Category Archives: surrender

Love Floats – You!


– Joe Fornear

There is a new 1000 foot glass footbridge in China spanning 600 feet above a valley. above clouds- love- 1-28-16There are videos of people frozen on the bridge or crawling across because they’re so freaked out by the height. For many, 600 feet seems to be quite a long way – but 600 feet is nothing.

Imagine walking across a glass bridge in the heavens, miles above the earth. As you look down and all around, picture the huge expanses not to be clouds and air, but a humongous pool of God’s love for you. Right, that’s a lot of love. Now visualize all of that love enveloping you – and dive in. Let the purest of loves carry you along over your earthly troubles. Go ahead, float there in your imagination for a while…

The good news is you don’t have to pretend this type of love to be true – God says it is true! And some of His freest children, David and Paul, discovered this fact long ago. They call to us today to join them in being caught up by the Lord’s incredible love as well:

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – David in Psalm 36:5.

(I pray) that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. – Paul in Ephesians 3:17-20.

“Yeah, yeah,” you might say, “I know God loves me.” Yet note Paul insists God’s love “surpasses knowledge.” In other words, it’s something you know and feel, and He wants us be filled up with this love! Words don’t do justice. Paul says it’s incomprehensibly wide, long, tall and deep! That’s a lot of love – extending up into the heavens.

So cuddle up to The One who is crazy about you and cares deeply about everything you face in life. Picture His love melting away each and every fear you’ve ever had. See His love releasing you of all tensions, worries and cares. He’s got you. Exhale. Smile. Soak. Float in His love. Repeat often.

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The Green Grass Is Under You

– Amy Fornear
(Amy is Joe and Terri Fornear’s daughter and our special guest blogger today).

“Suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.” – Elisabeth Elliot sheep green grass- 4-9-15

Whether it’s loneliness, chronic illness, fear of failure, unanswered prayer or an unfulfilled desire there is always a nagging voice saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

Or maybe, “That pasture is greener than over here.” Or the frustrated, shorter version, “The grass over there.”

That voice allows you to have the wonderful privilege of acknowledging everything you don’t have and hating everything you have. Yeah, I would call that suffering.

While the enemy is voicing what you lack, God is voicing what you have! And right now you have green grass UNDER YOU. The finished work of Jesus Christ is literally UNDER YOU and IN YOU. Sit in it.

Of course “He makes us lie down in green pastures!” What else is there to do with NICE, LOVELY, GREEN GRASS that is directly UNDER YOU. Sit in it! Nap in it! Roll around in it! Eat it! Have a picnic in it with Him. Tell Him about your day so far. Tired of asking Him for the same things? Change the subject. Ask Jesus what His hobbies are or what He loves to do. I bet He has good stories to tell… like when He made something come out of nothing or when He was twelve years old and scared His parents when He left the caravan without telling them!

Enjoy your Maker – He made you and the green grass UNDER YOU. Now just sit in it. Go with the gravity and sit. It’s easier that way.

More blogs from Amy Fornear on her blog page here.

When God Is Silent… He’s Up to Something

 


Silent
night? Have you ever been up close to a braying donkey? Surrounded by pack animals while delivering a baby, angels appearing to shepherdthe only silence Mary heard seemed to be emanating from God. Hey, whatever happened to that angel’s promise about finding favor with God?

Periods of “silence” are common in the history of God’s relations with man. Yet we always find out later that God was up to something better all along.

  • After David was crowned King, he fled from his enemies for 14 scary years before his kingdom was finally established.
  • The nation of Israel cried out for 400 painful years to be delivered from Egypt’s bondage.
  • The entire human race was subject to a 400 year period of silence during the time between the last Old Testament prophets and the New Testament birth of Jesus.

In all of these cases and so many more, behind the scenes God was working ALL things to the good (Romans 8:28).

Back to Mary. How did she get through her nightmare child birth experience? By focusing, not on the unhealthy conditions of her delivery, but on the promises of God’s glorious goodness delivered through the shepherds:

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart Luke 2:19.

How about us? In our struggles, are we able to look beyond appearances to ponder and treasure His promises? Perhaps long ago you turned away from God – He was just too silent for you. You may be wondering why you’re even still reading. Or perhaps you’re all in with God, but secretly, or not so secretly disillusioned with His current path for you?

This Christmas, God wishes to fan that flicker of hope deep within us all. He is always up to something better! So whether you need to surrender and receive the promised Messiah into your life for the very first time (here’s how – let me know if you do), or you need to be reminded to grab onto His great and precious promises – remember His plans for you are very good. So we end while pondering one of the most hope-filled promises in the Bible:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11.

