I grew up in BC so I love rain! The cold rain that leaves everything fresh. I love unberellas and rain boots and ponchos. Today I was walking my dog through the water, he loves it so we tend to get fairly wet, and I realized how Jesus and rain boots go together. When we are in runners we avoid puddles the best we can, because our shoes don’t protect us from water and soggy socks aren’t fun! But when we put on our rain boots we are protected so we can go deeper and deeper into the water, and have more fun with the wet without getting soggy socks. Without Jesus we stay away from anything deep because it scares us, but when we have Jesus, our protector, we can go as deep as we want because He protects us. He keeps us dry when out on the waves. He keeps us safe in the floodwaters. He is our rain boots. Our protector from the storms.
God was walking through His Church one day and decided to ask people about their favorite Bible verses and why they liked them. It wasn’t that He didn’t already know the answer, just that He wanted to have His people tell Him themselves. God smiled as He spoke with different people and saw the mix of emotions on their faces as they explained why their favorite verse was their favorite. Out of the corner of God’s eye He spotted a man that He knew was simply there to put in his necessary hour of Church before going on with his week. God smiled sadly and went over to the man.
“Hello my child,” God said as He approached. The man bristled and nodded a greeting. God tried again, “how have you been? I’ve not heard from you lately.”
The man shrugged and mumbled that he was fine.
God smiled, “tell me, what is your favorite scripture?” God knew, but wanted an opening to discuss it with the man.
Irritated the man looked at God, “I can do all things. That’s my favorite verse.”
God tilted His head, “go on.”
“What?” The man growled.
“Go on and finish the verse.”
“That is the verse.”
God shook His head, “you’re missing part of it.”
“No I’m not! That’s how it’s written!”
The argument began to draw attention, embarrassed, the man walked away and left the building.
Back in his own house the man sat with his arms crossed, still angry about earlier. Suddenly his couch dipped down as another body sat on it. The man looked to see God sitting next to him. Startled, the man exclaimed, “what are you doing here! Don’t you have a Church to lead?”
God smiled, “but you are here.”
“So what? I’m just one person.”
God nodded, “but you are the one who needs me most right now.”
The man scowled, “why was I wrong about the scripture earlier? I quoted it right.”
“Yes, but you left out the most important part.
‘I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength- Phillipians 4:13.
You left me out of the verse, just as you’ve left me out of your life.”
The man un-crossed his arms and looked at his shoes, “I was wrong God. I can’t do all things on my own.”
God put both arms around the man and drew him into a deep hug, “but you have me my son. You never need to do things on your own. Just trust me.”
The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno
People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”. But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Our feet feel the squish of who knows what? The air is some sort of un- breathable fume and the walls are wet like tar. But we asked to come, so here we are.
Wails trick our ears from every corner and sunshine is a distant memory, but there is hope. The jingle of keys in a strong and determined hand. Several people join our ranks, faces I never thought I would see as each door is opened. Jesus smiles as He sets the last of the captives free.
Imagine being there with Jesus. Walking through hell and setting the captives free. The Bible says that Jesus took the keys from the devil. You didn’t think He kept them as a souvenir did you? He used them to free those imprisoned by death. Death before Jesus would have been terrifying. Death now is a glorious reward, Heaven.
What would it have been like to walk through the devil’s territory and let free those who had been waiting there for Jesus? Imagine the joy. Imagine the disgust and horror the devil must have felt? It would have been glorious.
Thank you Jesus that we can live unto you and no longer have to fear death because you died for us. Amen.
Those fabulous last words that you place at the end of a story. After struggling, working hard and emptying the drug store of it’s caffeine content, you finally have the right amount of pages, the perfect centering, every title centered and highlighted, every art peice’s name placed on where they are to be inserted onto the page. Now you write. The End. And you take one final breath before sending it off.
The end. Jesus said it more eloquently when He stated, ‘it is finished.’ After all His struggles, all His suffering, all His hard work, now everything perfect to the writer as He closes the book and states. “It is finished.”
It is finished. There is no longer a curtain, no more need for a high priest to pray for us, no more need for sacrifices. It is finished. We have Jesus fully. We have God. We are in dwelled by the Holy Spirit. Heaven is now our prize too. It is finished.
I will follow you anywhere. Even past the realms of death to that which lies beyond.
So says a true friend.
I will go through death alone and move through what lies beyond alone for you. So says the truest friend. Jesus.
No matter where we go we are not alone; and for the places where we cannot go, Jesus goes alone without us to fight our battles for us.
Isn’t that an encouraging thought.
Day of tears
‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’
When you are a musician you can usually hear tone pretty well. Tone, not to be confused with tune, can change a song drastically. If the tone is wrong then everything sounds wrong. It’s like that when we are talking with people. If our tone is unpleasant then it may seem like we are saying something other than what we mean. If your tone sounds irritated then people will automatically think you are annoyed. If your tone sounds happy then people think you are happy.
It’s like speaking with an animal. If I say in a high tone, “let’s go to the groomer’s today buddy!” My dog gets very excited, even though he hates being groomed, he loves the car ride though.
It’s easy to forget your tone when speaking. I do a lot of physical activity so pain is not an uncommon thing, unfortunately. When in pain I have been criticized for having an angry or irritated tone. It’s just the way I sound when I am pushing through a day of pain. Making myself sound happy takes too much effort and wears me out when I am injured. I realize that my tone bothers people though. Tone can change a whole conversation. So when speaking, try to tune your ear to your tone.
Your ways are higher than my ways. Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.
Isiah 55: 8-9
People were never meant to stay on the ground. We always have a need in us to climb higher, build taller and touch above the clouds. Why? Well, the Aztecs believed that the taller they built and the higher up they were the closer they were to god. Or at least that is what I have read. Now. I don’t believe we need to fight to get higher in altitude to be closer to our God, but perhaps deep down we all have a similar feeling. Isn’t that why we reach our hands up when we worship. We are reaching to God. Maybe, just maybe that is why we feel a need to go higher. In truth, we all (even non-Christians) want to get closer to God. It is built into us, that’s why so many people claim to be searching for something. That something is Jesus; and He can be found right here where we are right now.
Thank you Jesus for the blessing of who you are. Thank you that we don’t have to climb to you because you are here with us. Amen
Lately over the past year I have taken up jogging. I say lately because we live in Manitoba and I don’t want to die running on ice. In the beginning I was doing it so my dog would lose weight and my vet could stop giving me ‘that’ look. In the beginning we started slow. About 5 mins.
Then we improved till we could go 10. The other day I set me treadmill at jog speed and started to run while watching TV. 25 mins later my show was over and I still had energy. I then realized that my body had adjusted to going on long jogs.
It’s the same in our prayer lives. We start off wanting to please God but we tire out quickly. Aiming for an half an hour prayer can seem a little much in the beginning. What we needed is persistence. A daily routine and time set. Then little by little, without us even realizing it, our souls stretch and our spiritual cardio expands and we find ourselves enjoying more and more time with God. It may seem like a frustration in the beginning, but once you learn to love it you can’t go back.