He Sees Everything

 

I had taken the car to go pick up my husband and son from the fishing pier.

There was a parking spot on the bridge nearby. I pulled over and waited.

Looking to my right, I noticed that an insect had gotten in with me.

I didn’t recall having ever seen anything like it.

Did it bite?

Sting?

Fly?

I just didn’t know.

But that didn’t matter.

God made it and He knew exactly what it was.

And He was letting me see it for the first time.

There are a great many things in life that I do not understand.

I am confronted with situations that are previously unknown to me on a regular basis.

Will this bite?

Does this sting?

God knows.

God knows exactly what’s going on.

If He wants to tell me, He will.

 

 

God is the only one who knows

   the way to wisdom,

    because he sees everything

   beneath the heavens.

         –Job 28:23-24

 

 

Pure and Genuine

 

 

 

Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are.They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice you will be blessed by God in what you do.

  Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

—James 1:22-27

 

 

Those Who Search

 

I had been told they were there.

Pink birds called Roseate Spoonbills had been seen off a nearby highway.

That meant, of course, that I would soon be seen there, as well…

Although I did not see a group of these unique birds, I was blessed to see just one.

One pink bird.

Located out in the water past the little islands of green foliage, I saw him, along with another bird of a different species, just walking around.

Totally unfamiliar with their habits, I watched him through my camera’s zoom lens.

What was he doing?

He was swinging his head from side to side (that would be a head connected to quite a long neck) right at the level of the water. Back and forth, occasionally turning to one side, then the other.

Hmmm.

It was time for a little research.

Holding true to the online reports about him and his kind, he was searching.

Searching for food.

It seems that Roseate Spoonbills move their heads and necks from side to side in shallow water, looking for food. When they find it, their bills snap shut as they pull their meal up from below and swallow it.

What about reports about us, online or otherwise?

I don’t mean the ridiculous articles found in grocery store newspapers at the checkout that beckon us to read about such things as people born half human, half alligator.

I’m talking first of all about what our friends and family say.

That branches out to coworkers and neighbors.

How would they answer the question,

"As a Christian, does he/she seem to always be searching for God? Searching for direction? Is that almost the first thing you would notice about them upon being introduced?"

What if someone new to your neighborhood was told about you—

"There’s a Christian family that lives down there by the highway."

         "Really? I think I will go and visit them."

 

Would they find you searching…..for God?

Those who know your name trust in you,
      for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

–Psalm 9:10

 

 

 

Fountain of Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting the park for the first time, I was pleased to find a waterfall area at the entrance.

There’s something about moving water over a cascading landscape that fascinates me and urges me to photograph it.

Water emerging and flowing has surely set many poets to writing. The imagery brings thoughts of newness, of life– of sustenance.

The writer of Proverbs 17 had something to say about a fountain.

The Good News Version of the Bible states Proverbs 14:17 this way:

Do you want to avoid death? Reverence for the Lord is a fountain of life.

The New International Version says,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
   turning a person from the snares of death.

The New Century Version reads,

Respect for the Lord gives life.
       It is like a fountain that can save people from death.

 

 

Respect.

Fear.

Reverence.

 

If we honor God and gratefully give our hearts to Him, we avoid the deadly traps that seek to ruin our lives.

God is our fountain of life.

In Him alone to do find it.

 

 

 

Protect

 

 

As I was driving home today from a well overdue visit to the dentist, I noticed a man near the edge of the highway using a line trimmer.  He had a white piece of fabric tied around his face. I immediately knew why…

My jaw was tingling as the effects of the anethesia were wearing off. A confusing and bitter taste reamained in my mouth, a testimony to the myriad of chemicals that had been abruptly introduced within it during the morning’s procedure.

Since I was getting two teeth crowned, I was grateful for every step taken to insure a successful outcome.

Usually, when something touches the tongue that has a bad taste, it is an informative signal that it should not be there, yet that is not always the case.

By the close of my dental visit, a variety of chemicals and substances— each with its own particular "flavor"– had been present in my mouth–

a topical anesthetic, an injected anesthetic, a purple clay used to make an impression of my teeth and a rather diverse assortment of adhesives and cleaning agents that had left their distinctive mark on many of my taste buds.

