Amusement Park: Helicopter Ride

Amusement Park: Helicopter ride

“Ready to go higher?” Jesus asked.

“Higher? If we go any higher we’re going to…” Amalia froze. He didn’t really mean that, did He? This was supposed to be a restful ride, nothing scary. She stared at Him, unable to voice her fear. 0614202137 (2)

His eyes twinkled back at her. “Yup. And you’ll love it. So do you want to go higher with Me?”

Nodding slowly, she knew she’d go anywhere Jesus wanted to take her. She wasn’t sure if He meant the same thing she feared, but just in case, she held on tighter. If this helicopter broke free and went off into space, she wanted to be ready.

The small helicopter thus far had been moving in a slow, mechanical way. Although she controlled the up and down movements, the long metal bar to which it was attached kept it from going too high or too low as it revolved around a center column. It kept her safe from dangerous extremes. Now Jesus spoke of going higher. Heart beating faster, she waited to see what He meant.

He took the controls, and they began climbing.

At first nothing seemed to change.. She looked at Jesus and waited. When was He going to do His thing? Something totally unexpected and crazy and marvelous? But they just kept rising and revolving as they had been doing since they got on this ride. Should she ask Him about it? Or should she keep quiet? Maybe He’d forget and they could just finish the ride in a safe and ordinary way.

A few minutes passed. They were still rising.

She looked at Him again. The smile on His face was bigger, brighter, and more joyous than she had ever seen. Not just His smile – his whole body seemed to be brighter, reflecting the light that streamed down on Him.

No, not just on Him, on both of them.

Wait… the light was not streaming down on Him. It was streaming out from Him. He was the source of the light, which was growing more brilliant by the minute.

She was about to say something, but he stopped her.

“Shhh. Just take it in.” He whispered.

She sat back, noting that they were still rising, and let her eyes wander as she focused on the light’s sensation. The warmth she expected. But there was something else about it, something she couldn’t quite identify. Something good. Like she was being hugged from the inside out with the longest, most passionate hug she’d ever experienced. Tears filled her eyes as she surrendered to the embrace.

Too soon, she heard Jesus whisper. “Amy, Me beloved, look down.”

She did, and gasped. The amusement park looked the size of a flea circus.

“We’re so high! How…?” She shook her head. She didn’t’ need an explanation. Jesus had done His thing.

“This is how great My love for you is. And even greater. When you go through rough times, remember what you’ve experienced today. My love will be just as great then as it is now.”

The love, still flowing through her as she stared at the tiny rides below, filled her so completely that all she could do was nod. Slowly, as they descended, the light’s brilliancy dimmed to ordinary light. Disappointed, she tried to hang on to the inner embrace, but that feeling was also slowly fading away. By the time they joined the other helicopters, still revolving around the center column, it was all but a memory. A memory she was going to hang on to as long as she could.

 


 

Has anyone else experienced the loving embrace of God? What was it like for you?

 

Scriptures:

Psalm 103:11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!”

1 John 4:16  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

John 8:12 (I Am the Light of the World) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

Amusement Park: Train Ride

Amusement Park: Train Ride

The sudden DING-DING-DINGs of an approaching train caused Amalia to pause in licking off the last of the sweet sticky residue from the now empty cotton candy cone. A train ride! The perfect thing after a sweet treat. She turned to Jesus, who was watching her with amusement.

“Let’s go ride the train next!” she said, pointing towards the train station about fifty yards away. “I wonder how far it goes.”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Train rides can be very… interesting.”

Amalia raised her eyebrows at Jesus. “Do You know something I don’t?”

“I know a lot of things that you don’t” He laughed. “In this case, let’s just get on and see what happens.”

They walked the short distance and got to the station just as the train pulled in. They climbed into the last car, the one that usually provides the greatest view, and buckled in.

“Why the seat belt?” Amalia said as she heard the click of the secured belt. “This is a slow, easy ride. We don’t need seat belts for that.”

“It’s always good to be prepared,” was all Jesus said.

The train started off, blasting it’s warning horn as it left the station. There weren’t many people on the train, so Amalia had a great view of the amusement park as they passed several rides. Then they went through a gate, and everything changed.

