Posted by: valerieburgess | April 25, 2009

Life is good

I sat on the floor of my girls bedroom late one night. They gathered around me with their Bibles and journals. They began telling me all they had learned that week reading the Bible on their own, and life was good.

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Posted by: valerieburgess | March 5, 2009

Eat Supper With Jesus

            Salads, fruits, candies, delicacies, wines, cheeses, meats and other gourmet offerings await and entice us. Daniel sat at the king’s table, but he knew it wasn’t offering a meal that led to life. He refused the abundance of the king’s table for food God had prescribed for the Jewish people of his day to eat. He made a choice that led to an abundance of wisdom, direction by the Spirit, and life.  (See Daniel 1:8:-21.) As Christians God calls us to his vast table of provision, but unlike Daniel, many of us chose to walk away enticed by the worldly feast that the media and others offer.

            Make a choice to sit at the right table. The television screen, theaters and the internet offers mainstream ideals that aren’t in line with the righteousness of Christ. Recently I watched the television show “Law and Order,” I realized the producers and actors were trying to order my life by giving “rightness” to sin. Later that night, I watched late night television for the first time in a few years. I was shocked at the meal of divisiveness and promiscuousness that it had to offer. These shows were making choices or creating a table that set parameters for laws and correctness which attempted to rearrange my thoughts on “rightness.” Their choices, their decisions, their displays of “right” thinking might have had great effect on me if I had not known the “righteousness” of Christ. Their table was set in opposition to the biblical thought, the Word of Christ and my spirit recognized it.  As Christians, God calls us to eat at His table of abundant provision, not one set by the enemy. When we eat at His table, it doesn’t mean our enemies are excluded or that there won’t be opposition, but God is preparing the table and its meal is vast, filled with life.

            In one of the last great scenes prior to his death, Christ sat at a table with his enemy. He didn’t treat his enemy with contempt. He simply accepted him. But as He accepted him, he also let him know that what He was doing was not right. He confronted the enemy. Let’s take a look at that scene.

            Jesus reclines about the table with his 12 disciples, all whom Jesus loves. But as He sits he knows that many prophecies written in the Old Testament will soon be fulfilled. To his disciples, those who have chosen to follow his name and teachings, He says, “He who has shared my bread has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9, John 13:18).

            These words spoken by David in the Psalms and fulfilled in his life were prophetically proclaimed as well. Jesus through his spirit knows that someone who shares this Last Supper with him will “lift up his heel” against him just like a horse kicks the master who owns and feeds him.

            John and Simon Peter look at each other quizzically as Jesus says these words. Everyone at the table seems startled and at a loss for explanation. John reclining closest to the Messiah leans back on Jesus and asks, “Lord, who is it?”

            Jesus explains that it’s the one He will share bread with. He didn’t decline to share bread with his enemy. He knew that the power of God was greater than the power of his enemy. But he did confront him at His table of provision.

            Jesus shares his bread with his enemy and tells him to do what he has to do quickly.

            Judas, the treasurer for the disciples, takes the bread and after eating it exits hastily. He leaves into the night. It is a dark, cold night entered by this enemy of the Messiah. He separates himself from the table of Jesus’ provision where fellowship and wisdom are being shared. He trades what God has to offer for the teachings of a world that is avarice for their own lordship.

            Often we walk away from the table of the Lord for our own choices. This choice leads us into the darkest of nights where we don’t know what will happen.

            I recall a gentleman respected by the community and the church who chose to find a female lover, someone seemingly more enticing than his wife. This was not the first time he made this choice. He continually walked further and further away from the Lord’s table of provision preferring the fantasies of a promiscuous lifestyle. But as he sat at the table with this woman, as he shared bread with her, change happened. He recognized his sin and tried to escape the consequences. But he had shared his bread one too many times. The woman who enticed became an enemy stalking his children and himself. It ended in a dark night of death for himself and his former lover who pulled a gun on them both. The world eats with stalkers every day. They are out to distract and kill. Jesus recognized his enemy and confronted him at the table.

            We need to recognize the enemies of our souls. When we sit down to eat, we need to know and understand who is our enemy and that the consequences of following the enemy lead to a double death.

