The Entanglement Box

In the first few weeks of fire academy,  the instructors had us go through the entanglement box for the first time. We were blind-folded in full bunker gear with our packs on but off air. This was certainly a different experience. I had some semi-idea of what was involved but did not realize the full extent of the difficulty of the situation without “knowledge” of how to deal with the entanglements.

My first time through, my SCBA bottle became caught on one of the entanglements behind me. It took me a good 10 minutes at least to get unstuck with the help of an instructors counsel in the dark!. I was in a small space with limited mobility because of the bunker gear. There were some kind of barrels in the middle with ropes hanging across, one of which got me stuck. Without knowledge of how to swim through these things and use my hands to clear things away, it was an inevitable situation. But again this was a new experience for me. I became overly anxious, hot, sweaty and overwhelmed. This is probably one of two times that I thought I wanted to quit academy. But it was too late, unless I gave them money, so I was in for the long-haul.

After this situation, I came to another tight box with even more wires hanging from both sides. “Oh Lord how am I going to get through this one???” honestly I was praying at this point. I stopped and told the instructor this was not happening, I could not get through there. I was beat tired at this point. He explained several times how to do it. So with much hesitation, I went for it. Sure enough it wasn’t an issue, I made it through easily.

We did this drill two more times throughout academy. The second time, I was nervous, but I didn’t have any hang-ups and moved through it easily. The third time, was so much fun!  I felt excited to do this again. We had partners, and even though it was a much harder course, we had learned to make it through and to help one another.

I look back to this situation and see several examples of walking the Christian life.

  1. How much we need others in our life to point us in the right direction when we don’t have knowledge or are learning a new thing. And though we can get hung up, these people are there to help us get out because they’ve been through it before. They have a visual perspective that is different than our own. (And the instructors weren’t blindedfolded!) “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Pr. 11:14
  2. Sometimes we go through things, that we are unclear of the way, though we know there is an end. One of the harder things in the Christian life is the waiting of an outcome or waiting for an answer for prayer in regards to direction and understanding. Sometimes the Lord let’s us squirm, until we give up on self and our own way. He let’s us see that He’s got it under control, and we don’t! We just have to trust His voice. It’s frustrating to not see the end. This is how we come to know His voice in the darkness, He is our Light. “…and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” Jn. 10:3
  3.  Just like in other things, the more we go through trials, the easier they become. I remember the things I struggled with in my earlier Christian years. The anxiety and fear that would come. Now, being tested in similar things, I have more peace in the trial. Perhaps, because I have a greater understanding of the Lord’s will and purpose or because I know Him more as a Father than before. Or because I know how little I know, so I lean on Him more. I have learned to trust Him greater.  The longer and more closely we walk beside Him, the more we will see these trials as adventures and things that only increase our love in Him.
  4. Learning to stay calm in the storm. The thing with firefighting is that there are possible situations in which you must learn to control fear and anxiety. If you lose your mind, it can be costly and dangerous and besides that you use more air from your SCBA if you are anxious. Just like in our walk with the Lord, when we are unclear of direction or the meaning or reason of a trial, we are tempted to get anxious. Jesus says, “Be anxious for NOTHING.” There’s never a reason to be anxious, no matter the trial. This is when we lose our minds, commit sin, do stupid things. “It is good to wait patiently for deliverance from the LORD.” Lam. 3:26 NET

Delight in the Lord

A few days ago I was looking in the mirror.
These are my thoughts…

“Where did all that muscle come from?! what in the world??”

I felt like I fell in love with working out, and suddenly now I have all of this strength. What happened?!?! It seemed so weird for a few moments. Like overnight, this had happened. What?! I might sound vain, but I’m not trying to be! Fitness is one of my loves.

My goal in strength training was not fitness goals, or physical appearance. I simply fell in love with it. I enjoy it. You could say I take delight in it.

So I got to thinking more about it…

Serving the Lord should be like this. We fall in love with Him, and delight to do His will.

This is what David said. “Delight thyself also in the LORD” Psa_37:4

Jesus also says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mat_11:30

But how is this possible? I believe it’s because we delight do His will. When we love something so much we’d die for it, it’s easy. When His yoke is hard and burdensome, we have lost the love for serving Him. This is KEY to the Christian life. Keeping our first love. There are so many temptations that the devil tries to pull us into. Let us examine our hearts. Is His yoke easy? Is the burden light? Is there joy in living for Him? Are His commandments easy or a burden?

Spiritual growth derives out of this first love. We will overcome without realizing it.  Sin will no longer torment. Keeping in fellowship, keeping in step and in tune with Him, is this our delight? Then overcoming sin will be easy. And we will overcome and spiritually mature….like it was effortless.

Meditate on His love for you.

