A Door of Hope

Hope

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” (Hosea 2:14-15)

There is a door of hope. But it lies within the driest of deserts and is surrounded by the sharpest of thorns. It is a barren land, this desert, and the loneliness there can suffocate and strangle. As the blazing sun will not concede in it’s mission to scorch and parch, neither shall the thorns relent in piercing the flesh of all who attempt to escape before it is time. None shall come and none shall go. This… this is where God speaks and it is where those who have been running from Him, listen. And It is here that a beautiful door is given, and hope is born.

How can one possibly escape the grasp of a love so big? It is impossible to do so.

Stubbornness is the spiritual sickness of the Christian and it plagues many a woman of God. There are times – seasons – in all of our lives, that we insist on doing things our own way. For some it is unintentional, yet they are driven by self-righteousness and by a pride that blinds. For others, a line has been drawn in the sand, and they have carefully and intentionally placed God on the other side of that line.

Centuries ago a woman lived – Gomer was her name…and in the world’s eyes she was worth little. But God saw her. And He sees you and I too.

Ancient hands gave…gave a Son – the only One, and as the divine hands providentially wash the filthy, clean – the holy blood bath purifies and delivers because there is power in the Blood. Are we willing to bloom where we are planted? God CAN cause fountains of living waters to flow out from within the dearth that consumes us.

“Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.” (Hosea 2:6)

When God places His “Gomer” in the wilderness and surrounds her with thorns – to keep her in and to keep all others out – the misery, at first, is like no other. However, it is through the very wounds that one obtains here through this breaking, which enables the Spirit to flow out from within. But if we fight our God WE. WILL. LOSE. Yet, our submission and attention to what He is saying to us there will yield magenta and orange and bright yellow flowers and they will spring up from dry, dead places inside of us, and a lush garden will appear in this garden of our soul…and Jesus will walk in it in the heat of the day and in the cool of the night.

Communion arises in the most unusual places. And If we are open to God’s hand in everything, a door of hope will open up to us and a fellowship with Him will arise and soak up all of the loneliness. But standing in front of that door will be an invitation for us to repent. It is precursor to entering the doorway of hope, and all who wish to exact upon that door will have to embrace the godly sorrow that leads to repentance, and with it take off the pride, complacency, self-righteousness, idolatry, fornication, bitterness, drunkenness…and all of the etcetera, etcetera.

Repent

Repentance chases, and like a detective on a hard case, it secretly follows the calloused heart to confront it and to convict it. But what happens when we refuse it all…the call to repentance, the door of hope, the communion with God? What a sad sight this can be…

Have you ever encountered the pathetic soul who enters the wilderness, is cut by the thorns, parched by the drought, crushed by the loneliness, but never leaves there? The temporary desert experience designed to break them and soften them and yes, mold them in Christ-likeness, turns into something much longer in duration because they WILL NOT YIELD. The door of hope awaits but the handle is never turned and the hinges are rusted.

What a waste.

Yield

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” (Hosea 14:9)

Yes, the wilderness is the antithesis of fun, but it is there where the broken is made beautiful and the fractured is made whole. So let your heart sing the Desert Psalm, and praise Him while you are there, and when you pass through that door of hope to depart into better times, praise Him for the lessons learned.

Desert Psalm:
The sandy blast, it dries my bones, and tears – they fill my eyes –
But when I bow before His will, and learn to recognize –
His voice, His hand, His providence –
they lead me to the door..
I’ll not walk through till I repent –
And afterwards I’ll soar!

 

Broken

Every broken and damaged soul has to endure and embrace the lessons God has for them – whether it is while soaring on the mountain-top, or while they wait in the valley – while in the land flowing with milk and honey, or in the barren wilderness. And when we just stop and listen and take a look inwardly to see – really see – what’s going on, and then respond the way God is telling us to…WE GROW! Because there isn’t anything more beautiful than a broken woman! The world’s standards of beauty consists of nothing more than shallow vessels of vanity. Immodest, flirtatious, strong-willed, and independence are qualities that the world associates with beauty.

God sees us differently. And we need to let Him love us in His own way.

Be Blessed

A moment in the hand of God can refine you, define you, and align you. Can you look beyond the wasteland and look forward to the promised land…and be blessed?

