As Brilliant as the Sunrise

His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from His hands, where His awesome power is hidden.

—Habakkuk 3:4

I know God loves me. 

I know God is great and powerful. 

I know He is the maker of all things. 

I know He sustains every living thing. 

Yet, I don’t know how to even begin to imagine what seeing God’s glory in Heaven would be like. 

Everyone Will Know

After work today, I decided to stop at a large grocery store.

I was still wearing my identification tag on my shirt.

That’s not a problem really, unless I don’t want to be identified.

As I pushed my cart through the store, I said, “excuse me” to someone that I needed to pass at the end of an aisle.

Seconds later, I heard my name being called.

I turned and it was the man that I had passed by.

He wanted to tell me that there was another woman in the store with my same name.

Evidently, she was wearing an identification tag of some kind, too.

I guess he thought it was rather interesting for that to happen.

As I checked out my groceries, the clerk who rang up the order also called me by name, yet I had not met him before.

He also had read my identification tag.

I began to think about this.

My name is my name no matter how I behave.

If I am wearing an identification tag, others simply read it and determine who I am.

I have no identification to wear to inform others that I am a follower of Jesus, however.

Certainly, I could wear Christian t-shirts with messages or scripture on them, but that doesn’t really prove what I believe.

I could wear jewelry that is associated with Christianity.

Once again, doing that doesn’t really prove anything.

But how I act and what I say gives evidence to who I am and what I believe.

What is my attitude?

What is my tone of voice?

Am I helpful are hurtful?

Selfish or giving?

Loving or cold?

John 13:35 reads,

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

If I love others in the way that Jesus wants me to, people will take notice.

They may stop me in a hallway just to ask about my faith.

When someone is hurting, they may ask for prayer—

IF I love others the way Jesus wants me to.

Here’s the question:

Do other people see me and identify me as a follower of Jesus?

 

 

love one

 

 

A New Heart

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart
of flesh.
—Ezekiel 36:26

When we see a rainbow, we may think of God’s promise to never flood the earth again. 

But do we think about how the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise and a new beginning for mankind?

As a rainbow forms in the atmosphere, it is a reminder of new beginnings for us, right now. 

Stony, unforgiving hearts within us can be made soft. 

New attitudes that are pleasing to God can take the place of old, harmful attitudes. 

What about you?

Are you in need of a new beginning today?

Hushed

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

—Psalm 107:29

 

Storms can be big.

Things get torn up.

Ruined.

Blown away.

Flooded.

Waves can be giant.

Overwhelming.

Relentless.

God can make a storm be still.

He can hush any wave.

What storms are you facing today?

God is bigger than the storm.

 

sea were

Trust in You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.—Psalm 9:10

 

As I got into my car early this morning, I was well aware that I was running late.

I would not actually be late for work, but I would be arriving past the time that I had planned.

Pulling out of my driveway, I turned my car to face toward the east as I began the journey down my long street to get to the highway.

My car radio was on, set to a Christian radio station.

Right as I pulled into the street, I saw the sky.

I can’t fully describe the beauty that was before me.

Stopping the car immediately, I took my cell phone and began to take pictures.

As I was already experiencing praise in my heart for such a display of God’s glory in the sky, I realized the song that was playing at that time on the radio was speaking about trusting in God even when we don’t hear or see Him working in particular situations that we are concerned about.

As the beams of sunlight were bursting out onto its morning canvas, a jet plane was bursting through the sky, as well, leaving a trail of white as it sped on to its destination.

There before me was an example of man’s accomplishment in flight and an example of God’s creative and limitless power.

We must trust Him, even when we don’t understand…

 

Trust in

 

Rule in Your Hearts

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

 

 

It had rained earlier, with the sky a stormy and threatening gray.

Now, with the tempest past, the clouds were blending into a creamy glow as sunset approached.

The lake beside me had become a living mirror, rippling a constantly changing reflection of light and shadow.

