Ridge Burns's blog

You Have Been Telling Me

In Exodus 33:12 Moses is having a dialogue with God and he says, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know who you will send with me.” That is so like how God reveals His will in people’s lives. We want to know the end. We ask, “Who are you sending with me?” And God says, “Take one step at a time. I will lead you; I will direct you; I will work with you.” There are three things I think are important in this particular dialogue between God and Moses. First is that God’s people hear God’s voice. We don’t need a priest, or a pastor, or a mentor; we just need to be open to hearing God’s voice through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. Second, God is directional. He is concerned about the direction of your life and about the specifics of your life. He is concerned about where you live, who you marry, how you respond to your kids, and how you relate to your faith community. Third, I love what Moses says in verse thirteen, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways that I may know you and continue to find favor.” You are not alone. God will teach you His ways. He will instruct you in how to live. He will give you guidance on where to go. Some of us need to say to God, “You’ve been telling me that you’re going to walk with me. I need to know the next step.”

Fathers

Because it’s Father’s Day this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad and my son and the role of the father in the development of any person. The relationship between a child and their father becomes an enormously important relationship as they get older, because it involves affirmation and character building. I’ve spent the last week in England, and I take appointments to pray with people. This time I prayed with about 35 students. I want to tell you about a young woman from the UK that came and asked for me to pray for her. For the sake of confidentiality, I’ll change some of the details. She was extremely accomplished, only 27 years old with an amazing resume. You would think she would be the last person that would need affirmation, but as we began to talk and unpack her relationship with her father, she came unglued. All she wants is her father to tell her that he loves her. He never hugged her and never said the words, “I love you.” Unfortunately for this particular student, this also affected her view of her Heavenly Father. With this story in mind, my call is for fathers to step up. My admonition to the fathers who will read this is believe how important you are in your kids’ life. They need their father’s love; they need their father’s heart.

Holding Hands

It’s fun to hold hands. It’s fun to hold hands with grandkids whose hands are so small, and they hold onto you for security, for balance, for guidance. When you get older, holding hands has a different meaning: It’s the first sign of romance. The other day I was walking through an airport and saw this older couple, they were in their 90s, and they were holding hands. It looked like love even at their age. But better than anything I’ve described is what is described in Isaiah 41:13 which says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.’” Years ago, in San Diego, Mother Theresa had a problem with her heart, and she was put in the hospital. She made her physicians work in her clinic in Tijuana, Mexico before she would allow them to treat her in any way. When she was better and was leaving the hospital, she gave a press conference and I love what she said. Someone asked, “How can we pray for you?” Her answer was, “Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” It’s that same idea of us holding hands with God while He guides us and says, “Do not fear, for I will help you.” It’s about literally feeling and acting as though Jesus was holding your hand.

The Voice Behind You

Last week my daughter, who is 28, began her quest to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. It’s always been one of her dreams to complete this. It’s a pretty amazing goal. I asked some of my friends to pray over her before she left and to continue praying for safety, as she’s traveling by herself. I love this verse that was given to me by one of my friends. Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” I love that! As Barrett makes her way from south to north of our country, she will have to stay on the path. Likewise, we have to stay the course on the path the Lord ordains for us. But I love the fact that it’s behind you. You have to look, observe, and choose what path you’re going to go on and the Lord says, “If you stay on the correct path, not to the right or the left, I will be with you. Now go and walk in it.”

A Deep Spiritual Cleaning

I was reading the story in 1 Samuel where the Israelites are commanded by God to take no prisoners, no cattle, no people, nothing, but to destroy the entire Amalekite army. Saul, however, disobeyed and kept the king and his cattle, and the Lord was displeased. Why? Because the Lord wants us to deep clean ourselves, to allow His Spirit to work deep inside of us and bubble up that which is impure in order to let it out and get rid of it. He doesn’t want bondage, small or large, to trap us. He wants it all gone—the old man dead and the new man alive, new wine skins and new wine. He wants to free us from the restrictions of deep-seated things. I really believe many of us need a deep cleaning. There are things in our lives that are so deep. We’ve had them for so long they have become normal. I would encourage you as a reader to ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind those things that are deep-seated that you have simply gotten used to, so you can allow the Holy Spirit to change you to be wholly obedient, wholly right.

Courage and Transformation

I was in a meeting with our missionaries last week in Texas and there’s one moment that stands out. One of our missionaries got in front of his peers and told his life story—a story that involved betrayal and hurt from members of his family. But the Lord got a hold of him and through a courageous act he was able to break the chain of his past and find freedom. And in that freedom, he found transformation. He was transformed from carrying baggage that was hurting him and weighing him down and destroying him to having freedom in Christ. It was so powerful. In addition, the Lord arranged for the sermon and some incredible art to perfectly align with his story. The response was powerful as people began to stomp out the curses and baggage in their life that were not supposed to be there. It resulted in an openness and freedom in the room. Why? Because one guy had the courage to share deep things, which broke the barriers and the chains for so many people. If you’re reading this and you have deep-seated baggage that is just wrong, I want to encourage you to find a safe place to let it out. To stomp on it. To make the great exchange between your baggage and the freedom that Christ gives us.

