{re}fresh

A Whip-Wielding Crusader

by Mindy Kiker

It can be tempting to believe that Jesus doesn’t shine in the places where we have been wounded, where arrows or lies have lodged in our hearts from the hurt we have experienced in life. The painful experiences create damaged pieces of our hearts that feel dark indeed. Our enemy strategizes to attack our identity, our gifting, and even our bodies in order to break and shatter who God made us to be, to shroud out the radiant light of His love, joy, and peace.

Image by Blew bird
Flicker.com/photos/blewbird33/8905407840_CC BY-ND 2.0

In our hearts there are places where God’s healing light has not yet reached. Jesus died to purchase our healing, our cleansing, our freedom, but He also stands at the door and knocks. Unfortunately, it can take many years for us to trust Him enough to open our wounded places to His light. He will never force the door open, but instead Jesus waits patiently for us to say, “Come to me, my Savior. I open the door of my heart and give you permission to heal my wounds and make me whole in these areas that have closed me off from your love and freedom.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Sowing Seed

by Rob Dunne

Image by Brianna Privett_Flickr.com_2284232743_d7a58a1f2d__CC BY-ND 2.0

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20

During summer break in college, I got a job building tennis courts. One of the many facets to building a tennis court was surrounding it with a chain link fence. Every post requires a fairly deep hole. To achieve this, you must use a variety of tools.

To say that this was labor intensive is an understatement. You start out using a post hole digger. Once you get past the first foot or so of soil, you encounter rocks. The deeper you go, the bigger they get. Occasionally, you hit a boulder. We would try to work them out with a steel digging bar. If they were particularly big, we busted out the jackhammer. Either way, we got them out of the ground.

Jesus shared a parable about sowing seed and how it thrives in good ground. He explains that the sower is someone who shares the Word of God (the seed) with others. It lands on four types of ground; the wayside, stony ground, among thorns and good ground.

Read the rest of this entry »

How I found Jesus while breathing

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by c3lsius_bb
Flickr.com_29514102416_7965434bd8_CC BY-ND 2.0

The quiet attracted me instantly. Where else, besides a library, gives an introvert permission to be silent amidst a small crowd? Yet, as attractive as the silence was, I sat cross-legged, shaking in trepidation, upon my yoga mat, fearful that I was foolishly opening my heart to some Eastern religious practice and would somehow be sucked into paganism. Read the rest of this entry »

Unending Love

by Carol Nicholls

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34

“Good afternoon, this is Carol, how may I help you?” What started as just another phone conversation at work took an unexpected turn. “This is Mike from radio station WBAL. We had a call-in contest asking people to tell us who was their best friend and why. Your daughter, Connie, called and said her mother was her best friend. She is our winner but you get the gift. The prize is a Peace plant which will be delivered to you at your office today.”

To have your teenage daughter tell strangers so eloquently, that you are her “best friend” is an amazing gift. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Unless” Moments of God

by juste buzas

 

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest. (Exodus 14:14)

“When will it break, Lord?”  I whispered wearily.  “When will release come?”

My spirit was tired and heavy within me.  Oh, I wasn’t complaining.  The motive of my heart was pure.  I was quite familiar with the rebellious cries of the children of ancient Israel for I, too, had cried out in bitterness and anger toward God.  I, too, had looked up through bitter tears and accused God.  But this was different.  I wasn’t angry or even sad.  I was simply tired.  I was weary.

As soon as I cried out in anguish, words of Scripture and prophecy flowed through my spirit.  Words which reassured and steadied me.  I took a breath.  I was not turning back.  I had no desire to return to the old for I had tasted and experienced God’s goodness.  I had come to know His steadfast faithfulness – there in the midst of my struggle.  I was simply facing another day of trial, and my heart was faint to bear it. Read the rest of this entry »

That Unforced Rhythm of Grace

by kerriebutterfield

First Dance
by Elizabeth Anne
Flickr.com_2666924472_c85810c260_CC BY_ND 2.0

I regularly pray that people would be embarrassed by God’s affection and goodness–become a billboard for the goodness of God. My heart is that people would see Papa God’s nature on display, and God would get the glory. When I pray this I often picture a teenager embarrassed by a public display of affection; enjoying the love but completely self- aware, and wondering what people watching might be thinking. My husband also prays daily for our family that any areas that are uncomfortable with Papa God’s love would be revealed and transformed by love. A few weeks ago these two prayers had a beautiful collision. Read the rest of this entry »

Our Fractal Gospel

by Mike McKinniss

6187965533_3acc1d50a8_z

fractal fun” by hairchaser under license CC BY-SA 2.0

Is there such a thing as a “simple gospel”?

I know from whence the desire comes, the beckoning for a simple gospel by which we may abide faithfully without the encumbrance of convoluted strictures. No one wishes befuddlement in such consequential and eternal matters. We wish, rather, for certainty or, at least, confidence. After all, souls are at stake.

But our longing is as the one who desires to retire alone and in peace to a log cabin in the vast open country, though he is tied to a covenanted spouse, bears responsibility for the offspring of that union and the charge of his employment. Perhaps the solitary life is simpler, but it does no justice to the complex reality of our station. Read the rest of this entry »

Love: as simple as it gets

by Mindy Kiker

Simple Love by JLHopgood
Flickr.com_6816878933_eab6c660b1_CC BY-ND

Everything in the Christian life pivots on the events we celebrate this time of year. Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to set us free. Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable that Jesus had to suffer torture, scourging, mocking, and finally a slow, brutal death?

Why couldn’t He destroy the grip of sin and death with some fire power? I personally like Peter’s approach, when he hauled out his sword to defend his Messiah and cut off the soldier’s ear. All of me cries out, “Yeah, Baby, don’t let them take you without a fight!”

Can you tell that God’s ways are not my ways? If I were designing the redemption of humanity, I would have sent Jesus to earth to create His kingdom through a political revolution. Wouldn’t it have been impressive to lead a fiery revolt against all the other nations of the world and establish a physical kingdom for God’s chosen people?

Read the rest of this entry »

Keep It Simple

by Dawn Aldrich

Ethiopia Innocent Prayers by Steve Evans_flickr.com_3405971322_23eae03cac_CC BY-ND 2.0

For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. Romans 10:9 (The Passion)

Auntie Lou’s passionate gospel flannel graph story-telling captured my nine-year-old heart. With every new layer she added to the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, my heart raced faster and faster.

She shared how Jesus sacrificed everything that I might stand blameless before God and experience everlasting life in His presence, if I simply asked Jesus into my heart. It was so simple. I didn’t question it. I simply responded, “yes” to Jesus.

Maybe that’s why Jesus liked children so much? Read the rest of this entry »

The Embrace of God

by juste buzas

Image by Alex Berger
Flickr.com_27607976095_9b67da3b4d_ CC BY-ND 2.0

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].”  (Psalm 91:14)(AMP)

 

One night when I was in Chicago for a conference, I found myself alone in my hotel room after a long day of meetings.  I was tired, weary.  I stood at my window and stared down at the busy and bustling streets of the city.  As I watched the people hurry through the snow, I longed for my children and my husband.  I yearned to hold them, to be held.  I missed my husband’s sheltering embrace.  I craved the sloppy, bowl-me-over kisses of my children.  I longed for love.

Suddenly, I was aware of the silence of the room.  In the quiet of my solitude, I felt the longing of God’s heart toward me.  I could actually feel the yearning of God’s heart toward mine.  He was calling me into His arms, and, like a child, I stepped toward Him and was held close in His eternal embrace.  Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: