Ridge Burns's blog

Being Content

I think most people who are followers of Christ have either read or memorized Philippians 4:12-13; “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” The secret to being content is not self-control or thinking the right things or cutting back or planning. It’s simply having a relationship with Christ—having deep spiritual conversations with Christ and a belief that He will take care of you no matter what. You need to believe that He will step in when He needs to step in and allow you to move when it’s appropriate for you to move by yourself, but He will always guard and protect you. Then He gives you this promise: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” For those who are weak, those who are hurting, for those who struggle, for those who are stale, you can do all things. Why? Because, Christ strengthens you.

An Amazing Prayer

There are a lot of us around the nation praying that God would send revival to our country. Full on God-driven, Holy Spirit-igniting revival. Similar to those that have happened in Europe, Wales, and Azusa Street. I want to see God move in miraculous ways, and recently one of our missionaries wrote me an amazing email about revival. It says this: “I just want to thank you for coming and speaking on revival. I’m asking others to pray for revival in nursing homes in the U.S.A. specifically for persons suffering from dementia. I sense that God is raising persons with dementia who will preach the Good News.” Isn’t that amazing? Out of all the people you would think would be exempt from revival would be people in memory care units. But, our missionary is saying, “No, revival will start there. Those who cannot speak, will speak. Those who cannot remember, will begin to remember. Those who cannot comprehend will suddenly have insights beyond their abilities.” I love that: a plea for revival for people with dementia.

Frequent Flyer Programs

I’ve found myself on airplanes a lot over the past ten years and have developed a pattern of using the same airline. Therefore, I have a high status in their frequent flyer program, and I love it. I get upgrades to first class. I get priority boarding. I get to call and talk to a human being and not pay for it. And I get waived baggage and change fees. I love the frequent flyer program. It makes me want to fly that airline all the time. But the other day I got in a situation where I had to fly a different airline and I ended up in the middle seat at the back of the plane. I haven’t been there in years. It was miserable. I hated it. It was crowded, there was no service, and no place for your bag. It was near the restroom and didn’t smell very good. It just was not a good experience. I wanted and longed for the privilege of the frequent flyer program on my choice airline. It made me think about how there are two places that you can live: in a place of privilege, or of lack. You can live in the knowledge that you have God’s favor and blessing (a bit like how I have favor with my airline of choice). Or you can live in a place where you’re constantly looking for something that’s not there and looking only at what you don’t have. In Isaiah 40:28 it says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is an everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary and His understanding no one can fathom.” When we are in Christ, we are privileged and favored. It doesn’t mean we’re...

Our Authority

Recently I was in a situation with one of our missionaries where they needed me to make a statement to a bunch of people in order to get things done. I asked the missionary, “Why do you want me to make this speech? Why is it that you want me to talk to these people?” His response was, “Because you have authority.” Very interesting. The Bible teaches quite a bit about authority. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Two phrases jump out from that section of scripture. One is that we have divine power. Our authority is not in our words, or in our education, or in our ability to persuade people. No, our authority is in the power—the divine power—that has been given to us through the Holy Spirit. We use divine power to invade the soul and the mind of a person. I’m concerned that our churches and our fellow Christians try to do things in their own power. When we need to be tapping into that divine power. The second phrase that jumps off the page for me is that we need to “take every thought captive.” That is amazing to me. I’ve been working with a lot of people recently who have had things spoken over them. Therefore, when they hear something said or they’re in a certain situation it triggers what’s been spoken over them, but the Bible says “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” There is a way for us to...

Know When to Fight and Know When to Hold On 

1 Timothy 1:18-19 says, “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience…” This verse gives us a great Biblical sieve to put conflict and disruptive relationships through. It starts out with Paul saying to Timothy, “Listen to the prophecies about you.” I’m wondering for those who are reading this, what are the prophecies about you? What does the Holy Spirit whisper to you on a daily basis? What does the Holy Spirit say is your authority and how you should respond to certain activities in your life? What does the Evil One whisper to you that is against what God has spoken to you? All good questions. But when you come out of that, Paul simply says this; “Timothy, some things are worth fighting about. You’ve got to fight the good fight. You’re in a battle and some things you need to knuckle down and battle through.” But, in other things you need to hold onto your faith. When you feel overwhelmed and you feel like you can’t take any more and you feel like there’s too many loose ends and too much strife and anger; Paul says, “Timothy, just hold on. Just hold on.” Finally, he says, “Whatever you do, whether you fight or hold on, make sure you keep a good conscience.” Don’t do things in your own interest. Don’t do things that will accomplish the results that you think are important. Make sure that when you get through fighting and you get through holding on that you have a good conscience. You’ve done what the Father has told you to do.