Wonder and Amazement

I was reading in Acts 3 about Peter and John who went up to the temple to pray and healed a man who had been begging on the road. I love what it says when Peter healed him: “He jumped up to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging by the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement about what had happened to him.” Two things I love about that story; one is the guy jumping around. He’s dancing. He’s excited. He is redeemed. He’s new. He is so excited to show that his newfound body was touched by the miracle of the Savior through the hands of Peter and John. I love that he was dancing and jumping and making a fool of himself. It makes me smile. I’m also amazed at how people responded. It says that they were filled with wonder and amazement. I think that’s what’s missing from many of our churches and fellow believers. It’s missing from their ability to know who God is. They’ve never seen God move in power. They’ve never seen God move in a way that would cause elation like the man in the story. The people were filled with wonder and amazement. They asked, “Who is this? How could this have happened? Why is this man healed? What took place?” They realized it was because of the power of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Blood of Christ that allowed this to happen. They were saying, “What’s next?” They were filled with wonder and amazement. It’s my...

A New Perspective

Recently I got my eyes checked and the prescription for my glasses needed to be significantly changed. After getting used to them, I can’t believe the new perspective. I can’t believe how much better I can see. Everything in the distance is so much clearer. I hadn’t realized that my sight had degenerated so much over a few years. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you see things as they really are. I wonder sometimes if we need to change our “prescription” of how we think God sees us. We see Him as loving, caring, and gracious. But He sees us differently. He doesn’t see us as sinners. He sees us as redeemed people brought to Himself. He sees us as His children coming to Him. Ephesians 4:24 says, “And so put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” God sees us in our new bodies, as our new selves. He sees us as completed human beings through the redemptive work of Christ. He sees us as chosen, elected to Him, washed by His blood, and made righteous. I listen to a lot of people talk about how bad they are. They have such a terrible self-view, and in that negative self-view they can’t escape the depression and the hurt. But, if we put on the new self and put on how God really sees us, we become new creatures and we have new clear perspective on how much God loves us.

Hanging onto Things

I was talking to an individual after church who I really respect and admire. He seems to have it all together—as if he has life planned out and the blessing and favor of God are all over him. He’s a person who is respected by many other people by giving advice and sharing his life. But he didn’t have a good relationship with his father and as soon as the conversation turns on to someone’s father you can just see his resistance. He had a father that abandoned him. In the brief moments when his father was in his life, he was pushed to be excellent—not for the sake of being excellent, but for the sake of being the best. He was never allowed to fail and never allowed to question, just push, push, push to be the best in everything that he did. That created in him a perfectionist spirit, and a spirit that is critical of fathers. I was reading from Acts 7 recently, which is the stoning of Stephen—not exactly my favorite chapter of the Bible. But I was really taken by one thing that I read about Stephen’s death. It was an unjustified stoning; he was being killed simply for his faith. But just before he died Stephen said, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Stephen understood the power of letting go, of not holding things in and letting God remove them. While, it is true that he probably died moments after he spoke those words, the reality is that he spoke them because he did not want anyone to hold anything against him or he against them. It’s called freedom. There are people in my life that need that freedom. They are hanging onto bad relationships, mistakes they’ve made, and things which are...

How Do You Talk to God?

Recently I was talking to someone who said she grew up talking to God like He didn’t know her. We all pray like that sometimes; rehearsing to God what He already knows, and protecting Him from knowing certain things about us, which is so ridiculous and limiting to our view of God. I have some acquaintances that I see every so often. Sometimes we get together and we talk and learn about each other. We spend time together and we try to find out different things about each other in kind of an innocent way. But I have other friends who know me. They know what I struggle with, they know my faults, they see my flaws and they love me. I talk to them differently, I talk to them as a friend. I talk to them as people I respect and learn from. How do you talk to God? Do you talk to Him like He doesn’t know you? Or do you talk to God like He knows you deeply? Isaiah 43 admonishes Israel to listen to the Lord “who created you.” And here is the kicker, the big line: “I have called you by name, you are mine.” I want to encourage you to talk to God like He knows everything about you, like you don’t have to hide anything, like He’s your best friend and you can tell Him anything. He will speak back to you words of wisdom and advice. He will tell you things that are important, because He redeemed you. He called you by name and you are His.

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