Glory: Heavier Than The Weight of the World

The Hebrew word for glory comes from the root word kabad, meaning: “to be heavy, to be honored, to be made heavy, be honored, enjoy honor, be made abundant, to get oneself glory or honor, gain glory.”

Oddly, that doesn’t resonate with our typical translation of glory when we read it in the Bible. More similar, is our English definition of weight: “the amount or quantity of heaviness or mass; amount a thing weighs.”

I wonder what’s weighing on you right now? Are you bearing “the weight of the world on your shoulders?” Is it the weight of worry for a troubled teen, a mountain of debt, unemployment or a failing marriage? Do you feel the crush of burdens that you can’t quite put your finger on—a feeling of foreboding and a heaviness in your heart?

I wonder what would happen if we placed the weight of God’s glory on the scale against your burden?

Find out how God will displace your burdens by reading the rest over at The Bottom Line.

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It is Well With My Soul, A Hymn to Live By

It is Well With My Soul

Do you know the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart … ”? Kind of makes you feel like smiling, right?

We often sing because we’re happy. Psalm 100:1 tells us, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” Singing is one of the primary ways we worship God. When we’re happy we just feel like singing!

But have you ever not felt like singing? When we’re sad, hurt or angry, it can be really hard to “make a joyful noise”. There’s a story in the Bible about Paul and his friend Silas in prison. That’s obviously not a very happy place, and I doubt they felt like singing. All the same, Acts 16 says they began to sing out loud in their jail cells. Guess what? God did a miracle, broke their chains, set them free and even gave them an opportunity to tell the jailer about Jesus!

Horatio Spafford was the author of a well-known hymn. His life is an example of finding hope and peace in Jesus even when everything is going wrong—he even found the courage to sing.

Mr. Spafford was a successful lawyer in Chicago in the late 1800’s. He and his wife had four children. But their only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four. The very next year, a terrible fire in Chicago destroyed many of Mr. Spafford’s investments. Then, only two years later, the Spafford family planned a holiday to England where they hoped to hear one of Mr. Spafford’s friends preach. A business issue arose last minute, so Mr. Spafford sent his wife and three daughters ahead, planning to join them later.

On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel. Two-hundred and twenty-six people died, including all three of the Spafford’s daughters. Only Horatio’s wife, Anna, was saved. As soon as she could, she sent a message to her husband that simply said, “Saved alone.”

Horatio Spafford left for England to join his wife. As his own ship passed over the area where his daughters had lost their lives, his heart must have ached. I wonder if he thought of Paul and Silas in prison. I wonder if he struggled to find words to pray. With great sadness, he pulled out a pen and wrote the words to a hymn we still sing today, “It is Well With My Soul”.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to believe that God is good. Sometimes we simply don’t feel like praising God. How do you think Horatio Spafford or Paul and Silas found the courage to sing praises even when they were suffering?

Psalm 117:1-2 says, “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (emphasis added)

These men could sing because they understood that even when we hurt and things don’t make sense, God is trustworthy and He will always love us. Because of that, He is worthy of praise.

The next time you’re sad, and singing is the last thing you want to do, try singing Mr. Spafford’s hymn. It will remind you that no matter what, when you trust in Jesus, it is well with your soul.

Check out this article by my friend, Billie Jo, about praying for others in the midst of pain and when it feels like God isn’t listening.

Law of the Harvest

Think fast, word association: Rain?

Sunshine?

Patience?

Let me take a gander at your first reaction. Rain: dull gray skies, cold wet feet, messy floors, mud, potholes, dreary people, painful seasons of life

Sunshine: beaches, smiles, suntans, newness, brilliance, light and hope

Patience: grit your teeth and bear it, a virtue, waiting and waiting and waiting, a tough place – your kids? your spouse? (-:

Four girl friends and I are wrapping up Beth Moore’s study on James called Mercy Triumphs. We recently came to a verse that I have scanned over in previous readings.

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.” (James 5:7)

What do you make of that? Does it mean we have to wade though the rainy season to hopefully reap the precious produce of the soil? We’ve been talking about the privilege of pain. Beth calls it the “Law of the Harvest.” Ancient farmers (and modern ones as well) anticipated the early and late rains. However stormy those seasons might be, the rains are vital for the growth of the precious produce of the soil.

