What impresses you? A new car, a beautiful home, expensive clothes, exotic vacation destinations?
While these things may satisfy in the moment, their lasting affect is fleeting. New cars become old cars, beautiful homes begin to show wear and tear, expensive clothing will need to be replaced, a life of luxury will disenchant. Like shells on the seashore, these too will wash away with the ebb and flow of the tide of time.
Nothing lasts but lasting impressions.
My summer has been filled with lasting impressions. The imprints from God's fingertips have shaped my perspective to see Him in ways like never before through some amazing authors.
Beginning in late May, early June, I always try to clear my calendar to relax, read, and reflect. My summer reading thus far has consisted of T.I. Lowe's, Under the Magnolias, Charles Martin's, The Water Keeper, and The Letter Keeper, Dr. Voddie T. Baucham Jr.'s, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe, as well as The Daily Grace Co.'s, Be Still Magazine, Issue 18.
I've been impressed with the eye of certain Christian authors to see into the culture of today's society and to bring clarity to the chaos. Three of the books mentioned are Christian/Inspirational fiction. Each is founded on sound Truth, built around rigorous research on difficult topics, and constructed in such a way as to insert Hope into otherwise hopeless situations. Always pointing the reader to the Author of Life, Jesus Christ. That's the power of story - recognizing how His story flows through yours and mine.
When Jesus told parables, He did so to unveil a particular mystery--a mystery of the Father's love. But only those with "eyes to see and ears to hear" would be able to grasp the truth.
Oh, Father, keep my eyes focused on things above and my ears tuned to hear Your voice...
Impression #2: Faith Up
Faith has always been easy for me. I don't struggle to believe in the work God is doing to redeem people and His world. But, when people close to me struggle to see God's hand, it wrecks me. Prayer is the weapon I choose to fight with for them and their faith. Prayer strengthens our own faith when we practice it on the behalf of others. This summer I'm praying for two people in particular who I know have faith, but both seem a bit fragile at the moment.
Strengthen my faith, Father, as I seek to stand in the gap for those whose faith is fragile...
No matter how dark the world seems, the Light is always burning. The Light of the world, Jesus, shines as bright today as He ever has. The darkness may seem darker, but it's really not. Evil is on the rise, but the Son never sets. In Charles Martin's book, The Water Keeper, he opens up the world of human trafficking like no other author I've ever read. Martin exposes evil people with no conscience, demon-like people who see what they sell as just flesh, not human beings. The evil of the modern day slave market is as dark as any abyss. There appears to be no light anywhere for those trapped in the quicksand of the human trafficking industry. This summer impression has heightened my motivation to continue helping to bring awareness to the table and into the minds of Christians.
Because the fight for life is happening in a way we've never fought before, I'm impressed with how the Light is calling this dark, incomprehensible evil out on behalf of those suffering in unimaginable ways. Satan is alive and working hard to diminish the most precious of all gifts from God-LIFE. Abortion numbers are going down (PTL), but the trafficking numbers are rising. We can't turn off the light. We must continue to fight for life, rescue, and redemption with the Light of the world.
Also, Father, the evil of human trafficking is a hard one to swallow. Where do we begin? Thank You for Lighthouse For Life in SC that is battling the dark on the frontlines every single day and for others doing the same. Thank You for allowing Living Real Magazine to partner with L4L to shine the light on this extremely illusive and profitable modern-day slave trade. I pray for the evil not to overwhelm our minds, but that Your light will continue to show us ways to rescue, love, and offer hope to those who feel completely used up, alone, and left thinking they have nothing to offer this world. Shine Your light into the dark, and bring this evil to its knees...
Impression #4: Don't Eat the Pretzel
As more and more Americans take our God-given liberties for granted, we may have to lose some of it (or all of it) to appreciate it once again.
In Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe, Dr. Baucham exposes the twisted lies of Marxism presented to us as a soft pretzel with a dipping sauce mixed with evil and destruction. Though I haven't finished reading this one, it's already making a deep impression.
We're in the fight for our lives, our liberty, and our freedom to choose. Pitting groups against each other because of skin color, political views, and other hot topics, is the Marxist way. They stir up chaos so we will call in the Calvary (the government) to fix what they've intentionally destroyed.
The Church better wake up to the fact that our easy-street way of worship is quickly coming to an abrupt halt if Marxism remains on the fast track. No more public worship. (Government regulations under the guise of COVID gave us a taste of that.) Are God's people strong enough to die for their convictions? Do we have enough courage to worship in secret? Do we know the Word well enough to still preach, teach, and sing if our Bibles are confiscated? We need to think about what our world will look like if Marxism and Communism rule in America. History has given us ample warning.
To be prepared, not only for what could come, but also for the One who is coming again, we must:
- Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
- Make disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20)
- Study God's Word to know and love Him more. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Love one another as Jesus loves us. (John 13:4)
- Love God with a whole heart. (Luke 10:27)