Against the Flow

Daily we all face a similar struggle, likely centered in our heart thoughts. It comes like a voice of authority, bold and loud — “conform” it says, and to what? That screaming tyranny of the moment, demanding obedience to ways of this world and its culture of self-focus. And when we don’t obey its mocking voice of arrogance? It simply takes another form, surrounding us with attack after attack on the life-giving aspects of our journey, seeking to shift us into “survival” mode. We know its taste that lingers in our mouth, one of bitterness, distraction and life-less action that consumes our best energy. Soon, the moments, then days, and months pass with little vision and revelation. Looking back, we are flooded with regret, wondering in truth what we have lost because we were too busy just trying to survive. Sound familiar? Today, and for each of us in this place, I want to plant a flag of “thus far and no more!”. Our journey, no matter the circumstances, is meant to be continuously marked by life that not only releases hope for us, but also for others around us. How do we do this? Simply put…stop, turn and face the onslaught head on. Whatever the flow against you, Jesus is greater. His life proved that no matter what things looked like, there was more to Him than could be anticipated. And so it is with us. With the Holy Spirit within us, as released by Jesus unto all who bend their knee to Him as King, we too possess life from His own that cannot be anticipated. It beats to Heaven’s rhythm, in sync with the Godhead, and with a power source that NEVER diminishes. We were made to not only stand against the flow, but to charge it with greater weapons marked by the character of God — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and so on. So, stand tall and rush forth into the thick of the onslaught. Like the Red Sea before Moses, every lying voice will be silenced and banished when contested by the real truth of Life Eternal within us. You are a warrior…Let’s become the battle to every spiritual power who mocks the life of Jesus within us. All of Heaven is rattling earth with the cry of victory!

Unstoppable Presence

Check out my latest Rays of Life Encouragement sharing an allegorical experience about encountering the Lord’s Presence despite circumstances that speak otherwise. I welcome any comments you may have. If you want to receive these encouragements directly, contact me with your email. To find this and other writings, click Writings on my website at http://www.heavensdawn.net .

Beyond Our Reach

Generations come and go, each marked with unique contributions to the history of humanity. Some change life and its experience in ways that bring wondrous joy while others become dark chapters stealing hope from our hearts. In either, there remains a truth that each generation seems to have to discover afresh regardless of the experience of the previous. The God of this Universe, the Great I AM, remains beyond our reach of any and all our attempts to bring Him to our realm. In contrast though, NOTHING is beyond Him and motivated by His surpassing love for each of us, He reaches into our realm to invite us near. What’s more, His reach is more than a noble gesture from the Supreme King…rather He offers a relationship with Him with the only access point created by the offering of His One and Only Son on a cross of death that humanity constructed. A wonder above wonders, that He who is out of our reach, reaches to us to give our lives value beyond this life. Thank You Jesus…

Rays of Life

I am excited to announce that in the coming year, I will be offering general words of encouragement called “Rays of Life” with at least one coming every month. In these, I hope to provide thoughts, stories, and/or experiences that will inspire, provoke, enlighten, and potentially lead you to seek more with Jesus as you journey together. I anticipate making these available using several outlets, but if you would like to personally receive these in an email or via postal, please let me know. I would be happy to put you on my direct mailing list. To find them on our website, click Writings

My Valley of Reflection

The end of the year brings opportunity for real reflection. The following represents a picture of this time in my own heart. May it bring hope to you as it does to me…

I stand upon a small knoll overlooking a large valley below me. The warmth of the sun is at my back, as my outline casts a small shadow amid the vastness of the scene before me. Two contrasting images mark the landscape, each capturing an event in my life the last year. One image, colorful flowers, dot the valley in both pockets and in sparse spacings. Intuitively, these represent events or experiences of joy where life has been filled with hope, peace, love, faithfulness, fulfilled expectations, and so on. The other image, sharp and dull stones, represent those times in the past year of loss, pain, challenge, weakness, failure, and the like.

My first gaze into this reflected scene of 2015 in my journey causes me to flinch with disappointment and sadness. The rocks are more numerous than the flowers. Indeed, this past year held many difficult circumstances and realities. But even in this truth, I cannot overlook the presence of flowers and the number of them. As I think back, the memories of these desired moments also flood my heart evoking feelings of deep gratefulenss and happiness. I also notice that the flowers were not only of differing colors, but they were also of differing sizes. My eyes were drawn to see smaller ones hidden as they were amid the stones. Their coloring was just as bright and exquisite, helping me realize that even in the midst of pain, life was growing and happening inside my heart.