            Jesus sat at the table with his enemy and he knew it. The Bible says that “Jesus was troubled in spirit.” When you sit at the table that the television, movies, computer dramas, and secular music has to offer, is your spirit troubled? Listen to your spirit that’s led by the Holy Spirit. Confront the enemy that sits at your table. Don’t let the drama of death over your soul continue. Stop it. Devour the feast of fellowship with Christ that leads to health and life.

            Jesus said, “I’ve come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10. Sit down at the table of Jesus. Realize that his abundant provision leads to life and life eternal. It’s satisfying. It’s filling. It tastes great and goes down smooth. Be a Daniel who chooses the Lord’s provisions over the enticements of those who desire to lord it over this world, who rule this world with divisiveness.

            Have supper with Jesus and be wise.

Posted by: valerieburgess | December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

 

Christmas art by Zane Burgess

Christmas art by Zane Burgess

 

December 25, 2008

 

Dear Friends and Family,

            God desires that we have intimate, experiential knowledge of Him. We can know that Jesus was born in a stable. We can reflect on this fact. But unless we have a relationship with Him through prayer, reading the Bible, and asking God to illuminate His Word in our life, this knowledge of His birth will do us no good. This empty knowledge is like the clanging gong described in I Corinthians 13. It is words or a celebration that lacks an intimate love.

             Why do people after two thousand years still remember the birth of the Christ Child? Because it came with a pure, unadulterated love that knows no boundaries, pure as the newborn baby lying in the stable.

            The Bible says to love God is to be known of God. (See I Cor. 8:3) God wants two way communication with you. He wants a relationship. Yes, you love God, but He recognizes and knows you as well. Christmas and the resulting holiday season means little unless one knows God and is known by Him. Then the holiday experience becomes worthwhile. It’s not the ribbons and the wrappings that create a great celebration. It’s the observance of this “Holy-day” when Christ came to chase away the darkness and be the Light of the World for you and me.

            In the drawing above, our son Zane created a pictorial representation of what Christ’s birth means to you, me, and the entire world. He made this illustration for a sermon Valerie recently preached in the Hiland Correctional Facility to about 65 ladies. She wanted a Christmas card that would illustrate the sermon and leave the women with a spiritually healthy view on the Christmas season. She wanted to give them a card that would help them know God and be known by Him. The words inside the card explain the picture and summarize the sermon: 

The Christmas Gift of Freedom

God gave us the gift of baby Jesus. (See Isaiah 9:6.)

The love that He came wrapped in brought light into the world. (See Isaiah 9:2.)

A light that dispels darkness and sets people free from their burdens and chains that bind. (See Isaiah 9:4.)

The Christ Child came to increase our joy. (See Isaiah 9:3.)

He came as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  By virtue of His birth, death, and resurrection, you can pray accepting Christ the Son of God as friend and Lord. When you pray, the Son will set you free and you will be free indeed. (See John 8:36.)

 

            On this Christmas Day, we encourage you to know God and to be known by Him. Make this Holy-day a celebration full of God’s love.

“For God so loved the World that He gave his only Son (John 3:16, NIV).”

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God (I John 4:7).”

            May the gift of freedom through the love of Christ as shown in His humble birth and the gift of an ever increasing intimate knowledge of God be yours this Christmas season.

 

Love,  Mark, Valerie and the Burgess Family

Posted by: valerieburgess | December 22, 2008

A Simple Blessing

I’m up early fitting in some study time for Sunday’s sermon. I study best with two eggs, toast and a cup of tea. I have my favorite tea, The Republic of Tea’s Cardamom Cinnamon. I started it brewing a few minutes ago. Then I went to the refrigerator to discover only one egg. I decided it would have to do and thanked the Lord for it. When I cracked it into the pan, two yolks came out. God gave me my two eggs when it looked like I only had one. What a simple blessing to start out a simple study time.  

Posted by: valerieburgess | November 23, 2008

Dreams Made of Real Stuff

I so want my dreams to be made more of dirt than of sky.

When you formed man you took dirt and created.

