the Water of Life comes only from Jesus

Posts tagged “God the Father

Spring is Now

I was driving on Ruston Way last night. It was after dark, and I was surprised multiple groups of people out, and I thought, Yup, it’s Spring now. There are jokes about what constitutes appropriate weather for going out in the Pacific Northwest; our threshold for what counts as “too chilly” seems to be higher than in other regions, and especially after long, gray winters, we tend to look outside and think, “close enough.” The people I saw walking the waterfront were mostly bundled up in blankets and puffy coats because, despite the lovely sunny day, the evening was very chilly.

I couldn’t help thinking how these people were determined to enjoy the season. Despite the weather report or the temperature, the fact remains that it is Spring, and people are starting to live like it’s Spring. And I couldn’t help thinking that this is a spiritual truth as well: When the season we’re in changes, sometimes the weather of our lives looks pretty much the same at first; or maybe a terrific storm comes when before it was simply cold, and it seems like Winter is only restarting and nothing is improving, or it’s actually getting worse. But the fact remains that the days of death and cold are over, and the days ahead are getting warmer and brighter; new life is blossoming, things are changing, because despite the weather, the season remains.

Of course, tomorrow is the day believers across the globe celebrate the Resurrection of the Son of God, and the consequent resurrection of every story that was marred by death. This season, the season of Abundant Life, zoé perissós*, goes on without end. All the darkness tries to hide the truth, to convince us that the storm and the cold and the gloom are here to stay; but the darkness cannot change the fact that life is here and now. We are able with Christ to live the way we were meant to, to walk out the story God has written for us, despite the weather. The days of death are over; Spring is here.

.

*John 10:10

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Leaving Ashes

The phoenix is one of my favorite symbols: It’s a mythical fire bird which consumes itself in flames and rises renewed from the ashes. It doesn’t do this just once, but many times, so that it lives on and on. It reminds me of the beautiful passage from Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me. . . 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… (Isaiah 61:1, 3 ESV)

I can’t help thinking about this creature and these verses on this first day of the new year, as I say goodbye to 2015 (I won’t miss it at all), and look forward to a brand new year. I woke up today and it was as if I had new eyes too see everything; I had hope and joy for the days ahead like I haven’t had in quite some time—maybe ever. Today truly is a new day; all the days before are gone, and they cannot tell me who I am or hold me back from where God is leading me. I am ready to leave those ashes behind, no looking back, for the beauty and the joy of walking with the Lord in His all-consuming fire.

It is a happy new year indeed.


Pining

Long lay the world in sin and error, pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth

I was listening to this song the other day in my car. It’s an incredibly familiar song, so familiar I could sing it in my sleep. And yet on this day, when this song came on my Christmas playlist shuffle, God dropped an understanding on my head of these lines that has thoroughly ruined it for me (in the best way).

I always thought about this part as a poetic little description of the world’s need for a Savior. Now that’s probably still true, but even more true is this: The world was pining for the story which was spoken right out of heaven, which sin and error made us forget. This goes right in hand with what the Lord has been saying in our church body recently. It’s not that people were so horrible, but that they were so lost, so unaware of the worth they always had in the Father’s eyes, so unable to remember who they really were. For God so loved the world

Jesus is the embodiment of the promise of God’s love. He is the hope and the grace for every soul to walk in the wonderful story God imagined for them before they were born.

This isn’t a new message. This is the Gospel, the eternal Word. This is what God has been saying all along. You are worth everything.

A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

If you’re thirsty for more, check out the latest sermons from Zion’s River here.

Recommended Listening:


Positive Belief

I was driving home tonight after hearing a popular Christian speaker, who at one point talked about becoming everything God has designed us to be. This entails believing who He is and what He says, and who I am, which led me down a rabbit hole of thoughts until I distinctly heard, “What is keeping you from believing God?”

