Steadfast

 

 

 

 

What does it mean to be steadfast?

The dictionary says, "resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering."

Is my heart dutifully firm?

Is it unwavering?

Sometimes, when I play my piano, I am giving praise to God, not only with the words that I may sing, but in using the talent that He gave to me to display His work through me.

There is nothing I have to offer to God that God did not give to me first.

 

My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
 Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

—Psalm 57:7-11

 

 

 

Perfectly Mirrors God

 

 

The sunrise was reflecting brightly on the beachside building.

A single palm tree graced its roof.

Balconies intended for a view such as I was experiencing were surely planned from the architect’s pen.

Some of the windows were aglow with those early rays that had raced over the ocean waves before piercing their glass with energy and light.

Jesus, our Savior, perfectly mirrors God.

Hebrews 1:1-3 reads,

Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!—The Message

 

For They Are the Kind

 

I have a Bible that has the New International Version on one side of each page and The Message on the other.

In John 4, the account of Jesus speaking to the woman at the well is found.

Jesus went to a town in Samaria called Sychar.

He sat down by a well and a woman came to draw water from it.

As they talked, the subject of worship came up:

  Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

—John 4:21-24

The Message relates these verses in this way:

"Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

 "It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."

Who am I?

How do I live?

Am I simply and honestly myself before God in worship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe

 

 

 

Be gentle.

Don’t worry.

Pray.

Be thankful.

Your heart and mind will be safe in Jesus.

 

 

Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:5-7

 

Seen By All

 

 

If a man came to inspect your roof and found damaged areas, but didn’t mention it for fear it would anger you, would you be upset?

If your doctor clearly saw infection on your x-ray, but didn’t mention it for fear it would frighten you, would you be upset?

I can imagine that later on, when the roof was leaking or when you finally went to the hospital with fever and pneumonia, you would be very upset.

What kind of person would do such a thing?

Hide information that you really needed to know?

Keep the truth from you, even though it would hurt later?

Well, maybe I’m that kind of person.

At least, part of the time.

Surely there have been opportunities where I could’ve spoken to someone about their need for a Savior, but I didn’t because I was concerned about their reaction.

I didn’t want them to be upset….

There have been moments when I could have mentioned my faith in Jesus, but instead, I spoke of other things.

If they had become angry or even frightened at the thought of needing God’s gift of salvation, so what?

It’s much more important to know about eternal life than it is to know of a damaged roof or physical illness.

 

Lord, please help me to remember to shine the light of your love for others as I go about my everyday life, meeting people who do not know of You.

 

No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. —Luke 8:16

 

 

 

 

Of Great Worth

 

 

 

You may own some nice clothes.

That’s okay.

God looks at your heart.

You may own some jewelry.

That’s okay.

God looks at your heart.

You probably get a haircut on a regular basis.

That’s okay, too.

God looks at your heart.

But let’s suppose that…you don’t.

Let’s suppose you don’t have any nice clothes.

That’s okay.

God looks at your heart.

Let’s suppose you don’t have any jewelry.

That’s okay.

God looks at your heart.

Let’s suppose you can’t afford to get your hair cut regularly.

That’s okay.

God looks at your heart.

But if you don’t have all these things, then what?

Would the people that know you best describe you accurately with or without fine things?

Would your character go unchanged no matter what your appearance happened to be?

Who we are in the "inside" should remain constant, regardless of our outward adornment.

 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. –1 Peter 3:3-4

 

My Help Comes From the LORD

 

 

I am, at this moment, experiencing a tropical storm.

There is a tornado watch in effect.

It’s dark and gloomy for a late afternoon in the sub-tropics.

Looking out my front door at the rain and wind, I happened to notice my rosebush.

It had been rose-less for quite some time, until  just a few days ago.

Suddenly, a bright red rose appeared.

Now, as I looked out at the bush, I saw not one, but two red roses, bending in tandem with the wind.

With a mass of thought coming together more quickly than I could form a mental sentence, I realized the blooms had unfurled during what seemed to be a very inopportune time.

Here they were, being tossed about by the wind and pummeled by the relentless rain, hour after hour.

If they could have only bloomed next week or even the week before—they certainly could’ve had a greater chance of surviving.

They could have opened to bright, sunny skies with maybe an occassional afternoon shower.

They could have been appreciated more.

Who would stop to gaze on their beauty while running past with an umbrella held overhead?

They bloomed at the wrong time, didn’t they?

No.

They bloomed when God told them to.

And now, here they are, so bright they are almost glowing red, swaying in a backdrop of all that is shiny, wet and green.

Are they any less beautiful because of the rain?

