The Unfolding of Your Words

 

 

The Biible is God’s message to us.

Not just a collection of sixty-six books, it holds what He wants us to know.

God speaks to us through His word, at different times and in different ways.

There are days when I am reading the Bible because I have made a commitment to do so.

There are days when I read the Bible because I know that I need encouragement and I am longing to hear from God.

There was also a time when I was desparately wanting to know what God had to say about something that was troubling me greatly.

At that time, I was searching the scriptures.

Although I am not a physician, I can imagine what it would be like to be one.

There would be good reason to keep up with the latest medical advances.

Continuous reading and exposure to new research would be essential.

But, suppose a patient came to a certain doctor with an illness that could not be explained.

This physician, surely, would begin to do his own research into the problem in order to find the proper treatment.

He would search and search, hoping to discover the cure.

Suppose further that that the person with the illness was a part of the doctor’s own family.

What if the unknown illness had stricken the doctor himself?

How much more desparately would he search out the matter!

When we see our own need and we don’t know what to do, we can search for answers in God’s word.

When we see needs in other’s lives, we can do the same.

The Bible—

It’s God’s message to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scattered

 

 

 

If God planted a seed in my life, what would it fall on?

A footpath?

Shallow soil with underlying rock?

Thorns?

Or would it fall on fertile soil?

 

Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.  As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.  Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.  Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.  Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”  —from Matthew 13:3-9

 

 

 

Watch What God Does

 

I am trying to choose a verse each day and focus on its meaning in preparation for Easter.

So far, I have selected three from Eugene Peterson’s The Message.

Today was a rainy day; the rain came off and on.

There was a period of time around sundown when it had subsided, but returned.

Birds were everywhere in my front yard on the ground as though they were playing in the rain.

As I photographed them, a bird came close to me and lit on a branch.

He fluttered and turned, this way and that.

I watched him intently and took several pictures.

Watching so closely, I became very familiar with his behavior.

My focus verse for today is from Ephesians 5, verses 1 and 2:

 

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.—The Message

Applying this to my own life, I should watch what God does and do likewise.

If I do, I will have the opportunity to learn proper behavior from Him.

If I stay close to God, I will see that He loves me and I will learn a life of love.

I will see extravagant love that gives everything.

I guess that’s it then—-

I’m supposed to love like that.

 


 

 

 

 

Everything They Had

 

 

I can’t remember what context in which I heard the statement, but for quite some time, I have remembered it.

Living in a subtropical climate, the threat of serious and damaging storms is quite common, so the statement had added meaning. It was something like this:

"What we need is a hurricane."

Let me assure you that most people here would find great exeption to these words.

Hurricanes bring destruction, and sometimes, loss of life.

So what kind of person would ever say such a thing?

Who needs destruction and chaos like that?

I honestly cannot recall where I heard it, but I do remember the sentiment behind the words.

Although I have not personally experienced living in a coastal city when a hurricane made landfall, I have lived for many years about 60 miles from the ocean.

Even at this distance, trees are knocked over, roofs are damaged and tornadoes can be spawned.

I know what 70 mile an hour winds feel like.

I also know what this person meant by his comment, because I have been a part of what formed his thinking.

When a hurricane is approaching, several things happen.

People begin to prepare for the storm.

Adequate food and water supply are perhaps first on the list.

Having flashlights available for power outages.

Boarding windows that could be blown out.

After the storm, neighbors emerge from their homes and venture out to assess the damage to their property.

And then, it begins.

Groups of people will help each other cut fallen trees off cars or houses.

Debris from the storm that is scattered in the yards are collected by many hands.

It doesn’t matter if you know who lives at a certain house or not; if there is a need, you don’t have to know their name.

Imaginary fences that separated people from each other in busy day-in, day-out rushed lives fall away as everyone begins to care about the needs of the other.

We don’t really need a hurricane.

What we need is to act with love, care and concern for others around us as though there had been one.

In the New Testament Book of Acts, there is an account of believers caring in a similar fashion:

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.  The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.—Acts 4:32-33

When a hurricane happens, people care for each other’s needs and they share their time, their resourses and their concern for those around them.

We all need that.

But we need it without the storm.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Knee Should Bow

 

 

And suddenly, everything changes.

You’ve felt that way, haven’t you?

About three weeks ago, I came home from work to find our normally happy and healthy dog limping and crying out in pain.

It was late afternoon on a Friday.