So what does my excursion into the world of dentistry have in common with routine lawn maintenance?

Normally, grounds keepers wear a filtering mask when cutting grass and weeds. The white cloth wrapped around the face of the man using the line trimmer was protecting him from the dust and debris filling the air that surrounded him. Tiny particles of weeds, pollen, grass and dirt were being filtered out, leaving cleaner air to inhale.

While at the dentist’s office, I had to trust that he, being more knowledgeable than I, would only allow into my mouth what was good and necessary to achieve the best results.

As Christians, God is our filter.

If we ask Him to place His "white cloth" of protection over us as the dust and debris of life flies about our faces, He will ultimately select what gets in. The tiny particles that would seek to do us harm are filtered away.

Though some of what He allows us to experience may seem to have a bad taste, we have to trust that God, being infinitely more knowledgeable than us, will only allow into our lives what is good and necessary to achieve the best results.

Just as my dentist chose what I needed, God will choose for us, as well.

 

 

 

 

A Journey

 

 

 

I had never been to the area before.

The railroad made it’s way winding into the deep forest of trees.

What was around the bend?

I honestly could not tell.

Unless I followed its path myself, I could not truly know for sure.

And unless I had someone to direct me as to which track to take, I wouldn’t know how to get to any particular destination.

There are days when I awaken and begin with prayer.

Sometimes I tell God that I want to be available to Him that day.

I don’t know at those moments what is up ahead.

Only He knows what will happen.

He knows what’s down the track.

I need to listen and to remain aware of His presence throughout the journey of the coming hours.

 

 

 

 

 

Thick With Thistles

 

 

 

One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones, and then passed the vineyard of a lout; They were overgrown with weeds, thick with thistles, all the fences broken down. I took a long look and pondered what I saw; the fields preached me a sermon and I listened:

"A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, with poverty as your permanent houseguest!"

 

–Proverbs 24:30 The Message

 

The Stars

 

It was a perfect afternoon to walk in the lakeside park.

My friend and I stopped often to notice our surroundings—frolicking squirrels, a brown lizard, a bird on the water’s edge.

There was quite a variety of flowers adorning our path.

About my shoulder height, I paused to point out a flower bud on a bush. Noticing the fully bloomed version close by, my friend gently held one up as she noticed the shape of a star within it.

Being very fond of stars, this was quite a special find for her.

God, of course, designed it to be in star form. He knew also that people would one day describe the tiny points of bright light in the dark night sky as stars. He knew that astronomers would study them through massive telescopes and that children would draw them with crayons and that homework papers done well would often be decorated with the same.

Looking closely at the flower, one can see the yellow star in the center. Surrounding it are five golden points, slightly off from the position of the center star, from which another star could be drawn.

In the account of the creation of the world in the first chapter of Genesis, verse 16, we read,

God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars.

As we continually discover the mathematical perfection of the universe, we catch a glimpse of God’s awesome power and His intentional creation of all things in just the way that pleased Him.

He made the stars in the sky.

He made the stars in the flowers.

He reveals His majesty to us in both.

It was a perfect afternoon to walk in the park–

and admire what God had made.

 

 

 

 

 

My Place of Safety

 

 

 

The architecture of the church was captivating and ornate. Having only driven through the downtown area of a nearby city before, this was the first time that I had actually stood on the street looking up at the stature of this magnificent building.

Such care had been taken with each detail.

Although I do not know anyone that attends that church personally, I have some idea of what they are like.

They are probably no different than the people who attend any other church in the city.

They are probably no different than the people who attend any other Christian church in the entire world, at least in some respects.

So, what might these people be like?

1. They would love the LORD.

2. They would say that they find strength in Him.

3. They would profess Him as their Savior.

4.  They would agree that He is their protector.

5.   They would tell of a feeling of safety in His presence.

 

Psalm 18, verses 1 and 2 reads,

I love you, Lord;
      you are my strength.
  The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
      my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
   He is my shield, the power that saves me,
      and my place of safety.

God has not changed.

He is still–

our rock

our strength

our fortress

our Savior

our protection

our shield

our salvation

our safety

 

If you know God, although I do not know you personally, I have some idea of what you are like.

Am I right?

