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)

 

~Support, Carry & Take~ November 14, 2013

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2 NKJV)

There is a story about Moses in the book of Exodus that I feel gives us the perfect visual of what it means to bear another’s burdens.

The Israelites were at war with the Amelekites.  Up to this point, the Lord had been working through Moses in various ways to speak to His people.  Oftentimes he had Moses raise his staff, and this time would be no different.  As the two armies battled, so long as Moses kept his arms raised with staff in hand, the Israelites held the advantage.  But when he dropped his arms, the tables would turn.  Naturally, after some time his arms became weak and too tired to lift.  Moses’ friends, Aaron and Hur came alongside of him, found him place to rest and stood on either side….holding up his hands.  Because of their love for their friend and their willingness to shoulder his burden when he was to weak to do it alone, Moses’ held steady and the victory belonged to the Israelites.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture?

God calls us to readily be available to help others.  And He doesn’t tell us, “listen to your friends issues and walk away having done nothing.” It clearly says to bear them.  In looking up the definition of the word, I found three interesting synonyms: support, carry & take.

When someone comes to you, hurting and seeking guidance, try applying these three things.

1.  Support them by truly listening to the issue at hand.  Be sincere in your desire to help them and reassure them that they are not alone in this struggle.  Encourage them as often as it crosses your mind, not just in that moment, but in the days to come.

2.  Carry them when the battle is too much and the weight is so heavy that they can no longer stand, offer them assistance in other areas of their life that would lighten their load.  Maybe you fix them dinner a couple nights or offer to watch the kids; think about what would help you out in the situation and do that.

3.  Take the need as if it were your own and cover it in prayer.  Beat down the doors of heaven for you friend, believing that God hears each and every one and that He will come through right on time with the perfect response for them.

And in so doing these things, you honor the Lord.

Friendship is a precious gift from God.  Friends are great during the good times, but necessary in the low times.  Give thanks for the godly friends in your life today.  friendship

 

~The Truth & Nothing But The Truth~ May 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:43 am
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blurredtruthEver know anyone who said the Bible is open to interpretation?  I know parts of the Bible can be confusing but I don’t see any “gray” areas.  Granted, some secret things belong to the Lord and only the Lord “but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of his law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

Knowing that, how can anyone say that they believe in God and then go through His Word, picking and choosing what is truth and what is subject to opinion?  The Bible in it’s entirety is what we are to live by in order for our Christian lives to be whole & complete.

In Deuteronomy 4:2, Moses tells the Israelites:

“Do not add to what I commanded you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”

As oftentimes is the case, I see comparisons in God’s word to parenting.  My oldest son is the worst about doing “half” of what I ask him to do.  For example, I say “Isaiah, take all your dirty laundry downstairs, put your darks in the wash, your whites in the basket.  Don’t forget to bring up your clean clothes and put them all away.”  While he manages to get the clothes to the laundry room, they end up in a heap on the floor in the vicinity of the washing machine.  Clean stack may or may not reach it’s destination but they certainly do not find their way to the closet.  The end of his bed is about as far as he can manage.  When I call to his attention that he did not quite follow directions, I get the exhausted response of a teenager.  As he huffs and walks away, I explain the importance of listening to every word that is spoken, not just the highlight reel!

See the resemblance?  Some like to think that as long as they obey the main points of the Bible; do not kill, steal, cheat or lie that they can overlook the more intricate details lying just beneath the surface; details that can lead to a more intimate relationship with our Creator.  God is not a waster of words.  If He saw fit to give it as a command, then there was good reason behind it.  His word is for our benefit.  He didn’t throw out a random list of rules in hopes of making our lives miserable.  Just as any good parent would, He set boundaries for us to prevent us from self-destruction.