I couldn’t find anything wrong, yet she didn’t feel well the entire weekend.

On Monday, I took a day off from work to take her to the veterinarian’s office.

After a few hours of consultation and x-rays, we were sent to a larger, more sophisticated animal hospital in the city.

By sundown the next evening, we had our confirmed diagnosis: intestinal lymphoma.

Cancer.

This began a strict routine for diet change, nine doses of medicine each day and all the love we could possibly give.

This morning, our sweet dog died, just seventeen days later.

In an effort to allow her to enjoy some of her favorite things, my husband and I took her to a local dog park that she had been to many times.

I took pictures of her with other dogs who were visiting the park that day.

I also took pictures of the beautiful sunset that adorned the western sky above the park.

Only four days were left to her life then, but we didn’t know.

Her last six hours were difficult.

Determined to stay awake with her, I found myself many times rubbing her head and speaking, "..at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."

I had not tried to memorize that verse, but it kept coming to me and I kept speaking it out loud.

Finding the verse this evening, I see that I had not quoted it exactly in my prayer over my beloved animal.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
   and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.–Philippians 2:9-11

 

Although I am not sure why that particular verse seemed the one to pray aloud over her, it was the one that I felt I should say.

At times, I would just say the name, "Jesus."

I believe that God cares for every living creature He has created.

All life comes from God.

My dog’s life had always belonged to God.

He had allowed us to have her for a short time.

Only five and a half years or so.

For that, I am grateful.

I’m not sure what Heaven will really be like for those who have put their trust in Jesus as Savior.

I am certain it will be God’s best for us.

God knows that I am asking if my precious dog could be with me in Heaven when I go.

Though the pain is great in my heart and the hearts of my family members, I know God has my dog.

Not the earthly body she suffered in, but the real her that loved with a great and loyal love.

There will be a day when everyone will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.

There is power in the Name of Jesus.

Great power.

 

 

 

Peace to Everyone

 

 

 

Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord’s followers are suffering just as you are. But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. God will be in control forever! Amen. (I Peter 5:8-11)

 

Give each other a warm greeting. I pray that God will give peace to everyone who belongs to Christ.

(I Peter 5:14)

God’s Approval

 

 

 

 

 

Just imagine—-

 

You work for a very large and prosperous company.

The position that you hold is one that allows you to work directly under the president and owner of the company.

The president gives you an assignment and tells you to present your work at an upcoming meeting.

With great diligence, you do your very best on the task at hand.

On the day of the big meeting, there are many colleagues in the conference room.

When it is time to present your work, several people in attendance scoff at your accomplishment.

Some are skeptical, and yet others seem indifferent.

A few are complimentary and supportive.

But what about the president of the company?

After carefully considering all that you have done in response to his assignment for you, he is pleased.

Applauding your efforts, he tells you that your work was well done.

Here is a question for you:

How do you respond—

Right then?

In ten minutes?

In ten hours?

In ten years?

Would you leave the meeting feeling rejected because of those colleagues who were not impressed with your efforts?

Would you worry about those in the meeting who seemed indifferent and unappreciative of your work?

Would you allow negative feelings to distract you from continuing to do a good job for a day, a month or even years?

I think that most people would say that it is pointless to let the discouraging views of others affect their productivity if they are confident that their employer is happy with their work.

After all, if their employer gives them an assignment and they do it to the best of their ability AND he is greatly pleased, is anything else really important in the matter?

What happens if we move this idea over to our spiritual lives?

If God instructs us to do something for Him and we work diligently at it, giving our best, should we be discouraged by others’ comments and attitudes if HE is pleased?

I have often heard of "The audience of One."

When we work for the Lord, it is just that.

It is for Him.

Others may offer their encouragement.

Some may not.

Either way, shouldn’t we continue to do our best for God?

 

Do your best to win God’s approval as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message. –2 Timothy 2:15

 

The Quiet Words

 

 

 

It’s likely that you’ve had someone in your life who was this way.

They were older.

They had seen a lot.

Experienced a lot.

Made mistakes.

Had successes.

And they knew God.

They were forgiven.

They were sure of their destination when they left this world.

They were of a quiet nature, at times, reflecting life.

They possessed a calm kindness toward others.

The years had taught them the wisdom of caring.

There was a discernment between what was really important and what was not.

Those of us who have not yet traveled so long a journey can learn from their example.

We learn as we listen.

We learn as we watch.

We learn as we heed advice.

