SEPTEMBER 22
   
Today's Bible Readings
     II Samuel 18
     II Corinthians 11
     Ezekiel 25
     Psalms 73
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
      ''My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalms 73:26)
 
YOUR BURDEN OR HIS?
      Should you feel guilty when you have a burden that seems to refuse to go away? All of us have experienced burdens, and so will you. The only question is, ''Has it been in the past or do you have it now?'' If not, you will have it in the future. We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong.
      God never intends for you to bear a burden of sin and doubt, but God has placed some burdens on us, which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him - to literally ''cast your burden'' which He has given you ''on the Lord ...'' It is then that He takes away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.
      I have observed some servants of the Lord, who have set out with great enthusiasm and wonderful motives, but they have lacked an ongoing intimate fellowship with Jesus, and they are soon defeated. They don't know what to do with the burden that goes along with responsibility and ministry, and it produces weariness in their lives. The servant of God who cannot properly deal with burdens will not survive in the work of the Lord.
      So now is the time to commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don't just cast it aside but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it. You will see that your burden has been lightened by the sense of companionship. This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 11:29.  ''Take my yoke upon you and learn from me ...''
      Sometimes our burdens are to draw us to Him in fellowship. This is often the purpose of chastening. (Hebrews 12:6) Yet we continue to complain as soon as the burden comes. ''Oh,Lord, just let me be like other people." Jesus is asking us to get beside Him and take one end of the yoke so we can pull together. That is why Jesus says to us, ''My yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:30)
      As Isaiah spoke about ''mounting up with wings like an eagle'', he said to us, ''... to those who have no might, He increases strength." (Isaiah 40:29) In my journey with cancer, I am discovering that it isimpossible to survive without His strength. 
      The only way for us to have the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn from Him. It is literally true that our strength comes from that relationship with Him and the joy of that fellowship. (Nehemiah 8:10) You can usually see in the countenance of a mature believer that joy of the Lord. It simply means the burden has been there for awhile.
      The burden that God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces the wine, but most of us see only the wine and not the burden as we observe the lives of effective soldiers of the Cross. No power on earth or in Hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the human spirit.  It creates an inner invincibility.
      If your life is producing only a whineinstead of the wine, then ruthlessly kick it out. It is definitely a crime for a Christian to be weak in God's strength. Make your decision today to shineand never whineabout the burdens that God allows you to experience. Whatever God has taught you on the mountain in that exciting call and commission, - never give up in the valley. Remember the blessing in the midst of the burden and move forward, yoked with Him that will enable you to carry the burden that He has graciously allowed in your life.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
      Pray today some large prayers for some very small people. The Pygmy peoples of the Congo have long been despised and humiliated. They are largely neglected by Christian denominations in this country, yet about 30% are nominally Christian. There are some movements to seek to reach the Pygmies for Christ. Pray for the maturing of this movement, provision of adequate spiritual leadership, and the emergence of a truly indigenous Pygmy church.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
      ''Prayer is not the overcoming of God's reluctance; it is the taking hold of God's willingness."
Phillips Brooks