Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~What is the assignment?~ January 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:31 am
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I’ve been homeschooling the kiddos for just about a month and half. While I believe we are finally beginning to navigate the new waters, every single day, Emma will inevitably ask me “what am I supposed to do?”

Each day I write out their assignments for every subject along with any special instruction needed.  I try to make it so they’re able to be self sufficient, learning to work at their own pace and be held accountable for their class schedule. Each time Emma asks the question that I know is coming, my response is always, “what is the assignment?” She hates that, by the way. She’d much rather I walked over and held her hand, so to speak, giving her direction and correction at every turn because she doubts her ability to do it alone, but I won’t. I want her to do her assignment, as instructed, and go over it with her to see where she still needs improvement and where she excels. She would prefer I do it with her to ensure she is answering each question correctly as she goes.

This morning while reading my devotion from the First Five app, I was reminded of how I do the same thing with my assignments in life. It spoke to me so loudly, I wanted to share with you but my technology-challenged self can’t seem to link it to this page. I can share the image…..

 

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In this short devotion, Lysa shares the story of Moses and his reluctance to approach Pharaoh to let the Lord’s people go. He felt inadequate to handle what felt like a huge assignment. As Lysa points out, “The resistant way Moses responds lets me know he misunderstood his assignment. Moses thought he was to bring enough power in his words to convince Pharaoh. And since his words lacked power before, it’s no wonder he thought this was a terrible strategy. But God never told Moses to bring the power. Moses was simply told to bring the words. Moses’ job was to be obedient to God. God’s job was everything else.”

Just like my Emma, it seems we often get caught up in the end result causing us to shift our focus from the task at hand. We center our thoughts around what should happen, allowing doubt to creep in making us question our ability to simply perform the task that’s been given.

I’ll leave you with one final example. Let’s say your assignment is to pray for others. Instead of focusing on the Holy Spirit and what He prompts you to pray, you worry about the impact your words will have on the one you’re praying for. “Will they receive salvation? What if this prayer goes unanswered, will they doubt God? What if my words are lackluster?” You’re assignment isn’t to save them or provide the answer to their prayer, that’s God’s part. You’re job is to pray with sincerity and allow God to speak to them through you.

“Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.” (Prov 3:5-6 ERV)

 

~His Truth, Not My Opinion~ February 28, 2014

Here fairly recently, I had myself a little freak out moment.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of prayer requests and those who were seeking guidance.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the opportunity to minister to others and I consider it a privilege to walk alongside those who are hurting, but not too long ago, I panicked!

I was fretting over what to say and feeling immense pressure that I was going to mess someone up with my advice.  Somewhere in the midst of my crazy, the Lord gave me the most beautiful revelation.  God is not asking me to share my opinion with those who reach out to me, He has commanded that I share His Word.

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (vs 2)

“Those whose hearts understand what is right get knowledge.  The ears of those who are wise listen for it.” (vs 15) 

The last thing I want is to open my mouth like a blubbering fool and let my own ideas and thoughts pour out.  But if I am scouring the Bible for wisdom, when I give counsel, it will be His truth that comes out and not my personal opinion.  While I could allow this to stress me even further, it actually gave me a sense of peace and freedom in my ministry.  Other translations of verse 15 say the ears of the wise seek out knowledge.  Basically, go look for it!  You can be certain that whatever you pursue, eventually you’re going to find it, whether that be good or evil.

We must constantly remind ourselves that so long as we are seeking the Lord’s face, listening for that still small voice and submitting to His leading, then we can feel confident in the words that we speak to the one in need.

When someone thanks me for my insight, I am quick to point them to Jesus.  It is not wisdom from within that I speak of but Biblical truth that brings about understanding and correction when needed.  I am a vessel for the Lord to work through, just as all others who are answering the call to minister in however the Lord sees fit.  I pray that I would never take for granted the immense honor that it is to be an ambassador for Christ.  May those who seek to glorify the Lord with the work of their lives be emboldened by the power of the Spirit that lives in the hearts of those who diligently seek Him.wise doubts

*The above Scripture references are from Proverbs 18 as part of the 31 Day Reading Challenge of the Book of Proverbs.

 

~Truth in Love~ February 19, 2014

truth in loveI have always struggled with the concept of giving other adults “correction” in brotherly love.  Mostly because it makes me feel uncomfortable.  I know that my past is speckled with mistakes of various kinds and that alone makes me feel ill-equipped to lead others away from the transgressions that they currently find themselves knee deep, or worse.

However, we are not called to live a life of comfort.  The Bible does instruct those of us who are led by the Spirit to restore the ones who have strayed in an attitude of humility.  This is where we desperately need discernment!  If we see someone struggling in an area that the Bible makes clear can serve as a stumbling block in their life, we need to take pause before opening our mouths.  First of all, we need to seek the Lord’s face because we should never move forward in counseling without Him.  Secondly, if we still feel the pull to approach them, we need to spend time in the Word looking for Scriptures that will point them back on the path towards righteousness.  Lastly, we should be in prayer that the Lord would soften their hearts to be receptive to the words that He is giving us to speak to them.

If we don’t make certain that we are responding to the Lord’s leading in these very sticky situations, we can be met with some unwelcome responses.

  • They may turn the tables on you:  “Who are you to say one word to me when you yourself used to do the very same thing?!”
  • Perhaps they will point the blame elsewhere:  “Well, so-and-so does it too and I don’t see you getting in their business!”
  • Worst of all, they may attempt to justify their actions:  “I don’t feel convicted about it and it’s not harming anyone else, so how about you just back off?!”

Proverbs 9 warns us:

“If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face; confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.  So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.  But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it!  Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it; tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.” (Vs. 7-9 The Message)

These words are basically telling us to “know our audience.”  It will do us no good, nor the person in question, if they are closed off to the Word of God.  Only those who seek to honor God with their lives will be open to loving & gentle instruction.

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11 ESV)

I don’t believe that anyone is a lost cause, however the words of Titus instruct us to know when to step back.  It is not our job to “save” anyone.  We can point them towards the One who can and trust that God will do what only He is able.