I remember so vividly the months preceding my mom’s marriage to the man that I call dad today.
He put a ring on my mom’s finger, and a beautiful one at that. Then, he took me to the mall and bought me my very first and only pair of Air Jordan’s! I am talking about the Red, Black, and White ones…the originals! Not only was it my first and only pair of Air Jordan’s, it was my first pair of “real” athletic shoes. I thought I was in heaven, it was simply to good to be true. He put a ring on mom’s finger, and pair of good looking shoes on my feet!
To be honest, no other gift Dad has ever given…(hew water heated in Memphis, a couple of car repairs over the years, money in the cards – wired – or otherwise)…have ever matched that gift! Sure the monetary value was greater than the shoes, but the life changing example of what he did, has never been matched. You see, he adopted me. He loved me as his own. He cared, and cried, and fought, and loved – ME! And he didn’t have to…HE CHOSE TO!!!!!
Brad Paisely has an old hit that he wrote called, “He Didn’t Have to Be” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjO1F6oCab8). That song encapsulates the story of my story with my dad! All that to be said, I love my biological father. He was as good of a dad that he could be. I look like him, I have some of his traits, and love him. But the dad that didn’t have to be, I am marked my him in a way that is intangible. He showed me Christ the way he loved. He should be integrity by the way he lived his life. He should be what a student of the Bible is all about. He taught me to love sports, simply my being a band major that never played an inning, quarter, half…yet he showed up to every one of my games. He showed me what tenacity is all about, he never gave up – on anything – that I ever saw. He showed me what a servant is, for he is the true definition of what servant is all about!
He is the perfect example of the scripture, James 1:17(NLT), “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
Now the catch for me, to pass on all of this to my three kids, whom I Love and Cherish with all my heart! I get to me their dad. I love being their dad. I Love You Isaiah, Bella, and Ian, I am better for you – because of you!!!!
Thanks to my Heavenly Father for being the giver of the greatest gift ever – His Son Jesus Christ!
Thank you Jesus for giving your life, so that I can live my life for you!
Thanks Mom, for knowing how to pick a GREAT Dad for Phil, Nate, and myself!
Thank you Jen, for being my soul mate in this journey of life, marriage, ministry, and PARENTING!
When you were brokenhearted at life’s hard knocks.
When you said good bye to the special somebody.
When you feel as though you are a failure.
When you are at your whit’s end.
You Are Not Alone!
Spring has sprung and summer is coming soon. That means a couple of things: school will be done and enjoy the opening volleys of warmer weather, and we will soon transition to shorts and flip flops.
There will be less travel this summer, at least in its opening, but will no longer be tired of the cold arctic air! We will be creating our own island paradise in our back yards, perhaps even remembering a trip to a tropical island in our past. Many desiring to be back in the island trip from February before the world shut down.
Through all of this, there is an island that I would not want to live on, travel to, visit, or even visit––the island of isolation!
Isolation is a place void of any meaningful human contact, relationships, love, or any emotion crucial to producing healthy relationships! Isolation causes people to put up walls that keep us from being the person we know God made us to be. Isolation causes people to shut out the people that love us and are there for us. Isolation can cause us to become inward focused and dependent on nothing but the feelings of loneliness! Isolation can drive us to despair.
We see isolation in so many places in our culture today. Attached garages enclosed by a “privacy” fence surrounds many homes. Cars have tinted windows, providing the cover by which no one can see inside the vehicle. We see increased wearing of hats and sunglasses inside of buildings, keeping people from looking at each other face to face. And now virus called Covid 19, causes us all to actually cover the “Image of God” that He intended of us all. We see it in a continued state of technology, but we would rather look down at the screen than across the room at the family we live with, the people we work with, or the potential friend on the bus. Between masks and phones, we no longer keep our chins up and eyes peering to the lives of others. I could go on, hence take my word for it ––ISOLATION is everywhere in our culture!
