Pasture

 

 

 

Have you felt the weight of surmounting things that you cannot fix?

I am sure that you have.

For me, there are many things on my mind today.

There are reports of people hurting because of a recent hurricane.

I care.

When I got home today, I recieved word that my cousin’s wife who has cancer is in her last 24 hours on this earth.

I care.

One of our son’s flew to another country today.

I care.

Yesterday, a close friend found her pet cat who had been lost. He was injured and died at the animal hospital.

I care.

A friend told me she is getting a divorce.

I care.

The problems are often big and we are always, in reality, small.

Only God is in control.

I am thankful that He allows us to come to Him in prayer about our problems.

We are His.

We belong to Him.

We are under His care.

If the weight you bear is heavy today, run to the Shepherd.

 

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
 for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

–Psalm 95:6-7

 

 

 

 

God’s Set Purpose

 

We arrived at the ball game thinking that it would rain.

With umbrellas in tow, we walked along the concrete area near the stadium.

There was a cross near the entrance.

The gray clouds behind it were tall with an opening filled with the sun’s rays.

Because of Jesus, there is hope and light amidst the darkness.

 

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

—Acts 2:23,24

 

 

 

 

All Her Questions

 

 

 

While at work the other day, I noticed a giant bee creature on the outside brick of a building.

It may have been almost two inches long.

I quickly went inside to get my camera.

Taking a few up-close and risky shots, I feared he might decide to pay back my curiosity with a sting.

I only hoped I was capturing his likeness clearly.

Alerted to my presence, he flew to a nearby tree.

Undaunted, I followed him.

After a few more photos, I left him there, clinging to a branch.

I also left him not really knowing what I was leaving.

I had never seen anything quite like him.

Searching the internet for types of bumblebees in my area brought little results.

Unless I choose to spend what possibly could turn into a considerable time looking, I doubt that I will ever know.

It will probably remain an unanswered question.

A what question.

It seems that each of us face two major types of questions during our lives–

the what questions and the why questions.

Each brings about their own set of challenges.

In fact, often when the question of what is answered, it is quickly followed by why.

Sometimes, the answers are readily available if we know the proper source to consult.

At other times, though we try our best to find out, we are left only with questions.

It is at these times that we must ask God.

He does not tell us to refrain from asking, yet, in His sovereignty, He decides what answers He will give.

According to the Bible, God gave great wisdom to King Solomon.

When the Queen of Sheba heard of his extraordinary gift, she embarked on a journey to meet him and see for herself what had been told of him.

In the Book of I Kings, chapter ten, verse three, we find an important statement:

"Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her."

All of her what questions.

All of her why questions.

Though Solomon possessed great wisdom, all wisdom comes from God and it was God that granted it to him.

There are some questions that ache from the deepest areas of our hearts, longing to be answered.

Lifetimes are spent seeking the what and the why of this or that.

We can ask God for answers and we can ask God for wisdom.

Then, we must listen for His reply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Provides Food

 

 

 

I was standing on the steps talking, not really paying attention to my surroundings.

Suddenly, I noticed a squirrel standing so very still on the top of the stairwall.

The wall was covered in greenery where he sat, silent and cautious.

After a moment, he scampered off in freedom, perhaps to find his next meal.

No matter what the weather is like, I am never concerned for the squirrels.

They will have food.

God provides it for them.

God provides for us, too.

Psalm 111:5 says, "He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever."

God not only provides us sustenance, He gives us everything that we have.

Is there anything that we have provided for ourselves?

If not for God, we would have nothing.

 

 

And I Will Walk

 

 

 

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.

–Psalm 86:11

 

Have you ever known someone who seemed to be walking in falsehood?

First, let’s define falsehood: something that is untrue.

When we "walk" in a falsehood, we are going about our daily lives in a state of untruth.

It could be about anything.

Your self-worth–"I’m not important to anyone."

