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Turn Up the Heat!

by Peggy Fry

During the hot days of summer that many of us have had this year — even in the Northwest we do have some — we’ve sometimes wished that we could turn the temperature down. (Fortunately for us, we can adjust the thermostat and at least cool down the inside of the house.)

But as believers we actually need to make sure to do just the opposite in terms of our spiritual lives….and, instead, turn our inner thermostat up — as far as our HOPE, our PRAISE, and our PRAYER!

Hope is the reliance we place on God’s work, blessing and provision, and the expectation of future good going forward when we are constantly pressed to delay. We depend on the assurance that He is perfectly faithful to attend to every need and care of our lives. Our hope, as Hebrews 6 describes it, is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” As the treasured hymn declares, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness / I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name / On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Praise is the ascription of honor and glory that we give to God, based on the flawlessness of His character and His ways. The confession of who He is and what He does should always be found on our lips, as the Psalmist reminds us: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). And as the familiar old chorus puts it, “Praise the name of Jesus / Praise the name of Jesus / He’s my rock, He’s my fortress / He’s my deliverer, in Him will I trust...”

And, of course, prayer is our vital communication and conversation with God. It is through this incredible blessing and privilege that we truly come to know the heart of our Heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit in the deepest and most intimate way. Jesus’ invitation to the lukewarm church at Laodicea says it all: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). And the faith that only He can provide allows us to approach Him with confidence, as the classic song underscores: “Prayer is the key to Heaven / But faith unlocks the door…”

Now is the time, more than ever, to make sure we are looking in the right places and with the right mindset:

• Look up to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith

• Look around your world to lift His name on high

• Look down on your circumstances from God’s point of view and know that

you are more than a conqueror!

How we look at things truly makes all of the difference.

There is a fable about the way the bird got its wings at the beginning. As the story goes, birds were first made without wings. Then God made the wings and put them down before the wingless birds and said to them, “Come, take up these burdens and bear them.” The birds had lovely plumage and sweet voices with which to sing, and their feathers gleamed in the sunlight, but they could not soar in the air. They hesitated at first when bidden to take up the burdens that lay at their feet, but soon they obeyed and, taking up the wings in their beaks, laid them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a while, the load seemed heavy and hard to bear, but presently, as they went on carrying their burdens, folding them over their hearts, the wings grew fast to their little bodies; and soon they discovered how to use them, and were lifted by them up into the air. The weights became wings!

It is a parable for us. We are the wingless birds, and our duties and tasks are the pinions God has made to lift us up and carry us heavenward. We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and sometimes shrink from them; but as we lift them and bind them about our hearts, they become wings, and on them we rise and soar toward God.

There is no burden which, if we lift it cheerfully and bear it with love in our hearts, will not become a blessing to us. God means for our tasks to be our helpers; and to refuse to bend our shoulders to receive a load is to decline an opportunity to grow in Him!

May we continue to allow the Lord to teach us how to turn up the “heat” of our hope, our praise and our prayer — and also welcome each and every thing that He brings our way as a blessing that He will work for our good and for His eternal glory!

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