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The 4th of July is now over, and the smoke of the fireworks have cleared. Parades have ceased. The drumming patriotic songs have resonated into the annals of time. People have died. Those left behind are grieving. Prices are rising. Famine is looming. The economy is falling.

And we are still here.

Daily I am reminded, by the crows who come to me for scraps, of how God provided for Elijah using the ravens. Indeed, Jesus reminds us in Luke 12 that the ravens do not have storehouses nor barns, but God always provides for them. Thus, the crows are a reminder to me that God will always provide; no matter how hard things get or how dark our days “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me!”

As this world grows darker and darker, I am learning why the caged bird sings. I am pressing on in spite of my own many physical infirmities and those of my aging parents, and all the questions and buried dreams. I am hoping still, always hoping in the return of my Christ, worshiping still the glorious, risen King, and loving more deeply the unfathomable, eternal God. As His Holy Spirit inspires and empowers, I serve in my church, write articles to expose the growing darkness, as well as to encourage other Christians to press on and shine more brightly than before, and write worship songs to my King.

The time is short. Christ’s return is more immanent now than before. The greatest tribulation that this world has ever seen is near. And we as the Church must pray to be accounted worthy to escape all that is coming upon the earth (Luke 21:36). It is time to be ready!

We are the examples of Christ in this world, living epistles (2 Corinthians 3:2). We are the examples of His love. And love is not about self, it is about God and others. It is not about our own comforts or our own interests or our own desires – rather, it is all about dying to self, taking up our cross daily, and following Him (Matthew 16, Luke 9). It seems that the “American” needs to be extracted from the “Christian”. American Christians all too often have an “American” concept of Christianity that is all about life being good and good things happening and self always being satisfied and comfortable. But, really, what is comfortable about dying? What is satisfying about taking up one’s cross? Dying and the cross is all about learning obedience through the things that are suffered, whether through persecution or illness or hardships or unfairness. Yes, the “American” must come out of the Christian, in order for the Christian to thrive, grow and be ready.

We are all birds in the cage of this world. Though each of us is born to fly, to sing, to build nests in tallest trees or scruffy bushes or on rugged sides of cliffs; to drink from refreshing, ever-flowing, snowy streams that flow down from the throne of the mountain of God, and to lift high our voices in song to our all-glorious Creator. But, we have been placed in the cage of this world – dank with hardships, steely with bars of suffering, and fed on spoonfuls of pain. But, inside of us is a song so deep that we cannot help but sing, and hearts overflowing to Christ our King. For one day, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that we shall fly on wings unclipped, lifted high on refreshing breezes into the life-giving presence of the living God. And so, we as caged birds with all that is within us sing, sing, sing – unceasingly sing praises unto our Lord of lords and King of kings!

But, this also means that the return of Christ is all the closer! Indeed, the trumpet call of God about to sound, the voice of the archangel to shout, and Jesus to snatch His Bride home! Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!!! Hallelujah!!! Amen! And the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And we will forever be with the Lord!!! (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

But, “until then my heart will go on singing Until then with joy I’ll carry on Until the day my eyes behold my Saviour Until the day God calls me home.”

And as the rest of Rhonda Vincent’s song goes: (stanza 1) “My heart can sing when I pause to remember, A heartache here is but a stepping stone, Along a path that’s winding always upward, This troubled world is not my final home. (stanza 2) The things of earth will dim and lose their value, If we recall they’re borrowed for a while, And things of earth that cause this heart to tremble, Remember there will only bring a smile.”

God bless you, dear friends, as you chose to sing. Jesus is coming. And until then, with joy we’ll carry on, for He is our provider (Psalm 37:25), the One who still holds the world together by the word of His great power! (Hebrews 1:3).

Looking up,

Holy Light Ministries