I stand outside – the howling wind and the cold drizzle of rain a constant discomfort. The flickering glow, the desire for warmth, the obvious peace that waits, draws me to the window like a “peeping tom”; looking through the glass that separates me from what I desire.
I am acutely aware that warmth, dryness and contentment are available if I chose to open the door.
Making the choice and opening the door allows a new adventure to materialize before me. What could be seen from the outside does not compare to the experience of hearing the fire crackle and the sizzle of wood in the hearth that begins igniting new senses; the smell never experienced before now swirls as smoke and wood meld together with bone deep warmth in this new atmosphere.
What I thought I understood about this experience – this presence of fire – its warmth, light and peace – are nothing like its reality; an outside looking in experience is like experiencing a mountaintop through a photograph. This new experience of the very presence of God has exploded into a new inexpressible encounter at the feet of Jesus.
Have you chosen to open that door?
In church, never churched, or anywhere in between; you may find yourself still looking through the window, thinking you understand all that is inside but never partaking of all that is available to you free of charge.
Don’t wait outside, cold and wet, wishing for something more; yield to his call to open the door and walk into His presence. Come join him in front of the glowing fireplace that is filled with a roaring crackling fire – just waiting for you to experience and enjoy with Him.
The question, “But why mommy?” erupts from little lips almost as soon as language skills appear, parents bombarded hundreds – if not thousands of times as the child grows. Often, the question, repeatedly asked, eventually evokes a firm response from us as parents: “Because, I said so”! This answer to the child’s mind is seemingly an appropriate answer, our little ones accepts that we know the answer, there is a reason and that we have it under control. Acceptance and belief relieve the concern and off they run to play.
As adults our need for answers continues in our lives as we turn those “But why mommy” questions into “But why God” questions; we still need answers, assurance and understanding of “everything is going to be ok”.
We often cry and shout out those questions to God because of the hurts, disappointments and fears that riddle our lives. Assurance and belief dissolved, anger and frustration our seemingly permanent state of being, a need to understand and hear “everything is going to be ok”, holding on to our rights and control, we find NO relief in our chaos. These needs outweigh the simple faith that we had as a child, the answer is still the same: “Because I said so” which now is heard in our heavenly fathers voice.
There will still be the things that don’t make sense: those that furrow your brow, cause your heart to pause, your head to shake, the difference; like a child, you can let it go because “daddy” said so, and run off to play again assured of the answer.
Doubt and questioning fills the bible, it’s not something new to our time in history. Believing has always been a choice that man has had to make. Jesus assured Jairus, even having just witnessed a miraculous healing, “Do not fear, only believe”. We hear a father’s response to the need for Jesus’ deliverance for his son with quacking words “I believe, help my unbelief” and of course, the story of Thomas who needed to see in order to believe. We have that choice to make also – lay down our “why’s”, “how’s”, “what if’s” and ONLY BELIEVE!
There are no platitudes or canned answers to help the tough often horrific life situations we or our loved ones must suffer, but when I walk through these times my only peace, comfort and strength have come from a solid belief: My God is a good God, He loves me and I can accept his loving response of “Because I said so”.
Return with simple child-like faith, lay down the “why” questions, believe that Jesus loves you, you are safe and that He has it all under control.
Make that choice to ONLY BELIEVE!
Today my jewelry box got some much-needed attention – bracelets popping open the lid, necklaces spewing from the drawers, the obvious answer – time consuming sorting.
A bundle of tangled chains required the most attention, sitting for an extended time, picking patiently, unable to tug them apart for fear of breaking the delicate links, Oh what a tangled mess.
One by one they slowly released, the first one – a heart with Jesus written on it, getting my attention as the spirit began speaking, while the second, a silver heart unraveled in my hand, one by one they now untangled, ending with a silver pearl.
We are just like those tangled chains!
Our lives filled with tangled messes, costume and precious jewels all mixed together, allowing our tangled thinking, feelings and life’s activities to ensnare us, causing the precious to become ineffective, often forever lost.
When Jesus is our number one focus, He begins the unraveling process – He gets our heart, the costume falls off and the pearl remains.
As Israel was led into the wilderness the very presence of God was visually present to direct their way. A cloud by day to lead them and fire by night to give them light, both leading them into the purposes of God, being a people who belonged to a living God.
