The Hunger Games, Catching Fire..

The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede (Intervene)” Isaiah 59:15-16
     I am reading the Hunger Games.. I am now on book II, Catching Fire. I am Anxious. My Stomach turns. I cry… Why? What is this about? What is the emotion that keeps rising in me as I read? It is my hope that as I type this I will find expression for it. Meaning. A release.  And just maybe a tone will sound in your spirit, and resonate in your soul, reverberating in your emotions to be MOVED with COMPASSION.
For those who are not familiar with the story let me digress. For in the Hunger Games the Capital City rules the other districts with an Iron Fist. And in doing so, they have a game once a year were 2 people from every district is selected to live in a Bio-type dome to resemble any environment they make up. In this environment they must fight to the death. The fight is not quick. Some are able to get weapons. Some are able to make traps. Others are lucky to hide. To survive takes stealth, strength, and cunningness.
In the first book, Katniss, a young girl from District 12, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place, knowing that she had no chance to win. In taking her place, Katniss is accepting the Death sentence so that her sister may live. Katniss has become the sacrificial lamb. She has intervened. Become an Intercessor. (Oh, who will intercede for the youth today?)
As the games go on, Katniss partners with a small little girl from District 11, Rue, and in a short time a friendship and bond is formed.. This friendship is short-lived when Rue is caught in a net by another competitor and starts screaming for help. Katniss is trying to get to her, but just as she arrives Rue is killed.  Emotions flood over her.. Sorrow, the loss of a friend. Despair, that death is so final. Anger for being forced into this world, this game, by the Capitol.  Resentment, for the Capitol’s demonic actions that force them to kill one another. Katniss is wanting to lash out. To rebel against all that the Capitol stands for; to the point of even willing to die to prove her point. Someone has to do something. It’s not about just her. Her district. Her Family. Her Friends. This is about righteousness. This is about correcting a grave injustice..(Who will intercede for this generation?)

   “The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intercede (Intervene)”

      My heart breaks.. My stomach churns. I am Anxious. I cry. It’s not just the book that moves me. It is the Truth that it unknowingly speaking to my spirit.. Resonating in my soul, reverberating in my emotions.. I can not be silent.  Our youth are killing themselves. Unknowingly they have been selected by a different Capitol, this world.. Whose mayor and chief is Satan. To play a game that will only lead to them killing each other or themselves. This game is a matter of life and death, and unless someone steps in to their world, this dome, and intervene, we will see more lives destroyed.  (The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I come that you might have Life and have it More Abundantly. John 10:10)
In Life, Like in the book,  some of the contestants embrace their role and lash out. Some run and hide, trying not to be found. Others make friends trying to form alliances, only to watch those they have trusted either betray them, or die.. This is not a story, this is life for the average teen. And like the Lord, I see it. I walk among them. I hear their cries. Their screams send chills down my spine. I feel their pain, it crushes me. I taste the salt in the tears they cry. And I too am appalled that there are so few who intercede.
Like Katniss, we need to enter into this fight on behalf of those who are weak. We need to bare the burdens for those who can’t.  We need to not just defend them, but we need to lash back at the one who is stealing their hearts and controlling their lives.
In book II, Katniss meets Rue’s family. She stands before them at first not wanting to face them for the shame of being alive, while Rue isn’t. But, she soon realizes she has to say something. She has to Speak out.. She cannot just hide, neither can she lie to herself, or ignore those whose lives are affected. (Unlike us! We do it daily.) So she speaks for those that don’t have a place to be heard. (And so must we!)
We grab our coffees, we eat our food, and we spend our spare time in all kinds of leisure, not thinking twice of the lives that have been shattered. The Kids, feeling abandoned, walking around wounded and broken. They are cutting themselves in the name of Vengence on this Game they are in. They are starving themselves in the name of survival of fitting in. In defiance, they wearing the clothes to protest all they think holds them captive and enslaved to this death-match.  Some hide, hoping to sink into the background so as to last a little longer. Alliances are formed, usually for the worst. Self-destruction seems the only option.
When this match claims a life.. When a child falls victim to the games Satan plays, what will we say to the family members that gather? How will we be able to honor the life that was maimed, lost, or destroyed?
Unless we intervene, take dramatic steps against the opposition, the game will go unaltered.  I cannot sit back and watch. I can no longer take a passive approach ignoring the hurting, the lonely, nor the sick, or lost.  I must Intervene. To intercede.  “To become all things to all people that I might save some.”

