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A Tale of two yokes 

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by: Carole L. Haines 

The Bible has a tale of two yokes, one slave and one free. Jesus speaks of the yoke in Matthew 11:28-30. 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  

And The apostle Paul speaks of a yoke in Galatians 5:1. 

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 

It seems we are destined to bear a yoke of some kind, either slavery or freedom. Paul puts it this way in the Book of Romans:
 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23) 

When you were slaves to sin,” that was the state we were in when Christ drew us to Himself.  We were slaves to sin. We may have thought we were free, but we most certainly were not.  Christ set us free from the yoke of slavery. The yoke is defined as, a coupling, (literally) the beam of the balance (as connecting the scalespair of balances, yoke. We are either yoked to sin or we are yoked to Christ. But Christ puts it as an invitation. He does not force His yoke on us, we need to choose it. Sin is our natural state, but Freedom is ours in Jesus Christ. Freedom is defined here as, freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by the free impulse of the soul what the will of God is (definitions taken from Strong’s Concordance). 

Jesus promises us freedom when we choose His yoke. He promises rest for our souls. He promises an easy yoke and a light burden. What is so wearying for us, in our natural state, is the Burden of our own sins. We feel that draw, that yoke, to do the wrong things. But Jesus is calling us to take off that yoke, through repentance and belief in Him, and put on His yoke of freedom, which leads to forgiveness, rest and solace Have you chosen Christ yet? I can tell you from many years of walking with Him, His yoke truly is easy, and His burden is light. I have found rest for my soul. Come to Christ and find rest for yours. 

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Times of Refreshing 

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By: Carole L. Haines 

I think rain is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world, especially after a long, dry wearying Heat Wave. That is what we have had here where I live for the entire month of July. But August has come in like a refreshing touch of God. It has been raining for 2 days and I love it. The sound, the feel, the scent of rain bring joy deep down into my soul.  
“Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) 

We don’t often associate repentance with refreshing, but God does. Often in His Word He calls us to repentance with the promise of restoration. 

15 For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, 

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing…
18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him…
19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. (Isiah 30: 15, 18-21) 

We are called here to quietness and trust in the Lord, but we were NOT willing. I read a quote about willingness that I found so poignant yesterday, 
“It has been said that willingness is the key that goes into the lock and opens the door that allows God to begin to remove your character defects.” (Getting right with God, yourself, and others. By: John Baker) 

My soul cries out for transformation, for restoration, for times of refreshing to come from the Lord. Sometimes our dry and weary land is there because of choices we have made. Sometimes it’s the choices that others have made regarding us. Most of us would admit that’s it’s been both. But either way, we need times of Refreshing. Like rain falling upon cracked soil, healing and softening the land we need His compassion. Willingness, turning to God, repenting, confession. All of these roads lead to God’s restoration. Let us be willing to do whatever God shows us we need to do, so that the floodgates of His compassion and mercy may pour down from Heaven like refreshing rain upon our dry and weary souls. 

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Live Ready! 

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Photo by: Bruce Nevin Haines

By: Carole L. Haines 

While on an overnight trip to a Wonderful city I love, we came to an intersection where a man was standing with a sign. As we stopped at the light and looked over, his sign read, “He is coming!” Bruce and I rolled down our window and said, “Amen, Brother! Be Blessed!’”  He enthusiastically waved and called back to us, “He’s coming! Live Ready!” 

Other people honked and waved as the light turned and we went through, but what a blessing to see that.  What a treasure that Precious man is to our Body of Christ here on earth. Now I don’t know about you, but I call that “BRAVE!” As an introvert, I can’t even imagine standing on a corner doing that, and that’s okay because not all of us are tapped by God to share Him in that way. But this man was enthusiastic and joyful about being there.  He wasn’t judging, but joyously declaring to the world, “He’s Coming! Live Ready! 

