Monday, March 24, 2014

Holy Fire [Part 2]

Just thinking, a little more on the same topic as the other day.  I wrote a couple of days ago in a post titled, "Holy Fire," as I was thinking about how the Bible tells us that "Our God is a consuming fire," in so many places, and uses language to describe him as our refiner, etc.  It was pretty mind blowing and amazing.

Then, yesterday I believe it was, I was thinking on this again.  

Jesus said, 

John 15:1-6 - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." 

Many times in Scripture, the Lord refers to us as being a part of a plant, like this vine, or a great tree.  

...Yet... He's a consuming fire?  Plants and fire... together... usually produces ash, does it not?  Kinda like the unfruitful branches that are gathered and thrown into the fire, as Jesus says in that analogy.

Well look at this:

Exodus 3:2-4 - "And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, 'I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.' When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'"

I dunno... Does that strike anyone else as AMAZING?  That our holy God, a consuming fire, appears to Moses in a burning bush, and the bush is not consumed.  This plant does not turn to ash.  

Makes me think, if we're abiding in HIM, as the branches abide in the bush, we're safe.  He is a consuming fire; yet his flame does not consume his live-giving and life-preserving self, or those who belong to him.      

Pretty cool stuff, this.  :)  I love how God uses creation to explain himself to us.  And how he appears to us in ways that we can understand "Fire is powerful.  Our God is like that."  "The vine gives life to the branches.  Our God is like that."  

He shows himself in creation... in so many different ways.  He truly is above, in, and through all things. (Romans 11:36)

The Truth Will Set You Free

John 8:31-32 - "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I'm learning:  Jesus is the truth.  And he, exposing lies by the light of his truth, has been setting me free from so much bondage in my life.  Bondage like insecurity.  Pride.  Envy.  Chains that have bound me, he has broken.  PRAISE THE LORD!

I am still a work in progress; I always will be.  This freedom I have been granted is in Christ alone, and in the light of the presence of the Lord my tendency to fall back into these traps is exposed, and by his grace, I am able to continually surrender them to him and allow him to remove them from my life.  It is a cycle of grace.  It is beautiful.  In it, there is freedom and joy.  I am so thankful!

Yet, there are still areas that come up that need to be exposed, still chains that need to be broken.  Through prayer, this one came to my attention the other day, when I was at a near-breaking point, crying out to the Lord for help:

The stronghold of lies.

I have been lied to much of my life.  Lies that come at me in the form of statements, or sometimes, questions.  Much like the serpent with Eve in the garden... There are questions in my mind that begin with, "Did God really say...?"

Jesus described the devil this way...

John 8:44 - "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in himWhen he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Some of the lies that I've been hearing and believing much of my life sound much like this:

"You're failing.  You're a failure."

"You are a problem."

"This is your fault."

"You can't do anything very well."

"What is wrong with you?"

"You are unstable."

"You're not amounting to much of anything, nor can you."

"You have no self-control; you need get a grip and learn to control yourself."

Etc, etc, etc...

Sound familiar?  Perhaps you've heard similar things.

Yet, I am learning some stuff.  God wouldn't say anything like that to me.  In fact, he says the opposite.  He tells me I'm loved and valued.  He tells me that he does everything well, and I am the result of his good work.  He tells me that there is nothing wrong with me that he hasn't been able to fix.  He tells me that he is my stability, my rock.  He tells me that I'm his child, and that I don't have to earn that place.  He tells me that self-control is not a reflection of my effort but a result of his Spirit living and working inside of me.

And he... Is truth.  

He also tells me that he is my righteousness, and that I can be strong in his might.  He tells me there is a battle, and it's spiritual... But all I need to do to win is STAND... with HIM.  Armed with his presence, his words, his life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Ephesians 6:10-17 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand thereforehaving fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

John 15:7 -  "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 - "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."

By God's grace, I am experiencing the joy of his presence and the power of his might.  I am learning remind myself of truth in my life.  When lies come into my head, I'm learning to pick up "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  God's words speak LIFE and over me.  God's words cover me with truth... with Christ.  And this truth can destroy strongholds and set me free.

