A Dancing Angel


On my dining room table sets a beautiful candle. I received it as a gift a few weeks ago. I don’t light it much for fear it will soon be used and gone.

Recently, I was sitting down after a particular trying day and lit it. I watched it over a period of time do it’s thing.

The candle is created flat and with a slight twist. When it burns through its center it leaves the sides to bend – each in its own direction. While the fire is consuming the wax, the remaining candle slowly contorts, making it look like a dancing figure, a little like an angel.

As I was watching my candle dance, and as the small flicker of light moved hardly noticeable down the center, I was reminded of surrender.

God has designed my life to be consumed by light, His Light. Many times I hold on tightly, don’t want to be lit, try to escape the heat. However, when the Fire starts doing its thing this Light in me can be a unique display of my Father’s heart. I display his joy.

How often do I resist bending over backwards for another’s cause, or struggle to be used up for God’s greater good? Dying to self is hard and does not come naturally to me.

I suppose a safe way to preserve my candle would be to never light it, to wonder what it might look like and continue to imagine all the ways it could bring me joy – or I could use it, knowing it will soon be gone.

 

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

“Lord, help me to know that what I surrender to you, out of trust and love, will never be lost. Help me be the light, to be consumed by your ever-lasting kindness, goodness and joy.”

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional, Ponderings, Prayer, Revival | 9 Comments

Pruning Jam

I love gooseberry jam. I hate gooseberry bushes. The shrubs have vicious thorns and at this time of year need pruning. Even with heavy gloves, the thick thorns poke through as to try to keep me from doing my job. Old, gnarly canes along with those which are too low to the ground and those who touch others have to get cut. After taking the prickly branches out, I usually have to spent time taking thorns out of my hands.

Today, while in the kitchen nursing my sores, I wondered if I (like my gooseberry bushes) give God that much trouble when He prunes things out of my life. I can get rather prickly when it comes to God taking things.

God is the Master Gardener and Vinedresser. He knows what has to go – what can stay. Sometimes His pruning seems senseless, especially when he takes things that took time to grow.  Sometimes it’s a wrong idea I have lived with for a long time. Sometimes it has been comfort and security. Often it has been prideful reliance on me rather than Jesus.

“Father, help me to surrender my stubborn will to your loving care, your discipline, and your pruning. Help me to abide in Jesus and in the Truth of your Word. Show me how to give you willingly what you don’t desire for me to keep and trust that you have fruit in mind which I cannot yet see.” 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus in John 15:1-5 (ESV)

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Anticipation and Surprise

For my birthday my husband and sister gave me a most memorable gift, a visit to Germany to see my family – all by myself.  I can’t recall a time in my married life I have traveled alone for an extended trip.

My sister and I planned the visit shortly after Christmas. Since my birthday is one day after my other, little sister’s birthday, we thought it would be the perfect time to surprise her. We kept this trip a secret – from everyone!

A few weeks ago, when we were on the phone planning how to unveil the surprise, we were getting giddy, tried to imagine mom and dad’s face and how the rest of the family would react. We dreamed about it together and called each other several more times to share the excitement. I began to question if it was worth having my family forfeit this feeling of joy and anticipation. Was the joy in the surprise as wonderful as the joy in the anticipation? We stuck to the plan and didn’t tell a soul.

When the day came, we had butterflies and couldn’t stop smiling. My sister had arranged a brunch for my little sister’s special day at my mom and dad’s. When everyone was seated and they were passing the food around, my sister quietly texted me.

When I walked in, the faces all over the room turned slowly from befuddled to smiles and laughter. My mom and dad, my nieces, brothers-in-law and of course my little sister were overjoyed. At first people were unable to comprehend but then we hugged and cried together. The surprise was a success.

This morning, while looking at a German sunrise from my desk by a window, I still am basking in this feeling of joy. I wonder if Jesus is anticipating our arrival in Heaven. I wonder if the table is already set and if He is gathering a few more things, making it special for us. I wonder if He can’t wait to be seated with us to enjoy our company.

Jesus, our Redeemer and Friend, our Savior and Brother, our King and Lord, will one day gather His Bride, those who love Him and have trusted Him. We must not keep Him a secret though. We must tell others of His great love for us. We must share His kindness and tender care, His goodness and that He came to die for our sins so we can be with Him.

I can truly image the joy I will experience when someone who’s heart turned to Christ because I obeyed the Spirit and spoke, will tap me on the shoulders at that feast and say, “I am here!”

“Go therefore to the main roads and
invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.”
Matthew 22:9

“Lord, make me bold. Help me to speak about you, not for my sake, but for the sake of someone’s eternal destiny and for the sake of Jesus Christ.”

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional, Prayer, Revival, Sunrises - Pictures | 15 Comments

Showers of Guilt

While finishing my quiet time, I asked (no, begged) the Lord to let me know His presence. I was like a little girl in the store asking her daddy to please let her pick up a piece of candy on the way out. I longed for an assurance of His nearness with every fiber of my being. Some time later, while I was taking a shower, I was still praying for it. Then God answered in a way I had not expected.

While the water was pouring over my head, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a downpour of guilt. I was recalling sinful times from my past and when I looked down at my self, I felt ashamed of my body and the weight I had gained because I let my flesh be in charge. “How could anyone love a person like that?”I was trying to let this feeling of disgust wash away, but it stuck to my heart like the water droplets were trying to stick to my body. I hung my head as tears and water rushed down the drain.

But then, when I grabbed for my towel, a beautiful assurance took hold of me. It was as if Jesus was handing me the towel. He was making His divine presence known.

