Thanks to Lyle Dietrich for providing the content for the weekly inspirational bulletin.
|Let’s do an experiment. Discuss with your spouse something you both could pray for knowing that it could only happen if God intervened. It needs to be something that neither of you have any control over and something that would make a huge difference if God answered the prayer. A few years ago, Nancy and I did this experiment. We agreed on three things that we knew would not happen without the movement of God’s hand.|
Since they were private, I won’t share them here, but I will tell you that one involved the salvation of a family member who we both dearly loved. We began praying at the first of that year. By August every one of the three prayers had been answered. In our world, these were three incredible miracles from God. Now it’s your turn. Pick whatever it is that you will pray for. Then both of you offer that prayer to God daily. You can do it together or separately, but make sure both of you are praying for the same thing. Then pray and wait. Be persistent, and God will show up with a miracle for you. He is that good!
Today’s One Thing: Begin praying a “miracle prayer” with your spouse today!
Most of us pride ourselves on our ability to solve our own problems and to avoid needing others—basically to live a DIY kind of life. For example, if we don’t know how to do something, we watch a YouTube tutorial. If we have a question about something, we research it on the internet until we find an answer. If we’re struggling with something, we’ll often listen to a podcast, find a sermon, or distract ourselves with a binge-worthy TV series or endless social media scrolling.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those coping mechanisms, they are all things we can do alone, and rarely do those things inspire us to reach out to others around us. The thing is, we have more information and content available to us than we could ever hope to consume. And while it’s great to be informed, we have to recognize that consuming information in isolation rarely leads to transformation. So we can’t allow our consumption of information to outpace our connection with others.
The truth is, following Jesus is a journey of surrendering our self-sufficiency and recognizing our need for a Savior. No matter how hard we try to be good enough, to work hard enough, or to gain enough material resources, wealth, or wisdom—it will always fall short of God’s standard—perfection.
To follow Jesus is to admit that we don’t have it all together, but that there is One who holds everything together—including us. We can’t live a life fully surrendered to Jesus while also idolizing independence. We need God, and we also need others to help us live a life that honors God.
When we’re feeling worried or anxious about the weight and demands of life, we often try to fix it ourselves or find the solution on our own. But Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-29 to come to Him to surrender our worries. It’s only then that we’ll discover we don’t actually have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders after all.
And as for needing others? Jesus modeled this with His life by choosing to invest His life intentionally in 12 people—His disciples. And He instructed us to do the same. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us that when multiple people gather together, He is right there among us. And in Matthew 9:38, Jesus invites us to pray for more workers to do the good things God has planned for the world. See, the more we try to solve our own problems and fix everything on our own, the less we’re allowing the Church to be the body of Christ.
When we’re trying to solve everything, we can’t solve anything, because God has given each of us a unique role to play in sharing God’s love with others. We need each other.
Following Jesus isn’t about what we can do. It’s all about what He did. And our appropriate response is to continue to give up control, to depend on God instead of ourselves, and to recognize our need for others.
Pray: God, I sometimes find myself tempted to live a DIY kind of life. Show me any areas of my life in which I need to surrender control to You. Show me where to invite others into my life. Give me the right people to surround myself with. And help me honor You with everything I say and do today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Our Daily Bread
Cradled In Comfort
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.—Isaiah 66:13
My friend entrusted me with the privilege of holding her precious, four-day-old daughter. Not long after I took the baby into my arms, she started to fuss. I hugged her closer, my cheek pressed against her head, and began to sway and hum in a gentle rhythm to soothe her. Despite these earnest attempts, and my decade and a half of parenting experience, I couldn’t pacify her. She became increasingly upset until I placed her back into the crook of her mother’s eager arm. Peace washed over her almost instantaneously; her cries subsided and her newborn frame relaxed into the safety she already trusted. My friend knew precisely how to hold and pat her daughter to alleviate her distress.
God extends comfort to His children like a mother: tender, trustworthy, and diligent in her efforts to calm her child. When we are weary or upset, He carries us affectionately in His arms. As our Father and Creator, He knows us intimately. He “will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [him]” (Isa. 26:3 nlt ).
When the troubles of this world weigh heavy on our hearts, we can find comfort in the knowledge that He protects and fights for us, His children, as a loving parent. Kirsten Holmberg
REFLECT & PRAY:
Lord, help me to look to You for my comfort in times of distress.
Credit: Our Daily Bread