Joy of My Heart with Anne Graham Lotz – February 7

February 7

Easing Your Burden

Beloved, let us love on another, for love is of God; and everyone who love is born of God and knows God.

1 John 5:7, nkjv

Most of us increase our pain by dwelling on it or by analyzing it. We throw a pity party and expect others to join us. We spiral downward into depression, withdrawing into self-preoccupation. But the way to overcome is not to focus on ourselves or on the pain, but to focus on the needs of others.

Would you get your eyes off yourself and your problems and your pressures and your pain and look around? Who do you know who is suffering or struggling in some way? What can you do for them? Ask God to bring to your attention those you can care for. Because as you do, you will find joy in easing their burden, and in the process, you will ease your own.

Just Give me Jesus, (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2000).

©2012 Anne Graham Lotz. All rights reserved.


THE KEY TO A LIFE OF IMPACT

What are the secrets to a life of impact? Daniel achieved greatness in the eyes of his contemporaries, in the eyes of history, and most importantly, in the eyes of God. His faith did not waver as he faced his critics, as he served new kings in power, or even as he confronted hungry lions. How can we achieve that kind of faith today? Twenty intentional, key choices made all the difference. Daniel’s choices can be ours, such as:

•  The choice to listen
•  The choice to forgive
•  The choice to pray

Cultivate a life-changing faith when you learn to implement The Daniel Key into your everyday life. Request your copy!

For more from Anne Graham Lotz please visit AnneGrahamLotz.org.

10 Things You Never Knew About Colorado

With its breathtaking vistas and energetic cities, Colorado is a magical place to visit or to live. The Mile High City of Denver is a bustling haven of business and creative arts while outdoor adventure awaits in the state’s stunning and natural terrain. Yet for all we do know about Colorado, there is so much to learn about this fantastic vacation destination. Here are 10 things you never knew about Colorado.10

Dinosaurs Lived Here

The unique red rock formations in Morrison, Colorado.
Credit: iyd39/ Shutterstock

Giants once roamed the Colorado lands. Ancient fossils and footprints of these early dino residents have been found and preserved across the state much to the delight of the paleontologists and the curious visitors alike. You can still get a glimpse into Colorado’s prehistoric life at several locations scattered throughout the state.

You might find your jaw dropping when you wander to the Picket Wire Canyonlands where almost 1,300 dinosaur footprints mark the earth. Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison, Colorado, is a fossil-filled hike. Also, the mascot of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, Dinger the purple triceratops, is a nod to the dinosaur bones that were found when the stadium was constructed.9

The Teddy Bear Was Born Here

Trail through Glenwood Canyon
Credit: Cascade Creatives/ Shutterstock 

It may only be a legend, but Colorado is happy to declare itself as the birthplace of the iconic Teddy Bear. President Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs during his yearly hunting trips. On one occasion, it was clear the president was dejected after returning from an unsuccessful day of hunting. To cheer him up, some of the hotel maids gathered scraps of material and pieced together a stuffed bear to give him. The teddy bear was born.8

Ghost Towns Are Everywhere

An abandoned mining operation on a river in the forest near Marble, Colorado.
Credit: Jeff Biglan/ iStock

Colorado experienced a mining boom in the late 1800s. New residents established settlements in the state’s rocky hillsides and grassy meadows. By the early 1900s, most of the towns were abandoned after the metal markets crashed. What was left behind is eerily intriguing to this day.

There are hundreds of these ghost towns to explore in Colorado including St. Elmo and Tin Cup where the rowdy Wild West earned its name.7

The Stanley Hotel Might Really Be Haunted

The red and white facade of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado on a snowy day.
Credit: Sean Xu/ Shutterstock

As the inspiration for Stephen King’s classic horror novel The Shining — and even the place where the miniseries based on the book was filmed — The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is notorious for its haunted rooms and corridors. Of course, the story of The Shining came from King’s imagination, but it turns out that the hotel was known as a hotbed of paranormal activity long before King’s hair-raising story was written.

