Be true

I saw this quote on Pinterest today and I immediately thought of being a Christian and what that means. In order to guide my thoughts on this I will list out some important Bible verses below:

1.

Matthew 7:24-25 (MSG)

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 (that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.) but have not lived it you are being dishonest. Why? Because receiving the Truth is literally giving your dead body the paddles of life. Therefore you should be living desperately for God’s word.

2.

Matthew 5-7 (MSG)

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

All of this. If you are truly living the way God has instructed you, you will be the lucky winner of the above-mentioned “blessings”. Yay persecution! Yay defamation!

3.

Deuteronomy 12:32 (MSG)

32 Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don’t add to it; don’t subtract from it.

In other words you should do your best to follow God’s advice. He knows you, He formed you, and He knows what is best for you. Granted we all fail at various aspects of obedience but we don’t need to add anything to God’s word. It stands true. It doesn’t need a pastor’s book to be added to it and regarded with equal weight. We need to strive to live true, honest lives and we can’t do that by listening to other people or ourselves. We are “desperately wicked” as the Bible says. God is pure and without fault, so we’d be wise to try to follow His lead. No?

4.

Galatians 2:21 (MSG)

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

This is the perfect ending scripture. We’re not going to ever have it “together” but we should want to try our best to honor God with our lives. We need to be authentic with our questions and struggles but not totally bow down to our feelings and give up trying to live by faith and give ourselves repeatedly over to God. We need to learn grace, show grace, and slowly bit by bit transform into grace.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 but have not lived it you are being dishonest.

Don’t be dishonest. Be true to what you believe.

Innerancy vs Infallibility

Hey guys,
Last week I started my first night class through my church, Hillsong NYC: “Theology: Faith Foundations”. I’m pretty excited to learn more about the Bible, my faith, and basically how to be a better more well-informed Christian. After we were done with our class we were given some homework. The assignment was to define the terms Innerancy and Infallibility and decide which one we agree with. I thought I would challenge you guys to look these terms up too, and see what you think. I’m going to share my thoughts on the assignment below:
The word inerrant means to be incapable of being wrong and the word infallible takes the same idea a step further to me by adding a relationship aspect to it. By using synonyms to define it like trustworthy, accurate, etc. it seems to me that infallible is much more relational than the cut and dry right/wrong of inerrancy. In a lot of ways they seem like two sides of of the same coin. 
 
I believe the Bible is infallible meaning it is trustworthy. It runs the scope of many different well-respected authors and the accounts of historical events and miracles are similar. It’s not like the Bible argues and conflicts with itself and authors had vastly different accounts of how an event happened. I am comfortable with the relationship of a person to their Bible because it is still speaking to us and teaching us through the Holy Spirit. We aren’t solely relying on our own knowledge or view of what we are reading, we have help from God himself and in that sense it is trustworthy. We aren’t relying on what people said years ago to teach us but we are allowing the Helper/the Holy Spirit to minister to us and reveal knowledge to us through the Bible. I think it is possible that there could be errors in details like, perhaps, geography, but these are not crucial facts to the Christ’s teachings. I recall hearing years ago in Church that there is primary and secondary doctrine. I think this is somewhat the same thing. Meaning, there are things that are fundamental to Christ in the Bible i.e. virgin birth, salvation through Christ alone, the Trinity, Christ’s death and resurrection, etc. These things are incapable of being wrong because it would rip apart our whole belief system if any of these things aren’t true. And then there are other things like what version of the Bible you read or if you believe in being dunked in Baptism or sprinkled. 
 
The Bible even says in Matt 23 that there is a sort of distinction between matters in levels of importance:
 
“23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
 
I still find the comparison a little confusing but based on the definition alone I think I lean more towards infallibility. 

Thursday Inspiration 12.11.14

Isaiah 55:8-11 (MSG)

“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

I’m not much for gardening. Any time I’ve had house plants or flowers they have died. Maybe it’s just bad luck but I’m glad that when God gardens within our lives He doesn’t have my “brown” thumb. I have been saving this verse in my drafts for quite some time and today felt like the right day. I don’t feel like I’m currently being pruned and if I am I am not painfully aware of it as I have been in the past. But I still think His point of view on the situation of pruning and gardening is beautiful and encouraging whether you are going through a season of pruning or flourishing.