The Bible clearly talks about the person in isolation. Proverbs 18 is a powerful chapter of the folly of isolation. Look at the very first verse of this chapter,
Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV), “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
A person who has become isolated often deals with these 4 emotions: sadness, anger, despair, and reduced self-esteem. As you look at Proverbs 18:1, anyone can see that when you seek your own desire, you will reap these emotions––because your desire––RUNS OUT! You can also see that when you go against wise judgment those 4 emotions come into play, simply due to the fact that often we find failure instead of success.
One of the greatest ways to fight isolation is to be a friend, make friends, and help others build friendships. This can be hard, but it is a vital key to keeping yourself and people you know out of isolation. I do not think that it is coincidental that the closing verse of Proverbs 18…
Prov. 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Did you catch that, the closing of verse 24, “…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Guess who that is? JESUS!
John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Through His dying on the cross for us, protecting us, providing for us, forgiving us, teaching us, encouraging us, giving us His strength, taking our burdens upon Himself and much, much more.
Jesus is ultimately a key to stepping out of isolation! He loves, He accepts, He cares, He provides, He is your Friend!
John 15:15, “I no longer call you slaves, because a Master doesn’t confide in his slave. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.”
Let’s get off the island of isolation! Warm weather or cold weather––the island life of isolation is lonely and NO place for you!
If you think about it, the Lone Ranger is a misnamed hero. He’s brave, morally pure, and strong, but he never fights his battles alone. Tonto is always there as a loyal partner and companion. Take it a step further; how sad it would be if the Lone Ranger really was a one-man operation. The world’s most famous cowboy might never have made it through the first episode! In fact, every great movie hero has a sidekick or partner; Batman has Robin, Calvin has Hobbs, and whoever heard of C3P0 without R2D2?
The Bible also has some famous duos. Moses relied on Aaron, David’s best friend was Jonathan, and Ruth was the best daughter-in-law Naomi could have ever hoped to have. However, things get a little tricky when we get to Jesus.
Jesus never had a sidekick. He had 12 – twelve disciples, three of whom he favored. He was their leader—they called him rabbi and Lord, but then He called them FRIEND. So, does that make Jesus a lone ranger? Not at all. Jesus in fact did some great things for his friends and their… sadness, anger, despair, and low self-esteem…
Turns Sadness to Joy – Ps. 68:5&6, “5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. 6 God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.”
Jesus turns Anger to Love – Matt. 5: 43-48 (MSG), 43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Jesus turns Despair to Praise – Psalm 43 (MSG), 1-2 Clear my name, God; stick up for me against these loveless, immoral people. Get me out of here, away from these lying degenerates. I counted on you, God. Why did you walk out on me? Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands over these outrageous people? 3-4 Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, So I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence, To enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God, Sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God. 5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.”
Jesus turns a Low Self-Esteem to Promotion – Luke 9:23-25 (MSG), “Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”
Ps. 147:10&11 (MSG), “He’s not impressed with horsepower; the size of our muscles means little to him. Those who fear God get God’s attention; they can depend on his strength.”
Jer. 29:11-14 (MSG), “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. 13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you.”
1 Peter 5:4-6 (MSG), “4-5 When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with his rule, he’ll see that you’ve done it right and commend you lavishly. And you who are younger must follow your leaders. But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for — God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. 6 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”
SO, whether you feel yourself as a lonely inhabitant on the island of Isolation, or a Lone Ranger with a Tonto, let the eternal relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit give you the encouragement and the strength to triumph over your greatest pains and fears. When discouragement comes your way, cast your cares on the One who saw Jesus through His darkest times.
1 Peter 5:7-11 (NLT), “7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.”
Genesis 28:15 (NLT), “What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”
Have you ever looked at the life of someone that you used to know very well, but grew out of touch due to time or location? Today I was going back over some old photos and videos from my Youth Ministry days, and found some very fond emotions tucked away as I watched these priceless gems!
Some of my former students are now engaged, married, some have their own kids, some are in the ministry, some are making a big difference in the world. The sad fact was that some had just floundered, some I have no idea where they are at, some have even chosen a life of despair and agony – choosing not to follow after the things of God – instead for the worldly distractions that leave emptiness and lost-ness.
