Inherit

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
       do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
       when they carry out their wicked schemes.

  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
       do not fret—it leads only to evil.

  For evil men will be cut off,
       but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
       though you look for them, they will not be found.

  But the meek will inherit the land
       and enjoy great peace.

 

Psalm 37:7-11

 

 

 

Wash Me

Mercy.

Unfailing love.

Great compassion.

To blot out.

To cleanse.

What do these words really mean?

Some dictionary research led me to these conclusions:

 

 

Have mercy (compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish) on me, O God,
       according to your unfailing (reliable or constant; without error or fault) love;
       according to your great compassion (sympathetic concern for the sufferings of others)
       blot out (obliterate or disregard) my transgressions.

  Wash away all my iniquity (immoral behavior)
       and cleanse (rid of something defiling) me from my sin.

Psalm 51:1,2

 

Thank You, Lord, for forgiving me

and renewing my life day by day.

 

 

 

 

What is Man?

The space shuttle Discovery was set for launch several days ago. I had awakened to an alarm so that I could trek out to the road and witness this tremendous event in the dark, wee hours of the morning.

There I stood, camera in hand, looking at the sky. Waiting. Waiting some more. No shuttle.

When I came back into my home, I found out that ill weather conditions had thwarted the launch time. All right. Back to bed….

Last night, I happened to notice that a friend had posted something online about watching the shuttle launch from a beach. I had not been aware of the rescheduled launch time. Happy with my new found knowledge, I once again appeared in the road by the nearby orange grove to view a marvel of man’s technology.

Suddenly, the sky and clouds turned orange as though a thousand acres of forest had been ablaze for hours. I stared into them with expectancy. Emerging with power and intense light came the rocket, soaring upward from the pillowed clouds.

As I photographed the ship on its ascent, I prayed aloud for the safety of the crew.

Although as mere humans, we have risen to a collective knowlege that allows for such a grandiosity as space exploration, we must never forget that anything we have to offer was first given to us by God.

As I looked at my favorite shot of the rising shuttle, I noticed a shining star beneath its plummage. Mankind may soar to the heavens on wings of fire, yet it is God who holds the heavens in place.

Psalm 8 beautifully declares this contrast:

O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory
       above the heavens.

 From the lips of children and infants
       you have ordained praise
       because of your enemies,
       to silence the foe and the avenger.

  When I consider your heavens,
       the work of your fingers,
       the moon and the stars,
       which you have set in place,

  what is man that you are mindful of him,
       the son of man that you care for him?

  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
       and crowned him with glory and honor.

  You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
       you put everything under his feet:

 all flocks and herds,
       and the beasts of the field,

  the birds of the air,
       and the fish of the sea,
       all that swim the paths of the seas.

  O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

 

 

To This Mountain

What mountains are there in your life?

Are they obstacles keeping you from God’s best?

Are they strong concerns for the conditions of those that you love dearly?

Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." 

 


 

 

Love and Faithfulness

 

Children love animals. It seems that almost every child longs to have a pet to care for. If not a furry puppy or kitten, they want to nurture a stuffed bear or baby doll and call them their own. Where does this deep love and concern for something more helpless than themselves come from?

The innocence of childhood, with its uncluttered and trusting heart, reaches out to bring comfort and love with a purpose untainted by selfishness.

 We go about our lives with only memories of our younger days. Our actions, however, still convey what is in our hearts. Do we still have a deep love and concern for those more helpless than ourselves? Do we reach out to bring comfort and love to others without selfish motives?

Proverbs 3:3a reads, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you."

Go ahead.

Pick up a puppy in the neighbors yard.

Call a friend and see how they’re doing.

Sponsor a needy child.

 

Reach out——-today.

 

 

 

God’s Voice Thunders

 

 

 

 

Where I live, we have a lot of thunderstorms. Warnings for severe thunderstorms with possible hail and high winds are a normal part of everyday life.

Sometimes, the thunder can be SO LOUD. It’s amazing that sound so great is coming from something so brief as what appears to be a flash of light to our eyes. Air around the bolts of lightning that we see is heated up to 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets that hot, it expands; this creates the sound of thunder.

Can thunder ever be silent?

In the book of Job in the Bible, we are told, "God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding."  (Job 37:5)

Does His voice thunder when an infant is born?

Does His voice thunder when we look into the night sky at contellations beyond our comprehension?

Does His voice thunder as we consider the properties of an atom?

Does His voice thunder when a doctor says, "The cancer is gone"?

From the tiniest of flowers to the rushing of ocean waves, God’s voice is loud. He is telling us that He is here. He is showing us a glimpse of His greatness.

He wants us to hear Him—-are you listening?

 

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd

 

 

I walked down the shadow laden road to where they were. I had been pleasantly surprised to find out that I would be spending some time on property where sheep were kept.

