Categories
Christian Living restoration

Lord, Raise the Gates!

A fire sprinkler head broke the other day in the ceiling of a gymnasium at my school. Water came pouring down, soaking the gym floor and flooding an adjacent hallway.

Somehow, the break tripped the fire alarm, causing two huge metal doors to come down on either end of a long hallway. The main wing of the school was no longer easily accessible from the classrooms. The office, library, gyms and cafeteria were all blocked. The only way to get to the heart of the building was to walk around from outside.

Maintenance workers tried all weekend to raise the doors, but to no avail. The building was safe, but the fire suppression system thought there was still a problem. So the doors stayed down.

Here’s a picture I snapped of the hallway. There was this, “The mall is closing now,” vibe about the whole scene.

As the day wore on, with no solution in sight, I heard myself pray, “Lord, raise the gates!” As soon as I said this it hit me, “Hey, that’s straight outta scripture!”

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Psalm 24:7 (NIV)

A few hours later, two men from the company that installed the alarm system came to the rescue. They patched into a computer, which controlled everything, and the doors were up in no time!


Has something ever been broken between you and someone else? Between you and God?

In such circumstances the doubts can come pouring down— flooding your heart.

When this happens, the suppression doors often lower as well—cutting us off from others AND God. They’re meant to protect us. And they do…for a time. But occasionally the doors get stuck in the down position, even after it’s safe again.

If anyone wants to reach your heart they must go around the long way.

You want to raise the doors, but it’s complicated. So they stay down.

With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Jesus – Matthew 19:26 (NASB)

Lord, raise the gates!

Here are some of my favorite “Raise the Gates” scriptures. Please share one of yours!


“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

“I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 12:1-2 (GNT)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)


Photo by Alessio Rinella on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living encouragement

Life Parade

I live in a small farming town in Southwest Oklahoma. There are 800 souls, one convenience store and a corner cafe. We have a few other businesses, including a new Dollar General (woo-hoo!), but you get the picture.

One of the biggest events in our town is the annual Christmas parade. There are custom made floats, tractors, antique cars and plenty of horses.

But lots of folks on horse back means plops on the parade route. (If you know what I mean.) And no matter how great the festivities, it’s hard to ignore the manure trailing down the middle of main street. This line of “used oats” is often in the camera shot of our local TV news coverage, much to our mayor’s chagrin.

But—like with most things—the good outweighs the bad. The Christmas parade provides a splendid opportunity for our whole community to come together. In the big picture, who minds a little manure?


Job was a guy in the Bible who had a lot more good in his life than bad. Until he didn’t. You know the story. He lost almost everything overnight: his livestock and crops, even his children. GONE. All he had left was his life, a pessimistic wife and a few ‘friends’ who came to cross examine him.

Yet what did Job say when he learned of his losses? “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b -NIV) And what did he tell his wife when she told him he should, “Curse God and die?” He replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV)

As the old saying goes, “Into every life some plops must drop.” Okay, maybe I changed that up a little.🥸 Yet in this matter, many Christians today aren’t interested in learning the patience and wisdom of Job. We like our roses without thorns, thank you. But what if the best way to get there is to turn those thorns INTO roses?

One of my favorite “thorns to roses” moments in the Bible occurs in Jeremiah 29. God sends a letter (via Jeremiah) to the exiled Israelites living in Babylon. In a nutshell, He says: “I sent you to Babylon, but I want you to prosper there. Build houses, and plant gardens. Marry and have sons and daughters.”

In other words, make the good outweigh the bad. Here’s my favorite part:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)”

So, brave reader, whatever our “parade” is—yours and mine—we’d best pray to the Lord for it. Because if it prospers, so will we. And when there’s more good than bad, nobody minds a little manure.

But watch your step if you cross Main street.


Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Blog resilience

This Thorn

A recent post by CG Thelen, from 140 Character Christian, entitled Humbled by Pain spoke of Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). “Thorns can come in all sorts of things that cause us constant pain,” wrote CG

These words brought to mind a godly woman who once lived in my little town. She was twice widowed and confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit. Most days she never ventured outside her home. But friends and neighbors lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People flocked to this dear sister because she had the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Each of us can probably think of a fellow believer who trusted God despite challenging circumstances. This leads one to ponder the unshakeable faith found in God’s holiest servants.

What’s the secret?

I never asked Mrs. Frieda, but she surely would have pointed me to passages such as Colossians 3:1-3, about the life that is “hidden with Christ in God.” Or Psalm 91:1, where David rested in the “shadow of the Almighty.”

One of another friend’s favorite quips is, “Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one and they’re all different.” It’s the same with thorns. And like Paul, any experience that draws us closer to God is a good thing.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8 (NIV)

Another favorite blogger, who speaks in power by God’s grace, is Ruth Kirk, of Seeking God’s Face Together. Her daily poems (complete with related scriptures) are like signposts along the narrow road to heaven. Please read her offerings. They are a blessing!

By God’s grace may we say in our weakness, “Lord, thank you for this thorn.”


Photo by DAMIANUM CASTRUM on Pexels.com

Portions of this post appeared in It will Keep, which was published on July 13, 2019.