R.T. Kendall recently wrote an amazing book, Holy Fire. He shares a story about a British couple who were sent by their denomination to be missionaries in Israel some years ago. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem.
After being there for a few weeks, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eave of the roof of their home. They were thrilled; they took it as a seal from God on their being in Israel. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they would slam a door or get into an argument with each other.
“How do you feel about the dove?” Sandy asked Bernice.
“It is like a seal from the Lord on being in Israel,” she replied.
“But have you noticed that every time we slam a door or start shouting at each other, the dove flies away?”
“Yes, I am so afraid the dove will fly away and not come back,” she said.
“Either the dove adjusts to us, or we adjust to the dove,” Sandy concluded.
They both knew that the dove was not going to adjust to them. They mutually agreed they would adjust to the dove. The decision changed their lives, just to keep a bird at their home!
The dove is a shy, sensitive bird. But the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove in each of the four gospels (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) is a thousand times more sensitive than a turtle dove.
John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Messiah because he had been told to look for the Dove to come down on a particular man. There is more! He was not only to see the Spirit come down as a dove, the dove would remain on Him. In fact, the word remain is mentioned two times in John 1:32-33. The Dove never flew away from Jesus because He never grieved the Spirit.
When the heavenly Dove came down on Jesus of Nazareth, He felt completely at home. It is as though the Dove said, “I like it here. I am staying here.”
The Holy Spirit was at home with the Lord Jesus.
This truth has challenged Judy and me. We have made it a goal to make sure the Dove rests on us, our relationship and our home. The Holy Spirit is sensitive and He will only be comfortable in a peaceful, forgiving and wholesome atmosphere.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Grieving the Spirit means “the Dove flies away.” It doesn’t mean we lose our salvation, but it does mean the anointing diminishes, that is, the sense of His presence is gone.
Grieving the Spirit is the easiest thing in the world to do.
Ephesians 4:29 & 31 describe how we grieve the Spirit: unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice.
Verse 32 shows us how to let the Dove remain on us and our home:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
When the Holy Spirit comes down on us there is literally nothing like it in the world. The peace! The joy! We want time to stop! Love overwhelms us! We don’t want to hear a phone ring or a knock at the door! If only it would last forever.
As long as it lasts, you will find yourself calm and instilled with a deep, holy peace.
How do you let the Dove remain? The answer is quite simple, find out what grieves the Holy Spirit and don’t do that.
True growth in your spiritual life is measured as the time-gap between sin and repentance. In other words, how long does it take you before you realize – or admit – that you sinned?
If you can narrow the time-gap to seconds you are often able to sense the wings of the Dove flapping and ready to fly off – and you stop yourself. Don’t finish that sentence! Don’t write the letter! Don’t make the phone call!
Nothing is worth grieving the Spirit. Let the Dove remain.
I used to think survival was a weak term. I liked overcomer so much better. It just sounded more victorious...you know...stronger, I guess. As I walked through the journey of breast cancer...I never thought of myself as being a breast cancer survivor, that just sounded so frail and weak to me. So, I continued to say, "I'm an overcomer," - that made me feel stronger and I believe I was actually declaring my own outcome, which is good and scriptural.
But I think I could have also missed something very valuable. Yes, I was speaking by faith for my future, which is what the Word of God says to do, but I think there was still a 'Present Tense', an in-the-moment experience that I needed to acknowledge and learn from.
When the title theme, From Survival to Revival, for the Women of Faith season was shared, it really caught my attention and I found myself studying both terms. So now when I look at this term 'Survival'...I see it much differently.
As I read about survivors, I thought about the courage and strength that it takes to keep an 'I'm Not Gonna Give Up' attitude. I've watched films made from real life stories of people who survived what seemed impossible odds. No matter what journey we are on in life, I can promise you at one time or another you are going to need a Courageous Heart and an 'I'm Not Gonna Give Up' attitude.
A survivor is one who has made it through a very difficult circumstance in life...and that’s great! But they are usually exhausted, often too weak to function like they normally had before this challenge occurred.
Survival is the end of that particular traumatic experience. It's at that point that we breathe a sigh of relief. But our strength can be totally depleted and we may even collapse under the weight of the circumstance.