You formed your dreams from the dust of the ground.

 

You molded me in your image with a desire to create from earth.

I can’t seem to take sky high dreams and give them shape.

I can only pray that somehow my dreams will become dirt.

 

They’ll be made of real stuff, which people can feel and touch.

Small kids should be able to roll in the muck of it.

And old men should find in it unexpected buried treasures.

 

Take my dreams and give them lift, send them soaring.

Then pull them down into new perspectives.

Like a shoe caked in layers of mire, deep and genuine.

–Val Burgess

Posted by: valerieburgess | November 14, 2008

One Brother’s View of Another

(My youngest son writes about his older brother)

 

As I walked into the clay arts building, I noticed my brother Zane’s clay “Screaming Eagle Whistle” drowned in ribbons. He had won best in show and division champion. Every time people see his art they say, “You got talent.” Besides drawing, painting, and sculpting my brother also likes creating art on the computer and printing it on to clothing.  We have a t-shirt printing machine at our church. We sell t-shirts and other kinds of clothing as a fundraiser for our youth group. Zane enjoys using his art for Jesus.

 

My brother was coming up the final hill to the finish line. He was two feet behind the next runner. Then Zane started sprinting up the hill. The runner ahead of him didn’t expect a thing. Everyone was yelling, “Run, Zane, run!”  They were neck and neck, and they where both sprinting there hardest. Then boom! They both ran across the finish line. Zane won! Zane is really good at sports. Other then being on the cross country team, my brother plays for a home school basketball team that practices at the Boys and Girls Club. They practice at 6 am. He must really be committed to basketball if he wants to get up at that time of day. They are called the Anchorage Rams. They go against other Christian schools and some high schools.

 

My brother also likes music. He plays the piano in a band called Fire Exit. He also took guitar lessons until he quit. But some times he still plays guitar in his room or at church for the fun of it.

 

It was quiet, too quiet. I grabbed my drum sticks and started banging on the drums. My brother Zane yelled stop, but I couldn’t hear him. Then he yelled in my ear to calm down, but I ignored him. So he picked up his school work and stomped upstairs. My brother and I are opposites. My brother is really quiet. He really loves silence when he does his school work.  He rarely ever talks if he doesn’t have to, especially when he does school work. My brother studies a ton. I have no clue why. He even studies on Saturday and Sunday.  My mom says he’s studious. 

 

My brother adores American Eagle clothing. He likes their jeans that are really tight, like tighter than tight could be tight, like I can’t even run less speed walk like that. My brother also likes small tight shirts, like shirts that are at his waist band. I don’t see how he could wear shirts that are that small. He even has shirts and hoodies that are my size.  Compared to his near six foot body, it doesn’t seem like he should be wearing adult small.

Posted by: valerieburgess | November 11, 2008

Brownies in God’s Perfect Time

Trusting His Timing

Read Ecclesiastes 3

 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV).”

 

When the brownies came out of the oven in a less than perfect state, I complained to God, “Why again will I eat most of this deep brown goop by myself despite a household of seven possible devourers?”

 

I muttered, “I just don’t understand the timing of brownies. I observed this pan of brownies, and it seemed to be done.” Some people can make perfect brownies. My judgment is way off.

 

In great disappointment over my lack of brownie judgment, I prayed for wisdom. God answered this atypical prayer in an unusual way. He guided me to apply my brownie mess to the muddle I often make of my personal life.

 

Regularly, I question the seasons and days as God plans them for me. Why didn’t He provide that job when I asked? Why are my answers delayed? When considering timing, I observe the current circumstances of my life. This includes examining the temperature and climate of the moment as well as the state of affairs that seem desperate. I think, “Now’s the time for God to pull that pan of brownies out of the oven and provide for my needs.”

 

But God says, “The timing’s not right. My understanding is limitless. Let me help you when and how you need it most.”

 

Waiting on God’s timing is a lot like waiting on my brownies. They smell scrumptious, and I practically drool with anticipation. It’s the same with God, I know every good and wonderful gift comes from the Father above.  So I’m always anxious.