Did their petals refuse to open because the clouds blocked the warm sunlight?

No.

God created them to be delicate, gorgeous and full of color–during a tropical storm.

Like two little beacons, they wave about declaring their unlikely presence; intense beauty, grace and elegance formed by God, signaling to any eye that beholds them.

If I were a rose, would I complain that my short life was happening during a storm?

Would I think the absence of a golden, sunlit morning was cause to stop my petals from becoming outspread to the world around me?

What if I were just…..me?

Am I unhappy when the storms come?

Does the phrase, "If only" mark my thoughts?

Am I sad about the gray, cloudy moments?

Could I choose instead to bloom, bright red, into the gusty wind and pelting rain?

Could I choose to be a beacon, declaring God’s faithfulness against a backdrop of difficulty?

 

Could you?

 

difficulty

 

 

I am, at this moment, experiencing a tropical storm.

There is a tornado watch in effect.

It’s dark and gloomy for a late afternoon in the sub-tropics.

Looking out my front door at the rain and wind, I happened to notice my rosebush.

It had been rose-less for quite some time, until  just a few days ago.

Suddenly, a bright red rose appeared.

Now, as I looked out at the bush, I saw not one, but two red roses, bending in tandem with the wind.

With a mass of thought coming together more quickly than I could form a mental sentence, I realized the blooms had unfurled during what seemed to be a very inopportune time.

Here they were, being tossed about by the wind and pummeled by the relentless rain, hour after hour.

If they could have only bloomed next week or even the week before—they certainly could’ve had a greater chance of surviving.

They could have opened to bright, sunny skies with maybe an occassional afternoon shower.

They could have been appreciated more.

Who would stop to gaze on their beauty while running past with an umbrella held overhead?

They bloomed at the wrong time, didn’t they?

No.

They bloomed when God told them to.

And now, here they are, so bright they are almost glowing red, swaying in a backdrop of all that is shiny, wet and green.

Are they any less beautiful because of the rain?

Did their petals refuse to open because the clouds blocked the warm sunlight?

No.

God created them to be delicate, gorgeous and full of color–during a tropical storm.

Like two little beacons, they wave about declaring their unlikely presence; intense beauty, grace and elegance formed by God, signaling to any eye that beholds them.

If I were a rose, would I complain that my short life was happening during a storm?

Would I think the absence of a golden, sunlight morning was cause to stop my petals from becoming outspread to the world around me?

What if I were just…..me?

Am I unhappy when the storms come?

Does the phrase, "If only" mark my thoughts?

Am I sad about the gray, cloudy moments?

Could I choose instead to bloom, bright red, into the gusty wind and pelting rain?

Could I choose to be a beacon, declaring God’s faithfulness against a backdrop of difficulty?

 

Could you?

 

Available to Your Own Families

 

"I’m just too busy to take Grandma for the weekend."

"He got himself into this mess, he can get himself out."

"A father can only do so much for his kids."

"I know she’s upset, but I’m not going to spend the afternoon consoling her."


What kind of statements would be the opposite of the ones you just read?

 

"I’ve got a couple of commitments, but I can work some things out so Grandma can be with us this weekend."

"He’s really made a huge mistake. I should pray for wisdom in knowing how to help him now."

"Being a father is a serious role. I look to God for guidance in knowing what to do for my kids."

"I know she’s upset. I can identify. I think I’ll take some time this afternoon to drop by and let her know I care."

 

As I was reading Isaiah 58:7 in The Message, the last part of the verse seemed to resonate with me

"…..being available to your own families."

God is telling us a list of things in the verse that are important in His eyes as far as our behavior is concerned.

This makes me think that the people He was speaking to may not have been available to their families in a way that was pleasing to Him.

It’s easy to have excuses and fail to support those in your own home.

Sometimes it’s hard to drop our own plans when a family member’s car breaks down and we need to help.

Sometimes it’s difficult to face the failure of a child or parent and to choose to offer support and love in the midst of it all.

What about the fever in the middle of the night?

The phone call at 2 a.m.?

The first-ever football game?

The retirement banquet?

Rehabilitation?

The recital?

Having an attitude of loving availability surely must be pleasing to God.

He wants us to care for those we may not know who are hungry and homeless.

But we shouldn’t neglect being there—being availiable—to those in our own families.

 

 

What I’m interested in is seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. —Isaiah 58:7 The Message


Too Dull

 

It all began with a doctor appointment….

Sometimes I feel that God brings a certain scripture to me more than once so that I will pay closer attention.

Such was the case last Monday.

Feeling ear pressure and fullness is a daily symptom.