Galations 5:1 - "For freedom Christ has set us freestand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Proverbs 18:10 - "The name of the Lord is a strong towerthe righteous man runs into it and is safe."

I will not submit to these lies, this yoke of slavery.  I will run into the name of the Lord, my rock and my strong tower.  I will run into the name of Jesus, who is truth and whose true words defeat the enemy and his lies, lifting me up from the pit of destruction. 

Psalm 40:1-5

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry. 
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure. 
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord. 
Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie! 
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told."

John 8:36 - "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

I am free indeed!  GOD IS GOOD!

[Bold emphasis throughout this post is mine.]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Am the Rain [A Poem]

I originally wrote this poem when I was 17, and stumbled across it again the other day.  Thinking "First day of spring" thoughts today, I thought I'd share.


I Am the Rain
By Naomi Thomson 

My feet are shod with silver and my head is bent to hear
The sound of thunder's rolling call
And my comrades riotous cheers.
I am the rain.

The sky is darkened with the breath of need; and I flood in to fill it.
The world is thirsting, I feel it now
And I must fall to feed it.
I am the rain.

It's then that people here and there begin to hear my voice
As I march from heaven in the strength of the wind,
 And these thirsty lands rejoice.
I am the rain.

My feet are strong against the ground, as I march to thunder's clap;
And the ground responds in grateful cheer
With the scent of sweetened sap.
I am the rain.

The taste of moisture upon the tongue of our green earth is sure
To bring a sense of sweet serenity; 
Her thirst has found its cure.
I am the rain.

 I'm nearly finished now, upon this earth today.
The ground is soft and contented again,
And the sky is no longer grey.
I am the rain.

And so I reach up to the sky where thunder’s voice is failing
So that the wind may take me there
And catch me in her sailing.
I am the rain.

Then a vapour, a sweetened mist, on the wind will ride
To catch me in her arms of grace
'Till next the world has cried.
I am the rain.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Heavy Hearted

I wrote this to myself, as a status on Facebook, for the sake of my own heavy heart:

"Dance little one, and hide your tears in the rain. Splash in the puddles and twirl to the waltz of heaven's music. Drown your tears in the abundance of blessings, pouring down from above. Feel the beat of the thunder... and learn to sing along, praising the Lord of lightning, even in the midst of your storms."

I will praise Him in this storm.  

Psalm 61:1-2
"Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I."

Psalm 34:18
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Holy Fire

This is a collection of passages that have been coming to my mind and attention as I've pondered these truths:  Our God is a consuming fire, and Christ is our life.  The words in bold are my comments... And truly... This topic is too big for me.  But I will leave you with some of my thoughts (keeping them brief), a bunch of Scripture, and an exhortation to read the Word.  Learn more about the incredible might of this God whose holiness consumes sin from before His presence like fire, and whose love, when accepted, covers a multitude of sins.


Our God is a consuming fire.

Deuteronomy 4:24 - "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

Isaiah 33:13-16 "Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
    and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
    trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
    who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
    who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
    and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
he will dwell on the heights;
    his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
    his bread will be given him; his water will be sure."

Exodus 24:17 - "Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel."

Psalm 104:31-32 - "May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!"

Hebrews 12:29 - "For our God is a consuming fire."

Our God is a refining fire.

Malachai 3:1-3
 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' 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."

Matthew 3:10-12 - "Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Proverbs 17:3 - "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts." 

Zechariah 13:9 - "And I will put this third into the fire,
    and refine them as one refines silver,
    and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
    and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'"

John 15:5-6 - "
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

Righteousness alone will survive the fire of God's judgment.  Jesus Christ is our righteousness, the one who makes it possible for us to stand before the presence of a holy God, a consuming fire, and not be destroyed. He is also our life, our freedom, our strength. He is our Lord, and our glory.   

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

2 Corinthians 17:-21 - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

1 John 3:2-3 - "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure."

1 Corinthians 3:17-18 - "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Our God will purge and burn sin out of our lives with the refining fire of His presence; but He can make beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:3 - "To grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ; gird yourself with the armour, the strength, and the protection of his presence.