 

The writer of Ecclesiastes said, "The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools." —Chapter 9, verse 17

 

 

 

Soar On Wings

 

 

Within a few moments, it would be dark.

The sun was setting at the park, which was located not far from a small airport.

I heard the engine of the propeller plane and looked up.

Being armed with my camera, I quickly took a few photos as it approached, passed overhead and finally flew out of sight.

Several thousand feet above the plane was a white streak crossing the sky.

It was the trail of a jet which was itself barely visible because of its distance from the ground.

Jet planes generally fly at greater altitudes and are capable of greater speeds than propeller powered planes.

Both can fly, but the experience can be vastly different.

I spent a good deal of my early life trudging along with only a "propeller" to keep me elevated.

There was a day, however, when my life was "upgraded" to jet propulsion status and I was no longer trusting in my own self for everything.

That was the day I asked God to forgive me of my past wrongs.

The day I finally said, "yes" to living the rest of my life for God.

How different it all felt!

None of the chug-chug of an engine turning blades into the wind to lift me into the air.

Instead, a powerful roar, building with intensity, rocketing me toward the adventurous horizon that would be a life-long journey with God.

As I have traveled so far with my God as my strength, a trail has been left behind–

testimonies of His constant faithfulness, continued forgiveness and everlasting love.

Isaiah 40:28-31 reads,

Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

 

Are you soaring today?

 

 

A Generous Person

 

 

 

A very kind friend recently gave me two gifts.

A woven bag with cane handles and an miniature purple orchid.

The orchid is so delicate, it was sold with a support stick.

Actually, the plant stem looks too tiny to support such a burst of blooms.

I will need to transplant it into a larger pot with more soil.

The support stick will need to go with it.

If it wasn’t for its strength, the plant would surely break.

Even though my friend has several difficult circumstances in her life right now, she is still giving and generous.

I have always known her to be so.

Without God, would she bend and break beneath the weight of her difficulties?

Without God, would I, as well?

Alone, we do not have the strength to walk through many of life’s troubles.

When God is there to support us, we do not have to rely on our own strength.

He is there, allowing us to take on His shape, to grow in a way that conforms to Him, just as a plant stem grows along a support stick.

My friend’s kindness is an inspiration to me.

She reaches out and loves others with encouragement and care.

I can’t help but believe that God will bless her own life as she leans on Him.

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.–Proverbs 11:25

 

 

 

God Lives In Us

 

 

 

 

t was definitely a "wow" moment for me.

A friend said something this morning that was absolutely profound.

Although not word for word, the essence of what she said was this:

"Jesus lives inside of me.  Where I am is where He is—- and why is He there then?"

I had never really stopped to think of it this way before.

Suppose that when I arrive at work, I am given an assignment to report to another facility for a conference.

When I walk into the room, Jesus is inside of me. I am at the conference, so He is, too.

Will I be His hands and feet?

Why is Jesus at the conference?

If I ask these questions to myself, I should be open to seeing what Jesus is seeing:

The man at the head table that looks distant and troubled.

The woman who just brought in the reports five minutes late apologizing because she had answered a phone call from her sick child at home.

The newly hired man in the seat next to mine who confides that he’s just moved in from out of state and needs help getting his family settled in the community.

What would Jesus do with each of these opportunities to minister?

Can’t you see Him approaching the troubled man and asking what was wrong?

Or taking a moment at break time to find the woman with the sick child to inquire about the situation?

Offering to help the man new to the community?

If Jesus would do these things and Jesus is inside me, then I should do these things.

If I am there, Jesus is there with me.

I must ask the question,

"Why are we here?"

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.   This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.–I John 4:9-13

 


 

 

 

 

Strict Training

 

I hadn’t heard that there was a sailing regatta today.

As I drove near the lake, I saw a sign about the race.

Making a spur of the moment stop, I walked to the water’s edge.

Off in the distance, about thirty sailboats had embarked on their competition.

I often think about how I would like to go sailing.

Someone who had good training and skill would have to be in charge of the boat.

I know absolutely nothing about it.

I could learn to sail, if I tried.

If I wanted to enter a sailing regatta, I would have to train all the more, if I wanted to do well.

Paul had this to say in the book of I Corinthians:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.–I Corinthians 9:24-25

As I live my life for God, I am looking forward to the prize–eternity with Him.

Each day, I should choose to "train" during my journey on earth, not neglecting to pray and read the Bible, meditate on God and what He is doing, and making an effort to show love and kindness to others.

