15Jun/18

Lamps Burning with Oil

Jesus wants us to be close. “I am with you always,” he promised. Scripture says to “Pray without ceasing” and it doesn’t mean to talk to God continually. It simply means to be aware of, and present to, God—that is prayer. If only we would pay better attention to what God is doing all around us, for us, in us, through us—we just need to notice and be present to him.

God longs for us to live in his fire (love) and light (truth), not deceived, discouraged, distracted, disinterested, diverted, or distant. We are in communion and union with the Lord!

When we look around, we see evil running rampant in the world. Fear grips the hearts of people and nations. But not so with the beloveds of Jesus because we know that God’s Story is nearing its earthly climax and we know we are part of it. Our own stories lie within his.

Look what is happening in God’s Kingdom. We are not part of the world though we are in it. We are the Bride of the King of Kings, and we long for his return. Will it happen in our lifetime? Our love songs call to him to come and not tarry. Our books stir us on for more and more of his presence. Our prayers are filled with the poetry of longing, calling our Lord to come soon.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

What is the oil we carry in our lamps? Our own oil? Are we not carrying the Light within us? Are our hearts not on fire with  the love of God? We can’t borrow from anyone else because How much oil depends on our relationship with the Lord. Are you lit with the fire of God? Are you standing on tip-toes looking up. You know who you are. Your oil is burning bright.

Even better, Jesus knows you.

27May/18

We’re Caught Up in a Love Story – A Memorial Day Tribute

Writers have mentors they look up to and one of mine is author Calvin Miller. I met him once. He sat across from me at a table for six at a writers conference. He was one of many presenters and guests that day. I was delightfully surprised to see an open place at his table during our lunch break. Conference attendees were encouraged to choose and join a featured guest, agent, editor, or speaker at their assigned table with the promise of engaging with him or her one-on-one. It was a chance to get advice, pitch your book idea, or make a connection with someone in the Christian publishing industry. I didn’t care to sit with an agent or an acquisitions editor, nor anyone else, not when Calvin Miller was in the room! Holy Moly!

He was such a humble soul, Calvin Miller. A deep thinker. A man who understood God’s “Story” and was a gifted artist at revealing God, especially the heart and mind of God, to others.

I wish I could tell you what we talked about. Our eyes locked while we discussed whatever it was and that was enough for me. I knew God had given me the favor.

Here’s a sample of the beauty and depth of a man who really knew God. This is an excerpt from A Requiem for Love, from The Singer Trilogy. (Here’s a link to this book from our book store.)

The setting is just outside the gates of the Garden of Eden. We’re in the middle of a scene with the Creator, whose name is Father-Spirit, and Slithe, the serpent.

“Welcome to your your Garden, Eminence,”

The rising reptile hissed.

Earthmaker turned,

“Slithe, once-loved, once crowned

Can this be you,

Self-damned, condemned to sand?”

 

Slithe laughed.

“Lock me from the green, it is only for a while.

Full well you know I will be in.”

 

“Once the entire universe was yours.

You chose these desert chains.”

 

“I chose a throne and got the chains,”

The serpent spewed his bitter grudge.

 

The Father-Spirit turned toward the gates

As they swung slowly open.

His old accuser blinked into the distant splendor.

“Will You succeed this time

In fashioning a lover?

Who will remain a lover?

Or, is Your new creation

Destined to betray You?

Why are You forever

Planting hope in high-walled gardens?”

 

The Father-Spirit looked away.

“Terra holds this Sanctuary as a dream

Where love abused by treachery

May mold a masterpiece of hope.

Today I crown all I have ever made

And honor Terra’s clay by stamping it Imago Mei,

A man, a prince–Regis, friend of spirit.

He shall wear the crown of love you cast aside.

But you will never see his coronation,

For only perfect love shall pass these gates.”

 

This, and the rest of their conversation, unveils more truth and depth of God’s Word, God’s heart, God’s purposes, in a short poetic story than if you were to study theology and philosophy all your life. Do your heart a favor, follow the link below and read the letter Calvin Miller wrote to you, as a member of the Church, before he passed on to heaven. This is an important reminder to all of us to focus on what is vital in life.

Calvin Miller’s Letter to the Church

This post is by author Margaret Montreuil, founder of burningheartsforGod.com. Her personal website is:  www.margaretmontreuil.com

 

 

12Apr/18

Silence Needed

Beloved Saints,
Enjoy the beauty of silence. God says: “In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
When life is hectic, a bit of silence can shine like sheaves of silver or gold. It’s surprising in a world where noise is blaring constantly. It’s so bad that we can’t even wait on hold in quiet when calling a business contact on the phone. We are forced to listen to piped-in music or ads all the time.
We’re so unused to silence that when we find ourselves in quietness, it sometimes feels uncomfortable. But we can welcome the stillness as an oasis in a dry, desert place. Our hearts can sense God in the quiet and know we are not alone.
Reflect on God in the silence, dear ones.
God, You are in the silence and I feel your touch. Thank You for enfolding me, and speaking to me. I revel in Your presence and Your still, small voice tells me that You love me.
This devotional is from Nancy Markworth Brown, graduate of UW-M and Luther Seminary. She's a teacher, artist, retreat leader, grief counselor, and a Christian spiritual director. Her family life in Minnesota includes a husband, four adult children, eighteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
05Feb/18

Desiring God

The word “love” has lost its power. We say we love ice cream and we love God, never mind that an unfathomable distance as wide as the universe separates the two. What a useless four-letter-word. We’d do better with an ancient one, the one Christian mystics have always used. They call God’s love fire.

God’s love is a love in and of itself.

Not until Jesus unveiled the burning heart of the Creator at Calvary could anyone imagine that kind of love. Solomon’s inspired lovesong penned the essence of it and spoke from God’s heart: “. . . for love is as strong as death, passion as cruel as Sh’ol; its flashes are flashes of fire, [as fierce as the] flame of Yah. No amount of water can quench love, torrents cannot drown it” (Song of Songs 8:6 & 7 CJB.

What we think about God is the most important thing about us. What we think comes from what we desire.

 

 

Margaret Montreuil is the founder of Burning Hearts for God and the author of several Christian books. Her author website is www.margaretmontreuil.com.