The Son Reflects

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets many times and in many different ways. But now in these last days God has spoken to us through his Son. God has chosen his Son to own all things, and through him he made the world. The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like. He holds everything together with his powerful word. When the Son made people clean from their sins, he sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. The Son became much greater than the angels, and God gave him a name that is much greater than theirs. —Hebrews 1:1-4

 

A Truthful Person

 

 

Visiting the home of a friend, I happened to notice how the sunlight from her back patio was falling on a houseplant.

The rays of light had rendered parts of it an almost transparent green.

It was as it you could look right through it and see what was inside.

Nothing hidden.

No deception.

Just a plant, transparent and simple.

Just this week, I witnessed the integrity of someone that I know.

They had an opportunity to be dishonest about a matter, but chose to be transparent, instead.

Their choice to be honest may seem unprofitable to some, yet the value and esteem of their decision is worth far more.

What is it worth to be known as a person of integrity?

What is it worth to be known as deceitful and untrustworthy?

How important is it to please God in this area of our lives?

If we purpose to be truthful, we certainly will reap the benefits of doing so.

Proverbs 28:20a says,

A truthful person will have many blessings…

 

Nothing hidden.

No deception.

Just a forgiven child of God, transparent and simple.

 

 

 

Joseph and Mary

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend, I attended a city Christmas celebration at a centrally located park.

Vendors were selling food and drinks, the smell of popcorn filled the early nighttime air and entertainers took the stage, one after another in the outdoor venue.

Part of the draw for attending the event was the "ahh" moment when a switch would be flipped and two million Christmas lights would suddenly come alive, all at once within the park.

As I sat on a bedspread placed on the grass, I could hear the performers and announcers, but I could not see them because of the crowd in front of me.

At one point in the evening, the emcee introduced a man who would be reciting a section from his own musical about Jesus as a child.

I got up for this.

Walking up in the crowd and to the side, I was able to position myself to see him from afar.

As I listened to him speak, his words reached into my heart as my eyes hinted at tears.

It was hard for me to speak through the emotion.

Listening to his words about baby Jesus– spoken from the viewpoint of Joseph– was an experience that was new for me.

Two million lights?

Yes, it was wonderful to see them.

Talented artists singing on stage?

The smell of popcorn?

It was all very nice.

What I will most remember are the words about Jesus.

Jesus and the two people God chose to care for Him–Mary and Joseph.

 

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.—Luke 2:39-40

 


 

Not Slow

 

 

 

When you pray, do you expect an answer right away?

I remember proudly taking home a personal sized milk carton filled with dirt when I was in elementary school.

It wasn’t the dirt that made me proud.

It was what was in the dirt.

If my memory serves me well, the plant that had shot up from my little plot of soil was that of a bean.

Having placed my bean within the unseen darkness beneath about an inch of dirt, I had to wait, along with the rest of my classmates who had done the same with their beans and milk cartons.

Beginning the process of new life, probably sitting in the window sill to the left of all the desks, the warmth and sunlight from the outside nurtured the bean.

Though I don’t remember actually doing it, I certainly must have watered it as part of my responsibility as a good student.

There was a day when the long awaited sprout peeked out in all it green-ness for the first time.

In the following days, it grew to an impressive height.

My teacher surely must have told the class that it would be so.

"Plant a bean and watch it grow!"

Is praying somewhat like the planting of a seed?

When we pray, our heartfelt communication with God begins a process.

Once thought or spoken, it is instantly acknowledged by Him, although we cannot see it being received.

Sometimes, hidden from our view is the beginning of an answer.

The seed of prayer begins to take shape as God begins working.

What is going on beneath the soil of His sovereignty is too miraculous for us to fathom.

If it is God’s will for us to see the answer, there will come a day when a sprout will surface, announcing the response to our prayer.

Unlike beans, there is no set time to expect the sprouting of our prayers.

God’s timing is unique to each request.

There will be some answers to prayer that we can triumphantly carry out into the world and say, "See! Look what God has done!"

Other answers to prayer may be granted after we are gone from this earth.

Either way, God is faithful.

Just as a bean creates a plant, a small seed may create a tall tree.

It is for God to decide when and how.

He is not slow to hear us.