I may never be in a sailing regatta, but I entered the race of faith in Jesus when I asked Him for forgiveness many years ago.

What are you training for?


 

 

 

From What Has Been Made

 

 

I have a reputation at work as being someone who is incredibly interested in living creatures.

Grasshoppers, spiders, lizards, moths—-I want to look at them, photograph them, and discover their hidden beauty.

Because of my well known interest, people want to let me know when they discover something interesting.

Today, a giant moth was brought to me.

In a box.

All moths know that when they are trapped in a box, their primary concern should be how to fly out of it…

and this moth did just that.

After a few moments of persuasion, I photographed it and it soon flew out the door to freedom.

I had captured it’s magnificent features with my camera in the short time I was near it.

Giant, fake eyes adorned it’s wings.

God had decorated it just the way He had wanted to.

Looking at what God has made does fascinate me.

Creation is complex beyond what human minds can comprehend.

Isn’t it hard to consider creation without realizing that God is the Creator?

 

 

 

 

 

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.–Romans 1:20

 

 

Great Gain

 

 

 

 

 

 

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.–I Timothy 6:6-10

 

Has God made you rich with friends?

Has God made you rich with family?

Has God made you rich with forgiveness?

Has God made you rich with understanding, kindness and love?

God already owns every material thing that is present in this world.

If you need something, God can provide it for you.

Striving to get rich with monetary gain will take the focus off what is most important.

When you really stop to think about it, aren’t you really rich with blessings from God?

 

 

 

Against the Yeast

 

 

 

 

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

  He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

  When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.  “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

–Matthew 16:1-6

 

 

 

With Singing Lips

 

 

 

I had wanted a nice guitar of my own for quite sometime.

Several months ago, my husband surprised me with a classical guitar as a gift.

He had gone to a music store about an hour away from our home and played several of the guitars that were on display.

Finally, he chose mine.

My husband plays guitar very well, but I am only able to play on a very limited basis.

I can, however, play enough to accompany myself or someone else who is singing.

What I enjoy singing the most are songs of praise.

My guitar has now become an instrument that joins me in that praise.

 

I have seen you in the sanctuary
   and beheld your power and your glory.
 Because your love is better than life,
   my lips will glorify you.
 I will praise you as long as I live,
   and in your name I will lift up my hands.
 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

–Psalm 63:2-5

 

Teach Me

 

 When I was a child, I lived in a fairly sheltered home environment, as far as the outside world was concerned.

As far as family was concerned, my environment was quite dysfunctional.

My childhood memories are interwoven with serious worry, fear and anxiety.

Through it all, however, the Bible was taught in my home and I attended different churches sporadically from my very young years until sometime during my teens.

Where I live now, churches host Vacation Bible Schools in the summertime, when students are on break from regular school.

They usually last about a week, with sessions that might last up to three hours each day.

It is a time to talk to children in the area about God and how He sent His Son, Jesus to us.

Certainly, these types of Vacation Bible Schools must have been common where I grew up, as well.

As I recall, I had never been to a Vacation Bible School until I was eleven years old.

I still remember the church.

Art classes were not taught at the public school I attended and I had never done any craft painting.

My experience had been with paint-by-number pictures purchased from a store.

The Vacation Bible School time included painting a figurine.

Mine was of a bird with wings outstretched up into the air.

I painted it as best as I surely could, seeing that it was the first time I had ever tried such a thing.

My mother kept it for many years.

When she died, it came home with me.

A few months ago, I decided that I would put it on a display shelf.

Brightly colored in a way that no bird I have ever seen really is, it silently reminds me of who I used to be.

Eleven years old.

At the beginning of coming to know God.

Looking back, I can see His faithfulness to me in every season of my life.

If I were to paint a figurine of a bird today, it would look very different.

No longer a child, my artistic expression would be different.

God is with me today as He was then.

I have changed, but God and His faithfulness has not.

Maybe it’s just me, but somehow, my painted bird seems to be smiling….and his eyes convey a feeling of excitement and confidence–

Almost as if to say, "Someday, I will be free—and it’s going to be okay!"

God knew then what was to be.

Nine years were to pass before I would trust Him with my salvation and live the rest of my life relying on Him.

Then, I would be free and finally, it would be okay.

Looking back through your life today, can you see God’s faithfulness to you?

  

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. —Psalm 86:11


 

The Image of the Invisible God

 

I hadn’t expected to see it.

