Faithfully Jumping in the Flames of Life

heart life
Feet caked in debris, I look up at the sky and shake my fists! When did the air get so dirty and thick – almost to the point of clogging up my windpipes?

Looks can be deceiving. We’ve learned that from the Goldilocks fable, where the Big Bad Wolf, cloaked as grandma, jumps out from the four post bed and gobbles up the poor, sweet blonde.

Yet, the brilliant horizon appears beautifully fresh and moist – almost like a fairy-tale; nevertheless, I am wincing for air. Those with painted picket posters might argue my claim; but, my struggle for breath is not from environmental factors. But, rather emotional and spiritual soot –the kind that blocks up the solid brick chimney –igniting house fires and releasing that deadly carbon dioxide.

My heart’s desire is not to get burned by the furious flame. I want to dance in the fire like those valiant soldiers of God – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. How obedient they were standing firm in the promise that Yahweh would protect them from this scorching furnace. Yet, when I evaluate my faith that picture and reality of my skin roasting in the heat is all consuming. It frightens the child within my soul and shakes the walls of my flesh temple.

God has called us to be obedient to his charge. He has proven his loyalty time and time again. Like a compassionate king, he unleashes love –for he is made of the purest form of love there is. He proves his faithfulness to the faithful.

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed nor had the smell of fire passed onto them. – Daniel 3:27

Woe to me if I believe the cigarette stench of this world can consume me. It only swallows me if I allow it to do so. It is my choice to stay in the smoking suite and have my clothes bathed in the smell of others nicotine addictions.

May I faithfully jump into the flames of this life – knowing that you will be there to dance with me, God. And, this dance will not leave me laden with a smoke smelling jacket. No, it will smell like the embers of Christ – as sweet as honey and heavenly!

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When My Tears Get Heavy & Emotions Run Wild

TEARS RUN DEEP

Tears. Those salty drops of water that express sorrow and joy! Although, I hate to experience them, I know they are necessary.  They are the outpouring of emotion – both good and bad. Appearing out of the blue, these saline conduits of human sensation can take you by surprise.

Dripping down the face, they carry a deep meaning – we are fragile and can sense heart breaks, merriment and failure. With empty hands we wipe these tears from our flesh face and realize the depravity of our human state. We are affected by this world – this sphere of gritty pleasures and brokenness. It takes hold of our heart and pulses in intensity.

Even the Psalmist writes,

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. -Psalm 31:10

These tears and grief want to consume us. But, Dear One – don’t let the sorrow of our flesh state invade. Don’t let it take root in your heart and spread like an unruly virus. When, you feel alone, remember that – our God is right there saying,

“For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” – Isaiah 41: 13

On my knees with damp face and bellowing body, I realize that I need to weep over the greatness of my Savior. Yet, I focus on my life so much that his goodness is out of my sight. Redirected vision is needed.

Focus from myself pushed aside, let me rejoice, with tears in my eyes, over the sacrifice of Christ –at the crude cross of Calvary. That cross held the bleeding, weeping body of my Redeemer. He endured pain, torture and ridicule for me. This picture of salvation should bring tears to my eyes.

God, let me remember when my tears get heavy and my emotions run wild – that you were the sacrifice. You died to save me from such suffering, and came so that I might ‘have life, and have it abundantly.’ Earthly circumstances are fleeting, they ruffle our feathers – but the cross of Christ is lasting.

May my tears be shed in jubilation, not out of selfish distress; but out of wonder and admiration – for you have conquered the grave and risen — leaving the burial cloths in the unoccupied tomb!

Jesus is More Than Just Vitamin D

HEARTNew day. The sun is rising a tad later this spring; however, that means it sets later as well. There is nothing like driving home from work with the sunlight actually beating down on your car. I missed this sensation during winter.

Our bodies need the vitamin D that the sun gives off. Believe me, my body has been missing this sweet vitamin. You can take all the supplements you want; but, there is nothing like the real thing.

Yesterday, singing to the radio was glorious. I had so much energy and joy inside my soul. I did not just have a supplement – my body was feeling the effects of the real sunshine.

A supplement is defined as something ‘extra or added on to.’ Thinking on this, I wonder to myself: how often do I treat my Lord as a supplement God?

I call to him when my life feels void and in jeopardy. I bow my head when I don’t feel his presence.

But, God is not a vitamin. He cannot be taken in place of the real thing. He is the real thing. He is not something extra to my life. He is my life.

As Romans 7 points out, ‘there is nothing good in me but Jesus.’ He is the sunlight and everyday – he shines his face on us. He is not like winter. He does pick and choose the times to shine forth his brilliance. He always radiates great heat.

It’s just our choice to look up and recognize those beautiful beams shining on our face. They shine every day. There is no need for a supplement. God is not an addition, he is our being. He wants to not only complete you; but he wants to be in the blood running through your veins and the air that fills your lungs.

 Be still my beating, love is whispering your name. There were years suffering in the dark, fighting back the tears and pain. But love has kept me safe and sound. Those days that seemed like endless nights cannot be found, they’re behind me now.

