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Exhausted? Tired of not being able to catch your breath? I know the feeling. But let me tell you, you were not meant to live like this. It’s time to get off that train. Hop off quick; it leads to stress and burnout. God made an escape for you in this harried, crazy mixed up world you live in. Come on, I’ll show you how to escape the madness and find the rest you need.

We will never begin to rest unless we believe it’s been given to us.

And that’s tough, because it works against our culture. It even works against the discipline and work ethic we’ve been trained to prize. I was raised to work hard, give it all I’ve got, and I did. Problem was, I gave so much in years past, I had nothing left. My physical and mental health suffered. So did my relationships with my husband and then, little boy.

How I got suckered into believing I had to wear myself out…

I was told that there’s no rest for the weary. You too? And how about this one: the early bird is the one who catches the worm. Because I swallowed that, my goals were to catch all the worms! And that I did! I became driven. Sometimes — too driven. Sleeping only 4 and 5 hours a night, working non-stop. No breaks. Even working on vacation. That my friends, is a set up for failure.

Busyness is a Badge of Stupidity

“Taking it easy” sounds so absurd in our culture. We’ve bought into the lie that busyness is a badge of honor. It’s not. Busyness is a badge of stupidity. If you don’t have time to get the rest you need to recharge your mind, soul, spirit, emotions, intellect, and relationships, you are going to break in one or more of those areas.

I’ve seen it over and over again. I’ve talked to top business executives, small business owners, doctors, pastors, stay-at-home-moms, even students. They wonder how they can keep up the pace. They’re running so fast they don’t have time to enjoy their life. And that’s not the way God designed us to live. He said he came to give us life more abundantly.

Abundance doesn’t come at the cost of running yourself ragged. You can’t enjoy an abundant life if you’re too tired to enjoy it.

Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me– watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Even on our day off, we don’t get a day off.

What do you do on your day off? Work more? I bet you do. It’s called housework, mowing the lawn, running back and forth to soccer games and little league practice, tackling that honey-do-list, and on and on.

What else do you add to the list? Babysitting your grandchildren? Making goodies for the bake sale? Oh that’s fun. Yes, but sometimes it can be exhausting. Nothing wrong with giving of yourself…as long as you have enough of yourself to give.

The key is balance. A little of this, a little of that, and you will be spared the dull grind of weariness.

So go ahead, give yourself permission to rest today. Tomorrow. The next day. And the next day after that.

  1. Schedule down time in each day. (God did, at the end of the day; he paused and reflected on what he had done.)
  2. Schedule down time in each week. (God took 1 day off out of 7 too, setting a precedent for us to follow.)
  3. Schedule down time in each year. (This is the icing on the cake, go ahead, and enjoy it. You’ll be better for it!)

Your health, physical AND spiritual, depends on it. God didn’t design your body to work non-stop. He designed you to require rest. He not only gives you permission to rest, he commands it.

Exodus 20:8-12

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work– not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

So give yourself a break.

You don’t rest when the work is done. You rest so you can get the work done.

Rest, and he’ll help you get the rest done!

Sometimes Acting Like Christ Requires You to Be a Fake

You’ve received the assignment, you’re just not sure you can or ever will pull it off. What assignment? That one in the Bible that strongly encourages you to “act like Christ.” If you’re at all like me, that can scare the sweat out of your glands. How in the world will you pull that off? Christ is perfect. We are not. But take heart, I’m going to show you how faking it will help you make it.

You can act right? You can’t? Oh, come on now, I know you can act! You’ve been caught in the act before. And you gave a superb performance!

Let me jog your mind…

Have you ever been depressed, but because you were at work or with friends, you smiled, laughed, and carried on like all was well in your corner of the world? Yep, you were acting.

Or remember having a heated conversation with someone at home? You’re both going at it tooth and nail. Tempers flying. Voices rising. All of the sudden, the phone rings. You answer. Did you notice how your voice changed? You were cheerful, calm, and cordial? Good job! Yep, you were acting.