Walking along with my camera, I suddenly came upon an elegant, yelow-flowering tree.

Drops of water gently clung to the blooms that had so delicately unfolded.

The world is filled with astounding beauty, too marvelous to fully comprehend.

Each aspect of creation is perfectly planned and is kept in perfect order by our Creator.

He is holding it all—- including us—– together.

 

 

 

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.–Colossians 1:15-17

 

 

Not Have Love

 

 

 

It’s raining outside tonight.

The kind of rain that’s slow and peaceful.

The sound of the drops as they fall off the roof seem to draw me to thoughts of sleep and stillness.

Rest.

Calm.

It’s been a day of reflection, in more ways than one.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, I received word that a family member of a good friend was seriously ill.

Within a short span of time, they died.

I attended the funeral today.

Almost every aspect of the service was centered on Jesus.

God’s love for us was proclaimed through prayer and song.

Love was visable in the tears of the family.

Hope was given, wrapped in the words that fell on grieving ears.

As I was going back to work when the service was over, a building caught my eye.

Mirrored panels reflected tall palm trees, green and striking in the midday sunlight.

Part of what I saw was only an image of what was really real.

When people look at us, they see an image of who we are.

How we live.

How we love.

They see if we reflect God in our actions.

They see if we offer His hope in our words.

Receiving God’s love and then giving it away is a divine pattern of His purpose for our lives.

Am I showing this love for others as I should?

What does my reflection look like?

 

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.—I Corinthians 13:2

 

 


 

Shadows

 

 

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

  Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.–Colossians 2:13-17

 

 

Exceeding Abundantly Above All

 

 

 

Exceeding abundantly above all.

These words are found in the book of Ephesians, chapter three, verse 20.

They describe what God can do.

Recently, the pastor of the church I attend spoke about them.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

  unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen.

–Ephesians 3:20-21

 

With this passage fresh in my memory, what happened today was a reminder and not a coincidence.

I have a copy of The Message beside my computer at work.

In the last few days, some deep concerns have arisen in my life.

I decided today to just pick up The Message and read something.

Opening it up to a place that had been previously marked, I was surprised to see that was open to Ephesians 3.  This is what it said:

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. –Ephesians 3:20-21

There I was, having a day when it was hard to not think about my concerns and I am reminded that God can do anything—far more than I could imagine.

Another reminder of God’s power came tonight.

When I arrived home after church tonight with my husband and son, I looked at the sky.

Such a fantastic scene of a mighty cloud stretching from the horizon to directly above our heads, illuminated by the full moon that was blanketed by a thin veil of moisture.

Running in to get my camera, I took several shots of the clouds as they seemed to climb up and over my neighbor’s house.

Long, powerful looking clouds.

Exceeding in length.

Above all.

No matter what happens, I should remember—God can do anything.

Anything.

Nothing is too hard.

 

Grace and Peace

 

 

 

It’s the most peaceful and serene place.

About a thirty minute drive from my home is a waterfall in a very beautiful area.

I was there this past Saturday.

Although I never have, I would just like to go there someday and spend a great amount of time in solitude, just thinking and praying.

God wants us to be at peace, even when sadness breaks in and dares to rob us of it.

God wants us to be at peace, even when illness strikes.

God wants us to be a peace, even when life gets hard.

A deep, inner peace that assures us that we are not alone.

A deep, inner peace that confirms the presence of God.

Do you need peace today?

I do.

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

–2 Peter 1:2

 

 

 

 

God’s Gift Is Real Life

 

 

 

 

As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.

 But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.–Romans 6:20-23   The Message

 

Perfect Soundness

 

 

 

Sometimes, I’m not sure just how to pray.

I have been praying for someone a lot lately.

There are so many areas in this person’s life that so desperately need healing from God.

As I was reading a passage in the Book of Acts from the New King James version of the Bible about the healing of a lame man, two words from a verse stood out to me:

Perfect soundness.

I had read this verse before in another version; suddenly, these words reached into my heart.

What do you think of when you hear the word perfect?

Without flaw or defect?

The very best?

Untainted?

What about soundness?

Having integrity?

Strength?

This man could not walk before, yet, through the power of the Name of Jesus, he stood in perfect soundness, able to walk.

To walk and praise God.

How I long to see the one whom I have been praying for stand spiritually in perfect soundness!

So how should I pray?

God may lead me to pray in several different ways for them, but one way has made it to my attention.