He is not slow to keep His promises.

He is God.

 

 

Yours in Abundance

 

 

 

Sailboats fascinate me.

There is a sailboat club about a ten minute drive from my house.

Every time there is a regatta, I want to stop whatever I am doing and just watch them out on the water.

On this day, however, I wasn’t near my home.

I was visiting an island in the Gulf of Mexico.

A sailboat came to the shore.

I stopped what I was doing long enough to watch for a while.

Never having owned a sailboat, I don’t actually know what it would be like to traverse the ocean with the wind to guide me.

Somehow, though, the very sight of one seems to speak to me of peace and a certain freedom.

There is a limit to what can be brought on board.

No room for clutter.

The sails themselves are simple and sleek, performing their only task as they move the craft beneath them along the waves.

The water is wide with openness and space with endless choice of direction and adventure.

When I see a sailboat, am I really yearning to be out on an expedition or am I simply longing for peace?

2 Peter 1:2 says, "Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

As I was reading several verses from 2 Peter 1 this evening, I began to think about peace in abundance.

I thought of two people who have been on my heart for some time now.

Asking myself, "Do they have abundant peace in their lives?" I had to say, "no."

Well, then, what about me?

Do I have abundant peace?

If not, why not?

The verse states that it is through "the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

Does this mean that the more I know about God and about Jesus, the more peace I will find?

Is the reverse true, as well?

Does it mean that the less I know of God and of Jesus, the less peace I will experience?

I want to know God and Jesus, His Son.

I want to be at an uncluttered place in my life where getting to know Him more is unhindered.

With wide open spaces and sails ready to respond to His leading, I long to be free.

I long for peace.

Peace in abundance.

What do you long for today?

 

 

 

 

 

Found By You

 

 

 

 

 

As a general rule, I don’t stop my car at railroad tracks.

This time was different.

I was driving in an very rural area unfamiliar to me.

Realizing that there were no other cars near me, I began to photograph the track in both directions.

Laid parallel to the highway and running straight for an impressive distance, the metal rails and wooden ties separated the thick stands of trees creating a passageway far into the horizon.

If I were to ride on a train traveling those very tracks, where would I end up?

One connection would surely lead to another and countless hours would bring me to destinations unknown.

That’s not how it’s done, however.

Those boarding a train purchase tickets to be taken to specific locations.

Just anywhere isn’t good enough.

I think many, many people believe that God exists, yet they feel He is distant and they have no real relationship to Him.

If they could buy a train ticket that would take them to God, would they?

What if the destination was unclear, but it was guaranteed that He would be there?

In the book of 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament, a prophet speaks to King Asa and the people of Judah and Benjamin about finding God:

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.  He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.  For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.  But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.  In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil.  One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.  But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”–2 Chronicles 15:1-7

We can’t buy a train ticket to find God.

It’s much easier than that.

We need not travel down a long track or a dusty road.

No busy highways, or mountainous terrain.

If we desire to know God, we may simply seek Him with our hearts and because God is God, He hears us, just as in the days of King Asa.

How would you describe your relationship to God?

Do you feel He is distant?

Call out to Him in prayer.

If you seek Him, you will find Him.

 

 

 

Watchful and Thankful

 

 

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.–Colossians 4:2

As I was driving down a stretch of highway to pick up a friend for an evening Thanksgiving meal, the sunset was gloriously golden.

It had been a good day to gather with family and to cherish our time together.

The love that we share is unique to us, as other families share a love that is specific just to them.

Only we know the story of our lives as we have grown up into who we are today.

We have witnessed both joy and sorrow as we have embarked on the great unknown of growing older–we, as parents and our children as children.

God is the author of the family.

It was His idea to put it all in place.

With family comes responsibility.

Responsibility to care for one another, physically and spiritually.

It is important to pray for those we love, remaining thankful that God has placed them in our lives.

 

 

 

How Much More

 

 

 

 

How do you feel when someone sends you flowers?

 

Today started out in a very relaxed way.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, this was a day off work for me.

No inconsiderate alarms to wake me from restful sleep.

No traffic to contend with.

No specific time to be anywhere.

Yes, it was good to just be calm and quiet.

Suddenly, once I got out of bed and showered, things began to change.

