Archive for the ‘ Busy ’ Category

The Joy of the Lord (and Rend Collective)

I spent the past two years working on a Master of Education in Secondary Education. It took quite a bit of my energy, especially over the past five months when I had to prepare for then fulfill my student teaching experience (in a 7th Grade Math – Pre-Algebra) classroom.

Needless to say, I was busy. I still worked. I had classes and observations to do. That is why this blog took a hit in terms of my attention. This past five months, though, were some of the most tiring and full periods of my life. Only a few things kept me going:

  1. Working at the coffee shop gave me opportunities for ministry. I was involved with bolstering faith in others, practicing my apologetics skills with many non-Christians, and played a role in a couple of people becoming Christians!
  2. My wife and friends encouraged me A LOT!
  3. At my weakest moments, God reminded me of His immanence (which was a common theme in messages I heard this past weekend).

My most common reminder was through a song.

Whether on the radio or during interactions with others in which the song would play, Joy of the Lord by Rend Collective would be exactly what I needed to feel a little stronger for my task.

Joy Of The Lord

Rend Collective

Though tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

In the dead of night
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

When I cannot see You with my eyes
Let faith arise to You
When I cannot feel Your hand in mine
Let faith arise to You
God of mercy and love
I will praise You, Lord

Oh You shine with glory Lord of light
I feel alive with You
In Your presence now I come alive
I am alive with You
There is strength when I say
I will praise You, Lord

When sorrow comes my way
You are the shield around me
Always You remain
Like courage in the fight
I hear You call my name
Jesus, I am coming
Walking on the waves
Reaching for Your light

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
~Nehemiah 8:10b, ESV

There is something to be said to be able to “taste and see that the Lord is God!” And it is a blessing to “[take] refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8) That we can trust Jesus when He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
~Exodus 15:2, ESV

Weary Rest

I am quite tired.

I have not really had a good break in a while. I have been working in classrooms with autistic children for about six months, and it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. I only have had four weeks off from school in the last two and a half years. My current class is a true test in patience due to human factors, therefore it is more mentally and emotionally taxing than it needs to be. My wife and I volunteer in many areas of our local church and with friends’ ministries. Also, three weeks ago our car kicked the bucket (stopped working), and we have had to deal with that. (We got a vehicle on Thursday night!) One area of my character God is helping me work on is dealing with (my lack of patience with) stupidity in others. Needless to say, I have plenty of opportunities throughout almost every day to work on this!

I am tired.

I know many people understand. I mean, I do not have children of my own, yet! I can only imagine (though I get some experience with the classrooms in which I have worked)!

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Many teach that this refers to our eternal rest in God, that we will suffer in this world and receive rest from all of our pains and troubles in the next world.

This is certainly true. However, I offer another teaching that is out there.

I am tired. I get up everyday, go to work or church or launch straight into homework. I often finish my days (nights) working on homework. I get between five and seven hours of sleep on a good night.

What gets me up every morning?

There is my beautiful wife. She makes every day worth it!

The children in the classroom have a tendency to bring a smile to my face, even when I have to change a smelly pull-up diaper and deal with spit, snot, and pee. They help keep me young!

I get to share the love of Christ with children, teens, young adults, and many other people throughout my week. My life has some meaning!

I even get to drive around in a new(er) vehicle (at the moment)!

None of these really gets me up every morning, though.

My wife and I finish our nightly prayers the same way each night: “Lord, give us Your rest tonight that we might be ready for whatever You have for us tomorrow.”

We do not just mean “let us sleep well.” We give God all of our worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.

He gladly takes our burdens.

Okay, physically I might be pushing it a little. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, my God relieves me and restores me.

Do you give God all of your life? (We can discuss the full implications later, but for this context I mean worries, fears, drama, joys, laughs, and dreams.) Can you give God the weight on your shoulders?

Responses to Christmas: The Innkeeper

Yesterday we looked at how Mary and Joseph responded to the birth of Christ. Continuing this little series, how did the Innkeeper respond? (This is a short post, today)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1-7

http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fasimplemanofgod.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost-new.php&jsref=&rnd=1324264788564Many people have a tendency to label the innkeeper as rude, mean, hard-hearted, and even evil. It is possible, but what if these labels are either half-truths or flat-out wrong?

As we read, the Emperor had decreed a census required of all people in the Roman world. Even a tiny town like Bethlehem was besieged by weary travellers heading to comply with Imperial commands. We must remember that Bethlehem was the City of David. David had multiple wives with multiple children. His successor as king of Israel, Solomon, had 300 wives. The descendants of David would have been rather numerous, to say the least (even after centuries of being conquered and carted to and from the land, wars, and natural disasters). It is understandable that Bethlehem, surely the home town of many other people who had children throughout Israel’s history, would see many folks showing up for the census.

This would mean that a tiny inn in this tiny village could only handle so many people, even filling to over capacity. It is safe to say that the innkeeper was handling more than his fair share of responsibility.

If the innkeeper is guilty of anything, it seems it would be being too busy for God. He had to keep his paying guests as happy as possible in cramped circumstances, so he did not have time to worry about a young couple expecting a child. There may have already been some expecting parents staying there. GIVE THE GUY A BREAK!

The question we must ask ourselves – both during the busy holiday season and throughout the year – is are we too busy for God? Do we take time every day to focus on God? Are we filling our lives with so many distractions and obligations that we neglect the One to whom we owe our very existence?

Another thing to consider is that perhaps we struggle finding God because He is not moving where everyone else is going. We must also remember that if Jesus was born inside a cramped, over-crowded inn, how would the shepherds have been able to visit the newborn Savior of the world?