Once again, I was seeing my doctor about this issue.

As he placed the otoscope in my ear, he commented that the eardrum looked "dull."

Dull?

In fact, I think he said the other one looked a little dull, as well.

After laughing about my being a little "dull between the ears", we went on to more serious conversation about how dull, in this instance, meant non-reflective.

That night, with absolutely no thought to my ear condition, I was looking online for a topic that I was interested in that might have been referenced in the Bible.

As I used an online search, I came across a blog written by an apparently older couple.

A post of theirs caught my eye.

It seemed to be about Father’s Day.

I thought that I would read it later on.

Bookmarking it on my browser, I left the page.

Deciding to read the Bible, I randomly opened it to the Book of Isaiah.

Chapter 59 was right in front of me.

I began to read:

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. (verse 1)

Too dull.

Dull.

I have dull eardrums.

My mind was startled as I realized that this word—dull—was coming to my attention again.

At some point in the evening, I decided to read the blog post I had stumbled upon about Father’s Day.

The authors chose to end the post with a prayer and with a picture.

A very familiar picture to me, one that is framed and hanging in the dining area of our home.

It was GRACE by photographer Eric Enstrom, a photo of an elderly man bowing with folded hands, praying over bread at a table.

Even though the photograph was very familiar to me, the prayer was of greatest interest.

In it, this line appeared:

"Your arm is not too weak to save, nor Your ear too deaf to hear our heart’s cry."

Three times in the same day, this scripture was brought to my attention.

The last time, it was coupled with a photograph that I display in my home, depicting someone praying.

Needless to say, I have been contemplating the meaning of the scripture since that time with particular attentiveness.

Have I not been trusting that God would hear my prayers?

Am I not believing that He is all-powerful and He can save anyone from anything?

Are my ears dull?

Am I not hearing Him?

God loves us with such great fervor!

He wants to guide us closer to Him, bringing about the conditions and events needed to get us to notice the next step in our journey.

Not once.

Not twice.

But even three times or more, if that is what we need.

 

 

 

All The Beasts

 

 

 

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. —from Genesis 2:19-20

 

 

 

Remove the Dross

 

 

 

 

Dross.

What does that word mean to you?

Impurity?

Something worthless?

The scum off the top of something?

I wonder if the meaning of dross is where the derogatory name, "worthless scum" came from?

In my mind, I can picture the heating of silver with other, less desirable elements within it.

As impurities rise to the top, they could be skimmed off, leaving the silver that was valuable.

Can you look back into your own life and picture something that is gone now, but was present within you that just wasn’t what needed to be there?

I can.

Through whatever circumstances you experienced, can you see that God changed you by removing it?

When something comes to the surface that could be regarded as "scummy" it truly is best if that attitude– that habit— that undesirable trait—is removed.

If you did think of something in the past that is no longer existing within the silver of who you are, wouldn’t you say that you are glad it is no longer a part of your life?

As God refines us, we change.

 

Remove the dross from the silver,
    and out comes material for the silversmith;

—Proverbs 25:4

 

 

 

 

 

Covered With Shame

 

 

The old wheels were rusty from the exposure to the outdoors.

Vines had almost covered the metal frame with leaves.

Was the mass of greenery at the top actually heavy?

Shame is like that.

It covers.

It hinders.

It weakens.

The Bible says:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
 Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 34:4-5

We can seek God.

We can look to Him.

We no longer have to be covered in shame.

 

 

 

Set Apart

 

I had an errand to run in the small town area.

It’s always a pleasant place to visit.

The street I parked on isn’t the usual paving material.

Instead, it is bricked.

As I got out of my car, I noticed that a lot of flowers had been planted near the building in front of me.

The building was old and in need of repair, but the flowers and landscaping gave new life to the scene.

Closest to me was a large pot of blooms and foliage.

Instead of going into the business I had planned to visit, I walked toward the flowers.

I decided to take some photographs.

The flowers had quietly invited my interest and I had accepted.

Shouldn’t it be this way with us?

As Christians, shouldn’t we be living in such a way as to always be quietly inviting others to ask us about our faith?

Colorful and blooming with God’s love, shouldn’t it be obvious that we may be in need of repair, but He is adding new life?

And when they do ask us about our relationship with God, shouldn’t we be ready to tell them?

 

 

 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

I Peter 3:15

 

His Father’s Instructions

 

 

 

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
    but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

–Proverbs 13:1

 

Today is Father’s Day.

A time to remember.

A time to appreciate.

A time to reflect.

A time to honor.

A time to commit, once again, to being the parent God wants us to be.