Amalia was speechless. She had seen this done on TV but never in real life. How was this 0601201504 (2)even possible? It was like looking at a black and white movie. All the color was gone. Even the sunlight. Everything was dark and dingy. The trees, grass, flowers, clouds – even the train and everything on it that she could see, including herself, were shades of blacks and grays. She turned to Jesus, and was startled to see that He was still the bright, colorful Jesus He had always been.

“What happened?”

“Watch. This is one of my favorite rides.”

Confused, she watched the dreary landscape with dismay. There nothing beautiful here, but there was potential. She could see the many flowers and imagine how colorful they could be.

Suddenly everything went dark as they entered a tunnel. Amalia reached for Jesus’ hand. She felt a little foolish, because she knew He was there, but His quick reassuring squeeze comforted her. In just a few minutes they exited the tunnel into the dark world. But wait, was it her imagination? Or did it seem a bit brighter on this side of the tunnel? She continued watching.

Yes! She was right – it was getting brighter. She could just barely make out the first hint of a color other than gray. The sky was now gray-blue. Compared to a few minutes ago, it looked beautiful. She gazed at it with joy, then noticed the leaves, flowers, and grass were beginning to show some color. It was very faint, but it was definitely there.

“Do you see that, Jesus? Look how pretty everything is getting now that the color is returning? There’s not much, yet, but I know more will come.”

“So, are you seeing past what things look like right now, and looking instead to what they can be?”

“No, I’m seeing them as they are, not as they were. But I’m also anticipating what they can be.”

“Well said. Keep watching.”

The train went around a curve, and now Amalia could now easily see different colors. Most of the gray had been replaced with soft colors. She looked all around with wonder. If a hint of color was beautiful, this was spectacular! She enjoyed looking for as many colors as she could, which wasn’t easy since their light shades tended to blend into each other. She was so busy counting off the colors, that she didn’t notice the overhanging trees until they were underneath them. Then all she could see were branches and leaves. It was like being buried, in a way.

A few mintues later, they emerged into the sunshine. Sunshine? Yes, the sky appeared much brighter now, and the light brought out more colors throughout the landscape. Amalia sat back, stunned at the difference the light made.

As the train continued along its track, weaving between forests and fields, the landscape continued to grow brighter with each curve, until it was so bright everything seemed to glow as if each was lit from within. Unbidden tears fell as Amalia turned to Jesus.

“This is incredible. I can’t take it all in, it’s too beautiful.”

“This is how I see you,” He whispered as He held her close. “You were once dark, like the dreary landscape we started in. But as you traveled with me along the path I set for you, you were transformed by My light into one level of beauty to the next. Just as you delighted in each stage of the landscape’s transformation, I delight in each level you become. And you’re not finished yet. The best is yet to come.”

Amalia had no more words. She let His words soak into her as the train pulled up to the station. This ride had been incredible. More incredible than any other ride so far. Jesus had said it was His favorite. She thought maybe it had become her favorite, too.

 

 


What do you think of this Amusement Park series? Should Amalia and Jesus continue to ride? Or should I move on to something else? Please leave me a comment below. Thanks!

 

Scripture

2 Cor 3:17-18  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.

The Lunch Invitation

Nancy looked at the lunch invitation with delight. Meals at her friends’ house were always an adventure. They liked to experiment with their recipes, often finding creative ways to tweak the ingredients to make the dishes unique and unforgettable. This meal, scheduled for the following week, should be no exception.

Each day she tried to imagine what they would be serving.  Probably nothing as ordinary as spaghetti or grilled cheese, unless they added some fun ingredients, of course. Maybe something with lobster, she thought, mentally licking her lips.

Finally the day came and she drove to her friends’ house with great anticipation

“Come on in! I’m so glad you’re here!” Susan exclaimed as she held the door open for Nancy.

“Thank you for the invite,” Nancy replied. “I love your cooking!”

They walked down the hall towards the kitchen. “Bob is finishing the salad right now. We kind of burned the main dish so we added some extra ingredients to make the salad larger. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Salad actually sounds good.” Nancy knew whatever they served would be amazing.

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The large salad in the center of the kitchen table did look amazing. So full of greens with lots of colorful veggies, eggs, and cheeses mixed in.

Bob held the salad fork and motioned to the salad. “We weren’t expecting to have to make such a big salad and didn’t have enough greens so I added some lettuce leaves from our backyard garden. It’s the first time we’ve ever grown lettuce and I’m so excited that they were ready to use today.”

