Art, Christ, Christian, Christian Artist, Christian devotional, Christian faith, Christian Life, Christian writer, Christianity, Devotion, Devotional, Meditation, Prayer

Keep Your Lamps Burning

Jesus wants us to be close. “I am with you always,” he promised. Scripture says to “Pray without ceasing” and it doesn’t mean to talk to God continually. It simply means to be aware of, and present to, God—that is prayer. If only we would pay better attention to what God is doing all around us, for us, in us, through us—we just need to notice and be present to him.

God longs for us to live in his fire (love) and light (truth), not deceived, discouraged, disinterested, distracted, diverted, or distant. We are in communion and union with the Lord!

When we look around, we see evil running rampant in the world. Fear grips the hearts of people and nations. But not so with the beloveds of Jesus.

Look what is happening in God’s Kingdom. We are not part of the world though we are in it. We are the Bride of the King of Kings, and we long for his return. We know God’s story for earth is nearing its climax and thatvwe are part of it. Our stories lie within his. Will it happen in our lifetime? It seems like the right time. Our love songs call to him to come and not tarry. Our books stir us on for more and more of his presence. Our prayers are filled with the poetry of longing, calling our Lord to come soon.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

What is the oil we carry in our lamps? Our own oil? Are we not carrying the Light within us? Are our hearts not on fire with the love of God? We can’t borrow from anyone else. How much oil depends on our relationship with the Lord. Are you lit with the fire of God? Are you standing on tip-toes looking up? You know who you are. Your oil is burning bright.
Even better, Jesus knows you.

Advertisements
Art, Calvin Miller, Christ, Christian devotional, Christian faith, Christian Life, Christian Writers

A Memorial Day Tribute – Calvin Miller

Writers have mentors they look up to and one of mine is author Calvin Miller. I met him once. He sat across from me at a table for six at a writers conference. He was one of many presenters and guests that day. I was delightfully surprised to see an open place at his table during our lunch break. Conference attendees were encouraged to choose and join a featured guest, agent, editor, or speaker at their assigned table with the promise of engaging with him or her one-on-one. It was a chance to get advice, pitch your book idea, or make a connection with someone in the Christian publishing industry. I didn’t care to sit with an agent or an acquisitions editor, nor anyone else, not when Calvin Miller was in the room! Holy Moly!

He was such a humble soul, Calvin Miller. A deep thinker. A man who understood God’s “Story” and was a gifted artist at revealing God, especially the heart and mind of God, to others.

I wish I could tell you what we talked about. Our eyes locked while we discussed whatever it was and that was enough for me. I knew God had given me the favor.

Here’s a sample of the beauty and depth of man who really knew God. This is an excerpt from A Requiem for Love, from The Singer Trilogy. (Here’s a link to this book from our book store.)

The setting is just outside the gates of the Garden of Eden. We’re in the middle of a scene with the Creator, whose name is Father-Spirit, and Slithe, the serpent.

“Welcome to your your Garden, Eminence,”

The rising reptile hissed.

 

Earthmaker turned,

“Slithe, once-loved, once crowned

Can this be you,

Self-damned, condemned to sand?”

Slithe laughed.

 

“Lock me from the green, it is only for a while.

Full well you know I will be in.”

 

“Once the entire universe was yours.

You chose these desert chains.”

 

“I chose a throne and got the chains,”

The serpent spewed his bitter grudge.

 

The Father-Spirit turned toward the gates

As they swung slowly open.

His old accuser blinked into the distant splendor.

“Will You succeed this time

In fashioning a lover?

Who will remain a lover?

Or, is Your new creation

Destined to betray You?

Why are You forever

Planting hope in high-walled gardens?”

 

The Father-Spirit looked away.

“Terra holds this Sanctuary as a dream

Where love abused by treachery

May mold a masterpiece of hope.

Today I crown all I have ever made

And honor Terra’s clay by stamping it Imago Mei,

A man, a prince–Regis, friend of spirit.

He shall wear the crown of love you cast aside.

But you will never see his coronation,

For only perfect love shall pass these gates.”

 

This, and the rest of their conversation, unveils more truth and depth of God’s Word, God’s heart, God’s purposes, in a short poetic story than if you were to study theology and philosophy all your life. Do your heart a favor, follow the link below and read the letter Calvin Miller wrote to you, as a member of the Church, before he passed on to heaven. This is an important reminder to all of us to focus on what is vital in life.

