One morning not too long ago, I was spending some time with the Lord when I was suddenly staring at a lake. A gentle breeze worked through grass and reeds at the waters edge and the moonlight reflected off of the still surface. I sensed movement off to my left and when I turned Jesus was there smiling at me. A tilt of his chin led me to focus on the water as he skipped stones across the surface.
Ripples and little splashes spread out from everywhere the stones met the water. Even though it was night I could see that the water from the lake was crystal clear. There were no muddied sections. There was no death. It was alive and beautiful. There were no worries or concerns. It was just peace.
Jesus paused from his rock skipping to let me know that the lake I was looking at was actually the well of my heart. He told me that the water is pristine, clear, and without any hint of death or cloudiness when he is the source of what feeds it. But when I allow other things to feed my heart, everything gets a little muddy.
I’m actually looking out at a small lake right now that borders my fire station. Trees, wildlife, moon, and stars; the scene is very peaceful and beautiful right now from what I can see on the exterior. But what’s going on underneath the surface?
There are many feeders fighting for the right to supply our hearts. Each one has its own narrative that explains how it will help us achieve the things we want in life. They all promise to lift us out of whatever state of hopelessness or despair we happen to be in. Or they say they’ll add life to the things we’ve already gathered around us.
But anything we connect with for the purpose of gaining value, worth, significance, and love, that’s not Jesus, will eventually bring mud, decay, and death into the wells of our hearts. It may take some time for it to spread enough for us to feel the effects, but it will lead to a place of destruction that promises to be worse than where we started.
I feel like it’s important for you to know that you are pure, holy, special, valuable, deeply loved, adored, talented, mighty, and alive. And this is true no matter what the current state of your heart is. These are the things you are at your core and these are the things God wants to bring out and help you understand. But you must begin to shut off the feeders of the world. Jesus is the only source. He is the only one who can fill you with the kind of love and acceptance that you were created for.
I just see right now that dams are being built in many of your hearts that are cutting off the inlets of the world and I just call that into existence in the mighty name of Jesus! The things that you used to run to for worth and value will be exposed for the death that they are and you will now turn to Jesus and be connected to his heart in new ways. The river of his love will fill the well of your heart to overflowing and the source will never dry up.
You don’t need the things that defile – you need the one who purifies! Abundant life awaits!
Jesse and Kara
Birkey writes in a smooth and flowing style that is extremely easy to read. He is a good storyteller and pulls in his reader with anecdotes that often start off in fire station number 12, from whence he and his comrades are dispatched to normal emergencies that involve life and death.
Birkey demonstrates how his immense faith in God pulls him through situations that firemen and life savers have to face every day. He proves that miracles do happen. He does a wonderful job of portraying his resilience and faith in God. This author uses a great deal of reflection and reference to Scripture, which lends credibility to his testimonies.
Some of his reflections and topics are deeply emotional and will resonate with readers, like “The Problem of Self Forgiveness” (77). His message seems to aim at a specifically Christian audience although I expect readers of other faiths may gain respect and understanding of the motivations that help Christians find peace and compassion for humanity.
I think his inclusion of other Christian testimonies in chapter 7 adds interest. Chapter 8, discussing infidelity and how to truly learn to forgive, is deeply interesting. Everything he says about bitterness is true, and I cannot imagine anyone reading this without feeling admiration for both Birkey’s wisdom and his insistence to reach out and help his audience overcome a widespread problem.