"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Posts tagged ‘story’


Dancing with the Stars has become an amazingly successful television show.  We watch as the guest star struggles to be in sync with the professional.  They train hard and it can be very frustrating.  Often when they get on the floor, they bomb and then they are voted off!  Other times, the presentation is actually poetry in motion.  They move together as one across the floor.  The audience holds their breath at the beauty they are beholding and then they leap to their feet in wild applause.  The judges make their comments.  “Best dance of the night!’  “You have what it takes to win this.”  “You have beautiful lines and are a natural on the floor.”

Before this poetic and beautiful program, the clips show the struggle between the professional and the trainee ‘star.’  They almost quit, the training has proven so difficult.  Many of them were professional athletes before they attempted this new venue.  Sometimes they listen carefully to the trainer and then work exceedingly hard to become the dancer they desire to be.

So what does this have to do with Scripture?

When we invite Jesus into our hearts, He opens His arms and  invites us to follow Him.  We believe in Him for sure, but we don’t really trust Him.  We think we can dance better without following anyone.  We try to do it on our own and it looks like we are successful.  We get involved in the church and manuever into leadership.  We read our Bible and pray quick little prayers.

But this isn’t what He wants.  He wants a relationship.  He wants us to talk with Him, dance with Him, train with Him, be successful and fail and get up again.  He wants us to know that the path of rest is in His arms.  It is easy there and He knows that we have to go through training.  He knows we will mess up and get frustrated, but He loves us and is incredibly patient. 

When we finally come into His arms and rest against His shoulder, He gracefully leads us through many difficult steps, leaps, and carries.  He is masterful and we are amazed at how easy it is when we trust Him.

Finally, He leads us into doing His work.  We reach out to others and He leads us.  Then He melts into us and lets us lead others into His presence.  Christ in us!  The ease of knowing that He is always with us and will always show us the right moves and bring us to the right people.

If you are ready to dance with Him, ask Him to come in.  I did and He has had a hard time teaching me.  I still want to lead and He just steps back and shakes His head and opens His arms and waits until I know that I am going nowhere.  I step into His embrace and lean against Him and we move forward.

Join me in this wonderful unforced rhythm of grace and trust the One who loves us most.

Matthew 11:30 Message Bible

1 Chronicles 15

Psalms 30:11

The Bride

I heard a story about a young woman who was meeting with a wedding planner.  She was a very good wedding planner.  She had seen many young women with stars in their eyes come to her to help them decide on important elements of their special day.    As they chatted about the arrangements, the young woman asked if she could play a video that she would like to use in the ceremony.  The wedding planner said, “Sure.”

The video began to play and the wedding planner was working at the table making notes about the things they had discussed.  Every few minutes, the girl would exclaim, “Oh, isn’t he handsome!  He is such a wonderful man!”  And she would sigh with contentment and joy.  The wedding planner looked up.  He was an average looking boy; nothing special and she returned to the writing pad.

Then the young woman would burst out again and tell how kind and good he is and how she loves him.  After some time, the wedding planner stopped her work and watched the video listening to the girl’s declaration of love and adoration.  By the time the video was over, the wedding planner felt she could marry the young man!

The bride had so romanced her love that the other woman could see how she longed for him and understood and felt drawn to him as well.  A bride so loves her intended that she can think of little else. Her eyes sparkle with expectation and joy.  She draws near her loved one and serves him with delight.  She listens to him as he speaks.  When they are separated, she anticipates his return.  Every letter that he sends is treasured and read and re-read and kept always.

She sees to it that she is dressed in readiness for his appearance.  Her home is always in order so that he will find her ready to greet him.  Every moment is exciting and filled with hope and expectation.  In his presence is fullness of joy.  Each day with him is precious.  They share secrets and talk together for hours without thought of time.  She yearns for the day when they will be one.  Therefore, her mind is longing for her wedding day and she is consumed with the preparations.  Her expectation of fulfillment rises with each beat of her heart.  He is her very life.

Then the wedding day comes, the honeymoon is over and life sets in.  A wife, if she is not careful, will become weary.  She has come to know him and there is familiarity in his presence.  She no longer anticipates his return joyfully and has settled into routine and duty.  The freshness of the first love fades.  She serves him but forgets why.

There are children who have become her focus.  She is no longer fascinated by him and his letters gather dust in the box on the shelf.  The crying of a child is now her priority.  When her lover is at home with her, she is content to know that he is in the house.  They live parallel lives.  Her hair is disheveled and her jeans and sweat shirt seem fitting.  She has been too busy to shower and the lunch dishes are still on the counter.  When he leaves, there are no long kisses and grief at parting but a quick acknowledgment and a request that he stop for a few items at the grocers on the way home.  The duty has become more than the love.

When we let the relationship with Jesus become religion, this is what happens.  We no longer show our great love for Jesus and his for us.  The morning devotion is another item on the list to be checked off.

He loves us and longs for us to love him in return.  When we do, others will see how desirable he is and draw near.This is why Jesus refers to believers– both men and women – as his Bride.  This is who we are.  We are loved and He longs for us.  When our every breath is filled with thoughts of Him, we respond to his love with  preparation and anticipation of His soon return.

But he is a gentleman.  He gives us the choice.  We choose to love Him or we can choose to get involved with the press of our busy schedule, our favorite television programs, the demands of our jobs, and be drawn away.  It is up to us.  What will you choose?

It is easy to do.  The Bible says that those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.  Read John 3:16, 17.  Find out how much He loves you and that He is just waiting for you to call out to Him.  Each of us come to the realization of who He is in a different way.  For me, I was driving down the road, listening to the radio preacher when God took over his voice and I knew for sure that He was real.  I just began to say, “I’m sorry Jesus.  I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”  So it isn’t a formula, it is a heart thing.  Ask Him to make Himself real and I promise that He will.