So don’t quote me on this, all you math and science people, but I heard once that, mathematically speaking, there’s no such thing as “deceleration.” It’s actually represented in equations as negative acceleration: If you’re going faster and faster, the number is positive, and if you’re slowing down, the number is negative, but both numbers in the equations represent a change in speed. And you’re thinking, I didn’t come here for a math lesson… So the point:

There’s a man in the Bible who, when Jesus talked to him about his belief, honestly and wisely blurted out, “I do believe! Help me in my unbelief!” (That’s in Mark chapter 9). Now the unbelief here is in reference to Jesus, what he is capable of, who he is. But if the man didn’t believe one thing, it’s because he did, ever so subtly, believe something else.

So when Adam and Eve were in the garden, God basically told them, “All I have here is yours: All the food, the whole garden to enjoy, except just leave this one tree alone. But everything else, have at it!” And they were content for awhile to dwell there, believing God’s word that He had given them everything they needed.

And then there’s this snake.

He comes up to Eve and says, “Did God really…?” And she questions what God said. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, she just has to stop and think. But the serpent keeps going, on and on about how this one tree is so great, and how important and special it is, and how God is withholding this from her, and how she’s missing out on something… The lies begin to creep in, clashing with the truth, and all Eve is doing so far is weighing these two opposing words, but now she has a choice to make: Who will she believe?

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate… (Genesis 3:6)

We all know how that turned out.

The point here is that she only began to disbelieve what God said when someone else started talking. The enemy whispered in her ear, just like he did to the man in Mark, just like he does to us: You don’t have what you need, God won’t come through for you, you can’t trust God… And there is a choice to make: Will you believe the fear, the shame, the past, the coworker or friend or family member or random stranger who said that thing? Because if you’re having trouble believing something God says, it’s because you believe something else—it’s a negative belief. If you’re not believing the truth, you’re believing a lie, and lies are all the enemy has. He can’t tell you who you are, but he can try to convince you of who you are not.

Believing what God says about who you are and what you’re capable of, even if you’re not entirely sure what that is yet, will cause an acceleration in you to live the story He wrote about you while He was still singing the stars into being. And God is immeasurably excited about you and your amazing story (because Amazing are the only stories God writes).

So: What is keeping you from believing God?


The Flow

My site here is called “Be in the Flow”, and some may be wondering why; I have. It did sound good when I named it that, but I didn’t just want a name that sounded cool or catchy, I wanted a name that described what this blog is about. So, what is “The Flow” and why should anyone be in it?

The flow I’m referring to is a river that comes down from the throne of God; it flows through His city and His people; it’s His presence and all that He is. We were meant to always be immersed in it, in Him, but something went awry in the beginning: we rejected the flow. We turned to what we could manage, to deciding what is right and wrong, to holding others to our standard. We exchanged the flow of the river of God for the bog of our own understanding.

In the biblical temple of the nation of Israel, the Holy of Holies was separated from the people behind a great thick curtain. Behind the veil in this place rested the Ark of the Covenant, the tangible representation of the Presence, and no one but the High Priest, and only once a year, could go in before it. When Jesus’ spirit departed his body in death, the earth shook violently, the sky darkened… and the veil was torn in two. No longer would the Presence of God be confined and hidden from His people, but because of the one sacrifice of the Christ, God became accessible again.

Many people think being a Christian is only about being a good person and going to heaven when you die, but that’s not it. It’s about regaining access to God directly, living in the flow of His love and power, experiencing a life out of heaven right here on earth. There is nothing separating you from Him! Nothing is in the way, nothing can keep you from Him. He desires you to be in the flow, always.

This word about the presence is resonating throughout God’s church; the presence is the one thing God wants His people focused on. For a much more eloquent and powerful word on this one thing, please follow the link below!

The One Thing

 Also, check out my Info page for more about the flow and this blog.