Through the ages, I suspect that many people have found a place of contemplation and solitude beside such a scene.

There’s something about the endless sky meeting the rhythmic waves that beckons us to be at peace.

Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts.

His peace should rule.

Rule over troubling thoughts.

Rule over fears.

Rule over guilt.

When the peace of Jesus comforts you from deep within, everything changes.

And when it does, we should be thankful.

 

 

rule in

Well-Watered Garden

The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

–Isaiah 58:11

 

There is a neighborhood that I have passed on the way to a large city that always catches my eye.

I don’t think I could ever just drive by without looking at the entrance, admiring the peaceful calm of the water and the fountain surrounded by beautiful plants.

There’s something about a vibrant garden scene that draws me into it.

A garden must have water to grow and flourish.

Without it, the lush emerald leaves would wither and die.

No colorful blooms would grace a carpet of green grass.

God gives us guidance, strength and hope.

Those who trust in Him are like a well-watered garden.

Others are drawn to them and the peace they exhibit from their hearts.

How would you describe your life today?

Is it a well-watered garden—peaceful, calm and beautiful?

 

 

watered garden

 

He Split the Rocks

He split the rocks in the wilderness

And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.

—Psalm 78:15

 

Miracles.

They happened before.

They still happen…

God split rocks and provided water for His people in the wilderness long ago.

God hasn’t changed.

His power remains constant.

He is able to do the miraculous in our lives, too.

Do you trust Him today?

 

wilderness

 

Find Grace

I’m interested in understanding just exactly what grace is.

What it means, what it does.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought of grace as being the unmerited favor of God.

We don’t deserve to have eternity in Heaven offered to us, because we are all sinners.

Yet, Jesus died so we could be forgiven.

We are saved from spending eternity apart from God if we believe.

I understand that we are saved by grace.

Somehow, I want to go further with my understanding of what grace looks like in the life of a believer on a day to day basis.

Hebrews 4:16 reads, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In this passage we have, “throne of grace” along with “find grace to help.”

What are your thoughts on grace?

I welcome any comments.

Thank you!

 

find grace

 

Whatever the Lord Pleases

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

—Psalm 135:6

 

What is the picture of below?

The tops of mushrooms?

A microscopic view of bacteria?

River rocks?

Chicken eggs?

Candy peanuts?

Potatoes?

Just by looking, it’s hard to tell.

So many things in this world have similar shapes and contours.

God created all that we know in a way that pleased Him.

All that we know…

In addition, He created all that we do not know in a way that pleased Him.

What we see is only a small portion of God’s great creation.

Our generation has been blessed with seeing so much of it.

It wasn’t that long ago when no one had EVER seen what the earth looked like from space.

NO ONE.

Now, with a simple application on a smart phone, even a young child can look at any spot on earth as viewed from space.

So, what is the picture of?

A sea creature in an aquarium.

God’s works are truly to be marveled at.

 

 

 

seas

 

 

 

Proclaimed in His Name

As I was driving home today, I saw a church that had the word COFFEE on their sign outside.

Underneath COFFEE, it read, “Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere.”

I had not seen this before.

Sometimes, little illustrations can lead to very significant conversations.

Thousands upon thousands of people drink coffee every day, many of them while in the company of others—at work, school or in a restaurant.

How simple it would be to just relay those six very important words linked to the letters in “coffee” to someone who does not know about Jesus and what He has done for all of us.

I know that it is something I want to remember as a way to share about God’s plan of salvation.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples.

In part of one account, we find these words:

Then He said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

—Luke 24:44-49

 

to all nations

 


Rich Simplicity

A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.

–Timothy 6:6 The Message

 

A few days ago, I stepped out into my back yard to look at some clouds.

As I approached the fence, I noticed that my rose bush was blooming.

The last time I had checked it, there were no blooms at all.

Now, the bush had several roses in various stages of budding out.

There they were, just being red roses, showing the beauty that God had created.

Roses don’t try to be anything that they aren’t.