Years ago, I had the privildge of seeing a lamb. Frail and fragile looking, I thought of how God used sheep to describe us in the Bible.

We are like sheep in a pasture;  Sheep sometimes wander off from the safety of the fold. Sheep are defenseless against the ravages of wild animals seeking only to devour.

Do we have a tendency to wander? Do we find ourselves defenseless apart from God’s protection?

Jesus is our Shepherd. We know His voice.

 

 

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."

  –John 10:11-15

 

 

 

 

Love Never Fails

 

 

Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease;

where there are tongues, they will be stilled;

where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part;

then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

I Corinthians 13:8-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Your Hands

 

I started crying this morning.

Let’s back up a bit. As I was praying last night, I began to remember some things from my childhood days. These were actually very turbulent times for me. Family life was very dysfunctional, although at the time I had never heard the term. I was an only child in a single parent household.

Security was something I longed for, yet, as a very young child, I couldn’t have put my yearning into words. At the elementary school I attended from the age of six to twelve, students were to arrive on campus in the mornings and wait outside until an entry bell rang. The front "lawn" of the school was only dirt. There were two large trees in front of the school, symmetrically placed on either side of the dividing walkway to the entrance doors.

The tree to the right of the doors had very large roots that led from the trunk outward. There were two roots in particular that I would go and sit between with my back to the tree. The roots were like arms beside me. Perhaps I felt safe in the "arms" of the tree—sitting, waiting.

To my knowledge, I have no pictures of my childhood elementary experience, other than class portraits each year.

In the past few weeks, God has been showing me some memories that are helping me to understand myself in a way I had not previously been capable of. There have been many "why" questions throughout the years that only God could answer.

Last night, I remembered the tree roots. Is God showing me that He will be my security? That He was there all along? Even now, to whom could I run to, if not to Him?

Now, back to the crying…

This morning, I looked online and saw that a friend had posted a very old picture of teachers at my elementary school several years before I attended. Three of my teachers were in it. Looking further, there was a set of pictures posted from the school. As I looked through the photo album, I found a picture of the "monkey bars"—-a metal structure made for climbing (and an occasional broken arm!)

Above the matrix of metal bars, the limbs of a tree stretch out. The shadow of the branches paint the loose dirt below. I believe this is the tree–the tree with the strong, jutting roots that surrounded me as a little child, confused and afraid.

What would be the odds that I would think of something like this in prayer and in less than 24 hours, see a photgraph of it from decades before? There is no reason to calculate such an astronomical figure; I know it was God that brought these memories to me in photo form this morning.

The very reminder that He is with me, sending visions of the past in order to bring me closer to Him in the future, made me begin to cry. Tears that come from the reality of knowing that our God is an awesome God, deeply concerned with what concerns us. He loves me now as He loved me then. My times have always been in His loving hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Majestic in Holiness

 

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD :
       I will sing to the LORD,
       for he is highly exalted.
       The horse and its rider
       he has hurled into the sea.

  The LORD is my strength and my song;
       he has become my salvation.
       He is my God, and I will praise him,
       my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

  Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ?
       Who is like you—
       majestic in holiness,
       awesome in glory,
       working wonders?

Exodus 15:1,2,11

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Friend

 

I know them. They’re friends.

For years and years they have been friends. They laughed together, went on hunting trips together. They even chose to work near each other. One man had two children, another only one. When they got together, it was entertaining just to hear them talk. Why? As they joked around with each other, anyone nearby would have to laugh, too. But there was more than just good times that solidified their friendship. I believe they trusted one another to care—to care about the things that mattered to each of them: their faith, their families, their hurts and their dreams.

I can recall hearing one of the men speak about a particularly difficult time in the life of his son. As he and his wife were hurting desperately over a matter, he chose to call his friend on the phone one morning.

"Could you come over here right now?" were the troubled words that traveled to his friends attentive ear.

"I’ll be right there," came the reply.

He knew he could trust his friend to be there for him when things were tough.

That was years ago, and I still remember his words.

Proverbs tells us that "there is a friends who sticks closer than a brother."

Could you be that kind of friend to someone today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Descend Like Dew

 

The shrubbery was almost a blue color. Nestled low to the ground, it was surrounded by the bright yellows of nearby flowers. As I looked more closely, I saw that a spider had woven a web connecting the tiny branches. Within the web were irregularly shaped droplets of water, sparkling like diamonds in the sunlight, reflecting minuscule images in their mirrored faces.

Water is a fascinating thing. With it, we clean. We take away what is undesireable. Without water, we could not physically live; we must have it to flourish. 

What analogy could be drawn from the existance of water to the existance of God’s mercy?