Joyful Anyway

So I’ve written before about all the stressful things that are going on in my life; it is crazy hard and frustrating right now. I had had it with one thing after another cropping up without reprieve, and was wallowing in this despair one day recently when suddenly, as I was preparing eloquent complaints in my mind, I heard very clearly: “What do you want people to know about your life?” That stopped me dead in my thoughts; before I share my answer to that question though, I’d like to share this:

If anyone ever suffered for the sake of the gospel, surely Paul did. He was ridiculed, slandered, imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, threatened numerous times with death, and generally lived a fairly miserable life after his journey on the road to Damascus. Yet he writes to the Philippians (most likely from Rome during his imprisonment): “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13). Paul’s secret was trusting God and relying on His strength, in every circumstance, no matter what it looked like. Some people say faith is blind, but that’s not true at all. Faith does see, yet it does not rely on sight but on revelation from heaven. Paul went to Jerusalem on purpose, even though he knew terrible happenings awaited him; one prophet even bound himself up with Paul’s own belt as a prophetic gesture to the imprisonment Paul would face (Acts 21:10-11). Paul had a heads-up that after Jerusalem, things would not be so fun for him; and yet, in response to the pleading of his friends, he says: “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). Paul had his eyes on the Lord, and was determined to allow God’s glory to be brought through him no matter what happened.

It’s not easy to hope for what you can’t see; to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and not on the trials. How hard it must have been for Paul, not knowing if this imprisonment would be to his death. We all hope for things to change for the better, and we know God can do miracles, but what if He allows us to be tested, as He did Job? What if He wants us to bring glory to Him in terrible dark places? To show the enemy that our praise and worship of God isn’t because of what we get from Him, but because of who He is?

Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) faced this dilemma. When ratted out by malicious Chaldeans for not worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, and threatened by the king with death in the superheated furnace, they responded (honorably) to him thus: “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, emphasis added). The three of them were resolved that no situation or outcome would sway them from worshipping the Most High God, even if it meant death for them. What if there is no rescue, no healing, no deliverance? Do we love and trust the Lord so much that we pray, like Jesus did, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39)? Do we really want glory brought to His name more than anything else? This kind of faith, this kind of living, is not easy. It cannot be done without the power of His Holy Spirit, His strength in us; it can’t be done without daily being immersed in His presence, falling more in love with Him, dying more to ourselves.

And so, as the question of what I want people to know when they look at my life echoed in my mind, I realized that I don’t want people to know how poor and miserable and pitiful I am, sucking the life out of every conversation and relationship. My spirit rose up in me then with a desire for people to know instead how God is always faithful, always good; how He is trustworthy, and gracious, and powerful, and worth all of the suffering there may be ahead of me: for the people who would see Him clearly for the first time because of His light shining from me, illuminating His face for them, and for the glory that might be brought to Him through it all.

Hebrews talks about how all those great faithful people of the Bible never actually saw the fulfillment of the promises made to them while they lived on the earth, but they were not dismayed because they knew they were part of something huge, bigger even than their whole lives; something that had eternal significance. This is what they had faith in; this was their hope.

This is why I am striving to be joyful in my life, no matter what it looks like. By no means have I even begun to live this way. But my heart and my eyes are set on Him, as I slowly let my own desires die, because really, my life was never supposed to be about me anyway.


The King of Love

So many people, when they think about approaching God, imagine something like this:

angry_dad1

But God is actually more like this:

fun_dad

God wants to be with you.

lion_dad2

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.[…] (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

lion_dad3

God is Love.

He Loves You.

Seriously.

lion-cub_dad

He is The King; He is mighty, powerful, and worthy of honor. But His everlasting, unconditional love must be understood first; without it, He doesn’t make sense.


Limbo

I was talking to my very good friend last night about my current life situation(s) and all the uncertainty that comes with, and she remarked that “Limbo” seems like the story of my life right now.

Oh, that is the most apt description of my life I have ever heard.

My autobiography could be titled “Limbo” with the subtitle, “How low can you go (and still trust God)?”
(I know that’s mixing metaphors, but it’s still true.)

In the past year I have started college solely by financial aid, lost my job, been unable yet to find a new job, had to move out of my lovely apartment and in with a friend (who is absolutely wonderful, by the way); and just today I found out that a class I took this quarter may be worthless as it pertains to my degree requirements. These are a few of the recent major happenings of my life and, needless to say, I am stressed.

I’ll admit it, this post is a little ranty, but I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

My favorite passage in Scripture when I first got saved was Matthew 6:25-34; you could call it the “Do Not Worry” mini-sermon (it is part of the portion known as the Sermon on the Mount). Jesus says that no one should worry about anything: if God feeds sparrows and clothes flowers, both of which are virtually useless, then He will certainly take care of a person’s every need; if one seeks Him first, that person will be supplied from heaven. It is certainly true, and I believe God keeps His promises, but man is it hard!