Being a rose is good enough.

It is exactly what God intended it to be.

For people, knowing Jesus as our Savior and being ourselves is good enough.

We don’t have to try to be something that we aren’t.

We are exactly what God intended us to be and He will grow us into something more beautiful each day as we enter various stages of our faith journey with Him.

There is a definitely a “rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

Don’t you agree?

 

 

rich

 

Blessed is the Man

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into disaster.

—Proverbs 28:14

 

Recently, I was talking to someone who was interested in learning to play the guitar.

When learning to play, it takes time to build up callouses on the tips of the left hand fingers so that pressing the strings down doesn’t hurt.

Understanding this means that an aspiring guitarist must work through a little discomfort while learning the new skill.

In this instance, callouses are necessary and helpful.

There is a slight trade off, however.

In the places where the callouses form, highly sensitive feeling can be lost.

It becomes difficult to differentiate what is being touched at other times, such as noticing the difference between cloth or plastic.

In the same way, the soles of our feet become calloused if we walk barefooted on a regular basis.

That can be helpful if we need to be without shoes.

But what if we don’t want to have callouses any more?

Pumice stones are sold at thousands of stores, providing an excellent way to exfoliate the hardened areas of our feet or hands, exposing the more tender skin underneath, allowing us to sense the surfaces we are touching and those we are walking on in a new and fresh way.

Having a hardened or calloused heart isn’t the same as having calloused fingers or hands.

If we have hardened and calloused hearts against God, we may no longer feel any need to even consider who He is and the marvelous works He has done.

The blessings we could be enjoying are bypassed by our indifference.

There is hope, however.

God can remove the callouses and soften our hearts.

Like a pumice stone, He can eliminate the hardened and unwanted attitude, giving us  a clear path to feel His love, His kindness and His mercy in a new and fresh way.

 

hardens

 

 

I Would Fly

Oh, for wings like a dove, to fly away and rest!  I would fly to the far-off deserts and stay there.  I would flee to some refuge from all this storm.

—Psalm 55:6-8

 

God is our refuge.

He protects us from the storm of sin.

He gives us new life and a new beginning.

 

Iwould

Distress

You know them, just like I do.

Right now–this very day–you could probably name a family member who is struggling in some way.

You’ve likely heard of a devastating car accident in your area, or a house fire.

People that have always seemed healthy now have cancer; some are young.

Some are older.

Maybe just this year you’ve had good friends get a divorce.

Others may be grieving tremendously because someone they loved very much has died.

You know them, just like I do.

As Christians, what are we to say to comfort others who are facing strong difficulties?

I often listen to the radio on my drive to work.

There is a song that has found its way into my heart for quite some time now.

It is titled, “Just Say Jesus” by the group 7eventh Time Down.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Life gets tough, and times get hard
It’s hard to find the truth in all the lies

If you’re tired of wondering why
Your heart isn’t healing
And nothing feels like home
Cause you’re lost and alone just screaming at the sky

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus

Whisper it now, or shout it out
However it comes out, He hears your cry
Out of nowhere He will come, you got to believe it
He will rescue you
Just call out to the Way, The Truth, The Light

As believers of Jesus, we know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

I think it is very good advice to tell someone who is hurting that they can just speak the name of Jesus as they struggle to even form words in the midst of devastating circumstances.

In fact, I think it is very good advice to remember it ourselves.

When we are hurting, we can just say, “Jesus” and He will hear us.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

—Psalm 18:6

 

my cry

 

Trust In

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

—Proverbs 3:5

 

My husband and I were spending the day at the ocean.

We decided to buy tickets for a boat taxi.

When tickets are purchased, the boat taxi will take groups of people to certain destinations on the coast and come back at later times to pick them up.

At a stop we had chosen, we got off the boat and walked a short distance to a road.

I had my cell phone with me, so I consulted a GPS application on it.

We had been told of a waterside restaurant not far away.

Looking it up on the GPS, I selected “walking” as my mode of transportation.