Your passion–"I must be rich in order to succeed."

Your knowledge of God–"There is no God."

Falsehood can take on many faces.

Each brings its own form of deception.

In order to know real truth, we must seek it from our Heavenly Father.

His way is the only way that we should desire.

Walking in truth every day–isn’t that what we should want?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Kind of Precious Stone

 

 

Have you ever wondered what colors we will see in Heaven?

The Bible tells us some of the precious stones that will be there in the book of Revelation:

The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.–Chapter 21, verses 19-21

Yesterday, I photographed a Zebra Longwing butterfly.

This type of butterfly is the "state" butterfly where I live.

Zebra Longwings are thought to be able to see both visible light and ultraviolet light.

With this type of vision, they would be able to see colors in flowers that are invisible to humans.

Think about it–we share the same world, but the eyes that have been given to them by God can see and appreciate colors that our minds cannot perceive.

If we are ever to see them, God will have to give us new eyes.

Eyes that see in a different way.

In Heaven, we will have new eyes.

Don’t you think the streets of gold will be so VERY gold?

The sapphires so INCREDIBLY blue?

The emeralds so VIBRANTLY green?

My Longwing friend could see a lot more than I could yesterday.

There is coming a time when I will see all the colorful hues of Heaven as I am bathed in the light of God’s glory.

 

I Will Give You Rest

 

 

 

 

 

There’s just something about an empty chair.

If I walk by a rocking chair outside a country restaurant, there’s a tiny something inside me that wants to buy one so I can go home and begin sitting in it.

Today, though not at a restaurant, I walked by a wooden Adirondack chair.

Inviting.

Waiting.

Available to offer rest.

If you’ve ever been standing for a very long time, then you know how wonderful it is to finally get to sit down.

The fact is, we are "on our feet" with one concern after another, every day.

We are upright and standing through difficulties, disappointments, challenges and heartaches that linger well past our reserves of strength.

We need rest.

We need to sit a while.

We need to regain energy if we are to go on.

Jesus offers us that rest.

He tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30

Like a chair waiting on the porch for us to come, Jesus waits for us to come to Him.

Isn’t it time we decided to give our souls a rest?

 

In All Things Grow Up

 

 

 

 

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. —Ephesians 4:11-16

 

 

Turn to God

 

 

 

 Repent, then, and turn to God,

so that your sins may be wiped out,

that times of refreshing may come

from the Lord,

  and that he may

send the Christ,

who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

  He must remain in heaven until the time

comes for God to restore everything,

as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

—Acts 3:19-21

 

 

 

The Highway

 

 

 

It had been about a year since I had been on the bridge.

Spanning high above the water, the tall cables stretched down like a giant stringed instrument in the sky.

The vehicles on its pavement looked tiny in comparison to the vast expance of concrete and steel.

Those driving along the bridge avoided the water below.

Sometimes in our lives we find that we must take a different route in order to continue our journey safely.

If we kept going the same way, things could get bad in a hurry.

Changing routes and choosing the path God wants us to take is the best choice.

We guard our lives by letting Him guard us.

Choosing His way allows us to avoid evil, lifting us above it, like a bridge holding us high above the treacherous waters.

 

How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to choose understanding rather than silver!

 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    he who guards his way guards his life.

–Proverbs 16:16-17

 

My Rock and My Fortress

 

 

When I think of a fortress, I can picture a place where there is protection from attack.

Those who wish to bring harm try hard to break through the protective walls.

Through the ages, such fortresses have been built.

Some have held captors at bay, while others have fallen at the hands of the enemy.

The amount of strength and the integrity of a fortress could mean the difference between life and death.

Even if we do not face physical attack on a daily basis, we can certainly be facing spiritual attack.

It can be blatant in nature as we recognize where it is coming from.

It can also be insidiously cunning, as it sneaks into our consciousness.

In either case, we need a fortress.

A spiritual fortress.

One with absolute strength and integrity.

