LIFE in His Presence

When Jesus steps into the room…

If you are blind, you will see;

If you are deaf, you will hear His voice;

If you are an offender of others, you will love others by seeking their forgiveness;

If you are bound, you will be set free;

If you are an enemy, you will be reconciled;

If you are angry, you will enter & experience His peace;

If you are poor, you will find everything you need in Him;

If you are running, you will be arrested by His love;

If you are a rebel, you will fall in surrender at His feet;

If you are wrong, you will be made right;

If you are alone, you will find a Forever Friend;

If you are enslaved and desire change, you will begin a journey of transformation into His likeness;

If you are hopeless, you will be given a secure destiny;

If you are unfeeling, you will care about the spiritual condition of every person you meet;

If you are sick, you will be healed (sooner or later);

If you always have to “drive,” you will find rest under His yoke;

If you are an orphan, you will find a family;

If you are afraid, you will be hidden in the emotional fortress that lies under the shadow of the Almighty;

If you are joyless, you will sing His praises;

If you are confused, you will see the truth;

If you are dead, you will be made alive;

If you are the greatest sinner, you will meet the only Savior; and

If you are lost, you will be found!

And these things only begin to describe LIFE in the presence of Jesus.

Counting Down to the Christmas Revolution

Looking for a personal devotional you can use for Christmas? I offer this one for FREE… no limits, no lines, and no waiting for a package to arrive!

In 2012 following a year of great personal turmoil, I was led to write a devotional reflecting on the revolutionary nature of Christmas… one each day from December 1-25. I pray your reading of these brief reminders of The Christmas Revolution will bring you as much encouragement as the writing of them brought me.

You can download a single PDF (click HERE) or read them daily on this site by clicking the links below. Merry Christmas, the Lord has come! – DP

 

His Cross, My Victory

if His cross is the only victory I experience in this life
it is more than enough
to satisfy my deepest longings
now and for all eternity
none of my losses and defeats
no matter how painful or shameful to me
can withstand the boundless oceans of mercy
still flowing
from His triumph over the deadliest enemies of my soul
and from my inclusion in His victory

Because You Have Been a Warrior

Thank you veteran…
for leaving home and enduring hardships;
for serving a cause greater than yourself;
for seeking the welfare of the weak;
for risking your life for the sake of others;
for standing up for the freedom of all citizens
(no matter whether they value the sacrifice you made for them).
Because you have been a warrior,
I want you to know my Jesus…
who left His home (bankrupting heaven);
who charged into the battle for your soul;
who never hesitated, reconsidered, or flinched;
who came to rescue you from every terror;
who threw himself on top of your sins
(no matter whether you considered him a friend or a foe);
who fought for you;
who endured it all and sacrificed his life…
because he loves you…
who welcomes all soldiers
who give their full allegiance to him
(the best battlefield decision you will ever make)
as the invincible warrior,
as the only savior, and
as the absolute commander of their lives.


Originally written on Veterans Day 2016.

My Father (a consuming fire)

The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. Exodus 24:17

…when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20

Lord, You are my Father (and a consuming fire).

To draw near to You is to encounter the warmth of Your love, and the intense heat of Your wrath towards sin. I cannot draw near to You without retreating from sin in my heart. This is the delightful and deadly journey into Your presence, and any personal purity I experience is only a consequence of that journey… a continual casting away of the worthless and temporal in exchange for that timeless place before You.

It is an illusion and a lie to believe that intimacy with You is costly, when nothing compares to the unspeakable joy of being lost and found by my Father the King (who is also a consuming fire).

Thank you for rejoicing and running… towards me.

– a grateful son

Through Christ I Can

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

the abundant life is a constant internal supply
flowing from the One who said He came to give it
to the ones who would abandon their overloaded lives
in order to walk with Him daily
through a joyful union and a lingering submission
eyes on Him and cares fading
finding rest then fully resting
as He steps ahead of me into every moment
with me, through me, in me
He is enough

(John 10:10, Matthew 10:38-39, Matthew 11:28-30, 2 Corinthians 3:18)

What to Do When Someone Has a Meltdown

One evening during the summer of 2012, I was making a nine-hour drive home after a difficult visit with my father. Lying unconscious for days in a hospital room, he was not expected to live. No one knew when death would come, and I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to go. Two hours after I left, I got the call that he had died. I could not control my grief. I had to pull over and stop repeatedly because the tears clouded my vision. I prayed aloud and struggled to process what I was experiencing with the Lord, but my heart was broken and the sense of loss was unbearable. I was having a meltdown.