 

I grab my oven mitt and pull out the pan. I scoop out a spoonful of brownie mixture hoping that when it cools off it will transform into perfectly soft, cake-like bites. But the smell fools me. My stomach tussles with the facts. I didn’t give the delectable dessert the proper time to bake. When I jump ahead of God’s timing, My Savior always forgives me despite the great mess I make.

 

David relinquished his life to God. He said, “My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:15, NIV).”

 

It took a pan of brownies to remind me that when I despair, God is never disparate.  My judgments are impaired, but God’s timing is perfect.

 

 

 

Posted by: valerieburgess | October 29, 2008

Awake, Arise, and Don’t Be Afraid

Awake, Arise, and Don’t be Afraid.

 

Awake, women!

Judges 5:12

 

The day had ended. I had fallen into the habit of beating myself up with words, and I felt spiritually distraught. After a long day, I fell asleep. But in my morning devotions I heard God cry out through his Word, “Awake! Awake!”

 

God’s Word said to me, I need to awaken myself to the deception of the evil one. I Corinthians 3:18-20 reminds us that what man thinks is wise is generally pure foolishness. Don’t be deceived by the words of this world, even those in the Christian world who think themselves wise.

 

“Let him become a fool that he may become wise (I Corinthians 3:18, RSV).”  When the world casts us aside, become a fool for Him. When there seems like nothing but despair on every side, awake to the call of Christ within you. Respond as Christ rouses your Spirit.

 

“All things are yours whether . . .  the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God (I Corinthians 3:21-23, NIV).”

 

Awake, to the deceptive practice of the evil one who wants to convince you that your life is worth nothing. Awake to the fact that you, mothers and daughters, are of Christ connected directly to and loved of God with a plan and purpose of building the kingdom of God.

 

Mothers, Arise!

Judges 5:7

The Hebrew word “Em,” meaning mother can be defined as follows: A mother is the one that bore children creating a family. A mother is the key role in the bonding or knitting together of a family. But wrapped up in this word, “Em,” is a mother or leader that procreates a nation to the glory of God. Judges 5:7 says,  “Arose, a mother in Israel.” The word mother is used figuratively as Deborah nurtured Israel toward being a god-fearing nation once again.

In the literal birth of a nation, Sarah delivered one child from whom came twelve children and the twelve tribes of Israel. This was the birth of the nation of Israel. As mothers or part of the passing generation, we might fall for the world’s deception that our lives have nothing to offer. We even listen to words, perhaps generated by our own thoughts, that its time to turn the battle over to the younger generation. Remember Deborah’s words: “Mothers, arise!”

God gives us children to raise and nurture for Christian leadership, a nation to bring into battle, as Deborah led. Mothers, like Sarah, through the birth of one child, we can create generations upon generations of God-fearing families, literally a nation. We are still nation builders.

Deborah stood for God when those like her had ceased in Israel. Our times are similar. But God calls mothers to arise! Perhaps you stand alone in your family as a Christian. Repeat to yourself, “They ceased in my family, until I, ___(your name)_____, arose. Arose, a mother in Christ.”

Mothers, arise! Take this generation for the glory of God.

My Daughter, Don’t Be Afraid

Ruth 3:11

 

And all of you, daughters young and old, don’t be afraid. Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous for you are of Christ. The word daughter comes from the Hebrew word “to build,” as to build a family or a generation upon. Daughters, God is building this generation and His movement in this generation upon you.

 

As I read the story of Ruth, Boaz’s words to Ruth as she sat at his feet desiring to be his wife sent my heart whirling. I fell even more unquenchably in love with Jesus.  I was surprised by His great, bold kindness.

 

I listened in my heart as Boaz spoke to Ruth. Instead of hearing Boaz, I heard Christ. Instead of Christ speaking to Ruth, He resolutely spoke to me with softness, sincerity, and love that I’m not sure I’ve experienced before. I heard God say, “And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability) (Ruth 3:11, Amp.)”

 

Through His beautiful, refreshing words, I understood that He would do all that I desire, because my desires were bent in His desires. I was relieved, when I understood that God knew my heart was strong, worthy, brave, capable, and available for Him. I too set at His feet as a bride ready for the groom.