This got me to thinking about what my life has become. What do others feel or see when they see an old photo or video of some crazy thing I did in my younger years? My hope is that they say to themselves, “WOW, he sure has become a great husband, father, coach, leader, etc…” I know not all see that, but I hope that is truly what is happening – regardless! But then, I realize that the most important person thinking about me – are not the people from my past, they are not even the people in my present. I dare say that the most important people thinking about me – are not even those that I share the same last name or that I call family.
The most important person in my life that is thinking about me is Jesus! He cares about me and thinks about more than I could possibly fathom. And He does for you as well! Here are some of the things that He thinks about regarding you and I…
Is. 43:4, “I Love You!” – He Loves Us!
Is. 43:1, “I call you by name, you are mine!” – He wants to have relationship with Us!
John 1:12, “To those that believe, have the right to be called son and daughters.” – We are family to Him!
Is. 43:4, “You are precious…” – We have great worth and are desirable to Him!
Romans 5:8, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – He gave His life for us!
Well, here’s to all the students that braved mission trips, summer camps, holiday outings, Tuesday or Wednesday night services, silly games, story of things long forgotten, on and on. When I think of you I smile, I cry, I laugh, I marvel, I wonder what I did to be so fortunate to have known you…
But regardless of what I think, He thinks so much more highly of you and loves you so much more than I could ever fathom!
“All I want to is for someone to put their arms around me, to hug me, to love me, to help me know that I am not alone!”
“I hate being in the shadows…”
Shadows…of pain, hurt, rejection, despair, loneliness, and hopelessness. They are places of fear, places of pain remembered, places of darkness, places that we often don’t want to be.
A son in his father’s shadow.
A daughter in her mother’s shadow.
An apprentice in the shadow of their master.
An athlete who just doesn’t measure up.
A student who can’t quite muster up the grades.
A mom that feels pulled in a million directions.
A father who has lost the sense of purpose.
This morning, through pain, through questions, through the unknown, through all the shadows… There is a shadow that is safe and not painful. There is shadow where peace and comfort and joy and love and hope reside. There is a shadow that is not tempting to try to overcome. There is a shadow that is place of rest and wisdom.
Where is this shadow? I’m glad you asked…
Psalm 91:1-13 (MSG)
1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in the Almighty’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path
14-16“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”
Today, I am walking through my own questions as to the shadows in my life. I am sure you are as well. I believe that the answer to our shadows is not our quest for more authority, more gifts, more talent, more influence, more money, more of whatever you and I feel meets the void. Our answer to the shadows that we fight so desperately to get out from under, is the shadow of the Almighty God!
So will you join me in finding Rest for you, Peace for the journey, and Love from your Heavenly Father in this shadow, in His Shadow…
I grew up in a military family. I was surrounded by men and women who have served and protected our country. For the better part of the my first 25 years of life, I learned words like honor, code, respect, and valor.
In being around those men and women, one thing I saw everyday was the ability to follow orders that radically changed life’s trajectory. I said goodbye to friends, watches families leave safety and security and learned to deal with good-byes (which aren’t very fun today). I had to learn to trust in the silence of not always knowing or hearing the answer or understanding it.
Then I read this 3 verse passage and realize that all of those lessons learned aren’t just a military family’s mindset, but a set of values learned by ones that truly set out to accomplish the will of God! The desire to set a person helped, a family saved, and city radically impacted through the Gospel of Christ!
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”
Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT
Abraham desired a city that was set upon the foundations of God! Wow! Abraham was a form of God’s Special Forces…going to a foreign place, setting up a value that was unknown before he arrived, then putting into motion a new way of living.
I desire that! I live in a place that was established as a town in 1764. Before modern conveniences, before modern military practices, before the realization that our world was going to have to go through several revolutions before God would send His Son Jesus back for a His people. So my calling, my passion, and my life’s work is to establish that eternal city right here in Winchendon, Ma.
