Monday, February 16, 2015

Snowflakes and Messages

Proverbs 25:13
  Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer.  They revive the spirit of their employer.  

   He walked hands shoved into his pockets and the snow drifted down to rest on his dense coat and hood.  Reddened with cold his hand twisted in the lining of his coat trying to clutch warmth.  Discouragement hung over him like a looming cloud.  He worked to the bone tried to follow the rules of the Father, tried to follow His ways, but for some reason it always felt like he was fighting against a snow drift.  His feet started to pull as the snow built up around them.  And what was the point he just got up and fought some more, against the influence of the world, against the temptations all around him and for what?  A so, so existence at the mindless tasks of life. Was that all there was for him?  His past hung on him and he almost felt like if he knelt down in the snow it would build on top of him till it crushed his body under the pressure, like the pressure from his past crushed his spirit.  He followed the rules now, he had cleaned up his act.  Was lost in the normal, all that was left for him? Would his existence be just like everyone else who had strayed? Lost in the struggle, was there nothing special and unique left for him to do.
   The snow built and with each step it crunched under his boot.  He was almost angry at God, wasn't there something more than this?  SOME BETTER WAY.  Or could those who messed up not expect anything more than just average.  Could God still use him or was he forced to face this mountain of life alone without expectation of help because he had been delivered already.  Would no one come alongside him to help him up the rest of the way.  In anger he beat off his jacket trying to rid it of the gathering snowflakes.
  A gentle tug pulled at the hem of his coat.  He wouldn't have felt it if the gentle pull had not been so insistent.
   "What?" he snapped whirling on the tug, but then he stopped short.
   A little girl clutched the hem of his coat with a white mitten clad hand.  Her white hair was pulled back by a black headband and draped wavy over her slight shoulders.  The snowflakes were invisible in the bright white.  She wore a long white coat with big black buttons clasped tight.  Round blue eyes stared at him.  He'd lost his words at the sight of the pale winter child but now they returned to him.
   "What, what do you want?" he demanded harshly.  With the hand not holding his hem she caught a snowflake on the very tip of her mitten.  Then she nodded him closer.  Kneeling down he was now eye level with her.
    "I am Hope and this it true.  He has sent me to you." taking the snowflake she put it on the end of his nose and caught another eyeing it with a widening smile.  "Snowflakes are always unique each one a work of art.  No one the same with the same heart. You are you and He has a plan to.  So just trust His words are true.  No one can live your life quite like you."
   Releasing him she took a step back and smiled at him.  He slowly rose staring at her.  She looked heavenward and snowflakes caught in her eyelashes and she laughed then started on the road ahead.  Walking a couple of steps she looked back over her shoulder and waved him forward calling.  "He walked the path before you.  And He follows after you now.  But you have to take the steps forward."
  His spirit lifted and took the step forward.  And snowflakes fell as a weary soul found new life.  
           

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Fallen Stone

John 8:7 
    When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." 