Is It True – No Pain-No Gain?

-Joe Fornear

No one has ever managed to completely avoid pain. Some have learned to manage it though. road signs - blur  - 8-28-14Amazingly, despite millenniums of angry questions and shaking fists pointed His direction, the Lord still allows pain on the earth. Yet all along He has leveraged pain for His kingdom and our greater good (Romans 8:28). But we must be clear with Job and Peter that pain is never in vain, or surely we will resist His  processes… and miss the hidden benefits.

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. – 1 Peter 1:6-8

As a Stage IV melanoma survivor, the purifying fires of pain have swept through my own heart. These types of struggles have the potential to revise values and refocus priorities, setting us free from the empty desires and tyrannous demands of life. Many of our friends battling cancer have told us that despite the difficulty, God has used their battle to draw them to Him. This is why so many have called their cancer a gift!

(For more on Joe’s journey, reply to this email and ask for the free ebook, My Stronghold).

Speaking of gifts, there was One Who not only managed His pain and suffering, but He mastered it.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. – Hebrews 5:6-7

Keep in mind, if you received Jesus as your Savior, He now lives inside of you and will produce supernatural coping mechanisms inside you. So like Jesus, let’s pour out our hearts in complete dependence and surrender to our loving Father. And cut yourself some slack, even The Perfect Son, Jesus, had to “learn” obedience from suffering.

Props to Coping with Crisis

-Joe Fornear

Last summer I was out on the lake in my 25-year-old boat, which you can think of as a giant fish magnet – just saying. At one point I decided to move so I started the motor and shifted into gear.boat ride - 7-11-14 Yet whenever I increased the throttle, the motor would only roar – there was no movement. A few guys stopped by to troubleshoot, until one finally towed me into the dock.

As I was pulling the boat out of the water on the trailer, I mentioned to a guy that my motor sounded great, but the boat wouldn’t go. While I was tying the boat down in the parking lot, he walked over and said, “Maybe your boat won’t go because it has no propeller.”

Sure enough the prop had come loose, spun clean off the shaft, and fallen into the lake. When the boat was in the water, no one could see that it had come off. I was embarrassed, but relieved there was a simple solution.

This boat breakdown was a bit like coping in my own strength during my Stage IV cancer battle. The Lord was “ever present” with His incredible power, but like a motor without a prop, I was not utilizing Him. I insisted on being strong in myself, and I was going nowhere slow – just drifting on the water.

I believe the key to coping with crisis is dependence on His power. In Paul’s prayer for the Colossians, the result of this dependence is great endurance, patience and joyful thanksgiving – which would come in handy in a cancer battle or in everyday life!

… being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father… – Colossians 1:11-12

Paul was no stranger to hardship. He mastered some miserable circumstances – jailings, whippings, beating and stonings. He knew what it took to not just survive, but to thrive. So like Paul, let’s allow dependence on God’s power to propel us forward into great endurance and patience, even joy.

You might be thinking: “Joy now, in the midst of my awful circumstances? No way!” But Jesus said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God!”

Ready Or Not?

-Terri Fornear

Step 6 – We are entirely ready to have God remove the root of all these character defects.

This is an interesting step to me. Though this step credits God as the One who actually changes me, my role is to be entirely ready to receive His way of removing the root of my problem.ready - Step 6- 5-27-14 I love what Paul wrote:

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13-14

It is tempting to think we must change on our own so that God will be pleased with us. It is also tempting to think that we can change on our own. Yet we know Paul had become so frustrated that he gave up trying to change. Can you relate to Paul?

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? – Romans 7:22-24

He tried and tried to do it himself, but eventually he was ready for change – God’s type of change. This “simple” step is so hard, yet so freeing. Are you tired of trying to change yourself? Are you finally ready for change?

Five Life-changing Outcomes of Suffering

-Joe Fornear

Taken by itself – there’s no question – suffering stinks. I know this firsthand from my battle with Stage IV cancer. Fortunately for us, the Lord never meant suffering to be just a cruel and bitter pill to be dutifully swallowed. Suffering is a path, never a destination.clanking smiley faces w sad face

To understand the role of suffering, we must first recognize the illusion of control over our lives. Suffering shatters this illusion, creating deep-seated need. This need creates a thirst for something or Someone with more control than ourselves. Without this thirst, we may never truly seek or know Him.

So in light of its ideal outcome, suffering still hurts, but managing the pain becomes easier. Consider five life-changing outcomes of suffering (and there are more):

1) Suffering purifies us. (Purity brings the highest liberty).

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

2) Suffering sets us free from worldly values. (They’re vain pursuits after all).