That means I have to train, study, build trust, pray, serve, obey – I get to live my life in a way that tells everyone I have been placed here for a purpose that far surpasses our ability to understand the natural causes of order and man’s cumbersome path to God. I get to set the peace and love and grace and forgiveness of Christ right in my own town. I get to be a standard bearer for righteousness and for salvation in my little town. Values that go hand and hand with values I learned in the military family of honor, code, respect, and valor.
Would you join me to saluting the Savior of the World Jesus, by longing for the city of eternal foundations, by living your life worthy of the call of our – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus!
I’m all in, are you?
P.S. To the men and women of our US Armed Services – Thank You for putting your life on the line for our freedom! You truly are the best! I pray for you, I remember you, I Honor you, and I am GRATEFUL for you and your families!
“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.”
Here in plain “English” God speaks to Adam and Eve. There is no way that anyone could twist the meaning of “If you the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, you will die”. Plain and simple.
Yet, we all do that thing that we know God has spoken to us about. It is in our soul, our heart pounds with the message, our body strives daily with the clarion call for holiness, yet we still struggle. The struggle is REAL! The Apostle Paul, millenniums later had the same struggle doing the very thing that he didn’t want to do.
The struggle that sin produced, is the very fact that we don’t always do the right thing or that we simply do the wrong thing.
Sin and Law create this cataclysmic struggle that is only answered in having a personal and intimate walk with Christ! Today if you are in that place where sin dominates or haunts you, and you love Jesus; the answer is to simply press into Him even more. He will provide you with the scapegoat from sin. And it will be from the most amazing places or people.
Press into Him today and rest assured that what He says will save your life. And remember He also said, “I will never leave you or forsake you!”
I was recently in a conversation with a group of Christ Followers, the conversation lent itself to going inward as a Christ Follower. The statement was made that we as Christ Followers need to put “Feet to our Faith”. I thought about this statement a lot over the last couple of weeks. Then today, it came into perspective for me in a real and authentic way…
Today, after my family went to church together this morning to “1st Service”, I headed over to a different church across town. 2nd service was at a completely new and fresh church, that I have never been to ever. This visit was inspired simply because one of the young men in my very first small group ever, is now on staff. I was in his world today, not my world. All of a sudden I was back in 1994, hanging with Jr. High kids, showing up at their games, See You At The Pole, hauling these kids from one end of Omaha to the other. It was right today. It was good today.
I got to simply watch one of “my kids” flourish in the ministry that Jesus had given him, using gifts Jesus has given him; simply to spread the Gospel in a different part of our “small” nearly 1,000,000 people Metro-plex! It was awesome! Ironically, the Pastor that preached, used the title – “Defining Moments”. I couldn’t help but think that today was another “Defining Moment” in my journey.
You see those long nights of Jr. High Ministry paid off. This young man is living his dream in worship and music, and he is in love with Jesus as much as ever. My heart left “2nd Service” full and happy; satisfied that my life was and is still being used for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! A quick reminder of what Paul said…
Acts 20:24 (NLT), “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God!”
All the small groups, the Sunday School classes, the parties, the all-nighters, the drives, the retreats, the Cokes, and maybe even an ice cream cone or two. They were all worth it . They were clearly the feet to the faith in those early years of serving students in my home church. Good years, strong years; years that I wouldn’t exchange for anything! Years that I am grateful to have shared with some awesomely talented and called students!
Drew, thanks for keeping your feet to the Faith that you learned about years ago. It is incredible watching you do ministry with Passion and Love! I am so proud of you and even more grateful to be able to watch in this time in your life! I Love You Bro!
Jesus, thank you for helping me to learn that sometimes my feet have to log a few miles, but it is worth it – to see Faith walking on! I Love You! Thank you for loving me! And thank you for loving Drew! Thanks for using us both in different ways, at different times; but nevertheless the Faith we share has feet and is still to this day walking!