The Holy Spirit presents as a type of internal ‘cloud by day and fire by night’. Now dwelling within us, a gift given, a helper introduced, a comforter placed within, that small still whisper, a light leading us into the purposes of God, our true purpose being found as a child of the living God.
That voice, my internal ‘cloud by day and fire by night’ has been present in my life for decades, bringing me comfort in the midst of loss, direction in the center of chaos, peace and joy through this life’s journey. His presence is a source of continual strength, that whispered warning, that voice of instruction and encouragement, a presence that leads me daily into the purposes planned for my life before I was born.
As you hear a whisper beginning to stir, silently pulling your mind to its presence, the still small voice of the Spirit of God is drawing your attention. He is present to bring you direction – both to lead and to warn, a constant presence of a loving God.
That voice, the voice within, the voice of the Holy Spirit, dwells in each of us and becomes louder as we listen. His presence can shape, correct, and lead our lives as we step into a place of believing, receiving, and anticipating His whispered voice.
Today I walk as one who desires to follow that ‘cloud by day and fire by night’, whose presence now resides within me, whose voice I lean into daily, whose warnings I take seriously, whose instructions I endeavor to follow spontaneously, living as one who belongs to my savior, Jesus Christ – a true and living God.
(Artwork courtesy of D.L. Sanchez)
Let the glory of your purifying fire reign over my life Lord!
As we enter into the grace of Jesus Christ, yield to his Lordship, accept his claim of possession over us, long for and dwell in His daily presence, we begin a process of being refined in the presence of His consuming fire.
This lifestyle costs us everything! It is when “more of him, less of me” gets real, as we proclaim – Yes, Lord! Send me!
Though the cost is great, it is in this place we begin a life of overwhelming abundance. In this place we dwell on His heights and depend on his provision for all that sustains us. On Christ, our rock, we lay strong defenses for all of life’s circumstance – for He alone is our strength and joy.
When we enter this yielded consumed place we find our lives are no long ours but belong wholly to the one who paid in full the debt we owed. This is the place where we step into the works of the kingdom of heaven, we begin to see the river flow out of us, the lame begin to walk, the blind see, the oppressed and captives are set free.
With great joy and in complete abandonment, I willingly, longingly wait in His presence to be so consumed by His fire that there is nothing left of me!
Yes, Lord! Come Holy Spirit and let the glory of your purifying fire increase and reign over my life Lord!
Mal. 3:2-3 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiners fire and like a fuller’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. (ESV)
Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (ESV)
Our lives begin the search for treasure as we gasp for our first breath, growing and learning, fine-tuning our search engine to include every aspect of life from beginning to end.
There are many forms of treasure that can be searched for, those hidden deep in the earth, laying out on top of the surface, laying on the ocean floor and those within books and lives.
Who hunts them? We all do, in one way or another. Almost all professions are in search of something, looking for treasure in hidden places; accountants, lawyers, doctors, electricians, archaeologist, ecologist, pastors and on and on it goes.
My desire is finding treasure of eternal value, life changing both in the spiritual and the natural, found in the intimate presence of God, the bible and time in prayer, hidden in his gifts and treasures that are in my life and lives I have impact on.
I love finding treasure in unexpected hidden places. One treasure that I am continually amazed by is found as I open my bible and read, having done so for over 4 decades, I find new revelations that I have never seen, even having read the same passages over and over. The bible is truly new every morning, for we are new every morning, as we listen and are led, new directions and revelation change us. However the word of God-Jesus is the same – unchanging – yesterday, today and forever BUT it is new, an oxymoron for sure.
So, my treasure hunt begins afresh every morning as I unearth his treasures.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)
My love of treasure hunting must have been ignited as my sisters and I dug in the mud, making mud pies and hoping to dig all the way down to China. That love, being passed on to my children as we hunt for hours on beaches, looking for the best shell or the one special rock that had to come home with us, ending up in piles of memory-filled rocks that now lay embedded in concrete on our back yard path, always a reminder of those wonderful hunts.
How does that relate? Well, it is the beginning of the one true hunt, the one hunt that lasts throughout a lifetime journey, the one where searching for the purpose I was created to express drives me on, the one that I have found as I willingly exchanged my life for the one that Christ purchased for me.
His treasures fill each of us – let’s dig, let’s make mud pies and see how He directs us to find the best shells and perfect rocks that He has planned to use to adorn His kingdom.
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (ESV)
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