Flying Lead Change! Following God’s Lead!

Though I would never consider myself of a horse person, I appreciate the beauty and grace of flying lead changes. Both horse and rider must become proficient to make these smooth, clean changes of direction in perfect balance without breaking rhythm or losing forward momentum.

Flying Lead Change

In a flying lead change a horse changes leads without changing the rhythm of a canter. It is similar to skipping from one foot to the other, but on four feet instead of two!

While watching horses canter around an open meadow you would notice how beautifully and freely they naturally accomplish this. Add a rider to the mix and it becomes a little more complicated.

The grace of a flying lead change!

Both horse and rider must develop a unified rhythm, trust, freedom of gait, perfect contact, straightness, alignment and balance. The rider must become “one with” the horse, in tune with the horse’s natural rhythm and timing. The discipline is nothing short of frustrating to master, but when accomplished successfully there is an awareness of genuine power unhindered.

The beauty, elegance and power of barrel racing, pole bending, dressage or many other equestrian disciplines is often a result of graceful flying lead changes. In full  motion, the center of gravity shifts, the subtle cues of horse and rider are instinctively responded too. Nothing is lost! Everything is gained!

“What got you thinking equestrian?” you ask.

Lately, I’m having trouble “skipping” to God’s time and smoothly following His direction! Gracefully leaping through life is not an apt description of my walk with Him.

The Lord’s Lead

There is nothing wrong with the Lord’s leading, of course. However, as He calls me to change direction or adjust my focus, personal insecurity, hesitancy, and imbalance create a frustrating, out-of-step cadence within me. Like a stumbling novice I clumsily respond to His directing. I am unable to proceed beyond a slow trot.

“Where is he who set
His Holy Spirit among them,
who sent his glorious arm of power
to be at Moses’ right hand,
who divided the waters before them,
to gain for himself everlasting renown,
who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country,
they did not stumble;
like cattle that go down to the plain,
they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD.
This is how you guided your people
to make for yourself a glorious name.”
Isaiah 63:11-14

Who holds the rein of my life?

What beautiful imagery! God leads His children like a horse into open country where there is perfect liberty or like cattle to peacefully rest in an open meadow.

Do I trust His lead! Trust is necessary for flying lead changes.

Trusting Fully

To trust means I need to lay down preconceived ideas of where I think I should be heading and the pace I want to get there. Personal agendas must fall!

Who really has the reins in my life? It is an easy question to ask; it is much harder to honestly evaluate my heart! As a matter of fact, I can believe I am doing quite fine, until God asks me to step into a new lead. Then reality sets in!

Trusting God to direct

Just like a horse needing blinders to avoid distraction and loss of focus, God often needs to allow circumstances to hem me in to get my full attention.

“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”
Psalm 119:60

I hunger to sense the shift of His rhythm and bend in fluid motion to His every movement.

My sister owned a mature cutting horse. Countless times I toppled off the side or plunged over the neck of this amazing responsive horse. Duchess turned on a dime and stopped instantly to the slightest touch of the reins. She was sensitive; I was not! It took time to develop a trust between us that would enable fluid movement and unison.

Without Grumbling

Sometimes horse and rider fight for dominance. It can be a serious battle of wills. Every rider has met this challenge.

Responding with a flying lead change!

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,”
Philippians 2:14

Time and energy can be wasted grumbling and arguing over God’s lead. Even though it may not make sense to me, a flying lead change requires that I don’t know all the answers or outcomes. Not only is a high level of trust necessary, I also must be convinced of the nature of The One who is asking me to redirect.

Often grumbling is rooted in my personal insecurity. Will I honestly acknowledge my frailty and embrace my struggle. Surrendering in childlike humility to my Heavenly Father always knows best is not an option.

Step by step I AM WORKING toward my personal flying lead change! It may not look or feel “graceful” today, but with practice and time it will! By embracing even the points of failure, I am preparing for success. I am learning much from present disappointments.

Tenacity

My father would often encourage us, “When you fall off, get right back on!”

He didn’t want his children to quit before they tasted success. I think Dad reflected the Father’s heart toward us.

“May the Lord lead your hearts
into a full understanding and expression of the love of God
and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Here is the essence of a flying lead change – understanding hearts fully expressing God’s love plus the endurance, or perseverance from Christ. What a perfect mix!

When God sees us flounder or break rhythm, He is never discouraged or disappointed with us. Gently, He invites us to try again. He picks up the pace, whispers a new direction, and welcomes us to respond.

When we begin to respond instinctively to His lead, we will rejoice together! The beauty of our flying lead change will be obvious to everyone watching.

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Testimonies of Others:

A Daughter’s Redemption! Dawn Enters a New Day!

The Prodigal Returns, Prayer Answered! Running No More!

Time to Refresh – New Strength and Energy

Are you in need of refreshing? Perhaps  you need an activity, or lack thereof, to renew personal strength and energy particularly after pouring out physically, emotionally or mentally. These moments usually don’t just happen! Taking time to refresh often takes planning.

What ways have you developed to refresh yourself? A good book, a movie night, a vacation, a relaxing bath, a game of golf, a walk in the woods, a lounge on the couch, or time at the gym? For each of us it might look quite different.

Refresh! New Strength and Energy!

I just spent a few days with others who are involved in ministry at a lakeside retreat. Those few days away with others of like mind was refreshing, enabling me to return home encouraged and with renewed vision.

It wasn’t without struggle though!