Or how about this: You are driving your kids to school. They are cutting up in the back seat. You’re about to blow a gasket because they won’t leave each other alone. They’re picking at each other and one starts to cry. It turns into a fistfight and before it gets bloody, you turn around with an ugly face and motion with your hands to stop their shenanigans or your going to stop the car.

Just then, a car slides into the lane beside you, you look over and it’s a familiar face. It’s someone who goes to your church. Quickly you gain you composure, slap both hands back on the wheel, and release the tension in your face. You give a polite smile and wave to your church buddy projecting all is well and you’ve got the kids under control. Yep, you were acting. Again.

We’ve all found ourselves in situations like these or close to it. Anytime we are feeling one-way but choose to reign in those feelings and act differently – we are acting. That’s not a bad thing. It’s actually good. Because you have an ability that will help you “ACT” LIKE GOD. Even if it’s just an act at first, that’s ok. Let me explain.

Acting Mode is Something Everyone Can Slip Into

  • Children know how to act. (Hopefully!) Have you ever said to a child, “That’s not how to act.” Yes? Guilty! You were teaching them how to act.
  • Teenagers know how to act. Have you ever secretly watched how a teenager behalves? You sized them up to get an idea if they were a good kid or a bad kid?
  • Employees know how to act. Have you ever watched a fellow employee, observing their work performance or interactions with people? Of course.

Every one can slip into acting mode and it’s quite appropriate.

So when I tell you that the way to become like Christ is to “act” like Christ, it may require some acting, and that’s ok. Cause guess what? Where not all there. Nope. And we have a long way to go before we are totally like Christ.

Ephesians 5:1, 2 NIV

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The word, “followers” is the Greek word mimeses, which means to imitate someone or to mimic what you see someone else doing. It was used to describe actors who performed on a stage. It also describes a model. No, not the kind you see in a magazine, but someone who models behavior like a parent, teacher, coach, or mentor.

When someone has great attributes and high character traits, others are encouraged to “follow” that person’s lead and “act” like them. That’s why Paul used the word, mimeses, when he said, …be followers of me (1 Corinthians 4:16).

This verse is saying: “I’m strongly urging you to act like me! Observe what I do, and do the same things I do.”

The Process of Becoming is Sometimes Slow

It takes time learning how to act differently. Just like being in the cast of a play or movie, it takes time to learn your lines. It takes time to get into your character’s persona. You have to study your character and know him inside and out so you can move like him, talk like him, act like him. That takes time. And that’s to be expected.

Acting like Christ is going to take time too. And that too, is ok. If you are a new believer or one who just has some growing to do, your acting will get better with time. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t act right. Just recognize you could have done it differently and decide next time, you will!

Fakes are O.K.

Word to the wise: don’t beat other people up thinking they are such big fakes! Have you ever caught yourself saying, “They don’t fool me, they’re just putting on a good act.” Yes, maybe they are! Let me tell you, the more someone acts on a consistent basis, the more their acting behavior becomes real.

Sooner or later, they’ll become the real deal. So cut them some slack. And cut yourself some too.

Consider this passage from the Bible:

Ephesians 4:13-15 AMP (Bolded words are the author’s emphasis)

[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [ full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.

Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

So yes, it’s ok to act. And in order to “act” like Christ, it might at first be an act, but that’s ok. That’s where you start. At some point you’ll quit acting and it will really become who you are. So in short, “acting like Christ” may require some acting!

Now, go get your Bible, and study your lines.

You could do someone a favor by sharing this post. Tweet it or post it on Facebook. You’re friends will thank you!

 

15 Ways to Achieve Bravery and Grab Your God-Given Victory

Ralph Waldo Emerson said this, and I LOVE IT:

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”

5 minutes.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to make or break your God-given victory.