“…I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him…”

Pr. 8:30

A five minute poem

The light of my life
The joy of my salvation
The reason i walk through this life
He is beginning and end

Praise him all you people, Let us rejoice
Because he has come
To save the weak
And preserve the strong

There is none other
That is greater than he
For all life’s woes and worries
Fall at his feet

Be proud, stand tall
He is there to help you
Ever-present help in time of need, is He
Strong armour of His will and grace

Finding that Quiet Place

This has been my meditation this week…..Finding that Quiet Place….

Our church has started a Bible reading plan together. On some days I have tried to rush through it, without finding my quiet place of listening before the Lord. All to say I did it!! Even while reading, I constantly have to reposition my mind back to His thought and reading…instead of going to this other thing that needs to get done. At this phase of life, I have many responsibilities and things going on. I have never been busier in my life, not even in college. But the grace and peace of God has backed it up thus far and I love what I do!

Last week I think I almost had a panic attack because Volunteer firefighting is beginning! yay! I am excited, but at first it was quite overwhelming. With CNA and Personal Trainer work with several clients and my church/social life, I was wondering if I could do all this and still be a firefighter a few days a month. Perhaps I would have to switch jobs….I was thinking. But no matter how many times life changes…more work …clients change….change still gets me rattled. You’d think after all this time, I’d learn that the Lord has it under control and He knows how much I can handle by His grace. But even still, “Lord how do I have time with You?” is my hearts cry. Is it possible and still be so busy?? Enter in to that quiet place. Find time. Be disciplined. Cry out to Him for it! Quality not quantity.

Back in the day, I had A LOT of time to spend with the Lord. It was marvelous! Life in Colorado, I don’t have this time. So I am still learning this new thing of how to be disciplined with what I have.

 

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 38:42

It was not Martha’s serving that was the problem. She did not know how to enter into that quiet place. Time with Jesus, while He was present was most needful at that moment in time.

We all need time to meditate and reflect…to sit before Him and Hear what He is saying to us. This is what is needful. Much serving without hearing is vanity. It is His Word that changes us, not our serving, not our doing.

However, it doesn’t mean we stop doing. But only that we continually come and sit at His feet with prayer and meditation.

 


Deliberate Prayer

As a runner, the practice of proper and deliberate breathing is needed and often taught by many in the fitness community. However, no on needs to tell me to “breathe”. Of course I am going to breathe, but the breathing must be controlled and decisive. It must be disciplined. Otherwise, we can work ourselves up into anxiety, get out of control, and become weary. Even taking a breath for every so many steps is taught. Our bodies need proper flow of oxygen to keep our bodies from getting wore out.

I see similarities in prayer. We need times of deliberate prayer. As a child of God, no one needs to tell me too pray. I pray in my mind, under my breath, casually. It’s innate, He’s my Father. Though we need deliberate times of prayer and refreshing, where are minds are engaged to conform and become willing to the Father’s will. It’s time of deliberate listening and speaking, hearing His heart, with believing prayer to pursue Him. This is not casual prayer that we do in every day life. This is taking our will to crucify it. It is determined and willing to come the Father on our own initiative to know His best.

 

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Heb.11:6

 

 

 

 

Find Me

FInd me, O God
Draw me. Lead me. Rescue me.
Let me not die on the wayside.
Pick me up. Forgive me. Prosper me in Thy love.
Help me to know Your heart,
In every circumstance, every day.
Trust you, believe in You.
Believe in Your goodness.

 

Let me not be deceived by the devil.
He is as the True Light, letting us believe a Lie.
Heal us, forgive us from drawing into darkness.
Heal us of our grief and dispair from knowing the True Father,
Not the Father of Lies.
Let us hear and know Thy truth today.
Seek us to forgive us.
Because you know his destruction. You know his wiles.

 

Be the True Shepherd that you are.
Keep us unto Life eternal.

 


Why We Pray

There are many reasons to pray of course. But there are two reason I see very distinctly in Col. 4:2-4

Alertness
Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
– We pray because it’s in prayer that we begin to “see” with Spiritual eyes and heart. The Devil’s tactics and wiles are unseen and unfelt without the power of the Holy Spirit within us. It is by the Spirit we are given the ability and “vision” to see his wiles. And receive instruction in how to combat these tactics. The Lord has made us warriors to fight the battle of Christ against the Devil in our personal walks with Him. However, we must enter into the presence of walking with the Living Christ. Only His armour is sufficient for this battle.

