Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mercy Comes Down

Two weeks early.

And I sit at my desk a few feet away from french doors thrown open. Just screens between me and the elements.

I watch rain fall--
breathe freshness.

The eagerness of the ground to receive is beautiful.
This ground is ready for rain. Has been for a long time.

My little camera rests in one fist.

My soul leaps longing at the rolling of thunder.

My mind turns to other ground likewise desperately in need...

And I wonder: Is my heart as eager?
Is my life ready for rain?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just fight.

A dark day.

Numbness. Chill. Fatigue.

One thing keeps a soldier going- Remembering Who he's fighting for.

At His midnight He clung to the same thing- except,
it was us He was fighting for.

It is enough. Darkness, pain, fear, loss... It is enough.

Besides, darkness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Simple Reminder.

The occasional gust swung me gently as I lay in the hammock. I drew my hoodie tight around my face as the sun dipped behind the mountain in the west, giving rise to cooler temperatures. My trusty pocket bible was retrieved from my pocket and I flipped back to the verse that had caught my attention that morning.

In Matthew 10, disciples are given their commission. After being told where to go, the next command is this- “as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

I thought, “I go... I preach... but what exactly is the kingdom? Some deeply intricate exegesis of (undiscovered) truth?”

My mind spun as my want-to-be heroic blood surged through my pressurized veins. I imagined myself spelunking into unlit crevasses of truth with a torch heretofore un-wielded by mortal man. Here I would discover the “secret” of the kingdom’s substance that would change the world in the preaching.

A few verses later (Chapter 13), God used parallelism to bring me back to my senses. He continues, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto...”- I sat up straight- a farmer of wheat; a mustard seed; leaven; treasure hidden; one pearl; a net.

Oh, right.

In “over grandeurizing” the means, I had lost the depth of the simplicity of the kingdom.

Familiar stories- deep lessons.

Re-enthused, I slid out of the net that had been suspending me, and grabbed my “bakers bag”, “shovel”, “seed kit”, “fishing equipment”, and a few “simple stones”... ready.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matt. 11:15

I encourage you. Go again and visit the parables.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thank You

The phrase “quenched the violence of fire”* has new meaning.

Oh, it’s still burning. It will keep burning into July, more than likely. But prayers have calmed the winds. And the calm has starved the fury of the fire...

The active remains of the largest fire in Arizona’s history are walled in by the freshly charred footprints of thousands of acres of back burns. (All of the action on this side of the state line falls into that category, despite what CNN says.)

Father’s daily conference calls with the State Emergency Operations Command team, the Sheriff’s office, State Police, and Forest Service get more and more optimistic by the day. As long as the wind holds, (and we believe it will) all will be well. 

Our eyes still burn from the smoke in the afternoons. 
And our hearts still burn for the owners of the 32 homes that are gone...
But we rejoice over the 2,600+ others that have been spared.

We rejoice over life.

And we rejoice in the strength that has been added to our faith by watching your prayers stop this unstoppable monster half a mile from our county line.
God is good.

So from our hearts, and on behalf of 10,000 other people, most of whom should soon be able to go back home--

Thank You.

A thousand times, Thank You.

*Hebrews 11:34
Photo 1: Associated Press
Photo 2: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Praying and Praising

The latest news from Sweetwater is that the Wallow fire is still not in NM. There has been some back burning on our side of the state line in an effort to keep it from coming over. We believe that angels have been fighting the fire along side the fire fighters at the border. It is being contained bit by bit (6% as of this morning). Rumors abound, but this is the latest update from those who know the real facts. :)

A glorious blue sky is overhead. The wind is blowing strong, but sending the smoke just north of us. We are thankful for the reprieve as we were beginning to suffer from the effects of days of smoke.

They say it will be burning until the monsoon rains come. Early July at best. But we have much to be thankful for, and we are.

Thanks for your prayers!

"Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord..." Psalm 25:15

Friday, June 10, 2011

Still Thanking. Still Praying...

