Friday, July 19, 2013

Fulfilling the Law of Christ

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

Seems like there has been a lot of sad news lately.

Uncle John had surgery today to remove cancer from his body.
While we praise God for bringing him through and for not allowing there to be any surgical complications,
it breaks our hearts to hear of the doctor's post-surgery prognosis.

We know God is in control, and He can do all things.
He is not affected by the name attached to a disease, 
nor is He hindered by the stage or severity.
I am asking for continued fervent prayers for his healing,
and for peace for him and his family during these difficult days.

Around the time I received news concerning Uncle John,
I got an email concerning little six year old Keke Fuller, for whom we have been praying.
If you would like to read her caring bridge page to better understand her situation,
 please click here.

The Lord called little Keke home to Heaven this morning, 
and she now rests in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
She leaves behind her loving parents, Sean and Jillian,
and only Jesus could ever begin to understand the pain in their hearts at this time.
Please pray for them and for all other family members,
loved ones, and friends who are affected by the sad void Keke leaves behind.

Earlier this week, we received news that Mark Brodsky,
a fellow homeschooling father, member of our homeschool support group,
faithful email subscriber and loyal supporter of Homespun Devotions,
was also called home to be with the Lord,
after a very long battle with illness.
You can visit Mark's caring bridge page by clicking here.
There are lots of pictures, documenting his long, painful journey.
He leaves behind a sweetly-devoted wife, Linda, 
who put her whole heart and soul into caring for him, 
doing her utmost to improve his health, 
and who relentlessly prayed and consistently asked for prayer for his healing.
After many struggles, sorrows, and heartaches,
a few years ago, God blessed Mark and Linda with a little daughter, named Joy-Hannah.
You can order Linda's book called, "Fruit of the Womb ~ Our Journey to Joy in the Morning", here.
They also offer many other products on their website,
and your patronage during this time, would be most appreciated
as Mark has been unable to work for quite some time.

Linda is now a widow.
Little Joy-Hannah is now fatherless.
They, along with Mark and Linda's older children,
 surely and most definitely need your sincere prayers, on their behalf.

If the Lord should lead you to bless this dear family financially at this time,
you may do so discreetly and anonymously at:
Brodsky Donations.

Last night, I received word that Donald Sharp, Mom's, Dad's, & my former pastor in Dayton, Ohio, 
passed away.
I remember him fondly.
He and Dad used to have the best time playing ping-pong in our basement,
laughing, acting silly, doing funny things.
He was a solid minister, good pastor, & very devoted to his flock.
Zachary most remembers him from his visits to our home here,
his love for children,
and how he loved to play his harmonica.
Please pray for his family during this sad time of bereavement.

Pat Beal, is very ill and in need of much prayer.
She is scheduled for surgery on August 1st.

Betsy Stevenson's cancerous lung tumors are beginning to grow again.
She has two small children who need their Mama to be there...
and to be healthy.

Sarah Sanders just underwent the amputation of one leg,
and she will soon need to go through the same process to remove her other leg.
Her future is uncertain.

Mary Beth Campbell's mother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer,
and the prognosis is not good.

An expectant mother just lost her baby during her 4th month of pregnancy.

A young mother with a six month old baby was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Vaida Waid was recently diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her colon
and will soon need to undergo an operation to remove it.

Robert Brooks has lung cancer and will soon begin treatment.

Both of my in-laws continue to desperately need prayer...
for health issues,
for wisdom in making decisions,
for peace.

I could go on and on....there are so many others....
they come to my mind like a flowing stream as I am praying.
I feel like I could pray continually around the clock and still
not cover all of the needs and burdens.

Are you familiar with the prayer requests page on Homespun Devotions?
I would love to invite you to keep up with them by clicking here.
I try to update them as I receive new ones and updates to old ones.

We live in troubled times.
It is important that we be there for one another...
to lift one another up on wings of prayer.
During all of the sadness...
through all of the pain....
in the midst of the heartbreak.
We must mourn those who have gone on,
and pray hard for those who are still here....
fighting disease,
facing divorce,
considering separation,
battling wars,
dealing with depression,
and experiencing life's adversities....on countless levels.

Paul instructed us to bear one another's burdens,
because doing that fulfills the law of Christ.

Jesus is the ultimate Burden-bearer.
He cares...deeply...about every, single thing you and I face in this life.
As His children,
you and I are to enter into a fellowship of His sufferings.
To care, like He cares.
To love, as He loves.
To be His hands and feet, in a dark, oppressed world.

I don't know if it seems this way to anyone else,
but, to me, things have become way too stand-offish in our world.
I wonder if part of it is because we are so heavy-laden with our own problems,
we have no strength with which to bear the burdens of another?
And I sometimes wonder if we just don't want to get involved?

It is easier to remain aloof.
To not allow ourselves to feel.
To convince ourselves that if it isn't affecting us,
it isn't our problem.
To buy the lie that someone else will pick up the slack.

One of my favorite quotes is,
"People don't care how much you know,
until they know how much you care."

Jesus cares.
He proved it.
He showed every way...while He walked this earth.
He wasn't afraid to get His hands dirty.
He touched lepers.
Filthy, stinking, flesh-rotting lepers...
who hadn't been touched in who knows when.
Jesus touched them.
He healed them.
He ministered to the publicans.
The hated.
The outcasts.
The despicable.

He still does.

He never turns anyone away hoping someone else will come along and pick up the burden.
He picks it up Himself.
And He carries it the distance.

So, should you and I.

I have learned that I cannot be what others need me to be,
unless I keep my own soul hydrated and nourished.
Because the load is just too great...
to try to carry it in a spiritually-dehydrated and malnourished condition.