Others

Col.  4:3 …that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
After we have received grace and understanding of how to overcome, Christ will give us a Word to others on how to also fight and WIN this battle against the Devil. The devil walks around seeking whom he may devour. He is also no respecter of persons. He will take down any and all. There is no mercy with him, or forgiveness. He is through and through evil. I like to think of Keith Green’s song, “Dear John Letter”, when I think of how evil the devil is. Keith calls this the Dear John Letter, because he’s writing a letter to the Devil. Sometimes it is good to tell the Devil off, he deserves nothing else. It is good for our faith and soul to see him as clearly as the enemy, that we owe him nothing. He knows how and when to get us. He knows more about our downfalls than I think we do! But the Lord sees it all, and knows it all. Hence, the reason we should stay so in tune and connected with Jesus, so He can constantly keep us in tune with what the devil is doing.  Eph. 5:18 also says to be “alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” So not only in word, but in prayer for the saints to also overcome the Enemy.

This is no reason to fear, but instead gives us insight and special grace of how to overcome. The Lord makes the way easy and the burden Light, but if we ignore the Lord, He will also ignore us and will withold this grace from us. Then we will fall into the pit of dispair and be as the Enemy is to the Lord.

Focus on new life.

phloxAs I was watering my plants tonight, I started looking at this one and the Christian life. 

A lady I work for me gave me these. I hesitated at first to take them, but she insisted and almost nearly forced me too! I didn’t know what they were at the time.

So I took them home. She gave me a pot, good dirt, these plants, and some others that I took out because they looked dead. 

After potting these plants, they started to look not so healthy.I almost threw them out to plant cucumbers instead. After all, the soil she gave me was really good! But I waited a few more days. You could say I judged their condition and almost assumed them worthless.

The next time I went to her house, her plants were blooming. They were phlox! and not Missouri phlox but Ohio phlox (there’s a dfference!) These are my favorite wild flower. In ohio they grow like crazy alongside the roads and they smell amazing. No wonder the Lord wanted me to have them so much! He knew! :))

Maria asked me about the plants she gave me. I told her they didn’t really look very good. She said it was probably because of the “shock” of being uprooted and repotted.

How often do we judge other Christians because we see their brown leaves and do not wait for the blooms? Some have been uprooted and gone through intense changes.

But if we focus on the growth we forget about the brown leaves. This plant looks unhealthy on the bottom but on the top there is new life and beautiful flowers. In time, this plant, Lord willing, will produce more healthy green leaves, and it’s oldness and dryness will have gone away.

Mat_7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 

Shhhh……Be quiet!

Shhhh…..Be quiet!
Can you hear Him?
What is He saying?
Do you know His voice today?
Where is He? Is He near in your troubles and heartache?
Are your many worries, cares, and anxieties crowding His voice?
Shhhh…..Be quiet!
He knows you and what you need!
He knows how to carry you!
He is the creator of all things!
He knows how to keep His own, like a newborn with worries, cries, and needs.
And He knows best how to meet and care for those!
Shhhh…..Be quiet!
Are your cares and anxieties taking root?! 
Then His love is surely not taking root.
Take the axe, cut it out!
Don’t be belittled by the Enemy in thinking you cannot overcome.
It need not worry you, when your Father is a King!
Shhhh…..Be quiet!
Let’s rest! Don’t let it bequeath you, or be put underneath you!
You have a Father, who cares affectionately and indefinitely for you
Believe and let Him be the love that wraps you and keeps you.
His love is in you and around you!
What else is needed in this life but to be with Him.
Shhhh…..Be quiet!
Have you not read Psalm 139?
Let His word draw and keep you.
Let His praise embrace you.
Keep trying and believing that every mountain is overcome in this life.
Or else failure will haunt you!

 

Mat 11:15 Listen, every one who has ears!  (Weymouth)
Psa_116:7  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Taking Courage in His Carriage

I often think of taking courage, as “buck up and take it” kind of courage. But the other day, I was thinking and praying out loud, and instead of saying courage, the word “carriage” came to my mind.

The reason we can have courage is because of His carriage. He carries us. If we know the Lord for who He is, His strength, His love and devotion towards our good, we will have courage. When we are not having courage to do His will, it is because we are either outside of His will, or are not expecting Him to do great things and receive His blessing and goodness upon us.

When we think about how great big God is and add it to His love for us, we see the Red Sea part before our eyes.

The man cried, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” Then Jesus rebuked the evil spirit out of His son. He will do things and answer our prayers in order to help our belief in Him! Some times the answer, is what increases our faith. But “we receive not, because we ask not.” But the man asked! Therefore, he received! His cry was desperate, but he needed help in believing fully in what has seemed impossible for so many years. With Jesus all things are possible, and Jesus proved this to Him. He understands the feeling of our infirmities, therefore He understands our weaknesses in believing fully.

This is the Lord “carrying” this man. Our faith is not our own. It is given to us by Him. But we must ask, seek, knock to receive faith. Faith is by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The grace to endure to the end is impossible!  But with Him ALL things are possible! So get into His carriage, because He will give you courage!

He tells us to carry our cross (Mt. 8:34), but He also says, I will help you get through,by bearing this cross too.