Curators of the historic landmark don’t deny the presence of spirits. They know that the piano you hear playing in the empty room or the flickering lights in the bathroom are only caused by the friendly ghosts of Mr. Stanley and his friends. And the employees are happy to share their paranormal experiences with you! Stay a night if you dare, or just visit and take a stroll through the hedge maze, have a drink at the bar, or even go on a ghost tour.6

Colorado Boasts the Highest Suspension Bridge in America

The Royal Gorge suspension bridge with mountains in the background in Colorado
Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/ Shutterstock

The Royal Gorge Bridge is a Rocky Mountain wonder spanning 1,258 feet in length. It hangs an impressive 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, providing nerve-tingling views of the gorge. The bridge first opened in 1929 and continues to attract visitors.

You can take a peaceful aerial gondola ride or summon some bravery and experience the thrill of America’s highest zipline. The newest adrenaline booster is the Royal Rush Skycoaster where you free-fall at 50 mph.5

Plucking the State Flower Is Illegal

Lavender, white, and yellow columbine flowers on a mountainside
Credit: EdwardSnow/ iStock

You could find yourself in a bit of trouble if you get caught picking one of Colorado’s state flowers, the columbine. The wildflower was chosen by schoolchildren in 1891 to represent the state. Its white and lavender blossoms can be seen and appreciated all over Colorado, including along designated wildflower trails and country drives.

In 1925, the powers-that-be decided there was a need to protect the aromatic and delicate columbine. The General Assembly passed a law prohibiting the uprooting of the flower on public lands. Those caught could face a fine of up to $50. Though plucking one for yourself is forbidden, you can find the seeds at a flower shop to plant in your own garden.4

Colorado Has Giant Sand Dunes

The golden sand of the Great Sand Dunes with snow-topped mountains in the background in southern Colorado.
Credit f11photo/ iStock

In southern Colorado, not far from the sleepy town of Alamosa, is a sight you really don’t expect to see in the mountains. The Great Sand Dunes feature some of the highest dunes you will find in North America. The area is comprised of 30 square miles of majestic sand mountains with a few reaching up to 750 feet high. Unusual wind patterns have been building and changing them since before Colorado was a state.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the quietest parks in the country, though it is the ideal location for stargazing, horseback riding, or camping. More active visitors like to hike up the massive dunes and slide back down on a sandboard or sled.3

One Man Built His Own Castle

The unusual stone and metal Bishop Castle in San Isobel National Park in Colorado.
Credit: R McKown/ Shutterstock

Jim Bishop has spent over 50 years building his own castle in Rye, Colorado. He single-handedly found, gathered, and set more than a thousand tons of rock to erect his dream castle in the middle of nowhere. He sees it as a tribute and monument to the hard-working man, and will let you know in colorful language, if you dare to ask, just how he feels about those who think differently.

Despite ongoing squabbles with local businesses and government, Jim was happy when Bishop Castle was finally accepted as a bonafide tourist attraction. He continues to work at it, building new rooms and renovating to this day and hopes to complete the project before he dies. You can check it out for yourself for a small donation and climb all over this unique attraction.2

There Are Lots of Microbreweries

A bartender pours out multiple types of beer at a craft brewery.
Credit: master1305/ iStock

Craft beer lovers are never disappointed in Colorado. There are over 400 microbreweries in the state, many with a reputation for small-batch excellence and artisan pride. Brewpubs have popped up everywhere. Denver’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Company, still produces over 4,000 barrels of fresh beer every year.

Colorado celebrates its homegrown breweries in style by hosting several anticipated annual events. The Colorado Brew Festival in Fort Collins quickly sells out every year and the fall season’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver draws hordes of beer aficionados from all over the country.1

A tiger and several horses on the antique Kit Carson Carousel
Credit: Lesleyanne Ryan/ Shutterstock

Head over to Burlington for a whimsical look at carousel history. This fully-restored rotating chariot was originally built in 1905 and is named after Kit Carson County where it is located. The carousel features 46 hand-carved wooden animals — horses, dogs, goats, tigers, and giraffes — all with intricate detailing and paint. While you ride your animal of choice, you are accompanied by the music of a 1909 Wurlitzer Monster Military Band Organ.

How Do I Let Go of Anger over Past Wrongs?