 

 

 

The Real Person

 

 

Standing at the edge of the spring water, the sky and the surrounding trees were reflected with amazing clarity. The deep blue background spotted with white, fluffy clouds and green trees appeared as a twin image before me.

The clear, cool water, flowing from a nearby cave, could only reflect it surroundings. It could only represent what was nearby.

Proverbs 27:19 reads,

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

The center of a our thoughts and emotions reflect who we really are.

Who do we truly want to be?

Who does our heart say that we are?

 

 

 

Thoroughly Equipped

 

 

They are very interesting birds.

The White Ibis has a long, hooked beak that allows it to look for insects to eat.

Foraging in my front yard near the driveway, one was close enough to photograph from my car.

In one area after another, the long, slender beak plunged down into the ground and back up again.

Over and over.

Does the White Ibis fly high in the trees and eat…coconuts?

Not that I know of.

God did not equip them with coconut cracking beaks.

Instead, He intended them to have a diet of tiny creatures that crawl on the ground.

He equipped them with exactly what they needed to get the job done.

What about us?

Does God equip us with what we need? Consider that in reading this passage:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

–II Timothy 3:16,17

If we are to teach, we have the Bible.

If we are to correct and train another in virtue, we have the Bible.

If we want to be thoroughly equipped for every good work that we can do, we have the Bible.

Within its pages, we find God’s guidance for our lives.

We see His love.

We see His mercy.

We see forgiveness.

What good work is God calling you to today?

How has He equipped you to carry it out?

God gave the White Ibis a long, hooked beak.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if it never used it?

 

 

 

Grace

 

 

 

This morning in church, the congregation sang "Your Grace Is Enough." (by Chris Tomlin)

Here is a sample of the lyrics:

Your grace is enough
Heaven reaching down to us
Your grace is enough for me
God I see your grace is enough
I’m covered in your love
Your grace is enough for me
For me

 

Curious about the meaning of grace, I did a little bit of research. In one Bible resource, grace is attributed to the divine influence of the heart.

In II Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul is speaking about a "thorn in the flesh" that he suffered with. After pleading with the Lord to take it away, Paul relates—

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. –II Corinthians 12:9

If I place the meaning above into this scripture, then I see that the Lord’s divine influence on Paul’s heart was to be sufficient for him.

For the child of God, every experience is faced with the influence of the Lord within our hearts.

Heaven truly reaches down and we are covered in His love.

 

 

Tempest

 

 

 

Yesterday was Friday.

I attended a funeral of a friend’s father.

Last Friday I attended the funeral of a friend’s mother.

On Monday, I am planning to attend the funeral of another friend’s father.

There have been many opportunities to comfort and to encourage in these recent days.

There is a psalm written by King David when he was very afraid and upset:

Listen to my prayer, O God,
   do not ignore my plea; (verse one)

hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught… (verse two)

My heart is in anguish within me;
   the terrors of death assail me.(verse four)

These verses are taken from Psalm 55.  I realize that David is not sick at heart because of the death of a loved one. However, these words fit my own experience in a personal and different way.

When a family member or close friend dies, isn’t your heart imediately turned to God?

Don’t your thoughts trouble you?

What will I do now?

If only….

Why?

Isn’t your heart filled with anguish?

Don’t you feel a terror at the realization of death?

In the midst of all these, God is there to take the fearful thoughts, the lost emotions, the confusion–all the components of grief–and place them in the light of His power…

and His love.

"Yes. Death is real," He may say to you. "but I am stronger than death. The one you love is with Me now. Be still and know that I am God."

In those moments of communication with God, He takes the "what will I do now?" the "if only" and the "why" and replaces the fear and confusion with calm.

Over and over again.

After having lost someone who is entwined with your heart, returning thoughts are likely to trouble you, sometimes when you least expect it.

David said," I would hurry to my place of shelter,
   far from the tempest and storm.”(verse eight)

When you are in the middle of a storm, uncertainty can grab hold with a tight grip.

Finding shelter becomes paramount.

Who is our shelter?

God.

Time and again, He will take you far from the tempest and storm.

 

 

The Farmer Waits

 

 

 

I was driving along the highway on a somewhat unfamiliar route.

It was very hilly, and I found myself looking at the scenery around me as my car crested the tops of each hill.

Suddenly, as I began to drive down to a low point, I saw a captivating scene.