Think about it:

  1. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Staying in peace rather than slipping into frustration.
  2. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Loving someone who just ripped you to shreds.
  3. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Holding your tongue and not having the last word.
  4. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Saving your tithe instead of spending it.
  5. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Staying a tad bit longer to finish the job.
  6. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Sticking around to have that awkward conversation you’ve been avoiding.
  7. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Not taking that second look at the babe who just waltzed by.
  8. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Keeping no record of a wrong.
  9. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Refusing to get angry.
  10. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Turning the other cheek.
  11. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Not giving in to the temptation.
  12. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Refusing to retaliate.
  13. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Passing up the liquor store on your way home.
  14. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Continuing to pray and press through till you feel a release.

Galatians 6:9 AMP:

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

15. Being braver 5 minutes longer could mean: Reaping all that God has for you!

 Don’t miss out. Be braver – hang in there five minutes longer. You’re God-given victory is just around the corner!

If you enjoyed this post, 15 Ways to Achieve Bravery and Grab Your God-Given Victory, then you’d also like: How to Keep Fighting When You’re a Bloody Mess.


Find Out if God Thinks You’re Good Enough to Get into Heaven

Find Out if God Thinks You’re Good Enough to Get Into Heaven

A gal named Carry went to heaven. She was really smug and certain she’d get in because she had been a very good person on earth. Peter met her at the gate and asked, “Carry, what makes you worthy to enter into heaven?”

Carey answered, “I’m a really good person.”

“Hmm, O.K. You need 50 points to get into heaven. Tell me what you’ve done.”

“I memorized Bible verses growing up. In fact, I have a ribbon for memorizing the most scriptures out of anyone in my Sunday School Class.”

“Great, that’s worth a half a point.”

“Half a point?”

Peter said, “Yep, half a point.”

“O.K. Let’s see, I never missed church on Sunday’s or Wednesday’s. I was there every time the doors were open unless I was sick or out-of-town. I was so committed to church, I’d drag myself there even if I were half dead!”

“Wow, You were committed. Nice. That’s worth 1 point.”

Carry was beginning to feel hopeless. Would she make it in?

She searched her brain for memories of good deeds and faithfulness, figuring she needed to build a stronger case.

“I tithed on all of my income, and gave to the poor and oh, yeah, the church building program! I also washed cars to raise money for missions around the world.”

“Sweet! That’s good for another point.”

Carry listed five or six more items she had done, but had only racked up 7 points. She threw up her hands in desperation and yelled, “With this system, I can’t get in unless it’s by the grace of God!”

“Bingo!!!” That’s worth 50 points. Come on in.”

Grace. That’s all you need.

Yet, how often have you been duped into believing it’s all about you and what you do? Me too.

You think doing all kinds of good deeds and living out the ten commandments perfectly will get you into heaven? Not so fast. And what about the other commandments listed in the Bible. Have you been able to follow those perfectly? Me either. Truth is – we can’t.

The Law Was Given to Shut You Up!

The law was provided so that you would come to the conclusion that there is no way you’d be able to keep it. Then feeling hopeless, you’d cry out in desperation for God to save you and let you into heaven.

Romans 3:20 NLT:For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

You Can’t Save Yourself. That’s God’s Job.

Romans 3:23-25 NLT:For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s g glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

Does God think your good enough to get into heaven?

Nope.

You’re not good enough to slide your way into heaven.

You can’t do enough to pay for your sins.

Enter Jesus. He paid the price because the cost was too much for you.

Aren’t you relieved?

 

 

Have you ever prayed for something that wasn’t God’s will?

Me too!

How do you know what’s appropriate to ask God for and what’s not?

Last Sunday morning I had the privilege of joining Latrica Willis, host of the Healing Touch Radio Broadcast for a live radio interview. I’ve got a little video vignette of it for you right here so you can see how conversation with God can help shape your prayers.

In this short video you learn how prayer shaping begins with thought shaping. We don’t always know what to pray for but God does.

Get this down and you’ll be fine-tuning your prayer requests & BOOM! You’re prayers will be answered![youtube id=”g9iSS5lUk3k?fs”]

This information came from the newly revised and expanded edition of my book, “Grabbing God’s Attention: The Art of Praying Like a Pro”. If you would like more information about the book or want to order it, click here. It’s now available in PAPERBACK as well as the newly revised Kindle edition on Amazon.com.