Reinvigorate

To refresh means to reinvigorate, or give new strength or energy. I must admit I set out on this little adventure feeling tired. My mind and body were in need of some down time!

Those present were in full time ministry and have been most of their lives. Honestly, I felt like the odd man out or the ugly duckling – the one that just didn’t fit!

I can easily identify with farmers and labourers. It is a culture I know. Such has been my life’s work. The full time ministry environment is relatively new and feels a bit uncomfortable. like wearing a new pair of shoes.

After the first evening’s activities, I snuggled into my sleeping bag to read again from Romans.

“I urge you, brothers and sister, by our Lord Jesus Christ
and by the love of the Spirit,
to join me in my struggle
by praying to God for me.”
Romans 15:30

Now Paul’s struggle was serious! There were those seeking to take his life! He goes on to say…

“so that I may come to you with joy,
by God’s will,
and in your company be refreshed.”
Romans 15: 32

Sometimes God has to speak clearly! This was one of those nights! My struggle was a serious struggle of identity and belonging.

Come with joy and be refreshed!

Here I was in the company of amazing men and women. God gently whispered His confirmation to this little servant that yes, it was His will, that I be here at a “Refresh” conference to, in fact, be refreshed!

I almost laughed at the simplicity of God’s affirming word. I began to recognize I am in His perfect spot at the right time to be reinvigorated, strengthened and energized.

To Stimulate Memory

Is it just me who knows, but forgets?

My bible is an important tool to refresh my mind. The words within at times feel like a gentle reminder of truth, and at others like a baseball bat to the shin!

When I am weary and in need of refreshing, I can easily forget who I am in Christ.

“…with an anxious mind,
eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.
You will live in constant suspense,
filled with dread both night and day,
never sure of your life.”
Deuteronomy 28: 67-68

I am being painful honest. When I am feeling drained emotionally, physically, mentally or relationaly, I fit this description!

Refresh in the waiting and resting!

Back up a few verses! You will find this is not a condition associated with the blessing God promises, but rather the result of opposing God. There is no victory on this side!

Even though these verses describe my feelings, they sure don’t describe my true position! Go back a few more verses and we taste of the real truth as a son or daughter of God:

“You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed,
and the crops of your land
and young of your livestock
Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in
and blessed when you go out.”
Deuteronomy 28:3-4

No room for anxiousness, weariness or despair here! My circumstances may be a long way from lining up, but there is nothing to keep my mind and heart from agreeing with God’s truth about me and my family!

It is time to remember what I know!

To Refill a Container

The third main meaning of refresh is to refill, recharge, or replenish like a drink in a container.

I leak! That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but sometimes I forget that too!

I need to take time to refill, recharge and replenish those areas where I have been pouring into the lives of others. God is a never ending Source; I am not!

Splash it around and others will be refreshed!

The only way to truly fill up is in the Presence of God. There are no “drive-through windows” or “fast-track” to refuel. It requires time with God, waiting on the Holy Spirit, and lavishly worshiping Jesus. To refill our emptiness we must wait in the stillness of quietly knowing and resting in Him. It is the beautiful being “with” God.

Here alone is the place of ultimate refresh!

“… be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18

Holy Spirit is ready to “keep on filling constantly and continually” our leaky containers. It is like being  thirsty on a hot day, a sip of water is never enough! In the same way, only Holy Spirit satisfies are deepest thirst!

We come into His Presence one way and leave changed. Then when we “leak”, we leak Him! We leak His love and goodness! We leak His grace and truth!

In so doing, our refreshing, becomes the refreshing others can taste and see for themselves. I think leaky buckets is an apt description of God’s intention for us. God refreshes us for the purpose of leaking enough to refresh others. I like that!

 

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Read On!!!

The 3 Keys of Effective Ministry! Secrets of Success!

Do it Again Lord! Renew! Restore! Revive!

A Refreshing Stream – A Good Rain is Coming!

 

 

 

Rivers of Living Water From Within – The Holy Spirit

Living Water - Let it Flow!

Where I grew up as a child there were many sources of water people relied upon. The quality and quantity of that water varied substantially depending on the source. It would be impossible to classify all water as living water. Only one of these fountainheads compared to what Jesus was referring to:

All you thirsty ones, come to me!
Come to me and drink!
Believe in me so that rivers of living water
will burst out from within you,
flowing from your innermost being,
just like the Scripture says!”
John 7:38

Every time I read the word “all” I get excited! Everyone who is thirst is welcome!

Are you thirsty? How is your belly doing? How is my belly doing? Any sign of living water bursting forth?

An Underground Spring

On the farm where I grew up the water source was a shallow spring fed well. The water naturally filtered its way through layers of sand before seeping into our well. Cool, tasteless and refreshing water!

Ladies would come from miles around for this soft spring water to make their preserves. There was something about the water from this spring that seemed to sustain the flavours of pickles and preserves like no other water.

Sweet, living water!

The little spring consistently flowed and nourished five generations of thirsty ones. Even in years of drought the well gave forth its precious commodity of living water.

A Dugout

Just a couple miles south, no underground springs could be found. The only water source in this area was open dugouts. They were stagnant pools open to pollution by animals and runoff. Algae grew unrestricted during the hot summer months.

Our neighbours spent thousands of dollars in attempts to purify the stale water for usefulness. Winter and summer, they purchased and hauled suitable water for drinking.

A stagnant pool of algae!

Though this water was fit for ducks and deer, it wasn’t safe for human consumption.