Earlier, I read in Matthew 22 about a man at a wedding banquet who didn’t want to wear the garments provided for the feast. He hadn’t taken the Master seriously when confronted with his condition and his dire need to wear something other than his old clothes. The Master kindly made provisions for all who attended to look presentable. This man didn’t think he needed it. As a result he found himself in the outer darkness with hands and feet bound, unable to do anything further.

Coming to God is costly; it was in the Old Testament, and it still is today. There is only one way to come to Him, in humility, knowing of our unworthiness, and covered in the means He provides. There is no other way.

Clothed in the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice, in the freedom of a forgiven conscience, we can boldly approach a Holy God, who is willing and able to show us His loving presence. In that assurance we can stand strong, even when our own flesh (or the enemy) tries to condemn us.

“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctifyfor the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourconscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
Hebrews 9:11-14

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“I don’t Negotiate!”

winter, february 7th, 2013 031

It’s been (and still is) a long, cold winter here in Wisconsin. The grass disappeared what seems like a decade ago and has been covered since with ice, snow, more ice and more snow. I love going on walks but the weather has dampened my enthusiasm quite a bit. This morning however, I went out with the dog and the steadfast mind of a mailman. Yes, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” I thought to my self.

I had walked confidently for about five minutes when I turned the corner. Suddenly, a blast of icy snow pelted me in the face. I pulled my hat tighter over my ears and wrapped the scarf around my mouth. The whistling freeze tried to crawl into every open crevice of the layers of my clothes. My determination to walk three miles was quickly replaced by visions of me with a cup of hot tea on my couch.

At the very moment of wanting to abandon my “rounds”, my phone vibrated in my pocket. I read the text on my screen,

“I don’t negotiate!”

The text came from my friend. I smiled, knowing what she was saying. Her husband recently had a bad accident. While extremely blessed, he still has to deal with four broken ribs and a bruised lung. She explained to me that even though it is hard, and her husband is tired of the breathing exercises, she is staying strong, not negotiating and encouraging him to do them.

As I looked down the road, facing this harsh wind, I was reminded how quickly I negotiate with myself. I make up excuses why a thing that is hard is not worth the fight. I want to give into my weak body, not allowing for something to produce a greater outcome later.

“I don’t negotiate!” 

Was this walk really that difficult, or was my imagination of comfort motivating me? I knew if I kept walking, for another mile and a half, I could turn around and have the wind in my back. It would feel only like a breeze then. … and it did.

“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,
for these are opposed to each other,
to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
Galatians 5:17

“Lord, show me when I negotiate with myself and give into the weakness of my flesh. Keep me focused on the goal and the good that comes from persevering in my trials. Sustain me with your encouragement from your Word. Lead me with your Spirit and expose the lies I believe about myself, others, my circumstances, and more importantly about you.” 

icy path, february 12th, 2013 004

(Pictures and Devotional by Heidi Viars, 2019)
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The Heartbeat of Communion

comminion

Communion

She wrapped her right thumb and pointer finger around the tiny, clear communion cup and cradled her left hand around it all. She stared into the dark grape juice.
The music played softly in the background while the ushers served communion to the congregation.
She could see the light of the sanctuary reflecting in the liquid circle in her hand. Her breaths were shallow while she tried to quiet her heart and soul. She thought of the disciples and wondered what they must have thought when Jesus handed them a cup of wine to pass and when He spoke of things they couldn’t quite comprehend yet.

While she looked down into the cup, she noticed consistent vibrations in the juice. Had she moved and caused the liquid to be stirred? Could the music have caused resonance?

She placed the cup on her Bible on the seat next to her. Nothing. The liquid didn’t move. She picked it back up. With the cup securely in her hand, her thumb pressing around it and her other hand steadily holding on to hand and cup, the liquid rhythmically pulsated once more.

In an instant it became clear to her. It was her own pulse from her thumb pushing through the cup into the dark, red liquid. No doubt, she saw her own heartbeat pulsating in the communion cup.

Before she lifted the cup to drink it, she silently thanked God for making a way for her to see it. She thanked Him for allowing her a small glimpse into this mystery that allowed her own heart to hide in His, to see herself as a part of this covenant that God made with His people. In that moment, when she saw part of herself in the cup, she knew again how much she was loved.

“God, I am forever grateful to You that my heart can beat for You.
You made a way for me through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. 
Thank You!”

…And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Luke 22:20

That I’m in you and you in me
This is a profound mystery.
You died my death – your blood you shed.
I made alive while you were dead.

How can a mind like mine conceive
Why thrones and kingdoms you would leave
To make a wayward heart like mine
A temple and a holy shrine?
~
(Poetry and Essay by Heidi Viars, 2019)

 

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PLEASE PRAY FOR THE HOMELESS

Some time ago, I posted this. Today, I feel the same way as I did when I first posted it.

Wings of the Dawn

 I pushed against the heavy, ice-covered, glass front door
To take a peek into a frozen world.
I was reminded of the many
Who don’t look from a warm inside out,
But have to look from a cold outside in.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE HOMELESS!

looking from the inside out 002

Here are some practical things you can do …

  • keep a gift card for a fast food restaurant in your wallet –
    it provides a warm place to get out of the cold
    (Five-dollar gift cards for McDonald’s are great!!!)
  • keep a public transportation ticket in your wallet –
    many homeless ride the trains in this cold weather
  • support the homeless shelters in your city.
    Donations of baked goods, long underwear, warm coats, sleeping bags, and blankets are very much appreciated.
  • PRAY FOR THE HOMELESS

“God, open the door of our cold hearts.
Show us how to provide warmth
For those who are freezing.”

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