First, I realized that I had made an accounting mistake in my personal finances.

Uh, oh.

Secondly, after receiving an email, I was reminded that I had made a commitment to play the piano at a Thanksgiving service this evening. I was happy to be doing that, but I had forgotten all about it.

Uh, oh, again.

Thirdly, I got a text message from someone needing a ride to the service.

No problem, except I also realized that I had a doctor’s appointment an hour and a half prior to the service.

One of our sons asked me to take them to a mall.

I needed to visit a grocery store for some last minute shopping.

So…..how could I work all this out?

Though not overly stressed, life had gotten a bit complicated in the short span of about an hour.

After considering each item on the mental "this is what needs to happen today" list, I dropped my son off at the mall.

Leaving the parking lot, I noticed something wonderful.

Looking behind me in my rearview mirror, all was clear.

I backed my car up and pulled into a parking space by a large grassy median.

The area left green instead of paved, was filled with a blooming grass.

The white blossoms were everywhere!

I took a few moments to photograph them.

Unheralded beauty, quietly exclaiming God’s creative majesty in a mall parking lot.

Although they were there for anyone to enjoy, they were most certainly meant for me, in particular.

It’s difficult to explain in words, but somehow—in the midst of the hurry and stress—God rang my spiritual doorbell and said, "Flowers for you…."

Taking the time to just look at the dozens of blooms strewn in such an unlikely place added an element of joy and peace to my heart.

The day’s events?

Everything will work out just fine.

No need to worry.

God is in control.

And besides that…..He sent me flowers!

 

  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

— Matthew 7:11

 

 

 

 

 

Present Your Requests

 

 

 

 

The bird sat by the water, hoping for a meal.

I was actually able to photograph him with a fish in his beak.

Wide-eyed and ever watchful, he was expectant.

When I am in some kind of need–spiritual, physical, emotional—do I go down to the "water" and wait expectantly?

Are my eyes wide open, watching to see how God is going to work?

The Bible tells us,

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." —Philippians 4:6


 

The Eyes of All

 

 

I visited a farm last night.

Walking around and looking at the animals was such a treat for me.

Most of my "animal" time was spent with the goats.

Innocent looking, trusting, playful and inquisitive—they captured my interest for quite a while.

Since they are living on a farm, the owners see to it that all the animals living there are fed and cared for.

But what if they were all completely free, living in the wilderness?

They would be cared for then, as well.

All living things look to God for their very breath.

The lyrics to a popular Christian song say,

"Lord what we gonna do,We’re relying on you,
all eyes are on you Lord,
all eyes are on you, all eyes are on you Jesus."

(Lose My Soul–Tob Mac)

There are no other true options for us.

We can be tempted to look elsewhere for the meeting of our needs, whether they are spiritual or physical.

If we do look there, all that we will find in the end is emptiness and a lack of fulfillment.

Psalm 145:13b-16 reads,

The LORD is faithful to all his promises
   and loving toward all he has made.
 The LORD upholds all those who fall
   and lifts up all who are bowed down.
 The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food at the proper time.
 You open your hand
   and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Truly, all eyes do look to God….

 

He Crowns the Humble

 

 

 

 

 

Praise the LORD.

   Sing to the LORD a new song,
   his praise in the assembly of the saints.

  Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
   let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
 Let them praise his name with dancing
   and make music to him with tambourine and harp.
 For the LORD takes delight in his people;
   he crowns the humble with salvation.
 Let the saints rejoice in this honor
   and sing for joy on their beds.

–Psalm 149:1-5

 

 

 

Creatures That Move

 

 

 

I honestly do believe that God made everything and that He did so intentionally.

A certain type of caterpillar showed up at our home a week or so ago.

Understanding his mother’s delight in photographing such things, my son carefully brought one inside for me to see.

What a marvelous specimen of beauty and design!

The caterpillar’s LARGE "eyes" were on its bulbous looking head, with highlighted strips running from them down to its sizeable mouth.

Or  were they?

Actually, it only appeared as such.

What looks to predators (and to curious humans like myself) to be giant eyes, are really spots on the skin.

The mouth?

Well, it’s actually the area where the true "face" begins.