A Deep Well

The deepest wells in the district descending hundreds of feet below the earth’s surface, tapping into an underground lake. Here too, the water sat stagnant. Hidden from the sun but exposed to underground elements, this water was saturated with mineral content.

Worse yet, the water smelled like rotten eggs! The water was extremely hard and corrosive. Even with expensive filtration equipment it was not suitable for drinking.

Not all water is equal! The source here was abundant; the quality, however, was disappointing.

An Artecian Well

Many years ago, my uncle searched for much needed water on his farm many miles away. To their great surprise, they accidentally struck a high pressure underground river. The “gusher” shot several feet into the air.

An unending source of water!

Up from the hidden reserve flowed water crystal clear and sweet!

Over the course of the summer an entire lake was formed where once there had been dry ground. When the pressure diminished, they were finally able to tap the well.

Decades later this well continues to serve the farm’s needs. The peaceful lake still fills the gully below the well-head. It too is a source of pleasure and usefulness.

The Holy Spirit

I hope I haven’t wandered so far talking about natural water that we have forgotten the essence of what Jesus was offering.

“When he said “living water,
he was speaking of the Spirit,
who would be given to everyone believing in him…”
John 7:39

Whether we realize it or not, we are all thirsty; we quench this spiritual thirst in only One place.

All you thirsty ones, come to me!
Come to me and drink!”

Money won’t do it! Fame or power won’t quench this thirst either. The wise respond to Christ’s open invitation to both come and drink – not just once, but continually!

Those who know me well, know I’m usually within arm’s reach of a glass filled with water. I thirst a lot!

Come and drink!

They also know that I’m never far from catching a fresh “drink” of Holy Spirit! Yesterday’s encounter with Holy Spirit doesn’t carry through to today.  Every morning I welcome Holy Spirit to infuse every part of my life. Only then will He “flow” in the river God intends.

What comes out will be a reflection of what I welcome in!

River of Living Water?

The concept Jesus presented is clear enough:

  • First Step: Come and drink!
  • Second Step: Believe!
  • Third Step: A river flows!

Is the river within me a quiet underground spring refreshing and useful to only a few?

Worse yet, is it an open and stagnant pit – polluted and filled with spiritual algae?

Is the internal reserve large, but without an outflow, “rotten” and hard?

Or is it a “gusher”? Is God’s reserve within me so full that it cannot be stopped, springing from Jesus Christ the true Source, with intense pressure that turns dry ground into a deep pool?

Rivers of living water!

If it isn’t, I’ve perhaps missed a step or two!

“Rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Every time I come and drink from the Spirit, the pressure within is intended to build creating a supernatural force that flows from my life in a way that brings refreshing, healing, hope and strength to those around me.

So my question is, “How is my belly doing?” Is there any evidence of living water flowing?

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Give Praise to the Lord, Proclaim His Name

Praise is an act of worship, whether in prayer, song, dance or declaration. In praise, I thank God for all He has done, but more importantly, I worship Him for who He is. Praise is an action! It is meant to flow naturally from a heart of gratitude and awe.

Many words are often used as synonyms in parallel with “praise. ” They  words help point to its meaning:  “bless, ” “exalt, ” “extol, ” “glorify, ” “magnify, ” “thank, ” and “confess.” To praise God is to call attention to his glory.

From Genesis to Exodus the theme of praise runs through the pages of the bible. I am reminded constantly that life is not meant to be lived in self-focus, but rather with head and heart tilted upward, and eyes fixed on Someone far greater!

Beginning young!

Did you know our core purpose is to give God praise?

“The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise..”
Isaiah 43:21

Psalms of Praise

It is no surprise to discover the Hebrew title for The Psalms is “Praises”.

Giving God glory and adoration is more than an obligation, it is a delight!

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
 Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
Psalm 63:2-5

God is holy and fully good! He doesn’t need our worship! He is worthy of it!

Reasons for Praising God

It is impossible to quantify the many reasons God is most worthy of such adoration! Let me name just a few!

God is faithful to every one of His promises:
He is the One and only true God.
God is crowned with glory, honour, and splendor.
He is inerrantly good!
His word is faithful and true.
His love endures forever: His grace is beyond comprehension,
and His mercies are new each morning.
The Lord reigns in majesty and power.

People of Nation Worshiping God
He is a covenant keeping God –
our Deliverer, our Saviour,
our Rock and our Defender.
God is a Righteous Judge, a Mighty Warrior,
and Gentle Shepherd.
He is the Creator of all and Redeemer of people.

And that is just the “tip of the iceberg”!

Unchanging God

The same God that delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt and made a way through the Red Sea is with us today! He is for us, not against us! He is still Healer, Restorer, Comforter, and our Anchor of Hope.

Every anthem of praise still applies!

Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
 proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known  in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Do you notice how each one of these words are actions? Praise is not quiet nor passive acknowledgement of God’s goodness and greatness.

 

“Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!”

God is still great! He is still present! He is worthy of highest acclaim!

The Best Time

Often the best time to give God praise is before the breakthrough, before the healing, before the dawn breaks forth or the storm ends. As we choose to pronounce His attributes  peace, confidence and strength begins to fill us. God dwells in the midst of our praise!

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”
Habakkuk 3:17-18

Habakkuk has the right idea!

In the light of a palace Solomon wrote the proverbs. In the darkness of the wilderness, fleeing from his enemies, David wrote the psalms.

I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
Hebrews 2:12

Yes! Worship God in your local church, but don’t limit your worship to these beautiful corporate times.

How to Praise

Some lifted up shouts of praise and singing

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music

…and the sound of singing.”
Psalm 98:4-5

Shouts of Praise!