In Love’s Service, Only Wounded Soldiers Can Serve

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Co 12: 9).

    We live in a world of Strength. Fast cars. Bigger Trucks. Smarter Phones. Fast Food. Quicker processors. So, When something starts slowing down, begins to break, or just gets old, we throw it away. It’s quicker and easier than maintaining or fixing. So it is with our lives. Our Souls. We want to be the fastest. Biggest. The smartest. The Strongest. The Prettiest. Most liked. If we fail in just one category we could be tossed aside. Forgotten. Trampled on. Exchanged for a newer model. (Best Friend, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, husband or wife.) So, we cannot, nor will we, allow ourselves to appear in any manor that may reflect any kind of in-superiority or weakness. But, In doing so we walk a crowded road, filled with hurting people, pretending to be better than they are.  “They have exchanged the truth for a Lie.”  The Lie! Confessing all is well; never experiencing any genuine Love, Peace, Kindness, Gentleness, nor Forgiveness.
We become tired. The road is hard. We start to break down. We become weary. Broken on the Wheels of living, we falter. Stagger.. Inside we become hopeless. Helpless…Wishing to cast ourselves away; Because we have thrown away grace and refused mercy, to make room for the “pride of life.” “The boasting of what one has and or one does.”
     We cover up our brokenness by masking over with the cosmetics of lies. The base cover-up, our self-sufficiency. “I’m Good!  How are you?”  We apply the blush, “I’m Fine,” to hide the wrinkles of hurts and struggles. The various shades of color are used to wipe away the dark circles that reveal a broken spirit. A Lost Soul…
Our whole life, we are told, “Be Strong.”  “Toughen up.” “Pull yourself up.” “Act like you have it together, even when you don’t.” “Don’t show weakness.” “Only the Strong Survive.” “Survival of the Fittest.”…And Heaven just Weeps.. God’s hands stay stretched out.  Jesus’ blood, poured out. All, Counted as un-needed. The prophet cries out, “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” only  “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’” (Obadiah 1:3)  “In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.”  (Ezekiel 28:2)
      We have feasted at the table of lies, feed to us by the father of lies. In trying to fulfill us, we choke down every lie we can.. Soon the food we are eating at this table will rot. The lies won’t hold back the tears. The heart will fall into utter despair, longing for true mending. The soul, crushed. Hope, shattered. We are broken on the wheels of Living. We are broken vessels. We live shattered lives. The cure is not our ability to be strong, but to allow the Great Healer to be that which He is. “I am the God that Heals Thee.” (Exodus 15:26)   But “A thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  (Yet Jesus says) I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10)
The lies we believe keep us trapped by the thief who is stealing our peace. Killing ours, and our children’s, hope… Destroying our lives… All in the name of “Being Strong.”  Self-Sufficient!  Independent…When the whole time Jesus is calling out, “Come unto me all who are Weary and Heavy Burdened, and I will give you Rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”.. “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost.
      It is the broken, poor in spirit, that God is looking for. “I did not come to call the Righteous.”  The Pious. The Pretenders, who think their strength is enough. I came to call the Poor in Spirit. The Broken Hearted.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
     Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
     Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
     Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:3-6)

