Glow With The Presence of The Conquering King

For when we glow with the presence of the conquering King – darkness has to flee. It shrivels in despair..jpgLet’s just breathe – relax. Let’s loosen the feverish grasp we have on the situations we cannot control. Because they are just that – issues we cannot manage ourselves.

We see the swirling world around us – and it worries us – for good reason. We witness evil and malevolence gaining a foothold in society. This moss encrusted virus covers the hills and crevices of our culture.

We weep for such a loss. It’s terrifying – absolutely horrifying and depressing.

What you once considered right, gazing through the glasses of morality, are now mucky – caked in debris. You try to warn those around you that calamity is coming if we give way to such deceit; but, the clear looking glass is smudged – and black and white features have faded to gray.

It’s easy to walk around defeated and dulled by the sharp edges of life. For life in this world is not always fair – no, it’s painful sometimes.

Flowers do not always line the pavement to our imagined field of dreams. Sometimes we have to scrub the pavement of the graffiti – made by the hands of vandals and thieves. We have to pluck the thorns of the ruby rose – in order to appreciate the full beauty and fragrance.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.… Psalm 23:4

We may witness evil gaining a foothold. We may see the sky illuminate with the smoke of destruction and chaos. These are things that we, as children of the Living God, may witness.

Yet, we mustn’t lose heart. The LORD tells us to keep shining his light.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8

For when we glow with the presence of the conquering King – darkness has to flee. It shrivels in despair.

We cannot fix this broken world; but we can bring hope to the hopeless and true healing to the broken. We can stand firm on the bedrock of our faith and share with others how to distinguish what is good and lovely in the midst of the bleeding, blurred lines of this crumbling society.

We can hold forth a lantern of truth – knowing that God’s luminosity (no matter if the stream of light is small) can irradiate the darkest of nights.

It just takes faith – and the courage to stare down that sinister smog the world exudes. Darkness and despair should never define us. Look to the light and let it defeat the evil among us.

Beautiful Love Bursting Forth

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying_ _I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. – Jeremiah 31_3Love. It’s bursting forth. Like a bubbling brook with cool, refreshing water. God’s love for us is overflowing and never-ending. What love is this that the Father has lavished upon us!

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. – Jeremiah 31:3

He looks into our eyes – and deep emotion is garnered. Affection is felt. Not the kind of affection we feel for a family member, loved one, children or spouse. No, this love is deeper. It’s a mixture of all those loves combined along with heavenly, pure passion.

What chills we would feel, if we were to look into the physical face of the King of Kings! One day – we will. But until then, we are blown away at the sensation we garner as the LORD’s loving wind sweeps over our senses.

This feeling is beyond compare. It’s selfless. No mortal being can love us with this type of zeal and adoration.

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane; I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are, and how great Your affections are for me. – David Crowder Band Lyrics

Look up to the heavens, sweet child of the King, and feel the LORD’s love wash over you. He is pleased when you fall before him and thank him for his gracious and greatest sacrifice of all – his blood.

Dance in the freedom that God’s self-sacrificial love has given you. Share his light with the world. He has not called you to be a canister that blocks and snuffs out his all-encompassing light.

Shine bright. Breathe in his love, and share it with others searching and seeking. We all need love, and the kind that the Father of Lights offers can complete a seeking soul! Amen.

Choosing To Wear Garments of Kindness and Humility

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Humility and kindness – these are qualities that all parents desire to teach their children. In fact, they are attributes our parents strived to pass down on us.

However, as knock-kneed children, being meek and compassionate toward others was probably the last thing on our minds. We were fixed on story-telling, impressing those around us with our wild experiences, winning coloring contests, and collecting the most Easter eggs in our pastel wicker baskets.

Unfortunately, the truth is – we were sure to have stepped on others feelings a time or two in that process.

Even as adults, it’s not easy to count others better than ourselves. Outdoing others in work projects is a top priority, and climbing the career ladder becomes a prime focus. Yet, as Children of the Living God, it’s necessary to die to our pride every single day.

This death to vanity presents the perfect beauty and picture of God’s grace. You are not saved by your works, good deeds or latest work victory.

You are saved by the LORD’s grace alone. We are all sinners, born with this nature, and that is why the spotless lamb had to suffer on that rugged cross – for you and me.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

May we choose to dress ourselves in the grace of our Almighty Father. By making the choice to wear garments of kindness and humility, we are choosing to display the grace of our Father.

Every morning may we step into our spiritual clothes of faith – acknowledging that no man is better than the other; but, we are all unique and meaningful in the eyes of our Creator.

Smell in the freshness of these garments stitched with the threads of gentleness. They are some of the finest vestments we can model. We decide everyday either to strap on pride and selfish ambition or to button ourselves with His grace.