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

  She lay there in the dirt.  She was smudged and covered in filth, she was a daughter of the world.  She lay there her dull dead eyes stared into the dirt.  Would she rise, no.  There was nothing to rise for.  Beneath the layer of grime and filthy rags she wore a skin of purple and red bruising.  When the first stone had been thrown she'd grabbed at the dirt and gnashed her teeth, twisting with the pain. Now when the stones came she lay numb to the pain.  First the man naturalism threw the stone and screamed the lie.
   "You animal! There is nothing for you!" he had yelled. That first stone it stung the most.  Nothing, this numbness was rooted in that first stone.  It crushed her body and told her she didn't have a soul.
   She tried to move her fingers but they wouldn't.  Then the man Transcendentalism had come.
   "You are a god get up make your own rules," he had said throwing his stone it had crushed her ribs, but that time she had gotten up.  Rising from the dirt she tried to live out this man's words, but all she found was others that thought they were gods as well and believed what they did what was holy, but it made her feel dirty.   And that feeling brought her back she lay back down in the dirt.  Then the man with many stones came, he was postmodernism.
    "You dirty worthless, tramp, you are nothing.  No one can love you because all you are is dirt!  This is all there is and your messed it up! You have no story because no one does!"
   With every angry line he threw another stone.  They thudded on her body and she didn't fight them.   Tears wouldn't even come anymore.  She had chosen these lovers, these other men.  She chose to listen to them and now she was nothing, because she believed there was nothing.   And now she heard behind her the lovers of her past that had lusted for her then thrown her to the dirt and stoned her. They laughed they repeated there lies and she heard them reach for more stones.  Closing her eyes she braced her body for the onslaught.  It didn't matter her soul cried no more because it lay shriveled and beaten down like her body.
    Then new footsteps came they thudded in the dirt.  At the sound of these footsteps the other lovers fled.  Setting her jaw she closed her eyes, waiting for it.  Waiting for the stone.  The stone she deserved.  It didn't come, instead the footsteps came closer and closer until she stared at the feet.  Feet pierced by holes.  Staring she dared not look up she knew these feet and she knew the man they belonged to.
    He was the bridegroom and she was the wayward bride.  He had every right to throw the stone, him more than any other.  She almost wished he would so her shame and guilt would be replaced by hate.
    "Just throw it," she crouched to the dirt she wouldn't look at him, she couldn't look at him.  He had the only right to throw the stone, but he didn't.  When she saw the stone drop and fall three feet away from her in the dirt.  It hit the ground with a deafening thud.  And her world came undone.  She gasped and tears rolled over her nose and down her cheeks to wet the dirt.  Then he knelt.  His pure white robes fell to the dirt and he drew her up into his lap and held her so she stared right into his eyes.
   "Are you ready for me yet my bride?" he asked in the tender loving voice she had fallen in love with first.
   "But why?  Why did you come back I walked away I didn't want you I threw my stones at you.  Why did you come back?" she sobbed the tears mixing with the dirt on her face making a clay like smear.
    "Because I love you."
    The answer was so simple she couldn't just say okay even now.  She'd listened for so long to the complicated lies of her other lovers.
    "But why, why do you love me, when I didn't love you?"
     "Just because I love you," he said his sharp, vivid eyes boring into her reviving soul. The reality hit her.  The fact hit her, the truth slammed into her soul.  He would love her whether she loved him believed him or not.  It didn't change the fact that he loved her and he was her first love the original lover of her soul.  And that was enough.  Breathing out she felt the thrum of her soul music and came back from the dirt.
   Picking her up he brought her to his chest and she rested in the truth of his existence and love.  This bride groom she rejected even going as far as to say he didn't exist, had come back for her and freed her from the stones.  Walking away from the place of her stoning she wrapped her dirty hand in his pure white robe.
    "You'll never leave me?" she asked fearful.
    "Never."
    "Or forsake me?"
    "Ever."
    "And you love me."
     "Endlessly."
    So the bride and bridegroom walked away from the place of stoning, the place of the fallen stone.      
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Apple

  She stares at the apple its perfectly formed and gleaming red, beautiful.  The old woman holds it closer.
   "For you," she says.  Her hand reaches out and her fair slender fingers wrap around the shining fruit.  "That's it take it eat it, its just for you," the old woman continues to urge.  Snow holds the apple up to her mouth and let's it hover right in front of her perfect red lips.  She knows she shouldn't have let the old woman in, the dwarves had warned her not to let anyone in, but her heart went out to the poor soul who'd been wandering in the woods.  Still taking something from someone she barely knew was a little farther than she wanted to go, but the poor old crone looked at her with such expectancy she couldn't be rude, and the apple looked so good.  Opening her mouth she fitted the apple in her teeth and took that one fatal bite, and fell to the ground.
   I know if anyone has watched Disney they know who Snow White is.  She is usually overlooked because we condemn her for making such a illogical choice.  I mean the whole time she's looking at the apple you wanna scream, "NNNNOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S THE QUEEN!!!!"
  So we overlook her and move on to the new more popular princesses like Rapunzel and Anna from the two more recent Disney movies.  But take a good long look at Snow White again and realize she embodies the very essence of what we humans do all the time.  We've been warned, told, dragged, hidden, and protected from the things that could kill us both physically and spiritually, and yet we still bite into the apple called SIN.  I mean how many times have people we loved wanted to scream at us and say, "NNNNNOOOO!!!! IT'S THE DEVIL!!!" I can think of about ten times off the top of my head when people have said that to me.  More than likely I just did what I wanted anyway, no matter how good my intentions were.
     Snow White wasn't a bad person by any means she was great, kind, and caring, but she wasn't walking in heed that the Queen was out to get her and someone wanted to protect by warning her. Then she met her fatal end because of her wrong choice.      
   There's good news though the story has a happy ending.  Her prince comes to save her and awaken her from her magically induced sleep.  Isn't Jesus the same way.(long-time and new Christians included)  We are like Snow White we do our best to be the best we can be and meet God's standard because we love Him and then because we are human we can't and mess up.  Some temptation or problem comes up and we make a bad choice.  We bite that apple.  Then we walk around in a hazy dream like state with this distance between us and reality because we are dealing with our inner selves.  Then without asking, or calling, or beckoning Jesus swoops in and wakes us up, sweeps us onto the back of His white horse and rides us into the sunset away from the sins and problems and heartache of this world into the sweet sensations of being with Him and not having to earn it.  Nothing stands between us and Him anymore! Even though WE bit the apple!    
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fishing for a Day