I feel like I am going through training on how to be Paul: “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:11-12).

Some may say I should think about people in other countries, especially those experiencing actual persecution for the faith. It is true: I can’t hold a candle to their suffering. When I look at the things other people go through, it makes me seem downright “whiny”. A wise woman once said something to effect of, “We don’t get to decide what is a big deal to someone else.” We can’t compare our own suffering to that of others.

After writing all of that, I am reminded of this: God Is Who He says He Is, regardless of circumstance or experience. He Is faithful, He Is love, He Is power.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

His plans for our welfare don’t mean we all get a Ferrari and a house on the coast. His plans for our welfare mean everything will be taken care of, even if it’s not the way we imagined or planned: I didn’t plan on being an unemployed student, while seeing many of my friends happily married, some with kids, able to pay their own bills.
God’s plans are also for His glory. What seems hard to us on earth—finding a job, finding a mate, breaking addiction, leaving the past, fighting through illness, mastering emotions—all of this is easy for God, not because it is meaningless, but because He is God. Jesus lived on the earth: he experienced the hard life first-hand—he even asked God to not have him go to the cross… But he went, because he trusted God, and God said that was the only way that Jesus could be The Way.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 (Paul)

We can’t compare our sufferings on earth with those of others, because what tears the heart of a person can’t be measured by other people. But when I look to heaven, not as a coming thing but as something that is here now—as Jesus said, it is in our midst—then my hope is restored; there is glory to be revealed to us, and also through us:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:19

God has something amazing to bring through us, to be witnessed by those on earth and in the heavenly realms. Some of those in the heavenly realms include the enemy, who hates us and will do everything he can to get our eyes off God and on what’s wrong, and he’s good at it. But my God is greater, and I know my story isn’t over yet.

…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:2-5

I know that His love is big enough for me to tell Him how I really feel; I know He holds me, and I know He is leading me. So after I’ve flopped down and complained, I get up and brush off the dirt and follow after Him, and I know He’s still smiling at me.


A Taste of Eternity

I have found that lately I am increasingly fond of the sky. I just love looking at it. I’m fascinated by the colors and textures and light and movement: even if the sky has certain patterns and tendencies, it’s never the same. I always think it’s beautiful, no matter what the weather is like.

I was driving along minding my own business, admiring the sky in such fashion, when all of a sudden God showed me something about healing:

It was an overcast day (which isn’t odd for Washington), so the sky was covered in a rolling blanket of pale gray clouds. I then saw a little rift in the clouds, and the sun shone through, warm and bright, for a moment, and then slowly the clouds rolled over the light and covered it again.

It struck me then that the light didn’t go anywhere, but it was only blocked from view. That is when God began to show me this is how it is when He heals someone: if the physical world we live in is the shroud of clouds, then healing is when God gives us a glimpse of the realm of heaven. It is only a glimpse, because even if someone’s body is completely and perfectly healed here on earth, it will still keep on being alive and therefore aging and changing; since that person still lives in this fallen world, they may still get sick with a cold or encounter some other health issue. Ultimately these bodies weren’t made to last forever. Healing, like many of the things God does, is a taste of eternity.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
John 5:2-9

Scripture doesn’t say whether or not Jesus then attended to the “multitude” of other people who were there awaiting healing, but I think it is safe to assume he did not. Some people may be wondering why, if God can heal them, He chooses not to; they may even think it’s because He doesn’t love them. God’s love for us is as great as He Himself is great—all of His being is consumed with love for us! Healing is a display of His glory and power, and while it is wonderful for the person being healed, it isn’t just for them but for everyone else who sees it or hears about it as well. While God does heal out of love, it is not the proof of His love. The proof of His love is His Son, who went to death on a cross on our behalf, and who returned to life in power to give us power and hope for today.