Even while the Forest Service, Army National Guard, and local folk in uniform set up a temporary city on the fairgrounds in Reserve, "our souls wait upon the Lord..."

And we give thanks.

The winds have been calmer the last two days, allowing firefighters to dig in their heels for the first time since the fire started. (And allowing us to breathe here at home.) Still, it roars completely unrestrained on 95% of the fire line, but something is holding it at the border. (Someone?)

Our radio chatters incessantly. And when the phone rings these days there's no telling whether it will be the next door neighbor, or the commander from the Army National Guard.

The winds are due to slam us again tomorrow...

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: 
Great is Thy faithfulness."

Photo: Linda Aragon. Taken just outside of Reserve, NM. 
 fire info.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An update for our praying friends

Thanks to all of you who have been keeping those in our part of the country in your prayers. The fire continues unabated as low humidity and wind drive the flames. Excitement runs high as the National Guard, Homeland Security, and firefighters from all over the country descend upon our little communities. Father was asked to be on the emergency operations committee that meets every morning and the latest news is that the fire will most likely cross the NM border in three places... today. Closer to home than ever.

We are praying, and trusting... He knows best. We appreciate your prayers!

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. (Psalms 91:2)

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Fire...

We are back in the months of New Mexico and Arizona's fire season.

It is the time of year when, due to the dryness, heat (late spring/early summer is our hottest time here), low humidity, and high winds, wildfires are easily started, quick to get out of control, and hard to extinguish.

A few days ago when I glanced outside, this is the sight that greeted my eyes.

It's been this way for days now. Dense smoke blows in mid morning from the Wallow fire in Arizona. It usually remains all day, getting thicker as the day wears on. Generally it blows out during the night when the winds reverse.

I grabbed the camera to take photos. Although we usually do have about two months a year when the smell of wildfire smoke is lightly tainting the air, we've only had smoke this thick maybe 3 times in our 12 years living in New Mexico.

I took these pictures late last week. Since then the fire has made progress and the smoke has gotten thicker. Today at 4 PM it was as dark as it usually is at 8:30 PM. I stepped outside for a moment to discover ash raining down all around me.

As I sauntered around the property taking pictures, a thought struck me.

These days it has become a popular concept in the Christian world to be "on fire for God". We perhaps attend a conference, or read a book, and we are all excited. We think we are on fire.
Then we go home, or set the book down for a while, and our excitement wanes. Our old habits demonstrate themselves again. We slip back into comfortable mediocre Christianity. And the world goes on unchanged and unaware of us Christians.

Fire season here in New Mexico and Arizona has taught me one thing very definitely: If we are truly on fire for God, the whole world around will know. They won't be able to help it.

Fire season ends when monsoon rains start mid summer. Temperatures come down, humidity goes up, winds stop, and the earth is watered, bringing fire danger back down. Although we don't like fire season very much around here, it is useful. When the fire goes through, it takes away the underbrush, and can enrich the soil. When monsoon season comes and rain waters the earth, new life springs up, unencumbered by the underbrush of yesteryear. For instance, the banner photo of our website was taken where a fire went through several years ago.

Hebrews says that "...our God is a consuming fire." When He comes in, and lights the dead underbrush of our lives aflame with Himself, a dramatic change takes place. Our flesh often doesn't like the results during the process; we see our selfish treasures burning up. But then after the rain of His Spirit comes down, new life springs up. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.

What we so desperately need is to get on our knees and beg for God to come and set us on fire and consume us with Himself. "Make (us) Thy fuel, flame of God." - Amy Charmichael

When He does, the whole world will know.

P.S. No, the Nebblett's property (a.k.a. Sweetwater) is not currently in imminent danger of burning up. But please keep in your prayers the 2000+ people who have and are having to evacuate their homes for the safety of their lives, and the 2,500 (and counting) firefighters currently fighting the terrible Wallow fire. As of this morning, it had burned about 365 sq. miles, and under current conditions it will take nothing short of a miracle of grace to put it out.
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