Fresh Air Blog

Storm-stepping

Storm-stepping

I’m now home from our 25th anniversary celebration in Clearwater Beach. Pondering storms and focus. Three of us four Rickers have been long-battling a fairly serious physical storm, even as we intentionally focus on the Son. Storms feel confusing. They don’t make sense. They’re a test. How do we get to the other side? What should we do? What now, what next? The list goes on. Here are a few short lessons I’ve learned from our storms. As always, I pray you’re somehow encouraged and blessed. When you start to feel overwhelmed, meditate on the Word and the good that can come out of your storm. Remember you’re never alone. Your loving God is with you and wants to partner with you in your storm. Has he given you keys or tools? Ask Him what He thinks about the storm, and dwell on His thoughts above your own. Thank Him for understanding you and your situation even when others don’t get it. Thank Him for an opportunity to trust Him and His love like never before. Take authority over the storm. If you know it’s from the enemy, treat it as such. Never stop asking for healing. Jesus said, “greater things than these will you do.” Persevere. Ask Him for faith, and respond to the measure He gives you. Trust Him for the healing process, whatever that uniquely looks like for you. Thank Him for doctors and the ability to make choices toward healing every day. Focus on loving the Healer more than loving your healing. As laid down lovers before Him, our lives are not our own, and He can use us mightily, no matter what we’re going through. Receive His love.  ...

Read More

Selfless Example

Selfless Example

The fact that Jesus emptied and limited Himself when He came to earth, makes me wonder exactly how much the human part of Him grasped the extent of His imminent suffering. Jesus eagerly desired to save the world, but as the end drew near, as Jesus talked to His Father in a garden reminiscent of the one where the first Adam hid from His Father, as Jesus prepared to absorb in His sinless body all the sins of the world, all the wrath of His Father… His heart picked up, His hands trembled, blood-red beads of sweat awakened the raw real scent of death; and understandably this foreshadowing nightmare unravelled in Him a chorus of questions like: could there possibly be a plan B? Was this truly the only way?  Father, if You are willing. Please take this cup from Me… How much sense could His Father’s death-wish on Him have possibly made in the face of such betrayal, rejection, pain, and abandonment?  Yet not My will, but Yours be done…. Limited in sight, surely questions plagued Him all the way to grand finale… My God… My God.  Why have You forsaken Me? I love Him so deep whenever I think of this; and I think of this often: how our Lord’s leap of love and sheer obedience in His stepping off life’s jagged plank to descend into the blackest pit of night with nothing but simple childlike trust in the changeless nature of His perfect purposeful Father — was all done just for us, His cherished friends. Oh, Jesus, Oh Jesus…  Such Father-pleasing trust when You couldn’t see. Oh, that I might come even close to Your beautiful, powerful, selfless example…  Please remind each friend here how their redemption is sure and near. How You never waste pain. How You can always be trusted in the dark. Please remind them that joy comes in the morning… Remind them Your love is stronger than death, and how nothing, absolutely nothing can separate them from Your perfect matchless love....

Read More

Sore Spot

Sore Spot

The Lord gives me tons of these phrases which I promptly post on Facebook to encourage people.  Every now and again, it does the opposite and hits a sore spot. After a positive outpouring, I read this comment a woman named Angela posted: Why do I doubt this? 2 guys tried to break into my home 7 times… I chased after them once, they continued to harass me, I couldn’t sleep for a year and my nerves took years to recoup and only now do I feel a little better. Tonight I spend the night alone and ain’t going to lie, I doubt I’ll sleep well because I feel that God can’t keep me safe if he let’s them in my yard and starts to destroy my home or steal stuff. My heart went out to her, and I immediately found my fingers flying over the keys as the Spirit led me.  Felt led to share my response with you: Angela, I’m so sorry about what happened to you. I too have had a number of terrible things happen to me. When evil touches us, it first touches the heart of God. He is with us and feels it deep. He loves us and hates evil with every bleeding fiber of His being. He hated it so much He gave up everything to destroy it. To rescue us and “Deliver us from evil.” We pray to that end. And in the end, evil will be cast into the fire and completely destroyed like a bundle of weeds. But right now, we (the wheat) grow up also among weeds. See Matthew 13:24-30. If God commanded the harvesters (angels) to pull up all the weeds, the wheat would also be uprooted — because it isn’t yet time. Leaning on our limited understanding only takes us so far in grasping this. We need to trust in God’s love and goodness which fills the gaps. God’s love is more real that past circumstances, and He WILL deliver us into our full destiny. Arrows sometimes get in, but no weapon formed against us shall prosper. The only thing that can stop us from moving forward is ourselves. God uproots arrows and brings healing. Angela, thank you for being so real!! What you feel is very natural; and I too have felt it before. Even now, I need to be on guard against it. I need to...

Read More

Personal Powerful Love

Personal Powerful Love

As I lay in bed with my iPhone, I asked the Lord what He wanted to say through me today, and this is what rolled in and out of my spirit: Rest in My unconditional love that speaks louder than your grief and trials. My love for you is personal, endued with power, lacking nothing. I pursued you from your youth, even before you chose to look My way. Make Me number one today.  Taste and see that I, your Redeemer, am good, and My faithfulness and mercies shall endure...

Read More

Ego, Identity, Humility

Ego, Identity, Humility

Ego. Identity. Humility. Three small words that potentially spark big thought. The world embraces ego. Even gives it special meaning by sticking the word “male” in front of it, making it a thing. Ego is to be no more an excuse than a pursuit. If you want more confidence, pursue identity. When you know who you are and whose you are, you are more grounded, stable, and secure. Identity takes care of pride and its cronies. To grow in identity is to know you are uber-loved as God’s child. Such knowledge swallows up a myriad of uglies and helps shrivel up that “old man” fleshly nature. Vices like comparison and jealousy can’t possibly thrive in the face of someone who truly knows who she is and what she carries. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you! Don’t be surprised when you experience friction from those who don’t yet “get” God’s identity and the sense of confident humility it brings.  No need to knock others down to size, nor put them in their place. Lack of understanding provides an opportunity to show patience and love. We are all in process, needing to give and receive grace for the journey. If someone close to you has identity issues, love them before the Father’s throne and see what he tells you. If you have the kind of close relationship with them that’s earned their ears, see if they’re open to you coaching them along with gentle reminders of who they are in Christ as you model these virtues yourself. Papa God, thank you for your steadfast patience. Thank you for Love inside doing its ongoing steady work. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for a new day every day as we grow in knowledge and depth of insight, grasping from glory to glory a clearer picture of who we are in you and you in...

Read More