A wall that that the enemy cannot break.

God is that fortress for us.

We can take refuge in Him.

He will not fail.

 

 

Teach Them

 

 

 

It could’ve been my house–almost.

The structure before me was a thousand miles away from my childhood home.

I grew up in a house built with wood.

It sat on a block foundation and was wrapped with metal underpinning.

The outside of the old house was painted white.

Throughout the many years that I lived there, the color never changed.

The roof was shingled and along quite a bit of the structure there were flowering bushes and plants.

Childhood memories of the neighborhood with elderly folks sitting on their porches during the day are still vivid to me.

There are other memories that are vivid to me, as well.

Though troubled in many areas, my single parent Mom would read the Bible out loud to me every day.

That same Bible is in my own home now.

I remember how she would put the bookmark in every night at just the right page so she would know where she left off in her reading.

Surely this daily reading of God’s word began a reverence and belief within my heart in a very special way.

In the Old Testament, these words spoken to Israel apply to us today:

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

–Deuteronomy 4:9

 

The LORD is Faithful

 

 

What do promises mean?

You may have had promises to you that have been broken.

You may have made a promise and broken it.

Just as likely, you may have had promises made to you that were kept.

You may have made them and kept them, as well.

When we make promises, we know that they can be broken.

God, however, does not break His promises.

Psalm 145:13 speaks of God and His kingdom–

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is faithful to all his promises
    and loving toward all he has made.

 

When we see a rainbow in the sky, it reminds us of His promise to never again destroy the earth by flood.

It should also remind us that His promises—all of them—are true and unbreakable.

The beauty in the sky is a testiment of God’s faithfulness, now and forever.

 

 

 

 

Light of Life

 

 

The lighthouse was across the water on an island.

With its flashing light, it had served for many years as a protection and a guide to those within sight of its signals.

Had it not been for the lighthouse, surely there would have been many who would have navigated into danger instead of safety.

Jesus is our Light.

Our protection.

Our guide.

He leads us to safety, for all eternity.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “ I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”–John 8:12

 

 

A Stairway That Reached

 

 

 

 

At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.  As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.

 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.  Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.  What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”  But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” –Genesis 28:11-17

 

Your Lovingkindness

 

 

The osprey was sitting very high atop a tall, dead tree.

I was able to take several photographs of him.

Ospreys are interesting birds.

They hunt and eat fish, build nests that are far above the ground, usually mate for life and care for their children as a couple.

The small birds that hatch from eggs are dependent on their parents for food and protection.

Apart from their parents’ lovingkindness and provision for them, they are helpless within nests perched at terrible heights.

Who are we dependent on?

As babies, toddlers and children, we must have the care of adults in order to survive.

None of us would live, however, without the care and provision of our Heavenly Father.

No matter what age we may be, we must depend on Him for His lovingkindness.

As the osprey babies know only to look to their parents for their needs, so we should look with trust to God for ours.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. —Psalm 36:7

 

 

 

 

 

Point Out

 

 

Have you ever been on a trip and gotten lost?

It’s scary, isn’t it?

One road goes in a certain direction and another would take you on a different route.

Have you ever been camping or hunting in the woods and gotten lost?

Nothing but trees and rocks and wild animals for miles and miles.

Which way is out?

Have you ever stopped for a moment during your hectic day-in, day-out routine and realized that your life was void of direction?

You may have been frightened, considering the confusion of so many choices and not knowing which way to turn.

In all of these situations, God is there for you to turn to.

God never gets lost; He will show you the right path to follow.

 

Show me the right path, O Lord;
    point out the road for me to follow.
 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.

–Psalm 25:4-5

 

 

With Trembling

 

 

My alarm went off at 5:50 a.m.

Only planning to be in the area for one evening, I intended to get up and see the full moon set over the ocean.

When the alarm began to sound, I rose from the bed and turned it off.