I must keep the communication lines open...
between my soul and God.
I must stay near Him...
close enough to touch...
attached to the vine.
So that I can stay strong...
in order to lift the burdens of my brother.

Kevin's aunt often prays for us over the phone.
She is always faithful to ask that God keep us strong,
so we can fulfill the calling God has entrusted to us.

I appreciate those prayers.
 I need them.

Because prayer, both my own and the prayers of others, is what holds me up.
It is what gives me my own battles,
so I can support the weak...
minister as God leads,
and have the strength to pray for others as I ought to.

I love to read the story of Moses and the battle against the Amalekites in Rephidim.
You can read the story in Exodus 17:8-12.

Moses instructed Joshua to fight against Amalek,
while he stood at the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand.

"So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek:
and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill."

And here is the neatest part....

"And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed:
and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed."

As long as Moses was strong enough to hold up his hands,
the men on the ground who were fighting had hope.
Their leader was in control.
They could see his strength.
It gave them courage.
To fight on.
To keep going.

""But Moses' hands were heavy;
and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon;
and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands,
the one on the one side, and the other on the other side;
and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

Hands become heavy...when they are held high for too long.
Burdens become unbearable...when we have carried them a far distance.
God knows this.
That is why He places others in our lives.
To find a stone.
To advise us to sit rest.
To surround us with support.
To share in the burden...of the heaviness of our arms.
To remain faithful...and their post of duty...
by our side.

Moses' load was too heavy.
He could not bear it alone.
The men in battle were depending on him....
to keep his hands in the air....
so they could see them...
and renew their own endurance, determination, and spirit.

Why do you think God didn't send Moses to the top of the hill alone?
Why did He send Aaron and Hur along with him?
It wasn't that God was incapable of giving Moses all He needed to remain dauntless.
God Himself could have held Moses' hands in the air...
had He chosen to.
He could have infused his muscles and tendons with a supernatural strength
that enabled them to hold firm for as long as they needed to.

This was not God's choice.
He absolutely wanted to get across the point that
He chooses to meet our needs through each other.
He wants us to be our brother's keeper.
To pick up the slack when one is faint.
To support each others weaknesses.
To see the need, and to do something about it.

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:
but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Because of Aaron and Hur's faithfulness to Moses,
"...Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
And the LORD said unto Moses,
Write this for a memorial in a book,
and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua..."

Why did God not just say, "rehearse it in the ears of Joshua"?
Why did He tell Moses to write it for a memorial in a book?

It was for you, my friend!
And, it was for me.
Bless God, it was for us!
So, we would know.
So, we can read it and see how this whole thing is supposed to work.
So, we can understand that no man in this world is an island.
We need each other.
Just like Moses needed Aaron and Hur.
One on one side, and one on the other.

God knows we need those who have our back....
in all circumstances.
Who will pray, when we need prayer.
Who will fast, when the need is great.
Who will intercede to God, on our behalf.
Who will remain in the battle, until the victory is won.
Who will stand by our side and hold up our hands,
in the heat of the day,
in the wind and pouring rain,
in the turbulence of life's storms.
Who will not back down.
Who will not let us matter how much we want to.
Who will hold our feet to the fire and hold us accountable for our post.

That is how it works.
None of us are alone.
Because God is faithful.
He, Himself, could hold up our hands.
Instead, He chooses to use the hands of humans.
Fellow travelers.
Who need us as much as we need them.

We are all connected.
Fighting different the same war.
Pressing down varying paths...towards the same goal.

Kevin, Zach, and I heard the prettiest song the other day,
called "Some Kind of War", written by Bill Anderson,
and sung by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers.
Such true made me cry.
You can listen here.

May God help us all to present ourselves a living sacrifice to Him.
Our lives are truly not our own.
Each of us is here...right now...for such a time as this...for a Divine purpose.
One that God has designed.

Who is your Moses?
Whose hands have become heavy...weary...from the toils of the day?
Who could use a your corner of the world?

On the other hand, who is your Aaron?
And Hur?
Who holds up your hands in the battles you are facing?
Who keeps you the kind words they say,
the encouragement they offer,
the prayers they pray...for you?

You are not alone.
You are supported.
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..."
Deuteronomy 33:27

God is with you.
No matter what you are facing....
whether it be cancer,
a miscarriage,
an impending good-bye,
a loved one's disease,
your own disease,
a broken heart,
your problem....
whatever it is....
it is not too big for our God!
He sees.
Don't give up hope.

If you would like to share a burden or
if there is a particular need you would like us to pray about,
we would love to hear from you through our our online contact form.

A dear couple stood in our living room last Saturday and poured out their hearts.
We had seen them before, but had never before engaged in a lengthy conversation.
Their load is heavy.
Their needs are great.
I don't have all of the answers.
I listened...we talked....for over three hours.
As they got ready to walk out our front door,
I realized I could not allow them to leave without offering the one thing I can do...
I told them I would be praying....for them.
Now that is something I can do.
That is an area in which I have lots of experience.  :~)

I may not be able to fix every problem,
but I can pray.

So can you.
No matter where you are or what your plight in life.
You hold within your power the most powerful force of help.

It will take effort.
It will take some of your time.
You will have to make a sacrifice...
in order to do it.

But, isn't it our Christian duty?
To pray for one another?
To reach out in love?
To care?

"Now we exhort you, brethren....
comfort the feebleminded, support the weak..."
I Thessalonians 5:14 (emphasis mine)

Don't we have a job to do?
To fulfill Jesus' law?
To carry on His work?
Aren't we obligated?
After all He has done for us?

"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet."
John 13:13

Aren't we to follow Jesus' example?

The burdens are great.
Arms are heavy.
Needs are abounding.
Let's be there for one another...
as Christ is there....
for us.

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