A Trustworthy Saying

1 Timothy 4:9-10 says, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” Paul is clearly stating that we need to put our trust in a God who’s living and breathing. A God who wants dialogue with us, a God who talks and speaks and writes and gives us dreams and gives us ways to think through supernatural problems. He says clearly, “Put your faith in a God that is not dead.” It speaks to me that sometimes even though we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we act as if God is dead, inactive, and unwilling to be involved in our everyday issues. But Paul says, “This is a trustworthy saying—listen to it carefully—we put our trust in a living God.” And then at the end of these verses we get a surprise phrase: “and especially of those who believe.” I think this shows the heart of God and the decision that man can make of free will. God is not willing that any should perish, so He sent His son to die for all men. Every one of them. But it’s not enough to just read about Him or think about Him. The belief in the saving work of Christ is absolutely necessary. It is a trustworthy saying, that He is the Savior of all.

The Desert

I was recently at a conference where it was said, “Every great thing God does comes out of the desert.” I began to think about how true that is. There are times of loneliness and dryness, but everything that God does seems to rise out of that kind of environment. In the desert you’re always seeking, you’re always looking for water, you’re looking for newness. When we’re in the desert we’re very open to what God has for us. Not only that, but it makes us desperate. The desert is a harsh environment. It makes us desperate for Him and desperate to call on Him. The desert gives you a different perspective. A perspective not of abundance and beauty and greenery and growth, but of harshness that drives us to the cross of Christ. The desert forces us to cry for help. There’s nobody to help. We’re alone. It’s desolate and dry and isolated from society. When you wander in the desert God brings you to that wonderful prayer where you just say, “Help. There’s nothing I can do. There’s no way I can solve this problem. I’m desperate for you, Lord Jesus!”

A Word About Peace

I found this great verse about peace in Isaiah 26:12-13 this morning as I was reading. It says, “Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor.” I love the word peace. I love what it speaks to my soul. It reminds me of an island of rest and wholeness. It’s an island of God’s presence in the middle of your chaotic life that you can go to and find peace. It’s—as the Hebrews call it— “shalom”; that congruence of who we are inside and who we are outside coming together to give us peace. I love that this verse says that “all that we have accomplished, you did.” Peace comes when we don’t take ownership over things that we have no right to. The writer of Isaiah clearly says, “It’s because of you that we have peace.” I look at my friends who don’t know Jesus, who try so hard to get peace through vacations, time off, or meditation, but it’s offered to us Christians as a free gift. “Peace I give to you.” Peace can only happen if we worship God alone, when there are no other gods in our lives. Peace happens when there’s only a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When we’re in that pure, clean relationship and we’re in His presence we find peace.

Make Room for the Holy Spirit

Recently I was in church and the pastor was talking about revival. He was talking about how people like Charles Finney had an incredible private experience that became public. It changed him and made him different. The pastor made a passing comment that I thought was interesting. He said, “Most churches don’t make room or space for the Holy Spirit.” That’s how I grew up: in a church that had very strong feelings about the Holy Spirit needing to be controlled. We couldn’t really have any exposure to the Holy Spirit, because it was “charismatic” and you’d be in trouble. But how do we make room for the Spirit? How do we make room for the Spirit to move? No matter what your view of the Holy Spirit is, the answer is that we need time. It’s easy for us to say we need time with God’s Word. We need time praying and allowing Jesus to redeem us with His Blood. But, when it comes to the Holy Spirit, we also need to make time. We need to sit quietly and say, “Come Holy Spirit. Manifest yourself to me. I want to know You.” The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. What an interesting concept. I sit in church and we sing songs and there’s a sense of the Spirit being there and we hear a good sermon, but then we just leave. There’s no time to sit and soak in the Holy Spirit. I think it’s a really good question: Where do you make room for the Holy Spirit?

Cut Myself Shaving

A couple days ago I really hacked my face shaving. While shaving my phone went off so I reached for the phone to see who it was and in the process the razor went vertical and became a scalpel. I mean we’re talking a three-quarters of an inch cut right on my chin, right where everybody can see it. I went to church on Sunday and it was very interesting to see how people responded. You could obviously tell they were looking at my face thinking, “Why is that cut there?” They would stare at it for a while and you could just see the wheels turning trying to figure it out, but they would never ask me. Only one person asked me what I did. I don’t see the cut so I forget about it. But, everyone I run into sees that cut and tries to figure it out. You know what it did? It made me uncomfortable all morning. It made me feel like people weren’t being authentic. Why wouldn’t they just ask me? I wasn’t embarrassed about it. It was as if they were thinking, “I really don’t want to embarrass you; I don’t want to ask you.” I was thinking how important it is just to lay things on the table. Having a cut on your chin is fairly easy since it’s going to go away in a couple of days. Having this cut made me more sensitive to people who have visible, physical deformities or behaviors. You don’t know what to say, so you say nothing and in the course of saying nothing it becomes really awkward for both of you. I recognize there are some times where it isn’t appropriate to ask “Why?” but I think it’s important to acknowledge the reality. “Ridge, you...

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