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.
His head hung as the smile left his lips. This wasn’t right. Was it?
He took a deep breath and leaned in for the kiss.
This was wrong. Wasn’t it?
He looked into the eyes of the man before him. So filled with pain and sorrow. This is so very wrong. The other man just stared. Then his eyes moved past his betrayer to the soldiers behind.
What have I done?
The betrayer ran away, leaving his friend, no longer his friend. He ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore as grief and guilt tore his soul.
What have we done?
What have we done?
How many of us have betrayed our Jesus at one time or another? Yet He still loves us. That has never changed.
His heart breaks as we betray Him. His heart loves us still and that is why it breaks.
What a paradox. What a mystery. That the king would leave His royal throne, to save a wretch like me. -Petra
We are all wretches, loved by a loyal king.
Reach out to Him today. He is reaching out to you.
If you have never accepted Jesus. Or feel a need to renew your faith. Please pray with me:
I am a sinner and I know I need salvation. Forgive me for my sins.
Thank you for coming to earth to save me.
I accept you into my life now. Guide me to know you more.
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.
`Warning? Warning against what? ‘ said Boromir sharply.
‘Against delay. Against the way that seems easier. Against refusal of the burden that is laid on me. Against-well, if it must be said, against trust in the strength and truth of Men.’
The breaking of the fellowship, LOTR
Hard times come; some of which we can choose whether or not to accept. If we hold back from God’s will because we know the road will be hard, isn’t that wrong?
Tonight I heard my mom praying for the courage of Paul, it filled my heart. Paul’s courage was challenged and tested and yet still he fought on because he knew Jesus. He knew there was a greater reward. Never once did Paul hesitate to do God’s will and never once did he trust in the truth or strength of men. Now he is one of the most well known and debated upon authors in the Bible. Why? Because he refused the voice of the devil when he called him away from God. Paul had spent enough time doing the devil’s work that he knew it held no reward. Paul trusted in the God who saved him, Paul did not delay or deny God’s task. Paul went forth in courage because his faith was in God.
Oh, the things we can learn from God’s disciples.
Sever skin from bone
-Snap- the screams echo through the halls. It’s dark and dry. Thirst. Need. Fear. Pain. -Snap- another shriek. Your turn next.
Trembling. Is this an illusion? A nightmare? No. The tearing at your skin from the rats shows that’s not true. Is anyone out there? Someone to save you. -Clink- Doors open. “Leave!” Gruff voice. Daylight. Tears. Relief.
Not yours. Out comes a man. His face is twisted and he drags his body as he walks. You run over just in time to catch Him.
“Sir. Are you alright?” Blood soaks your palms. A weak smile. Sweat. More tears.
A whisper. “For you, I did this.” Death.
3 days. Arms lift you up and spin you around. ALIVE! RISEN! FREE!
I hear the best torture professionals could sever skin from bone with a single lash. Have you ever had a cut bone deep? I have; it’s agonizing, I still have the scar.
Imagine 49 of those covering your body.
They spare some details in the movies because I am sure that Jesus wasn’t free standing, He most likely was tied to something to hold him still when they beat Him. Also. He probably threw up blood till He couldn’t anymore. The screams and cries of anguish, (anguish we should have bore) would have been sickening to the audience. It would not have been anywhere near as gentle as we see it in our minds.
Image one hundred billion names or more tattooed on the end of the whip. Look closely. There is your name. No! Don’t look away! Watch as it drives itself into your savior’s back. That is why we serve Him.
I know most people will walk away from this and shake their heads and try to remove these images. But don’t. Lest we ever forget that Jesus SUFFERED and died. Those lashes were yours, and mine.
Forgot to send out an invite?
God is the cause of all celebration, but do we remember to invite Him to celebrate with is?
Without Jesus the baby would not have been born.
Without Jesus the body would not have been healed.
Without Jesus the couple would not be celebrating 35 years together.
God is the cause of all the good things that happen to us, and if you are wondering how you can involve God in your celebration let me suggest something.
Take a moment away from the pinata and the finger sandwiches to draw everyone’s attention to Jesus. Take a moment of prayer and give the credit back to the one who earned it.
Don’t forget that Jesus wants to celebrate with you. So invite Him into your gathering, that would make Him smile.
Has God fallen off His throne somehow?
No? Then why don’t we treat Him like our King anymore?
Jesus is our Best Friend, that is true, but if you are best friends with the King you still treat Him as King.
In Lord of The Rings, when the Elves come to fight for Helm’s Deep Aragorn still bows to his friend, before giving him a big hug. Aragorn is no less of royalty (by birthright) but he still shows respect, one may even go as far as to say that he shows reverence to the Elvin lord, why? Because that is what you do. That is what is right.
(If my memory on that scene is a little off please forgive me, it has been some time since I last read those masterpieces of literature.)
We have an inheritance with Jesus, that is very true, but even younger siblings bow to older siblings within a royal household, because their birthright gives them that respect.
Always bow before our King’s throne, before running to Him amd giving a big hug. He deserves worship, but He also loves us and having us as His friends.
Walking down the street in the late afternoon sun. A bell jingles as you open the door to your favorite coffee shop. Your back is sore and your clothes are scuffed from a long morning as you walk up to the counter. Then the waitress behind the counter smiles. “Hi……..! The usual?”
You nod and smile back with a please and thank you. Feeling a little more refreshed you accept your coffee and leave with a wave.
Isn’t it great to have people call you by name?
Names signify belonging. We give names to our vehicles, our guitars, sometimes even our favorite pair of runners. Why? Because it signifies that they are important to you. You call them by name because you have a connection.
When people have a connection to you they call you by name. Sharing a name with a person makes you instant BFFS because you have a unique connection.
Jesus calls us by name; not because He has to, but because He wants to show is that we are important to Him. He wants us to know that He knows our name and that we have a connection to Him.
Jesus. God. Savior. Knows your name.
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
Jesus has always showed me what I am made of. When my mom left me with our farm for the first time when I was 19, and was away for almost a month and a half to visit my dad at a work related thing in the NWT I was looking forward to trying to see if I could do it all myself. With so much land to keep up with the grass cutting, my Poppa deciding to redo the back fences and hay season baring down on us my enthusiasm waned. Oh ya, and summer is dust and mud season so the house needed work, often. It felt like as soon as I found my groove, the tornado hit. It took down 30 something trees. So my late 80s Poppa and I got to work. Hauling trees, cutting them into moveable sizes, repairing buildings, tending to my beloved horse who had a minor injury from it. In all of it I looked around and saw how God had protected us. Now I look back and see how it made me grow. No matter what I face, if I have my Jesus I can take it on and do my best. All I have to so is be willing to rise to the challenge. I would prefer a life without tornados, but now whenever I look at a large task at hand and have someone say,
‘Do you think you can handle this?’ I always respond.
‘Of course! It can’t be as bad as the year of the tornado.’
If I could rise to that, God can help me rise to anything. Besides. Sleep is over rated.