Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why would I wait till I die?

I've recently started listening to Air1 radio and though most of the songs are more hard rock than I like, some of them have awesome lyrics. Like the one I heard tonight by Switchfoot. Here is the verse that grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and jerked me to attention...

Why would I wait till I die
to come alive.
I'm ready now.
I'm not waiting for the afterlife.

Seriously - why would we wait to come alive? To live a vibrant, dynamic, life here and now?  We have the blood of Jesus Christ flowing through our veins. We have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us. We serve the Almighty Creator of the  Why are we just counting the minutes until we step into Heaven to really start living?

Another line in that Switchfoot song says:

I've tasted fire I'm ready to come alive.

You know it's burning. The flame may be but a flicker deep within, an ember, barely glowing, but it's there. If you've let it grow dim or if the world has thrown enough water on you to nearly put it out, it's time to fan that flame into a roaring inferno and let it burn brightly for Him. Light up the darkness. Rescue people from the clutches of Satan. Refuse to allow him to drag your friends and family toward the gates of Hell.

Don't wait till Heaven. Make your mark, now!

And when you finally do cross over into the afterlife, be the reason many of your friends will be there.

Another good song - this one by Unspoken says...

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

If you feel cold, like your fire's gone out, pray the words to that song. Ask God to start or restart that fire in your. To fan the flames until it's burning so brightly that there is no doubt left, that there's no denying that it's God burning inside you.

photo credit: part of this photo was courtesy of Chaiwat/ and part from stephenbayer/

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do You Aim to Please?

Scripture Art used by permission from RandysDesign
We all want approval. For some of us, striving for approval takes a wrong turn.

My Dad was hard to please. He had strict rules that carried dire consequences if not followed, however, he didn't always let you know what those rules were before you broke them. At any given moment, you might find yourself on the hurtin' side of a backhand or belt, wondering what you'd done. Sometimes he'd tell you and sometimes you were left to figure it out for yourself. A lot of that depended on how long he'd stayed at the bar after work.

Don't get me wrong. I love my Dad. He's passed on, now, but before he died, he had changed. He pretty much stopped drinking and stopped being mean, but the residual effects of growing up that way left me with a strong desire to anticipate the moods and needs of others so that I could adjust my behavior and choose my words carefully in order to please them. This was especially true of male employers. I'd totally stress myself out trying to make sure they were happy with my work and at the same time worry myself sick that they weren't. This "aim to please" spilled over into my personal relationships with men, too, but I'm not going to go into details about that.

Unfortunately, this also affected my relationship with God. I've spent the better part of 35+ years trying to please God and at the same time, telling myself that I don't have to earn God's approval. He loves me just the way I am.  I am just now, at 62 years old, beginning to understand that God is pleased with me, not because of what I do or don't do, but because I have given Him my whole heart. He's pleased that I love His Son, Jesus Christ and that I have surrendered my heart and life to Him. He's pleased that I love His people - all His people, not just Believers, not just good people, but those people that are hard to love, because it's not my love that flows through me to them, it's His love. I am just a conduit.

What a joy it is to know that one day I will stand before the Lord and hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Not because I've earned His approval, but because His incredible love made a way for me to be His beloved daughter.

Parents, let's make sure that our behavior doesn't set our children up for unhealthy relationships in their future. Most especially, their relationship with God.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

He Orders Our Steps

Artwork used by permission from Erin of ArtByErinLeigh

A couple of weeks ago, I met Cathy. She was new to our church. We struck up a conversation on the patio and talked for about 30 minutes. The very next Sunday I was chatting with someone in the lobby, when I saw Cathy slide down the wall onto the floor. I rushed to her side to see what was wrong. She was pale and shaking and sweating. I prayed with her immediately and asked what I could do to help. She said she just needed to get home. After a few minutes we decided that I would drive her home in her car while my husband followed in our car to help me get her into her house. (She also had a badly swollen ankle and could barely walk on it.) Turns out her blood sugar was very low.

As we drove home later, I marveled at how God had orchestrated the whole thing. Had I not met her the week before that and spent a little time getting to know her, I doubt that she would have felt comfortable allowing a stranger drive her car, practically carry her into her home and help her get settled on the sofa.  But God knew. He knew that Cathy was going to need help, so he orchestrated our introduction ahead of time so that I immediately recognized her and she felt comfortable with me.

Has anything like that ever happened to you? Have your found yourself in exactly the right place at the right time in order to help someone?

That's what happened to Queen Esther. God placed her in the right place at the right time to prevent an evil man with an evil plan from succeeding.

This is nothing new. God does it all the time. What we see as a coincidence or providence is really Psalm 37:23 in action.

 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord...
As you go through your day, keep your eyes open for divine appointments. God will bring people in and out of your day for a purpose. You may be there to help them, share the love of Christ with them...or they may be there to help YOU!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Throw Open the Doors

Photo from Pixabay

After long winters in Ohio, we loved it when spring finally came around. Mama would throw open every window and door and exclaim, "Let's get some of this stink blown off." Fresh breezes would blow through the house as we gave the house a thorough cleanin' with Lysol and elbow grease.

Sometimes we have to do the same thing with our minds. We keep negative toughts shut up inside us for so long that our outlook begins to stink to high heaven! Old patterns of thinking, ancient hurts that still sting, and unconfessed sins make for a really murky spirit.

Let's do what Mama did - let's throw open the heavy, old creaky door of our minds & hearts and invite the King of glory may come in and sweep clean the cobwebs of the past and fill us with light and life and love.

How about it? Are you ready to throw open the doors and get some of the stink blown off?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Heart of God Beats On

Artwork used by permission from Cheri of AlteredIris

I was listening to a song by Chuck Girard this morning on my way to my weekly blogging group. A particular phrase jumped out and lodged itself deep in my spirit...

"Inside my breast
Your heart beats on...and on
And I realize that it's Your very Life
Within me"

(from He is the Lord Your God-Voice of the Wind CD)
It's true...
The heart of Jesus beats on in the breast of every Believer!
When we hug a friend, encourage the downcast, feed the hungry, pray for those who are struggling. When we love the unlovely and forgive those who hurt us.
When we share the story of forgiveness and salvation with the lost.

We are allowing the Spirit of Christ live through us.

What an amazing thought - REALITY!

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