Miriam picked up a tambourine and led women in a dance of praise rejoicing on the freedom side of the Red Sea. (On a side note, remember Miriam was well into her eighties at this time!) Miriam’s dance of worship may have been the first mentioned in bible, but it wasn’t the last. Decades later, David danced in the streets

“Wearing a linen ephod,
David was dancing before the LORD with all his might,”
2 Samuel 6:14

A man healed gave a different kind of praise:

“He jumped to his feet and began to walk.
Then he went with them into the temple courts,
walking and jumping, and praising God.”
Acts 3:8

The way your walk, the way you talk and where you chose to go, can demonstrate praise.

Children and adults alike waved palm branches is jubilant exaltation as Jesus entered Jerusalem

“They took palm branches and went out to meet him,
shouting, “Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
John 12:13

Children praise God!

More important than the method we chose is a heart fully devoted to honour and glorify God.  Praise is one of the few things we rehearse on earth and do perfectly in heaven. Around God’s throne over seven thousand different nations, tribes and tongues will join together in one glorious anthem. Let’s be ready!

May praise be active daily as we proclaim to our world, God is worthy! Whether on your own or combining your voice with others, declare it, “God is worthy of all praise!”

 

Kintsugi – The Beauty of Brokenness

Kintsugi - The beauty of brokenness

Kintsugi is a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Instead of attempting to hide brokenness, the lines are actually accentuated with gold celebrating the pottery’s history. The uniquely fashioned seams glint with gold, bringing beauty from brokenness.

I never realized how many “broken” possessions I value:

my grandfather’s wooden wagon wheel
my great-grandmother’s vase
a favorite pair of jeans
hockey sticks repurposed into garden stakes
a tire rim fire pit
a piece of beach glass art
even a Christmas tree topper.

None of them compare to the beautiful pieces of kintsugi; nonetheless, they are precious even in their brokenness.

I have come to realize lately that God is exposing and actually accentuating my brokenness. He is “kintsuging” me!

I would much prefer that my brokenness remain concealed, masked or hidden from public scrutiny. As a matter of fact, I try my best to do just that. I’m not alone! The cosmetic industry tops $62 billion annually – that is a lot of concealing imperfections and finding new beauty.

Cosmetics -

God recognizes beauty in us, just as we are. It isn’t just women who struggle to grasp this God perspective, we all do.

The Pain of Brokenness

Kintsugi recognizes breakage is part of the history of any object. How do we value and even embrace the beauty while living in the pain of brokenness?

Brokenness can seriously limit our ability to freely choose and presently live to our fullest potential. Pain has the ability to densely cloud our perception of personal identity, worth and purpose.

I can personally testify how the gold of God’s truth can infuse even the most crushing moments and reveal His design and glory in the midst of overbearing tragedy or loss.

“And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

The psalms simply say “He sent his word, and healed them and snatching them from the door of death.” The truth of God’s word gently breathes life back into our shattered pieces. His truth sets us free to see brokenness from a higher and eternal vantage point.

At one time I had many delicate and beautiful ornaments; many were gifts. Then we had five sons! Few of these delicate pieces survived! I wish I would have known about kintsugi then.

Brokenness may scar us, but it will never diminish our value! As a matter of fact, after the Master Artist remakes us, we hold even greater distinction!

Scars of Beauty

In Kintsugi, scars actually become the most valuable and beautiful part of the whole.

I honour those who bear their scars well. Scars are the solid evidence of survival and over coming difficulties. They form the beautiful marks of an enduring life!

That Jesus would maintain His scars after the resurrection is a marvel to me. He didn’t need to! He chose to!

“Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:27

The scars Jesus bears continue to prove His identity. Scars identify us too! They prove God’s faithfulness to heal and restore our brokenness.

The Beauty of Brokenness

Scars are the marks of our personal journey between birth and death. They are the road map of experiences we have lived through, conquered and overcome leaving us better than before.

“You will either step forward
into growth, or you will step back
into safety.”
Maslow

In Guatemala, a man who had been healed of extremely large stomach cancers revealed his deep scars with pride. They were evidence to Christ’s healing power in his life. The physicians said, “You will die!” Christ spoke the contrary, “You will surely live!” Live is what this man was doing years later!

Graphed In

Sometimes in Kintsugi, a brand new piece is graphed in.

do not consider yourself to be superior
to those other branches.
If you do, consider this:
You do not support the root,
but the root supports you.”
Romans 11:18

Sometimes Kintsugi is two individual pieces graphed together. They actually create a brand new form, quite different from the original – a delicate and unique work of art.

God has specifically designed each of us to bear both similarities and differences to every other person. Kinsugi reminds me of this truth.

When I hear of the God-stories of others, I am hushed in amazement knowing only God could create such beauty out from horrendous brokenness:

a baby given a name meaning “you shall die”
becomes a light-bearing torch of hope to nations;
a woman poisoned, beaten and left in the bush –
now speechless but speaking life to many other broken;
a young girl abandoned and severely abused
teaching and loving children to life;
refugees escaping, then returning, home to spread the Gospel of Peace;
drug addicts ministering in rehab centers;
former prostitutes delivering hope to the streets
they once walked….

These new lives  bear no resemblance to the old!

Beauty of Brokenness

When hope shatters against the cruel pavement of life, beauty seems impossible to visualize. Impossible that is until The Master, takes each broken piece in His gentle hands and creates a new and beautiful masterpiece.