God reminds is in Isaiah as usual that our ways are not His ways. Our thoughts are lower than His thoughts. In other words–Father knows best. I absolutely LOVE the imagery and comparison the Message Bible draws when comparing the rain to God’s words. The rain will not stop until the ground is saturated, until it is done being dry and thirsty, until what needs to grow has grown. How cool is that when we think of God’s word? God is the creator–He has spoken all creation into being. He has spoken light into darkness in Genesis and has orchestrated all humanity. This same God wants His words to go out to you and to return with life and they will never return void. Even His words are subject to His will. It’s not like He says things without intention and without thinking. It’s not like He speaks something into being and regrets it. No, God’s words will do the work He sent them to do just like the rain. And what does the rain do? It does “their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry”. When you think about this in a more practical way God’s words will make dead things come to life in your world, in your heart, in your situation. His words want to make things blossom. One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of blossom is in the intransitive form of the verb meaning:

a :  to come into one’s own :  develop <a blossoming talent>

b :  to become evident

c :  to make an appearance

So God wants His words to become evident, to make an appearance/to come to fruition/to be tangible. His words help the farmers to plant seeds kind of like how Christians plant seeds and lead people to be curious about God, about their own value in the world, and about their neediness for the Savior as well as the needs around them. So God is arming us Christians with seeds and also feeding those who are hungry–who haven’t found Him, He is also sending out His word and His farmers to feed them. To meet them in their need. I love that!

I also really enjoyed reading this quote online:

 Excerpt from Heaven is in this House . Written by Bobbie Houston

Imagine a place so irresistible that people can’t wait to get there. Imagine a place so functional that no one ever wants to leave. Imagine a place where the atmosphere causes humanity to flourish. Imagine a place designed for no other reason than to connect you with a world beyond your wildest dreams. Such a place exists and has existed within the heart of God since before all time. It’s the church.

How beautiful. Don’t you want to be in this place? You don’t want to leave, no one wants to leave. More and more people hear about this place and they can’t wait to get there because they know the atmosphere is so alive and blossoming that you can’t help but flourish and help others to flourish. This is the Church. Not just the building, but the network of Christians. The local and the global church. The family of Christ.

I hope two things for you today:

1. That no matter your season: pruning or flourishing that you know God’s word for you will not return void. If the God who spoke you into being and knows you by name says it–it will come to be no matter the timeline.

2. If you are in a Church that you see it as more than just something you attend on a Sunday or at mid-week gatherings. That you never underestimate the power in community and the support and encouragement that it brings. If you haven’t found a church that you like, that you prioritize that search and get planted somewhere. If God is planting seeds and helping things grow but you have no roots–you’re going to miss the harvest.

I love what God is doing and am exicted for what He has yet to do not only in my life but in yours as well. His words will always result in action. God Bless.

Photo Credit: Found on thornandsparrow.com

Monday Inspiration 12.8.14

Isaiah 50: 1-3 ms(MSG)

  It’s your sins that put you here,
    your wrongs that got you shipped out.
So why didn’t anyone come when I knocked?
    Why didn’t anyone answer when I called?
Do you think I’ve forgotten how to help?
    Am I so decrepit that I can’t deliver?
I’m as powerful as ever,
    and can reverse what I once did:
I can dry up the sea with a word,
    turn river water into desert sand,
And leave the fish stinking in the sun,
    stranded on dry land . . .
Turn all the lights out in the sky
    and pull down the curtain.”

Today I am grateful for the things God has been doing in my life that I didn’t ask Him to do. For example, I am finally happy in my career. I used to literally cry some days having to go to my old job and felt at my wits end most days. Even Sunday nights I would tense up with anxiety knowing I had to go to work the next day. I’m not going to lie to you, there were many days I felt betrayed by God. Why am I here God? Don’t you hear me? Don’t you see me suffering? And yet looking back I wouldn’t change those times because I learned who God was during those times of despair..I grew in deeper connection and reliance on Him. I fostered a desperation that I never knew and only Jesus could fill it. Movies couldn’t fill it, friend’s advice couldn’t fill it, a nap couldn’t fill it, nothing satisfied. And when nothing satisfies, even Godly things, you learn that Jesus is the only thing and you are ravenous for His presence, His provision, His Word.