. . .[H]e himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. . . .having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. . .
Acts 17:25-27

Even if someone has an infirmity that isn’t yet healed, they can still experience a taste of heaven every day. When we seek to know God more, to live in His presence, listen to His voice, and act on what He says and reveals, we are not only experiencing heaven ourselves, but we then bring it with us wherever we go. If someone is consumed with the healing they don’t have, however, they can never experience the fullness of joy and life that God intends for them. An infirmity, like everything else in this world, is only temporary; it will all pass away when the world passes away.
I am not suggesting it is easy, but I am asserting that your pain, your handicap, your illness and your hurts are not your true identity: You are a beloved child of God! His plans for you are enormous, and through Him you are able to overcome all things. We should pray for healing for each other, as Jesus commands us to heal in the power of the Spirit he gives us. But healing is more than just relief or even performing a cool miracle: just as everything we do or say by the Holy Spirit,  it is about bringing heaven on earth—letting God have His way for His glory. One day, when “the grey rain-curtain of this world is rolled back,”* we will be completely healed, forever. Yet as the light of the sun never disappears but is only hidden by the clouds, so is heaven present here and now, though we only catch glimpses of it.

——-

*Reference to The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The Walk

I wrote this in my personal journal over a year ago now, when I was feeling very discouraged. Perhaps it will encourage someone else today.
___________________________________________________

The Walk
or
A Soldier’s Complaint

Walking.

Walking.

Always walking.

I am walking to the land He has given me to possess; I am walking in it, to possess it.

Jeremiah 29:11.

I’ve walked through deserts; through dim valleys and lush fields.
I’ve scaled high, steep hills; I’ve climbed long, shallow ones.
Through rain and sun, night and day, I have walked.

When I have walked alive, I have been dead. And when I have died, I have walked in new life.
And what I have lost along the way—it is worthless; to what I have gained, all the world does not compare.
I have nothing left, yet I have everything I have ever needed; indeed the desires of my heart are mine.

Jeremiah 29:11.

I’ve fought—I’ve fought, and been victorious, and I’ve also given up victories.
I’ve swung the sword and thrown the dagger and held fast the shield.
I’ve put on the armor, and I’ve forgotten the armor.
I’ve been wounded. I’ve been in pain.
I’ve been healed, restored, renewed.
In battles, in the war, I have fought.

Jeremiah 29:11.

I’ve died!
I’ve died to all things, slowly and assuredly; and even to this day, I am dying!
I am walking, I am fighting—fighting for what? Walking where?

Jeremiah 29:11
My Darling, do you not trust Me?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for harm, plans to give you a future
and a hope.

I am so weary, I am so drained…

Run, and do not grow weary.

I can’t see where I’m going, I have to stop…

Walk, and do not grow faint.

What if I can’t run this race set before me? How can I go on?

I am with you always

Even to the end of the age…

My life is not my own. I am not my own.
You are all I have; You are all I want! I am only alive in You, and life flows through me from You.
You refresh my soul, restore my strength, and quench my thirst.
You fill my heart when I open it wide, and I overflow when I do not shut it up.

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

So I run.

I run, sword in my hand, shield on my arm.
I run, my face to the sky and my eyes to the hills; through the tempest and the eye, through the shadows and the light.
I am the torch, I carry the flame; running always for the prize,

For I know the plans I have for you

Keep running.

plans for welfare and not for harm

Keep fighting.

plans to give you a future and a hope.

Running home, to my Father and my Groom; fighting alongside my King and my Lord.

I have a future.

I have hope.

[Original: 28 January 2012]


The Re-Beaten Path

I grew up in a neighborhood on a closed military base, so I had the luxury of running wild outside (at least until the streetlights came on). My parents strategically chose the house we lived in from a number of others available because it was within walking distance of a lake (with lifeguards on duty) and, as my sister and I soon found out, miles of woods and trails. In the summers, if we weren’t swimming at the lake, we would spend literally all day out in the woods with our friends, either making forts or exploring old trails and creating new ones. For a bunch of kids, I’d say we were pretty good at making trails; all we really had to do was find an appropriate stick and beat the blackberry vines into submission, and maybe break or move a fallen branch here and there. The only downside is that every summer when we’d go back into the woods again, we would have to remake most of our trails, because they’d be overgrown.

