Sunday, February 22, 2015

fan the flame. do not grow dim.

The end of the week.  A week that I’m almost having trouble wrapping my head and heart around.
and I feel like I can finally pause. And take a breath.
try to process. Try to decompress.
to rest.
and just shut out the news.
and quiet the chaos that surrounds and increases.
to just take a moment.
a moment of somber silence.
for the blood of the 21 poured out on that beach,,
because they refused to renounce the One whose blood was poured out for them first.
and I can’t help but tremble within as I read of their heartfelt songs of worship that left their lips as they loved not their lives unto death. And it’s in the bleakness of their death that we see what it truly means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
and their testimony speaks a thousand words, a ripple across the nations. 
the call of Isaiah 60.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

it’s time to arise.
to shine in these days.
when the beheading of the 21 is called a “message signed with blood to the nation of the Cross”.
when one of American’s so-called most popular and influential pastors calls the very Word of God irrelevant.
when darkness and confusion seems to overwhelm the Light and Truth.
this is when we need to shine, Church.

and yet,
so many lamps are flickering.
so many lights growing dim.
barely there.

and it’s as I read the words of those very “letters from 2000 years ago” that are being claimed as “irrelevant”,
that I’m reminded that He already said that all of this would happen.
the very days we’re living in.
the very week we just had.
is all laid out in Matthew 24.

[[“As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?
Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
 >>But the one who endures to the end will be saved<<. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”]]

and so I’m comforted.
and I’m exhorted.

[to not let my love, or the love of any in my reach, to grow cold.
to not let my light, or the light of any around me, to grow dim.
but to burn.
to burn with such passionate, radiant heat
that it melts the icy hearts around me.]

because we’re called to shine.
and the hour is quickly coming when our lamps must be trimmed and ready. Full of oil.

and I hear the Bridegroom calling out,

[Stir up your affection.
stir up your passion.
now is not the time to grow dim.
now is not the time to wax cold.
stir it up.
and the wind of my Spirit will blow.
and fan the flame within you.

because you have all of My affection.
and I am deeply passionate about you.

My eye has never left you.
My gaze is set.

Even if your light is just a flicker,
My love has never changed.
there is no condemnation.
there is no shame.
My anger is far from you.

for a bruised reed I will not break,
a faintly burning wick I will not quench.]

arise, Church.

because when the enemy thinks he’s snuffed out 21 torches,,
he’s really just fanned the flame of the Church,
and set a match to the nations.