Read Until You Strike Fire

My husband recently gave me some really solid advice. I was telling him how there are times when, as I start to think about praying, a stress rises up in me that I can’t explain. There are times that I leave my mornings with the Lord more on edge and tense than when I had started. The feeling is so frustrating.

What he advised me to do was to pray the Lord’s Prayer until I strike fire.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, read until you strike fire? It refers to reading the bible until something jumps out at you. Or another way to put it is to read until something strikes a chord or resonates with you. When you hit fire, stop. Think about it and why it stuck out to you. Ask the Lord what he’s telling you. Maybe you spend a half hour in prayer. Maybe you journal about it.

Luke advised me to do this with the Lord’s prayer. His theory is that you can’t go through it without striking fire somewhere.

I think he’s absolutely right.

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I needed the Lord, but I was feeling blocked in terms of prayer. So I took his advice, and I humbled myself before the Lord and acknowledged that I am weak in prayer and that I need his Spirit to guide me. I then began praying through the Lord’s Prayer, as found in Matthew 6:9-13.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.

“May your name be kept holy.” I stopped there and began reminding myself of who God is.

I then worked my way back a sentence to “Our Father in heaven” and reminded myself where God resides. How he is far above the earth and all it’s powers. How infinitely wise he is. How everything is under his watchful eye. How nothing escapes his notice.

“Our Father.” I am stuck even now on this one. I cannot comprehend this love, but I feel an invitation to dwell on this. He is my Father. Fathers love their children fiercely. Fathers keep an eye on all their children do. Fathers provide, protect, and guide. They are compassionate and understanding. Full of love. If I love my dogs, who aren’t my children and aren’t even human, so much that I am undone when one of them is hurt or sad, how much more does my Father care for me?

Look no further when you are in need. Pick up your bible and read until you strike fire.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
    but rescue us from the evil one.

 

 

Hidden

She made her way through the kitchen. She gathered her cup and moved to her place at the table. It was dark, so she lit a single candle. There she stayed – hidden away from the world.

She was wonderfully hidden there. She was safe from her fears and worry could not touch her. She was in a sacred place of peace.

What she found there gave her strength and courage to face what was before her. Past hurts were uncovered so they could be properly bound and healed. Truth sustained her through trials and error. And a deep joy and hope settled within her that could not be shaken.

She was not alone in this place. She was answering a call that was beginning to become an anchor for her soul.

She had found a place and a time with just her and her savior – her Jesus.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Psalm 27:8

But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 1:2-3

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Psalm 16:7-8

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

It’s Simple…if you let it be simple

I keep trying to make life complicated. I keep thinking that there always has to be something bigger, better, more exciting and further reaching. But those things I look for always disappoint. Every time.

Too much time on social media makes tangible life feel purposeless.

Self-promoting sets up expectations that I can’t live up to.

Always looking for the next big thing makes the moments that my life is built on feel pointless.

Basically, whenever I take my eyes off the tangible, off the here and now in order to look for greatness in the world, I quickly find myself in a deep dark hole that I have to climb out of. That hole I climb out of is full if discontentment and disillusionment.

Let me put it more clearly….

I am a thrill seeking adrenaline junkie…who likes to do safe, non-life-threatening things. Like watch musicals. I can’t tell you how pumped up and alive I become when I watch musicals. But I also can’t tell you the emotional low I experience when that musical is over. I become disillusioned with my own life. In the span of two or so hours, I experience emotional highs like you wouldn’t believe. And when it’s over, I’m left thinking, “Is that it? Now what?”

But life isn’t a musical, as much as some of us might wish it was. Life also isn’t digital. Life isn’t black and white. Life isn’t boring. Life isn’t a non-stop thrill ride. Life isn’t predictable. Life isn’t all joy. Life isn’t all sorrow. Life isn’t all about you. Life isn’t all about them.

What I keep bringing myself back to is this – life is quite simple. It is a string of days that culminate into a beautiful lifetime. I’d like to live those days focusing on what matters, like loving my husband and learning how to be a good wife. Like learning that I really can trust God in all things.

I’d like my moments to encourage others by picking them up off the side of the road and getting them back on their way.

I’d like to embrace that rest is a gift that should be enjoyed. Stress doesn’t have to rule my life.

I’d like to see God in everything, and always be listening to his voice. I’d love to see people set free by his love. I’d like to spend so much time in the bible that it oozes out of me at every possible chance.

My personal quest is to get a little closer to this every day. I want to experience the fullness of life that God has available for me, and I know that it’s found in everyday tasks. It’s not found on a screen. I keep thinking about the pioneers who settled new lands in America – making a home from nothing or from wood they purchased at an outpost. They had hard work, a few people if they were lucky, maybe a family, and the Lord. Do you think their lives had no meaning? Absolutely not. I can only imagine that they enjoyed the fruits of their labor, trusted in the Lord through hardship, and lived out the drama of life with the people around them.

That seems pretty amazing to me.

We can’t get away from the internet in 2018 – it’s a way of life. But we can decide how much time we put towards the digital, and how much we put towards the tangible.