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The word weary has captured my interest. This is likely because I recently spent hours preparing a retreat package based on Isaiah 40:28-31. Beautiful verses, they are:

“Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

I travel across Canada and oversea for ministry purposes. Everywhere I go, women tell me their stories. Some accounts thrill me; others break my heart. I especially feel for those who are weary from the inside out due to difficult circumstances, major changes, criticism, or interpersonal conflict at home, church, or in the workplace. These gals are tired—bone tired—and hoping for reprieve to show up soon.

I can relate to their feelings. I recall the days spent raising three preschoolers. Life was busy and loud at any given time, but it included the additional stress of one child having special needs that required weekly occupational therapy and frequent hospitalizations. Weary seemed tattooed on my forehead.

My kids are grown and gone now, but I still experience weary from time to time. As a writer, speaker, and missionary, I travel across time zones frequently. This means sleeping in many different beds, eating at odd times, being flexible with schedules, and trying to communicate with people whose first language differs from mine. It also means sitting for hours at my desk pecking on my computer keyboard, researching, and revising.

When weary sets in, I recall Isaiah 40:28-31 and find encouragement in its words. God—the one who never grows weary—knows our limitations. He also knows that our source of strength is found not in our own efforts, but in Him.

“Wait on Me,” He says. “Commune with Me. Be entwined with Me. And as you do, you’ll find your strength renewed. Your energy restored. Your weary diminished.”

I’ve found this to be true. When weary sets in, I seek silence with God. I bask in His presence. I thank Him for the strength He provides. And I praise Him for the depths of His understanding and His immeasurable power. My soul is renewed and my strength restored.

Are you feeling weary today? God knows. He cares. Spend some time in His presence, draw from His strength, and you’ll find restoration.  

Read more devotional blogs at www.gracefox.com

 

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Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews here, with a word of encouragement for your second Monday of the month. In order to share this message, I’m forced to admit something—and I hope it won’t lessen your opinion of me.

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24As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

John 15:5

Good Monday morning from Elizabeth Baker! As wordsmiths and lovers of letters, authors often have a unique way of looking at the world. I suspect we tend to dig a little deeper and look for answers even when others are not asking questions!

One of the first things a writer learns is to continually ask, “So, what?” For every article, every speech, every motivation of a fictional character, asking “So, what?” is critical to literary success. No matter how well placed the modifiers or how skillfully crafted each sentence, if there is no answer to that question, readers will drift off and soon lose interest.

I suppose that’s what instantly drew me to today’s verse. The “So, what?” answers fairly jump from the page promising not only logical solutions to practical problems but what writers call, “high take-away value” as well.

The first answer is the reality of fruit. It is actually possible to have more love, more joy, more peace, more patience and all those other delightful tidbits Paul identified as the fruits of the Spirit. [1] These are not pie-in-the-sky or wishful thinking or day-dreams. They’re real things that make a real difference. That is a big, “So, what?” because having more of that kind of fruit will change my world!

The second, “So, what?” is perhaps the most significant of all. It’s the good news that I don’t have to work up these good things on my own. I can get off the treadmill, leave the rat-race, rest. It no more depends on my efforts to grow fruit than it depends on the efforts of a branch to grow grapes. The effort and power come from the vine. A vine can get along without the branch just fine but the branch without the vine is dead before it hits the ground.

And, the last really big “So, what?” is the other side of that coin. While the fruit does not depend on me, that doesn’t mean I’m useless. I have a significant responsibility. I contribute to the process. If I don’t do my part, I won’t share in the benefits of fruit production. Other branches will take my place. They and the vine will go on without me. My job is to cling tightly to the vine. I don’t focus on fruit production, I focus on the vine and fruit comes as a byproduct.

Unfortunately, it is possible to be a Christian attend church and even read the Bible but stopped asking the question, “So, what?” When that happens, faith becomes disjointed from daily life; religion separates from living, and experiencing the dynamic flow from the Vine slows to a trickle.

How sad! For the solution to the problem is simple. Jesus told us about it before he left. We make it our business to firmly hang on to the Vine and a good way to do that is to keep asking the question, “So, what?”

 [1] Galatians 5:28

 

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Sherry Kyle headshotHi! Sherry Kyle, here, writing from my laptop in central California with a word of encouragement for you.

Romans 15:13 says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(def) hope:  1. to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely. 2. To believe, desire, or trust.

What is your hope today?

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Sherry Kyle headshotHi from the central coast of California. This is Sherry Kyle with a word of encouragment for you.

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

 

I love this verse.  It reminds me of the chorus to the children’s song:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” 

 

Do you remember singing that song in Sunday School when you were a child?  For those of you who didn’t grow up in a Christian home, those eight words are repeated four times in a simple melody.  Simple words with great impact! 

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