Stormie Omartan once said that after a dear friend of hers had died she came to a point in her grief where no one wanted to talk about it anymore because she had gone beyond the acceptable time of mourning. That’s ridiculous. Not how she felt but the fact that people treated her that way, and you want to know something? It’s true. I recall feeling that way after one of my friends passed away, my mom felt that way after her mother died, eventually people want you to move on, not for your sake, but because they are done hearing you talk about it. Come on people! Grief has no time limit. You will move on and then a sound or a smell will send you right back into it, and you know what? That’s okay. That is totally okay! When you are ready to move on you will, don’t feel rushed by other people, this pain is yours and they can never understand it nor can they feel it for you and of they could wear that pain for you they probably couldn’t bear it. But there is someone who can bear the pain for you, who understands it and has felt it too, His name is Jesus and He never grows tired of hearing you cry and mourn over loss, He never gets irritated when you bring up your agony, He will listen forever if you want Him to, because He loves you more than anyone else, and He will lift your pain and heal you. And if the pain comes back He will lift it again.
We all want to be more. More than we are at this moment, more than we dreamed we would be, more than enough. And it is not easy. All you can do is what is in front of you at this moment. Striving to be the best YOU you can be is not a bad thing, but the person you are right now might be the person you are meant to be. God often has to remind us to be still and to trust in Him, when things are not progressing or going the way you expected, when you are not reaching beyond your own expectations it can be hard to calm down and remind yourself that you are okay as you. God will grow you when He feels you are ready to grow. Trees don’t complain when they are a few branches short of how large the wished to be or when they have a smaller ring count than the tree next to them, they simply grow in God’s time and that is what we have to do. Wait on the Lord. Be still and know that I am God- Psalm: 46:10
We as humans tend to used descriptive language often. We say things we have built or roads we have taken are drenched with our sweat or our tears. When we redid our house I often said it was coated in my blood from the two or three minor scrapes I received while working on it. Drenched, coated. What if our lives were drenched and coated, not with blood, sweat and tears, but with prayer? What difference would we see? I once heard a mission planter say that he truly saw the difference come when he began to pray. He worked on his own for awhile, but then he started to coat everything in prayer and that was when things began to happen. My grandpa is a prayer, no matter what we do, before we do it he prays. It may take time but in a bit you see that exact prayer come true and crazy things that shouldn’t be possible start to happen. I used to think it was because he is a retired pastor and God just hears pastors better, but I found out after trying his technique that it is simply because he pours himself into a thirty second prayer before doing anything. His weakness in the moment gave God room to show His strength, so grandpa eventually got to a place where instead of becoming stuck and needing God to bail him out, he just handed it all over to God in the beginning and watched God work. If we drench our days, familys, selves with prayer we will see things begin to change. It may take time, but it will happen.
Little bright lights floating in hollow shells. Searching for a true connection. Is hope in the number on your friends list? Is Faith in the stars or the sun? Is love in a box or a crate on your door step? Where does the light go to find home? How does the shell become filled? It sees another light and reaches for it but it flutters away in fear. You see, most soul lights are afraid of eachother. They fear being known, being seen, being exposed, they fear growing too bright and being criticized so they flee from eachother. They flee and stay dim. But there is a soul light that reaches relentlessly, the original light that refuses to give up. It sees the little soul light reaching for someone to love and it runs to it, wrapping the dimming light in it’s own exuberant glow the original light causes the wandering soul light to grow bigger and burn brighter. Faith, hope, love and happiness all resides in the light that empowers the soul light. Some dim lights flee from the blaze, others see it and draw near and are caught by it and begin to burn brighter themselves. The light continues to spread and to refuse to give up. It’s bold and bright and warm and takes in all the lights that draw to it, filling their shells with light until the whole being glows.
You know that soul lights are us, that the original light is Jesus, and that the bright burning soul lights are the Christians. Without Him we all remain dim, but with God we can burn brightly and fill this world with joy and light and hope through Jesus.
Burn on little soul light and don’t give up.
Jesus isn’t a little bird trying to fly away from you, He’s a man who is there for you to trust and lean on- a solid rock on which to stand. He’s not fluttering by and have to try to catch Him, He’s standing there with His arms open ready to embrace you.