00:00-12:41

Interview with John Piper

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

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Audio Transcript

Recently, I mentioned John Piper’s massive sermon series on Romans called “The Greatest Letter Ever Written” — 225 sermons in length, which took him 8 years and 8 months to complete. In that earlier episode, I played a clip from an early sermon from this Romans series. Today I want to fast-forward seven years and play for you another clip from the series. This one is from February 20, 2005, a sermon titled “Do Not Avenge Yourselves, but Give Place to Wrath.” It’s a sermon on Romans 12:16–20, specifically verse 19, where Paul writes, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” So how does faith in the future, vindicating justice of God settle us and stabilize us and make it possible for us to live with sanity in a world that will cut us deeply? Pastor John explains.

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for” — this is the ground, the basis; this is the way you’re able to do it — “it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’” (Romans 12:19).

Now, here’s what that implies: that little word for implies that one of the motivations in our hearts for why we can’t return good for evil; one of the motivations for why it’s so hard not to strike back, not to plan vengeance; one of the reasons it’s so hard is because deep down in our souls, there’s this warranted, justified desire that justice be done. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to be done if I just say, “Okay, I won’t count it anymore; I won’t think about it anymore; I won’t seethe with it anymore; I won’t hold a grudge anymore.” We feel like, “If I do that, nobody knows except me how bad that was.” That’s unbelief talking. God knows.

Justice for All

How does it work? Is this saying, “Oh, I get it: if you want to get your enemy, let God get him”? And you kind of rub your hands together, gleefully hoping that as you give the cup of water God will strike him with lightning? I don’t think so. Because listen to Proverbs 24:17–18:

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
    and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from him.

“If you lay down your rage, your anger, it doesn’t get lost; God picks it up.”TweetShare on Facebook

No, the way it works is this: All of you in this room — all of you — have been wronged in your life. Nobody has not been wronged. And many of you — let’s reduce it down a little bit now — many of you have been seriously wronged by people who have never apologized, nor done anything sufficient to make it right. And one of the deep hindrances to your letting hurt and bitterness go is the conviction that if you let it go, justice isn’t going to be done. And justice ought to be done.

“The fabric of the universe is going to unravel if I just treat this person like I treat everybody else, or even better than I treat everybody else. He’s got everybody deceived. Everybody thinks he’s a good guy. He’s a jerk, and nobody knows about it. He’s getting away with it. He’s getting away with it!” It’s one of the hindrances to forgiveness: we just can’t let it go.

That’s not the only problem we have in forgiving, but I’m just dealing with one here. We can’t do that: we can’t let this go, this wrong that we’ve been done. We hold on to the anger. We play the story in our mind over and over again: “It never should have happened. It never should have happened. It was so wrong. It was so wrong. And he’s just happy as can be, and I’m in misery.” I’m thinking about a divorce: “He’s got that young chick! The kids like going there for Christmas. I’ve got debts galore.”

Love Grows Where Burdens Lift

This text is for you, all you who are carrying a seemingly legitimate grudge. You were wronged — massively wronged. Justice ought to mean the death of the other person. It ought to mean that. You feel that to let it go, to lay it down, would mean there’s no justice, or that he’s going to get away with it, or that there’s no vengeance in the world. And you’re wrong. This text is in the Bible for you, so that when you walk out of here, you can lay it down and know God’s going to pick it up. If you lay down your rage, your anger, your playing it over and over again in your head, if you lay that down, it doesn’t get lost; God picks it up. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” “Let me take care of it.” That’s huge.

Oh, how I want you, Bethlehem, to enjoy this liberty. Because you know what? In the liberty of a laid-down grudge, love can happen. You’ve been wondering, “Why can’t I love? Why I can’t I love? Why can’t I love like I ought to love? There seems to be a blockage to my love.” And one of the answers is that you just keep holding on to that wrong. You might even be making God the whipping boy, or a husband or a son or a business partner or an old boyfriend who just picked you up and dropped you like a stone — got you pregnant.

There are a hundred pains in this room of injustice that was done to you, and you can lay it down because God’s going to take it up. And as you lay it down, you can walk out of here with a huge burden lifted. And in that freedom, love can happen.

Together in Heaven

Let me close with a testimony, my testimony. In 1974, as many of you know, my mother was killed in Israel. And as I’ve pieced the story together from those who were there, she and my dad were in a bus, sitting in the first seat behind the driver, and a VW minivan full of drunken Israeli soldiers, with lumber on top, loosely tied, swerved out of their lane and hit the bus on the front corner. And the lumber came through like missiles. And ten days later, when she was flown back to Atlanta from Tel Aviv, and I read the death certificate, it said “lacerated medulla oblongata.” And I said, “Thank you at least that it was quick.”

