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.
Setting your mind
In one of my favorite movies the main character loves the song ‘country roads’ and rewrites the lyrics to it. The new version has a line that says:
Determined to live alone but fearless, my constant longing is to be courageous. Loneliness is bottled up inside, going down this path that I must try.
It’s a beautiful description of who she is. She knows herself and is willing to allow that to be enough for her. She knows her path is lonely but she takes it anyway with determination to contain that feeling and not allow it to control her. She is fearless and longs for even greater courage. These simple lyrics could apply to many of us. We all have a path to travel and we all have struggles along the way; some we can foresee others we can not, it’s how we handle these struggles that define us. Will we take them on like a ship breaking through a squall, heading for the light? Or will we shrink back inside our cabin and hope that it all goes away? Maybe we try to run from the storm, but we know that that never works out, just ask Jonah. However we face our troubles, however we take on our paths, God knows what He’s doing. He saw these squalls even before you were born, and He also saw a way through them. Some people fear asking for courage because they think that it will add turmoil to their lives, but lives will have turmoil whether you ask for courage or not. Isn’t it better to have already built up your courage before the big struggles come? If you haven’t then those times when you feel you’ve hit rock bottom will be harder to overcome. It’s not easy to look down the road ahead, feel the wind grab your hair, feel the hard path beneath your feet and take off your fear like a cloak throwing it over your shoulder, stepping off the threshold of your comfort zone at a run and smiling about it. Those who have done so have had the chance to touch their stars, yours are still waiting for you. When you look at those who have left their fear behind and taken hold of their path you will see a person scarred. Their cloths may seem torn and their skin marred by the hard falls, but you will also see a brilliant smile of triumph on their faces and when they walk by they drip of starlight, because they have touched the heavens. Why? Because they trusted God would lead them and never doubted His perfect, guiding hand. Do you see starlight in your future? Your future as an accountant, a plumber, a teacher, a doctor, an electrician? You don’t have to be an artist to gleam, you just have to give what you are meant to do everything you’ve got and trust that every time you fall a nail pierced hand will be there to help you back up.
When all the lights go out
Crunch, crunch, crunch. Each footfall leaves another indent in the snow, a small trace that you were once there. A tiny blaze is nestled close to your chest as you carry a candle for just a little added light. There are other lights around you, barely visible, just a flicker, like woodland sprites dancing among the trees. The lights make their way softly through the woods and into the town. There, in a single window, is a candle; like the one you carry except for the meaning behind it. Your candle is for light, this candle is for hope. Inside the house you know you will find others like you, Christian worshippers gathering secretly to praise Jesus. You blow out your candle and step inside.
This story you have entered feels like it happened a lifetime ago to someone you will never know; But even today Christian families are having to hide from those who would seek to harm them. I wonder how many are gathering tonight? Slipping through the streets with candles to light their way?
Surprisingly I found many different opinions on the origin of lights on Christmas trees, but the one that I like the best is the one that says that Christians used to come and gather in the woods, to worship in secret because the Government wanted one religion and Christianity was not it. They would put lights deep in the branches of a tree so that the glow would be muted but visible. Even if that is not the origin I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen. Maybe that is why lights on the Christmas tree feel so warm and homey. I would go so far as to say they make one feel secure.
On this Advent Sunday I want to send out a simple feeling. Gratitude. I am grateful for the Christian people who are faithful to the point of meeting under the cover of a midnight sky, maybe even outside in the cold, so they can keep the candles of Faith burning. Isn’t that the first place Jesus was worshiped? A cold manger stall, the only light probably a candle. Think of that as you feel warmed by your Christmas tree lights and let it fill you with a sense of wonder.
We all have a seed inside our hearts. A part of us that is undiscovered and trying to grow. A potential. A dream left to the wear of time and long since forgotten. Deep down in your heart, however, that dream left a seed. We all have someone we want to be. A chef, a weatherwoman, an accountant, a movie star. But to fulfill a dream takes hard work, good people, and a bull dog drive. Stats say that over 90% of people give up on their dreams instead of seeing them fulfilled. I think that is very sad. A dream is something important to us, and things that are important to us should be things we fight for. Sometimes we dream of being something that other people say we can’t be. An artist who can’t draw, or a musician who doesn’t know how to play. It is possible that maybe that means your true seed is growing into something else. Perhaps a music teacher or an art studio director. Don’t drop your dreams where you stand and move on. Sometimes the true dream is a vine of the original one. Fight for your dreams and water them. See what your seed grows. Like buying a surprise packaged of flower seeds at the plant store. All you can do is scatter them in the dirt and care for them. You know you want a flower, but what that flower looks like is entirely up to the seed. So you care for it and as it grows you love it more and get more excited to see what it will be.
Let your seed grow, and never give up on it.
We don’t always spring back up, sometimes we need to kneel first and that’s okay too.
When we fall, to get back up, first we have to get onto our knees. Sometimes on those knees is all we can do until someone comes and offers us a hand to lift us back onto our feet.
When we fall in life and spiritually, first we must climb to our knees and turn it all over to Jesus in prayer. Sometimes it takes a long time of prayer and kneeling before we see an answer, but that is waiting in God’s timing. As my Poppa says, ‘in the waiting we gain sustenance from the knowledge that God is doing something.’