It is in our brokenness we will find healing. It is in the utter truth of our sinfulness that we will experience true forgiveness. It will be those that are broken on the wheels of living that will bring restoration to others.
A scene from Thorton Wilder play, “The Angel that Troubled the Waters”, a play is based on the biblical verses of John 5:1-4. The play tells of a physician who comes periodically to the pool of Bethesda, hoping to be the first in the water and healed of his melancholy when the angel appears and troubles the water. For the first to get in the water will healed of their infirmities.
The angel appears. The waters are stirred, but the physician at the moment he is about to step into the pool, is blocked by the Angel. After several attempts he cries out. The Angel Responds:Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very sadness that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s Service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back.”
Maybe why Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament wasn’t because he was such a powerful guy or a great speaker, but maybe because he was allowed to suffer greatly. Being broken on the road to Damascus, he falls to the ground, blinded by the Light, only later to regain his sight to the “things he must suffer for my name sake.”  This was his calling… Paul did not cover up his weakness, but Boasted in them till his dying day. Broken. Bruised. Struck Down. Weary. Burdened. He states:  “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
       I am broken on the Wheels of Living, and that’s ok.  In Love’s Service only wounded soldiers can serve.

Can you Bear Them?

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
     Some questions are coming to my mind.. How many things have we heard and could not bear? How many times has God spoken to us and we have turned a Deaf ear? Or even better yet, How many times has God Wanted to speak to us but couldn’t?  Could it be that our Heavenly Father is so wanting to talk with us? That He longs to share His Heart with us?
Isn’t this the whole concept of Christianity? Of Jesus providing a way to the Father? That we might be one with Him?  “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone will open up I will come in and dine with him and he with me.” “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him..”  And yet, as with the Disciples who have been with him for 3 years, do we really know Him?  Are we hearing what is on His heart? Jesus says, “I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.”
      Jesus, wanting to share all with them; wanting to impart everything He has to them. Wishing just maybe, they could understand all that is about to take place. The weight of it all must have made His steps heavy. His body Weary.. Not just the weight of the coming suffering, but the feeling of not being understood, bearing down on his Soul. His Heart, broken.. But dying to mend all others. Burdened now, not with the weight of Sin, but with misunderstanding. Lonely, yet surrounded by followers. Hungry, but not for food, for true fellowship.  Maybe this is why He stopped by Bethany, the town of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha on His way to Jerusalem. It wasn’t just for a great meal. But maybe, for a place to lay His head. Or, Maybe for some affection. Some Understanding. Someone just to listen to Him.  (Women often seem to know how to listen to what the soul needs.) Lazarus has had experience with death, burial and resurrection.
Crowds come. People gather. Pharisees inquire. Jesus instructs. It is here that Mary, with her tears, washes the Christ’s feet. She uses her hair to dry them. (For it is the Hair of the woman that is her glory.) So, with the most precious thing she has, she uses it on the dirtiest part of her Lord. Then, taking costly perfume, she anoints His head and feet. Not from some Script, or because someone suggested it. Not on Jesus’ cue, but out of the overflow of her heart. She is hearing something no one else is. She is understanding what others aren’t.  Her Spirit is set ablaze. Mary Responds. Others watch. She cries, Disciples become indignant. She dries his feet with her glory. The Religious are puzzled. A Jar is broken. Jesus is anointed. Judas condemns. Disciples Question. Pharisees lash out. Mary is given recognition. Honor. Jesus is burdened.
How do you relate to this story? Are you able to hear what is near to God’s heart? Are you Serving? Are you judging what others are doing that seems absurd? Or, are you on your knees in front of the Christ? Weeping? Crying? Washing? Anointing? Listening?
It is only by The Holy Spirit that we will be able to Hear what Christ is saying. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we will understand what is near and dear to our Lord’s heart. “Flesh and Blood did not reveal this to you.” This is why before Jesus left them He said, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in youJohn 14: 16 & 17 

And in John 16: 12-15  12 I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
We cannot understand, nor do, anything apart from the Spirit of God.  For “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” “For apart from Me you can do nothing.”  This is why Paul prays, “I keep praying that God may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation..18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope..the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and the immeasurable greatness of power for us who believe.”
See, we cannot see. In hearing, We cannot hear.  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. –  1 Corinthians 2:9-12

How we need a Revelation of this Spirit.. When we do, our actions will be different. Our ways absurd. People will question. The religious, indignant. The Cost ignored. Our Dignity cast aside. We become fools for Christ’s sake. Hearing what others can’t. Responding when others don’t.  Loving. Sharing. Caring. Emptying ourselves.

