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A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”Isaiah 42:3-4

smoldering wickOur family loves to go camping every opportunity we can. There’s something about hooking up the camper and heading into the woods to get away from it all, even if for only a couple days. On one such camping trip we stopped at the gift shop of the campgrounds we would call home for several days.

While we all love camping, my daughter enjoys it the most. She like the conveniences of a full service campground with playgrounds and pools, but she is equally enthralled with escaping to the remotest places in the world (our world anyway) to enjoy the barest of facilities.

On this particular occasion she saw a fire-starting kit complete with flint and steel. Now, mind you, I am NOT a Boy Scout. My idea of starting a fire in remote areas is making sure my Aim & Flame is fresh and ready to go! However, we bought the kit and proceeded to our campsite to start the fire that would cook our supper.

The task was quite a challenge for one novice and a young child. We tried over and over to get the flame started. A couple times we got a small piece of leaf to smolder but time and again it would die out and we’d have to start over. I confess to you that we gave up. Hunger proved more of an incentive than rustic living!

When Isaiah was writing to the nation of Israel they were a tired nation. Largely due to their own rebellion, they were suffering under enemy rule as God’s judgment of their idolatry. They were tired. They were full of hopelessness. They saw no easy solution to their problems. Many died never seeing the deliverance promised them.

Later, Matthew would quote Isaiah in his gospel. Not many things had changed for Israel. They were still a people under bondage. They were still a people in hopeless despair. They were economically depressed, politically oppressed and religiously distressed. Then Jesus came.

Isaiah’s description of the Messiah was just what the people needed in his day, during the time Jesus walked this earth and today as well.

We need a Savior who will understand the delicacy of a smoldering wick. We need a Savior that understands our fragile condition. We need a Savior that realizes that just one more puff of wind may put an end to our ability to cope.

As we feel the life ebb from our emotional souls it’s easy to look for the easy solution, to look at what I like to call the three R’s of life: Religion, Riches and Relationships. The problem is that we have learned, or are learning the hard way that none of these help. All of them may seem to fan the flame for a time, but eventually they snuff us out.

Jesus didn’t come to snuff out our flame. He didn’t come to break us into submission. This God that can calm the storm; this God that hangs the stars in their place; this God that casts out demons, is also a God of gentleness. He comes to shore us  up in our weakness, to fan the flame that has all but died out in our souls.

Regardless of what is attacking you now, realize that Jesus Christ came to gently, but firmly rekindle the flame within you. It may take time, but he has all the time in the world.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you this morning for the power you showed in the storms of Galilee; how you healed the sick, the lame and those hounded by demons. Most of all, Lord Jesus I thank you that in my weakest moments when I feel the flame of my hope about to be snuffed out, you come to me to fan the flame once again in my soul. Amen.


But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17

“One with him in Spirit”

Think for a moment what that really means. Some of us are lucky enough to have a Soul Mate. Soul Mates aren’t the same as lovers, although soul mates can be your lover as well. You know what it’s like if you have one. It’s the person who starts the sentence you were going to start. They know what’s wrong before you can tell them. Soul mates cry with you, laugh with you, know when to talk, and when you need quiet; hug you when you need a hug and give you space when you need some room.

Soul Mates validate your feelings but will never let you destroy yourself emotionally, physically or spiritually if they can help it. And if you refuse to listen and continue on your slippery slope? When you reach the bottom, very likely, your Soul Mate will be the only one there to greet you. And they will. With hugs.

Here’s the real beauty behind the idea of a Soul Mate. The best Soul Mate you will ever have is the only one who can ultimately guard your soul and that’s Jesus.

The unfortunate thing is that who Jesus is has been clouded by religion. For far too long we’ve been told that Jesus won’t love us if we do this activity or make that choice. He hates those who get divorced. He hates those with sexual orientations outside the mainstream. He hates those who put everything else in front of church, or Bible study, or Prayer, or…(everyone has their list).

One of the most troubling ones I’ve heard is one I believed myself for years. “Jesus gets disappointed with you when you sin. You hurt him by your actions, your words, your thoughts.” The truth of the matter is, there is some truth to that. Anyone who is a Soul Mate knows what it’s like when we see this person whom we love dearly make decisions we know are self-destructive. But a true Soul Mate never condemns and always seeks to build up.

That’s the Jesus that reached out to the woman at the well who’d been married five times and was ‘living in sin’ with man number six. That’s the Jesus that saved the life of the woman caught in adultery. That’s the Jesus that, on a regular basis, sought out the people society rejected. That same Jesus still seeks you out today. Why? Because that’s what Soul Mates do.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’m not worthy of our friendship. Frankly, I would never trust someone like me. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, understanding me and waiting for me to see your light. Thank you for being my Soul Mate. In your name, Amen.


You are a spring in the garden, a fountain of pure water, and a refreshing stream from Mount Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:15 (CEV)

Stagnant water.

Just reading those words conjure up the rancid odor, the slimy film, the repulsiveness of it. It could have been on a walk through the woods on a stifling summer day or while cleaning up some deserted lot full of tires and other ‘water catching’ containers.

Stagnant water breeds disease. Stagnant water squelches life. Stagnant water pushes us away. Stagnant water never satisfies. Stagnant water puts within us a desire to find fresh water.