In my opinion, God created this caterpillar and all its kind to look this way on purpose.

I think it brought God joy to create.

I think it brings Him joy when we appreciate what He has made.

Intricate and magnificent are His works and we get to see them.

Thank You, God, for all that You have made. Thank You for allowing me to enjoy just a part of Your creation.

 

God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. –Genesis 1:25

 

 


Should I Not Be Concerned

 

 

 

Sometimes the cattle on the farm by our house are quiet.

On other occasions, they are so vocal that I wonder what is going on.

Being a person who is fascinated by the animals that God has created, I rather enjoy the "moos" that I hear from time to time.

It doesn’t bother me a bit.

Even though they do not belong to me, I am glad they live nearby and I care about their well being.

In the Old Testament book of Jonah, God shows His great concern for those who live in a great city—Ninevah.

God sent Jonah to preach to the people.

When Jonah brought God’s warning to them, they repented.

What was Jonah’s response?

Anger.

It would seem that he was truly angry that the people had turned from their evil ways and believed God.

This was God’s response to Jonah:

But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

  Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.  Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.  But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

  But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”

   “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”

  But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”–Jonah 4:4-10

God cared about the people in Ninevah.

I think God also cared about the cattle.

All life is important to Him.

He didn’t leave those who could not "tell their right hand from their left" to perish in their sin without giving them an opportunity to repent.

God cares about the cows that live beside me.

He cares about the people in my neighborhood.

He cares about the people I work with, week after week.

Since God cares about them, shouldn’t I?

 

 

 

 

 

When There Were No Oceans

 

 

 

 

“The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
   before his deeds of old;
 I was appointed from eternity,
   from the beginning, before the world began.
 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water;
 before the mountains were settled in place,
   before the hills, I was given birth,
 before he made the earth or its fields
   or any of the dust of the world."

—Proverbs 8:22-26

 

 

 

A Poor Reflection

 

 

 

It was a beautiful evening for a birthday party.

At least, I thought it was.

The sky was getting dark with clouds as the sun was fading away into night.

A semi-formal gathering, many people were dressed quite nicely.

Plates of food were placed neatly on a large table.

The multi-story historic home was probably close to a hundred years old.

Guests mingled from the indoor areas out to a quaint, stone paved patio with rod iron tables and chairs.

Flowers decorated the scene with just the right touch.

Drizzling, misty rain brought a coziness to the atmosphere.

What made the gathering extra special, however, was not the home, though it was attractive and pleasant.

It was the guests themselves and their purpose for attending that made the evening meaningful.

People there were from various walks of life.

Different ages and seasons of maturity were represented in each face.

They had all been invited because of one reason—they had at some point in time shared part of their journey with the one who was being honored that night.

Many were fellow believers whose faith in Jesus had brought them into acquaintance.

Won’t Heaven be that way?

We will know each other as we did here on Earth.

There will be thousands upon thousands, though, from ages past and beyond that we have never met, but we will all have one thing in common—we will all know Jesus, the One who is honored.

 

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 13:12

 

 


But Do Not Forget

 

 

 

 

 

How long is a day?

"Well," you might say, "that depends; do you mean how long is a complete day measured on a calendar or how many hours of daylight are experienced as opposed to darkness on any given day?"

From what I have read, the Earth takes 23 hours, 56 minutes and four seconds to rotate on its axis. This is actually called a sidereal day.

For my purposes, a 24 hour day will suffice just fine.

Since mathematics has never been my expertise, measurement of such things has not been at the forefront of my concern.

I do realize, though, that a day here on Earth is different than a "day" on Mars or Venus, for example.

In fact, one day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days.

But what is a day to God?

The Bible tells us that even darkness is light to Him.  (Psalm 139:12)

Is there a present, a past and a future?

2 Peter 3:8 reads,

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

When God says that something will happen, it will.

His promises are true forever.

We may grow impatient waiting, watching the sun rise and set, measuring the days and times.

With our limited minds, we may not understand God’s sovereignty over events.

His power and authority maintains our past, our present and our future.

Trusting Him with our lives is the wisest choice we can ever make.

For now.

For later.

For….ever.

 

 

 

 

 

If I Just Touch His Clothes

 

 

 

It was going to be colder than normal that evening.