It was completely dark at the beach with only the light of the moon near the horizon.

As I walked on the sand toward the water’s edge, fear was beginning to well up inside me.

Many years ago, we took our only son at that time with us to a school sports gymnasium.

He was only a toddler.

When we entered the gym, he began to cry.

I think the sheer expanse of the room with the towering ceiling gripped him with fear.

He was so small and the building was just so….big.

The same sort of thing was happening to me.

Walking alone with my camera toward a bright light illuminating only a strip of waves directly in front of me made me feel extrememly small.

For those moments, I was probably the only person on the shore for miles and miles.

Darkness covered the majority of all that surrounded me.

I began to think of God so that the fear would subside.

Now, as I consider those moments, I am thinking of the awesomeness of God.

He is all powerful and mighty; we should think of Him with reverence.

I have heard that fear and reverence are interchangeable in that sense.

Being on the beach and feeling so small and singled out in the vastness of space, it was like there was no place to hide.

That is actually the reality.

There are no places to hide from the vision of God.

If we accept His love and forgiveness, we are promised life.

If we reject it, we have no hope.

Is that a frightening prospect?

Someday, when we die, our decision will go with us.

God is our Creator.

He has redeemed us through Jesus—- if we will only believe.

Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.

–Psalm 2:11

 

 

 

A Heap of Ruins

 

 

While touring an area of historic ruins, only a few of the buildings were left standing.

Only remnants of an era were left to tell the visual story of the past.

As I walked along, I could see part of a stone structure submerged in water.

Powerless looking, the strength of the blocks laid carefully atop one another had succumbed to destruction.

Jesus spoke of flood waters as He explained obedience to His teaching:

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?  I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.  It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.  But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” –Luke 6:46-49

Don’t we want to stand firm when the flood waters rise?

It will require digging deep and laying a foundation in Jesus.

 

 

 

He Lets Me Rest

 

 

 

The sign read, "Butterfly Garden."

Following in the direction provided by the sign, I came to an area with several types of plants in bloom.

Alone, I walked along the path that led beside the various flowers.

On a rock, I saw an extremely large skink.

Flying in front of me was a huge wasp that lit on some tall blooms.

Were there butterflies?

The sign had not led me astray.

In fact, I saw several butterflies as I quietly walked a long.

God had blessed me with moments to enjoy the beauty of His creation in one small part of the world–

a garden.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.

–Psalm 23:1-3

 

Springing Up Everywhere

 

 

There was such a stark contrast to the scene.

While visiting a natural spring, I could see that the water was crystal clear.

Fish could be viewed as though through clean, sparkling glass.

Vibrant, green trees and plants lined the water’s path.

But there was something different—something that didn’t quite fit.

A dead tree stood by the water.

Barren and stiff branches that once held budding leaves now marked the sky with staunch rigidity.

An image of lifelessness was surrounded by the fullness of life.

The same ground that held the tree had brought forth new life in its place.

There is a popular Christian song that speaks of new life—

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You1

When we hear–

when we take hold and believe–

when we acknowlege–

that God is real, we need His forgiveness and that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for it, our "dead" lives can live again and new life is found–

in Him.

 

 1Gungor  Beautiful Things

 

For Just Such a Time As This

 

 

A Bible story involving personal struggle, heartache, political deception and crime?

Yes.

For some time now, I have been a part of a small group of people who try to get together a couple of times a month or so to encourage one another, pray together and study the Bible.

Last night, we began to study the Book of Esther.

Not only could the circumstances fit the description above, but they could also fit this one–

An account of God’s sovereignty, love, provision and care throughout every turn.

If you have never read the book, I would encourage you to do so.

It is found in the Old Testament.

The story is that of a girl who was adopted by her uncle and forced by the government into incredible situations, ultimately being selected to marry the king of that country.

She must trust God with her life and the lives of others throughout severe political controversy.

She is advised by her uncle to speak out.

