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A Memorial Day Tribute to Calvin Miller

A Memorial Day Tribute to Calvin Miller

Writers have mentors they look up to and one of mine is author Calvin Miller. I met him once. He sat across from me at a table for six at a writers conference. He was one of many presenters and guests that day. I was delightfully surprised to see an open place at his table during our lunch break. Conference attendees were encouraged to choose and join a featured guest, agent, editor, or speaker at their assigned table with the promise of engaging with him or her one-on-one. It was a chance to get advice, pitch your book idea, or make a connection with someone in the Christian publishing industry. I didn’t care to sit with an agent or an acquisitions editor, nor anyone else, not when Calvin Miller was in the room! Holy Moly!

He was such a humble soul, Calvin Miller. A deep thinker. A man who understood God’s “Story” and was a gifted artist at revealing God, especially the heart and mind of God, to others.

I wish I could tell you what we talked about. Our eyes locked while we discussed whatever it was and that was enough for me. I knew God had given me the favor.

Here’s a sample of the beauty and depth of man who really knew God. This is an excerpt from A Requiem for Love, from The Singer Trilogy. (Here’s a link to this book from our book store.)

The setting is just outside the gates of the Garden of Eden. We’re in the middle of a scene with the Creator, whose name is Father-Spirit, and Slithe, the serpent.

“Welcome to your your Garden, Eminence,”

The rising reptile hissed.

Earthmaker turned,

“Slithe, once-loved, once crowned

Can this be you,

Self-damned, condemned to sand?”

 

Slithe laughed.

“Lock me from the green, it is only for a while.

Full well you know I will be in.”

 

“Once the entire universe was yours.

You chose these desert chains.”

 

“I chose a throne and got the chains,”

The serpent spewed his bitter grudge.

 

The Father-Spirit turned toward the gates

As they swung slowly open.

His old accuser blinked into the distant splendor.

“Will You succeed this time

In fashioning a lover?

Who will remain a lover?

Or, is Your new creation

Destined to betray You?

Why are You forever

Planting hope in high-walled gardens?”

 

The Father-Spirit looked away.

“Terra holds this Sanctuary as a dream

Where love abused by treachery

May mold a masterpiece of hope.

Today I crown all I have ever made

And honor Terra’s clay by stamping it Imago Mei,

A man, a prince–Regis, friend of spirit.

He shall wear the crown of love you cast aside.

But you will never see his coronation,

For only perfect love shall pass these gates.”

 

This, and the rest of their conversation, unveils more truth and depth of God’s Word, God’s heart, God’s purposes, in a short poetic story than if you were to study theology and philosophy all your life. Do your heart a favor, follow the link below and read the letter Calvin Miller wrote to you, as a member of the Church, before he passed on to heaven. This is an important reminder to all of us to focus on what is vital in life.

Calvin Miller’s Letter to the Church

 

I invite you to visit and subscribe to Burning Hearts for God  where you can visit the book store for more information about Calvin Miller’s book!

 

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Trust in God’s Goodness is true Faith

Trust in God’s Goodness is true Faith

What causes God’s heart deep joy? I think it is when we trust completely in His goodness towards us. He delights so much in each one of His beloveds. And, just as we can delight in people we love, there are certain qualities about us, or instances in our lives, that quicken God’s heart to fill with deep love and affection. I believe this happens to God when He sees us living in faith and hope, knowing He is good. And, because God’s Spirit is within us, we can even “feel” His love and affection–His joy. This was my experience today in my quiet time with Him.

Today, I will be packing up my belongings and loading my car after an eight-month-stay in Minnesota. I am returning to my home in Charlotte and, coincidentally, my mother is moving into a beautiful  independent-living apartment in a senior care center. The timing of the center’s opening for her move is nothing short of miraculous. Just when I realized I needed to return home, God works things out for her there. She was my original reason for moving to Minnesota for an indefinite time. God’s timing is perfect. His favors are too.

God will meet all my mother’s needs, and He’ll lovingly provide me with all I need after I return, including a new job and the ability to continue growing the Burning Hearts for God ministry and finish writing my new book. I trust Him.

Today I wrote in my prayer journal the following words: “All is good, Lord. I trust You for all my needs and desires. You are good to me. Always. I love you.”