Just a few days prior, I had begun to feel the signs of a sore throat coming.

Now, my voice was almost gone, leaving me with a raspy form of communication.

A friend had invited me to stop in at a local coffee house for a group devotional time.

I decided that it would be beneficial to go, even though I wasn’t feeling my best.

The speaker was extremely interesting and I found myself pondering truths that I had not before considered.

As a group at nearby tables were celebrating a birthday and other patrons stepped in for dinner or take outs, we were discussing faith and what it really means to have faith.

One of the examples from the Bible that we talked about was the account of a woman who had been healed.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.—Mark 5:25-29

Later in the passage, the woman fell at Jesus’ feet.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” —Mark 5:34

Faith.

There is so much to understand about that word and what it truly represents.

There is so much I want to understand.

How would you describe the faith that this woman displayed?

 

 


 

The Lord of Heaven and Earth

 

 

What would it have been like to have heard Paul speak when he came to a city for the very first time with the message of Jesus?

I wonder how he would have approached someone.

"Hello. My name is Paul….."

There would have been people who had heard of God before, but didn’t believe.

There would have been those who served God, but had never heard of Jesus.

And then, there would have been men and women who had no prior knowledge whatsoever of God or Jesus.

In the book of Acts in chapter 17, verses 16-34, we find Paul speaking to the citizens of Athens.

At one point, he addresses them about an altar with the inscription:  TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’   “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill.  In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."  –Acts 17:24-30

He continues to tell those who are listening about a day when God will judge the world and of the resurrection of the dead.

The scriptures tell us that a few men believed.

For those few men, eternity changed forever.

Paul spoke to people about Jesus no matter what their prior beliefs were.

In our own lives, shouldn’t we do that, as well?

 


 

May Our Barns Be Filled

 

 

I had never driven on that particular stretch of road before.

Every home, every farm, was new to me.

A barn constructed of weathered wood caught my eye.

I don’t remember any other buildings near it.

Just the barn.

Sleepy.

Peaceful.

Simple.

Psalm 144:13 reads,

"May our barns be filled
      with crops of every kind.
   May the sheep in our fields
      bear young by the tens of thousands."

A verse of hope for proseperity.

I do not own a farm, raise crops or tend livestock.

I would like to have a barn, though.

A spiritual barn.

A barn filled with people of every kind.

Rich.

Poor.

Tall.

Short.

Old.

Young.

Man.

Woman.

Boy.

Girl.

This barn would contain those that I had in some way influenced toward receiving Jesus as their Savior.

There is nothing that I need to store up here on Earth.

I can take nothing with me when I go to be with the Lord.

In eternity, though, I will rejoice forever over every person I knew here who is with me there in Heaven.

What if I really did have a spiritual barn?

Would it be full?

Would it be empty?

 

Lord, please help me to speak, to act, and to love in such a way that points others to a relationship with You.

 

 

 

I Lie Awake

 

 

 

Recently, a friend told me that she was having trouble sleeping at night.

I have certainly been there.

The clock moves on from one hour to the next and I remain still and quiet thinking a thousand thoughts.

There are times like these, however, that I pray.

Also, there are times that I wake up in the middle of the night and feel compelled to pray.

At night, when all are sleeping, lonliness can settle in.

If it does, remembering that God is right there with you, can bring much needed peace.

The Good News Translation of Psalm 102 is titled, "The Prayer of a Troubled Youth."

The writer is desperate for God as he cries out to Him.

He describes his condition in many ways.

He speaks of lying awake and feeling lonely.

Even so, he is believing that God is there.

When we find ourselves awake at night—fearful, lonely, or anxious—we can pray.

God hears us when we call.

 

 

 

 

Fence Rail

 

 

Giants.

They’re everywhere, aren’t they?

I’m not talking about scary big people that live at the top of a fairy tale beanstalk or even the happy kind that sell vegetables.

I’m talking about the giants that you and I face repeatedly in our lives.

The invisable giants that rise up in many shapes and sizes.

The incredible hospital bill.

Domestic violence.

Unemployment.

Illness.

Broken relationships.

They are bigger than life because–with their unseen nature– we attach fear and anxiety to their weapons, adding to their armament and allowing them to control us.

