Saturday, January 26, 2019


The straw that broke the camel's back
Wasn't heavy I suppose 
And to be a broken back-ed camel 
Wasn't something that he chose

To carry someone else's burden 
Is it why he was created?
To live his life for someone else
And to give as need dictated?

Day by day he did his best
This simple beast of burden
Until the burden broke his heart
But no one saw him hurtin'

The straw that broke the camel's back
Wasn't heavy I suppose.
And to be a broken back-ed camel
Isn't something that he chose.
(© 1999 Marie Armenia)

A camel with a broken back is a camel about to starve to death and die. The camel's back humps keep him alive in the desert. It is filled with fat (not water) and when food is scarce, he feeds off this hidden supply.  

The straw that broke the camel's back was the last straw for the camel.  We know what it mean's when someone reaches their last straw.  They are done. Finished. Unable to go on. 

How do people react to a camel who's reached his last straw?

They wonder, "Why now? Why today?" 
The camel had been carrying the straw without complaint or problems for a while. People assumed the load was not too heavy because the camel consistently carried it - day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.  

And then, badda boom badda bing - his back breaks??? 
What's up with that?

"Why didn't you say something?" they ask the camel.
The camel is too exhausted to answer or explain. 
"Why didn't you notice?" is what he is too tired to say. 

For a minute or two, people feel bad for the camel and the obvious pain he is in.  It doesn't take long, however, for their thoughts to turn to the fact that now they might have to carry their own straw.   Their concern FOR the camel quickly morphs into concern for themselves.

"Who's going to carry the straw the camel has been carrying for me every day for as long as I can remember?" 
They get kind of peeved at the camel for having limits.

The world is filled with camel users.
They have no clue what I'm talking about, or why I'm writing about camels who couldn't carry their burden for even one more day.

But I think that every single mom, working mom, widow reading this understands completely.

I think every overworked and underappreciated pastor comprehends fully that devoted backs can only take so much burden and complaining before something inside them breaks - no matter how much they love the Lord and His people.

The parents whose rebellious child has no concern for anything but getting his own way know what it feels like to be convinced the Lord HAS given them more than they can bear.

Sometimes, like the camel.. and without warning, we wake up one day, and - 


And we lay down and wait to die under the weight of what we used to be able to carry without a problem.

Dear exhausted one..Jesus cares about your tired soul. 

You don't have to lay down and die, but rise up and live with His help and power.

"Come to Me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden and I WILL GIVE YOU REST." 

He carries your burden.

He promises.
He will.
He does.
He has.

The straw that didn't break the camel's back is the straw He asked Jesus to carry,

Jesus will come to you and help you carry that burden. 

People are not faithful, but Jesus is.

Cast all your care on him: for he careth for you.
1 PETER 5:7

Friday, January 25, 2019


I am not God.
Sometimes I act like I think I am.
When problems come because of people,
I assume I am right and they are wrong.
But only God is always right.
I am not God.

I am not God.
He doesn't keep a list of my mistakes.
Or the many awful sins I have asked Him to forgive.
And yet - if I were honest - 
I still have lists with names of people who have hurt me.
Thinking I'm entitled to.
But Holy God, who has the right to hold my sin against me, has mercy on my broken, humble heart.
And when my mercy and compassion reach a limit,
and I will not forgive those who ask me to 

The Holy Spirit rushes in and He reminds me
Only God can hold someone's sins against them, 
And I remember, once again,
I am not God.

And neither are you.

 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him."

John 3:16-17

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Have you ever been tempted to say those words to someone?  I'm not proud to admit that I have.  Unfortunately, the fact that I am thinking that thought is not an indictment against those "takers" in my life, but an indication that perhaps my giving isn't flowing from God's love compelling me. 

BASIC CHRISTIANITY - If you expect to GET something because you have GIVEN something, it isn't truly giving. It's a type of relationship bartering... or something like that.  If you have a mental ledger of what you've done for someone, you need to erase that ledger.

Is it easy to do? NO WAY.  
Is it what I am called to do?

Have you ever "been there" for someone in a real way when they needed someone to be there for them?  I mean, in a deeply committed way? During a trial, or a job loss, or a sickness, or divorce?  Encouraging them? Providing for them with your own resources? Giving up YOUR time? And then... when the crisis fades.. and the shoe is on the other foot.. and YOU need them to do the same thing for you.. they are nowhere to be found? You might think to yourself, "After all I've done for you..." We should do what we do for others for the glory of the Lord.  Because HIS LOVE IN US makes it impossible to not lay down our lives for those in need. 
Is it easy?
No way.

How about your children? (Let me say that my son is not who or what I am referring to). You sacrifice.  You give so that they have, even if it means you don't have. You don't ever make them feel guilty about what you have done without - so that they didn't do without. You love them and only want the best for them.  And then... when they get out on their own...they disappear from your life. They find fault, but not gratitude.  And you are tempted to say, "After all I've done for you......" but your Heavenly Father explains to you that they belonged to HIM the whole time - and He will reward you for your faithfulness to HIM whether your children do.. or not.  
Is it easy?
No way.

