pressed to the wall often is not involved in the work that is advancing sufficiently against the forces of darkness. But the burned out leader has allowed the intensity and exhaustion of his calling to take away the pleasure of hope.” http://leadwithyourlife.com/blog/leading-with-a-limp

I talk to so many people these days who say they have never been more tired and are on the verge of burn out. I feel it as well and it gets compounded by seeing others lose their hope and joy for life. I have spent time thinking about this phenomenom for awhile now which caused this blog post to come out a bit late. I hope you won’t lower my grade because of being tardy with the assignment 😀

Jesus says in Matthew, ”Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2011:28-29&version=KJV Oswald Chambers breaks these verses down this way. “Come unto me. If I will come to Jesus my actual life will be brought into accordance with my real desires; I will actually cease from sin and actually find the song of the Lord placed in my heart. Let go of everything and deliberately commit all to him. He will imbue you with the spirit of life, and you will be stayed by the perfection of vital activity” Do you catch it? We are to rest so we can then go back in the world with a desire to make a positive difference.

Max Lucado in Traveling Light, https://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Light-Releasing-Burdens-Intended/dp/0849912970 Sheds new light on an old favorite, Psalm 23, asking us to consider the baggage we all carry. He how we need to release these burdens to a God who is ready and willing to be our everything.

My analogy is we all try so hard to hold on to and control everything. A closed fist cannot be open handed. If we aren’t open handed, God cannot put into our lives what He wants for us or take away the things that hinder us. If we allow ourselves to be hindered, we will not have the strength for the vital activity God wants from us.

John Ortberg asked his mentor, Dallas Willard, “What do I need to do to be healthy spiritually? What do I need to do to guard my heart?” After a long pause, Dallas said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Though our spiritual life has had other enemies in other eras, hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life today. When you hurry, you can hardly do anything the way God wants your to do it.”

Links Players, Randy Wolff, summarizes it well. “Lives are changed in quiet, reflective moments. Step out of the traffic, and look to God for your answer. The traffic and speed will kill you.” God promises us when we come unto Him, He will refresh and nourish you. That way you will have less chance of experiencing burn out and more opportunities help others do the same. As Matt Redmond sings, Where we no longer labor but instead find life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Al37huqFfg

Go now in peace…never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day. Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. (Benediction)

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