 

Dear Lord, I pray for perfect soundness in the life of the one whom I am concerned about. Spiritual soundness, free from the bonds of worldly deception. May they choose You and Your wisdom, Your ways. May they see clearly Your great faithfulness and love. I pray that their heart would be open to You and Your leading in all their ways. May they praise You and exalt Your Name. Amen

 

What Is Good

 

 

 

Love and faithfulness meet together;
   righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
   and righteousness looks down from heaven.
 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
   and our land will yield its harvest.
 Righteousness goes before him
   and prepares the way for his steps.

—Psalm 85:10-13

 

 

 

We Encourage You

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who do you know that is not living in a right relationship with God?

How many people do you know that are discouraged?

Do you know anyone who is weak—physically, spiritually or emotionally?

How many people do you know who seem to require a good bit of patience on your part?

If you were to add up the answers from the four questions above, my guess is that it would be quite a large number.

Numbers, however, are only symbols and ideas created to represent something.

Numbers themselves are only a shadow of what they describe.

In this case, the people represented are precious souls, each one of great value to God.

I Thessalonians 5:14 tells us just how to handle all these troubled people in our lives:

We encourage you, brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not living right, cheer up those who are discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.

We are to instruct, cheer and help others in whatever way they need it, all the while showing patience.

Is this easy?

Is this hard?

Is it impossible?

No.

It’s just what you can do if you ask God to guide you and to strengthen you in each of these areas.

Think about it a minute…..

 

Who DO you know?

 

 

Keep My Commands

 

 

I suppose that the young mourning dove was being instructed by his parent.

Striking a rather submissive pose, the smaller bird remained motionless for a time.

What do dove parents talk to their offspring about?

Only God and the birds know the answer to that question.

While species of animals treat their young in a variety of ways, most care for them and their well being.

Many times we observe the training and nurturing of wildlife offspring by their parents.

As people, what are we to do?

Beyond the physical needs of food and shelter, we show our children love.

We care for them when they are ill.

We laugh with them, cry with them and grow older with them.

We send them to school, take them to athletic practices, dance lessons and birthday parties.

We read books to them, teach them to brush their teeth and to drive a car.

But when do we know that we’ve taught them the most important things?

When a son or daughter comes to the place in their own lives where they embrace faith in Jesus as God’s Son, the Savior of their souls, the single most important goal has been met—

Raising a child who chooses God.

Careers are important, but they will come to an end.

Athletic teams help to build character, but at the end of a life, character will not be sufficient as a means to enter Heaven.

The writer of Proverbs 3 says,

 My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
 for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.

  Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
 Then you will win favor and a good name
   in the sight of God and man.

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

–Proverbs 3:1-6

 

 

 

My Sins Have Caught Up With Me

 

 

 

Haustorium.

No, that’s not another name for a history museum.

Not even close.

It’s a new word for me, but it’s been around for years.

I was noticing a tree that had lost it’s normal leaves for the winter months.

A very lively green bunch of foliage was clumped together near the top of the tree’s branches.

Being curious, I asked someone about it and then did some research.

It seems that this plant becomes attached to the tree at first by means of a seed deposited on it.

As the invading plant grows, it lessens the growth of the tree and, in some cases, it will actually cause the death of the tree.

How does this come about?

It’s time for my new word—

Haustorium.

A haustorium is a portion of root from a parasitic plant that penetrates a host plant and draws nourishment from it.

The haustorium actually invades the tissue of it’s host.

I thought about sin.

Starting small as a tiny seed, it may seem harmless when it first appears in our lives.

Soon, however, sin’s haustorium begins to prod deeper and deeper until it is firmly attached within us, depriving us of critical nutrients.

If it isn’t stopped, it will overtake us and we will die a spiritual death.

Just like the tree I was looking at—we will at times look barren and worn, but the sin that has overtaken us will be thriving!

Only God can come and remove the clumps of disobedience that have been left to flourish.

Only He can forgive us and remove the sinister roots, bringing life to a condemned soul.

We don’t have to live with the burden of unbridled sin.

Miserable.

Hopeless.

Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the cross.

All can be made new.

Is sin drawing the life out of you today?

Don’t wait—-ask Him for forgiveness and let Him take it away.

 

 

Countless evils have surrounded me.
      My sins have caught up with me so that I can no longer see.
         They outnumber the hairs on my head.
            I have lost heart.–Psalm 40:12