Calvin Miller’s Letter to the Church

I invite you to visit and subscribe to Burning Hearts for God where you can visit the book store for more information about Calvin Miller’s book!

 

Christian Life

Trust in God’s Goodness is True Faith

What causes God’s heart deep joy? I think it is when we trust completely in His goodness towards us. He delights so much in each one of His beloveds. And, just as we can delight in people we love, there are certain qualities about us, or instances in our lives, that quicken God’s heart to fill with deep love and affection. I believe this happens to God when He sees us living in faith and hope in His goodness towards us. And, because God’s Spirit is within us, we can even “feel” His love and affection–His joy. This was my experience today in my quiet time with Him.

Today, I will be packing up my belongings and loading my car after an eight-month-stay in Minnesota. I am returning to my home in Charlotte and, coincidentally, my mother is moving into a beautiful  independent-living apartment in a senior care center. The timing of the opening for her move is nothing short of miraculous. Just when I realized I needed to return home, God works things out for her here. She was my original reason for moving to Minnesota for an indefinite time. God’s timing is perfect.

God will meet all my mother’s needs, and He’ll lovingly provide me with all I need after I return, including a new job and the ability to continue growing the Burning Hearts for God ministry and finish writing my new book. I trust Him.

Today I wrote in my prayer journal the following words: “All is good, Lord. I trust You for all my needs and desires. You are good to me. Always. I love you.”

Then I opened to this devotional, the one for today’s reading fit me so perfectly that I was amazed. This happens often. How God orchestrates these perfectly timed things is proof of His loving presence. No wonder we can have so much faith in Him–He proves Himself over and over to us.

Here’s a few excerpts from my devotional today and the link to the book in case you are interested in reading more.

 

***

“The One Year Experiencing God’s Presence Devotional: 365 Daily Encounters to Bring You Closer to Him” by Chris Tiegreen and wanted to share this quote with you.

“. . . Hope believes the best about God—-that He doesn’t just put us through trials but that He plans pleasures and joys for us too. He uses the difficulties in our lives, to be sure, but He doesn’t sadistically arrange them. He desires to bless. That’s His nature. When we hope in Him, we are acknowledging who He is. Rejoice in God and mistrust any expectations that His promises will be broken, His plans will be thwarted, or His goodness will be veiled in our lives. Hope hears His heartbeat accurately and ignores any lies about His character. It’s a concrete expectation of good-—not wishful thinking, not optimism, but a firm knowledge of God’s favor. And hope in Him, according to the Word, will not disappoint us. A life rooted in expectation of His goodness will always eventually be satisfied.

Prayer: “Lord, I place my hope in You. I trust that You are working on my behalf, no matter how difficult my circumstances become. Please fill me with hope—the kind that comes from Your Spirit and cannot disappoint. And help me live in that hope today.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/gWdIbVu

Art, bible study, Christ, Christian, Christian devotional, Christian Life, Christian writer, Christianity, Devotion, Devotional, Jesus

The Pure in Heart

Saints have seen the burning heart of the universe at Calvary. That’s where love first fills their hearts.

Do you agree that God transforms His own beloveds into saints? Theologians call this sanctification. I think most people would agree that saints have hearts on fire for God. Being in love with God is being a saint. Sanctification without being in love with our beautiful Savior looks like duty, drudgery, deadness, diligent dedication; it’s a desperately burdensome existence. Jesus invites us into the duty of delight, pure and simple.

Our everyday vernacular uses the word “saint” in a lighthearted way to point out a person who has exceptional patience or some other virtue. We’d do well to know what God says about saints. In the Bible, the term “saint” is used thirty-six times in the Old Testament and sixty-two times in the New Testament—and thirteen of those sixty-two times appear in the book of Revelation. Apostle Paul wrote this about saints:

“. . . I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27 NKJV).

What was hidden from those in past ages, Jesus revealed to us in ours. To saints, heaven isn’t so much a destination or even the hope of a better life somewhere else. Heaven is seeing Jesus. To saints, God’s words “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) echoes in their hearts and in their everyday lives.

Saints see God with singleness of heart. They have “dove’s eyes” for Him. Just as doves mate for life and see with singleness of vision, so a saint desires God and loves Him entirely. Christ feels this way about His beloved, too. Jesus gave His beautiful “Beatitude blessing” to those who long to see Him. They are the “pure in heart” because they yearn to see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Seeing God is their great reward. It’s not only their hope of seeing Him in the afterlife—a saint sees God in the now.