It reminded me of the Scripture Jesus shared about lighting a lamp and placing it on a lampstand. This man had his lamp out, lit and on a stand for all to see. 
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16) 

We are all given different gifts and callings, but each of us is called to share Christ with others. When you’re walking with Him daily, sitting with Him in His Word, no one must tell you that twice.  You’re so excited about His grace and kindness, His mercy and love just pour out of you, as you share all the good things He has done and is doing in your life. God’s Word is Powerful and even just those two words, “He’s Coming” or “Live Ready!” can be all it takes for a person’s heart to be touched and drawn by Jesus to Himself.  Jesus said, 
Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:31-32) 

Are we ready? Are we helping others know He is coming? Are we sharing God’s love and message of the Kingdom? Are we Living Ready? He is coming, Dear Believer! Live Ready!!!! 

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Not that kind of exhaustion 

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By: Carole L. Haines 

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)
 

My husband saw me sitting slumped over a pile of clothes this morning and asked me what was wrong. I told him, “I’m just exhausted.”  He said to get more rest, but my response was, “It’s not that kind of exhaustion.”  I realized that I am not exhausted physically but emotionally and mentally down to my Soul. So many things are vying for my attention currently in my life.
I am Spiritually exhausted. I miss God, I miss Him. I miss sitting in His Word and just listening, just drinking in His presence and love. Everything has become so task-oriented, and I just want to sit and listen. 
I went out on the back deck late last night, slinked into a chair and just lay back looking up at the stars through the circle of treetops surrounding my home. I listened to the Summer Symphony of Katydids, Crickets, Locusts and such. It was heavenly, just so calming. This is what I need, YesMore of that, My Girl, more of that. 

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 
and I will give you rest.  
Take My yoke upon you 
and learn from Me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11::28-30) 

Jesus is beckoning us from His Word. He is waving us over to Himself saying, “Come, Rest, Take and Learn. Come and sit beside me here. Rest your weary soul within my presence. Take, drink deeply of my love, mercy and grace for the many things clamoring for your attention. Learn how to keep in step with the rhythm of my heartbeat. Those things will still be there for you to do when we are finished our Quiet Time. But you, come away with me and rest. Come away with me and listen. Come away with me and be Blessed.” 

Perhaps you are spiritually exhausted as well, depleted of your vigor and strength for the journey. Come away with Jesus for a while and be refreshed. He will refresh your soul, spirit, mind and body.  Be Blessed. 

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Master of Breakthrough

by: Carole L. Haines

by: Carole L. Haines

We generally think of enemies as being humans, but this if not always true. Enemies can be anything that raises itself up against the knowledge of God and His perfect Will for our lives. (2 Cor. 10:5, Romans 12:1-2) There is a story in the Old Testament of King David that brings this truth to light.

18 Now the Philistines came and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 19 Then David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 So David came to Baal-perazim and [e]defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place [f]Baal-perazim. 21 They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men carried them away.(2 Samuel 5:18-21)

David had a constant enemy in the Philistines. It seems they were continually coming against him. Like a pesky fly trying to get into a horse’s ear, the Philistines constantly came against David. He prayed and God gave his enemies into his hands, over and over again. Prayer was the key to the breakthrough.  Baal-Perazim means, “Possessor of the Breaches.” Baal means, “Master,” Perazim is a bursting forth, a breaking out.  God is The Master of our Breakthrough. It is He who will route our enemies. Whether those enemies are human, circumstantial, internal struggles; God will route our enemies.  He is the Master of our Breakthrough, the Possessor of the Breaches in the walls of our lives. Pray diligently to your Precious Deliverer, He will deliver you through your struggles and bring you out safely on the other side. 

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.  (My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

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Who’s in your corner?

Guest Post by: Christine LaPorte

What do you do when you feel defeated; like a failure? As I sat outside my office building, weighed down by oppressive humidity, tears started flowing. I texted several friends and family members asking for prayer. Because of events that had taken place in my past, I was ultra sensitive to seeing friends or family members possibly travel down a similar path.I’m sure most people can relate.