Sometimes life can be like that stagnant pool we try to avoid. You can’t put your finger on it really, the source that is. You just feel flat. For a writer or speaker it can be those times when you stare at the computer screen or paper for what seems like hours wondering what comes next.

Stagnancy of the spirit. It’s tough. It takes away your creativity. It can make you irritable, impatient, restless. Stagnancy of the heart drives us to look for more in our relationships, more in our job contentment, more in our spiritual walk. At its worst, stagnancy of the heart can drive us to lose the will to live at all.

You rarely see condominiums built next to an ugly bog, or see people gather to take pictures in front of a swamp. On the other hand, people yearn for the freshness of a mountain stream, a shooting fountain or a waterfall plummeting over a cliff. These are signs of life, of beauty, of freshness!

In one of the greatest loves stories of all time, the ‘beloved’ is described as a spring in a garden, a fountain of purity, a refreshing stream from the loftiest mountain. As one scholar wrote, Though the fountain is lowly, the source is lofty; fed by the perpetual snows of Lebanon, refreshingly cool, fertilizing the gardens of Damascus. It springs upon earth; its source is heaven. It is now not “sealed,” but open “streams”.

It’s easy, during those ‘stagnant times’ of our walk to forget the source of our vitality. The follower of Jesus Christ need never fret those times of occasional stagnancy for we know that the freshness of our souls, the vitality of our hearts, doesn’t rest on our own abilities or on the environment we live in.

May we always be the conduit of freshness from heaven. May our hearts overflow with the fresh water of God’s Holy Spirit. May others see in us a fresh mountain stream with its source in heaven and not a stagnant pond intent on focusing on ourselves.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that there are times in my life when I allow the cares of life to cause me to be stagnant. Fill me to overflowing with the freshness of your Spirit so that I can feel revived and others can benefit from your love. Amen.


As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Genesis 15:12

It’s during those darkest times of our lives that God often reveals himself. It’s when we are too tired from striving that his strength comforts us. It’s during those times when we can’t see his hand that he reveals himself.

Imagine the scene when God revealed himself to Abram. Jehovah God had promised Abram that his descendants would be more numerous than the sand and that his seed would deliver mankind from their captivity.

God’s promise was sealed with sacrifice but not until Abram fell into a deep sleep and a thick and dreadful darkness encompassed him. It was then, at this darkest time in Abram’s life that God restated his promise.

That’s the way God tends to work. We don’t understand it. It doesn’t always seem real loving for a God who is, in essence love, but it’s the way he works and our trust in him is the foundation on which we enter into the darkness and exit in his timing.

Hundreds of years later, on a stormy Sea of Galilee, a small boat was tossed about in the darkness. The crew was trying desperately to get the boat to shore before the waves broke up the ship and sent them all to a watery grave.

In the midst of the terror, someone noticed a lone figure asleep in the bow. “Jesus!” They screamed over the howling wind, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?” It wasn’t a gentle question. It wasn’t whispered in his ear. It was a scream of terror.

How could Jesus sleep through the darkness and fierceness of the storm? It’s easy to do when you trust the one directing the wind. Complete trust in God allows us to rest in the midst of the most dreadful periods of our lives.

If you are like me, you will admit that most of the time, we lay awake at night because of worry. It could be worry based on our own poor choices. It could be worry over the effect others can have on us. It can be worry over things we know we should have done, or not done, long ago.

Abram, like Jesus, teach us something important for life. During the darkest, scariest, most dreadful times of our lives, our hearts can rest when we completely trust a God who loves us and has promised he will never leave us. EVER.

PRAYER: Father, I confess to you that I’m scared. The things I see in my world, my relationships, and my future are dark and dreadful. Through the power of your Spirit I ask that you would help me rest in you because my trust lay wholly in you for my tomorrows, regardless of my past. Amen.


I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Everyone has those times when they feel overwhelmed by the things before them. It may be a struggle with health, relationships, kids, finances or a whole boatload of other issues.

When we are under the stress of battle it affects every part of our bodies. Physically we get drained and weak. Emotionally we can get crabby, depressed or angry. We can start blaming others or ourselves. Spiritually we wrestle with doubts about God’s ability or desire to help us. We begin to lose confidence in ourselves and faith in others.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be assured that you have the power you need to conquer every obstacle, overcome every enemy and solve every issue that is before you?

As Christ-followers we have all the power of God the Father at our fingertips. Imagine that! The same power it took to raise Jesus from death, roll the stone away like a pebble, calm the storm and create the world is all at our fingertips because of Jesus!

So, why don’t you feel the power? We feel powerless when we expect God to give us power according to what we see as our needs. However God gives us power according to his wisdom and power.

Think of him as a carpenter. You want your house (this life you are living) to be remodeled. You are tired of the way things are. So you ask him to change things.  But remodeling is never easy, never neat and never without pain.

With all the power of the universe at his fingertips, God wants to make you into a masterpiece. But to do that he needs to change you, to remodel you, to take the old and make you new. Don’t worry. He’s a master at creating something from nothing. Give him permission to show his power in your life. It may be painful at times, but the results will be stunning!

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for your promise that all your power can be shown in me. I pray that you would give me the courage to give you full permission to change me into the person you want me to be. I know it will be painful and fearful at times, but I trust your creative wisdom to make me into something marvelous! In Jesus name, Amen.

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