The Bible tells us that "a wise son listens to his father’s instruction…."

It is a wise father that listens to God in order to recieve the instruction to pass on.

How wonderful it is to have a respectful son or daughter.

How painful it is to have one that mocks loving counsel.

We are God’s children.

Do we respect God?

Do we listen?

Everyday is God’s day.

A time to remember.

A time to appreciate.

A time to reflect.

A time to honor.

A time to commit, once again, to being the child of God that He wants us to be.

 

 

 

Look At It And Live

 

 

I met someone in a park today.

As we talked, I noticed that she was wearing a necklace.

On the necklace was a pendant which showed the Star of Life.

It is a piece of jewelry she wears to alert emergency professionals of a medical condition she has.

If you have ever seen this symbol on an ambulance, helicopter or other emergency medical vehicle, you may have noticed a pole or rod in the center with a snake wrapped around it.

There are different ideas about the origin of such an image being related to healing, but the one that speaks to my heart is the account of Moses with the children of Israel:

 

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;  they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.  The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”  So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. —Numbers 21:4-9

 

Later, in the New Testament, we read:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. —John 3:14-15

 

The person I met at the park told me that their name was engraved on the back of the pendant.

During our conversation, we discovered that we were both Christians.

I related to her my thoughts about her pendant and the biblical reference.

I even suggested that she could share her faith with others by offering to tell them what the symbol referred to.

The fact that her name was on the back made it really personal:  Jesus saves—-in fact, He saved her.

If you happen to see someone wearing jewelry like that, I encourage you to speak to them about Moses and the children of Israel.

Then, tell them of Jesus and how He was lifted up to pay the penalty for our sins—so that we could live.

 

 


 

 

Like The Great Deep

 

 

Let’s suppose you were to sit down in a doctor’s waiting room.

It’s a comfortable place, with quite an array of magazines to browse through.

What type of magazine do you think you would select?

Sports?

Home decorating?

Woodworking?

Gardening?

I would probably pick up the one that I felt had the most interesting cover photo and title.

"Build This Cabinet Tonight" would certainly be bypassed for "Scientists Discover the Ocean’s Latest Secret."

With a line like that, they’d have me hooked…..

It’s not that I have scant regard for hand made home furnishings; it’s the thought of viewing the likeness of a previously unknown sea creature or reading about an aspect of the vast, watery deep that peaks my interest.

I think Heaven will be a little like that.

All of eternity to see creation after creation from the hand of God.

If God chose to begin showing us– right now– a photo of every star in space, one at a time, how long do you think that would take?

What about every nebula?

Every comet?

Every planet?

There’s no use even bothering to think about it.

Forever and ever just doesn’t register in a logical place within our minds.

But since we will have forever to enjoy all that God has made, we really don’t have to try to understand it.

For now, we can just delight in what He has made here on Earth for us to see.

Everything about God is vast and unfathomable.

Does He allow us to explore the expanse of the universe or the depth of the sea to give us just a hint of His greatness?

And, really, if there are animals, fish, birds and insects that are still yet to be discovered by the scientific community, don’t you think it’s likely that there are some other things specific to our own spiritual lives that He has planned to reveal to us in the future?

 

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. –Psalm 36:6a

 

 


 

 

 

 

And There Was Great Calm

 

 

 

One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them,
         Let us go across to the other side of the lake. So they started out. As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep. Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger. The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying,
         Master, Master! We are about to die!

   Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm. Then he said to the disciples,
         Where is your faith?

   But they were amazed and afraid, and said to one another,
         Who is this man? He gives orders to the winds and waves, and they obey him!

—Luke 8:22-25

 

 

 

The Choice

 

 

 

 

The checkers board sits outside the restaurant, silently inviting those who pass by to take a few moments just to relax and play a game or two.

There’s nothing really fancy about a game of checkers.

The rules are not difficult.

One person chooses which move to make, then the other makes his own choice.

In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people to love God and obey His laws:

Love the Lord your God and always obey all his laws. –chapter 11, verse 1

Later in the chapter, he has this to say:

Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse— a blessing, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; but a curse, if you disobey these commands and turn away to worship other gods that you have never worshiped before.

–chapter 11, verses 26 to 28

The people had a choice back then, whether to choose God or not.

The choice is still ours, today.

We have a choice between choosing God or not choosing God.

A choice to obey—or not.

A choice to love—or not.

What decision have you made?

 

 

Flowers Will Bloom

 

 

 

Do you ever feel like a desert?

When I think of a desert, I think of vast areas of dry sand and almost no vegetation.