I have seen boxers revived with smelling salts after being knocked out because of a bad blow to the head or severe exhaustion. The trainer grabs some smelling salts and puts it directly under their nose. They are awakened quickly! It's like they snapped out of a deep slumber. They shake their heads and try to regain full consciousness, as they struggle to their feet.
We can fall into complacency in our everyday life. We can receive a verbal, physical or emotional hit and feel knocked to our knees. That's when we may need smelling salts.
A Spiritual Revival has the same effect on our life as 'Smelling Salts'. The Spirit of God Awakens us and revives us from exhaustion and a sleepy, I'm-too-tired-to-go-on attitude.
My hope for all of us is that God will bring us those 'Supernatural Smelling Salts', and Wake us Up! Survival is the end of a very difficult experience, but Revival is the beginning of a greater experience!
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Today we welcome guest blogger, Sarah Prevost. Sarah is a high school senior who attends Crossfire Church and will be going to school in the fall to pursue an art degree. She is now blogging at Christian Teen Perspectives.
Christian Teen Perspectives, by Sarah Prevost
Yes, homosexuality is a difficult topic to tackle, especially as a Christian in America. Well, I want to really go into depth with this topic and show some really important points that many of us have forgotten.
In America, Christians have taken on different views on homosexuality. Some say that homosexuals are going straight to hell, and others say that God loves them anyway and they should be happy. I am not going to say that either of these points are correct or wrong. In this topic of conversation, I am going to lay out what the Bible says. Straight biblical fact. So I will start with what it says about homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not practice homosexuality. It is a detestable sin." God is disgusted by sin. He hates all sin. This is not to say that he hates the people who sin because that is not true, which is said in Ephesians 1:4.
Anyways, another verse that talks about homosexuality is Romans 1:27. It discusses how God allowed people to have free will and they decided to exchange his word for lies and “men abandoned natural relationships with women and were inflamed with lust with one another.” It then says that they “received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” The Lord let them make choices but still gave them the punishment for their sins.
In 1 Corinthians, it says in chapter six verse nine, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders...” It goes on to list others who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Now this all sounds like judgment and seems discouraging but there is more to it than this. It says in Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Every single person in the world, past and present have sinned. None of us can live up to be good enough. It also says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.” So all, ALL of us deserve death. Not just the murderers or the rapists, but all of us. No sin is bigger than another. Homosexuality is no bigger than lying, stealing, or murder, but just because some seem to be “small” sins, that doesn't mean that they are. As I said, no sin is bigger than another. And if we break one sin then we are guilty and “accountable for all of them.” (James 2:10)
Now don't stop reading now, it gets better! I didn't finish the rest of the verse of Romans 6:23 because I wanted to save the next point for later. It says, “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Though we all sin (even me), God has this free gift that he will give us if we do some simple things. Romans 10:9-10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
These things will ensure your salvation but you must also do something else. You must turn from your sin. 1 Peter 3:11 says, “He must turn from evil and do good. He must seek peace and pursue it.” 'He' is referring to all of us. God wants us to turn from our sin and follow him wholeheartedly. Not just a little bit but with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Well, I really hope this helped clear some things up. Some more related verses are listed below.
2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 John 1:9
1 John 4:7-8
Photo: Art Wave Web Design
"A fence" - can come in all colors...types...heights...styles and lengths. They are used to either keep things in or out, but they are always used to separate.
When the kids were younger we had a pool in our backyard; by law we were required to put up a fence. When we built the fence, we choose it carefully. We wanted to see beyond our property, so we put up one you could see through and over, it seemed almost invisible...but it still fulfilled its purpose - it kept people out and we remained separated.
Have you ever been in a situation when someone said or did something to offend you or someone you care about? When that happens to me, I know I have a choice to make. If I choose to take up an offense, I can almost picture myself being handed this huge, heavy barbed wire fence to carry everywhere I go. What a weight...what a burden. Ouch!
And what a dumb thing to carry around! Carrying an offense is simply carrying unforgiveness. I don't know about you, but that's just way to heavy and potentially painful for me.
