The Burden Bearer

Weary.  Bone crushingly weary.  Exhausted.  I shuffled one aching foot in front of the other.  Slowly.  So slowly.  The weight upon my back growing heavier with every step.  My ankle turned upon a rock as I took my next step and crying out in pain I tumbled, in a pitiful heap, to the ground.  My chest began to heave as sobs racked my body, tears dripping off the end of my nose onto the stony ground beneath me.

I looked upwards and studied the mountain in front of me.  My destination.  The very top of the mountain.  Maybe then I would be able to put down the heavy bags on my shoulders and rest.  Or so I had heard.  Countless stories about the top of the mountain.  How I could kick off the weight of my burden and finally be free!  Another sob shuddered through me and I felt hope draining away.  There were so many stories and quick fixes that I had tried, all with that money back guarantee of lifting your burdens, total happiness and all that!  Nothing worked.  Nothing changed.  It seemed as if this burden grew heavier as each day passed.  I looked again at the top of the mountain, at the precipices and boulders that I would have to navigate and sighed deeply.  It was too heavy, my body ached with so much pain.  I could never, ever make it to the top.  Looking down the steep path I had already climbed I wasn’t sure I could go back down either.  I was at the end of my rope!  Out of options!  In a jam and at my wit’s end!  I closed my eyes and tried to think of what to do next.

burdened

Clattering.  Rattling.  The sound of rocks striking together.  I opened my eyes and there below me was a man moving rapidly up the hill.  There was no weight upon his back.  No burden slowing him down!  As he reached me he moved to go around me, but I put out my hand, “Wait,” I said, “Please wait!  Where is your burden?  The weight of your sin, your anxieties, depression and diseases?  Your worries, pain and heartbreak?”  “Gone!” he exclaimed, “I traded them!”  “You what?  You traded them?” I questioned, unbelief wrinkling my forehead.  “Yes, traded!  I traded my sin for salvation, my bondage for redemption, my captivity for freedom, my worries for peace and my anxiety for serenity!  That’s not all,” he said, “I traded my doubt for faith, my troubles for comfort and my sickness for health!  Why, He even gave me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair!” (Isaiah 61:3)

My shoulders slumped even more and I just wished the ground would swallow me up.  What a fool I had been.  Chasing after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  Chasing after myths, legends and silly stories, spending my money on slippery lies, believing every tall tale.  I looked at the man and said, “It must of cost you everything, and I have squandered all that I have on fibs and falsehoods.”  Bending down the man looked right into my tear stained eyes.  “No,” he said, “It was free!  Just ask Jesus.  He paid the price for you already and He will take your burden too!”

consuming fire

I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply.  “Jesus,” I whispered quietly.  “Jesus.”  It was little more than a sigh, a gentle murmur on a summer’s breeze.  But the response was phenomenal!  Every burden on my back crashed to the ground, baggage scattering over the side of the mountain.  Flames ignited every sin, every weight and every sickness.  A consuming fire!  I pushed myself backwards as the heat became so intense.  Smoke curling upwards.  But what was that smell?  A riot of roses, cinnamon, sandalwood and spices.  Incense.  The offering of my sin rising like a sweet smelling fragrance.  “Jesus,” I whispered again and smiled to myself.

worries

Picking myself up, I stood to my feet.  Weightless.  Light.  Even buoyant!  Joy began to well up within me as for the first time I felt freedom.  Free from the weight of sin that had dragged me down!  Emotions rushed over me.  Peace.  Elation.  Contentment.  Thankfulness.  I watched as the clouds bathed the mountain in their magic, flowers peaked behind the rocks and the sound of a thousand birds raised their voices in a joyful chorus.  Saved! Redeemed!  Delivered!  Rescued!  Liberated!  Released!  It all washed over me like a refreshing water from an ice cold mountain spring.  I looked at the top of the mountain and knew that I too could race to the top, unencumbered, free!  Why, I could do anything now, for all things are possible to those who just believe! (Mk 9:23)

no62q2E

Advertisements
This entry was posted on March 15, 2016. 3 Comments

In Defense of the Prodigal

Thou Art There

In my heart there is this large, soft spot for the Prodigal.  The word itself echoes with images of someone who is lost, someone who stumbles around in the dark with no direction, someone who wastes his life far away from the incredible plans and purposes of God!  Backslider.  Loser.  Offender.  Wrongdoer.  Failure.