 

God speaks. He knows your heart. He’s molding, preparing, and building it up for what He desires.

 

We are all far from perfect. I fall asleep every night knowing, recognizing the sins of my day and asking for forgiveness. In a busy life full of motherhood, work, and being a wife, I just couldn’t make it except by the grace of God. But I hear God saying in all that busyness, “My daughter, don’t be afraid.”

 

Do not be deceived or allow your heart to fear, because God doesn’t expect perfection just a willing heart motivated by the love of God. He sees us as daughters of worth, not cast aside.

 

Awake, Arise, and Don’t be Afraid!

Joel 2:28

 

In love God awakens each of us out of our spiritual sleep, and He says, “Arise.” Then He counters, “And now.” That means not later, but immediately.  When he says, “My daughter,” those words are directed to you—the strong one who God can count on to help build this generation. So “Don’t be afraid.” You are of Christ.

 

Joel 2:28 says, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

 

Daughters and mothers, God wants to pour his Spirit out on all of us, his people. Don’t be deceived into thinking you are unworthy or cast aside. All includes you.

 

Mothers and daughters, young and old! Awake, arise, and don’t be afraid.

Posted by: valerieburgess | September 29, 2008

A National Lament (Psalm 60 and Joel 2)

I don’t know what brewing behind congressional walls today or what’s being discussed in the White House’s hallowed halls. But I do know that this country needs repair; the land is quaking. It totters. People are suffering hard things. It’s like, we, as a nation are reeling from strong drink.

 

But there’s a national lament abroad. God’s calling us to prayer. God hasn’t rejected us. But our defenses are broken. Restore us, Lord. Put a fortification around our cities and their leaders.

 

We need your help, Father God, for vain is the help of man. With God we will see victory! Restore us to you, Lord. We’ve strayed; gently lead us back. We’ve begun to fall. Make our landing soft.

 

Heal our land. As our knees touch the floor, bring restoration.

 

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit (Joel 2:28,29).”

 

Our hearts our rent, our spirits bent. Heal our homes. Let your Spirit sweep gently and powerfully through each one of us. Revive our homes.  Allow the revitalization to reach from home, to church, to city, to state, and all the way to our national Capitol. Multiply your works in the structure of the House, Senate, and Judicial Branch. Stop the confusion in our minds; make solid our decisions. Give wisdom to our nation’s leaders and heal our land.

Posted by: valerieburgess | August 27, 2008

When God Seems Distant, Get Curious

After reading Psalm 16 through once, I told God that I just didn’t get it. And when I don’t get something in the Bible, I lose interest. And when I lose interest, I think it’s because God’s not near me, or He’s not filling me up with His Spirit, or He’s not doing whatever I think He should to make Himself known.

 

I’ve heard many people say the same thing. God seems so “far away,” so “distant.” I was tempted to dismiss Psalm 16 and just move on to another Psalm. But instead I asked God to help me understand it despite desire to pull away and go another direction.

 

That was two days ago. This morning my curiosity brought me back to Psalm 16. I again said, “God, I really want to understand it.” I pulled off the shelf a massive volume called The Matthew Henry Commentary which was written a few years before I was born. Suddenly I couldn’t get past the introduction of the Psalm. I was so intrigued by three words, “Michtam of David.” I went searching for my Strong’s Concordance and my Vine’s Dictionary of the Bible.

 

I discovered that according to these three sources that a “Michtam” was a special teaching poem. It literally meant “an engraving.” Matthew Henry described it as a golden poem. I could just see David writing a poem so strong and beautiful, so full of rich expression of God’s works and His wonders that he had to call it a gold engraving or an etching on our hearts. He recognized the prophetic edge on this poem. He knew it came straight from the heart of God. Yet it was so much a part of him, a part of David’s calling.

 

I suddenly desired to read the other five Michtam’s in the Bible. In the introductions of these, Psalm 56-60, I saw that at least four were written in response to David’s life being threatened. More to be desired than gold is a message from God, an encouragement engraved on the heart when adversity comes.