I finally have a job that I don’t hate going to. God gave it to me. For years I looked for any escape and mourned the times when I was told by employers that I had the job–only to be disappointed and have it not turn out. Until one day, I get a random message on LinkedIn from my current job. They found me. I didn’t find them. God brought it together. He blessed me. He heard my prayers. I had to wait. I had to endure. But His promises never fail. And since then I’ve been full of joy. Content even. But God being who He is, is never content. Since then I’ve gotten two raises, one small, and one larger. I’ve been put on the company phone plan so I do not have to pay my cell phone bill any longer. I’ve been complimented and encouraged by my co-workers. God doesn’t have to do these things. I didn’t pray for these things. But God is the ultimate Father because He wants to provide above and beyond for His children. I look back on times where I felt forgotten or cynical looking at God in my times of need and desperation. And I couldn’t listen to people’s breakthrough’s without wondering if that was just for them, and I couldn’t have the same things. But God is up for a challenge. He welcomes being tested because He will always prove Himself faithful.

The human thing about answered prayers is that you will always find something else that isn’t answered. For example–I have been battling a lonely heart. I really do want to meet my husband and be married and have kids and most of the time I’m met with two responses: “You’re still young” or “As long as you have Jesus you should be content and/or prepared to be single if He never answers your prayer for a husband”. In these times well-meaning Christians can discourage your heart. God cares about what you care about. He made you with the desires of your heart. Why wouldn’t he deliver? Why would you hold back from you? I share this with you because I want to always remind myself who Jesus is. Who the Father is. Who GOD is. He is not one to hold back. Just like in this verse it says:

Do you think I’ve forgotten how to help?
    Am I so decrepit that I can’t deliver?

God is not hard of heart towards you and your situation–whatever it might be. He hasn’t forgotten you. He isn’t so evil that He will not help you. Take a moment to remind your bitter heart or cynical spirit that this is who God is. Do not let circumstances or the whispers of the Devil convince you otherwise. As hard as it might be be deliberate with your thankfulness right now. And each day. Even if there is little evidence in your life of thankfulness be simple in your praises:

-Thank you God for loving me

-Thank you God that you sent Jesus to save me

-Thank you God that you always hear me

-Thank you God that your very breath and hands formed me

-Thank you God that you made Jesus a human so that He would truly know empathy for us because He had a human heart and human struggles

It doesn’t always feel like that helps, but praise eases the pain. It reorients your negative mind. It forces you to remember who God is and what He has done for you–even when you didn’t ask for it.

Photo Credit: Found on bloglovin.com

Wednesday Inspiration 12.3.14

John 17 MSG

20-23 I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me.The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—I in them and you in me.Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me.

A simple thought for today but I love that Jesus prays for us. He not only listens to our prayers but He also intervenes on our behalf. It’s like He cares so much that He wants to be sure that we get it right. Wow! Haha. He has only the best in mind for us and desires that we have unity with each other as a community of believers and with The Father and Him. He wants to make sure that as a family we are all on the same page. That we all have the same hopes and the same thoughts. That nothing communicated between the Father and Him is too “good” for us. We have direct access to the Creator and that’s still an awesome thought after all these years.

Just think about that—Jesus is so good that He wants us to feel as loved as He is by God Himself and to be apart of that close relationship. He doesn’t want to be God’s favorite. He wants us all to be favored.

I thank God for His goodness and I thank Jesus for His faithfulness in fulfilling God’s restoration for humanity on the cross. I’m thankful that we as humans have the bold audacity through Jesus to have unlimited access to Heaven and God’s love and wisdom for our lives. I pray that no matter what the week might have been like for whoever is reading this, that their spirit is refreshed knowing that Heaven is for us–not against us. That Jesus has made a way for us to feel unmerited favor and love forever and ever and that God so loved the world that He planned it all.

Tuesday Inspiration 12.2.14

Isaiah 54:9-10 (MSG)

For even if the mountains walk away
    and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
    my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
    The God who has compassion on you says so.

It’s kind of crazy to think about God’s love. So often you can wonder why God bothers. Either you are discouraged with the state of the world and all the negativity or you are humble enough to look at your own shortcomings and left to wonder and marvel at God’s love. Someone who is perfect. Why would they lower themselves to love us? A partner who can be fickle, who can be unfaithful, who can be hard of heart. What’s in it for God? Right?