Faithfully, the instructions and maps provided led us to our destination.

The route involved walking down a dirt path/road with trees that made a canopy overhead.

Could this really be the short hike to a restaurant?

It didn’t feel like it was, but we needed to trust the GPS.

After awhile, we came upon a park and finally, the restaurant.

If we had decided to go another way that might have seemed better, we might not have made it there at all.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the LORD will all our hearts. We are not to lean on our own understanding.

God may lead us to a “rural path” in life when what we’d expected was a nicely paved city street.

When that happens, we must trust that He knows exactly where our destination is.

A GPS system can be flawed and sometimes there can be problems.

God’s direction, however, is never flawed.

We can always trust Him.

 

 

trust

Do Everything

I heard a sad story today. 

It was about a church that needed new flooring. 

Some of the members wanted a tile floor. 

Other members wanted a different type of floor. 

A vote was taken and the decision to purchase tile was made. 

Many people (about half the church’s membership) who did not want tile installed, stopped attending church there. 

Here is the question:

How important is it to have our way?
Do  everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation,a in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

—Philippians 2:14-16

And That is What Happened

 

Every creature God has made has its own beauty.

Every fish, every bird.

Every animal that walks the earth.

Genesis 1:24 reads:

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind–livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened.

When I look at an animal’s face, I see the face of a living being that God made.

scurry

 

 

Blessed

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.

–Psalm 106:3

 

Do you have a favorite place to sit when you go to a ball game?

Is there a certain pew that you seek out when attending church?

As a child, if you walked to school, did you have a particular route that was your favorite?

I have heard it said that we are “creatures of habit.”

Maybe so.

In doing some research about how long it takes to form a true habit, it seems that it may take several several months, depending on the activity desired.

To be fair, it’s probably easier for most people to create a habit of stretching for five minutes when they wake up in the morning than to create a habit of jogging for 30 minutes.

Both are attainable habits to form, given the inspiration and the will to follow through with the commitment.

Good habits aren’t all about exercise, however.

Character traits can also become habitual.

Psalm 106:3 speaks of someone who acts justly and always does what is right.

As situations arise, each of us has the ability to choose our course of action and response.

Will it be one of integrity?

Will it be pleasing in God’s eyes?

In making a conscious choice over and over again that falls within the realm of honor and virtue, we create a character pathway that becomes somewhat of a “favorite” to us.

If we act in a determined way for a long period of time, we are likely to continue to do so, unless we come to a great motive to change.

If it seems that we are consistently choosing to act justly, doing what is right, the psalmist has a word to describe us—

blessed.

 

act justly

Snake Charmer

If a serpent strikes despite being charmed, there’s no point in being a snake charmer.

–Ecclesiastes 10:11

I am not a “snake” person.

Whenever considering creatures to bring into my home as a pet, I never put snake on the list.

At some point in my life, I have seen video clips of snake charmers, as well as photos of them.

As for me, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a snake, attempting such an activity.

The verse above seems to suggest that there is danger in choosing to be a snake charmer.

There is a very real risk that a person could be bitten, yet there are other implications.

When I try to apply this to my life apart from snakes, there seems to be a significant idea.

If it’s likely that I will be harmed by a certain choice that I am about to make, what’s the point in making that choice?

If there are alligators in the water, what’s the point in going swimming?

If smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer, what’s the point in smoking?

There probably aren’t many people who would choose to swim with alligators, but there are countless people in the world who smoke, despite warnings to their health.

I make my own choices.

So do you.

Will we make wise ones?

If not, what’s the point?

 

 

snakecharmer

So Ready to Forgive

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.

—Psalm 86:5

 

How do you think most people react when they know they have done wrong?

How do you react?

Would you think a small child hiding behind the couch after they have broken a vase in a room they were told not to be in would be a normal response?

If you feel that most people have the urge to hide, I would agree with you.

Hiding doesn’t always look like hiding, however.