It really did just that. Because I was driving, I was only able to catch a glimpse of the small valley for a second or two. I knew I had to go back—for another look.

Given the nature of the highway and the hilly region, I had to drive quite a ways down the road in order to find a safe place from which to turn around. After having done so, I traveled back. I traveled back to where I had noticed the valley and then, farther still. Turning around again, I started the journey over in order to see this picturesque stage of green.

As I approached, I noticed that a man was busy working at the edge of the property. It looked as though he might be repairing a fence. Much has to be done in order to maintain acreage, be it the planting and harvesting of crops or cattle raising. Chores like fence repair are just part of the task at hand.

Did this man own the land?

Did he have a crop planted?

If so, it would take time to see the fruit of his labor. Many days and weeks would have to pass before he could harvest his land. He would have to be patient.

Just like the farmer, there are things for those who believe in Jesus to do while we wait for His coming. We must wait patiently, knowing that He will decide on the moment and hour to return.

One day, what we have hoped for will be revealed to us. We must be patient.

And while we are patient, we should stand firm in our faith—

Listen for God to tell us what to do next.

As long as we are waiting, He may have a fence for us to mend…..

 

 

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. —James 5:7,8

 

Anger Run Wild

 

 

 

This morning, as I sat at my desk, our Bassett hound came lumbering up to me.

Yes, it was time.

Time to be fed.

Getting up from my chair, I made the trek to the garage where the dog food is kept. I would not only be feeding our Bassett hound, but our Plott hound, as well.

Our Bassett hound is a loving dog, quick to show love and generous of heart.

Our Plott hound is a loving dog, quick to show love and …..quite stingy.

Simply put, she has an attitude problem about food.

Nothing else—just food.

She must eat alone, away from our Bassett, because she becomes very protective of the little crunchy brown wafers in her dish.

Because of this stingy attitude, she becomes angry at the thought of sharing, even if our Bassett hound is totally uninterested in the situation.

Because of her ill temper, we must feed our two dogs in separate rooms.

As I filled the dish for our Bassett this morning, I closed the door to our bedroom, leaving her to dine there while I filled the dish of our Plott hound in the kitchen.

A lot of trouble to go to, just because of an angry reputation….

There are many references to anger in the Bible. One such reference is Proberbs 29:11—

A foolish person lets his anger run wild.
      But a wise person keeps himself under control.

This passage stands alone without any specific explanation.  Applying to a broad array of circumstances, anyone could relate.

When, and if, anger has "run wild" in someone you have encountered, you are well acquainted with the outcome. Most often, it is much less desirable than it could have been.

If only that person had kept their anger under control. Yes, within that statement lies wisdom.

Wisdom that I need.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be invited to the "big dinners" in life, where everyone is happy around the "table."  I don’t want to be known as someone who has to be fed…

alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Get This Living Water

 

 

I wanted something to brighten up that area of the walkway.

Standing in the nursery area of the store, I found a very beautiful, pink blossomed plant.

The tag informed me that it would be best grown in full sun.

After having been planted in my yard for a few days, a time of extreme hot weather set in. The heat index for our area was 100 degrees. Evidently, my plant was struggling to survive on the amount of water it had recieved.

How did I know?

It’s supple leaves were now drooping along bent and fragile stems. It looked nothing like it did when I had first purchased it and set it out.

It looked almost hopeless. I decided to water it, anyway.

Not just a little.

A lot.

Time would tell if it was indeed too far gone.

Concerned and hopeful, I was relieved to find that it’s roots had taken a significant drink from the soil.

Pink blossoms once again adorned the lush green leaves.

Without the living water of Jesus, what do we look like spiritually?

If we could see ourselves in that light, would our lives look wilted and sagging, lacking that which we must have to survive?

When we do have the living water, what a difference it makes!

Jesus told of living water in the 4th chapter of John, as he spoke with the woman at the well:

Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”—John 4:11-14

What does your life look like today?

Do you know Jesus, the One who could give you living water, as your Savior?

 

 

 

 

 

In Love

 

 

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love.–I Corinthians 16:13,14

I had been listening for the past three days for my cell phone to alert me of a text.

The father of a very close friend had been in an accident. Many people had been praying, but the physicians had not given much hope of recovery.

