Categories
Christian Living Truth

A Surprise in the Fireplace

It had been a long weekend at the church where I served as an associate pastor. I’d spent most of the day, and all Saturday night, with a family whose father was in intensive care at a local hospital. Sunday was, well, Sunday—the busiest day of the week for me.

So on Monday (my day off), I slept in for some much needed rest. But even with the extra sleep I still felt frazzled; folks in the ministry call this “compassion fatigue.” Feeling emotionally depleted from the long weekend of pastoral ministry, I decided to take a walk at a beautiful Christian conference center nearby.

But as I made my way around a scenic tree-lined trail, wouldn’t you know, it started to rain! I quickly went from a stroll to a sprint, ducking into a nearby multi-purpose building—that just happened to be unlocked. It was a gymnasium with a kitchen and reception area: a “cafegymatorium.”😀

Wanting to stay dry, I continued to walk laps around the basketball court, using a massive stone fireplace as a waypoint. But then I heard something: a fluttering sound coming from behind the darkened glass doors covering the hearth. A bird had somehow fallen down the chimney and was unable to escape.

I cautiously opened the doors. Stepping back quickly, I felt the breeze as he flew past me—into the empty gym. It was a male cardinal, flashing brilliant red! He circled near the ceiling, trying to figure out where he was.

Tip-toeing over to a side entrance, I opened the door. The rain had stopped and the sun shone brightly—bathing a corner of the building in light. But mister curious cardinal wouldn’t take the exit; he continued his holding pattern, looping the gym over and over. So I stepped away from the door and froze, still as a statue. Finally, my “brother from another mother” flew out the door to freedom.


I call my hapless bird friend “brother” because I’ve been where he was: trapped and unable to free myself alone. Leaving full time ministry, a failed marriage, both were impenetrable doors blocking my escape. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from your own life.

The point is, Jesus Christ is the only person who can truly set us free. And He opens the doors with one word:

So Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31 (GNT) emphasis mine

Kind reader, may I remind you that all the truth you’ll ever need is found in Christ Himself? At the cusp of His own crucifixion He comforted His dearest friends with these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”— John 14:1 (NIV) And when Doubting Thomas questioned this, Jesus answered with a one sentence summary:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 (NIV)

It’s 2022 and Jesus is STILL the way; we don’t need another road map. God’s best to you always. Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

Categories
Hope

An Alternate Past

Photo by Ashutosh Sonwani on Pexels.com

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Last night, I had an intense dream. I was riding with my brother in his 2000 GMC Yukon, as he confronted me about my alcohol abuse. I listened, but then pointed to my recently imploded career and crumbling marriage as a hopeless situation that drove me to drink. My brother wasn’t buying it, as he brought up a mutual mentor of ours who’d always believed in us both. I feigned agreement, but simply wanted out of that SUV–somewhere where I could be alone with my addiction.

Clearly, this was a flashback to an alternate past; my brother sold that Yukon years ago! My ministry and marriage did indeed fall apart (in 2000), but I’ve never struggled with alcohol abuse, though it IS a family weakness.

Friend, I believe God rewound my life last night and showed me what COULD have been– had I not trusted His grace and followed His steps at a pivotal time.

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37:24

I don’t know about you, but I tend to fixate on questions about my NEXT step, not the steps I’ve already taken. But in reality, they’re both on the same path, one that God has planned from start to finish (Ephesians 2:10).

Today, and always, may you and I trust God enough to stick to the main roads of His providence. AMEN

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/11/an-alternate-past/