With the grace and forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus, we are made clean. He takes away that which is undesirable, leaving us whole in God’s sight. Without forgiveness, we could not inherit eternal life. We must have it to flourish.

As we consider more closely what God has done for us, may we become like tiny branches in the soil, displaying droplets of grace and forgiveness, sparkling like diamond witnesses, reflecting the love of our Savior in our forgiven faces.

 

 

Where is the Guest Room?

 

The room was open for anyone to enter, unhindered. It was quiet. Flowers bloomed just outside the door, lining the outer walls with rich, full colors.

I walked into the chapel through the rear entrance. No service was being held. Upon reaching the front of the sanctuary, I noticed a wood carving depicting Jesus and His disciples eating the Passover meal together.

In Luke, chapter 11, we read:

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:14-19)

Jesus knew what was about to happen. He chose to suffer on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

How do we receive His forgiveness? By faith, believing that He is the Son of God and asking for that forgiveness.

If you have never made the decision to ask God to forgive you, please consider making it now.

Don’t put it off—it’s the most important decision of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Full of Light

 

What has God done for you today?

What did He do yesterday?

Last week?

Last year?

We all have a story to tell. God’s faithfulness. His comfort. His provision.

Don’t be afraid to speak about it. Let the light of His presence in your life reach out to someone else.

Go ahead—-don’t hide it away.

Just…..let it shine.

 

 

 

No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.

 The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

 Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.

 If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.

Luke 11:33-36

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Unveiled Faces

 

 

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.

It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

II Corinthians 3:12-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Feet of a Deer

In the area I was visiting, word had gotten to me that elk could be seen in the wild. I had never seen elk before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

Now, I know.

Elk are also known as "Wapiti" and are the largest species of deer in the world. The elk I saw were not laden with heavy antlers; they were graceful and streamlined. After a time, they became startled and ran off. Even their running had a certain elegance to it. They were in a secluded valley area, at the base of a lofty mountain.

Psalm 18:30-33 states,

" As for God, his way is perfect;
       the word of the LORD is flawless.
       He is a shield
       for all who take refuge in him.

  For who is God besides the LORD ?
       And who is the Rock except our God?

  It is God who arms me with strength
       and makes my way perfect.

  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
       he enables me to stand on the heights."

 

Like the elk, God provides us with the strength to remain where He places us. He enables us to stand on the heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonders You Have Done

 

Seeing something I’ve never seen before.

Understanding something I’ve not thought of before.

Seeing something different in what I’ve been looking at all along.

Understanding something I’ve been confused about all along.

 

 

These are things that bring a spark to my eye; excitement wells up, often with a smile.

That must be why I take such joy in seeing a flower so terribly close-up, that I see the mathematical wonder of what God has formed.

Many are God’s wonders.

 

 

 

 

 

No Light

 

I remember walking in the "dark," trusting only in my own thoughts and feelings for the direction of my life. I also remember the results: loneliness, sadness, and isolation.

Caring friends invited me to church. That was a good start. From there, things transpired in such a way that, months later, I was confronted with making the decision to ask God to forgive me and accept Jesus, His Son, as my Savior. Simply put, I believed that Jesus had died, paying the price for my all my sin. I could now ask for forgiveness and be made whole. He would guide me the rest of my life and I would not be alone.

Have I lived in perfection since that time? Far from it. The difference is, His Spirit beckons me back to Him when I begin to stray from what is pleasing in His sight. Even as I am walking in the paths where God wants me, I may face difficulties. During those times, as in all others, I must trust Him.

Is there someone you could share the light with today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barns

 

Driving along the highway, I noticed the barn. Its color stood out among the green backdrop of trees. How could anyone miss the bright red hues of the wooden planks as they stood in contrast to the land surrounding them?

Serene. Calm. Comfortable. Slow. Peaceful.

These are all descriptions fitting for the scene. But what about prosperous? Not knowing, of course, the economic status of the owners, I have no knowledge of their wealth. However, the existance of the barn tells me that it was built with the expectation that it would someday be filled in the future.

What do we expect from God? Do we trust Him to take care of us? Do we build our "barns" expecting Him to fill them with His provision and His love? Do we give of ourselves with offerings of time, finances, and talents?

Although I do not own a physical barn, I have many spiritual barns. One is filled with blessings wrought from having children of my own to nurture. Another is filled with opportunities grasped to share my faith with others. Still another is filled with the knowledge of God’s love and faithfulness throughout my personal journey with Him.

As I continue on in my life, will I need more barns? Spiritual storage to hold blessings yet to be given?

The answer is as obvious as a red barn built expectantly in a meadow of green grass—

Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome

It happened once again.

Over a year ago, I was at a nearby spring, when I saw a beautiful butterfly far out on the water. Standing on the bank, I prayed that God might allow me to photograph the butterfly. It flew to me, and came to rest on the ground. Just days ago, I prayed a very similar prayer about a butterfly that was flying erratically near the front door of my home. God brought that butterfly to rest by my left foot.