(This is an excerpt from The Art of Loving God, a new book in the making which I’m thoroughly enjoying with God. I invite you to visit www.burningheartsforGod.com and you’ll see much more on this topic of loving God. Be sure to subscribe there too. May you experience God’s love deeply during this holy season.)

Christ, Christian Artist, Christian devotional, Christian faith, Christian Life, Christian writer, Devotion, Devotional, Jesus, Prayer

Desiring God

The word “love” has lost its power. We say we love ice cream and we love God, never mind that an unfathomable distance as wide as the universe separates the two. What a useless four-letter-word. We’d do better with an ancient one, the one Christian mystics have always used. They call God’s love fire.

God’s love is a love in and of itself.

Not until Jesus unveiled the burning heart of the Creator at Calvary could anyone imagine that kind of love. Solomon’s inspired lovesong penned the essence of it and spoke from God’s heart: “. . . for love is as strong as death, passion as cruel as Sh’ol; its flashes are flashes of fire, [as fierce as the] flame of Yah. No amount of water can quench love, torrents cannot drown it” (Song of Songs 8:6 & 7 CJB).

That fire is the love God shares with His beloved.

*****

Note: This is the first inspirational blog to be published from Burning Hearts for God, an online community and resource ministry. Look for the link to the site within a couple of days! You’ll be glad you did. God is lighting the fires of His beloveds’ hearts all over the planet. Let’s share the passion and love of Jesus with one another. We are one in God’s heart of fire!

Christian Life

Hope

Planet EarthIt’s Sunday today. One week after the senseless, violent murders that took place in a small Christian church family in Texas. What a horrible, tragic thing!—and to happen in a place of worship. Our country is still mourning the deaths of too many innocents taken in Las Vegas. What is happening to our society? Why is there so much hatred everywhere? We are worried about the evil in the hearts of the leader of North Korea and in ISIS terrorists, but evil is lurking in countless, lost souls worldwide.

Hearts and minds of persons are being possessed by the powers of darkness in unprecedented records. And it is everywhere. Nowhere is safe. The cliché “What is this world coming to?” is a resounding cry that echoes from our hearts in our everyday thoughts. Lord, God of heaven and earth, save us!

A generation shows how fast things are becoming evil. When I was growing up, I could freely play outdoors all day long. At age twelve, I took a city bus on my own to a large metropolitan downtown. When I left the house on summer days, I’d take off on my bicycle early in the day and return in time for dinner. My parents never worried about me. I had no cell phone or tracking device on me. We didn’t need it.  Now my children are parents. They are afraid to let their children play in the backyard.  As grandma, I’m sometimes brought in to help keep their kids safe. If we lose sight of a child for a few moments at the store, we panic. One of us must escort the kids to the school bus stop and meet them there when they are dropped off. A school bus is still considered potentially dangerous for my twelve-year-old grandson.

I am reading John Eldredge’s new book, ALL THINGS NEW. Talk about the need we have for hope, this book couldn’t be better timed. I have been praying with this book, turning every truth and insight into communication with God. I haven’t gotten far into the book’s pages to know the author is reminding me of what I’ve known, as a follower of Jesus, for a long time. I just needed to hear about my “hope” in depth from a man of God, a person who understands human hearts and God’s heart and has a way with words that hits the mark in our hearts. Thank you, John Eldredge, for being sensitive to God at this time and for giving us the reminder we so desperately need.

People of the Kingdom of Jesus, we have what we need for these days. We are in the know, even though we still ask “Why? Why? Why?” as we hear the “bad news” on the News every night. Beloved brothers and sisters, we know where we are headed. It’s just that at this time, we need the Lord’s comfort and His reminder. Hang on to your hope.

Lord, let us “see” that we are in the Last Days with eyes of HOPE, focused on You and Your promises. What we most hope for is around the corner.

I told the Lord this morning that my hope lies in Him, in His promises for the GOOD, love, and beauty He wants for all people. His Kingdom is about to fully come and will invade the darkness and cast it away. God’s heart wants ours to be comforted and uplifted. Faith, hope, and love are the strongest powers we have—and they come from God. What is happening in our world is that we are spinning faster and faster towards the “restoration of all things” that Jesus promised us. It will get darker before the DAWN. Let your hope rise. We were made for the kind of life that began at the dawn of Creation—our paradise lost. But Jesus promised to make all things new here on this earth. Do yourself a favor, pick up John Eldredge’s book. It will do your heart good.