 Perhaps that spot in my heart aches for the Prodigal because I once was one myself.  Running as far and as fast as I could away from the shadow of His wing, independent and proud with no need of a strong tower that I could run into and be safe!  Thoughts swirling in my head of how I only needed to please myself, with no thought for anything or anyone else.  I am so very thankful for a mother who loved me unconditionally and prayed for me constantly and for a gracious, loving, heavenly Father who in his incredible mercy would follow me even into the depths of hell, his right hand holding me fast! (Psalm 139)

 My heart constantly yearns for the Prodigal and my cries go up to the Living God praying in earnest that He would not leave them that way!  But, deep down inside there is a crippling, gnawing fear that threatens to overwhelm me, that shouts out that the Prodigal is lost forever, has lost that most incredible gift.  Salvation.  The right to live with our beautiful Saviour forever!

mhYuul6

 Ephesians 1:13 tells me this; “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise!”  Oh my!  That scripture just thrills my heart, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise!  And Oh, what a promise, guaranteed redemption, deliverance, freedom from sin, an inheritance of everlasting life all “to the praise of His glory!”  How can we ever stop thanking the Lord!

 Sealed! Let that sink right into your soul.  Sealed.  Marked for God.  Authenticated beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Engraved with the pattern of the Holy Spirit of promise.  Guaranteed!  It is so delicious I can hardly stand it!  To know that I am sealed with the Holy Spirit himself is almost too glorious!

 Then to make it even sweeter Esther 8:8 says “You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please in the King’s name, and seal it with the King’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the King’s name and sealed with the King’s signet ring, no-one can revoke.”  Let me say that again because I absolutely love the sound of it – whatever is sealed by the King, NO-ONE can revoke!  That seal, that promise of the Holy Spirit on your life is completely irrevocable, no-one can take that away from you, ever.

 The word seal comes from the greek word phrasso which means to stop up, to fence in, to put to silence.  Satan is silenced concerning you, concerning your sin, you are forever safe and secure, hidden from the plans of the enemy.  Job himself said “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you cover my iniquity” (Job 14:17).  He knew that no-one could ever open that bag, could ever break the lock of that seal and let his transgression free, it was sealed for all eternity!

Sealed up transgression

 But back to the Prodigal.  Surely the Prodigal could unlock that seal, could break the engraved mark of the Holy Spirit of promise, could get out of the iron-clad seal that no-one can revoke?

 Rev 20:2-3 says “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.”  Even satan himself, that ugly, old devil, could not break the seal that was set on him and come out of that bottomless pit to continue to torment the nations.  He was sealed in, locked in, bound up, for a thousand years, only God could release him.

 No matter the rebellion, the desire to run, the blinding to the truth, the Prodigal can no more undo the seal of the Holy Spirit of promise upon his life than satan himself can undo the seal of the King of Kings that will bind him up in chains in the deepest, darkest pit!

 A promise from the King, you can take it to the bank, you can know deep down in the heart of your heart that God will never break his promise.  Even if one believer that was sealed by God somehow was lost then there would be no glory, it would be a stain upon the integrity of the One who bears no stain.  So for the Prodigal there is no fear that they have gone too far or sinned too much and broken that seal that was placed there by the Almighty God.

pE0EX3i

For me, I cannot see how it is possible for the Prodigal to lose their inheritance.  There is no way to revoke that which the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has sealed.  There is no way that they will not be found in the presence of our Redeemer and Deliverer forever and always!

This entry was posted on March 5, 2016. 2 Comments

I Love You the Most!

 

For many years my precious girl and I have had a tradition at bedtime.  She tells me she loves me and I tell her I love her more.  It can then go on to I love you more than more or even I love you more than more than more!  At the end of it all we both know that we really love each other!

Today I sat with the Lord praying for my children.  I prayed for my son and thought about how much I love him and at that moment the Lord said “I love him more!  In fact, I love him more than more than more than more!  I love him the most!”  I let his love wash over me bringing me peace, knowing that the Saviour, Redeemer, Protector, Jesus Christ loved my children more than more than more!

My three!

I sat in the glow of His love knowing that He also loves me more than more than more.  He loves me the most!  No matter how many times I think about my Jesus during the day, He thinks about me more.  No matter how much I think I love my Saviour, He loves me more!

Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate you from God’s love because He loves you more.  Not death, not satan, not principalities, because He loves you more.  Nothing in your present day situation or things that will come in your future can separate you from His love, because He loves you more.  His love covers a multitude of sins, it’s the kind of love that makes us children of the Most High God (1 Jn 3:1)! It’s a love that lays down His life for you (Jn 15).  A jealous love, a love as strong as death, a love that cannot be quenched (S.O.S. 8:6-7), one that prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies and anoints your head with oil (Ps 23:5)!  Jesus’ love is steadfast, everlasting, a covenant of love (Deut 7:1).  Surely He loves us the most!

My boy

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

This entry was posted on February 12, 2016. 1 Comment

The Dancer!

I dedicate this to my beautiful daughter, Hannah Michelle, on the eve of her recital – you make my heart sing!

Dancer1

Mesmerized, I stood at the door and watched the strong, artistic hands of the Lord as they created. Sparks flew from his fingertips and a gentle smile of enjoyment curled his lips. I could hear the sounds of violins tuning up and kettle drums thundering in one corner of the room and the graceful tones of flutes and a grand piano fluttered in and out. Music notes flew through the air, dancing on a breeze, twirling around my Saviour’s head. And oh, the lights and colours that swirled through the air, playfully intertwining with each other. Something out of nothing! Creation at its finest!

What are you doing, my Saviour?” I asked. “What are you creating today?” “Watch!” he said, and began to laugh, his pleasure filling up the room. Out of the mists of swirling gold, pink, green, every colour of the rainbow and ones that I had never seen before, a figure began to emerge. Beautiful. Long, flowing, blonde curls fell over her shoulders and her big, green eyes looked around in wonder.

Silence filled the room as the Father gazed with absolute love upon His new creation, their eyes met and lightening took off across the sky! For a moment I felt so awkward as if I were intruding on the love my Lord has for His beautiful bride!

dancer3

Now watch this,” the Father whispered. He held up His hands and the anticipation was unbearable. Then slowly, sweetly, as my Lord’s hands began to move, the violins began to play, the sounds of the flute weaving in and out. A symphony. The most marvelous music I had ever heard. Then the beautiful, blonde girl began to dance. Leaping and pirouetting to the music, arabesques stretching across the floor, never before had I seen a more elegant and graceful sight. “A dancer!” said the King, “I have created a dancer!” “She will dance before Kings and Queens, her beautiful feet will dance across nations! And as she dances the most powerful worship will be released. She will change lives with her dance. Many, many people will come to me because of her dance. But, most of all she will dance because I have put a passion inside her for it!” He frowned a little, “it will not be without obstacle for her, because the enemy knows the power of her dance,” tears glistened in His eyes, “it will not be without pain – but still she will dance, for I have made her an overcomer!” he declared. “She will dance because it is her calling and because she loves it. She will dance because I love to watch her, I delight in her dance, I take pleasure in her beauty!”

I hadn’t noticed but the room had become quiet as the Father spoke, every note and every instrument hung intently on His every word.

But what is her name, Lord?” I inquired. “Her name is Hannah Michelle!” he said with a flourish, a great smile of accomplishment on His face. “Hannah Michelle?” I repeated confused. “Hannah Michelle? But Lord, Hannah isn’t even born yet! She won’t come to the world for years!

I know,” said the King, “but I have to prepare everything for her coming, I have to make sure everything is in place, I’m preparing her calling in advance, I’m insuring that whatever she needs is ready, I’m making the roads straight and taking every stumbling block out of the way. She will be established from the very moment she is born!”

Dancer2

But why Lord?” I asked. “Why go to so much trouble before she is even born?” The Father turned and looked at me with kind eyes, “Because I love her,” He said. “I love her with an everlasting love, a love that would go to the ends of eternity for her. I want her to be fulfilled in her life on earth, to know the glorious hope of her calling and the riches of her inheritance. I have created her a dancer because of the great pleasure she will bring me as she joyfully dances through her life, knowing that her dance will bring so much delight to others. I created Hannah a dancer because I love her!”

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Dancer

This entry was posted on May 29, 2015. 4 Comments

Zombies are Real!!!

oluiiAoMy eyes snapped open. Wide awake. Something had woken me from my sweet slumber in the blue cornflowers at the edge of the forest, something frightening, something more terrifying than I could ever envisage on my own! The hair rose on the back of my neck and I could feel the fast thumping of my heart in my throat.

Screams and moans came from the direction of the forest, tormented cries followed by the eerie laugh of the deranged! There! I saw something move! And again, something or someone began to emerge from behind the trees.