So I went down to the potter’s house,
and I saw him working at the wheel.

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands;
so the potter formed it into another pot,
shaping it as seemed best to him.”
Jeremiah 18: 3-4

No matter how marred and broken, God reforms, reshapes and repurposes our lives. As a matter of fact, when He is finished the result appears so perfect, we wonder if this wasn’t His “Plan A” all along.

God is never the one who breaks or harms us. We have an enemy who is bent on stealing, killing and destroying any worth or value we possess. God is THE Ultimate Restorer!

“God, your God, will restore everything you lost;
he’ll have compassion on you;
he’ll come back and pick up the pieces
from all the places where you were scattered.”
Deuteronomy 30:3 

Kintsugi is both a beautiful art form and a fitting illustration of God’s compassionate working in each of our lives. Every place of brokenness is a gold vein of God’s love and mercy. It shouts to all, “God is faithful!”

So the next time we meet, ask, and I just might let you see my scars.

Do not hide your scars. Instead, paint them gold, and let them glow in the sun. For they are the cracks that let your soul breathe. e.m. Click To Tweet

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Further Reading

Gold and Silver – Refined Through Suffering

Never! 8 Things God Will Never Do

3 Godly Characteristics – Justice, Mercy and Humility!

Godly Qualities, Justice Mercy & Humility

An awareness of good and evil resides in us all; with that knowledge comes a tendency toward judgmental attitudes. God calls us to three godly principles: justice, mercy and humility. Personally, justice dominates; mercy is lacking, while true humility is a work in progress.

I was chatting with a preschool teacher a little while ago. She was welcoming new students into her class. They are rapidly learning the behavioural expectations of their new environment. The older students are quick to inform her when one of her new charges is going astray.

 Follow the way!

We chuckled at how easy it is to point out someone else’s faults, even though it may be the only moment in the entire day when we ourselves are actually obeying. It isn’t just children that fall into this trap!

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

He Has Shown You

What does justice look like where the guilty face the consequences of their actions, while victims are restored their rights and dignity?

God has made the distinction between right and wrong clear in His word and even within our hearts. Before we allow intellectual reasoning unruly access, God’s requirements are obvious, even as these little preschoolers demonstrate.

He has shown you!

Act Justly

Justice is an action! It is something one pursues and does!

“But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.”
Hosea 12:6

I immediately want justice when it is me that has faced offense or some kind of violation, even is minor. Yet, when I have crossed the boundaries of honour into the quick-sand of indifferent regard, I’m not so fast to press for that same justice.

Hypocritical? Yes!

Act justly; love mercy!

 

The only way justice truly works is when it is mixed with a healthy dose of mercy. The two form the right and left hand of godliness.

“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;
show mercy and compassion to one another.”
Zechariah 7:9

Love Mercy

Righteousness and justice
are the foundation of your throne.”

That is a verse I have quoted many times; perhaps I should say, misquoted in part! Usually this is as far as I would go! I honestly did not know the rest of the verse by memory. How about you?

“…mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before You.”

Often when God talks about justice, He immediately adds mercy! I must remember that mercy is first of all a matter of the heart, “love mercy.”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!”
Isaiah 30:18

Walk Humbly

I may seem innocent and humble in my own eyes, at least until the Holy Spirit speaks!

Humility and innocence

In reality my heart has a strong bent toward pride – so do we all!|

The more Holy Spirit uncovers the secret thoughts and condition of my heart, the more disgusting I find it is.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Who truly “knows” my heart? The answer is, God does. Yet, He is willing to look inside and show me the contaminated contents as well.

If my heart lies, I will know it; if my heart accuses, I will know that too; but if my heart is deceived, I will not know it unless God reveals it. It is through humility that lies, accusations and even deceptions are revealed for what they truly are.

We can sometimes misinterpret humility as weakness; it is in fact stronger than justice and mercy combined.

Arrogance and Pride

It is humility that keeps my proud nose pointed in the right direction recognizing my own need for transformation, rather than blindly upward. One of the toughest places to demonstrate true humility is in the face of injustice, where the cup of love of mercy appears empty.

Requirements of Humility, Mercy and Justice

Actually, when I reverse the order and put humility first, when I recognize my security in the Father and Christ in me, humility begins to flow rather naturally. Humility, mercy and justice are more than requirements, they are release agents of God’s goodness.

Arrogance has not room in the Presence of God – none! Out of the relationship of love and mercy, love and mercy finds a free flowing channel to influence others. This sweet delicate flow makes wrong things right! Justice begins to naturally invade attitudes and circumstances.

No matter which way you say it – justice, mercy and humility, or humility, mercy and justice – they form a torpedo sandwich catapulting a powerful momentum of strength and dignity into our lives and the lives of those around us.

A requirement is something that is most needed and wanted; it is a necessary condition. God who made us in His own image, says justice, mercy and humility are necessary ingredients for us to re-present Him to our wounded world.

Necessary? Yes!

Wanted? Yes, Lord!

May my life be one that actively pursues justice, generously loves and consistently extends mercy, and gently walks in humility, that I might pattern Christ more fully.

 

The Prodigal Returns, Prayer Answered! Running No More!

The Prodigal Returns

I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18

Early Days

I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.

Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.

A Prodigal’s Rebellion

I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.

David Wicks - the Prodigal

I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.

As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove  to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.

However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.

Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!

No Surrender

The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!

Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.

“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way…
you should pray,
and God will give that person life.”
I John 5:16

About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.

The prodigal - alcohol, drugs and parties

I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.

