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Just another year

About the author: Maggie Clark is married to Brad and, together,  they have 4 little girls! They moved to Zionsville 2 years ago from a suburb of Chicago. They church shopped for a few months before attending ZPC and instantly fell in love with the church! They recently bought a house in Carmel after apartment living for 6 years and she daily finds herself overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessing of a house with a yard for her kids to play in.

Proverbs 3:3-10 says: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

Next week my husband and I will celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary. Nothing too exciting about 12 years, most people celebrate 10, 15, 20 years, you know, the “bigger” ones. 12 seems to be “just another year." As I think about our 12 years together: the ups and downs, the joys, the sorrows, the mundane, the scary moments, our successes and failures, I’m reminded of the verses we chose for our wedding, Proverbs  3:3-10, I remember very clearly deciding I wanted that to be our bible passage and message at our wedding because this is how I wanted us to live life as a married couple–determined to make a difference for GOD’s Kingdom! Have we always succeeded at living out a life “acknowledging HIM in all our ways?" Have we always “feared the LORD” and do we always choose to “not be wise in our own eyes?" I wish I could say YES, ALWAYS, we are so good at all of those things. BUT we are not, we do our best, we try our hardest but we fail. Our own desires, our own longings and selfishness have crept in at times. I am grateful for GOD’s GRACE and HIS WORD, I am grateful for this passage and the words that ALWAYS speak to my heart and convict me and remind me what a faithful, loving, and caring GOD we serve. We serve a GOD that longs for us to trust HIM, we serve a GOD that longs for us to fear HIM and shun evil, we serve a GOD that longs for us to serve HIM because in our service and giving to HIM, we are blessed, abundantly! We serve a GOD who longs for us to be loving and faithful! We serve a GOD that speaks to us through HIS word, when we listen! We serve a GOD that longs for us to follow HIM so HE can make our paths straight! So as my husband and I celebrate “just another year” together I am encouraged and reminded of the day we said “I do” and the day that, together, we chose this verse to be our guide.

As you prepare for “just another day,”  or another week at work or at home or another week longing for something that’s missing, another day of uncertainty, another day following your own ideas and ignoring what God is saying to you, another day of pains or joys, another day of confusion or clarity, whatever your day is looking like, whatever your week or your month is looking like, ask GOD to help you live out this verse… “May love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT!” Oh, how I love these promises and this reminder! I pray that GOD’s word will bring nothing but JOY to your heart today, no matter what kind of day or week or month or year you are having!

Rest can be painful 

About the author: Jason grew up in Zionsville and became familiar with ZPC through serving on a few Great Banquet teams. He moved, along with his wife, Stephanie, and two daughters, June and Rose, from Michigan in May 2020 to come on staff at ZPC as the Associate Director of Worship. They currently live in Carmel. 

In a culture that feeds upon our ability to say, “yes” and then produce the continual temptation to stay busy, I find myself in a position to simply reach for the cup of coffee and slowly surrender to the reality that this is just the way life is. I can easily justify that God created me to work as a little “C” creator to honor Him while providing for my family as a husband and a father, as well as juggle relationships with family and friends and people from concentric circles, thus the proverbial snowball rolls. Plain said, it is easy to be busy. 

On June 9th, I made a critical error during a home project and fell through the attic drywall into my kitchen, landing on my left shoulder, breaking my clavicle. It has completely limited many of my normal abilities - household chores, hugging my wife, holding my daughters, changing diapers, even playing my guitars. And yet, even limited and against suggestions from family and friends, I find myself fighting that limitation and doing these things anyway. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about limitation. 

If we look to God’s intention on how he created us, we should be quick to take note that he built into our way of living a day of rest. A day of ceasing. A literal STOP. Just because we sinned and distorted our identity, God’s original design for humanity didn’t change. Ceasing, stopping, or resting is still very much a part of our human need. When God took on flesh, he embodied humanity for our sake and, as Jesus’ life displayed, he does and fulfills what Adam never could. 

As a follower of Jesus, looking at his life and his ability to pull away frequently from the crowds and crowdedness of life, I wonder at how I follow in his example as a disciple. As I read through his teachings on this topic, he speaks to my need as I realize I need repair, I need rest, I need to stop. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28,30) 

However, I find that resting is painful......because it exposes a lie that we have allowed in our life: that we are somehow unlimited. Resting is painful because it means we need to stop trying to always get ahead in life. Resting is painful because we don’t want anyone to look at us as incapable or perhaps even lazy. 

I don’t desire these words to lead to a fight over a commandment issue; I want to speak for a life-giving issue. And rest is one of those things. But just as I was given a limitation with my injury (and still battle with following it), we should all realize our limitation toward saying, with fervent frequency, “yes” for we are not God.

Jesus gives us permission to rest in him. 

He allows me to simply pick up my cup of coffee, find rest, and see that this is the way life can be. 

I can find rest, in my limitation, with Jesus, for he is God and I am not. 

Posted by Jason Chapel with

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