The most well known giant story would arguably be the account of David and Goliath in the book of I Samuel in the Old Testament.

A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor—126 pounds of it! He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail—the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds.  –from I Samuel 17:4-7 The Message

Of course, the story ends with David’s complete trust in the power of God and the death of Goliath from the stone thrown from David’s sling.

Fierce, foreboding and terrible as he was, he was no match for God.

When we come face to face with the giants that approach us, we must pray about them intentionally.

God is able to:

–pay the hospital bill

–change hearts and stop the violence

–provide a job

–heal an illness

–restore broken relationships

 

Even if the "spear" of the situation is bigger than a fence rail—God is still in control.

 

As Soon As

 

 

I attend a weekly Bible study group.

For the past two Sundays, we have been discussing passages in the book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

In speaking to the Israelites after hearing from the LORD, Joshua said,

"See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.  Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.  And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.  Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge,  the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.  The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. –Joshua 3:11-17

The priests had faith enough to step into the water’s edge.

Our God is a faithful God.

He is awesome and powerful.

He will never change.

We can trust Him to do what He says He will do, even today.

 

Acknowledge Him

 

 

 

Standing on the wooden bridge, I had the sudden urge to photograph it.

I looked to make sure no vehicles were approaching and I tried a couple of shots from different angles.

The slant of the structure (at least in the photograph) seems to hide from view what is immediately on the other side.

In a way not quite explainable, it also seems to be issuing a quiet appeal to find out.

Not every bridge or road is beneficial, though, and choosing the right one to traverse will make all the difference.

Knowing that, how can we determine to make the right choice every time?

Personally, there are a couple of "unknown" pathways coming up on the horizon pretty soon.

The first temptation that I face is to worry about the choice beforehand.

Considering it, talking to God about it—those are good ways to spend my thoughts.

Worrying about it?

Not good.

Understanding that if I acknowledge God at every step, asking Him which way He wants me to go, everything will be just as was planned–by Him, not me.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

—Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

 

Your Love

 

 

 

I decided to take a late afternoon walk with both my dogs.

These excursions typically tend to look comical, as one dog pulls me forward faster than I want to walk, while the other dog is too tired to keep up the pace and drags behind, pulling me back.

As we began our adventure together, just us three, there was light rain falling.

Well into our neighborhood trek, with gray clouds around me on the horizon, I looked up above me.

I can’t remember what caused me to do so, but I am glad that I did.

Almost straight up from me in the sky was a beautiful cloud, blazing with color from the sun.

The sun’s rays were reaching it because it was so high in the atmosphere.

With two dogs and two leashes to hang onto, I took my cell phone and tried to pause to take a picture of the gray clouds to my right. Next, I took a picture of the cloud above me.

Both dogs were quite cooperative in allowing me a moment of stillness in order to make the photographs.

After walking a little more than a mile, I decided to come inside.

There are many times when things look dark and gray on our level.

All seems bleak and dreary.

Our view point, however, is not God’s.

He sees things from a different perspective.

If we look high above to Him, His light is shining, no matter what.

He is at work, even when we cannot see it.

 

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. –Psalm 108:4

 

The World and Its Desires

 

 

Some of the trees are finally turning fall colors.

The air has even become cooler and I have gone to wearing a jacket when I am out at night.

The change is a welcome one for me.

In an unusual, silent conversation, the change of the season speaks to me, hinting that I, too, can change, when it’s time.

Lately, my concern for the salvation of others has been heightened.

Someone who had a direct influence on the life of my family died recently.

As far as I know, this person was not a believer in Jesus.

The realization of that fact has left me solemn and thoughtful.

How can I reach into another’s life and tell them what God has done?

I feel an urgency to do more—so much more—for spreading the gospel.

Many things that used to seem so important to me are now fading in their significance.

Things of God are becoming more clear and in focus.

Knowing God is the most valuable relationship that anyone can have.

I want to change.

I want to care more about other people.

How about you?

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.—I John 2:15-17

 

 


 

 

 

 

And Birds Ate It

 

"What do you make of this?

A farmer planted seed.

As he scattered the seed,

some of it fell on the road,

and birds ate it.