As a little boy, I remember so vividly a book that sat in the living room of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was the story of a leprechaun and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I now know that that is not a true story, and the rainbow is not a sign of a pot of gold or even a short stubby Irish man, but of a promise from God never flood the earth again. A promise that remains true to this day.
Well, tonight as I was driving to church to drop Isaiah off for REVO and Shelter: Merge Night… Low and behold – a magnificent rainbow! So beautiful it seemed almost touchable. Isaiah and I saw it come out of the trees and traced it all the way down the road. It was a sight to behold!
As we are driving, Isaiah said something so profound…
“Dad, sometimes I look at the rainbow and I see and hear all the other things that a rainbow is supposed to mean. It is sad that people do not know what it is really means. God said He would never destroy the earth by flood. Something so beautiful is a reminder from God, a reminder of a covenant!”
Well said my son!
Tonight as I write this, I am watching people walk through the doors, they are marveling at a pretty rainbow, but going about their business. My mind flashes to a passage of scripture that is found in Matthew and Luke of the Gospels…
Matthew 24:37-39New Living Translation (NLT)
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
My heart aches for people as they just do what comes natural. The things that simply are no different than any other day. Seeing the signs in the sky, yet the signs have changed their meaning. I have begun to ask the Lord to give me a word, a prayer, a sign for people as they are living their life, people I know and people that I just happen to “run into”. I sense that they feel they have a seemingly unimportant life. That they have struggles they face – with victories that seem few and far between. I seem to sense they feel as though the defeats are daily… Oh, that they would know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior! Oh, that i would keep the passion to help them know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior! That they would see in my lifestyle, my words, my desires, my driving, my attitude, the simple way that I live my life. I want people to see Jesus in me!
I so wish that people knew how much God loves them…
John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him, will not perish but have eternal life!”
Isaiah 43:4, “…I Love You!” – God
He loves us so much! We are so busy looking for a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow, life, job, relationship, etc… We fail to realize that we are the “pot of gold” that Jesus paid for with His life! We are His Bride, His Prize, the Apple of His Eye, and the Object of His Affection! Oh How He Loves Us!
Isaiah looked at me in the car and said, “You know Dad, God is going to eventually allow the Earth to be destroyed.” Yes Isaiah, but He is going to create a new Heaven and a new Earth! What a sight that NEW will be! I can’t wait to see it! I hope you can’t wait to see it either!
My son was walking through the house today singing, “Deeper, Deeper, I want to go Deeper…” Man that just stopped me in my tracks – COLD…
God, right now I don’t feel as though I can go much deeper. Deeper is cold. Deeper is hidden. Deeper hurts. Deeper is scary. I am not sure what I will find there. I am not sure what You will find. Deeper brings great fear to my heart and soul right now. God I want the easy answer, the surface to be redone, not the inside to be redone.
But Lord, I want You more! I want to be a reflection of You more than of myself! I want to be like You Jesus!
Okay Lord, I give up! I give You the deep of me! The place that is cold and hidden. That place that is protected from other people that have cold and hidden places. Lord, can You remove the fear and replace it with LOVE? Lord, can You remove the pride and replace it with LOVE? Lord, can You take the unknown story, and fill it with the assurance that is only the Joy of my Salvation in you? Lord, can You take that deep bitter root, that I keep trying to kill in my own power? Can You kill it so that it is really dead – no life – no resurrection? Lord will You take those moments of immense fear and anger and regret and pity – and turn them to LOVE and JOY, TRUST and FREEDOM, GRACE and MERCY?
Lord, what I really crave right now – not an assignment, not a job, not a place, not a person – I really crave – LOVE – so deep – YOUR PRESENCE – Jesus, You are love – Jesus, You are my deep desire! Lord, I desire Your grace, Your mercy, Your LOVE to cover me!