Nancy glanced out the window to the back yard, then stared with horror. A dog was peeing on the bed of lettuce. Was this the same bed that Bob got his lettuce for the salad? It had to be.

“Umm…” she began. “Your dog is… umm… peeing on your lettuce.”

“Oh, that’s OK,” Bob said. “He does that all the time. It doesn’t hurt the lettuce.”

Nancy looked at the salad. Was some of that peed on lettuce part of this salad?

Susan saw her look and said, “Don’t worry. I’m sure Bob rinsed the lettuce before adding it to the salad.”

“Of course,” Bob agreed. “I always do.”

Nancy thought of the quick rinse she usually did to her own vegetables. Surely he did better than that.

“Besides,” Susan went on, “even if he happened to use a lettuce leaf that had gotten peed on, it’s such a little part of this salad that you won’t even notice.”

Somehow, Nancy had lost her appetite and began wondering what excuse she could make to get out of there without eating.

Later, much later, she thought… is this like us and sin? We think we do so many wonderful things that a little sin here or there doesn’t really matter. But is that how God sees sin? That it’s OK to accept small sins as long as we basically try to do the right things? Would that be like Susan and Bob accepting that salad since it was basically all good ingredients? A little contamination wouldn’t be noticed?

No, God was pure holiness. There was no darkness in Him at all. So all sin, no matter how small, must be as despicable to Him as the possible yellow lettuce had been to her.

Wow! That sure puts sin in a whole new light.

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 2

Here is my second quote:

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It seems there’s drama everywhere I look. Lots of emotional people expressing their opinions and disagreements. And it’s soooo easy to be drawn into it. However, as Christians, I believe we should be influencing others, not being influenced. After all, Christ lives in us and we should be allowing His peace as well as light to shine through us. If we get pulled into other people’s storms, our light is diminished just as storm clouds diminish the light from the sun. And our peace is destroyed just as the winds destroy the peace of calm sunny days.  We have the peace of Jesus in us  but only by staying out of the storms will be able to share it with those who come seeking refuge.

In the same vein, I also like the visual from the following quote. Repeating it usually helps me stay out of other people’s drama:

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.  (or zoo or jungle).

I’ve heard it from several places and I don’t know who to give credit to for it. If you know, kindly tell me so I can add it to this blog.

Thank you again Sue Love at Run With It for nominating me for this Three Day Quote Challenge.

Now I would like to nominate God’s Warrior at Taking Up My Cross for the 3 Day Quote Challenge because he has a wide range of interests and is completely bible based. I can’t wait to see which quotes he decides to share!

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Light of the World Award

I was delightfully surprised to be nominated for the Light of the World Award again, thislotw-award-200 time by the awesome dancer, photographer, and writer BibleBloggerGirl of Teen, Meet God.  Her love for God at such a young age is an inspiration to me!  This award was created by Joe from Lighthouse Devotions. I like this award because its name is all about what I’m trying to do with my blogs – shine a little light into the world. To be nominated twice is the highest compliment I could receive! Thank you so much, Shae!

Here are the rules:

  1. Save and add the award image on your blog. (Here is the link for the award post with image and rules of award.)
  2. Create a page/post to mention the award nomination and thank the person/blog that nominated you. Make sure you provide a link to their site.
  3. Give credit to the creator of the award (Lighthouse Devotions) and provide a link to the site as well.  (http://www.Lighthousedevotions.blog)
  4. List the rules.
  5. Answer the next four questions on the same post:
    1. What three words would you use to describe your blog?
    2. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ?
    3. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world?
    4. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.
  6. Nominate 7 or more people/blogs to receive the award. Briefly explain why you think they should receive it and provide a link to their sites.
  7. Contact them and let them know that you nominated them.
  8. Provide them with a link to the Rules page.
  9. Say a prayer thanking God for His light and ask that He continue to shine it through you and your blog.
  10. Keep shining the light of Christ wherever you go and in whatever you do!

 

My new answers:

  1. God-focused, variety, encouraging
  2. by walking the talk – by really believing what we say we believe, and being open about that belief
  3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  4. Lights Shine Bright by TobyMac (feat Hollyn)

 

My nominees:

I have nominated many amazing bloggers for this and another award, and most have not accepted them. I know of a few reasons, but most I can only guess. The last thing I want to do is bother anyone by nominating them when they’d prefer not to be involved. So, instead of trying to guess who’d appreciate being nominated, I’m going to do this a different way.  If you’d like to be nominated, or know someone who would love to receive this award, leave me a comment. I will choose seven who, as the award says, shine Jesus’ light in a dark world and list them here. 🙂

Light of the World Award

lotw-award-200

Wow! What a great birthday! Most years my birthday passes as just another day – nothing special happens and there’s no celebrations. I expected the same this year.