If you know nothing else about the Bible but the fact that God sent His son to earth as a human baby to be stripped, beaten, spit upon and killed by the people He loves so much; if you know that a man tempted by sin but pure enough not to fall into it died and took the keys out of the devil’s hand and freed the captives from hell and ascended to Heaven, and you know that He is waiting for you to come to Him so Heaven can be yours too, then you know the greatest grace, mercy and miracle in the whole book. He wants you so come to Him.
Jesus was brave. We don’t often use this word for Him, certainly not during Christmas, but He was brave. He was scared, of course He was, but that didn’t stop Him. He was sick with fear at the Garden, He was in agony at the cross, sometimes I wonder if as a crying baby in a manger He was crying for the future and what was coming to pass. Don’t say that a baby couldn’t know those things, that weight was His reason for being here on earth- He was born to die. He knew what was coming yet He spoke anyway, He knew what it would cause yet He healed and prayed for people and loved the rejected, and prepared for what was coming. From the Manger to the cross Jesus was brave. I can only hope that in this dying world that wants to kill off anything that is still alive, that I will be brave too. Just like Jesus.
Fly free souls and know that He is coming again, this world is not ours, this death is not ours, this pain is not ours, because of a baby born under a star in a barn in a small town called Bethlehem. That baby was called Emmanuel, and He is still with us today.
Follow that star that burns so bright, flee from it dark night, onward my feet and chase after it, there is something about it that I need but don’t have yet. Faster and faster, don’t slow down now, what’s that up ahead? It seems like a crowd. Braying sheep press close to the walls for warmth, a glow comes from inside, almost invisible because of the star’s great light. Feet you may sting and knees you may tremble but don’t turn back now, press through the wooly crowd, see you are not the only one who trembles – they all are at the presence here. So much power from someone so little and dear. He coughs in the cold and His Mother wipes His soft cheek, He is who the star drew me to, its Him whom I seek. Sleepy eyes turn and look my way, I back up, I am afraid. I am so dirty, so lowly so raw, I fall to my knees in the damp straw. A soft nuzzle tickles my toe, a little lamb has joined me as he escapes the cold. Fearless it lies against my knee. Now I get it, now I see. He is so perfect as He lies there unmarked, someday for sins He will be scarred. I can sit here dirty and blemished and broken, in the presence of one so pure, only because He will be broken for me and then my soul will be clean once more. Only because of His perfection do I stand a chance, only because of the love in His feet and Hands. I can walk away, soft lamb in my arms, because the lamb in the manger will shatter the dark. I will always seek Him, star or no star, because He is someone I need, He is hope, He is God.
I am just one of the legion.
Legion -if I recall correctly- is an army of more than 1000. The Bible speaks of legions upon legions of angels in Heaven, waiting to come down from Heaven and battle for us. We have people around us empowered by the Holy Spirit who are here to fight on our behalf also, somedays we are the soldier fighting on behalf of others, somedays we we are fought for- we are all part of God’s army.
Dark skies loom, daylight doesn’t exist as the shaking of armor is deafening your forces. You look around and see others who look like you, frightened, a dull glow flowing around them. Then you focus on the blinding white lights of the angels around you. No dull glow of a soldier of Christ being held back by human weakness but the powerful light of the fully acknowledged Christ warriors. You look at yourself and feel the power of God’s glow in you growing and connecting to the glow of those around you until you are one body of light. Your weak human glow empowered by the Holy Spirit, its not by our power, but by the power of God through the Spirit. If we could see the battle around us and the forces that fight with us and against us, I wonder if it would look like this.
We are just one small light in a legion of soldiers- angels and people standing together serving God. I hesitate to speak on angels because they have developed an odd reputation, even to the place where people worship and pray to them, which we are not supposed to do, only God is to be worshiped, the angels themselves said that. That being said we must not forget them. They are God’s special soldiers who are empowered by God to do amazing things. We are part of an army that is made up of God’s Heavenly army and His earthly one. I once heard two powerful preachers being called generals of God’s army, I like that. We are soldiers fighting for one cause, we are part of the legion. Angels came to the shepherds and the light grew, this was the two fellow sectors of the army of God coming together. The glorious angels and the lowly shepherds. Both serving God’s army in similar ways but by different methods. The angels came to the shepherds and the light grew. We are just part of the legion, when we look around afraid we need to open our eyes to the army that surrounds us, fighting for the same cause. We are not alone. Pick up your weapon and fight for your family, your friends, your neighbors and yourself! You do not battle alone, your light is attached to the light next to you and to the one next to you is attached to the one next them until it is a blinding light of Christ, because we are one body in Christ, standing together- bold.