It's amazing to me how easily we can all be deceived into thinking we are doing the RIGHT thing by taking up an offense for a friend or even ourselves, when God’s word is so clear about this danger. If we are willing to listen...we can hear the Spirit of God say, "Hey! Put that thing down before you get hurt or hurt a bunch of other people!"
Unforgiveness is like that barbed wire fence - no matter what side you are on...you or a person you know, is bound to run into it sooner or later and someone is going to get hurt. Oh, sometimes it has the appearance of the nice neighborly invisible fence that you can see over and even wave to them occasionally, but the fence is still there saying the same thing, “Keep Out!"
There's one big problem with that...it keeps the Grace of God out too. You know that there's just one thing to do! Forgive! Then all 'De-Fences' are down! Works for me and it will for you!
For if you forgive others…your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
We can live without many things, but hope is essential for everyone.
Difficult years of transition in my life were 1996 and 1997. I felt lost, confused and forgotten by God and my close friends. My life was put on hold to deal with an unwelcomed, unexpected and horrifying challenge - divorce!
I was not only a Christian but I was also a pastor. I helped people with these problems. How could I be going through the same thing? I felt humiliation, failure and self-condemnation.
When our two boys left the house I began to see a change in my wife. She focused more on her nursing occupation and friends at work. I felt absolutely helpless because I was unable to fix the situation or change her hardening heart.
What do you do when you see your world collapsing? How do you handle the loss of your dreams and years of sacrifice?
The pain was unbearable and the loss was an experience worse than death. In an ordinary occupation, divorce could be separated from work. However, pastoral ministry is different, you can’t separate who you are from what you do.
For the first six months after my wife left the house, I slept very little. Often I would take long walks in the middle of the night just to help me sleep. I financially struggled and my job opportunities were limited. Each day I prayed these desperate words: Dear Lord, please help me get through this day and open up opportunities for a new future.
I suffered pain from my personal loss and the confusion it caused for me and the children, and for those I pastored over the years.
I could identify with the narrator’s words concerning Moses in the movie, The Ten Commandments, “When a man is beaten into the dust, from which he was made, then God has the raw material that He can use to make him a vessel fit for His use.”
This time alone to wrestle with God deepened my relationship with Him. My identity shifted from being a pastor to being God’s son. The result of this discovery produced a lasting peace and confidence that has followed me to the present.
God brought me through a process to learn about hope. Hope causes us to rise above circumstances and creates new character for future assignments.
Psalm 130 helped me develop hope. Here is what I learned.
Verses 1-2 encourages us to get the right help.
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
People are buried by difficult events and circumstances because they seek the wrong help. God is the only one who can turn our scars into stars.
Romans 8:28 promises us that God will use pain in our lives to change us and turn our test into a testimony.
Verses 5-6 says we’re to be optimistic.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Here the writer says we are to wait with expectation. The watchmen know with certainty that morning will come. These verses instruct us to get excited, not depressed. He will use our pain to tattoo His character into our lives.
Verses 3-4 point toward penitence, or repentance.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I John 1:9 reminds us of God’s limitless forgiveness:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
God forgives us and gives us hope for a new future!
Verses 7-8 express God’s eternal nature.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
John 3:16 promises us eternal life when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. In the light of eternity, our disappointments and trials are manageable.
Here is what Psalm 130 teaches about hope by using this acrostic:
H - Help
O - Optimism
P - Penitence
E - Eternal
I have been married to my beautiful wife, Judy, since April 14, 2000. We are both living the dream and enjoying our lives together. Pastoring Crossfire Church is a pleasure and honor for both of us. We now have five children and fifteen grandchildren between us. We are blessed and excited about our future.
May your hope arise above your circumstances. Let your challenges build your character for the future assignments God has planned for you.
Have you ever reminisced with a family member or looked through a scrapbook with a friend and asked the question: Where has the time gone?
None of us can recapture our time. We can’t relive our experiences; we can only deposit them in our memories. Wealthy people can buy most anything they desire but more time is something that is out of even their reach.
Last week I discovered a website by a group of concerned world economists: The Renegade Economist.
These people have worked with world leaders and organizations to give guidance on economic issues that affect mankind. They have developed a variety of resources to alert people of the economic chaos that is looming in the near future.