He gives her these words: "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” –from Esther 4:14

Centuries later, God has not changed.

Today, you and I must trust God throughout every happening in our world.

God is still sovereign, no matter what happens.

There is comfort in that knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

Time

 

 

 

 

What time is it?

As I was entering a city quite some distance from my home, I noticed a tall, community clock in the median.

It’s one of those structures that can’t be missed.

Or can it?

Towering above traffic, it can be seen minutes before your actual arrival.

Still, I think it is possible that many people do not take notice of what the structure actually is–a timepiece.

It’s function is to state the time.

What people do with that knowledge is up to them.

Time is more than just moments on a clock, however.

It is the arrival of existance over and over in continuity and in season.

And what will we do with time, right now?

What has God given us at any given time?

What opportunity has He allowed us at the present point in time?

Is it time to pray?

Is it time to help someone in need?

Is it time to be joyful?

Is it time to cry?

Is it time to work?

Is it time to rest?

Maybe it’s the time to discover who God is.

Maybe it’s the first time that Jesus’ sacrifice has become clear to you.

Maybe it’s time to believe.

And through each of these, isn’t it time to worship God?

In the Book of Genesis, we find that Adam and Eve had a son named Seth.

Later, Seth had a son of his own and named him Enosh.

And, "At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name." –Genesis 4:26b

God is present, day after day, keeping all of the universe in order, giving us our very breath.

We couldn’t possibly miss God!

Or could we?

Is it possible that many people do not take notice of who He really is–our Heavenly Father, our Creator, our Lord?

He calls to us to tell us that it is time.

Time to believe in Him.

Time to give our lives to Him.

What we do with that knowledge is up to us.

So, could you please tell me—-what time is it?

 

 

Patient Endurance

 

 

 

I saw them coming.

The boat was long and the labor was certainly hard.

Each of the five had a common goal–moving the craft forward across the advancing, relentless waves.

Where were they going?

I will most certainly never know.

I do know that they were working together, likely motivating each other and enduring the physical stress of rowing as a team.

As the writer of Hebrews speaks to brothers and sisters in Christ, he says,

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

 “For in just a little while,
    the Coming One will come and not delay.
 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
    But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”

–Hebrews 10:23-25, 36-38

Like the people in the boat, we are on a journey together–a faith journey.

We are crossing the waves that never cease.

The rowing is hard, but we must keep going, encouraging each other along the way.

We need patient endurance so that we can continue doing God’s will.

 

 

Am I Not Everywhere?

 

 

Saturday was a very hot and bright day.

When the sun was overhead, I took a picture of it.

Of course, the photo was mostly a washed out-spread out white light on a pale blue background.

I decided to edit it and, just for fun, I took an extreme amount of light away from the photo.

This left an interesting array of lens flare bubbles on a black background.

Within seconds, I noticed it—–could it be?

An airplane had been flying at a high altitude near the area of the sky where the sun could be viewed.

I hadn’t noticed it in the original photo, but now, it appeared to be centered directly inside one of the flare bubbles!

Current technology often amazes me.

Medical advances, physics, communications, air and space travel—it’s beyond what I can thoroughly grasp.

I simply accept what is available and benefit from the collective knowledge that God has allowed us to have at this period in time.

And that’s actually the key point of it all; everything that is understood by man on the highest levels of science is but an elementary comprehension, at best, of what exists by the power of God.

He is everywhere, holding all that He has authored and created in place.

 

 

You Go Before Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever been somewhere and thought, "God couldn’t be here," or "nothing good could come from this place."

You may even look at events in your life this way.

Your employer wants you to relocate to another city, but you don’t want to.

Surely, God is not at the source of this offer….

Suppose you have a flat tire and that causes you to be an hour late for work.

How is God a part of that?

Yesterday, I was visiting  an area attraction in a large, nearby city.

I had been walking a lot and seeing a metal park bench, I sat down to rest.