There’s nothing much to see and the temperature is so uncomfortable that there aren’t many visitors.

Does that describe life for you right now?

Spiritually or emotionally dry, nothing much growing?

Maybe a temper that shows up a little too often, making it uncomfortable for anyone who might choose to come around?

There’s another thing about deserts—they seem lonely, don’t they?

You may feel lonely, too.

God can change that.

The lonliness.

The dryness.

The uncomfortable "temperature."

You don’t have to be a desert.

Ask God to change you.

When He does, tell everyone about it!

Aren’t you ready for the change?

 

 

The desert will rejoice,
      and flowers will bloom in the wastelands.
  The desert will sing and shout for joy;
      it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains
      and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon.
   Everyone will see the Lord’s splendor,
      see his greatness and power.

—Isaiah 35:1-2

 

 

 

 

Animals and Birds

 

 

 

Wherever we go in the earth–high mountains, low valleys, deserts that are parched and dry—there is life.

In jungles where it is hot and humid or in the snow covered areas near its poles—there is life.

In the farthest depths of the oceans or in forests green and thick—there is still life to be found.

Even when the flood covered the face of the Earth, God protected a remnant of all kinds of life.

God intended it to be so, and I, for one, am glad He did.

 

 

God said to Noah,
         Go out of the boat with your wife, your sons, and their wives. Take all the birds and animals out with you, so that they may reproduce and spread over all the earth.

    So Noah went out of the boat with his wife, his sons, and their wives. All the animals and birds went out of the boat in groups of their own kind. –Genesis 8:15-19

 

I Will Not Leave You

 

 

 

Sometimes, the world seems so big.

The troubles of the world are bigger, still.

The wars.

The hunger.

The immorality.

The confusion.

The disbelief.

Even when things are at their worst–in the world or in your own home–God has not left you alone.

Jesus said,

 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.  I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever.  That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

 “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you.  In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live.  On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you.  Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.”

—John 14:15-21

 

Salvation Through Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

 

Yesterday, someone asked me how they could know that they would go to Heaven when they died.

If you’ve ever wondered how you could know, the Bible tells us.

John 3:16-18 reads, "God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.  Those who believe in him won’t be condemned. But those who don’t believe are already condemned because they don’t believe in God’s only Son."

Those who believe in Jesus "won’t be condemned."

As we come to recognize that we have all sinned and that we are in need of God’s forgiveness and His gift of everlasting life, we can ask for His forgiveness and repent.

We accept the fact that we are sinners in need of a Savior, we believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Savior and we then commit our lives to Him.

It was not God’s intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake in this life or asleep in death, we will live together with him.

–I Thessalonians 5:9-10

 

Because of Their Faith

 

 

 

It’s been on the wall in our living room for years.

An old photograph, partially "drawn" or painted, tells only a hint of a long, long story.

The photograph is of my great, great grandparents.

It was probably taken somewhere between 1850 and 1870.

I know part of the family’s history, how they immigrated to this country from another one, far, far away.

A few family heirlooms are with me…..my great grandmother’s Bible, among other things.

She was the daughter of the couple in the picture.

Faith has been a part of many of my ancestors’ lives, I believe.

Someday, in Heaven, I will have the privilege and joy of meeting my ancestors and hearing about how they came to follow the Lord.

Having faith in Jesus was just as important 150 years ago as it is today.

150 years from now, what will your descendants know about you?

Will they have your Bible in their home?

Will they speak of your relationship with God?

 

 

Hold On

 

 

 

The television.

The car radio.

The iPod.

The computer.

The billboards.

The magazines.

The newspapers.

The phone calls.

The emails.

The texts.

The tweets.

The comments.

We are bombarded with thoughts and ideas at every turn.

We cannot escape the attitudes and sentiments of the crowd.

With the ever increasing power of technology, we open our eyes and ears as portals to our minds as we take in greater and greater amounts of information and opinion than ever before.

The challenge?

What do we keep?

What do we take in?

What do we reject?

What do we filter out as we recognize its harmfulness?

The Bible gives us instruction on the matter:

Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. –Romans 12:9-10

Once we discern that what we are subjected to is not good, but rather, evil—we must let it go, choosing instead to hold on to only that which is good.

What are you holding on to today?

 

 

Wildly Wonderful

 

 

Photographing animals brings me a certain unexplainable joy.

Maybe it’s the thrill of capturing a specific look or posture that is present for only a moment and then gone.

Being able to look again at their features and consider once more how God has made them is an exciting thing for me.

 

What a wildly wonderful world, God!
      You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
      made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

—Psalm 104:24  The Message