But I was wrong. I feel like God celebrated my day with me by giving me several gifts – an unexpected check in the mail, a unexpected gift from my husband, an ultrasound and good news about my soon-to-be-born first granddaughter, and now… the Light of the World Award!

Thank you Joe from Lighthouse Devotions for nominating me!

Joe created this award to honor authors (bloggers) whose presence on the web serve as a shining light for Christ and His Gospel of salvation. (You can read his words here.)

There is no greater honor he could have given me!

 

 

Here are the rules:

  1. Save and add the award image (pictured above) on your blog.
  2. Create a page/post to mention the award nomination and thank the person/blog that nominated you. Make sure you provide a link to their site.
  3. Give credit to the creator of the award (Lighthouse Devotions) and provide a link to the site as well.
  4. List the rules.
  5. Answer the next four questions on the same post:
  6. What three words would you use to describe your blog?
  7. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ?
  8. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world?
  9. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.
  10. Nominate 7 or more people/blogs to receive the award. Briefly explain why you think they should receive it and provide a link to their sites.
  11. Contact them and let them know that you nominated them.
  12. Proved them with a link to the Rules page.
  13. Say a prayer thanking God for His light and ask that He continue to shine it through you and your blog.
  14. Keep shining the light of Christ wherever you go and in whatever you do!

 

 

Here are my answers.

A.  creative, glorifying, unique

B.  The people I’ve known that seemed to shine the brightest were people who had a heart for Jesus and lived by what He taught. By all of what He taught. What HE taught. No matter how hard.

C.  1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you  may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

D.  Shine Jesus Shine    an old worship song I loved!!

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And my Nominees…

His Perfect Timing – always positive, great graphics and even songs

Pastor Tommy Grace for the Race – relates scripture to everyday life, makes me feel like I really can be a light in this world

Sue Love Run With It       –  shines the light of His Word through scripture based commentary and song

T. R. Noble, Inside Cup – songs, devotionals, commentaries, – her light shines through all of it

Efua Grace Over Pain  – several kinds of posts, always interesting and positive

Amy Blount A New Life  – God’s power to redeem and restore is a powerful light to those with traumatic backgrounds

Becoming His Tapestry – uplifting, makes me feel she’s writing directly to me

 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14 (NAS)

You Are the Nightlight of the World

Feeling sad and discouraged, she read the words in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (v.14-15)

Really?

Where was that light when an old friend told her, “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t want Jesus.” She had been too confused to respond. How could anyone not want Jesus?

Where was that light when she visited her siblings? The discord she found there had worked its way inside her until she had gotten drawn into it. OK, maybe not as deeply as they were, but still. Where was her light?

Sadly, she read Matthew’s words again and thought, if Christians are the light of the world, I must be a nightlight. And I don’t seem to be doing a very good job at even that.

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That next couple of days, she kept getting the message to persevere. To take things one step at a time and not compare herself with others. She sighed. She’d rather be a bright light in the lives of those around her, but if the best she could be was a nightlight, then she’d persevere in being that nightlight. Yet, deep in her heart, she continued to struggle. How could Jesus be happy with her when her light was little more than that lamp under a bowl?

Years later, she received a letter from a friend.  In it, he described a vision he had had. He had seen a small girl, standing before Jesus, head down, ashamed because she feels she’s disappointed Him. He saw Jesus lift her head and tell her…

“I’ve told you time and time again – I love you just as you are. I didn’t create you to be a flame that bursts forth with brilliant light. You are my glowing ember and you will warm the hearts of many, many souls.”

Astonished, she knew this had to be from God. She had never told this friend about her struggle with not being a bright enough light. As peace replaced the struggle in her heart, she thanked God for this friend’s courage to share that message with her. And she thanked God for caring enough to let her know that being a low level light – a nightlight – was exactly what she was made to be, and it was OK.

“God, after all the times I ignored Your reassurances out of fear and doubt, You never gave up. Thank You for loving me enough to find a way to get Your message to me loud and clear. You’re amazing!”