Surveying this scene, I didn’t notice a growing shadow being cast upon this valley. All at once I snapped out of my gaze to realize its intrustion. Taking a moment for me to conceptualize its outline, my knees gave out as I fell forward to the ground. A flood of tears began to flow, both washing my soul and expressing without words the brokenness of my heart. Not a brokenness of failure, but rather a brokenness of transparency of one before a greater power than the sum of my life. Slowly turning to behold behind me, my eyes were able to make out a massive, blood-stained cross. Undone, I dug my fingers into the soil, realizing the clarity of its message in this moment. All that 2015 represented in my life, both the joys and the pains, the successes and the failures, the fulfilled and unfulfilled expectations, it all took its place under the power of that special cross which held THE Son of God. Meant for me, His sacrifice released the treasured gift of Heaven…Eternal Love given first so that I can in return love again.

Consumed in my thoughts, I hear a thunderous roar all around me. Looking up from the ground, a pure river of glowing water is rushing around me flowing into the valley of my life experiences. Everything is covered, stones and flowers in all, and once consumed, the light that appears is so bright that I cannot continue to look out. Turning my head to look behind, I’m awe-struck over the reality that the river is flowing from the Cross. Again, revelation captures my heart…the cross brings the meaning of my life to the forefront. I am not my success nor my failures…I am an adopted, flawless, son of the Resurrected God Man King, having received the gift He offers of restored relationship as I bend my will to His.

The impact of this revelation is massive, yet such that I struggled to hold it all. I can never be more than I am today in His Presence simply because of Jesus’ righteousness which marks my life. Nothing I experience reigns greater. The cross, its power for redemption and restoration, completes the expectation of Heaven for renewed relationship. Humbled, overwhelmed and hardly able to breath, I hold on to this scene for as long as I can. The moments pass and its vision begins the fade. However, its impact is like a fire — uncontrollable and consuming, touching every part of my life. Words begin to fail, but undescribable hope grows. The Surpassing greatness of the Cross has no match. Nothing I can offer can compare; nonetheless, may He recieve my gratefulness.

A Life of Gratefulness

One of the most powerful ways we can give value to others is through sharing heart-felt gratefulness. To be grateful is to value something with attention and affirmation. Each of us desire to be valued and to be someone who positively impacts the journey of others. Through offering appreciation, we also influence the spiritual climate around us, where we contest discouragement and insecurity and release Heaven’s culture of power, strength and courage built upon love. In much the same manner, as God wants us to enter His presence with thanksgiving, being grateful towards others opens their heart to yours. A thankful life is one that demonstrates a fulfillment of heart that longs to help others feel the same. Share your gratefulness with great intention and lavished generosity. Your own heart will be transformed as together we witness heaven coming to earth.

Be Extraordinary in the Ordinary

The life of Jesus that we receive is meant to not only impact the “events” of our lives, but also that which we might call the “ordinary” times and seasons we mostly live in. In fact, to become extraordinary in these moments is crucial to our journey with Him. Certainly He is the life giver for our mountains and valleys. However, he wants to be the same in the “ordinaries”. As we embrace and walk in this expectation, we will not be prepared for what He has in store not only for us, but also for those around us we give His life to. (Taken from a recent message — To hear it in its entirety, click this link  http://tf-sandy.org/home/component/sermonspeaker/sermon/10252.html

Capacity for Mystery

What does mystery mean to you, especially as it connects with Jesus and His Kingdom? Early in my journey, I valued the pursuit of “knowing” Jesus, His ways and His intentions. Actually, I still value this very highly. However, I also realized along the way that in many cases, I was not leaving any room for mystery in this pursuit. I actually thought the more I pursued, studied and inquired, the less mystery I would have to deal with. What I found was the opposite and I will tell you I’m grateful. Jesus is incredibly mysterious — not just in the obvious of what He does. He is also mysterious in the “who He is” part of His heart and character. What I mean is how mysteriously radical He is in the real-life application of His heart in our experiences. For example, the mystery of His powerful and penetrating love surpasses any words we can contrive to explain it. Pictures, while coming closer, still fail to capture the fullness of its impact. No, its in the day-to-day flow of love’s life that we come face to face with the mystery of its source, its core truth and its designed impact and significance. To love like Him is to dwell in mystery. Maybe my life can capture a small part of this same mystery…I hope yours does too!

Ageless Virtues

Regardless of time, culture or circumstances, the heart virtues of Jesus will ALWAYS reign supreme against the contrasting spiritual attacks we face in the journeys of our lives. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on, among others, represent the true reality of where power lies for transformation of hearts towards life. Put another way, that which is real — love, joy, etc — are the sources of power that fill the empty places of hearts where these virtues are lacking and described by opposite expressions — hate, despair, etc.  Jesus came not only to set us free, but to fill us with HIMSELF and with the power to establish life in the midst of places where life is not present. Shine your light everywhere…the darkest places are where it is needed the most!