This evening, I heard my phone. The message informed me of my friend’s father’s passing.

Knowing that God is in control, I am comforted in knowing that this man’s life was, and still is, in God’s hands.

What is there to do, now?

Love.

When there are those in need, that is the answer.

Show God’s love.

Be there.

Do what needs to be done.

Say whatever should be said, or sit in knowing silence.

Hug.

Although at this hour, I am unsure as to what exactly I will be doing in the days to come, I know that God will guide me and others who care in doing what He would have us to do—and to "do everything in love."

 

 

I Will Sing

 

 

  My heart is steadfast, O God;
   I will sing and make music with all my soul.–Psalm 108:1

I am studying a plan for having a quiet time or devotional time with the Lord.

This probably sounds totally normal.

What might be different is, I am studying the devotional time of a Christian who lived about 450 years ago.

This Christian man intentionally found time for God every day. He developed a close personal relationship with the Lord through years of prayerful transparency with God.

I personally want to learn more.

In my study of this man, I read part of a modern booklet speaking about this time of devotion. This sentence stood out to me:

"The Christian heart is always a heart in song—a song of deep joy and gratitude." (George Aschenbrenner)

I want a closer walk with God….and I want to sing.

 

 

 

 

Show Me

 

 

We were standing outside the museum when I heard it coming.

The helicopter was somewhat low to the ground and the sound coming from its engine and swirling wings was strong.

On impulse, I snapped a photo of it as it flew overhead on its way to….somewhere.

I’m not sure that there is ever a time when I do not look up when I hear a helicopter approaching. Even though I have seen them time and again since my childhood, they still hold a solid grip on my curiousity.

Whatever the pilot was seeing that day from up above was certainly viewed from a completely different perspective than my own. What was obvious to him may have been totally hidden from me as I stood firmly on the ground. If I were to ever gain his perspective, I would have to experience the flight myself.

In the last few days, I feel that God has taken me on a "spiritual" helicopter ride—

It began with an awareness of my own lack of knowledge and understanding in a particular area of faith and worship. Without much warning, God placed me in the center of an experience that allowed me to contemplate many aspects of this area. I was gaining knowledge and perspective from a totally new vantage point. I was right there in the helicopter with God, my Pilot.

After having only "landed" for several hours, I found that once again I was being ushered into a learning experience. This time, an article online made its way to me which dealt with aspects of this same area of faith. I was not seeking to find it, yet God, I believe, brought it to my attention. I was, once again, in the "sky" seeing things from a different point of view.

The flight was not over, however.

A Christian magazine from the church our oldest son attends had come in the mail. I had been browsing through it from time to time. Within its pages were personal stories and testimonies of members of the congregation dealing with matters of faith.

For some reason, (I now know that God was placing me in "helicopter mode") I was particularly drawn to a small, one inch column that ran along the edge of a single page. The words that were printed spoke of a man and his devotional time with God each evening. At the end, a website was given for further study on the subject. As I looked it up, I found that it, too, pointed to this same area of which I lacked knowledge and understanding.

Within three short days, I have learned a great deal from God. It is as though God were saying to me, "Look at all this from up here. Watch—and understand."

My thinking has been changed and altered.

My heart is grateful.

Even when my feet are on the ground, I’m not likely to forget what God has allowed me to see in these days—from way up high…..

 

 

 

 

 

The Depth

 

 

 

The sun was setting with creamy hues of pale orange as I walked around the church.

As I looked up toward the sky, the cross that stands on the roof was in view.

God has created the world and with it, the beauty of the sky.

He created us with eyes to behold it.

He sent His Son to us, to die on the cross.

"To Him be the glory!"

 

 

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
   How unsearchable his judgments,
   and his paths beyond tracing out!
 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
   Or who has been his counselor?”
 “Who has ever given to God,
   that God should repay them?”
 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
   To him be the glory forever! Amen. 

 

Romans 11:33-36

 

 

 

 

Live Again

 

 

 

The morning brought the promise of rain and gray skies.

I had set my alarm clock to go off at 6:30.  A friend of mine lost their mother in a battle with cancer. Her funeral service was to be at 8:30.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the church, I noticed the unique architecture of the building. Walking into the sanctuary, I was drawn to the beauty of every detail of the place of worship.

It was a very large church with a high, lofty ceiling. Stained glass adorned the walls. There were many things within the room to remind those entering of Jesus and what He had done for us. I gazed at one area, then another, pondering each thoughtfully.

A group of singers led those in attendance in singing hymns. A cloth banner at the front of the sanctuary bore the name of my friend’s mother and read, "Welcome, ___, into the Kingdom of my Father."

I liked that.

There was much emphasis during our moments there on living eternally with Jesus in Heaven. There was no mistaking the hope that was permeating the room.

The entire service was a moving reminder that there is life after death for those who love the Lord.

Some time after returning home from the funeral, I found that the father of another friend had died this morning. She was with him as he took his last breath.

He was also a Christian.

Even in the Old Testament, we find reference to living eternally with God.

As Job was suffering immense pain, he spoke these words:

If someone dies, will they live again?
   All the days of my hard service
   I will wait for my renewal to come.
 You will call and I will answer you;
   you will long for the creature your hands have made.
 Surely then you will count my steps
   but not keep track of my sin.
 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
   you will cover over my sin.

–Job:14:14-17

We wait for our renewal to come. Someday, we will be new in Heaven. We would not have this hope, had it not been for God, who longed to redeem us from our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus. When we accept His free gift, He does not count our sin against us. He knows each step we take, but He does not keep track of our transgressions. They are sealed away, never to be known.

Jesus has covered them all.

As I walked to my car when the service had ended, soft droplets of rain had just begun to fall.

The morning may have brought the promise of rain and gray skies, yet I held the promise of the hope of eternal life deep within my heart as I headed home.

Jesus is calling.

Won’t you answer Him?




No Oxen

 

 

I am invited to a friend’s home this weekend for a small party.

When I was invited by the hostess, she asked if it was necessary to clean her house before I came…

I assured her that cleaning was not needed.

Her fellowship, coupled with that of her other guests will be the most important aspect of the evening.

My friend and her husband have full time jobs and are raising two teenage boys, as well.

A clean house? That would be a challenge for anyone!

In my own home I realize that if I were its only inhabitant, it would be a cleaner, neater place.

Only one plate to wash at dinner.

One towel in the bathroom.

God has blessed me with a family. With that family has come an immense amount of laundry through the years, along with dirty dishes, soiled floors and grimy doorknobs.

All of this has been accompanied by laughter, hugs, bedtime prayers, family meals and a knitting together of hearts in a way quite impossible to express in mere words.

Do I really want a clean house?

No.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. –Proverbs 14:4

 

 

I Will Meditate

 

 

 

It has been a full day.

Many of the things I had set out to do are now accomplished.

What I did not know was that God would speak to me today in a special way.

At the start of the day, I had a concern on my heart.

A friend, not knowing my concern, posted a photo of a page in her Bible online.

I saw the scriptures in the photo and realized that they spoke directly to my concern.

This evening, my husband and I stopped by a grocery store to get just a few items.

I felt the urge to go to the electronics section of the store to look at DVDs.

This would not be unusual, except that I almost NEVER look at videos to purchase.

Tonight was different, somehow, as I was interested in looking.

My husband found a DVD that we had not heard of before. It was based on the scripture that appeared in the photo of the Bible this morning…..

Yes. We purchased it.

Eager to know what God might be saying to me, we came home and watched it.

I am still processing the perspective that God is allowing me to see.

God is at work all the time. He knows my every thought.

He is directing my attention to His word and to His will for the situation that I am concerned about.

I have much to think through and to meditate on.

I am thankful for His guidance and love.

 

 

I will exalt you, my God the King;
   I will praise your name for ever and ever.
 Every day I will praise you
   and extol your name for ever and ever.

  Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
   his greatness no one can fathom.
 One generation commends your works to another;
   they tell of your mighty acts.
 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
   and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

—Psalm 145:1-5

 

Coming in Clouds

 

 

It was the second fireworks show that I had attended this past weekend.

In the community where I go to church, a fireworks display had been scheduled for last night. As is the custom in this area, the fireworks were to be shot from a barge on a lake.

Finding a spot on a wooded dock, located behind another, more modern one, I settled in. Striking up a conversation with a woman who happened to be sitting next to me, I found that she was an artist—and a Christian.