– Point of Grace

VIDEO: I AM, Holding on to You

d155287142027df08176ca382e84a111There is nothing like being at the feet of Jesus. You feel humble, broken, grateful, lifted high and complete. So many emotions – redemption, hope, acceptance, joy – I could continue on and on.

I wonder to myself – why do I not take time to do this more often? To be still, meditate and worship the man who died for me – for my ugly sins. I am a broken vessel – He made me whole.

It takes dedication to enter into the throne room of Christ. It takes release – to truly let go of your fear, to live in the moment, to throw away regret and shame and just breathe in the presence of the Living Lord.

I did that today, and it was grand.

There I sat, in my apartment sauna – in tears. Not because I was sad; but, because I was experiencing the presence of my Christ. I envisioned his face. I pictured his love – and it made me weep tears of joy.

I worshipped, lifted my voice and sang to the heavens:

There’s no space that His love can’t reach. There’s no place that we can’t find peace. There’s no end to Amazing Grace. Take me in with your arms spread wide. Take me in like an orphan child. Never let go, never leave my side. I am, Holding on to You. I am, Holding on to You. In the middle of the storm, I am Holding on, I am! – David Crowder

There is nothing like shedding tears out of love. They are watery conduits of thankful expressions. They are waterfalls of gratitude for unending grace and mercy.

What love is this that the Father has lavished upon us! There in that steam room alone, I felt honored to be in his presence. I felt blessed to sing from my gut – not worrying about if others in the gym could hear me. What a moment that was with my King!

Take time Dear One – to sit alone and worship God. You will enter his illuminate presence when you let go of all that burdens you. Your God will take your load – so you can fall on your face in the glorious presence of Jesus Christ. He’s holding on to you. Reach out for Him.

Listen to this song – and really envision the lyrics. Enter into God’s throne room of grace, Dear Child of God:

Don’t Look Back. You’re Not Going That Way.

ImageThe past haunts many, many people. We dwell in it. We hide ourselves in that murky outhouse of regret and breathe in past mistakes.

If you are anything like me, you circle back through right and wrong choices and try to play them out differently in your head. Rectifying the problem in your mind; but, somehow, bearing that guilt and apprehension in your heart.

Let’s remember – we are flesh vessels. We are tangible clay pots that can break and crumble in the elements of this world. Dry winds beat on our frame and freezing rain encompasses us with its ice tentacles. It is natural to feel despair when our flesh wins out.

However, dear heart, it is unhealthy to dwell in past mistakes and regrets. This actually holds back your effectiveness. Don’t let tears be your food, like the Psalmist in Psalm 42:3.

We are told to – ‘forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!’ {Philippians 3: 13-14}.

Today is a new day – it’s a new day to strive to be like Christ and sprint toward the goal in the shining distance. Don’t look back. I think of Lot’s wife in this situation.

She and her family were living in one of the most sinful cities – and God gave them a chance to get out. Yet, there was one stipulation. They were told to ‘flee for your lives! Don’t look back…’ {Genesis 19:16}. And, as the story goes, Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.

Of course, it is important to learn from our mistakes. We all make them – and there should be some learning involved there. But, it is detrimental to live in those mistakes. In Christ, you are not defeated – and you carry within you the light of him.

Forget what is behind you and press on in his loving kindness. Jesus came to save the sinners and the lost, and sin is not pretty. Paul, one of the most influential for Christ, had a past filled with regret and guilt. Yet, he pressed forward and lived in the Spirit of the Living God.

Jesus came for redemption. He died to give life to sinners great and small. Walk forward and don’t look back. Flesh might hinder us – but it should not hold us back from walking forward on the trail blazed for us by Christ Jesus!

Holding the Reins in a Whirlwind

ImageDo you ever feel caught up in a whirlwind? You feel encircled by a violent air fury that blows your hair in tangles. You keep your eyes open – looking forward, but the wind stings your eyes. It’s almost like you cannot catch your breath. You are exhausted.

Life can be like a whirlwind sometimes. Like riding a galloping horse, the breeze whips you in the face, and you are shaken.  You grasp onto the reins tightly – afraid you will tumble off the horse. You are not only set back by the speed, but the intensity forces you to grip on for your life!

However, Dear One, do not fret – for your God holds the reins! He is the master horseman, and He rides with you into the dark battle of life. He illuminates the forest, makes the trails smooth – and the sound of His voice calms the hooves of the horse.

The hard breeze may scare you, but you have a Father that is in control. He wants you to overcome the whirlwind of fury with grace and His strength! Let God hold tightly to the reins of your life. Let him speak peace to your worrisome mind. There is no need for unnecessary calloused hands! Remember, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Trust Him always.

– PRAYER –

Almighty God,

I will trust you when I am afraid. Please erase the doubt and uncertainty in my heart. You are the Maker of All – and you want the best for me. I look up to you in times of trouble, and you always smile at me and relieve my worries. Thank you for your constant protection.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.