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March 5, 2006
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
"Take a load off your feet." We all know what this means. It means to sit down, to give our feet a rest from the weight of our body. A load has weight. We can look at it, lift it, carry it, or lay it down. When itís too heavy for us, we call it a burden, and we probably need some help carrying it. Paul exhorts believers to fulfill the mandates of Christian love by carrying our own load and by bearing the burdens of others. If each of us does this, we all help one another. We do this because Jesus Christ has borne our sorrows, our iniquity, our burdens. Do you have a load too heavy to bear today? Then read on.
In Isaiah 46, idolatry is a heavy burden. People go into captivity heavy laden with idols that cannot deliver or save anyone. Even the animals must bear the weight of it all. But God calls those to hear which "are borne by Me from the belly, which are carried from the womb." He is the One who carries the house of Jacob and the remnant of the house of Israel, even to old age. What He has made, He will bear. What He carries, He will deliver. No one is like Jehovah. (See also Isaiah 43.1, 2; Isaiah 49.15; Deut. 32.11, 12; Hebrews 13.8; Romans 8.38, 39.)
Our Covenant-keeping Lord is aware of our sufferings. Indeed, Isaiah 53.4, 5 declares:
Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and
Afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions.
He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of
Our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
Jesus Christ is a merciful and faithful high priest. He became a man that He might take part in humanity so that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2.14 By suffering, He helps us when weíre tempted and suffering. This is the heart of God, as we also read in Isaiah 63.9:
In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel
Of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity
He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them
all the days of old.
Whatever youíre going through, God is there with you. You donít have to go far to find a Mediator. You donít have to dread the majesty of Christ. He extends His hands to you. He is inclined to help you. He is not unacquainted with the evils of the world. He walked this earth. He engaged life as the God-Man. He knows the feelings of humanity. He came to save. He came to save you.
Jesus is the Faithful Amen. Because He offered up Himself to God as an acceptable sacrifice for sin, we can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and to find grace and favor in our time of need, in a timely way. (Hebrews 4.14-16) From of old, the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chron. 16.9)
Because God bears us, we also are to bear one anotherís burdens. In Galatians, Paul exhorts his readers to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Donít get entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Just because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesusí sacrifice of Himself, donít use that outpouring of love and grace and mercy on Godís part to insult the Holy Spirit by having a licentious attitude that says something like, "Well, all my sins are forgiven past, present, and future anyway, so I can do what I want and it doesnít matter."
Actually, when you got saved, the Holy Spirit came to dwell or live within you. You became the branch and Christ is the vine. The Holy Spirit has an agenda. That agenda is to conform you to the moral image of Jesus Christ, to make you holy even as God has declared you holy. So when you walk after the flesh, engaging in things like idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, variance, emulations, wrath, murder, drunkenness, and more, youíre not walking in the Spirit, who is holy and righteous, and youíre losing out on the peace, joy, and righteousness that make up the kingdom of God.
In contrast to the flesh, which wars against the Spirit, is what exudes from your inner being when your flesh is rent and the glory of the Lord can shine through and out from you. As branch to Vine, you start to bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance or self-control. Live in the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit. Itís not about you or me. Itís about Him, yielding to Him and humbling ourselves before Him in dependence and faith.
Paul says in Galatians 6 that if someone is overtaken in a fault, one who is spiritual should restore that person in the spirit of meekness, considering himself lest he also be tempted. By bearing one anotherís burdens we fulfill the law of Christ. Weíre not to think weíre so la-de-do when weíre really nothing. We have our own load or burden to carry. Whatís he saying?
Keep an eye on yourself so as not to become arrogant, condemning, and pre-judging when others are going through it. And also remember that bearing burdens is not about someone deliberately and wantonly choosing sin and then demanding grace from other Christians. No, the picture is of someone truly struggling against besetting sin, fighting not to be overtaken in any trespass, and resisting but failing to conquer, someone who needs real help. When someone is truly carrying a load too heavy for them, step in and help them, but be careful lest you fall into a pit along with them.
Live according to the standard of love as Jesus taught. Reading and talking about the commandments of Jesus and the apostles is one thing, but it has to come to a point of action. Bear with others and help them in the restoration process. Carry your own load, but if itís too heavy for you, get help. We need each other. We are note expected to carry burdens alone; nor are others to carry their burdens alone. Thatís what "one anothering" is all about. As we fulfill the mandates of Christian love, we will strengthen ourselves spiritually and the Body of Christ generally.
How? Pray. Bear the infirmities of the weak through longsuffering, listening, and genuine encouragement. Give tangible support, not just words of sympathy, empathy, or comfort. Be available to the Holy Spirit to answer the call as He bears the burdens of the Body. Be a friend to someone who needs you to be their friend. Reach inside and build on your strengths. Reach up to the Father. Reach out to Godís people and to those who need to hear about Jesus. Blossom into lilies of the field.
This spring we have a mission team going to Mozambique, and we need your help! We want to take three large suitcases of clothing and (very small) toys for children there in an orphanage. We want to take at least $800 to the orphanage. We want to help this nation. As I wrote last month, AIDS killed over 2 million Africans in 2005, and will kill more this year. AIDS orphans abound, and children suffer who never asked to be born in such deplorable conditions. Weíre being sent to Mozambique to bear some of the weight of their burdens, spiritual and physical.
Bearing the burden with you,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org for the latest. Order from our catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270.
Be blessed! We love you.
Cast your burden upon the LORD,
And He shall sustain you:
He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
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