Yet Jesus, I need You to know something. There is this deep flow in my spirit that continually tries to consume me. It’s life source is not from You, but from the enemy of Your dreams and desires for my life. It continually desires to place me ahead of You. It so wants to be the object of affection that is fleeting and selfish. This flow is not like a spring formed in the mountain that flows to the mountain side – cool and refreshing, pure and untainted, filling and from a life giving life source. This flow is more like a murky stream, ill-colored and smeared with sinful flesh, smelly and life draining, filled with fear and unknown consequences that only lead to death. Take this flow that comes from the enemy of my soul and make it new. Take the life source of this stream and reroute it from You – my true Life Source. The Creator of the heavens and earth. The Author of all cool mountain springs. The Creator of me. The Author and the Finisher of my Faith and Lover of my soul. As You clean the life source of this spring, take out all the impurities of my mind and heart from this spring. Make my soul clean and pure before You and You alone! Fill it with You – Jesus – Love – Faith – Grace – Mercy!
Jesus, call me to the deep waters, take me from the shallows. I want to go there in the midst of being displaced. I will trust You in the midst of my questions. Call me to the place I can only trust in You. Call me to the place that scientists marvel at Your attention to detail and beauty. Take me to the place where the pressure is so great, if it weren’t for Your Presence, I would burst. Take me to the secret place where Your Spirit hovers and covers all. Take me to the place where You are. I want to go there, just You and me. I want to lay in Your arms and just know the intimacy of My Father’s Love – for me. I want to experience Your Love in a way that only your presence can flow through me!
Fear be gone! I am going to tread the water of the unknown. Loneliness be gone! In the mystery of your presence, my faith in You sustains me. Pride be gone! I am Yours, and You are mine!
Let my trust not have the boarders this world tries to place on You! Spirit Lead Me! Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. Let my faith be made stronger in the presence of You Jesus! Love cover and transform me! Grace abound in the deep! Lead me to the place where Your sovereignty is the only source!
Lord I call on You! I will keep my eyes on You! My soul rests in Your embrace and Your work in me!
Special Treat…My wife wrote this! Man it is good stuff! Thanks Babe for sharing your heart with us all! I Love You!
When I think of going deeper, I imagine digging a large whole in the ground. I am one who doesn’t mind getting dirty. I’m the girl who would rather get dirt under my nails then wear gardening gloves. It makes me feel strong and I can look down at my hands and know I made a difference. Even if that difference is as small as digging a whole to plant a few flowers.
When I am digging deeper into the ground, at first I feel strong and proud, but depending on how deep I have to go, I can begin to get tired and overwhelmed.
This makes me think of my life journey with Jesus. When things get hard, or I don’t understand the journey He has me on, I am typically very strong. “We got this Jesus, you and me together no problem!” And I am good for a while.
BUT THEN IT HAPPENS… I get tired and overwhelmed! I start to doubt that I can do this! I allow the negativity of the enemy to seep into my thoughts. It becomes easier to not read my Bible, or talk to Him that day. I grow weary, my calluses hurt, I just don’t want to today Jesus.
And then I hear Him say, “I want to go deeper!”
“I can’t go deeper Jesus, I have gone far enough, now it hurts, I am exhausted and I don’t know if I have anything left.”
“I want to go deeper“, He says to my heart.
“How is that even possible Lord?”
“Because my yoke is easy and my burden is light! Because I see you, I see your hurt and I see your pain. I see your future and the plans I have for you! Let me take you deeper!”
“Yes Lord, but how?”
“By trusting in me! Allowing me to do a work in you that will hurt and it will be hard, BUT, oh my child, the reward is breathtaking! The relationship that will grow between us will be beautiful! The beauty that will come from me taking you deeper will be indescribable! Trust me my daughter, I promise it will be worth it!!”
And then, as I trust Him to take me deeper, I know that I will be able to look inside my heart and unlike the dirty hands from digging into the earth, my heart will beat ever so strong and pure! My life will be a reflection of Him, and the flowers will bloom once again!
Will you let him take you deeper? Will you allow there to be beauty in the hurt and the hardness of life?
Today I choose to go deeper! Will you go with me, better yet – with Him?