This morning, Pastor Lorelei talked about the five aspects of shame that Pastor James has talked about in recent sermons*. Apart from the major message, this one part caught my attention, and I’ve been chewing on it all day since: The idea that we as humans tend to fixate both on our own failings and the failings of others as they pertain to us. We have all said or done not-so-great things in our lives, and we have all had not-so-great things said or done to us, sometimes by people who are very important to us. We tend to hold very tightly to these things; we set up little shrines to them in our souls, even unintentionally, and we hold them up as things that cannot be overcome. “But I had this happen to me” or “But I’ve done this” becomes our excuse, sometimes very subtly, to not believe God or do what He’s asking us to. These are objections to which God generally replies, “So what?” Not because He is uncaring; He cares very much for you and loves you beyond your comprehension. But He is the God of the universe; He can do anything! He is in the business of miracles and transforming lives; there is nothing that He cannot overcome. However, there is that small matter of free-will choice. God is a “gentleman” and therefore will not force His will upon any person. He invites us to walk on a certain path with Him, but we must forsake all other paths to do so. Pastor Lorelei put it somewhat like this: “How can you move into the promised land if you’re still living in Egypt? The commute is too far!”

The picture I had when this subject came up was of remaking overgrown trails in the woods as a kid. We would follow the same paths to visit the same places all the time, so that the trails became well-worn and familiar enough that we didn’t even have to look for them anymore. If we stopped using one though, after awhile the vines would grow over the trail, fallen leaves and branches would cover it, weeds and bushes would hide it, and it would eventually disappear. If we wanted it to stay, we’d have to keep using it and tending to it, or we wouldn’t be able to get to that tree or that lookout place anymore. There were some trails we lost completely and forgot where they had been in the first place.

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
–Isaiah 43:18-19

It is ok to forget how to get back to Egypt. God isn’t going to ask you to go back into bondage when that’s what He has saved you from; in fact, He warns Israel multiple times to never turn back. He wants us to move forward with Him. God designed us to follow Him on the path he chose for us, forsaking all others. We don’t get to walk the path He has for someone else that we think looks good, or the ones we have made for ourselves either. We all have paths we’ve tended, so we don’t forget how to get back to this offense, or that hurt, or those memories, all reasons why “I’m a broken person.” God can heal anything, if we let Him. He will open up new paths we have never seen to places we can’t yet fathom, and we’ll end up doing amazing things: all more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Trust the Lord and His leading; let all the other trails become overgrown, until you forget where they were and what they led to. And don’t listen to Satan, when he tries to get you to remake old paths. When he comes along and reminds you of those things “they” did or “they” told you, or all the times you’ve messed up, just reply, “So what?” and keep walking with the Lord.

*Unlock the Door: You and Dogs

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The link below is to a video made for the Crossing the River service to be held at Zion’s River on May 3, 2013. It’s not just a cool ceremony to parallel the biblical crossing of the Jordan by Israel under the leadership of Joshua; it’s a prophetic action for us as we are moving into the territory God has promised us, and forsaking our Egypt.

Crossing the River


Image

Grace Like an Avalanche

likeanavalanche2

Colored pencil & oil pastel on hot press board. *Please don’t copy or save this image*

This is a project I had to do for an art class, actually: a musically-inspired piece.
The song that I chose is “Like and Avalanche” by Hillsong United.
I strongly encourage you to listen to the song as you consider my work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9eS41sxvPQ
Feel free to turn it up!

All the elements of this picture reflect aspects of the song, or at least how it affected me at the time. I’m certain that if I did another on the same song, it would look very different.

I have always loved this song since the first time I heard it. While it’s called “Like an Avalanche,” it makes me think of tidal waves. God’s presence and love is like the song: it is gentle and beautiful and joyful; but it is also powerful and fierce, and can overwhelm you with little warning. Grace is more than “unmerited favor” or even forgiveness of sins; grace is the power of God in the life of one who believes Him to be who He says they are, and to live as He has called them.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” —Ephesians 2:4-7
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” —Romans 5:7-10