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Saturday, June 25, 2016 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
Stretching

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Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest into your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light (Mt.11:28-30).

A dear friend of mine has often referred to trials and tribulations as "growing times." These words are often accompanied with a deep sigh that rings of the weariness experienced within such times. They are times we do not particularly want to endure. Nevertheless, we know there is no way to get around them--except to go through them.
The weary times can stretch us so thin, that we fear we will snap somewhere in the middle if things keep going the way they are. We become so fatigued by our life circumstances that just a little thinking is something that seems to be to much to do. And it is just when we think we cannot take any more that one of two things usually happens. Either something is added to our load and we learn that we can take more than we thought, or we come to the end of our burden to find a much anticipated rest. Regardless, we do find our rest, and within it--we find God.
It is a wonderful Sabbath rest. It is the walk in the garden in the cool of the day. It is the time when the work and weariness is finally at an end and we can take a long deep breath, relax, and just be with Him. We do not purpose to find rest, and therefore we do not arrange our circumstances to bring about the Sabbath rest. But we discover that rest only after the work is done. It is a reward to those who seek no reward. It is a taking of pleasure in looking back and knowing you did well within your struggle.
But before that kind of rest is reached, we will most assuredly be stretched. It is the picture of our arms spread as wide as they can be. One hand holds that which we must release to put behind us, while the other hand strains to grasp that which must be held. We try to hold on to both to feel secure but we cannot truly enter into the rest until we let go of what must be put behind.
The things that must be put behind differ for each of us. Some of us must release life dreams or ambitions. Some of us must let go of what we once may have loved or treasured because it is already gone but we fight to keep it going. Wishing for things that cannot be only frustrates us. That frustration can turn to anger and the anger into bitterness. The more we struggle to cling to the things we can never possess, the greater our frustration, anger and bitterness will become. And our hearts will not know rest, for we will struggle within the quietness the same as we do in chaos.
If life is like a jungle, we must keep in mind that we won't make it very far if we refuse to release one vine to take hold of the next. The growing times are there to bring positive change to our lives.  The stretching is seldom fun, but always necessary, as we are continually shaped within the hands of our Creator. 
Work hard to allow God to stretch you as He needs, and then, discover the joy of His wonderful Sabbath rest.

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