In James 1, he reminds his readers of what they already know, the testing of their faith will produce endurance. Pounding rains strengthen thirsty, fledgling leaves. There may be hail and lightening. Perhaps flash flooding. Perhaps the farmers have to plow and tend their fields in the midst of mud. Would they ask to be relieved of the rains? In life sometimes, pounding circumstances strengthen young faith. Eventually flooding sorrows seep into the soil of our hearts and press the precious produce of our souls through the surface.

It’s the law of the harvest.

A few other writers have thoughts on this passage too:

http://shannonsauer.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/between-the-rains/

http://www.heatherlilly.com/?p=5952

http://keeplifefresh.blogspot.com/2012/03/be-encouraged-between-rains.html

Between the Two

Left and Right

Red or Blue

Every opposite

Glaring true.

A choice at every juncture

A fork in every road.

Coffee or tea

Black or cream

Finite, simple they all seem.

But how far reaches

An unprayed choice?

To tomorrow?

Plucking sorrow

From today

For future tears?

Or with caution

Consultation

Time, quiet, prayer

Can peace be stitched

Between each day?

To knit together

How rough

A patchwork of

Supernaturally blessed

moments, choices.

A blanket of righteousness

Submitted to authority

Bigger than my own.

Choices, red or blue.

Hope buried in each

Adventure trims their

Rough edges.

To choose is God-like

To see both sides.

The Three “E’s” of rElationship

Friday, my husband I returned from a two-week-long adventure. I had told you that the third week of January, I would share with you what God has been faithfully teaching me especially in regard to my marriage. I figured that our 40 hour road trip would be a fishbowl-view, magnifying all the issues and instances of conflict in marriage. Dousing one’s self and one’s spouse in extreme family situations, bookended by 20 hours in the car in each direction has unlimited potential to round off rough edges and polish one’s personality and patience into perfection or oblivion.

With the utmost humility, I am pleased to announce that due to the Holy Spirit’s intervention, the Son’s intercession and the Father’s grace, we have emerged stronger than before! Thanks be to God. God taught me numerous things over these past two weeks but I think I can best sum them all up in three words: Esteem, Endurance and Empathy.

Let’s start with Empathy. I just discovered the primary difference between the friendships that I really enjoy and those that are peripheral to my joy and personal growth. Imagine a conversation that goes like this.

Person 1: HI! I’m so glad I caught you! I’m going to be driving for the next three hours, so I thought I catch up with you.

Person 2: That’s great, thanks for calling.

Person 1: So tell me, how are you?

Person 2: I’m great, blah, blah, blah…. By the way, what’s going on in your life?

Person 1: Oh nothing. I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go.

That may not be a self-explanatory example, but what if that conversation repeats itself every single time Person 1 calls you? They are minutely interested in your life, knowing your struggles and daily details, but as soon as you seek reciprocation, they curl into a spiny little ball and roll desperately away from you? You just bared your soul, or at the very least, shared from your true self, and yet they repeatedly prove that they don’t trust you enough to do the same.

I have a couple of friends like this. Then, there are the relationships that go both ways. When I pour out my heart – full of joy or sorrow – they respond from their very depths. Empathy. They know how I feel. Even if they have never experienced my exact circumstances, they are comfortable wearing my shoes for the course of a conversation.

I have always prided myself (ooohh… that’s a no no) on being a good friend. I love to listen to people. I long to help bear their burdens. I’ve even joked that I must have the phrase, “Talk to me,” written across my forehead. But that’s not enough. We’ve all heard that, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Very true, but is there such a thing as too much listening?

Where do the ears meet the heart? Can the heart express itself through facial expressions or words of self-divulgence?

It’s easy to sympathize; to let someone poor themselves out in the space between us and then respond with, “I’m so sorry.” But, I submit to you that your friendship will go deeper, your words be heard more clearly and your own heart be more buoyed by joy, if instead of sympathizing, you Empathize.  Be vulnerable. Share your joys and pains. Let the cards away from your chest. Relax your poker face. Be willing to be known.

After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?