Grey. Empty eyes. Mouths wide in a never ending scream of torment. Dozens and dozens of people walking towards me, arms outstretched. The walking dead! Zombies? You’ve got to be kidding me! But then the stench hit my nostrils, slamming into me, making me retch. The smell of rotten flesh, decaying matter, dead meat! And I knew they were real and there was no doubt about it, they were dead!

From deep in the depths of the forest I heard a shrill cackle and in the air around me millions of flies, like a cloud of ominous, black gas filled my vision and in one instance, I knew. I just knew who was coming, who was in charge here, which loathsome, wicked sorcerer was behind this gruesome scene. The prince of the power of the air! My greatest enemy, the biggest threat to my Father’s kingdom, the devil himself!

I panicked! Should I run? Fear sprung up within me, paralysing me, freezing my mind, I couldn’t think! The buzzing of ten thousand flies grew louder and louder, almost deafening… Frantically I spun around and looked into the blank eyes of the dead woman closest to me… I gasped, astonished as her never-ending wail echoed in my ears. My neighbour, it was my next door neighbour! No – surely not, I had spoken to her across the fence just that morning. Chatting about the weather, the flowers, the kids – surface stuff!!! In horror I began to look at the faces of all the walking dead as they stumbled out of the forest. I knew them! I recognized them! I had seen that one in the grocery store last week, and that man with the beard had asked me for money as I walked out. I had pushed my way past him and shuddered at his filthiness! Those young ones to my left lived down the street and why, that girl went to my daughter’s dance school!

Tears sprang to my eyes, what was happening? What should I do? Way back, in the recesses of my mind I began to hear a loud pounding, the sound of nails being driven into wood and then the comforting voice of my Father “Bring them to the cross.” He said. “Bring them to the cross where I can lavish my great love on them, tell them about the riches of my mercy, my grace and my kindness.”

The stench of rotting flesh once again hit my nostrils and I gagged. So close! They were so close! Flies began to land on my face, crawling towards my eyes and the eyes of my enemy glowed red in the forest in front of me. I could almost sense the superior, smug smile on the devil’s face, the smile of one who thinks they are winning. A small, grey child walked towards me, long hair matted, blood dripping down her neck and a look of tremendous torment and anguish in her dull, lifeless eyes.

Suddenly I felt an almighty crack! The sound reverberated through my chest causing my heart to quake. It was the sound of a fine china teacup splintering into a thousand jagged pieces as it fell to the floor. It was the sound of my Father’s heart breaking as He looked into the lifeless eyes and agonized faces of the little girl, my neighbour, the man at the grocery store…

Tears began to gush out of my eyes, pouring down my cheeks and I opened my mouth and began to yell as loud as I could, “Jesus is the way, the truth, the life.” “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

From the middle of the forest I began to hear an awful buzzing sound, like a chainsaw eating its way through a tree, it grew louder and louder and more and more frenzied. Deafening. Ear splitting. The flies began to swirl in a huge, frantic circle. Threatening. I threw my hands over my ears to block out the sound and as I did a little voice whispered, “I wish.” It seemed like time stood still, everything stopped… All of a sudden there was a ripping sound as the enemy tore into millions of black, icy shards! “I wish,” said the little girl. “I wish too,” shouted my neighbour, “I wish for the water of life!” All around me were whispers, then shouts of “I wish.” Simple. Easy.

I felt a drop of water land on my arm, a big, fat, golden drop of grace! Raising my face I looked to the heavens and saw rain, a huge torrent of golden rain! As it hit my face laughter welled up within me, it was healing rain. Rain from the very throne room of God. Glistening drops of living water! The little girl in front of me began to giggle, she stretched out her arms as wide as she could and spun in circles, arms reaching to get every single drop she could. And oh – her eyes, blue like the colour of the bluest sea and the brightest sky!

All around me eyes began to open, blue, green, brown, beautiful! There was laughter in the air and colour everywhere! No more grey. Clean, everyone looked so clean, so full of life.

Thank you Father,” I whispered as I slid to my knees, “You give living water to those who ask, life to those who simply believe!” Wonder and amazement filled my heart, “You do all things well!”

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-6

This entry was posted on April 22, 2015. 6 Comments

Matters of the Heart.