While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!

A Prodigal’s Breakdown

Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.

All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.

In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.

Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.

Broken marriage

Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.

We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.

I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9

A Prodigal’s Breakhrough

In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesick melancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”

Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
Psalm 17:6

A prodigal cries out, "Lord please help me!"

A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!

When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy.  That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.

For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!

I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”

Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6

Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.

She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.

Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!

**********

Pastor of Pastors

Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.

Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.

They are champions in the faith!

Running for the Lord not from Him!

**********

More Reads:

Rebuild the Walls! Fight for Your Families, Your Sons And Your Daughters!

A Hero – “If You Need Someone Strong, I’m The One!”

Hero or Superhero

Have you met a hero? One day at work, a gaggle of overactive preschoolers ran past my office door: two girls with long hair bobbing, followed by two enthusiastic boys. One little guy in the middle announced with exuberance, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”

True heroes are rare! I have no doubt this youngster has the right attitude!

I broke out in open laughter in response to such confidence coming from one so small. The more I thought of it, however, I realized I should possess this same buoyant enthusiasm.

“No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

Small but strong hero!

God planted inside each of us a desire to overcome, triumph, defend justice, and fight for what is right. Children don’t hide it socially like adults do, but we all have this godly desire.

Overcome

Ask any child to name their favorite superhero and you might be there for awhile! The “first” superheroes emerged in the 1930’s. The list of imaginary “supers” is long!

Ask an adult the same question. Their ballots may include people of excellence in sports, arts & entertainment, social justice or a multitude of other fields.

A hero, according to Oxford Dictionary, is someone who is “admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.” Look around for a moment. You will see heroes hidden behind humble acts of service rather than standing in front of a microphones or cameras. True heroes live well

parents, teachers, doctors, plumbers,
farmers, truckers, nurses, administrative assistants,
husbands and wives, neighbours and friends
courageously and faithfully
feet to the road and grit in their teeth

When there is unrewarding, difficult, relentless tasks, heroes say, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”

Yet, at the same  time, they face their humanity with all its limitations. Listen to this:

“…For apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Heroes face their impossibilities not with drooped heads but rather with hearts of courage and eyes fixed upward.

Superheroes are made not born!

“I’m the one!” kind of people don’t back down from a fight; they press in to overcome!

If you need someone strong, I'm the one! Click To Tweet

Triumph

Heroes face grave opposition and come through! In knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, they are prepared to accentuate those strengths and place extra protection over their weakest area.

 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God,
so that you can take your stand
against the devil’s schemes.”
Ephesians 1:10-11

Actually, most of those who triumphed in the bible were not seeking front-line duty. Think of

Esther a young non-descript Jewish girl,
David, a young shepherd,
Samuel, as a small boy, dedicated to serve in the church
Moses, a foster child, a ward of the state, run-away, then shepherd
Gideon a farmer or Daniel a refugee
Ruth, a widow,
Peter, James and John, simple fishermen

High risk and no visible guarantee marked the tasks ahead of them. None of them had their hand raised saying, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”

Overcome evil with good

As a matter of fact, they were reluctant to step into God’s assignment. However, all of them grasped the truth

 “…What is impossible with man
is possible with God.”
Luke 18:27

Like true heroes they put on their God given armour and fought the fight of faith, triumphantly bringing good over the evil in their day.

Miraculous

Some of the last words of Jesus resonates as a call to heroism.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation
….and these signs will accompany those who believe;
In my name they will drive out demons;
they will speak in new tongues;
they will pick up snakes with their hands;
and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all;
they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark 16:15-20

Greater is HE that is in us, than he that is in the world!

Clearly “superhero” stuff, right? Yet, Jesus said, these superhero qualities are for all “who believe”! Now that is a bold kind of faith!

Oh, but it is a faith that those who believe are running with!

Everyday people are set free from demonic strongholds, bodies are healed, minds restored, and some are even raised from the dead. Faith is being activated in people globally to walk as God’s heroes, trusting His word, and radically taking risks.

Faith is often spelled r-i-s-k! It may feel risky to pray for the sick to be healed, until they are. It may also feel risky to step into the fray and cast out demons, until they do. We will never see the dead raised to life, until we ask.

I can tell, I’m losing some of you here, but listen again to what Jesus commanded:

Heal the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.
Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10:8

I am convinced we have received far more through faith in Jesus Christ than we are presently accessing or releasing.

SuperGram

There is one more hero you, of course, have never heard about. Her name is “SuperGram”. Apparently one of her greatest powers is “master-mind”.

If you need someone strong, I'm the one!

The reason you have never heard of her, is because she was just so “bestowed” only yesterday!

Yes, only yesterday, my 6 year old grandson came to where I work secretly announcing my new position. Of course, he revealed his own super status and the secret powers he too possessed. He went around lavishly disclosing the hidden super hero strength of others as well. My girlfriend was instantly dubbed “Lightning Woman!”

I chucked and I’m sure you are too!

Yet at the same time, I feel Jesus nudge my heart just a little, “you are far more super hero than you realize”!

Why? Because

“Ye are of God, little children,
and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world.”
1 John 4:4

Why? Because God is greater! The One who resides in us is greater than all else! As God’s children, we may be small, but we are overcomers!

Take this fresh motto from a child, “If you need someone strong, I’m the one!”

Embrace God’s truth; be a hero!

**********

Further Reading

Normal? What Does It Mean To Be Normal Christian?

Does Faith Stand Alone or Does Faith Require Action?