I don’t think we can ever understand this. As humans we either have to come to terms with it by accepting it or fail to see the joy and grace of this love and reject it.

Today I am reminded and joyful knowing that no matter what disappointments I’ve faced or people who have walked away or times where I feel utterly alone or unnoticed that the God of it all formed me with His own hands and breathed His very breath into my lungs. Everything around me could fall apart and yet my foundation is unbreakable because it is built on Him. His good promises for me, for humanity, for creation will never fail and will never change. And the most lovely part of this verse in Isaiah is that our God, THE God, has compassion for us. Meaning He is deeply aware of our suffering, of our neediness, of our heartbreak, of our disappointments, of our shame, of our mistakes, and He is fiercely committed to relieving it. This is why He sent Jesus to be the ultimate Finisher. It is Finished. All joy and peace and health and deliverance comes from Him.

Photo Credit: Found on kingcreative.tumblr.com

Tuesday Inspiration 11.25.14

I have never felt so torn in my professional life. Last I wrote here on the blog I was going to take a leap of faith and accept a new job opportunity. However I was taken on an all new journey when I went to my boss to give my two-weeks notice and he matched the offer I was being given from the other company and promised me a promotion.

Here is the update I posted on my personal social media page earlier today:

Ultimately after Sunday’s sermon I have chosen to trust God and not rely on my own “vision” or what the world or my peers might think is the obvious choice. The sermon discussed two blind men in the Bible (Matthew 20) and how they called out to Jesus. They couldn’t see it was Him but they knew it was Him. And Jesus asked them “What do you want me to do for you?” and when they asked for sight He gave it to them. In much of the same way I feel like I am two people. I’m the employee at [Current Company] and the prospective employee of a corporate giant, [Prospective Company]. I don’t know which was better and could weigh the pros of both. I toiled a lot over this. I felt ashamed for signing an offer and possibly changing my mind. I felt worried about leaving a place I love for the unknown. I went back and forth and back and forth. And ultimately decided that I want to be the kind of person that makes the unpopular choice. That goes for the underdog. That goes with my heart and you all know how much I love the people I work with now. But of course part of you feels foolish at the same time for turning down a huge, rich, corporation. I was ready to make my decision and found out the Hiring Manager in HR was out of the office today. Rather than waste any more time, although it was not ideal, I decided to leave him a voice-mail and a corresponding e-mail. I pray that this ends any anxiety now that I’ve made a choice. Here is what I wrote and thank you all for your prayers and listening to my worries about this whole situation:

“I tried to call your office line in the hopes that you had an OOO number to reach you but unfortunately I think you are probably on your way somewhere for Thanksgiving.

I just wanted to keep you up to speed in the decision making process after my conversation with the CEO here at [Current Company]–which as you may recall—was when I called you on Friday. I’ve spent the past four days truly grueling over the conversation with him and my decision to accept the position at [Prospective Company] and feeling torn between the two. To be completely honest as I mentioned on Friday it was a very hard conversation to have with my CEO and I was 100% prepared to give my two-weeks notice and start with [Prospective Company]. The conversation ended up developing into one I was not expecting and we spent over two hours in his office discussing why he needed me to stay and his plans for me to better the company as a whole..

I just want to take the time from the bottom of my heart to thank you so much for offering me the position of [Prospective Position] at [Prospective Company]. It has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and [names withheld] and learning more about your company. It was undoubtedly an easy decision at the time to accept such a wonderful opportunity.

Unfortunately, after giving a great deal of thought to this over the weekend, I have decided that it is in my long-term best interest, as well as [Current Company]’s, to turn down your gracious job offer. I have recently decided to remain here at [Current Company] because I believe the CEO’s desire to elevate my position and incorporate me into a lot of the business development and decision-making processes will ultimately be a better fit long-term for my abilities and skill set. It was quite a shocking thing to be offered full-reign of particular developments and projects considering I have been here for such a short time, but rewarding at the same time to know how much faith they have in my work here. I have the utmost respect for their counter-offer and it has caused me to analyze and re-evaluate what kind of employee and leader I hope to be and ultimately their guidance in this new venture here at [Current Company] has confirmed my decision to stay.