Hearts1I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” – Eph 1:18-19

The eyes of our heart?! Who knew that a heart has eyes! Eyes that can be enlightened or stay dim and unfocused. Eyes that can be flooded with inspired light or stumble around in the darkness trying to find their way! Eyes that are opened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know him better! So that we may know Him with our whole heart, deep down in the depths of our being! So that we might learn about His great power and the hope of our calling!

If a heart has eyes, then surely it must have ears. That we would hear Jesus with our heart, not just our mind, not just in knowledge but that our hearts would be open to hear what He is saying in the Spirit, not in the natural. In the supernatural! I completely believe there is another place to live, let’s not be ‘down to earth’ or ‘logical!’ Let’s be filled to the brim with the Spirit, let’s be full of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation! Let’s live in the place where we can see Jesus, where we can know him more, where the eyes of our heart are opened to the glorious light of our Saviour. Where we can walk with our Father and hear His Heart. Where our wants and needs diminish and His thoughts and desires become the focus of our being. In the Spirit. Heart to heart.

Surely, if our heart has eyes and ears it must have a voice? A mouth to speak the truth. A mouth to shout out the things that are not as though they were! A heart that rejoices in the Lord (1 Sam 2:1) that crys out for the living God (Ps 84:2). A heart that praises the Lord wholly and completely (Ps 111:1). A heart that has rivers of living water flowing from it just because we believed in the Son (Jn 7:38)!

But hearts can be hard, unyielding, stony, tough. Hearts where the voice of God cannot be heard, His light cannot be seen. Hearts that utter untruth, that scream in the face of beauty, that spit in the face of the One who can replace their stony hearts and give them a heart of flesh (Ez11:19). Hearts that spew deceit and lies and all kinds of deception, like vipers writhing in a heap waiting to strike. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34). A heart turned away from the Lord, a fool whose heart says “there is no God” (Ps 14:1)

Hearts2Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10)! Give me a heart to know you, that you are the Lord (Jer 24:7)! Give me a heart with open eyes, flooded with the revelation of you, saturated with the spirit of wisdom, unplug my deaf ears that I may KNOW your voice, that I may hear your heart, the whispers of your love for me! Give me a heart that continually praises your name, that always gives thanks and tells of your wonderful deeds (Ps 9:1)! Let me be always beside you, always with you, constantly listening to you, yearning for you, pouring out my heart to you (Ps 62:8), for you are my treasure and where my treasure is  there my heart will be also (Mt 6:21).

This entry was posted on April 10, 2015. 2 Comments

It is Finished!!!

laughing_lamb

Hundreds of years ago, right back at the time of the Exodus, the Jewish people were instructed to make sacrifices twice every day for the atonement of their sins.  God was very detailed about how the sacrifice was to be done; it was to be two male lambs without blemish and had to be done at a specific appointed time!  (Numbers 28:1-8)  For 1400 years the tradition of killing a lamb twice a day continued, a lamb was chosen and led out at dawn.  At the 3rd hour that lamb was sacrificed.  At the 6th hour a second male lamb, spotless and without blemish was chosen and led out to the altar where it was given a drink from a golden cup and tied to the altar!  At the 9th hour that second lamb was sacrificed and the priest raised his shofar and blew it to signal to the people that there had been atonement for their sins. 

Now picture this – Good Friday.  Early in the morning.  In fact it was at dawn when the first lamb was being chosen by the priest, at this very same time Jesus is standing before the Sanhedrin who condemned him to die.  At the third hour they nailed my Saviour’s hands and feet to a cross and crucified him; the high priest killed the first sacrificial lamb at the third hour.  At the sixth hour, darkness covered the land and the priest chose the 2nd male lamb, without spot and blemish to be sacrificed for the people’s atonement. 

But get this, this is extraordinary.  “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”” Mark 15:34. “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last” Mark 15:37.  At precisely the 9th hour the priest slaughtered the atonement lamb for the forgiveness of sins and raised his shofar to notify the people that they were forgiven.  At that very moment my Saviour, my Redeemer, the precious Lamb of God cried out “It is finished” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30.   IT IS FINISHED!!!  As the priest raised his shofar to tell the people they were forgiven the veil of the temple was torn in two!  IT IS FINISHED!!!  No more did we have to make the daily sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus paid it all!

Do you think all these times are purely coincidence?  I think not!  It was all part of God’s perfectly orchestrated plan, planned for you from the beginning of time.  A plan to bring you back to Him, back to His heart and Jesus was the one who paid it all!

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29

This entry was posted on April 2, 2015. 1 Comment