I spoke with family members and friends during that long evening in the car. Each conversation was like a lifeline in an ocean of emotional chaos. Then I got a call from a friend that God used to help me. I began to regain a sense of God’s presence and His peace. My grieving process had just begun, but my meltdown ended during that phone conversation. Why?

What is a Meltdown?

A meltdown occurs when someone is overwhelmed mentally and emotionally. Confronted with a situation beyond their control, persons in crisis can quickly become helpless or hopeless (or both). The crisis can arrive as a single catastrophic event, or it can form though a gradual series of separate events, building in pressure and intensity until a person “melts down.” Normal reasoning and coping skills are suspended. Decision-making becomes extremely difficult. The crisis “rocks the world” for the affected person, dominating every waking thought and provoking powerful emotions.

Meltdowns happen because of unbearable and unexpected life situations. A wife discovers her husband has been having an affair. A man receives a pink slip after thirty‑three years with the same employer. A friend receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. A neighbor’s son shoots and kills his father. A teenage daughter tells her parents she is pregnant. A man dies on the way home in a traffic accident, leaving a widow and three children. Although the causes of the crises may be very different, the initial ministry needs of the hurting are often the same.

Four Needs You Can Meet

When the call comes for you to come to the side of someone having a meltdown, you may not feel qualified to help. Turn first to the Lord who is the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 3:3-4). He has promised to supply you with everything you need to serve Him (2 Peter 1:3). He is sufficient! Trust Him to work through you to meet the needs you will encounter. During a meltdown, people need support, stability, truth, and prayer.

Support. Overwhelmed by a crisis, many people struggle to express themselves and to make decisions. They need a compassionate person who will “listen” to their story or their silence, assuring them that it’s okay to share (or not share). After the initial impact of the crisis, affected persons may need help navigating their next steps. Protect them from being forced or rushed to make a decision that can wait, while affirming their ability to make those decisions that cannot wait. Practical ministry – like providing cooked meals or mowing the yard – reduces the stress on someone who is already overloaded by a crisis.

Stability. Most of us live in a world that is “safe” and that can be understood. During a crisis, an individual’s perception of the world around them can collapse. It is no longer a safe place. The trajectory of life has changed and the future becomes unclear and uncertain. However, your physical presence will often be an “anchor” in the storm. How long should you stay? The answer depends on whether the crisis is still unfolding, and whether the person has someone else who helps provide a stable environment. I have stayed overnight in hospital waiting rooms knowing family members were facing an end‑of‑life decision, unwilling to leave them alone. On other occasions, I have waited in someone’s home for hours until a relative or special friend arrived who provided a sense of safety and stability for the person in crisis.

Truth. Meltdowns cause people to become extremely vulnerable to deception and manipulation. We are engaged in a spiritual war, and we have an enemy that lies and attempts to blind us to the truth. Doubts and questions can form that undermine faith. You may be asked, “Why did God allow this to happen to me?” Don’t argue or try to defend God. I often reply, “I don’t know that I can adequately answer your question, but I do know this: He loves you and He is here and He has sent me to help you get through this time.” Christians are exposed to the same kind of troubles in this world as everyone else, with a major difference: He has not left us alone in our trouble (John 14:18)! Read verses from the Bible that assure God’s presence and activity during times of crisis (e.g., Psalm 34:18).

Prayer. A. W. Tozer is credited with saying, “Sometimes when we get overwhelmed we forget how big God is.” Prayer is a way of regaining our perspective during a crisis. During a meltdown, all we can see is our problem, but when we pray that can change! By gently leading overwhelmed people to pray, we put them in touch with the One who is greater than any problem.

On that dark night in 2012, what did my friend do that made a difference? He met needs I had for support, stability, truth, and prayer! When I answered his call, I could hear the deep concern in his voice. He listened. He assured me I was going to get through this. He gently pointed me to the Lord and reminded me of His care for me. He prayed with me. Although I would grieve for months to come, my friend’s act of compassion that night on the road helped me get through the initial tsunami of emotions associated with a meltdown.

For further reading:

Wright, H. Norman. The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling: What to Do and Say When It Matters Most! Rev. ed. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2014.

Wright, H. Norman. What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2014.


(Written to encourage deacons, this article was originally published as What to Do When Someone Has a Meltdownin the Summer 2018 issue of Deacon Magazine, a publication of LifeWay Christian Resources.)