Can you be a Christian your whole life and still learn new things about God?
Life is a constant shifting processes. We shift between weak and strong, brave and afraid, bitter and forgiving, so on. In each of these shifts we learn something new about God. He’s the same God that loved us when we were passionate about or prayer and Bible reading, and the same God that loves us now when we are listening to society and backing off on being quite so ‘Christian.’ He’s the same God that loved us when we gave our gift card to the Keg to the homeless man, and the same God who saw us cut the guy off in traffic. We are human, we switch between powerful Christian soldiers and kind of weak hearted selfish people. Why? Because life is a constant battle to keep our Faith in a world that belongs to the devil. When we were weaker in our walk with God we learned more about His strength, when we were selfish and bitter we learned more about His forgiveness, when we didn’t know where to turn we learned more about His omnipresence, when we fell down and cried we learned more about His compassion. And that is just what we learned from our own lives. Then we learn more about God from the testimony of others, we learn more through the words people speak about lives we never have and never could lead. No matter how long you have known God your can always learn more about Him and no matter how long you have loved Him you can always love Him deeper. Not because you aren’t giving enough right now, but because His love is so vast and infinite that there is always more love for Him to give you. Keep shifting and growing and learning until at last you see Jesus in person.
They say to love like you have never been hurt, and generally we feel like that is about romance. However, I think this love can apply to all four loves. Romantic, Brotherly, Friendship, and the Agape love of God. I gave each love a capital beggining letter because we often forget that love is alive and needs care and nourishment. Some may go ‘hang on, what do you mean you can apply the love like you have never been hurt quote to God’s Agape love if you believe that God doesn’t hurt people?’ That’s a good question. And it is not easy to answer. But if I am honest, I have been hurt by God. The problem is that we see the word hurt to mean something intended to be painful toward someone, yet the hurt I am talking about is not a mean or angry hurt that God caused, sometimes it’s the hurt of an unanswered prayer, the hurt of losing some of the people you love because of your Faith, maybe something happened that you feel God should have spared you from? We have all been there. Some of us don’t forgive God either. Don’t get me wrong, God never does or does not do anything without our best in mind. I lost a really close friend once, it hurt…. actually it was agony, but I did not know at the time that there was someone out there who needed me to be their friend and to give them 100% of my attention because they had been hurt and needed an undivided friendship to help them. I didn’t even notice this was God’s purpose at the time until I came across a photo of my old friend over a year later and had a bitter moment of being mad at God for not permitting me to keep this friend that I had known since I was little, that was when I saw why God had taken them away, then I saw the new friend who was happy and no longer lonely and I knew what God had done. God is not always going to show you the ‘why’ but He does always have a reason.
Oh sure, some will say ‘a loving God would let you keep both friends’ but the insecurities that my new friend had would have made that impossible.
God gives and takes away, He says no sometimes, He sometimes lets bad things happen so that we grow and learn from them and have a grounds to help others in the same situation that we were in. Like the boy attacked but not killed by the shark, he wondered why God had let that happen to him, then several years later he was surfing and a shark attacked another man near him (understand that later it was found that this beach was near a shark puping ground, sharks do not go around looking to hurt people, mostly shark incidents are accidents) the boy was the only one who went toward the man and the shark and he helped get the man to shore, possibly being the reason the man’s life was saved. That was when the boy knew the ‘why’ because of his own attack he had empathy so he went toward the danger and helped an injured man to shore. It’s hard to get over things when we feel God should have done something, our should have stopped something, but until we can learn to love like we’ve never been hurt we may never have the pleasure of seeing God’s purpose and reason, we have to remember that he is God and he knows what he’s doing.