May we always choose grace.

 

A Flower Does Not Think of Competing – It Just Blooms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”How often do we look at others around us, while we ourselves are growing strong and tall? It happens to us all – we lose sight of our distinctive strengths and fixate on those around us. We lose sight of our personal walk with God and try to measure up to someone else.

It’s so very important we focus on our individual roots not the roots of others.

The flowers around us may be sprouting up in confidence and beauty (and, that’s grand); but don’t let the beauty of others growth stifle who you are!

There is no reason to compete with children of the living God. We are all serving one purpose – to glorify the King of Kings. He has made us all wild, brilliant flowers in his everlasting garden of life. Hallelujah!

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

Bloom, sweet flower, you are uniquely beautiful. Reach up toward the sun and garner your strength from his light. We all have petals of diverse elegance – some bright yellow others pastel pink. But, remember, you were made for a purpose.

Do not lose heart with the virus of comparison – for it can steal your joy. Our confidence should be found in Christ. He is the only one our souls should seek to impress.

“Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  – Galatians 1:10

May we strive to be the best flower that we can be! Let’s unfold in grace and dignity – displaying God’s power and ongoing provision.

Grow in the fertilized soil of God’s Word. Fixate on the sun and not the progress of others around you; for it is the Sun that observes and fawns over our development.

Locked in the Lion of Judah’s Grasp

You are locked in the Lion of Judah’s grasp.I see your thoughts, child. Wild and apprehensive, you look to me with questions and a genuine pursuit of clarity.

You fall before me and say,

“Father, lead me in your ways. Reveal your beautiful plans to me. May I hear you swiftly and assuredly.”  

Keep looking to me and seeking my face, dear child. For it is in the seeking and the knocking that you will truly hear my voice.

Your action – to pursue my face speaks volumes to my heart; and, I will answer your call.

My plans for you are mighty. You are locked in the Lion of Judah’s grasp. Do not fret about tomorrow, just continue to walk in my will – and expect to receive my blessings and voice of direction.

I have made you for great things. Step out, sweet child. Beyond your comfort zone – and trust in my mountain moving ability. It is I that has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Please take me at my words.

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” – Psalm 112:7

Trust and listen for my voice. Breakthrough is on the horizon.

Cranberry, Brussels Sprouts Detox Salad

saladThis refreshing salad was too good not to share. It was my little delicious dinner last night. I call it my ‘detox’ salad because a lot of the ingredients are actually quite detoxifying and super good for your body.

There is little to no prep time to whip up this yummy meal. So start cooking – and your taste buds will thank you and your hips too!

You will need (for the salad): 6 medium sized Brussels sprouts, 1 wedge iceberg lettuce, 10 almonds, ¼ cup cranberries, ¼ cup cooked quinoa, handful of fresh sprouts and 2 diced green onions.

You will need (for salad dressing): ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 dash of garlic powder, 1 tsp. of mustard and a dash of salt and pepper.

Simply cut off the end s of the Brussels sprouts (I just discarded the ends in the trash) and chop your tasty greens up nicely with a sharp knife, and place in a bowl.

Chop your lettuce wedge up too and add it to your sprout mixture. Dice your almonds in a food processor (or simply by hand) and add to your bowl. Then one by one layer on your other yummy ingredients:  cooked quinoa, sprouts, cranberries and green onions.

In a separate bowl, mix up your salad dressing components and once they are all mixed up – drizzle it over your awaiting salad. And then – enjoy.

This recipe yields one sizeable salad (double the ingredients for a dinner for two!)

Christ’s Joy – Brewing In Our Souls

May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. – Psalm 119_Joyfulness, may it brew within our souls. In this life, so many people strive for happiness. We seek out hobbies that will ignite our hearts and plan trips to far-off places in order to quench our curiosity.

We figure happiness can be caught in the sights and sounds of something far more attractive and interesting than our everyday lives. But, we miss the joy that comes from the minutes discarded on mundane mornings and typical nights.

We miss the beauty of life. Not the thrill-seeking, adventure prone life; but, the normal obedient one that tends never to get recognition or wide acclaim.

But, child – there is splendor in the diligent routine.

Oh dear heart, like the scripture teaches – our joy comes in the morning. Look to the heavens when you arise and ask for that joy (that only our Maker can give) to fill your lungs and reside in your smile.

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

You may feel like you are rising to just a typical day; yet, with God – nothing is typical. You, in fact, are atypical. Created with a purpose unlike any other – you can shine even in the most mundane moments.

Let Christ’s strong herbal nature pervade your body. Allow his Holy Spirit to brew within your soul. May he quicken your heart and bestow on your life – the complete joy of the LORD.