If you already know Him but are struggling, get alone with Him and fall in love with Him again.  He is waiting with open arms.  He loves you!

John 12:32

Song of Solomon

Revelation 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Life and death

Those of us who live on this planet have come to believe that we are in a battle between good and evil.  We know we should want good but we are captivated by evil.  Evil seems naughty and enticing.  There is an allure.  Skulls and death are a banner of the hopelessness that many of us feel.  We wear it and somehow it makes it seem better.  We even make fun of people who seem to be good.  We call them “goodies” and brown-nosers.  So what is the God-story in this premise?

Let’s look at it this way.

Eve took a big bite of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and it was very good.  She immediately offered it to her husband, Adam.  He knew he shouldn’t eat it.  He knew what God had told him.  He could eat of any tree in the Garden, but this tree was off-limits.  He looked in the eyes of his beautiful bride and saw her pleading look and he crumbled.  He reached out and took a big bite.  He knew at once it was a mistake!  The biggest mistake of his life!

It hadn’t been many days since he had been formed in the earth and God had breathed Spirit-life into him. It had been an awesome time.  God meeting them and spending time with them.  Awesome!  But now something was very wrong.  The Spirit-life was dead and unresponsive.  He had known so many things by the Spirit and now – well, now, NOW!  He could only look around and see things that he had looked at many times and they were not as beautiful.  They were lacking.  The Light had gone out.  He looked at Eve and for the first time, he realized that she was uncovered and it gave him odd stirrings. Inside he ached to touch her.  He had never felt this way before and it frightened him!  He grabbed her hand and ran behind a nearby tree and began to make coverings out of leaves.  It was an amateur effort but it would have to do.  If he couldn’t see her beautiful body, he hoped the ache would subside.  This wasn’t the romance that Father God had explained to him when he brought her into him.

God came and told them the consequences of their choice.  The man would labor;  he would fight weeds and struggle to raise food.  The woman would have pain in child-birth.  The serpent would travel on his belly and eat dirt for the rest of his life and the woman would hate him.

There was good news – a promise that God would send His Son to save them out of this great loss and the serpent would bruise His heel, but He would crush the his head.  With those proclamations, Adam and Eve were put outside the Garden and the way back in to it was guarded by angels so they could not return and eat of the Tree of Life and in their fallen condition live forever.

Adam looked back knowing that they had really messed up!  The Garden was closed and the Spirit-life was gone.  He was trying to figure it all out in his head and it gave him a headache.  Thus Adam and Eve began an eternal battle with good pitted against evil.  Good on the moral high ground and evil at the more  alluring level, enticing them to do their own thing;  then the battle really began.  Their sons began to argue.  In the climax of their lives outside the Garden, their son Cain killed their son Able in a jealous rage.  Death got a foothold in our lives.

Adam and Eve grieved and regretted not having trusted Father God.  They longed for the Son to come save them and they looked forward to that day.

Today we are still courting death and allowing the enemy to defeat us.  We think about murder and suicide caught in this death pull.  We delight to do our own thing and at times, this means death is attractive.

Now to be clear – God didn’t do this to us.  We did it to ourselves.  It is in our DNA.  We are under the same proclamations that Adam and Eve were under when the Garden was closed to them.  But God . . .God’s plan. . . He sent Jesus, his own Son to earth.  He lived just as we do but he did it without turning away from Father God.  Ultimately, He traded His life for ours.  Jesus allowed mankind to nail Him to a  the cross of Calvary which we sometimes call a tree.  He died for you and me and now Jesus lives for you and me.  He came out of the grave and rose up so we can live.  What love!  What an event!  It had to have shaken their world.

The media of the day were the rulers from Rome and the religious leaders.  They began the propaganda machine saying His body had been stolen.  They told the soldiers who were guarding His body to say that they were asleep.  It was a cover-up!  If they had fallen asleep, they would have been executed by the Roman guard.

Yet, He walked among them and appeared to many people.  He is alive!  He is Life.  He brought us Spirit-Life then and He is still bringing it to those who want it now!  He brings all the Life that we can handle and more.  He is to us the Tree of Life, so now, we can eat freely and live forever with Him but, we just have to make our own choice.  We can continue to live – caught in the web of deceit and death – or we can choose Life.  It is simple to choose!  Call on the name of the Lord Jesus – and you will be saved back to Spirit-life!

Once again able to live in true reality, relationship and romance with Father and each other.  This is Father’s plan before the world was even conceived and it was because of His love.  He made us so He could love us and He wants us to return that love.

He says, “I have set before you life and death . . . blessing and cursing . . . therefore, choose life!  It is better.”

It is easy to do.  The Bible says that those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.  Read John 3:16, 17.  Find out how much He loves you and that He is just waiting for you to call out to Him.  Each of us come to the realization of who He is in a different way.  For me, I was driving down the road, listening to the radio preacher when God took over his voice and I knew for sure that Father God was real.  I just began to say, “I’m sorry Jesus.  I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”  So it isn’t a formula, it is a heart thing.  Ask Him to make Himself real and I promise that He will.

Genesis 1, 2, 3

Deuteronomy 30:15,16

John 6:33, 35, 47, 48

John 10:10, 28

Romans 6:23

2 Corinthians 4:10

Galatians 2:20

2 Timothy 1:1, 10

1 John 1:2, 2:16, 25, 5:11

Revelation 2:7, 22:2, 14

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