As I sat on the bench, I realized that lichen was growing on it.

I am used to seeing lichen on tree limbs and rocks, but on a park bench?

Now, that did seem odd.

I photographed it, (of course) and I now know that it was Xanthoparmelia thalli.

If someone had asked me prior to this experience if lichen would grow on painted metal, I might have said no.

It would have seemed unlikely.

But, there I sat, next to a nice, healthy form of "unlikely."

I think that things in our lives often present themselves in a way where we are tempted to rule out God’s presence.

Could God’s purpose for you and me ever be in an unlikely situation?

Could God’s sovereign plan for you or someone else ever include the unusual and unlikely?

When you approach the next "park bench" situation in life, look around.

Is God already there, growing His will and His purpose?

You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

–Psalm 139:5,6

 

 

 

 

Securely

 

 

 

I visited a beautiful lakeside park this morning.

It was peaceful and serene.

A squirrel near me found something to hold in his tiny hands to eat as I watched.

Birds searched earnestly for food at the edge of the water.

As I passed a large tree, I paused as a childhood memory surfaced suddenly.

This tree had large roots forming a small space that a child could sit in.

How did I know?

Because that’s exactly what I did when I was in elementary school.

Coming from a highly dysfunctional home life, I often felt insecure and afraid.

I sometimes stumble upon some keepsake school papers or books from when I was a young child.

Looking at the unrefined handwriting reminds me that I was once quite small and fragile.

Waiting on the admittance bell before school each morning, students had to remain outside on the grounds to go in.

I would go and sit between the roots of a very large tree.

It was comforting to have the roots surrounding me—protecting me, in a way.

During my difficult childhood years, God began to reveal Himself to me.

He listened when I prayed and answered me in ways that confirmed His presence to my little heart.

Psalm 63:8 says,

I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

No longer finding the need to be comforted by strong tree roots, I understand now that it is God who protects me.

It is God who holds me securely.

He saw me sitting alone between the roots of the old tree years ago.

He loved me then.

He sees me now when I am in need of comforting and reassurance.

He loves me, still.

 

 

 

What You Say

 

 

 

It’s hard for me to walk past a waterfall without photographing it.

Actually, it’s hard for me to walk past a waterfall without stopping to look at it for awhile.

Is it because they are so unusual?

What about falling water catches my interest so?

When I think of the Garden of Eden, it’s easy for me to imagine a waterfall there.

Lush, vibrant plants and trees filled with life.

Maybe waterfalls that I see remind me of the same thing.

Life.

Adundance.

Security.

Peace.

It could be said that the flow of water creates a sense that these are continually coming from a permanent source.

Ongoing life.

Recurring abundance.

Renewed security.

Replenished peace.

It’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?

God’s character is ever-flowing and eternal.

He will never run out of love.

He will never cease to be faithful.

His words are true.

What about us?

Do our words flow from within us, showing what is true about our hearts?

Jesus said,

 

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes.  A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart." –Luke 6:43-45

 

You Are the Hope

 

 

Tonight I learned that God had answered prayers concerning some friends.

Having learned of a need in that family, many people had been praying for a positive outcome.

During the course of a week’s time, events seemed to "fall in place" in an ordered fashion, yet ordered in such a way as to be the work of God.

This will be a source of testimony for this family and for those who prayed for them.

In years to come, the story of God’s faithfulness through these days will be recounted.

God’s faithfulness reaches to everyone in the world.

Does God care about people who live far away from you?

Does God care about people who live in your own neighborhood?

Does God care about you?

The answer to all three questions is "yes."

He is our hope….

 

 

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
    O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
    even those who sail on distant seas.
 You formed the mountains by your power
    and armed yourself with mighty strength.
 You quieted the raging oceans
    with their pounding waves
    and silenced the shouting of the nations.
 Those who live at the ends of the earth
    stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
    you inspire shouts of joy.

—Psalm 65:5-8