Romans 13:14 -  "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."

Ephesians 6:10-11 - "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." 

Philippians 1:21 - "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. "

Galations 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Let us boast in the Lord, to whom belong wisdom and power and might! 

Daniel 2:21-22 - "...Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him."

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 - "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - "Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.'"

Revelation 5:12 - "...'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!'"

Revelation 7:12 - "...'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.'"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Be Strong in the LORD

Sometimes I post things on Facebook, and then I am sad that they will get lost in the shuffle of new posts, and I'll never see them again.  So, here's my latest bit of encouragement, copy and pasted from my Facebook status.


Why does the obvious take a LONG time to sink in sometimes? Here's what popped out at me tonight... (Emphasis mine, in capital letters.)

Ephesians 6:10-17
"Finally, be strong IN THE LORD and in the strength of HIS MIGHT. Put on the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. STAND therefore, having fastened on the belt of TRUTH, and having put on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the GOSPEL OF PEACE. In all circumstances take up the shield of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of SALVATION, and the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD."

Be strong in HIM. Arm yourself WITH HIM. STAND, having put on TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, FAITH, SALVATION, and the WORD OF GOD. Jesus told us that HE is truth, we can be righteous because of HIM, HIS is the gospel of peace, in HIM we have faith, BY HIM we have salvation, and IN HIS WORDS there is POWER.

You can be strong because HE IS STRONG. Arm yourself, not with things to make YOU stronger - But arm yourself with HIS PRESENCE, in which, there is strength. It is the armour OF GOD that we are to wear - Not just "From God" but OF HIM. It IS HIM. Be strong in the power of... HIS MIGHT. All you have to do is put on CHRIST... And then, stand. HE is strong enough to save you.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

So Precious

So Precious
A poem by Naomi Thomson

From the balcony she watches
the people far below.
Rushing here and there
in the fallen winter snow.

Warm hats and mittens, 
frost bitten toes,
Impressions of life bursting
with joy that ever grows.

Lacey hats and rosey cheeks
and stylish winter minks
Look something like a fairy tale,
"So pretty," she often thinks.

Happy couples ice skate,
or at least, they always try.
He looks at her and seems to say
"So pretty," with his eyes.

Some days from in that balcony,
watching life below,
She thinks how nice it could be
to be down there in the snow.

To be a girl with rosey cheeks
who those from windows say
That every time she passes by,
"So pretty she looks today."

The thought makes her smile,
she looks forward to that day.
"Patience me," she tells herself,
"Patience is the way."

Months go by, the seasons change,
and still the thoughts remain.
"So pretty," they all still seem to be
Yet, still, she stays the same.

Hope still lingers in her heart, 
and still she always says,
"Patience is a virtue,"
and "I can wait, these long long days. "

Yet somehow, she begins to doubt
that she can live down there.
Who would say those words of her,
or would they even dare?

A tear begins to form in her eye, 
"What would they see of me?"
When suddenly a voice, from up above, 
says, "So precious you are to me."

A gentle Voice, it was that day
which told her she was lovely.
'Twas the Voice of He who made her,
the one who created beauty.

"Come to me," He said to her,
"Walk, skate, dance, and see;
That from above, I look down and say,
"So precious you are to me."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's All About Jesus

Been thinking... And I want to write more on this... But since I'm just BURSTING with it right now, I had to share.

LIFE - Is ALL about Jesus.  Jesus came to walk among us, be among us, live among us, love among us.  And today, we still serve a God who is present with us.

Life is in Jesus.  Joy is in Jesus.  Happiness is in Jesus.  Hope is in Jesus.  Wisdom is in Jesus.  Truth is in Jesus.  Love is in Jesus.  All of it... It's all about Jesus.

So where life is present, Jesus is there.  Where joy is present, Jesus is there.  Where happiness is present, Jesus is there.  Where hope is present, Jesus is there. Where wisdom is, Jesus is there.  Where truth is, Jesus is there.  Where love is, Jesus is there.  In everything... HE IS HERE.  Today.  Now.  Present in the present.  He is WITH us!

And I... Could not be happier about that.  :)