If we know that we are not living the way God would have us to, we may firmly decline any invitation of a friend to go to church.

That would be hiding.

If we know that we’ve done something we shouldn’t have, we may not pick up the Bible to read it.

We might feel unworthy.

That would be hiding.

Just because our natural tendency might be to hide, the behavior needed is exactly the opposite.

Instead of hiding, we need to run to God with our failure.

Psalm 86:5 reads,

“O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.

When we fail, we can go to God.

He is good.

He is ready to forgive.

He is full of unfailing love.

Hiding?

It doesn’t help at all.

Only asking for and receiving forgiveness and comfort from our heavenly Father will bring the peace we long for.

 

ready final

Your Wisdom

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom

and spread its wings toward the south?

—Job 39:26

This morning as my husband and I were driving on a rural area of highway, I began thinking about how God places people in the lives of others.

I shared a few of my thoughts with him.

God is holding everything together–all life, all the universe.

He sustains all things.

Yet, I truly feel that He knows about us individually in a complete way.

I believe that He orchestrates things to happen, people to meet and opportunities to be in community with each other.

As for my understanding, things don’t just “happen” to us.

God is very personal to us, and at the same time, He has a sovereign plan for all of His creation.

In the book of Job, God asks many questions that lead to the answer that He is in control.

We are not in control, but we can be in fellowship with the One who is.

hawk take

Never Ends

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

His mercies never cease.

—Lamentations 3:22

~

What is the definition of never?

I looked it up in the dictionary.

The faithful love of the Lord on no occasion ends.

The faithful love of the Lord at no time ends.

The faithful love of the Lord by no means ends.

The faithful love of the Lord in no way ends.

The faithful love of the Lord in no case ends.

The faithful love of the Lord to no extent or degree ends.

The faithful love of the Lord will on no occasion, at no time, by no means, in no way, in no case, to no extent or degree, END.

Isn’t that something to rejoice about?

mercies

My Hands Have Made

This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is My throne,

    and the earth is My footstool.

Could you build Me a temple as good as that?

    Could you build Me such a resting place?

My hands have made both heaven and earth;

    they and everything in them are mine.

    I, the Lord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,

    who tremble at My word.

—Isaiah 66:1-2

Walking along the beach, I am struck many times by the magnificence of the patterns in the sand created by the tide. 

As the water approaches and then recedes, it forms a mathematical pattern of its own atop the sculpted sand. 

Contemplating its beauty and perfection, I am drawn to watch its continuous rhythm. 

God has made Heaven and Earth. He made the water and commanded it to create waves. He made the sand and commanded it to rest in patterns. 

Our God is an awesome God!

He Had a Dream

While visiting a city about an hour and a half away from my home, I needed to walk in an area that was unfamiliar to me in order to get to my parked car.

As I strolled on the sidewalk, I suddenly noticed a stone that had been placed in a lovely shaded landscaped area near a tree.

It read, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

In the Old Testament, there is an account of Jacob:

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

–Genesis 28:10-16

The presence of the Lord was certainly with Jacob.

We may not have had a dream like his, but God’s presence is in the hearts of His children.

He comforts, teaches, guides and corrects.

He loves us with an everlasting love.

Surely, the presence of the Lord is in our hearts.

dream

Freed Me From My Chains

Truly I am your servant, Lord;
    I serve you just as my mother did;
    You have freed me from my chains.

—Psalm 116:16

 

Being a mother, the second part of this verse stands out to me–

as my mother did;

What faith have I modeled for my children?

Have they known me as a servant of the Lord?

Have they watched me serve Him and chosen to do the same?

The last part of the verse speaks of freedom.

So many things in life can be likened to chains.

Chains that bind and constrict.

Chains that keep us from moving forward.

There are no situations or circumstances that are greater than God’s power to control them.

God can set us free.

In that freedom, we are loosed to serve Him in love and gratitude.

As we do this, we are creating a legacy for our children.

 

 

 

chains two