Beauty in the Fire-Pit

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Our warm summer sun continues to march forward toward fall as its rays have allowed sunflowers to flourish in my yard this year, like no year previously. Its rays have also limited our ability to burn our fire-pit – it sits unused, filled with scraps of yard wood, weeds etc. To my great surprise my fire-pit now boasts of a single beauty – yep – a sunflower. Right there in the midst of all the debris – right there where no water has been provided – right there where only rock supports its roots – there erupts a single beauty, her head held high – a single sunflower.

 As I contemplated this flowers unusual bedding choice I began to see a spiritual abstract. Beauty can come out of the midst of chaos, out of the midst of barren dryness, out of the difficult places we live in. From the depths of our pain and loss beauty can emerge.

     How does that happen in our lives?

It comes from the exceptional quality of seed that the cross of Jesus provides us, as well as a choice of our heart. Being willing to allow the Spirit of God to heal, strengthen and mature the seed of faith that’s been dropped into our mess is a decision. If we look to Him right there in the midst of the chaos, right there where all is barren and dry, right there where all is hard and difficult – suddenly there will erupt a single beauty, her head held high. A victorious example of who He has created you to be will proudly stand in the middle of your fire-pit.

Your God is faithful to bring beauty out of the most unexpected difficult situations in your life. He has lovingly offered you the seed of His son, it’s been placed within your heart – you only need chose to receive it, believe it and wait. Trust Him to complete the work – His time is perfect – His time produces the beauty hidden in that dark barren place.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

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Run to Win

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     Recently I had the pleasure of cheering on the sidelines of a middle school track- meet. My favorite runner – my grandson – was barreling down the track, passing them all – leaving most in the dust. This, the final meet of the short season was a test to win – to beat all previously run times – his own and all the others. Oh, and run he did – with everything in him. With single focus, pointed directly toward that finish line, he pushed with every fiber, every cell, and every breath to WIN! The sounds around him – the cheers of the crowd, the track at his feet and even the pounding of his own heart – were not heard. Every concern, discomfort and thought was set aside for the joy of the run.

     What we don’t see at this track-meet is all the physical conditioning that is put in before today’s “pop” of the starters gun; the daily pushing of those muscles and their throbbing pain in the night watches, the pounding headaches from over exertion and rapid dehydration, as well as the skinned, torn, twisted tissue and tendons as the track often reaches out to win those trial races. These times – hidden from the cheering crowd – are the times where the decision to endure are won or lost.

     We too, are on a similar track, a similar race – our life journey – our race. Our WIN is already promised – it belongs to us through the cross of Christ. But, our race is not an easy one, it is meant to be RUN with endurance. It will require times of determination and physical conditioning. We must cross that finish line. We must have a single focus on that prize! We must not hear or allow all the distractions, concerns and discomforts of daily life to overcome us. We must endure – push past the relational hurts and disappointments, financial struggles, physical illness’ – all those throbbing, pounding, torn and twisted pieces that are part of this race of life. Jesus already promised us the win – the decision is IF you will endure to the finish line – IF you will focus on the prize – for this is the time where you decide to obtain it! Decide to run your race with endurance to receive the prize that is waiting at finish line – and run it well – with every fiber, every cell, and every breath you have been given.

Run to WIN – run for the joy of the run!

I Corinthians 9:24. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives he prize? So run that you may obtain it, (ESV)

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (ESV)