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20140521_164204Bridges draw my eyes up and across their magnificent structures. Age and wear tug at my slumbering imagination, inspiring me to wonder at a bridge’s creation and years of shouldering live burdens toward safety. The builder invested careful engineering before setting the first stone at its foundation. Intense toil erected its magnificent path. The suffering laborer knew his work would provide means to cross a treacherous divide. For those who would follow his work, the bridge offered freedom from grave pitfalls below. The number of bridge goers would continue to increase beyond the end of the worker’s life. How many life stories plodded across this divide? Who paused to gaze into the ravine below and consider the passion required to secure their way?

So it is with our Bridge to Eternal Hope. Our Father, the Great Bridge Builder, engineered our way as soon as its need began. When sin ruptured the earth and triggered an epic collapse, a ravine gaped between the Father and His children. Deadly pitfalls threatened us, and we could not reach Him. The Father placed each stone with precise engineering, His heart empassioned to carry His children home securely. At the perfect moment, He set the Cornerstone which would never falter. Christ toiled and suffered, rending His body as building materials for the cross beams. He crafted a bridge to traverse the impossible divide.

We no more need linger on this forsaken shore. The passage welcomes us, drawing our wondering eyes up and over its secure structure. Let’s cross together with thankful and joyous hearts, pausing to cast a tearful gaze across the ravine. Thank You, Lord, for making the Way for us.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

 

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. ..But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christand seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:1-9

“God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1Timothy 2:3-6

I cherish my prayer walks. As I stroll, autumn sunlight glints through the oak branches overhead. The Lord holds my hand, as He often does. I snuggle against His arm and lean my heart onto His Spirit. He listens to me in a way no one else ever will. I love these intimate evenings. After I’ve open my soul, all my musings poured out onto His shoulder, sometimes I hear Him, too.

On one such dusky sojourn, an epiphany bubbled within me. Profound truths and life purpose have seeded into my spirit on prayer walks in the past. This was not an isolated incident. I believe this new philosophy has a contagious element. It will resonate with others and inspire new perspective.

Here it goes:

Every food is merely a medium for enjoying buttercream frosting and chocolate. 

See? Does that not captivate the heart?

Think about the culinary options surrounding us. Bread, cake, cookies, cheese, fruit, nuts, meat…all enhanced by frosting, chocolate, or both. I realize you might have missed the chocolate asparagus dish, but it’s worth a try. Any food that doesn’t compliment frosting or chocolate has no purpose. I’m certain smoothies and juices will benefit from a double portion of frosting.

In case you’re wondering about my favorite dish, I’ll specify. Dark chocolate AND buttercream frosting. Prepared as a lasagna, tossed as a salad, or as a roulade. Call me a purist, but I prefer the best ingredients as a centerpiece rather than an afterthought.

I can’t imagine a more spiritual philosophy. No sarcasm intended. I’m not speaking as a foodie. Eating doesn’t move my soul. The sweetest buzz endures longer than frosting and elates the spirit far beyond chocolate. I crave it several times each day. No other delight satisfies my pangs. Anything that fails to compliment my ultimate diet of Christ lacks value.

 “How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Psalm 119:103

I’ll continue to enjoy them on prayer walks, as an entree unto themselves. Beyond those intimate strolls, all life’s encounters remain condiments and pie shells meant to be stirred with a an abundant filling of God’s love and grace. Christ deserves the central part of life, not the side dish, topping, or dessert course. We only add the extras if room remains. Our Main Dish nourishes us longer than a feast and offers a more uplifting satisfaction than the finest delicacy.

I challenge you to “Taste and see that the Lord is Good” (Psalm34:8). Once you’ve filled yourself with buttercream frosted chocolate, no other taste can compare. Perhaps you, too, will crave Him daily.

Mmm. Welcome to the sweet life, my friends.Image

Light dribbles through the oak canopies to anoint my hair. I stroll through the neighborhood’s heady jasmine fragrance, holding my chin high. My cheek-straining grin is not aimed at that magnificent evening sky. My eyes do not sparkle in awe of coral-striped cirrus or the swallows’ aerial ballet.

HE is with me. 

His Spirit envelops my shoulders, seeping love-warmth through my muscles and marrow to the pit of my soul. My lashes squeeze together in delight.

He is WITH me.

My Lord exceeds remaining at my side, surpasses dwelling within. A vibrant pulse throbs inside my chest, drumming anew with divine courage. The concrete sections of sidewalk remain devoid of all other human feet. I appear to walk sections of my life’s path unchampioned, but ONE greater than any army or campaign team supports me.

He IS with me.

Frogs coo to me from the marshy reserve lot, demanding an account of my productivity. I turn past their corner and begin tisking off my fingertips of things done and yet undone. The Spirit nudges me with His sweet, peaceful whispers. I AM. God always was, and will ever be, but requests our address to Him NOW. Speak, Lord. I want to be present with You.

He is with ME.

The God of all Power and Brilliant Artistry crafted each oak leaf’s vein overhead, a lacing of moss among the branches, and billions of souls beyond my view that blanket Earth. The Lord cherishes His vast creation, yet drenches me with infinite love. My adoration for two children strains the limits of verbal explanation, yet His love for me eclipses my deepest passion by an unfathomable extent.

As I return to my doorstep, one aspect for emphasis remains. I must pass the message to be continued by you. Will you take a stroll with Him to define it for yourself?

If so . . .

He is with you.

 

I peer into a hole in the mud. About two and a half inches in diameter, it sinks at an angle to a depth I cannot see. No one has walked along this side of the house in months, so I rule out poles and sticks. The abundant squirrels and overgrown weeds offer prime real estate features for a snake. I straighten and back away, my soles sinking into damp earth and stirring its musty odor into the breeze. 

I leave impressions with each step as I head across the northern lawn. Robins weave their nest in our hedge and stir melodies into the backyard air. Slug trails glisten across the deck. All creatures leave evidence of their life’s path, even the cunning serpent. Will I leave more behind than muddy depressions?

Once inside, I remove my shoes and socks. If I don’t change out of my grimy footwear, I will undo all the cleaning I finished yesterday and ruin the pleasant accommodations for everyone else in our home. I slip on fresh socks and wool-lined mules, banishing the odor of mud from my soles.

As a child, I dreamed of wearing slippers made of glass or rubies. Life’s path ought to become a spangling dance to share joy with a technicolor world. Real life differs from my idyllic hopes. My tennis shoes don’t sparkle, and I must trudge through mud and dodge snake holes.

The walk of a disciple requires certain footwear–protective layers over the soul. Wrapped in the light of God’s truth, my spiritual feet shimmer with greater brilliance than any of my youthful dreams. There are serpents and worldly filth to contend with in my work, but I must leave the mud at the doorstep. Evil threatens to contaminate my mind, heart, and spirit each day. Dark attitudes set me back and their odor impacts others in my environment. I must remain vigilant with maintenance, or face a lengthy cleansing process. My soles need daily refreshment in prayer and scripture.

With the right footwear, I can leave liquid light prints behind me. I now hope to dance in squishes and shimmers. If I follow the lead of the King’s Spirit, a fragrant trail of compassion, generosity, and praise can stir Christ’s aroma into the air along my life’s path.

Lord, please guide me to leave sweet, fragrant impressions of Your splendor in all the steps of our dance together on this earth.

Matthew 5:14; 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

 

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