Eventually we will look up from our folded hands to see Jesus reaching down an open hand and smiling brilliantly as He lifts us to our feet.
The ASL sign for complain is a hand motion of a cup that pounds on your chest. Isn’t that exactly what complaining feels like? A pounding of grief, anger, pain, pounding on your heart until it overflows from your mouth in the form of a complaint.
Everytime someone in the Bible complained something either went wrong or got worse. So what is the lesson? Don’t complain.Ya right. It is so very hard to not complain, even if the verbal sensation steals our joy and causes us greater destruction. We complain because we need relief and feel like spouting our problems will help. I have a solution. Don’t complain to people, instead beg mercy from God. Tell Him what you are going through and ask Him to help.
This way you accomplish three things.
A. You set your problems in the hands of the one who can actually help
B. You talk about your grief and get it off your chest
C. You fellowship with the All Mighty.
All of these things cause you to feel better, and best of all, actually make a difference in your situation.
God wants to help us, but He also wants us to bring these things to Him. Sometimes we won’t see a change until we ask God. Cry to God. Tell our Father that we need Him. Then He reaches out His hand and helps us back to where we are meant to be .
When people think Star Trek (the original) two names come to mind..Kirk and Spock.
As all of you who have watched any of the Star Trek shows or movies know, spock’s race of alien believe fully in logic. In one part of one of the movies, Spock states that miracles do not exist because they are illogical. That made me think. Miracles ARE illogical. If miracles made sense then we could figure out how to do them ourselves. GOD alone can do miracles.
I do believe that God can use people to help Him do miracles, but we cannot do them through our own power. Miracles are miracles because only God can do them, it is miraculous because it makes no sense, it is unexplainable and it is amazing. I love seeing God do crazy things. We Christians call it “wow God moments.”
As my Grandfather says, “But God.”
It was impossible to be healed…but God.
The dream was too far beyond her reach….but God.
The Children of Israel had no way out…but God.
Daniel was in the lion’s den…but God.
The fire was heated 10 times the normal temperature and no one could survive that…..but God.
I am too much of a sinner for God to love me….but God…so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. Too lost to be found? Too hurt to be healed? Too dirty to be cleaned? Too scared? Too weak? Too broken? …..But God.
GOD IS ILLOGICAL! That is just how He operates. If He were logical none of us would stand a chance in this world because He would be limited to what WE could understand.
I adore my God who makes no sense to those who do not know Him. I also love His illogical, wonderful, crazy, insane, awesome miracles. Without them we would have dull, logical lives.
I have a favorite movie….okay I have several…. but this one is top to second on my list. In the movie, when the dream finally comes true/the treasure is finally found, the protagonist lifts it into his hands and says,
“After a lifetime of searching, I can touch it.”
I wonder if that is what Heaven will be like?
After a lifetime of seeking after God we can finally touch Him.
Can you imagine the day you finally get to touch Jesus, to see Him? What will it be like to hold His hand? To see Him smile?
A dream is something you work for, and beleive me it often takes tears, determination and a galaxy full of Faith, but when that dream comes to pass and you can touch it it makes every tear feel worthwhile. Don’t you think that after a lifetime of following a Jesus we cannot see, to have an eternity following a Jesus we can not only see but we can feel will be a complete dream come true?
When a dramatic, violent death occurs in Anime there is often a painful scene where blood splashes across the protagonists face; it is almost if not absolutely symbolic of the horror, the suffering that is happening. The blood could go anywhere but it hits the face. Why? Because your face is your identity, and now the identity is marred with death.
We seem to avoid the blood of the cross. Oh we sing about it and we read the passage about it, but we like to skip ahead and get to the resurrection. The bright, clean, pure resurrection. We act as if that is the most important part of the story. I can’t help but wonder if it is the crown of thorns, the lashing, the pain, sorrow, blood and tears that are the most important parts.
We drink the blood at communion but that sweet juice does not reflect the warm, thick, salty tang of real blood. If you feel sick I don’t blame you, that is how you would feel if you drank blood.
The cross was not pretty, not clean, not all put together. It was messy, dirty, smelly and horror to the first degree.
Many were crucified but only one was whipped until nearly dead, forced to carry a cross, nailed to that cross and filled with the disgust of the worlds sins.
Even though three days later He rose, we must never forget the crown of thorns which He chose to wear and the wooden throne which read ‘king of the Jews’.
Credit to owner for image
Out of the chaos come the best stories.
Think about the greats. Tolkien, Lewis, Dickens, Vern, Stevenson, so on. The main theme of most of their stories is chaos. War, poverty, destruction, and the aftermath of all of the above. And out of these horrors come stories that touch people’s hearts. Stories that soon become legends in their own right; stories that guide you down a path laden with dark, crumbling caverns and forests only to emerge at the entrance to magnificent palaces and lands filled with magic and faeries.
Most stories have at least a moment of chaos that leads the protagonist to the right place at the right time so they can be there when the world needs them, or at least when the author needs them.
If we allow God to lead us through the chaos times in our lives we will find ourselves in the right place, at the right time when the author of the world needs us. And we will find after all the struggles that the grand palace and the land of magic was worth every dark, crumbling cavern we had to climb through; because God knows the end of the last chapter and He is guiding us on the best path to reach the apex of our lives where we will stand undefeated and look behind us to see the gentle, powerful hand that was leading us all along.
Credit to owner for cover image