I am so sorry for any inconvenience my decision may cause since you may have told other prospective interviewees that the position was filled and thus I was hoping to be able to speak to you this morning over the phone. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all the time you have invested in speaking with me, answering any questions, and listening to my situation once I met with my CEO on Friday.

I continue to be impressed with all of the new developments and industry recognition [Prospective Company] continually receives and particularly with the great work the team is planning to roll out with [confidential information] through [Current Company]. Ultimately it comes down to the tough decision to turn down your generous offer, for the equally generous offer from [Current Company] in desiring to keep me here.

I sincerely hope you go not feel any ill-will towards this decision I have made and that both our companies can continue to deliver great work through our partnership together.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

It’s scary to post this. It’s scary to think that this company could find my blog. All of these things are fears. All of these things are anxious thoughts. However I’m choosing to be bold. I’m choosing to believe in the wake of my fears that somehow this is still from God. That I can declare over my anxieties that God is bigger than any corporation. That no matter what decision I make or don’t make, God’s plan for my life will be fulfilled. The good news is..I can’t blow this. I can’t ruin my life. I can choose to refresh my spirit in knowing that His hand is still on me.

Have you ever had to make a tough decision? I’d love to hear in the comments. I pray that if you are facing a tough call today that you choose the option that will make you into the person you believe God wants you to be–even if it is an unpopular choice among your peers.

Found on quotediary.me

Tuesday Inspiration 11.18.14

Isaiah 45:23 (MSG)

23 I promise in my own name: Every word out of my mouth does what it says. I never take back what I say. Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me.  Everyone is going to end up saying of me, ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’”

Numbers: 23:19 (MSG)

God is not man, one given to lies,
    and not a son of man changing his mind.
Does he speak and not do what he says?
    Does he promise and not come through?

There’s nothing more frustrating than when someone tells you something but acts another way. Or promises you something and doesn’t remember doing so. Fortunately God doesn’t work that way. I love the description that “every word that comes out of His mouth does what it says”. There are no loop-holes. God always comes through, God always keeps His word, and God does not change His mind.

Today we can be grateful that the God who rules everything is trustworthy.

Photo Credit: Found on spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com

Monday Inspiration 11.17.14

 

Isaiah 4:5-6  (MSG)

5-6 Then God will bring back the ancient pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and mark Mount Zion and everyone in it with his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence, shade from the burning sun and shelter from the driving rain.

Daniel 3 (MSG)

16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

19-23 Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cut off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

24 Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?”

“That’s right, O king,” they said.

25 “But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods.”

I’ve been in a good mood the past few days. I just feel extra happy. I feel God’s presence and every song I sing or play on my iPod from church fills me with joy. I feel closer and closer to God. I don’t know the book this quote is from but it struck me as interesting today. When you have that spark, when are filled with the fully formed fire of the Holy Spirit, that is when you are truly unstoppable. I believe the second you accept Christ as Savior you are filled instantly with the Holy Spirit but that doesn’t mean you have its full potential right away. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but I definitely think there are periods in time where your spiritual furnace could use more fuel and times where you are at full roar. I was actually Googling this a moment ago (thanks Jesus) and found some information on the four stages of fires:

  • Incipient – This first stage begins when heat, oxygen and a fuel source combine and have a chemical reaction resulting in fire.  This is also known as “ignition” and is usually represented by a very small fire which often (and hopefully) goes out on its own, before the following stages are reached.  Recognizing a fire in this stage provides your best chance at suppression or escape.
  • Growth – The growth stage is where the structures fire load and oxygen are used as fuel for the fire. There are numerous factors affecting the growth stage including where the fire started, what combustibles are near it, ceiling height and the potential for “thermal layering”.  It is during this shortest of the 4 stages when a deadly “flashover” can occur; potentially trapping, injuring or killing firefighters.
  • Fully Developed – When the growth stage has reached its max and all combustible materials have been ignited, a fire is considered fully developed.  This is the hottest phase of a fire and the most dangerous for anybody trapped within.
  • Decay – Usually the longest stage of a fire, the decay stage is characterized a significant decrease in oxygen or fuel, putting an end to the fire.  Two common dangers during this stage are first – the existence of non-flaming combustibles, which can potentially start a new fire if not fully extinguished.  Second, there is the danger of a backdraft when oxygen is reintroduced to a volatile, confined space.