The joy of the LORD moves mountains. No longer search for happiness – for it will never satisfy the soul. Like water to the parched tongue is Christ’s joyfulness to a human spirit.

May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. – Psalm 119:171-173

Rejoice in Him. Drink in his security, provision and guidance. Celebrate everyday obedience. You are light to the nations every single day – whether mountain climbing or quietly worshiping.

The Call Of The Trail

BESTThe trail is paved. Though rocky and uneven, it is surprisingly inviting. The winding road beckons you to trot with faith in the clearing up ahead. Mounted on a vehicle of strength, a steady steed, you ride into the distance with sheer anticipation of the events up ahead.

Will you encounter deep darkness or tremble in shivering fear? Or will you garner strength and hold out the sword of the perfect spirit? You will never know unless you gallop forward.

And gallop forward you must. For God does not call us to be complacent. He has called us to be warriors of his passionate truth. Surrounded by thick vines and branches, you see the clearing – and the uncertainty up ahead is great.

However, you know that your feet are equipped with the buckles of his salvation and you are lined with his armor that is impenetrable.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plan. – Proverbs 16:3

You may fear the enemies in the distance; but, God has already defeated them for you. They are nothing but empty threats lined with hollow souls; so – do not fear!

The LORD has gone ahead of you and displayed his power of utmost greatness. He has established your plan – and that is one of striking triumph!

Ride on, dear seeker. Leave the comfort of the nest and branch out. Search out the beauty that the trail ride can offer your life. For it is when we leave the comfort of the familiar, that we are richly blessed.

I could never resist the call of the trail. – Buffalo Bill

Trust in the provision of the Most High. Answer the call of the trail before your glistening eyes. Take chances that reflect his Almighty Nature. Shine with his great light and be not afraid of the scoffers that try to knock you down.

Suit up. Grip your saber and ride forward – into the great unknown. Breathe in the bounty that Christ offers and brush off the vines that attempt to hinder your path. Look to the light – and rest in the mercies of your Maker’s promises.

When Evil Calls Itself a Martyr

you know the truthOur hearts hurt. They endlessly weep for the evil and destruction that is rampant throughout the world. There is suffering. There is hate and there is violence.

One thing is clear – radical Islamic terrorism is claiming countless lives barbarically. We see this with our very own eyes each and every day.

With depressing news in the press, such as the four Wycliffe Bible translators that were reported dead yesterday and now the many explosions in Brussels that murdered more than thirty innocent people, it is easy to think the evil one is winning. It is easy to believe malevolence has conquered the hearts and minds of men.

“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 6:12

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.” – Proverbs 21:31

With this week being Holy Week, think on the bloodshed of Christ. He died and rose from the grave. He has already displayed the ultimate victory over sin and death.

Stand firm dear Christian. We know that there are those that will hate the light. They do not understand it, and that causes suffering on this callous soil.

You have a heavenly home and a victorious Savior. Evil can call itself a martyr; but, you know the truth. The true Redeemer is the one who hung on a cross with a crown of thorns – and overcame deep death.

The world might be spinning with tears and terror; but our hearts should be steadfast on the cross of Christ. That is life. That is promise. Though arrows and darts might be vaulted at the heart of innocence, evil will not prevail.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

When Control Hinders Our Lives

DESSERTSIt’s a struggle in all human hearts. That raging red fire of control resides in each one of us. We like to try and manage situations and people. However, it’s a futile effort. In the end, we just end up frustrated and bothered.

You see, we are not puppet masters. Our lives cannot be contained by the control we assert over ourselves and other people.

We must put our trust in the one who ultimately should direct our paths – and the paths of others.

Handing over control is monumental. It takes full surrender and self-sacrifice. You are placing your living, breathing life into the hands of another. And, it’s frightening.

Yet this person you are giving full control to is sovereign, good and perfect. He tells us not to fear; for his love casts out all fear.

Breathe a deep sigh of relief. Though you still make decisions (good or bad in your own freewill), you can rest assured that if you trust him and put your life in his hands, he will surely not disappoint and protect you from the enemy’s snare.

“My life is in your hands. My heart is in your keeping. I’m never without hope – not when my future is with you. My life is in your hands, and though I may not see clearly. I will lift my voice and sing – because your love does amazing things. Lord, I know, my life is in your hands.” – Kathy Troccoli

Release control, dear one. It’s in your best interest. Look and rely on the words your LORD has given to you. He will be your shied, your compass, your counselor and friend. You will receive so much peace when you release the reigns on the harness of your life.

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

Let God lead you into the pastures of his will and his goodness. Praise the LORD along the way.

You will not always feel comfortable on this journey; but, that heart will no longer fret. For you no longer lead your life, God the Father does – and he is leading you into his light.