I nursed my dad back to health for a month, taping with Scotch tape the lacerations on his back, pouring in hydrogen peroxide, pushing the wounds together, taping them with Scotch tape so they’d heal from the inside out. If you knew, as some of you do, the nature of my growing up years, with my dad away and my mom doing everything, you would know how big that loss was at age 28. But as a tribute to the mighty mercy of God, I can bear witness that I don’t hate those soldiers. I feel no hatred for them. I don’t wish them evil.

It occurred to me as I was thinking recently that most of them are probably about my age now. One was killed, I heard. Most of them are about my age, a little younger — maybe five years younger. I was trying to compute: I was 28, they were soldiers, so they were probably in their mid-twenties. So, they are now in their fifties, somewhere in Israel today. And it occurred to me that the gospel might reach them, and that they would be with me in heaven. And how do I feel about that? I feel really good about that. They would be with my mom in heaven, with me in heaven.

“God, if there is some vengeance to be done there, I just hand it over to you.”TweetShare on Facebook

How do you feel about your adversaries? You know, if Christ got to them and saved them, they’d be with you forever. Are you relating to them now in a way that would make it hard to relate to them then? That’s not a good idea. It’s going to be so embarrassing to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and then say, “You? I don’t like you. I’ve been mad at you all my life.” That’s not a good idea. You should be praying that God would save them.

Give Away Every Grudge

So, I commend to you — as one who has lived since 28 not carrying that grudge — I commend to you this life. It is a free and wonderful life. And in the life of freedom, you say, “God, if there is some vengeance to be done there, I just hand it over to you. And if there’s salvation to be done there, I pray that you would do it. May the gospel reach these men, who, in their drunkenness, caused my mother’s death at age 28, so that she only knew one of my five children.”

Father, on this Lord’s Day morning, I ask that burdens would be lifted. I pray that you would take this amazing promise, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and let every person in the hearing of my voice lay down every grudge, rage, anger, bitterness, resentment, story going through their head over and over — “It shouldn’t have been that way, it shouldn’t have been that way. It was wrong, it was wrong.” May they lay it down.

And would you give wonderful liberty? And in that field of liberty, would you cause great love to grow, so that we, from the heart, can give a cup of cold water to our adversary, in the hope that our light would cause them to glorify our Father who is in heaven? I pray in Jesus’s name, amen.John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Providence.

Family Talk Night Light for Parents

TAKING CARE OF MOM

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest.” Isaiah 28:12

How well I (SMD) remember the day I put my son, Ryan, then four months old, on the dressing table to change his diapers. As soon as I removed the wet garments, he made like a fountain and “initiated” the wall and a picture of Little Boy Blue. I cleaned up his mess, then left to answer the telephone. While I was gone, Ryan was struck by an attack of projectile diarrhea; he machine-gunned the nursery. I bathed him, scoured the room, and dressed him in sweet-smelling clothes. Exhausted but grateful that the ordeal was over, I affectionately put Ryan on my shoulder—and was horrified to feel him dump his breakfast down my neck!

These memories of the difficult moments of child-rearing have given me a special tenderness for moms. They need care and nurturing, too. The Lord knows that even dirt produces more bountiful crops with periodic rest (Leviticus 25:4–5). So it is for mothers. It’s a good idea, then, to regularly do something you enjoy—play tennis, go shopping, stop by the gym, or simply “waste” an afternoon. Go out on dates with Dad, invite a neighbor over for coffee, join a church Bible study or a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. Most important of all, take time for quiet fellowship with the Lord. A few of these breaks in the routine will keep you fresh for the next round of diaper-changing with your little darlings.

BEFORE YOU SAY GOOD NIGHT…

Are you pushing yourself too hard? Do you need more breaks?

Husbands, can you help provide your wife with times to refresh?

(mother) Dear God, it’s so easy for me to fall into a frantic routine and neglect my own needs. Show me the activities and friends that You want for me, and open my heart to Your leading as I take care of my family and myself. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.