There’s a Reason For Your Season…

candles burning

Once upon a time…

I remember that Christmas several years ago when I felt cold and sad and sick. It had been a dark year that year. First, I lost my Mom to a torturous death. Several months later my mentor dropped dead of a massive heart attack. And then…my baby boy died. My body ached from the stress of it all and I bled and bled and bled. I tried to make it like any other year…trimmed the tree, wrapped the gifts, but it was dark…so dark. It was a season for rejoicing for some – as Christmas usually is. But for me it was a season for grieving, and it couldn’t be stopped.

There’s a reason for your season. Yes, and as the tides of those waters dark and deep, turn or roll – so do our circumstances. We enter into one season battered and broken, anxious and afraid, sin-laden and numb. But we can leave that season changed – softened, delivered, unafraid, healed. And then we can enter into a new season – one that is powerful and effective for the higher cause…the cause of Christ. For us. For others. Because an unbroken soul can do little for this grand cause of Jesus Christ. How can we preach deliverance if we ourselves have never been delivered?

An untouched, unbroken, unscathed Christian is a useless commodity in a world full of needy beggars…begging to be saved from the darkness all around them.

decorative pillow

Each season has it’s contrasts and there are spiritual lessons to be gleaned. Winter can be dark and cold, but also clean and invigorating. Spring is full of clouds and rain, yet abundant with new life. Summer can leave a poor soul parched and heat-stricken, but it can also add warmth to a land once barren and covered in the icy grasps of winter. Autumn…so much color and beauty, yet, everything is dying, and it is a reminder to us that there is beauty in death…death to self.

The holidays draw near and many are sad and live with a dark cloud residing over them because of the loss of a loved one, an illness, loneliness…or maybe because at a time when they are supposed to feel happy and fa-la-la-la-la down Christmas Lane, instead they are channeling their inner Grinch as Jingle Bells just aren’t cutting it this year. The burdens are big and perhaps the faith is small…

christmas ornament

What can we do?

It all just seems so cliche to me. Now is not the time to mouth empty platitudes, because you know what? They’ve heard us say one million and forty three times that we’ll be praying for them. Okay, they get that. And they already know Jesus loves them. So, what can we really do to bless them…during this season? Maybe the gift of empathy is the real gift this year. Maybe just taking our eyes of of ourselves for just a few minutes to imagine ourselves in their shoes…maybe we just need to cry for them. And then we can go from there.

Today I’m thinking of those who are lonely. Those who used to count down the days to Christmas, but now there are no pretty lights or wrapping paper or Christmas Carols to be sung…the joy has faded. Today I am thinking of those who are spending their days and nights in the hospital wondering if their precious baby will live or die…as the world rejoices, they are in a different world – one with beeping machines, bad news, and crappy hospital food. Today I am thinking of those that long to hold a loved one – all of those memories of holidays and the joy they shared together…gone, for now.

clock

And so I carefully enter the throne room of their heart and offer the sacrifices of my condolences, my empathy, my compassion, and yes, my prayers. Right now I light a candle for them and imagine their pain and remember the times of my own, and then that still small voice reminds me of something: God is near to the broken-hearted. He is.

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

It may feel so very dark but the blackness that invades your world right now is not forever. There is just enough Light for you to be able to see if you will really look…to Jesus. Jesus, yeah, Him. The One who knows your pain because He has already been there. The One who stands at the door to your heart, to your world, right this very second, and waits for you to open up.

All of our lovely holiday traditions…have they ruined us? You see, the whole reason that we can rejoice this day, this season, is because of the fact that there was a time in actual history that our Savior was born and lived…and died…and praise God, rose again! The gift exchanges and the egg nog and tree trimming – they are all wonderful but they are not the reason for our joy. At least they shouldn’t be. But aren’t we all guilty of making it about all of these “things”? I am.

christmas ornament

So, now we just have to get back to reality, and remember that He is our reality. He is our truth, our light, our comfort, our life. His light shines over us and is so much brighter than the prettiest of man-made temporary lights that this world has to offer. And He can, if we will allow Him, comfort us in ways we cannot imagine.

You know that Christmas I told you about…the one that was so dark for me? Well, it was in that darkness that I really found the light. Just as the seasons have their contrasts, so does the cross that we are to bear. It is so painful and the nails hurt so much, but new life will follow that agony and if we”ll embrace the brokenness that surrounds us and look to the Mender, the reason for our season will be revealed and we will soar to new heights. And the next season will be one that we can show others the way through their own pain. Jesus is the way, friends. Let. Him. In.