 

Lord, I still don’t understand all of Psalm 16. Reveal more. But thanks for giving a little boredom, a lack of understanding, so that I would attack the understanding of God’s Word with new vigor. Thanks for always being near, even when I’m distant. Amen.

Posted by: valerieburgess | July 18, 2008

Considering Relationship

   The concept of relationship is so strong, so fundamental, so integral to our understanding of God that the evil one works overtime to break, destroy and even kill our positive perception of it. Relationship began in the Garden of Eden. God created man and woman to walk and talk with Him in the cool of the day. After a days work full of results and overwhelming life issues, God taught us all to relax and relate.

   The serpent tempted Eve to break relationship with God. This breaking of relationship created what we know as evil or sin and resulted in the Fall of Man. What did Adam and Eve fall from? Relationship with God.

   From the beginning of time the Evil one fought to destroy the uniqueness of relationship. The evil one knows that if he breaks or destroys the beauty of relationship in our lives; he destroys our ability to perfectly understand the steadfast, secure, unconditional love that God has for us. Love is created in union, in relationship. The evil one is out to destroy marriages, godly friendships, and any relationship that links you to a higher or more accurate understanding of the love of God.

   But God knew of the evil one’s attempts and pre-destined that we would walk in Christ’s perfect love chasing away fear and giving us an eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16). At the will of Father God, Christ sacrificed His own life on the cross vicariously creating a way to bridge sin’s resultant gap. In an unmatched act of love, God gave his only Son. God initiates the love relationship that sin causes us to run away from and avoid. Hurts keep us from responding, but God’s immutable covenant love patiently waits for us. God desires to heal and make new all our relationships, but especially our identification with Him. 

   The Trinity is fundamental to our understanding of relationship. As persons of the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have relationship with each other. The idea of one God with one nature but three persons in relationship to each other took place before time began, before the beginning of the world and definitively before the Fall of Man. Satan tried to break these relationships by destroying Christ on the cross. The evil one is the enemy of relationships, because they are essential to our Christian walk and reminders of God himself.

   Most news only makes headlines when broken relationships create significant evil. Satan knew this in the garden. It received front page news in the Bible. Not for propaganda purposes, but as a reminder of the essential role relationships play in our understanding of God and our joy-filled life on earth. But God took what Satan intended for evil, the breaking of relationship between God the Father and God the Son and turned it for good. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us giving renew life to the relationship between the Creator and the created.

Posted by: valerieburgess | July 16, 2008

Like Paul-Like Jesus

Like Paul. Like Jesus. We allow ourselves to be poured out as drink offerings as we continue in and strive toward the completion of our callings to preach, teach, evangelize, and endure knowing the joy of obedience and the ecstasy of finishing the race.

 

Like a drink offering Jesus poured out his life even unto death. (See Isaiah 53:12, Genesis 35:14.) In Psalm 22, David receives a prophetic vision or a word picture of Jesus on the cross. In David’s moment of emotional intercession years before Jesus’ birth, David says, “I am poured out like water.” David prophetically knew the sorrow of death and the offering of His blood, but he also knew His joy of completion; the joy accompanying Jesus’ obedience to the heavenly Father. In Hebrew worship, a drink offering signified completion and the joy associated with it.

 

Christ also asked Paul to pour out his life. In II Timothy 4:6, Paul says, “For I am already being poured out like water.” (See Philippians 2:17) Paul willing gave his life for the gospel. He completed God’s goals for his life. He charges Timothy to preach the Word, teach sound doctrine, keep your head in all situations, endure hardships, evangelize the world, and minister effectively. Paul explains that he has done all of this and soon his life will end, his race here on earth will be finished. But Timothy must continue until he, too, has poured out his life for the gospel. Like Paul. Like Jesus.

 

God asks us to finish the race, to complete our calling–even unto death. Like Paul. Like Jesus. Remembering the joy of obedience and the elation of crossing the finish line, we willingly allow ourselves to be poured out. We look forward to the final word from Father God, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.  … Enter thou into the joy of the Lord. (Matthew 25:23, KJV).”