Last week, I was sitting with a friend on a park bench. She saw a large, yellow butterfly flitting about. Hoping I could take a picture of it, she told me she thought it had gone behind a rock. I told her that I had a story to tell about butterflies……

As I walked without her nearer to the creek’s edge, I saw it. Watching it glide effortlessly through the air with wings of color, I began to pray that God would allow me to photograph it and I would be able to tell my friend of the answered prayer.

Round about it flew, coming to rest near me. (If you are not smiling by now, it is time to start!) I took several pictures, and waved to my friend to draw her attention to what was happening.

She didn’t see me.

Not wanting to startle the butterfly, I carefully called out to her. She came with her own camera and began to photograph the gracefully calm, yellow creature. Soon, her daughter and one of her friends joined us. It was STILL there! I shared with them all how I had prayed on that day and others when God had given me the opportunity to capture the beauty of what He had made.

In the Old Testament, God tells Moses that He will perform great wonders before the people of Israel:

Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.”

Is God still working like this today in the lives of His people? Volumes could not hold the accounts of answered prayer and the miraculous deeds He has shown to His children. Lives are changed, healed physically and spiritually. Provision is made in every area of our lives. Jobs are found and homes are built….and butterflies come to rest at our feet.

Those who live around us can see His awesome works.

He is faithful.

He is with us.

He is God.

Morning

 

The sunlight was captivating as it streamed through the treetops on its journey to the ground below.  Glowing beams, filled with the ever changing mist–born from the union of light and moisture; God’s dance of beauty between the earth and the heavens.

 

 

 

But I will sing of your strength,
       in the morning I will sing of your love;
       for you are my fortress,
       my refuge in times of trouble.

  O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
       you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

Psalm 59:16,17

 

 

 

 

The Lord Bless You

 

The LORD said to Moses,  "Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

  " ‘ "The LORD bless you
       and keep you;

  the LORD make his face shine upon you
       and be gracious to you;

  the LORD turn his face toward you
       and give you peace." ‘

  "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

 

—Numbers 6:22-27

 

Nothing Prepared

 

I saw something precious today. A little boy, perhaps three or four years old, was sitting with his father in church. I’m not sure if I even noticed when his little feet puttered toward the restroom area. I did notice, however, when he came back to his seat.

He had made the trek on his own. In the foyer around the restrooms is a water cooler, complete with paper cones to use as disposable cups. As he was returning to sit, he began motioning silently, making gestures about the cup of water. He was bringing the water to give to his daddy.

Watching a simple act of kindness completely interwoven in the fabric of the love shown on this child’s face was wondrous.  Think of the heartfelt, mental process: "I think I will get some water for Dad. I’m getting water for Dad. I’m taking water to Dad out in church. I’m giving Dad the water I got by myself. Dad likes his water. I love my Dad."

Sharing and giving is a powerful way to show love to others. During a time of joy, Nehemiah instructed his people to prepare food to enjoy and to give some to those who had nothing prepared.

Who can you share with today?

 

 

 

 

 

Be Jubilant

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
       let the sea resound, and all that is in it;

  let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
       Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;

  they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
       he comes to judge the earth.
       He will judge the world in righteousness
       and the peoples in his truth.

–Psalm 96:11-13

 

 

 

 

 

Bring in the Hay

There are times of preparation. God will help us to prepare.

There are times to go on to the task with confidence, having prepared for it. God will give us the strength for the task.

There are times to evaluate what has been, seeing plainly what was accomplished. God gives us wisdom.

There are times to start over, to begin again. God is with us through every new endeavor He brings.

Is it time to begin again?

"Bring in the hay; let the new grass appear."  –Proverbs 27:25a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Freedom

 

Have you ever not known what you were supposed to do? It feels very uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

Last year, my daily work schedule changed. The schedules of several of my coworkers changed, as well. At times, I would find myself sheepishly walking to another employee and asking for help because I was confused about exactly what I was supposed to be doing. As the weeks continued on, I began to comprehend what was expected of me. Where I had been uneasy in not knowing, I was now much more relaxed in the freedom of understanding.

Understanding and obeying God’s precepts gives us freedom. We are not lost in the shadows of "not knowing" the wisdom that could guide our everyday lives.

We live in the light of understanding God’s ways.

 

 

 

 

Do Not Worry

 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

—Matthew 6:31-34

 

 

 

 

 

I Will Tell

I am thankful about a great many things. Will I, in gratitude, tell others about God?

The Psalmist writes, "I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;
         I will tell of all Your wonders."

When I am speaking to people casually throughout my day, will I remember to mention God? Will I remember to tell of something He has done for me as the opportunity arises?