Childlike! Change and Become Like a Little Child

 

 

I Am the Vine You are the Branches – Fruit that Lasts

Fruit that lasts - I Chose You

The thrust of winter is sending one final blast across the prairies, but I’m thinking spring. The garden awaits under mounds of snow; the deep rich soil is prepared for another season of bearing fruit and vegetables. Gardening may be one of my joys in life, but I have been called to more than what my hands can produce.

“I chose you and appointed you
so that you might go and bear fruit
fruit that will last.”
John 15:16

There is only one kind of fruit that truly lasts – what we do for God!

The Vine

When we moved into town, I decided to try an espalier experiment with an apple tree. It sounded like a reasonable solution in a small yard and my personal repulsion to ladder climbing.

I bought a young whip, planted it in a secluded corner, and began aggressively pruning. At times, I was concerned whether the little tree would survive the drastic cutting and shaping process.

Blossoms of promise

Any branches that were reaching toward the back were cut; as were the branches pointing forward. Only those reaching outward to the left and right were allowed to remain. Only the stoutest branches, those equally spaced  10″ – 12″ apart up the main trunk, were left. This would allow sufficient air flow between the limbs and provide full support to each branch by the trellis.

Year by year the little whip began to take shape. Not the shape of a “normal” apple tree with bows spreading upward forming a rounded canopy. Rather the shape of the trellis upon which the branches were fastened.

Every blossom was removed those first few years, so the tree would gain strength. My vision were set for the future.

The Gardener

After the last several years of pruning and shaping my little tree, I can understand these verses more clearly:

I am the true vine,
and my Father is the gardener.
John 15:1

Just like with my little tree, my Father is only leaving me with the “branches” of my life that are willing to stretch outward, to the left and right, toward others. Branches that are pointing too far ahead, toward the future, won’t receive the support needed to bear the weight of a heavy harvest. Those branches that are pointing behind, anchored in the past lacking the present light of Christ, will be susceptible to “disease”of grumbling and complaining.

My fruit bearing ability will not be secure in either the past successes and failures or of the future dreaming.  To bear fruit that will last, I need to trust the Gardener to know what needs to go and what should remain. He is shaping me for future increase!

Resistance

My little tree has a natural inclination to grow full and lush, spewing branches at liberty. Though more beautiful perhaps, it is not the way of fruitfulness.

Me too!

I don’t particularly like the pruning process. As a matter of fact, I quite detest it!

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,
so that it will be even more fruitful.”
John 15:2

One of the greatest challenges I face with my little tree is “suckers” that sprout up from the outfacing branches. Their wild quick growing nature saps the branch of precious nutrients. Worse yet, suckers aren’t fruit bearers!

Pruning for fruit

Interestingly though, when these upward shoots are pruned off a few inches from the main branch, the remaining stub will be the source of much fruit in the years ahead.

“No branch can bear fruit by itself;
it must remain in the vine.
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
John 15:4

Fruit bearing branches must be “connected” to the vine, the main trunk! It isn’t enough to be connected to another branch!

My main connection must always be with God. When I attempt to sprout out from another man’s ministry, rather than from God Himself, the result may appear healthy at first, but it will be unsustainable. Am I thoroughly connected? And where?

I am thankful for the “fruit bearers” in my life:

apostles and prophets,
evangelists, pastors, and teachers,
forefathers and mothers of the faith,
mentors and counselors,
steadfast, faithful, “waymakers”.

Though appreciative of their input, my sustaining strength comes from only One Source, the Vine Jesus Christ. To be a fruit bearer, I MUST be connected directly to Him.

Clusters

The second greatest problem that requires pruning are the “clusters”.

Clusters of blossoms

I’ve never been able to walk by an apple tree in bloom – never! I must stop to breath in the aroma of the fragrant clusters of blossoms, watch the busy activity of pollinating bees, and let my eyes feast on the intricate God design of each blossom.

The Gardener knows that each blossom will not produce fruit. In fact, each blossom should not produce fruit! The branch can neither nurture nor bear the weight of that much fruit. So the Gardener sets to work, pruning even the fruit bearing branches.

This is the most difficult pruning for me to do in my garden. I want to see “abundance”, but wisdom tells me to trim, cut, and prune until only the choice fruit remains.

Clustered fruit will never grow to full potential. To ensure the quality of the remaining fruit, I must prune harder.

Humanly speaking, clusters are comfortable. Clusters are safe. We like to cluster! Denominational clusters, team clusters, recreational clusters, clusters here and clusters there! People naturally like to congregate in groups.

Clusters are good places to begin our faith journey. If staying in tight little clusters matters more than reaching out, we will never mature to be true fruit bearers. To touch the lives of those in our world, there must be a willingness to leave our comfort zones and stretch outward in love and care.

Chosen and Appointed for Fruit

As hard as pruning is, harvest will prove its worth!

As I walk around my little community, I notice apple trees flourishing in abundance. Each fall, large boughs bend earthward laden with enormous amounts of fruit. The appearance of fruitfulness is everywhere.

Harvest time demonstrates the true benefits of pruning. Every apple on my little tree is weighty, plump and full. Every cut I made with the shears was for the purpose of maximum harvest. Now it is payback time!

The reward of pruning - choice fruit!

While others are picking, peeling and processing buckets of undersized produce, only those willing to prune enjoy over-sized rich fruit.

The same will be in my life! The Gardener knows! He has a plan!