– See more at: http://journeytofirefighter.com/4-stages-of-a-fire/#sthash.akxEssjp.dpuf

I think this is actually really cool when thinking about our spiritual fire. When we first come to the knowledge of Christ and are in our beginning steps of accepting Him or getting to know Him, calling that phase “incipient” is perfect. A quick Google search will define this as “(of a person) developing into a specified type or role”. In other words we are in the process of heating up. We’re in a kind of a slow-cooker. We aren’t boiling hot yet, but we’re warming up to our spiritual transformation. We aren’t fully formed. I like to think about this as if my heart (where the Holy Spirit lives) is actually a living room with a fireplace. The Holy Spirit is at home..literally…and there is a few logs resting in the fireplace. By asking Jesus into your heart you allowed the Holy Spirit to start rubbing two sticks together. A small flame has begun to burn but if you want it to really sustain the flame you’ll need to feed the fire.

This brings you to the growth stage. Every time you read the Bible, you add more fuel to the fire. Every time you praise God with your breath, you add more oxygen to the fire. Every time you go to Church, you are encouraged and add more fuel to the fire. Even though this is the shortest stage according to this blog, it is also the most dangerous which makes sense. Either you keep moving forward or you loose that initial ignition that sparked your interest in God. The cool thing is there is something called a “flashover”. I think in spiritual terms this is being as a crossroads. You can take the easy way or the hard way. You can choose Jesus or you can turn back to your old life. You can lean into God more than you have ever before, or you can stay in your comfort zone. When flashover occurs, everything combustible erupts in fire and temperature reaches its maximum. It’s sink or swim. This is usually when people question their walk with God and think about if the journey is worth it. Or feel alone in their current struggle. Or feel overwhelmed and hopeless. You can choose the perspective of that you are trapped in this fire and can’t escape or you can choose the Daniel 3 option which is that you will be unharmed in the fire and that the protection of God is all around you.

The fully developed stage is fairly self-explanatory. You are at the peak of danger. The fire is at it’s hottest. Everything around you is up in flames. Similar to the growth stage you are in danger now. The gauge is fully turned up. There is no turning back.

Finally there is decay. You either have survived a fire with God and therefore have become stronger and more secure with Him because of it. Or you are dying out. You went the other way. You saw the smoke and sparks coming and ran off in the opposite direction. The good news is whether you survived the fire or ran from it, that in the decay there is a second chance. You are either ready for round 2, or you are willing to endure the fire for the first time, knowing there is more to be learned, more trust to be gained, more strength to be had.

I feel like even though I feel like I am on a fully developed high…there is always a possibility that life could tame the flames. It’s up to me whether I want to let the enemy extinguish it, or to let what seems to be dry spells flicker on, and not be worried because the Holy Spirit can keep me aflame. Things are not always as dead as they seem. God desires to always fill us with “His glorious presence”. We need to be confident no matter what our circumstances that this is always our portion. We are always able to be reignited through His word, His people, and His presence. And on top of that, people who are dying down in Church, or those of us who have yet to meet God are relying on our flame. They need a beacon of hope in the darkness. Jesus said in John 8 (ESV):

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So be encouraged today. Whether you are riding a high or trying to keep your fire ablaze you always have access to His fire which will fuel you at whatever stage.

Tuesday Inspiration 11.11.14

Isaiah 52:11-12 MSG

 Purify yourselves
    in the process of worship, carrying the holy vessels of God.
But you don’t have to be in a hurry.
    You’re not running from anybody!
God is leading you out of here,
    and the God of Israel is also your rear guard.

Currently I’m in a kind of awkward situation. I’m happy at work but another company is interested in interviewing me for another position because of the work I’ve done here. It’s easy when you are unhappy at a job to think about leaving—but when you are content and finally settled in a new job–it’s uncomfortable to think about change.

I love this verse because it reminds me that I’m not running. I don’t have to think about leaving here and running somewhere else. If God wants to move He will direct my path and I will day by day and step by step go in that direction. Nothing needs to be stressful about this. Nothing needs to feel rushed and frenzied. If God is leading me out of here–He will do so by going before me and by walking behind me. I am surrounded on all sides.

God hears our prayers. We can smile and rest knowing He’s got it all under control. We can rest.

Photo Credit: Found on spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com