 

Posted by: valerieburgess | July 12, 2008

Better Than A Ball Game

The thrills, the shouts, and the enthusiasm of a Little League All-Star game don’t match the excitement of the Word of God when it touches my soul. Softballs fly, roll, and pop aggressively around me. The crowd comes to their feet cheering “All for the red team stand up and holler.” But the appellation of the Lord Jesus Christ, His divine and eternal nature, His intercession for me at the right hand of God, brings me to my feet in worship every time. It gives lift to my soul. I’m a ball flying out of the park.

 

A friend of mind reads the Bible and repeats the word “delicious” as she digests the knowledge of God’s love that the Word provides. The popcorn and pizza from the Sugar Shack can’t beat the delicacies of God’s Word.

 

A red and blue blur flashes by and slides into home plate only six feet away. My souls elated, not by the homerun, but by the Word of God laid open across my lap. As I study and memorize, I perceive that His Word always hits a grand slam. The Father’s love slides into my heart redeeming me, freeing me, and calling me safely home.

 

There’s nothing that thrills my soul like Jesus. The World Series couldn’t match the exhilaration and adrenaline God’s Word sends this world weary soul.

 

 

Posted by: valerieburgess | June 27, 2008

A Poem From An Early AM Walk in My Yard

Purified


Pure, white, holy
Dainty spring flowers
Glistening in the sun.
Dancing in the wind

Dark, green, newness
Poignant immature sprigs
Pointing to fresh life
Wrestling with the breeze

Bright, full, lovely
Creative generation
Waiting on the Holy One
Listening for His call
–Val Burgess

Posted by: valerieburgess | June 9, 2008

Fervent, 40-Below Prayers

James 5:16
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Fervent, Forty-Below Prayers
 
About a year ago, I encouraged my boys, ages eleven and sixteen, to accompany their Dad on an overnight snow machine trip. All the thoughts of father and son bonding bubbled up inside of me. I explained to them how great this trip with their father could be. They half heartedly acquiesced to the trip, because they didn’t want to disappoint Mom or Dad, not because they anticipated having a grand time.
 
They packed up and started off. The crisp, cold day would make snowmobiling on the lake perfect; that is, if they had made their trip during the daylight hours. At 6 p.m. the sun went down and the temperatures began to drop. From home, I watched the temperatures lower on an internet weather indicating site.  By 9 p.m. the temperatures had reached 40-below, and I knew they had not had time to reach their destination. They were on the lake driving snowmobiles at forty-below.

I had prayed from the moment they left on the trip, but every drop in the temperature increased the fervency of my prayers. The more fervent my prayers, the more specific they became. I prayed for toes and fingers over and over again. At 40-below, children don’t have much protection against the cold. I knew that the lake could be dangerous in bad weather, so safety and direction on the lake, particularly a swift trip to the cabin, was necessary.  I asked God to provide warmth in the cabin heated solely by firewood.  If anyone gave in to fatigue, it would be fatal. I prayed that they would persevere until they were able to come home.  I asked God to grant them wisdom in the mind-boggling cold.

Tonight as I looked back on that incident that took place a little over a year ago, I pictured a young ministers’ wife lying in bed tossing and turning as fervent prayers allowed little time for rest. She was not praying for a man and two children on a frozen lake at 40 degrees below zero. She was upholding a father and son on a mission’s trip. She knew that their ministry had the same possibilities for danger as a 40-below snowmobile trip if not bathed in prayer.

Next, the picture of fervency for prayer became focused on a Dad and a son out far from a mother’s reach, but not far from her prayers. I envisioned frequent trips that took them farther and farther away from God. Their need for salvation was more imminent then any trip on a frozen lake at 40-below. The prayers for these who had strayed far from God needed to be very specific and effectual. They too needed to be brought home safely, like the prodigal son. They needed fervent 40-below prayers for their rescue.
 
God calls our whole church to join families fervently in praying over those who are sent out and those who are outside Christ’s saving grace. More and more we are sending out ministers and missionaries, children and adults step out on to do the work of Christ in unknown places. Both missionaries and those far from God have stepped into the devil’s territory, a 40-below trip on a frozen lake. The warfare is strong.  Pray fervently for their safety and a swift or timely return home.

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