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I prayed about whether to attend the conference.

A dream rolled a motorcycle to my porch. The director rapped on the front door. “We’ve got work to do.”

Along the winding road to the summit, I anticipated a supportive role during the conference. I woke with a chuckle about the motorcycle ride, but continued to pray about attending the conference for the next few weeks. The Lord impressed His desire for me to go, but also underscored the serious part of my dream–keeping a servant’s heart.

I arrived a day early, searching for an opportunity to serve. An extra trip to pick up a stranded conferee seemed like a small way to help. I enjoyed the company too much to consider it sacrificial.

The next morning, I battled through the fugue of insufficient sleep and visited a local church. The message centered on Jesus’ call for us to imitate Him as He washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Ways to deepen my willingness to serve grew clearer by the moment.

Numerous opportunities sprang up around me. I realized these needs existed in plain sight each day. In busy-mindedness, my tendency would trend toward missing the chances to emulate Christ. Had the Lord not instructed me to focus on serving, I would have retained my gaze on the next agenda item for each day.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:13-17).

Each moment I took to encourage a first-timer, help a new writer, or pray with someone, it blessed me. Time could have passed in shallow, watch-checking minutes if I had ignored those opportunities. I’m thankful Christ shifted my focus away from what I could get out of the conference. Instead, my patient Shepherd used the week to teach me how to follow in His steps.

Despite the wealth of information in its classes, the most valuable thing I learned didn’t come from a lecture or workshop but from the Servant’s lesson. I pray He will continue His patient teaching as long as I have time left to walk this earth.

Sinister creatures lurk in the shadows around us. The human eye can see a fraction of the predators surrounding it. Murder, abuse, and slavery despoil the world, yet they wield far less power to commit evil than the forces inspiring them.

Mankind yearns to secure its safety by means we can control. Nations establish laws, build prisons, craft weapons of mass destruction. Families build alarm-wired homes with thick gates, carrying guns when venturing into society. These physical precautions assuage humanity’s festering boils with a thin layer of gauze. We slather on painkillers, but fail to cure the underlying disease.

Law enforcement and security systems guard our bodies. The reasonable measures of community protection can extend our time to save what lasts beyond this brief duration of mortal life. The protection of life must reach beyond serving our temporary life and provide an opportunity to address our greater needs. The sickness churning up slaughter and violation doesn’t originate in the flesh, but in the soul.

In physical health threats, some who suffer with profound illness refuse to seek healing. Resistant souls will likewise become walking vessels to spread evil in their community. Vulnerable persons can try to wrap themselves in physical protection, but it will be like washing hands to prevent catching an airborne virus from an airplane seatmate.

There’s only so much one can do to prevent evil’s effects on their mortality. Terrorists take the lives of well-armed men. Cyber-criminals rob people with multiple firewalls. Predators abuse the innocent, even if loved ones have set up every known safeguard. We cannot save ourselves or keep anyone else safe around us.

One hope glimmers for our well-being. We can wrap ourselves in Light. The intangible sound of a lightguard elicits groans from those who believe they can protect themselves. This Light cannot compare to the radiance bouncing across the particles of our atmosphere. The Light of the World created all tangible things, controls the universe, and exists beyond the beginning and end of time. Christ alone wields the power to wrap us in God’s glory. He invites us to dwell inside Him. And He in us. The Lord offers us a way to protect our spirits inside and out, more thorough than any protection devised. When we place ourselves in His Hands, the reconfiguration begins. No longer do we need to live in fear of losing a single, temporary state of existence. No longer must we limit our perception to three dimensions. Our eyes open, and we have an opportunity to live as children growing into the likeness of Truth and Love.

The effectiveness of our protection depends upon the extent to which we avail ourselves of dwelling in Christ and growing into His likeness. Sharing the heart of Christ creates an aversion to participating in evil. His Spirit helps us resist the illness and refuse to carry it into the community. Wellness requires a lifestyle commitment.

Though Christians might stumble through their journey, the Lord remains willing to redirect and shape the character of His children. Love and Truth grind the jutting shards of our brokenness into vessels to share blessings. With the security of Christ’s light wrapped around us, He can guide us to living beyond self-protection.

Only the Light can our position our souls to live forever in a place where evil can never touch us again. He offers wisdom and peace, so we know the next step of our life without the need to remain on our guard.

” Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13″

“Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;

    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34 :5-8

Light brushed past textiles with little more than a shimmer. It glanced off the cutlery and passed by the china with a glare. After searching the store, the rays met the crystal and danced. Wavelengths caressed each stemware pattern and filled them with prismatic wonder. No vessel glorified its brilliance more than the elaborate pitcher. Intricate etchings revealed light’s amazing facets and it offered an immense capacity for sharing the blessings.

While I once admired the goblet above all crystal vessels, I now hope to model my life after the pitcher. The goblet allows its owner to retain a prosperous serving and bears lovely design for him to enjoy. It benefits its holder, sharing its carvings and blessings with no other thirsty guests.

The pitcher centers its etching beneath the light source for all to see the effects of glory upon its scars. It remains open to receive a deep capacity for light-infused blessings which it never intends to keep for itself. The pitcher extends itself and remains engaged. Self-aware, yet not self-centered, It recognizes a pitcher fulfills its purpose when pouring itself into other vessels.

I pray for a successful life as the Lord’s pitcher, pouring out His blessings without holding back a single drop. Let me assure the concerned; no pitcher of God stands empty. After dispensing blessings, a pitcher centers itself under God and stands filled with light.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” Luke 8:16

“They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:8-9

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17

Fire Breathing, a Noble Aspiration.

A tremor seized the floor. Mary tumbled onto the cool, gritty surface. She flattened her arms out to either side as the quake rattled up the walls. The ceiling heaved as if it might cave in on their heads. She hugged her knees and studied her friends’ gaping faces. Wide eyes glistened back at her.

A gale-force voice swept through the room and whooshed over Mary’s skin. Her hair snapped like a storm-battered flag behind her. The lanterns fell dark. Her skin prickled, as a strange current intensified throughout the inky space. Questions pried her lips ajar, but she did not speak them. Before sound moved past her throat, a throng of suspended flames pierced the darkness.

Shaped like human tongues, fiery wisps appeared over each head. Mary craned her head to study the blaze poised inched above her. Just as she recognized her dry mouth hung open, the flame dove inside. It flashed like a shooting star down her gullet, burning its way into her core. Mary marveled first at the absence of pain, but grew more awed each moment by the sensations that took its place. Warmth penetrated from her center outward with greater intensity than midsummer rays. The flames soothed her flesh and energized her spirit until the hairs on her ear lobes and toes tingled.

Heat surged upward and ignited her breath. Mary sprang to the door and burst into the streets alongside her friends. She curled her tongue around a scintillating new language as the Lord’s story blazed from her mouth. Strangers froze mid-stride and listened. Foreigners gathered and clogged the sidewalks and roads.

A deep hunger surfaced in the hearts of those who listened. Women clutched at Mary’s sleeves. Dozens clamored to get closer, like a throng of souls who had been starved for ages. The initial amazement with fire-breathing and comprehending other languages faded. Something far more wonderful overcame it.

She had made them understand. 

Mary’s fire-breath taught about Christ in such a way that it kindled a desire to know Him.

The Spirit’s power made her work effective in ways she couldn’t. Not with her plans, talents, or efforts. So the Spirit works through His people today. In the work God sets before hands, feet, or mouth, may He set each breath on fire.

 

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken…Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:1-6, 41)

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