We talked away the minutes before the show was to start.

The bursts of color, accompanied by loud explosions were spectacular. The crowd before me sat in rows, watching the sky as I did.

When it was over, I said goodbye to my new friend and made my way to the car.

Some of the fiery designs in the sky had been incredibly enormous, filling a great part of it.

What will it be like when Jesus returns? Imagine all those people sitting at the dock, looking up—but not at fireworks.  Imagine that instead, they are seeing Jesus coming in the clouds, returning to Earth.

If that had actually been the case, I would have beheld my Savior and Lord, as would the woman sitting next to me. Others, however, would not have known Him. The option to live forever with Him would be closed.

The great sadness of that hour, when it does come, will be unspeakable for those who are left behind.

There is more for me to do in spreading the good news of Jesus to others.

There is more for you, too.

What will it be like when Jesus comes back?

 

 

 

Sing

 

 

 

 

I have two sets of chimes hanging in my front yard.

When I am not anticipating it at all, I am often awakened to their lovliness as I walk outside my home or return from a trip.

With my mind keenly focused on other seemingly important things, the gentle tones of the metal tubes ringing calmly as they serenely sway in the wind reach my consciousness, urging me to appreciate their beauty.

I often consider singing and praising God. Sometimes I sing to Him while I am driving, listening to songs on the radio that honor and glorify Him. At other times, I sing to Him as I play an instrument. There are times, too, that I praise Him by playing an instrument alone and my voice is quiet as the music creates my message of worship.

We would not have music to offer to God had He not created it.

As the wind blows mildly through the reeds at the water’s edge, music flows.

When I am greeted by the velvet tones beneath my trees, who is playing the music?

God is setting the wind in motion; is He playing the music for me?

As I sing praise to Him, He is also proclaiming His majesty by allowing me to hear the music He has created in this world.

He has given us a voice.

I myself will sing to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

All My Fountains

 

 

 

He has founded his city on the holy mountain.
 The LORD loves the gates of Zion
   more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.

  Glorious things are said of you,
   city of God:
 “I will record Rahab and Babylon
   among those who acknowledge me—
Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—
   and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”
 Indeed, of Zion it will be said,
   “This one and that one were born in her,
   and the Most High himself will establish her.”
 The LORD will write in the register of the peoples:
   “This one was born in Zion.”

  As they make music they will sing,
   “All my fountains are in you.”

–Psalm 87

 

 

Without Knowledge

 

 

Everyone was getting impatient.

A town not far from my home has a monthly street festival in the downtown area which is located beside a large lake. This month, a fireworks display had been advertised as part of the evening’s event.

Set for nine o’clock, I arrived thirty minutes early with two cameras. Sitting on the boardwalk, I had a great view of the water and the sky. I was anticipating an impressive show and hopefully, good photographs.

Nine o’clock came. Many people were crowded around, hoping to experience the brilliant display. Boats were congregating on the water as their owners were wanting to have an even closer look at the scene, since the fireworks were to be ignited from a boat. But there was one problem–nothing happened.

Nine thirty–no fireworks. Nine forty-five–no fireworks. Several people had given up and left the lake. About ten fifty, I began to walk away. From behind me, suddenly there was a loud bang!

I hurried back to the boardwalk and began snapping pictures as I watched a tremendous array of colors bursting in the sky in front of me.

If I had left just five minutes sooner, I probably would have missed it. I found out later that there had been a serious problem that had caused the delay.

Proverbs 19:2 reads,

Desire without knowledge is not good—
   how much more will hasty feet miss the way!

How many times have I made a decision based upon what I thought I wanted, when I didn’t have all the facts gathered in order to make an informed choice? I must say that my feet have been "hasty" too many times. I have missed the best way, because I chose what looked good at the moment, without making a careful–or prayerful–consideration of the matter.

Last night, I was not informed about the delay of the fireworks show. Even though I had not been accurately informed of a cancellation, I decided to leave–only to turn right around after realizing I had made the wrong choice.

When the show was over, I decided to photograph an area near the end of the boardwalk. Some of those who had just witnessed the disply were still standing near the water’s edge, illumined by the lights of the lakeside park.

Those who had not been hasty were not disappointed.