For God has “Much More to say to you.”

People Notice a Fire

“The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush, and he looked and behold the bush was burning with Fire yet was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this Marvelous sight.’” Exodus 3:2-3

There is something about Fire that captivates children and adults alike. It’s magical! How the flame jumps up licking the air above, Stretching toward some unseen force. How the crackle of the wood, singing out what it cannot hold on to, sends forth sparks out like shooting stars.  We are drawn.  Like a moth to a flame, we are beckoned. We gaze at the colors, bright and mysterious.  We are held captive by the Glow.  People notice a fire.
There is within me a Fire, a Passion. One I did not search for nor ask. Never the less, One that was planted deep within me.  As Jeremiah said, “The Word of the Lord came to me.”…   “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
      And when it came, it came with Power, as with Moses. I stand captivated and drawn, as if by a burning bush.  Moses stands intrigued. I stand in Awe.. Surround by the glow and array of colors, the fact that the bush did not burn up demanded attention. Moses approached. God spoke. His life forever changed. No More Sheep. You will now lead people. No Excuses. “For I am with you.” No Fear! “Thy Rod and Staff they comfort you.”
Questions arise.. What if they won’t believe that you sent me? Who do I tell them sent me?  God answers them all. In One phrase, The “I AM that I AM” comes.  We realize we can’t. We know our weakness. “Can a man take fire to his chest and not be burned?”  “We have this Treasure in Earthen Vessels that the surpassing Greatness might be of God.” It is from the Fire, God Speaks. From a burning bush Moses is set on a Mission. He is Sent… And so am I.. Not with words only, but with Demonstration of the Spirit.

When God speaks a fire burns.. Ashes fall. Our lives, never the same. Chard memories of what once was, linger in our minds. Soot covers what we once held dear. Smoke rises up burning our eyes. Tears fall. At first for Joy of being saved. Soon are given to the pain of Loss!
The fire comes not to kill, Steal, or Destroy, but that it may bring Light. To melt away all that is unnecessary. A Purging. Refining. “When you walk through the Fire you will not be burned.” Isaiah 43:2
Warmth floods our souls. The dead, callous, cold heart is given flesh. It is brought to life. The fire awakens us. The color captivates. God Speaks. We are changed. I am Changed. I now carry this Fire. I bare the marks of  flames. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”
      John the Baptist foretold, “after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”  This fire must come. We cannot experience Christ with out it. Jesus tells the disciples, “You will be endued with power, once the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” And this power will be like a Fire. “Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.”   Then we echo the prophets heart,  “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
     This fire is alive. Living.  Breathing. Drawing strength as it Leaps reaching toward heaven. It only grows with the Wind, Holy Spirit, blowing across it’s coals. Fed with the things of Heaven. Burning up the things of earth. It is not made to be contained, but given. Its power is for others. It’s beauty, to draw those who are in darkness.
Pentecost teaches us anything it is this.  We are made to burn with the Fire of the Holy Spirit. And when we do, we will be His Witnesses. For we will not be able to hold it in any longer. We will be come weary of trying.
There is something magical about a fire. We are drawn.  Like a moth to a flame, we are beckoned. We gaze at the colors, bright and mysterious.  We are held captive by the Glow.  People notice a fire.

It Only Takes a Spark

Verse 1It only takes a spark, to get a fire going. 
And soon all those around, can warm up it it’s glowing. 

Chorus: 
That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it, it’s fresh like spring, you want to sing, you want to pass it on. 

Verse 3 
I wish for you my friend 
this happiness that I’ve found 
You can depend on him 
It matters not where your bound. 

Last chorus:I’ll shout it from the mountain tops 
I want the world to know 
The Lord of Life has come to me 
I want to pass it on.