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

3) Suffering causes us to depend on God alone. (The highest form of living is dependent living).

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. – 2 Corinthians 1:8–9

4) Suffering equips us to help others. (Serving others sets us free from the horrible bondage of being exclusively self-serving).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

5) Suffering produces the supreme joy of being in love with Jesus. (Nothing compares to Him!).

And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. – 1 Peter 1:8

Granted, there are many wells that promise to satisfy the thirst which suffering produces. Many turn to drugs, food, entertainment, sex, pleasure, power – and the list goes on. Yet when we embrace these five life-changing outcomes of suffering, we’ll draw close to Him and not drift away from Him. He knows best how to satisfy this thirst – in this life and the next. Drink deep in Him, my friend.

3 Keys to Winning Wheel of Fortune

– by Joe Fornear

How would it feel to be called out in the Holy Bible because you weren’t getting along with another person? Euodia and Syntyche were so lucky. In Philippians 4:2, Paul pleads with them to find harmony. But what if, as is often the case in the Bible, their names reflected personality traits or symbols which led to their clashing? If so, and I think it is, there are intriguing underlying lessons here.wheel of fortune - 4-11-14 Euodia means “pleasant journey.” Syntyche means “with destiny,” a name derived from Tyche, the Greek goddess of destiny or fate. Tyche was often blamed when life was confusing and spinning out of control. The Romans called this goddess, Fortunas, who spun her “Wheel of Fortune.” The TV game show plays upon this timeless concept – life can deliver setbacks or wonderful prizes, and we all would agree that hardship clashes with the pleasantness of life. Now Clement was asked to help the two get along (Philippians 4:3). Amazingly, his name means “calm.” So to merge the symbolism of the three names, serenity brings harmony between the good times and bad. During my battle with advanced Stage IV metastatic melanoma, serenity was hard to find. Joni Eareckson, now 64, has been in a wheel chair since 17 from a diving accident and she is now also battling cancer. She knows well the titanic clashes of our inner Euodia and Syntyche: “We want a God who supports our plans, who is our “accomplice”; someone to whom we can relate as long as he is doing what we want. If he does something else, we “unfriend” him.” So how do we maintain internal serenity and friendship with God in the midst of hard times? Three keys to serenity:

  1. Trust. There is no such thing as fate, nothing happens without the permission of the Sovereign Lord of the universe – see the Book of Job. And just as Job discovered that God had a good plan which He was working behind the scenes, we know He will work all things to the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
  2. Wait. The Lord promises and demonstrates throughout the Bible that our suffering will also be short. As Paul says, compared to eternal glory, our trials are light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
  3. Depend. Even if we know the right responses – that we need to trust and wait – Jesus taught that without His strength and empowerment we can do nothing in our own strength (John 15:1-5). Paul added that the very same power that lifted Jesus from His grave can lift us up to supernaturally handle hard times (Ephesians 1:18-20).

Lord, we ask You to pour out Your power on us that we might rest in You no matter what happens.

Into the Light

-Terri Fornear

Step 5 – Admit to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. drop mask - 3-27-14

Here’s the step that helps me let go of… my false identities, false securities, false masks, and any lies which are keeping me from “believing” all of the inheritance I have in Jesus.

Fear is my first hurdle. Fear of man. Opening up to another human being is tricky. Humans are not God, not perfect, and not the answer, but the right person can be the very vehicle to deliver God’s grace and gift of righteousness.

Things I look for when choosing that person: Are they “human” and humble? Can they admit to you their own journey with their faults and shortcomings? Do they see you in Christ by faith? Are they secure in Christ’s righteousness, or are they building their own? Will that person pray with you? I ask God to lead me to that person and trust His wisdom through that person.

James 5:15-16 – And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Confessing is a healing step in itself. I love the prayer of a righteous person (one that sees righteousness is the gift of Christ, not their own). It has great power because they are standing and declaring Jesus’ finished work over us.

Step 5 takes courage, but the payoff is amazing!

Face Time – Living in the Presence

– By Joe Fornear

Our struggles can appear so high, wide, and long – sometimes insurmountable to us. Yet appearances are a poor monitor of the multidimensional realities of God.bread of life - 10-23-13

When the Lord set up the temple worship system in Exodus, He illustrated His proximity to us with the placement of a simple food in the innermost chamber of the temple.

“And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always” – Exodus 25:30.

This showbread was to be ever-present, always fresh, always warm, and eaten daily by the priests. Literally translated “bread of the presence (or face),” the Lord offers His very presence, even His face, as food for our spirits. Jesus echoed this concept by offering Himself as the Bread of Life for our spiritual hunger (John 6:35).

