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 Blog Faith Security

The Little Girl and God

Photo by Kevin Fai on Pexels.com

Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14 (NKJV)

My wife and I used to teach Sunday School at a shelter for abused, neglected or abandoned children. One particular morning we encountered a sparkly eyed five-year-old with a perpetual grin.

When we started the Bible story, about Jesus and the little children, she seemed particularly attentive. So I asked her, “Have you heard about Jesus?” She said no. Still sensing a connection, I gently probed, “Have you heard about God?” “Oh, I know God,” she said. “We take naps together!”

I said something like, “Oh, you do?!” and then continued with the story. But the rest of the day I tried to wrap my mind around what this sweet little girl said about God–“We take naps together!”

I pictured a home, chaotic and out of control; a prison where a frightened little girl tried to escape the negligent adults who were her “caregivers”. She’s hiding in a closet (or lying UNDER her bed) sobbing inconsolably, but then God Himself comes and comforts her until she falls asleep. And THIS is what she calls, “Taking naps with God.”

The miracle of God’s little slumber party friend was still on my heart when I said my prayers that evening. I started by thanking Him for looking out for her and for letting me in on the secret, but then I just couldn’t hold it:

“God, do you take naps with big people?”


This story was originally published on Sept 3, 2018–when I had exactly 14 followers.😀

Categories
Christian Blog vulnerability

Wounded Healer

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” –(Proverbs 14:13)

We have a picture of a clown in our home that our middle son painted when he was eight years old. It’s a simple watercolor portrait–traced in pencil and then painted with quite a bit of skill for a 2nd grader. Some of the color on the clown’s green eyes ran a bit before it dried, but it only adds to the appeal.

Anyway, I often take my Sunday afternoon nap on the futon that sits against the wall underneath the clown. Last week, I woke up looking at the painting, and noticed something I hadn’t before: the clown is smiling AND crying at the same time. That’s life, I thought–especially right now.

These days, so many moments are both happy and sad at the same time.

‘Tis a bitter sweet existence.

Clarification: I understand that questions of faith have yes or no answers; there’s no maybe in God’s kingdom. But have you ever found yourself saying, along with the father of the boy only Jesus could heal, “I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief?”–(Mark 9:22-25)

Yes, sometimes life in Christ isn’t all fresh water or salt, it can be a brackish in between. But that’s OK, because, according to the apostle Paul, crippled Christians make the best swimmers.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (emphasis mine)

Here’s to the wounded healers!

And Jesus is the biggest one of all. Hebrews chapter four tells us that Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, because, just like us, he experienced the ups and downs of human existence–yet was without sin. That’s why we can come to Him with confidence, knowing He will help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Like the old King James translation says, “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.” – Psalm 31:7b

There’s another place where David says God actually comes closer when times are tough and our hearts are broken. He does this in order to lift our crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18).

After all these years (our son turns 25 today!) it’s time to give the clown painting a name. From now on I’m calling him Wounded Willy. He’s happy (like a clown should be) but he’s also sad (because life ain’t always the circus).

Do you have any life scars? Maybe God could use you as a wounded healer to extend His grace to others.

Yes, you!