Their most recent documentary is The Four Horsemen. This presentation made me acutely aware of how sick our world has become. Let me share with you some sobering facts.
Empires do end at some time. The West, which includes the United States, does not recognize its limited power in the world. Emerging countries are challenging the supremacy of the U.S. dollar as the standard for world currency. Life cycles of historical empires last ten generations, or about 250 years. The United States is approaching the end of this life cycle.
Empires go through six stages: pioneers, conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect and decadence.
We are now experiencing a landslide of immorality and open defiance toward God. Gay marriage is flaunted before society. Those who oppose it are attacked and targeted by powerful special interest groups.
The legalization of marijuana is celebrated in large festivals in the U.S. and Norway. Many experts who have studied the effects of marijuana on people warn the public that this drug is the precursor for dangerous narcotics.
Slowly, our culture is being numbed into a slow death. In addition, Christianity is being openly attacked and the traditional family has become a minority.
This group of economists shows how decadence expresses itself within our culture. An undisciplined and over-extended military; conspicuous display of wealth; massive disparity between the rich and poor; desire to live off a bloated state, which is known as entitlements; obsession with sex; debasement or devaluation of currency; tremendous emphasis on television so people are unaware of what is really going on in our country; sports figures are glorified and paid extreme amounts of money; glorification of food and the chefs who are responsible for those wonderful recipes; materialism; and poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
Do you see the parallels in our culture and how time is running out for our nation? Our country is experiencing the age of decadence.
Friends, we are at a critical crossroads in our history. The church offers the only answer for our cultural sickness – the message of Jesus Christ! We have a heart problem that the Bible calls sin.
We need to pray the words of Psalm 85:6
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
When we get passionate about our relationship with God, then we become more urgent about reaching others for Christ. Our country has been at a crossroads before and revivals have come, preventing God’s judgment. We are at this point in our history again. It’s up to us to choose revival so judgment will be averted.
Moses said in Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Lord, help us to use our time in the light of eternity’s values.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I'm just running on fumes. That feeling of I just don't have any more to give can fill our thoughts and affect us in our daily lives. That's when we need a vacation!
When Keith and I decided to go on vacation we were confronted with the decision of flying or driving, but knowing that driving would give us the opportunity to take our granddaughters with us, at least part way...you guessed it...we decided to drive.
Well, the day before our departure our washer hoses sprang a leak and before we discovered it the ceiling in Keith's office was dripping with water through our speaker system. We were frustrated and concerned, our granddaughters were so excited about leaving early the next day for Nashville to visit Aunt Tammy and we couldn't bear to disappoint them.
That night we did all the necessary things to dry the ceiling and laundry room floor and even though our trip was delayed by 8 hours, we packed up and took off.
After a few days of fun in Nashville, we headed out for Myrtle Beach, leaving the girls in Aunt Tammy's care for the rest of their spring break.
I noticed a strange sound coming from under the car as we drove through the mountain terrain the next day. We prayed and continued the drive to our vacation spot. Before heading home we thought we'd better have a dealer check it out, and thank God we did. We were informed of the dangerous condition of our brakes, as well as other concerns for a safe trip home. So, we had to postpone our trip home for two more days. Instead of being upset or worried over extra expenses we decided to trust God and be grateful for His hand of protection...for capable people to fix it and for more vacation time together.
Those were the best two days of our trip. The weather warmed up and we walked, talked and rested by the pool. (Don't be jealous you Michigan readers - we drove into a snow storm returning home.)
You know...we can look at the washer incident...the car problems...the extra hotel expense - and wonder if we should have even taken the trip at all. Or we can look at how the Lord revealed the water problem before we left, so we could handle it and not come home to a disaster. We can look at how He protected us in times of trouble as we drove through the mountains, and we can look at His promises knowing that He will somehow provide for those extra expenses and we can trust Him, believing that He can use anything to accomplish His purposes.
When we arrived home I called our repair guy to fix the washer. He fixed it quickly and handed me the bill. It was a small problem that made a big mess, but what happened next made me realize why God had even allowed it to happen. It was what I call, "A God Set-Up."
