Fresh Air Blog

Shining Among Christians

Shining Among Christians

Today I read an awesome and vulnerable blog post by author and speaker, Michele Cushatt, who shares about shining her faith to those who don’t yet believe. Yesterday, my husband told me he heard Dave Ramsey shine on his radio show that reaches a large secular audience. Ramsey recently interviewed an actor friend who played in the new box office hit, War Room. (Awesome movie, by the way. It shines!) Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3 Christians applaud believers who fear God and love others more than fearing man. Since the beginning of creation God designed light to govern darkness, not the other way around. But let’s launch this thought in a slightly different direction with this question: As Christians, is God pleased with how we shine our light among other Christians? I think it’s safe to acknowledge that we all want to be accepted and liked. Peer pressure doesn’t stop post-middle school. Even the best Christian leaders don’t enjoy rocking the boat. They want to go with the flow, sail those smooth safe waters. And writers and speakers don’t want people to think we’re “out there” either. So what if God calls us “out there”? Are we willing to go? For example, what do you do if God calls you to keep your lamp burning bright when you’re around lukewarm believers, or Believers who have forgotten their first love? What if He calls you to humbly speak up to those who believe differently than you about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for example? What if God tells you to say or write something you know will be criticized by other Christians who you respect and care about? Are you willing to SHINE BRIGHT for Jesus even though it may cost you something? In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify you Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 It’s time to adorn ourselves with those white bright bride clothes God has provided for us. This may not come as a surprise, but not everybody wants to shine Jesus. They may want to shine somebody else or even themselves—but Jesus? One of His biggest obstacles came from religious leaders who enjoyed their old religious ways more than...

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The Freedom Challenge

The Freedom Challenge

What do wayward children, difficult coworkers, and emotionally distant relatives have in common? The true simple answer: Each one of these needs our prayers, understanding, and kindness. (But the true simple fact is: we can’t love one of them even one iota without God’s help.) Our freedom cost Christ His life. Doesn’t it make sense that we now follow the call and bring freedom to others? That’s why I invite you to join me in taking the freedom challenge. I promise it’s better than the coca-cola challenge and the ice bucket challenge, and you’ll feel a lot warmer. To be conduits of freedom we need to walk with a new freedom mindset. Know the Truth Let’s face it: As Christ-followers, we’re bursting with Jesus potential. Satan will do anything and everything he can to blind us, distract us, or cause us to just plain ol’ forget who we are. But we’re all like a cell phone with room for hundreds more powerful apps than we ever dare to use. God gives us gifts galore. We’re hardwired to hardcore love hard-to-love people. Offer them a fresh drink from our wellspring. As you connect with a difficult person this holiday week, why not strip off your self-consciousness and pride (who needs it?) and take the freedom challenge! Ask God to empower you with His love and use you to sow seeds of freedom into someone’s life. Want it so badly you can taste it. Picture yourself praying for someone’s freedom, then pray for an opportunity and intentionally step into it. Remember, the Big Guy will help you. We all have hurts and struggles, but praying for others is a powerful effective way to start showing God’s courageous over-the-top love. I’ve prayed for people who were once bound in sickness, fear, rage, lust and all kinds of vices—and I’ve watched God bring healing and freedom. I personally know people who have been set free from Satanism, witchcraft, homosexuality, pornography, fear, and alcoholism. I even know people who have been set free from legalism. (collective gasp.) Bottom line: No heart is too far from the transformative power of Christ’s love. Be Set Free! Prayer point for others: Pray blinders fall from people’s eyes, so they can taste and see the Lord is good, that His mercies endure forever, and that He makes ALL things possible. Prayer point for yourself: Examine your heart and...

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Complicated Simplicity

Complicated Simplicity

My boys often hear me say: “Sin always takes you farther than you want to go and keeps you longer than you want to stay.” “Yeah, we know, Mom,” says one my sons as he plays his video game. “Sin is gross. Yuck. ” “I know you know this,” I say. “But it’s true. So you’re welcome for the reminder.” “Thanks.” “Sure. You betcha. Sin spins a web of deceit; and the longer we stay, the more we become entangled. That’s why I like to talk about love more than sin. Sin makes me itch.” Without looking up, he mumbles, “You sound like you’re allergic to sin.” “Ooo, great analogy,” I say. “We’re ALL allergic to sin. Come to think of it: That’s why I absolutely love love. It’s soooo opposite sin. It’s so…. non-allergenic. It’s healing and freeing and beautifying. Best of all, love lives inside us because love is a person. What do you think of that?” “That’s nice, Mom.” “Sweetie, you know I pray for you each day, don’t you?” “Yeah, sure.” Then his finger goes wild on the button. “No, no, no. Ahhhh. He got me!” “So son, here’s the prayer I want to pray for you today. Oh, and don’t worry about closing your eyes…” “Ok, I won’t.” “Good. Here’s the prayer then: Lord, may people know the Rickers are Christians by our supernatural love. Amen.” He suddenly looks up from his game. “That’s it? Whoa. Short one.” “My point exactly,” I say. Then I sigh deep, like I caught the sunshine. “Love is simple. Sin is complicated.” His eyebrows arch up. He shrugs, smiles, and turns back to his computer to kill something. The...

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He Knows Better

He Knows Better

Ask “I LOVE when you ask me questions.” God slips this in my spirit like sweet chocolate; and for a second, I wish my husband would say this too, but oh well. He isn’t God, my first love, and I’m glad. “Asking questions shows you trust Me with answers. It keeps us close.” Father, you’re as refreshing as a glass of ice water.  You know I want to be close. “Drink deep of My wisdom. It’s your open invitation.” Lord, I love Your wisdom. May my family and I never be like Eve who saw the dangling fruit as a means to unsanctioned wisdom when she reached for it instead of reaching for You. “I forgave them and shed animal blood to clothe their nakedness. Then I shed My own blood to eternally forgive and clothe you in My righteousness.” Receive Father, please use our little conversation to bless someone today. “I love and eagerly wait for that kind of request. Fine tune your ear to Heaven. Let My thoughts be your thoughts. Let My voice kiss your shore and bubble in you like sea foam. Jump free in My open ocean. Splash wild in My waves of cleansing truth. Shed fear like sloughed off sand, and leap, leap, leap for limitless joy. Unleash your voice, because LOVE personified lives and breathes in you. My light that conquers fruitless night delights to sing rich life in...

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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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