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.  ...

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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....

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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...

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Spiritual Caulking

Spiritual Caulking

Ooo… Ahh… We have a brand spanking new bathroom. After gutting our old one, we put in a new one with the most beautiful floor to ceiling tiles and clean white vanity. That’s probably why our hearts hit the floor this morning when our son took a shower, went downstairs, and discovered a major leak from the new bathroom above. “No!!!” Morning Surprise We opened the closet, shone a flashlight on and around the pipes behind the new tub, and everything was drenched, especially our new so-called “drywall.” How could this be, Lord? Don’t we have enough fires to put out today? Yes, I know this isn’t of earthquake proportions, but still, God. It’s just soooo disappointing. My husband and I prayed both together and apart. As I watched my big guy press into the light and push back the darkness, something struck me, so I let it slip off my lips: Prayer is like bathroom caulking. We put prayer covering over every area of our lives because we want to prevent leaks and seal old ones. Yep, prayer is our spiritual caulking.  After my husband who’s used to me gave me a brief smile, I cracked open my prayer journal to spill my leaky thoughts. Ok, Daddy, here I am again. Good morning! Hey, I’d like some of the usual, please. Could you kindly bring my family closer to you? Help us make wise decisions. Help us with our hearts, our schedules, our relationships; oh, and please heal our bathroom!!! Prayer Gift Prayer is our armor and war. It is both defense and offense. It is intimate Spirit-language that reaches heaven and is bigger than any conceivable freakout. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we could see the invisible under-workings of prayer? Or what it would be like to closely examine the before and after results? We’d see pictures more dramatic than my cushy bathroom, because prayer is that radical. No wonder why Satan tries to get us to doubt, forget, get busy, fall asleep, and leak, leak, leak. Satan sniffs around for the slightest trace of mold and weakness, the tiniest nook and cranny opening where he can reap, wreak, and leak destruction. Satan hates our motion to pray, because he knows it ushers angels to action. No Fear If we forget to cover ourselves in prayer, we don’t need to worry because Christ is still our...

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Falling Down Safe

Falling Down Safe

Sometimes in the pruning, little homes get toppled.  Creature comforts get turned upside down.   Fear.   Sometimes warm hands reaching out feel cold and foreign.  Sometimes they just want to love.   Sometimes we need to climb higher.   Have a holy huddle.   Sometimes we need to see down times as opportunities for more closeness.   Sometimes loving touches speak louder than words.   Sometimes we’re blessed to make a new friend.   We can taste and see the goodness of God.  In everything.   Everything can be a learning experience…   When we’re open and brave…   To give and receive.   If it’s worth receiving, it’s worth sharing with others.   It’s worth seizing the moment.   It’s worth enjoying God’s gifts and surprises.  Because in God’s hands… We all fall down...

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