He overheard me praying for one of our people from church at the end of a phone conversation. He said, "I was wondering if you would pray for me?"
With tears in his eyes he poured out his concern for his wife and daughter. His wife had just gone through breast cancer, and after removal of her breast and 40 lymph nodes now faced more surgery, chemo and extraction of her hormones. In the meantime his daughter had left home...married an unbeliever and has not communicated with them since.
My heart went out to this loving husband and concerned father. I listened and then encouraged him...sharing how God had so tenderly held my hand as I journeyed through the valley of breast cancer and I reminded him of the hope of restoration for his daughter.
As I prayed...tears flowed down his face...peace seemed to replace worry...and hope was evident by the smile on his face. He thanked me and seemed relieved when I offered to speak with his wife and promised to continue to pray for his family.
God used a damaged hose on a washing machine to repair the broken heart of His child.
Father, please forgive us when we complain about dumb inconveniences...small messes and interruptions of our plans. I want to look for Your purpose and plan in all things, even a damaged hose or ceiling. Wow, I wonder who's coming to fix the ceiling?
II Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Photo: Beto Galetto
Some years ago I discovered a film series by Zig Ziglar, Raising Positive Children In A Negative World.
One of the principles he taught was that each couple should take quality time every year to focus on their relationship. Ziglar shared how he and his wife blocked out a week in November each year for themselves to rekindle their love for one another, review their goals and dreams and to illustrate to their children that their relationship was priority. Kids are raised to leave the home and develop their own lives; parents live together beyond the child-rearing period. Loving parents build an atmosphere for confident kids.
Judy and I returned home late Monday evening from two wonderful weeks of vacation. Our time away was split up onto two phases. We drove to Nashville with two of our granddaughters, Sarah and Amanda. We spent four days with our daughter Tammy, enjoying her home and experiencing the sites and atmosphere of Nashville.
Then we left Sarah and Amanda with Tammy, and drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for eight days of pure fun and relaxation. Our entire focus was on each other.
We talked, laughed, planned, romanced and spoke life into each other. We also reviewed our spiritual journey together and recognized God’s guiding hand in every chapter of our lives. We realized that God had a plan for us that is still in the process of being worked out. Crossfire Church is part of that master plan.
We felt like newlyweds as we walked along the sandy beach of the Atlantic Ocean. Each day brought a new adventure that energized our senses.
We discovered a unique mall called Market Square that lined four streets with specialty shops, theaters, restaurants, grocery stores and multiple businesses. Condominiums were available for rental above the restaurants and businesses that created a family feeling. We enjoyed discovering this place together and experiencing the activities and atmosphere it provided.
Why am I describing this to you?
It’s important for all of us, whether single or married, to block out quality time on our calendar for our spouse, friends and family, to refocus and rekindle passions for one another.
When our relationships are strong our passion for what we do becomes more focused.
In Joshua 4:20 – 24, God instructs Joshua to cross the Jordon and erect a memorial at Gilgal as a reminder of His intervention on Israel’s behalf. This memorial gave Israel courage to face the threats of the powerful Canaanite people.
We need to revisit memorials in our lives so passion and focus can be rekindled for our work and ministries. I encourage you to block out time on your calendars to review how God has intervened in your life. Your love for the Lord and one another are the foundation for your work and ministry.
The greatest gift we can give our church and community is to love each other and model a growing relationship with Jesus – the people who are closest to you is the starting point for this process.
Professor Dr. Louis Agassiz was a world-renowned expert on the study of fish. He challenged his students to observe fish by careful examination rather than by casual observation.
He gave each of his students a fish cadaver and asked them to write down as much as they could about the characteristics of their fish. He gave them an hour to record their findings. After about 20 minutes, the students stopped writing and their eyes became glazed with boredom. Dr. Agassiz returned to the class to hear the reports of their discoveries. Their remarks were general and most students recorded the same observations.
The class felt their findings were collectively complete until Dr. Agassiz asked them to take another hour to observe their fish. The students groaned with boredom as they tried to find new characteristics of their specimen. When the second hour was complete each student had a strong dislike for fish in general.
Dr. Agassiz kept the class one more hour but this time he changed his approach, he guided the class through careful observation of how fish were made and why they possessed these unique characteristics.