  Okay so everyone's probably heard the saying give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.  Well I think the basic message behind this is pretty clever.  You can give someone something you made all day long, God loves a cheerful giver.  But when I think about this saying and the word that is far overused in our society, LOVE, this is what comes to mind.
    There are alot of people that are really, really hard to love but when it comes down to it is it about us loving them or about God loving them?  Recently I've come to the realization that God is love and if we love someone out of ourselves is that  really love or some sort of social need we are filling in ourselves?  I've know girls that thought they had best friends, (this has happened to me as well) but when things got hard and they faced the first real tests or friendship they bailed and decided it wasn't worth it there were more people out there to be friends with.  That isn't really love.
    In the famous verses 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it says:
         Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails... 
    Does love really sound like something man can give, I don't think so.  So think about this the next time you find someone that is hard to love.  You by yourself are incapable of love but God in you is love itself.  Your love won't change that person's life and if so for only a moment because you might not always be around, but God will never fail them.  It comes down to this.
   Give someone your love for a day and they will feel unloved next week, but show someone God's love for a moment and they will be loved for eternity.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dream On!

     You know how most of the time we say something crazy and someone looks at us and says, "Dream on!" and it kinda grates the nerves because they don't believe what we are saying is possible.  Well recently I graduated and am getting that age old question of, what are you doing next?  Well I have lots of job opportunities and lots of mission opportunities, but none of them are really what I feel called to do but if I were to tell you what I really wanted to do you would tell me, dream on.
     Here's the thing, kids are getting trapped today in college loans they won't be able to pay back till their really old and have other things to pay off, and chances are when you get out of college you still won't know what to do with your life.   This happens to a lot of high school kids to, so if you are this position your like me asking the age old question of what to do next.  Well I was reading my Bible this morning and realized.
    DO WHAT YOU DREAM OF DOING BECAUSE NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!! The Bible is filled with people who were doing things they only dreamed about, but God brought about in all his power and glory.  David became king, Moses became a speaker and leader of Israel, Esther saved an entire race, and there are dozens and dozens more examples in the Bible and throughout history, so do what you dream of doing because no one wants to be stuck in a dead end job doing something just to survive.  Do something you enjoy! Work in what God made us for but he made us to appreciate and enjoy it.
    Recently I was given a wall sticker that said, "Go Confidently in the Direction of your Dreams." So I challenge you all with this; go forward with the dreams God puts in your hearts and for all the dreamers out there, DREAM ON!      

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Hope America

Recently a short sermons series with three parts came out.  It was called My Home America by Billy Graham.  I had never really listened to any of Billy Graham's works but this one featured Lacrae, Lindsey Stirling, and other Christians that have made it into the public spotlight, so I decided to give it a shot.  It was breathtaking...
    I've been a Christian since I was five and walking with God every day of my life but this series breaks every misconception a new christian or a long-time christian will ever have.  It strips our expectations and elaborations of faith away and reveals the raw reason and power behind the message of Jesus Christ.
    I have wondered many times in my life where God was in certain situations.  Why I had to go through some of those things and wondered if God could really love someone so small and little in the grand scheme of things.  This message always answers those questions for me and brings me back to center, which is Jesus Christ.
      If you have questions or doubts or just want to know what we Christians are all about watch this series.  It is totally free and can be watched on youtude.  The first sermons is called The Message.  I hope God blesses you and eases your souls like he has done with me through this final message of Bill Graham's, enjoy.
      

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Limbo

    At some point or another we all face a time in life of indecision a time when we have lots of options but not a lot of passion or purpose.  Then we get stuck in this place called Limbo.  It is a horrible place full of routine tasks done for no real reason just to survive.  But did God call us to survive or to thrive.  Don't get me wrong I see the beauty in routine it holds everything together in some sense of order and we form good habits that last throughout our lives, but like anything it is a neutral place just like Limbo.  We can go one way or the other.
     So I stand on a thread and look down into the unknown abyss of life.  I lived in a safe little hovel most of it, perfectly safe and sound in my little routines but when I look down I don't know what lays beyond.   All I know is I can't stand on this rope anymore swinging in Limbo.  Time to jump, but where to?
      Then He's there with me and his hand rest on my teetering elbow and steadies me.  He's just behind me like He's always been ready to steady my shaking legs.
     "Well," He says, "What are you going to do?"
      I look down again and gulp.
      "What's down there?" I barely squeak out.
      "I'm down there," He says like its the most obvious thing in the world.
       "What else?"
      "You'll find out." I can't see Him but I hear the smile in his voice, "Time to leave Limbo princess I'll see you at the bottom."  He doesn't push or prod me to jump but I know that's what he wants.  "No matter how far you fall I'll always be at the bottom to catch you," He whispers right next to my ear.
     Then He's gone and I look down, my shaky feet slip from the thread and the air rushes around me.  With my heart in my throat I watch that thread disappear.  The safety of Limbo gone, and the feeling of dread in my stomach at what is at the bottom of the abyss.
       "I'm down here," I hear those words again in my spinning head and know that its gonna be okay.  I let out a scream all the anger of going nowhere coming out with it.  Maybe I'm falling maybe I will be for a long time but at least I can say goodbye to Limbo!
   
    Goodbye Limbo!