So, please accept my thoughts, prayers, compassion, empathy, love, and tears for you if you are hurting right now. I care. But, please know this: Jesus cares even more than I do, so let His light fill you and then be a light to someone else, okay? Thank God for the gift of His Son because this Gift is unmatchable and true and lasting…everlasting. Yeah, He is the reason for the season – for every season.

I love you.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Dear Church… (Part Two)

Bell

Dear Church,
As the rain hits my tin roof and I hear the reverberation of all of those giant raindrops, my mind wanders to the prayer chamber of heaven and I wonder if it is full of the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Do these prayers make a sound when they enter Glory or do they bounce off the wall like a lonely raindrop and melt into the wind?

Are our prayers barely muttered out of a dutiful heart and a religious spirit, or do we cry with a passion for God to hear and to answer? Because really…I sense a complacency and something not hot, not cold, and I’m so burdened about it.

I am so concerned that God will finally say, “Enough!”, and subsequently spit the church out of His holy mouth while renouncing the lukewarm temperature and the flat, saltless flavor that we have become.

Dear Church,
Do we really think it is enough to cry out only when things are on the brink of disaster? Have we had more passion in Black Friday shopping than we have in prayer?? Can we say that we have honestly spent hours searching the scriptures for answers, or begging God for justice for all of the kids in this country who have been spiritually, mentally, and physically raped? Because I have noticed all of the social media posts lately that have detailed the shopping sprees, the sale items, the bargains acquired after hours of mindless shopping – and yet…

God is waiting to hear from us.

Boy in a forest

Dear Church,
My burden is for the saved, because if and when judgment comes to this world – this country – it will be because, we, the church – the children of God – have F-A-I-L-E-D. Period. We go through the motions of Christianity and we move with such pomp that it almost seems legit. But we know this cannot be so because if it were, abortion wouldn’t be on the rise and evil people wouldn’t stand a chance at running for office and Satanists wouldn’t have after school clubs…

God is waiting to hear from us.

bare tree

Dear Church,
I have been praying – crying out to God – for you. And for me. For us to rise up out of our stagnancy and wake up to the fact that we aren’t doing enough in prayer and humility and repentance and so, so many other things…and oh, how my head spins as I type this. Can I ask you something? Do you at all feel a tugging in your spirit that something isn’t right? Do you know the difference between simply praying, and actually crying out? Is your heart broken and do you shudder at the thought of what could be around the corner for this country if God decides that since we won’t judge ourselves and cry out against the evil attempting to rise up and take control of our freedoms, that He WILL judge us…”For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…” (1 Peter 4:17)

I’m praying that God will break our hearts for this country, for the lost, for the children, and for the church! I’m praying that He will give each one of us a personal mission and burden and that we’ll surrender to His voice! I’m praying that the pathetic, unfeeling and mindless prayers we have been praying out of duty, will become cries from so deep within us, and that our fervency and desperation will move Heaven’s hand on our behalf! I’m praying for destruction of the pedophilia rings and complete defunding of Planned Parenthood! I’m praying that Christians will take back this country and that they will be lights – true lights – in this very dark world! I’m praying that we will forsake our crocodile tears for the real ones and that when we do we will finally be filled to the brim with Holy Spirit power and then rise up and exercise that power for heaven’s sake! I’m praying that, we, the church, will stop acting like we are paralyzed and start living up to the inheritance we have obtained through Christ! We CAN cast out devils! We CAN heal the sick! We CAN speak and preach and teach with such power that it pierces a person’s spirit, rather than tickling their soul!

God is waiting to hear from us.

autumn leaves

Dear Church,
I know very few people will read this, but those of you that do…will you pray? No, will you CRY OUT? Yes, I realize this is just little ol’ me – basically, a nobody – calling out to you to wake up. Nevertheless, God has put an urgency within me and has given me these words to share with you, and so I will do so because I love Him, and I love you… my siblings in Christ.

Will you cry with me, and bend at Heaven’s throne?
Or will you let the lost and hurt die their death alone?

Will you fall flat on your face and cry a cry so raw?
Or will you cast aside real faith and cling to rigid law?

God is calling now, please don’t turn away –
Pray while you can, and cry while it is day.

“Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward Him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.” (Lamentations 2:22)

tree stump

Dear Church,
Please don’t go back to sleep.

Signed:
Just a Jesus girl. A nobody to the world, but a voice for Him.