He taught his students to focus their time and efforts on the small details of the fish and to ask the right questions that elicited the correct answers.
Dr. Agassiz’ attention to detail applies to our relationships. How often do we take the time to study people and really get to know them? How often do we take quality time and energy to know those we love?
My wife, Judy, often has a difficult time sleeping because of leg discomfort. Sometimes I am able to help her sleep by massaging her lower back and legs. It doesn’t take long before her body relaxes and she is sound asleep.
During this time period, I am acutely aware of the fabulous woman I have by my side. Even though both of us are aging, she is still beautiful and precious to me. My observations of her relaxed face opens up many memories of past chapters of our lives. I am quickly reminded of her deep love for Jesus, me, our family, our church, our fiends and life itself. She loves music, beauty, decorating, travel and order in the home.
The list of her wonderful qualities grows longer with each passing moment of observation. In the words of Jerry Maguire, “She completes me.”
We are also to examine our faith.
II Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?
If you are constantly failing in a certain area of your life, maybe the answer to your dilemma is to examine why this is happening. This verse says we will fail when the pressures of life come, unless we realize that Christ is in us. We need to take time to understand what God says about us.
…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Examining scripture reminds us of who we are, and the power and authority we possess as His children.
Take time to observe and examine people around you. Start a circle of love where you pray for your loved ones regularly and plan quality time with each one. Examine the scripture so adversity will remind you of Christ’s presence and power in your life. Focus! And life will be sweet.
Photo: Jennifer Konig, via Flickr
We love to have people come over to our house for dinner, especially our families. In the last few years I have made it a point to invite my siblings over around Christmastime. It’s fun for me to set the table with special Christmas dishes and candles. It always brings back such great memories of being at Grandma’s house for the holidays. Gee, I miss her. Isn't it amazing how one person can influence your life forever?
But once a year just didn't seem to be enough, so now we get together more often. We all crowd around our small kitchen table...stuffing ourselves and laughing until we cry...while we enjoy swapping stories about our own grandkids.
My youngest brother is a tease, has been all his life and he can get me to giggle like no one else. It's like turning back the clock when we all get together, but I must admit a small twinge of sadness tugs at my heart, knowing that my big brother’s chair is empty. He's waiting for us in heaven, but somehow I think he's with us...smiling...because love never dies; it always keeps us together and our family's deep love for each other is unusual. The seeds of love my mom planted into us have truly produced a harvest she would be proud of, and the next generations are planting those life-giving seeds into their children. It's beautiful to see what love can produce in many life times.
As I write this, I begin to reflect on the joy I experience when I hear the doorbell ring. I'm excited as I open the door and see their faces smiling back at me. We are a hugging bunch, so as we embrace and kiss, love pours over us like warm honey that keeps us stuck together.
I believe it's like that when we come to Jesus. He hears us ring the doorbell of salvation and, with excitement, opens His heart like a door. He is filled with joy as we enter into His Father’s dwelling place through Him and God quickly embraces us with a kiss of pure love.
As we gather around His table, we enjoy the company and stories of other family members and join in laughter and stuff ourselves on the goodness of God. The only moment of sadness is the thought that a brother or sister is missing from the table.
It would be heart-breaking for me, if I knew we were all inside a loving and cozy place, eating and celebrating life while someone was just outside the door, but they couldn't find the courage or humility to ring the doorbell.
I can't help but think that Jesus' heart breaks at that same thought. So, if you aren't yet a believer in Jesus, then today would be a great day to become part of the loving family of God. You can ring that doorbell of salvation by just sincerely saying, "Jesus, I don't want to be left out in the Cold...Depressing...Lonely...Dark places anymore. I believe You are the Son of God, and the only way into heaven. Please forgive me of my past and open the door of my future, so I may enter in and have the assurance of eternal life with You."
It's a beautiful mystery as we picture hearts as doors. We open our heart so Jesus can come in and live inside us and He opens His heart so we can enter into His life.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
(In other words Jesus provides abundant life and provision and He is our security and safety for our daily comings and goings.)
If you rang the doorbell of salvation, please let us know so we can pray for you and welcome you into the family.