In the desert experiences of life we may allow ourselves to be starved from Him. Our greatest temptation may be to basically give up on God. As I look back to my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, three things tripped me up:

  • Disappointment with God – I had not asked for what seemed like a senseless detour, and I wanted my life back. Yet He brought me to a place of surrender — not to the cancer — but to embrace His plan to fight together with Him, not against Him.
  • Expectations on God – If God was with me, shouldn’t the cancer immediately go away? No, He showed me there were higher purposes even in the fight, accomplishing eternal goals with His presence in and through me.
  • Numbness about God – At times in my pain and confusion I stopped hoping. Sure I was worn out, but my spiritual numbness was also a form of self-protection. Fortunately, He grabbed me by the hand and walked me through the fog of the war.

Our lives might be totally different than what we envisioned. Still, He’s not left us– He’s promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So let’s turn back to Him and ask Him to rekindle the sense of His presence.

Lord, we hurt deeply, and only You can soothe that pain – help us open back up to the reality of Your sweet Presence.

Power Napping

– By Joe Fornear

I hear it often when talking with people fighting cancer. “I don’t know how people do this without the Lord.” Indeed. In actuality, nothing in life was intended by our Maker to be “do-it-yourself.” We were designed for deep, constant connection with Him. So as you work your plans to fight cancer or navigate any crisis, are you taking full advantage of a relationship with Him? (clisleep - 9-25-13ck here on starting a relationship with Him).

Wise King Solomon knew a little about developing and carrying out a plan. He built one of history’s most successful and prosperous kingdoms. Yet in Psalm 127, we sense his frustration about his journeys into independent living.

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” – Psalm 127:1-2

Solomon advises us to look to the Lord in three of the most vulnerable aspects of our lives – building our household, guarding our lives, and finding provision. Well, he has my attention! When I’m in a jam, my first inclination is to double down on self-effort, thinking I’m doubling my chances of success as well.

What about you as a patient or caretaker? Do you lay awake all night plotting your next step if the current treatment plan doesn’t pan out? Do you scour the internet at all hours to find the latest new trial? Are you constantly and frantically spinning over your financial situation? Solomon has a word of advice for us – relax!

Now, Solomon is not recommending we be lazy or irresponsible, and no one is suggesting your situation is not incredibly challenging. Still, we’re so limited and powerless over so many things. And there is much freedom in admitting our limits. Then, we can be encouraged, because there is One who “gives to His beloved even in his sleep!” Talk about a power nap!

So don’t wear yourself out or drive yourself crazy, “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” -Isaiah 41:13

Lord, help us relax in Your constant help, protection and provision.

Breaking Well

– By Joe Fornear

The storyline of one TV show is not so different from that of hundreds of people who are diagnosed daily. A 50-year-old father and husband is informed his cancer is Breaking Well - 7-31-13inoperable, so he launches a plan to secure his family’s financial future. What is unusual – this high school chemistry teacher uses his expertise to cook and sell a very potent brand of methamphetamine. To preserve and expand his growing nest egg, he plunges deeper into violence, and gradually embraces a drug kingpin’s lifestyle. Thus, the name of the show, Breaking Bad.

Fighting cancer has a way of breaking people. The battle changes us, leaving us above all things – different. The only question is – which direction will we break?

  • Will we allow faith or fear to reign over our lives?
  • Will we allow pain to drive us to the Lord or to drift us away from Him?
  • Will we treat people better or end up bitter?
  • Are we open to leverage our experience to help others or will we leave the battlefield asap?

In his considerable sufferings, which included stonings, beatings and physical illness (Galatians 4:13), Paul the apostle learned to break well.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Paul saw past the tyranny of the short-term demands of his pressing needs; excruciating pain; and the deliberate cruelty of others. He saw unseen but lasting realities of a loving God who has our backs; an incredible glory to be revealed; and an unfaltering hope that ultimately the entire universe will break well. In the meantime, we can trust Him in the confusion of our battles, and we too can break well.

Father, our battles are fierce, so we need Your grace and strength to respond well – we thank You for being here for us.

Letting Go

I remember the fall, watching the tree in my backyard drop its leaves.

I love the lessons of that time of year.tree by the seasons

I love nature doing what is natural.

I love watching winter do its job.

I don’t love this same “act” in my own life.

This act of letting go… of things I love.

The season of winter.

I’m not always sure why I have to do that.

It’s the season which magnifies how really out of control I am.

The Lord adds His quiet voice to this process of letting go – He has taken the fear out of it for me.

He adds, “Let go to Me, Terri.”