How about your spouse?  I can't. I can't even take the ENORMOUS space here to remind you that if you are keeping a list of what you've done for your spouse.. EXPECTING to be fully repaid.. well... you need more help than this blog can offer today.. 

How about your Church? You work hard, you sacrifice your time, your resources, your gifts.  You love and support the pastor and his "vision." You give and give and give.  You give up doing other things, being other places just to be there and help. You do it freely... And then, when you are in need... and you could use a little love and attention from the church you gave everything to... you can't get past the church secretary and speak to your pastor. He never calls you, and neither does anyone in church...
And you're tempted to say, "After all I've done for you......"

How about the Pastor?
Being a pastor is - in its purest form - being a spiritual parent to a bunch of non-compliant children. (I am NOT referring to a political pastor who is there for his own glory. A hireling who cares about himself and his own reputation.. God help him.) 
I mean a true shepherd - one who truly cares about the sheep - and lays down his life for the people in the pews.  And often, sadly, all they do is complain about his lack of - so many things  He might be tempted to think, "After all I've done for you".... 
He doesn't say those words. 
Is it easy?
No way.

Today..if you are someone who is dealing with someone you think deserves to hear you say, 

"After all I've done for you"... 

Turn the focus on the fact that you think you should be rewarded HERE by THEM instead of being rewarded THERE by GOD.

God is keeping score.
You don't have to.
God sees WHY we do WHAT we do.

Jesus never puts the heavy burden of guilt on us by saying "After all I've done for you"  when we fail Him.
He willingly gave His life. 
He willingly shares His victories with us,
He shares His eternal inheritance with us.

After all He's done for us, we follow His example and give expecting NOTHING in return... 
Is it easy?
No way.
Does He give the Holy Spirit to help us?

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? 

Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

Luke 6:32-36

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


I've heard the story many times.  As a little girl in Sunday School (yes.. they used to call it Sunday School)... and in many sermons since then... about the friends who SO CARED about a friend who was "paralyzed" and "unable to move"  and they KNEW that Jesus could heal him.  However, the house where Jesus was at the moment, was so crowded they could not get in. SO they cut a hole in the roof of the house and lowered their friend down and right in front of Jesus. (You can read the story in Mark 2 or Luke 5). And Jesus was so moved by their faith,  He healed their friend AND forgave his sin.

I've heard various points made about this story.
His friends believed for his healing.
His friends did what they needed to do to get him to Jesus.
Jesus healed the man.
Jesus forgave his sin.
The religious leaders didn't like what Jesus did.
Jesus was not afraid of the religious leaders.
He answered them.
The man was healed and walked away.

I am struck by another unspoken fact:


There is no epilogue. There is no Go-Fund-Me page to raise funds to fix the roof of the house. We don't read that Jesus spoke the words, "Roof be fixed."  

Now there is some debate about what KIND of roof the house had, and whether or not it was an easy fix, or whether or not they used an electric power saw to cut through it (they did not).. .but the point is that however difficult - or simple - it was to fix the roof, it needed to be fixed. Repaired. 

What was the reason the guy had a hole in his roof?

He had nothing but good intentions. 
He hosted Jesus in his house.
He made it possible for Jesus to be near the people in his neighborhood.
And it ruined his roof.

But a paralyzed man was healed.
And a sinner was forgiven.
And people saw and experienced something they had never seen or experienced - the power of God in and through Jesus. 

I pray that he was able to know that whatever it cost him was worth whatever it gave to others. I pray he knew that God gives rewards that have nothing to do with our stuff. 

That's the core of letting Jesus use your life.
And your stuff.
And your time.

Am I willing to live with "a hole in the roof" if that's what it takes for someone who is paralyzed to feel God's power and be healed? Physically? Spiritually? Emotionally?

Missionaries still miss their home.
Pastors and their families still hate living in a fishbowl.
Martyrs still feel the pain of being martyred.

And to mention the ridiculous... 
Carpets still get dirty when you host a small group.
Cars still get extra mileage when you volunteer to drive someone somewhere.
People still reject you when they are unwilling to hear God's law.

Jesus promised us that anyone who gives up everything here - will be rewarded a hundred-fold here and there for doing so.  The process isn't easy without His Spirit pouring HIS love in to our hearts.

Roofs still have holes in them when you offer your "house" for Jesus to live in.

It isn't easy to give up our lives for the Gospel.
UNLESS... eternal life is something we value more than our stuff on this earth.

And when I might be tempted to whine to Jesus, saying, "Hey Jesus! There's a hole in my roof" 
I hear Him gently remind me..

"Hey! There are holes in My hands! There's a hole in My side. There are holes in My feet."

He gave everything for me.
I cannot give less for Him.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?"
Luke `14:28-34