“I chose you and appointed you
so that you might go and bear fruit
fruit that will last…”
John 15:16

God has chosen each one of us. He has called us out and appointed us to produce – to produce in abundance and to produce fruit that is eternal. The Gardener isn’t looking for standard garden variety outcomes. He is working in us and through us to prepare supernatural fruitfulness.

Knowing His plan allows us to endure the painful pruning seasons with grace and hope. We may feel naked and exposed during these “harsh” pruning times. Truthfully, God’s loving hand of wisdom and perfection is in every touch.

He is looking to the harvest; it is coming soon!

Communion – The Cross and Resurrection – “In Remembrance of Me”

Communion - The Cross and the Resurrection

In a small room with a cracker in one hand and a small glass of grape juice in the other, I silently reflected on their meaning. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Jesus said. Many times, I have received communion and held these tangible elements representing His death.

Communion

Communion

I waited for personal revelation of the implications of the cross: of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

God still speaks. I “hear” Him mostly when reading the Bible, at times through dreams or visions, and often with thoughts I know are not my own. Of course, everything is weighed against the truth of scripture.

Tabernacle

In a vision, suddenly Jesus (the Son of God not the glorified Christ) took me by the hand. Together we quickly and purposefully rushed past multitudes standing by their tents. It seemed like perhaps the encampment of God’s people in the wilderness.

We approached what I knew to be the Old Testament tabernacle but without curtains to contain or divide it. There were no busy priest performing sacrifices or tending to the required rituals and requirements.

Past the Brazen Altar and the Laver He took me. Past the Golden Lampstand and the Table of Shewbread we went. There was no need to stop! Now as a New Testament believer, I knew Jesus had fulfilled every requirement of the Law. Together we skirted the Altar of Incense and entered the Holy Place.

“Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17

A thick cloud of glory filled the area, circling and swirling. Jesus’ pace did not slow. A millisecond of panic gripped me as He let go of my hand. I was engulfed by the cloud.

Glory of God

I was lost, without body or identity; nothing of me existed in the Presence of Holy God. I an instant I was completely inhabited by God. I was “in” Him, in His glory. His Presence “consumed” me.

Joy

As I looked back toward Jesus, He was the embodiment of unconfined, unrestrained joy. In that moment, I realized this is part of why He died.

“…For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
scorning its shame…”
Hebrews 12:2

“For the joy set before Him!” Jesus’ greatest joy is to bring all who believe in Him to the Father with shameless audacity!

I have given them the glory that you gave me,
that they may be one as we are one —
 
I in them and you in me
so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:22-24

The “oneness” humanity once had in the garden completely restored! Access no longer denied with Father, Son and Holy Spirit! A unity that goes beyond humanity and reaches beyond comprehension! Communion, a common union!

Bridegroom Bride

I stepped out of the glory toward Jesus, The Bridegroom, as I glanced downward. I stood in shock and amazement! My garments radiated gold and even my skin was dusted with it.

Just as the Son’s joy is to bring us to the Father, the Father’s joy is to prepare us for the Son – a bride worthy of the bridegroom.

In Love

Jesus’ enthusiasm and love surpasses our understanding or even our confusion! He is ecstatic!

… even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word,
 That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;
but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27

Jesus is not coming back for a weak unprepared bride, but one adorned and ready! It has nothing to do with us; it has everything to do with the finished work of the cross.

In my right hand was an abnormally large golden sword.  It was fully my height and heavier than I could lift on my own, let alone wield! It is the sword of mercy and grace.

“Let us then approach
God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

Jesus arose from the grave with all authority and power! What is rightfully His, He lavishly gives to His bride! Here in Him alone, we receive mercy! Here, we find grace! Every need is met!

Bible

Available

My needs, in comparison to many others, are small indeed. Yet, in all honestly, I struggle with personal “heavy” things of life. Joy is not always spontaneous or overflowing, nor is victory obvious! I am contending, prayerfully war, for what Christ has attained.

Today I need the reminder of communion, the emblems of His death and resurrection. Drawing on the exuberant joy that originates and emanates from Him, I wait. Grasping tightly the sword I cannot wield on my own and did not merit by my efforts I take a stand, until like another warrior it is froze to my hand. I rest undone yet completely united in Him through His death and resurrection.

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him
in a resurrection like his.”
Romans 6:5

Jesus has each of us by the hand, leading us to places we cannot, could not and would not go on our own. We live in Him; He lives in us!

“This is how we know that we live in him
and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.”
I John 4:13

As we celebrate the Easter season, and each time we participate in communion, may we remember we have received mercy and found grace.

**********

Committment

If this resonates with you, but you don’t know Jesus personally, today is an excellent opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him. Jesus did all the work! Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die? You can.

“I write these things to you who believe
in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
I John 5:13

There is a problem! God is holy. Only those without sin can come to Him; everyone sins.

The solution to man’s greatest problem of sin is in Jesus Christ. God sent His Son Jesus to pay for our sin and make us holy before God.

Jesus death on the cross was payment for your sins and mine. If you believe Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, paid for your sins and has been raised to life, so that we too may have life, pray this simple prayer with me:

“Lord Jesus,
I believe that you died on the cross for my sins.
Please forgive me, come into my life,
and give my your life.
I want to do my best to live for you
from this day forward.
Thank You Jesus for what you have done,
be Lord of my life.
Amen.

Welcome into the family of God! If you don’t already have a bible, find one and begin reading in the book of John. It is helpful to join a local church where you will be encouraged and supported in your new walk of faith. An exciting chapter of your life has just begun. Congratulations!

“…if you confess with your mouth
that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart
that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-10