Then I opened to this devotional; the one for today’s reading fit my circumstances so perfectly. This happens often. How God orchestrates these perfectly timed things is proof of His loving presence. No wonder we can have so much faith in Him–He proves Himself over and over to us.

Here’s a few excerpts from my devotional today and the link to the book in case you are interested in reading more.

 

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“The One Year Experiencing God’s Presence Devotional: 365 Daily Encounters to Bring You Closer to Him” by Chris Tiegreen and wanted to share this quote with you.

“. . . Hope believes the best about God—-that He doesn’t just put us through trials but that He plans pleasures and joys for us too. He uses the difficulties in our lives, to be sure, but He doesn’t sadistically arrange them. He desires to bless. That’s His nature. When we hope in Him, we are acknowledging who He is. Rejoice in God and mistrust any expectations that His promises will be broken, His plans will be thwarted, or His goodness will be veiled in our lives. Hope hears His heartbeat accurately and ignores any lies about His character. It’s a concrete expectation of good-—not wishful thinking, not optimism, but a firm knowledge of God’s favor. And hope in Him, according to the Word, will not disappoint us. A life rooted in expectation of His goodness will always eventually be satisfied.

Prayer: “Lord, I place my hope in You. I trust that You are working on my behalf, no matter how difficult my circumstances become. Please fill me with hope—the kind that comes from Your Spirit and cannot disappoint. And help me live in that hope today.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/gWdIbVu

 

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What Makes a Saint?

What Makes a Saint?

Saints have seen the burning heart of the universe at Calvary. That’s where love first fills their hearts.

Do you agree that God transforms His own beloveds into saints? Theologians call this sanctification. I think most people would agree that saints have hearts on fire for God. Being in love with God is being a saint. Sanctification without being in love with our beautiful Savior looks like duty, drudgery, deadness, diligent dedication; it’s a desperately burdensome existence. Jesus invites us into the duty of delight, pure and simple.

Our everyday vernacular uses the word “saint” in a lighthearted way to point out a person who has exceptional patience or some other virtue. We’d do well to know what God says about saints. In the Bible, the term “saint” is used thirty-six times in the Old Testament and sixty-two times in the New Testament—and thirteen of those sixty-two times appear in the book of Revelation. Apostle Paul wrote this about saints:

“. . . I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27 NKJV).

 

What was hidden from those in past ages, Jesus revealed to us in ours.  To saints, heaven isn’t so much a destination or even the hope of a better life somewhere else. Heaven is seeing Jesus. To saints, God’s words “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) echoes in their hearts and in their everyday lives.

Saints see God with singleness of heart.  They have “dove’s eyes” for Him. Just as doves mate for life and see with singleness of vision, so a saint desires God and loves Him entirely. Christ feels this way about His beloved, too. Jesus gave His beautiful “Beatitude blessing” to those who long to see Him. They are the “pure in heart” because they yearn to see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Seeing God is their great reward. It’s not only their hope of seeing Him in the afterlife—a saint sees God in the now.

(This is an excerpt from The Art of Loving God, a new book in the making which I’m thoroughly enjoying with God.  I invite you to visit www.burningheartsforGod.com  and you’ll see much more on this topic of loving God. Be sure to subscribe there too. May you experience God’s love deeply during this holy season.)

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Beauty Cheers the Heart

Beauty Cheers the Heart

Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

White scenes of winter soothe me because I grew up in Minnesota and enjoyed a wonderful childhood full of love, play, and no worries. These days, I grieve for children who do not have the benefit of a fearless childhood.

I wept watching the news of the school shooting in Florida. So, so tragic! More loss of innocent lives, so full of promise.  And when ordinary people become heroes and pay the ultimate price . . . we feel sympathy for their families and friends.  We see the funerals on the news. I pray for those who mourn everyone lost and injured. And what about the survivors? They’ll never be the same . . but for God’s grace and help.

Below is a photograph of a scene in Kuhmo, Finland. It lifted me into God’s arms because its beauty cheered my heart. I hope it does the same for you. Scroll down . . . This is a real place.

Even though the horrors of evil abound, the beauty, majesty, and reality of God is greater. One day all will be restored and there will be no more evil. Jesus promised. We will live in a restored, new world where Beauty and Goodness is all we will know.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Proverbs 21:4.

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