For instance, when I was younger and started experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, I’d call out of work or go in late. Maybe I wasn’t as attentive to the way I looked, dressed, etc. So, even now, some forty years later, when I notice someone calling out of work regularly, coming in late, getting on personal phone calls more than normal, a bell goes off. A flag goes up. Is this person depressed or having problems at home?

So, without giving away too many details, I was in the midst of a crisis that involved someone I really cared for. I’d been watching developing patterns in their life and that, combined with being in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic, I couldn’t tell how much I should be concerned. I’d ask questions about how they were feeling, check in with them regularly and pray all was well. Then life would go on and I’d almost forget about my worries.

Which brings me to present day. And all wasn’t well; I was really caught off guard. I should have paid closure attention. Fortunately, family and friends were praying, me too. I’m a firm believer that our mighty God is both powerful and personal. Whatever affects His children is a concern to Him. In 2 Peter 5:7, we are told to “cast all your anxiety on the Lord, because He cares for you”.

Emotionally, I was tired from crying but I remembered just as the Lord helped my parents when I was younger, He would provide just what was needed now. It was my job to remember that, share that and move ahead in confidence.

It didn’t take long before our Abba Father rushed to the rescue.  Almost immediately the Lord shared two verses with me that proved settling. While at work the day after I found out about the situation, I reached into my jar of bible verses. I had received at a Womens’ Retreat several years ago. The verse I selected was Philippians 4:19:

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”.

And there it was: God’s confirmation that He would provide me with what I needed to help everyone involved get through this time. He would lead us to the appropriate helpers and resources, guide us regarding any medical appointments and all of this “according to His riches”. We have divine assistance compliments of our Creator.

The following day, I opened my verse of the day in my email from Biblegateway.com.  It read:

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:13-14

What is significant about this verse to me is that the Lord has used it to build up my confidence in Him for years. When I was going through court proceedings and my divorce, the Holy Spirit led me to this verse and brought it to my memory during times of great anxiety. Promises such as “you will see the deliverence the Lord will bring you today” and “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still”, brought me peace. I could rest in Him. He was working and was in our corner fighting. He will do this for you too. Take your cares to Him today.

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The Power to change

By: Carole L. Haines 

So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. (Acts 9:17-19) 

There is no greater demonstration of the power of Christ to transform a life, than the Conversion of Saul from Persecutor to Powerful Preacher. God took someone who was persecuting the Church of God, broke him down brought him to repentance and used him to change the whole world. Apart from Jesus, God’s own Son, Paul was used more prolifically than anyone else in the Early Church. His transformation from Saul to Paul was the most dramatic conversion the Early Church had ever seen. That same transformational power is available for changing us from who we were to who God sees us to be. Do we really believe in the transformational power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who have put their trust in Him? Do we believe it for ourselves, do we believe it for others?  His power toward us who believe is immeasurable, it is infinite.  

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:18-21) 

I find it is so much easier to believe in the Power of Christ for the lives of others than for myself. But when I look back at where I was when He called me, what I have been through, and His deliverance and transformation from then to now, I am amazed at His Work. We are much too harsh and critical of ourselves. We must cease to see ourselves through any other lens but the lens of Christ and His redemptive power. We are all truly walking miracles of God. Let’s choose to see each other that way. Let’s choose to see ourselves that way, not through our natural, critical, human eyes. 

