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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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...

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Unity

Unity

Unity is as important to God as ever, but often a downer when we stare at the church’s apparent lack of it. Even the word “unity” strikes a barrage of thoughts and questions. What does it mean? What does God want? After all, He made us all different, right? Let’s cut to the chase. He wants us all to seek His face. The more we spend time with Him, the more we become like Him. The more we become like Him, the more we become unified in our hearts. Dwight and I have matching wedding rings to signify this. The diamond at the top represents God. Each of us in two diamonds below makes a triangle when connected with the ruby between us, the blood of Jesus that holds us together. The closer we draw to God, the closer we are to each other in the triangle, and the closer we are to Christ. Our hunger for God will determine our maturity in God. Growing up is optional. We don’t have to do it. Eating spiritual meat that leads to maturity is optional, too. But the more we do, pursuing God collectively, the more we’ll be unified as His church. Thing is, maturity brings us to a place of unity rooted in love. And love is what holds us together in the bond of peace. As we move collectively on our separate growth journeys, God’s paths to perfection, let’s be unified in the bond of love that holds us together in perfect peace. Papa God, thank you for your Bride, the church. May we bless her and not curse her. May we daily pray for her maturity and unity, starting with our own. Until that great day when we see you face-to-face, our dear lover and Bridegroom Eternal, may we love You and all the rest of us, your church, wholly, exactly, beautifully the way you called us to. Wholeheartedly love her, daily fanning the flames of love. Becoming a warm inviting fire to a waiting watching ever-hungry, ever-filling world....

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5 Heart-Softening Words

5 Heart-Softening Words

Little Josiah, from my recent book, Josiah’s Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice, inspires thousands with his great wisdom. I especially love one of the things Josiah shared with his mom, my coauthor, Tahni: “If you love the child you have, you’ll have the child you love.” The more I considered it, the more I realized this same truth truth could also apply to marriage. If you love the spouse you have, you’ll have the spouse you love. Dwight and I recently had an opportunity to give marriage counseling to a guy on the phone who was at the end of his rope. It still amazes me that God would lead us to help others at a time when we were enduring the most difficult test of our married life. In September I was diagnosed with spasmodic torticollis (cervical dystonia), which is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. Well, that and the fact I was finishing Josiah’s Fire and a devotional called The Good Gift Giver (which will be offered across the globe when Tahni speaks on Sid Roth’s March broadcast of It’s Supernatural.) Dwight and I talked with the hurting man late into the night. After we talked about how years ago God brought resurrection life into our own suffocating marriage, we told him a story we heard somewhere along the way: Matt thought his marriage was over until someone presented him with a simple idea that might help. “Every day I want you to ask Tina, ‘how can I serve you?’” Feeling like he had nothing to lose, Matt decided to give it a try. When he asked his wife the question, it took a minute for her to get over the shock. Finally she piped up, “Ok… how about doing the laundry?” He did it without complaint, and the next morning when he asked his still-surprised wife the same question, she answered, “how about clean the garage?” It took him two hours but he did it. This went on for several days with him asking, her answering, and him lovingly stepping up to the plate in a way he’d never done in the past. Finally she couldn’t take it anymore; and the next time Matt asked his new favorite question, she shook her head. “No, no, it’s my turn. How can I serve you?” Change had already begun. What had started as words on his lips...

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Swing Wide

Swing Wide

We look for God to open doors for us, and so we should, but let’s not forget how God wants us to open each door of our heart to Him! What door does He want you to swing open today? Listen and discern the knocks. Open wider and wider to His Kingdom ways. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Psalm 24: 7, 8 King of glory, thank you for being strong and mighty in our lives. We swing wide the door of our heart to You, each room. We give you all the slamming arrows of cares and concerns for our health, safety, and family. We give you our hopes and dreams and ask that You make them all about You and Your perfect Kingdom-expanding plan in our lives. Make us conscious of our Your constant presence in our temples that we might be aware of Your connectedness to our thoughts and how everything is laid bare before You. We give you complete control. Step in. Right now. Take over. We give you 2016 and make YOU our New Year...

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