Some fell in the gravel;

it sprouted quickly

but didn’t put down roots,

so when the sun came up

it withered just as quickly.

Some fell in the weeds;

as it came up,

it was strangled

by the weeds.

Some fell on good earth,

and produced a harvest

beyond his wildest dreams.

 "Are you listening to this?

Really listening?"

—Matthew 13:3-9 The Message

 

 

Bear With Each Other

 

 

Think about it…..is there anyone in your life who you would not forgive?

Even if they came to you with a sincere heart and wanted to start the relationship over, asking for forgiveness, you wouldn’t?

Spouse?

Boyfriend?

Girlfriend?

Parent?

Son?

Daughter?

Grandparent?

Boss?

Neighbor?

Is there anyone in your life that is refusing to forgive you, even though you have sincerely asked them to?

Is there anyone who is refusing to allow a mending of relationship?

If you could answer, "yes" to any of these questions, there is something better–far better–to be had.

The healing that God can bring to a wounded heart is priceless.

A relationship restored brings wholeness where there was once emptiness and discord.

If there is someone who seeks forgiveness from you, ask God to help you in accepting them.

If there is someone who refuses to forgive you, ask God to help them to accept your repentance.

Ask Him to bring a wellness to both of your hearts.

After all, He forgave you.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.–Colossians 3:12-14

 

 


 

 

Sing and Praise

 

 

There is a fantastic account of God’s power and faithfulness in the book of 2 Chronicles.

King Jehoshaphat learned that he and his people were going to be attacked by an army. He proclaimed a fast and the people gathered together to seek help from the LORD.

A man in their midst was moved by God to speak. He told them not to be afraid because the battle was not theirs, but God’s. Here is an excerpt from the passage:

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

  Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”  After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

   “Give thanks to the LORD,
   for his love endures forever.”

  As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.–2 Chronicles 20:17-22

 

There are times when we face battles.

They may not be actual military conflicts, but they are battles, just the same.

Battles with depression.

Battles with health.

Battles with unemployment.

Battles with divorce.

Whatever the struggle, it is a real one for you.

Sometimes I sing to God and play the piano.

A few months ago, I felt that a tremendous attack was coming to our family.

My husband and I sat at the piano and we sang songs of praise to God as I played.

Song after song, we continued.

God was the only One who could stop the "army."

The next time you are facing an attack, pray out loud.

Sing praise.

Play an instrument if you have one!

You may find that God is ambushing the enemy and delivering you from his snare.

"Give thanks to the LORD for His love endures forever." –from 2 Chronicles 20:21

 

 


 

 

The Dead Are Raised

 

 

It’s been six years since the accident.

On this same day of the week–Tuesday–on November 1st, six years ago, our son was killed in a car accident at age nineteen.

Driving to work is almost always a trip I take alone. It is a time to pray, listen to the radio and reflect on life.

Sometimes, I am joyful.

Sometimes, I am sad.

Sometimes, I am just blank.

Whatever I am, God is with me there in the car.

During my alone time.

This morning, He knew what was on my mind.

He reaches past the emotions I have hidden.

He searches deeply into the places in my heart that even I am not aware of myself.

I have a thirty minute commute to work each day. It is possible to hear a few songs, an up-to-date weather report and an advertisement or two being broadcast from the local Christian radio station.

I suppose there are hundreds of songs that could be selected for play at any given time.

This morning, "I Can Only Imagine" came on. A book with this cd inside it was given to us by a friend upon our son’s death. The lyrics speak of what it might be like to be with Jesus someday.

One of my absolute favorite songs is "Your Great Name."

Here is a sample of the lyrics:

All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of Your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of Your great name

During this song, I began to cry.

Cry and drive.

Drive and praise God.

Just imagine what it will be like to be with Jesus!

My son already knows.

At the sound of Jesus’ Name, the DEAD are RAISED!

God confirmed, once again, what I know to be truth.

He also, in such a loving way, reminded me that He is aware of my heart’s anguish and He will be with me through it all.

In the book of Matthew, chapter eleven, Jesus sends a message to John the Baptist:

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

  When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

          Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (verses 1-6)

The deaf hear.

The dead are raised.

We truly have good news to share.

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s not too late.

He is right with you.

He will hear your prayer.