That thing I’m clinging to… isn’t really gone, it’s put into the hands of the One Who gives His life to it

in a way that keeps it safe from my worship and control.

My control that doesn’t have the ability to let it grow bigger than my own imaginations.

He then takes it and His fingerprints are all over it

He rewards what only faith can create – a smile on His face and my release,

which sets me free to see His reality in my little world.

Spring is in blossom!!

Father in heaven, as much as I can, I let go of the people, things, and ideas that I think I can manage better than You. Thank You for sending Jesus to love me and help me let go to Your abundant love.

Live Weak?

Love him or not – Lance Armstrong, the cyclist and cancer survivor, has helped a ton of cancer patients. His contribution to my recovery from Stage IV metastatic melanoma goes way beyond inspiration. He raised funds for a NovalisTM shaped-beam radiation unit for the Richardson Regional Hospital where he was treated. At the time, there were only six NovalisTM units in the world. I had this radiation treatment at this hospital and it knocked out a life-threatening mass that was enveloping my pancreas. So I’m very grateful to Lance, and recognize him as one of the many variables the Lord used to save my life.

As I write today, my intent is not to beat up on Lance, but to remind myself and all who read of a key lesson that emerges from his journey.

Lance once wrote that having a 40-50% chance of survival brought him hope, as it was so much better than havStronghold braceleting a 4-5% chance. I know the hopelessness of devastating odds. In May of 2003, my doctor gave me a 0% chance of making it through the week. Yet now as fellow survivors with Lance, in a strange way, I now hold an advantage.

After surviving cancer, he created the legend of Lance Armstrong, the ironman who “lives strong.” First he beat cancer, and then he climbed the mountainLive Strong bracelet of cycling fame. He won one of the most grueling sporting events known to man, the Tour de France, not just once, but a superhuman seven years in a row. What a story! And now that we know the full story – what a tragedy. At Lance’s own admission, the legend was built on cheating and lies – he used banned drugs to win. Consider his narration of a famous Nike commercial he made back in 2001:

“This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know – What am I on? I’m on my bike, busting my butt six hours a day. What are you on?”

By contrast, when I survived my impossible ordeal, the role I played in my survival was crystal clear to me. I knew very well that I did not “beat” cancer. My faith was weak at best; even absent on occasions. My strength sputtered during recuperation from my third surgery to remove one-third of my stomach, and it abandoned me at the news my dad had died of the same disease we both had been battling – melanoma. I was forced to accept that I was still too weak to travel to his funeral in another state. Still, it was a major blow to my macho pride.

This machismo had been crafted over the years in sports, hunting and fishing, and construction work. I thought I was pretty darn tough – until I was confronted by my own serious limitations. The sooner I acknowledged these limits, the sooner I could get the necessary help from God and man; and be freed from the trap of trying to create my own version of a legend.

It’s hard for me to judge Lance. Had I been in his shoes, I may have followed the same mountaintop path to vain glory that he chose. As I watched him confess before the world, the takeaway for me was the theme of our books and our ministry: It’s okay to be weak. Admitting weakness will make us strong as we lean on the Lord.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. – 2 Corinthians 4:7
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Live weak” doesn’t sound so catchy; nor does it stroke the human ego. Yet it is more realistic, and certainly more freeing. As Lance’s wife told him long ago, “The truth will set you free.” His strength goes a lot further than ours in this marathon we call life.

My hope is that Lance – and all of us – will find the One whose strong hold makes all of the difference in this  life and the next.

Lord, help us be realistic to embrace our weaknesses and limitations so that we can find true and lasting strength in You.

Lighten Your Load in 2013

I’ve got a bad habit that I’d like to break in 2013. When I return home from grocery shopping or errands, I try to carry too many items fromiStock_000000478647 - woman multi-tasking the car to the house. I’ll stack things, squeeze them under arms, and grab as many grocery bag handles as possible – just to save a minute or two.

This habit has proven costly. Recently my cell phone squirted out of a pile, flew through the air and landed squarely on the pavement. The screen was hopelessly shattered. I need to let the lesson sink in – there are limits to how many items one can carry.

What is true for physical limits “carries” over to spiritual and emotional limits. We can only haul so many burdens before control squirts out of our hands. Nerves shatter. Tempers are lost. We stumble under the weight.

As usual, the solution is simple, yet profound. There is a loving, very capable God Who can carry ALL of our burdens.

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  – 1 Peter 5:7

Our imaginations, insecurities, and internal and external voices may seek exceptions. I struggled with eliminating exceptions during my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma. Yet there is no circumstance the Lord cannot handle. It truly is easier than we think – when we let Him carry the load.

Lord, give us eyes to see how much bigger You are than our problems.