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A Fixed Point


By: Carole L. Haines
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Sometimes I wake up and my mind is a tangled mess. Thoughts of self-condemnation whirling around, making me dizzy with distraction. I have been through a lot of misunderstandings and rejection in my life, and this has led to me constantly questioning what is wrong with me, to cause this to keep happening. But God gave me a beautiful way of figuring out how to handle this confusion and pain.
If you are a NASA fan, as I am, than you have probably seen the Movie, Apollo 13. Her’s a quote:
“Our mission was called “a successful failure,” in that we returned safely but never made it to the Moon. In the following months, it was determined that a damaged coil built inside the oxygen tank sparked during our cryo stir and caused the explosion that crippled the Odyssey. It was a minor defect that occurred two years before I was even named the flight’s commander.” (Wikiquote, Apollo 13)
The astronauts had to use the Moon as a fixed point in order to keep their trajectory for a time in their journey back home. They had a window and needed to keep the Moon fixed in that window frame in order to fly in the direction they needed to go. Space is so vast that getting off-course is easier than staying on course. The Moon became their fixed point.
Well, Jesus spoke to my heart this morning and said, “Carole, I am your fixed point. Don’t look around at what others have said or done. Don’t look within at your own thoughts and feelings. Keep your eyes, your thoughts, your heart fixed on me.”
In the above Scripture, we are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and The Perfecter of our faith. He is our fixed point. His view of us is the only one that is true and that truly matters. Not what others have said and not what we think of ourselves. We must die to Condemnation both from within and without. God’s Word tells us, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) That’s you and me, Dear Believer. Let Jesus be your fixed point, the only One who can tell you who you are. Let everything anyone has ever said about you and whatever you have thought of yourself, die by the wayside. Take up His View of who you are, and who everyone else is, and keep those Jesus glasses on at all times, making Him the only view you keep in the Window of your heart.

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Sweet, Glorious Surrender

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By: Carole L. Haines

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10+12)

Sometimes the struggle against flesh and blood is one we have within ourselves. It is a struggle with our will, our ways, our plans.
I have found the need to come to the end of myself. All the striving needed to stop. The fighting and clawing to find my own way in the world.
Have you ever seen a bird or bee trapped inside the screening of a porch? They flit and flutter, busy and buzzing trying to find their own way out. Then, exhausted, they fall to the ground and crawl right out underneath that screen.
All the panic, all the worry, all the struggling to find their own way out, and the way was right there all the time. We can be like that bird or bee. We exhaust ourselves with our own ways, our own plans. Then we come to the end of ourselves and we fall to our knees before the Lord and yield to His Sovereign Plan and Will for our lives.
We crawl out from underneath all our own ideas and find to freedom in Sweet, Glorious Surrender to the Father who loves us, the Savior who prays for us and gave up everything to buy our redemption, and the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth.
As we contemplate the high price paid for our Freedom in America and celebrate with our family and friends; Let’s remember that Greater Freedom in Christ, paid for with His Blood. Let us fall to our knees in Surrender to His Good, Pleasing and Perfect will.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

 

 

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The Stability of our Times 

photo taken by: Bruce Nevin Hainescropped-dscf7831.jpg

by: Carole L. Haines 

 O Lord be gracious to us; we have waited for You. 
Be our strength every morning,
Our salvation also in the time of distress. 

 The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is his treasure.
(Isaiah 33: 2,5-6) 

The Lord is the same every single morning when we wake up, no matter what is going on in the world or in our own lives. The Lord is our strength every morning unfailingly. He never wavers, never changes. He is always in control.  God is the only One who can inhabit the concepts of “Never” and “Always” at the same time.   This unchangeableness about God gives great hope to us in this time of widespread Instability. Lamentations 3 puts it this way: 

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; 
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”
 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. (vs. 21-26) 

We live in a time garnished with great instability. But we can rely completely on God’s unchanging faithfulnessThe Word stability, in this context, means “firmness, fidelity, faithfulness and security.” When we step out into this uncertain world every morning, God is our stability, our faithfulness and our security.  One of the greatest illusions in the soul of man is the sense that he has control over anything. God is the One in control, and when you take the time to know Him intimately, you find He is completely trustworthy.  He is described in the two Scriptures above as “stable, faithful, compassionate, our portion, our salvation, exalted, strong and gracious. When I venture out into the world’s instability, I am completely sure of God’s Stability. This gives me great hope. “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope…” Recall these aspects of God’s character to mind often and with great conviction. Let them bring forth hope in you as you step outside today. God truly is The Stability of our TImes. 

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