Fire in My Heart

God’s way with me has always been thematic; He leads me along a path where His word, books, words from others, and worship songs speak with similar tongue until I finally hear His heart for me.

I have mentioned before in earlier blogs that I have been deeply impacted by a book written about Hudson Taylor (“Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”); I am presently reading it for the second time.

Hudson Taylor was given a supernatural burden for the evangelization of inland China in the 1800’s. He believed as a 20 something year old man that God was calling him to leave all and follow Him for the sake of the gospel.

I read Jesus’ teaching and I am stirred afresh:

“And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25).
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt.10:3-39).

This reads extreme, but maybe because it is? How many of us have actually followed Jesus with this kind of faith and love?

Another biography I am thinking of is “Through the Gates of Splendor”, a story of God calling a young man named Jim Elliot and his companions (with wives) to leave their home and country behind and follow Jesus to the heart of the jungles of Ecuador.

The lives of these missionary men were speared to death by the Auca Natives; the very people group they believed God sent them to.

The miracle of this calling is that God called the wives of these missionary men to go back to reach the people who took the lives of their husbands.

It was Jim Elliot who penned the words:

“May the Lord teach us what it means to live in terms of the end, like Paul who said,’Neither count I my life dear to unto myself, that I might finish my course with joy…'” (from pg.18 of “Through The Gates Of Splendor”).

How precious is my own life to me?

I believe that God is up to something, He is looking for those who will lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel and that call has not changed my friends…we have!

We are surrounded by deep attachments, comforts and securities; surrounded by excuses, what if’s and fear, but in the meantime thousands are dying all over the world and slipping into a Christless eternity.

We are not get any younger and time is like the clock ever moving ahead to the next second, minute and hour.

Am I watching from the pew or am I counting the cost and willing to leave everything should God place such a call?

To what extent will I live for Jesus?; My answer to this question must determine how I live my life!!

The clouds are bellowing with pink and grey outside my living room window and I wonder, how much longer until the King of Kings returns? The sky tonight certainly looks majestic enough to boast His entry!

The King IS coming…where will I be found? Will I be ready? Will those who know me know why my face in lifted heavenward?

WHO am I living for?

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me” (Phil.1:21-22).

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Pray…Take a Breath…Pray…

“Pray without ceasing” (IThess.5:17).

Have you ever contemplated this verse?

Praying without ceasing is quite presumptuous of the Apostle Paul don’t you think?

Like really Paul…pray non-stop?

NON-STOP?

That would be like driving without having to anticipate any stop signs or red lights.

Hmmm…

A reference verse from the above is from Luke 18:1:

“And He(Jesus) told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Italics mine)

Jesus, in this particular biblical account, was telling the story of a persistent widow who pretty much hounded a judge for justice until he finally gave her what she asked for.

The parable is not so much about the widow getting what she wanted as much as it is about her persistence…she would not give up! Kinda like a two-year old in the candy isle of the grocery store.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”(Rom.12:12).

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”(Col.4:2).

Why do you think we are instructed to pray constantly and steadfastly?

Dear reader, do you believe your every prayer is heard?

Do you know that God delights to hear your voice?

Do you give up praying when silence is what you seem to receive in return?

Or do you give up when your prayers sound like broken records?

What if we take our thinking one step further?… If we are instructed to pray without ceasing and encouraged to not grow weary in prayer, then this must imply that there will be times when we will be tempted to give up! Times when we will become weary in waiting for answers and times when we stop praying altogether.

This truth also highlights God’s foreknowledge of our humanity; He put a plan of encouragement into written script for us! Leaving us without excuse.

Why would we be instructed from the Word of God to pray if God had no intention of answering us?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ASK Him!” (Matt.7:7-11)

Dear soul, don’t stop praying!

Pray like you breathe…

constantly.

Fall’s Ballroom

Clouds moving like ribbons of rivers…

Leaves like confetti,

Gently approach resting earth

Like a lover’s kiss at sunrise.

Wind,

Bending stoic pine…

A welcome

To Nature’s ballroom.

Her soul,

Wrapped in heaven’s reality,

Beauty taking breath away,

And her heart

Dances

With cloud,

Leaf,

And wind…

The Creator,

The King,

Allured her

Through each…

Fall’s ballroom

Now full

With splendor.

Addicted to Evaluation

As my husband and I were eating dinner out last night I caught myself evaluating the restaurant we were eating in.

It is definitely not the first time I have done this, in fact I think I do it every time I encounter a service of any kind; be it a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop and yes, even a church service.

I was caught off guard by my self realization and immediately I began to ask myself some hard questions; like why do I waste my mind space thinking about changes of improvement in any or all of these places? What good does it do driving myself nuts by inefficiency or unprofessional conduct, attire or lack of cleanliness when I am powerless to change anything?

I have also became aware of the effect my evaluative addiction has had on my emotions; I get all fired up inside at the possibility of what could be for these places of service “if this” change could be made, and then find myself left with no outlet for my passionate energy.

Another example is prior to my husband and my going out for dinner we had stayed overnight at a hotel (which shall remain unnamed).

We had decided to have a little one night get away before my husband started his new job. I was quite looking forward to this as we love staying in hotels from time to time, it adds a little spice to our 26 year old marriage.

My first indication of what awaited us in our room was given away by the front desk clerk, who upon our entry to the hotel was sitting on the counter behind the concierge eating from a bowl of “M&M’s”, he was wearing casual clothes and his buddy in training was wearing something entirely different; they were friendly enough but couldn’t answer some of our questions.

“hmmm”, I thought, “just what do we have going on here?”

Needless to say, it was an interesting night! I will spare you the details of our room!

What beauty have I been missing out on by being tuned in to improvement? Have I trained my mind and eyes to see only pie in the sky hypotheticals?

I suppose this could also be defined as a bad habit.

This type of thinking can breed a critical spirit, instead of humility and a heart oflove and thanksgiving.

Not everything needs improvement.

Nor is it my business to think that way when I have not been placed in a position to bring change.

What a time waster this can be!

What blessings, and souls of people have I missed seeing and hearing?

What has been evident in MY life as a result of this addiction to excellence? Is this a permissive form of self-promotion or even an attitude of arrogance?

Philippians 2:3-8 says,

“Do nothing from selfish AMBITION or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves…Have THIS MIND among yourselves, which IS YOURS in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, BY TAKING the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He HUMBLED HIMSELF by becoming obedient to the point of death.”

How I pray today that Jesus transform my heart and mind to His life of servant hood, of becoming a woman who offers my heart before I offer my opinion; a woman who offers love and encouragement and praise instead of a business minded handshake of improvement.

The “human” that I am thinking of right now is Mother Teressa…she led the way through graphic human horror with the mind and love of God.

May my life do the same.

“Transform my mind O God; transform my eyes to see what YOU SEE!”