Stretches Out

 

 

 

 

The sky was so very, very BIG.

I was on my way to speak to a group about digital photography when the sunset shot brilliant rays of blazing color to the expansive clouds ahead of me.

In an almost funnel cake shape, the pink-orange and the gray-blue ruffles of moisture towered ilke a giant hovering over the "little people" rushing this way and that in their miniature cars and trucks.

Being one of those tiny beings in comparison to the celestial dome, I was enthralled by the immensity of it all.

In the Bible, Job speaks this of God:

He alone stretches out the heavens
    and treads on the waves of the sea.

—Job 9:8

 

It was God who stretched out the clouds in such a vast configuation of shape, color and form.

Though in silence, the scene still gave witness to His majesty and power.

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Protection

 

 

 

 

Near misses.

Almosts.

The not quites.

Are any of us truly aware of the protection that God gives to us at any given moment?

I think not.

Sometimes, though, we can see what "might have happened" and we are thankful for God’s protection.

This was the case with me.

Driving alone after work on a busy four lane highway, I was headed home.

Cruising along at perhaps fifty miles an hour, I noticed a man standing in the median.

This was not totally unusual; occassionally I see people crossing the highway to get to another business location, as the area is completely commercial.

What was strange, however, was that this man decided he would step out into my lane within seconds of the time that my car would reach him.

Shocked and startled, I swerved to miss him.

Was it only a second?

Two seconds?

Three?

As I passed him, he continued on into the highway.

Had he been aware of the danger?

What was he thinking?

I was thanking God for sparing us both.

It was a near miss.

Almost a tragedy.

Not quite an accident.

God was there.

 

You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

—Psalm 32:7

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Hope of Eternal Life

 

 

Hope.

The weekend conference centered around it.

What was hope?

How could we think of it?

An illuminated cross hung above the platform where the speaker shared insights about what hope could mean in our lives.

Throughout every activity in that room, the cross was there.

Jesus gives us hope.

Do you have the hope of eternal life today?

 

 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  –Titus 3:4-7


 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
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Grace To Help Us

 

 

 

 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest

who has gone through the heavens,

Jesus the Son of God,

let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

For we do not have a high priest who

is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,

but we have one who has been tempted in every way,

just as we are—yet was without sin.

Let us then approach the throne of grace

with confidence, so that we may receive

mercy and find grace to help

us in our time of need.

 

—Hebrews 4:14-16

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
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Praise God

 

 

 

 

The morning sky was incredible!

What seemed to be thousands of clouds rose from the horizon in puffs of white on an endless sky of blue.

With the rising of the sun, there is a new day to praise God.

 Praise God, everybody!

Applaud God, all people!

His love has taken over our lives;

God’s faithful ways are eternal.

Hallelujah!

—Psalm 117:1-2  The Message

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Charm Is Deceptive

 

 

I attended a funeral this morning.

It was truly a celebration of life.

He was a Christian, foremost, a husband, father, brother and friend to many.

Members of his family spoke at the service, noting that he embraced life with a humble attitude, loving people and taking joy from something as simple as a new pair of socks.

He was a musician who spent many hours investing in the lives of others, giving free music lessons at church and priceless life lessons wherever he happened to be.

I know that the latter portion of Proverbs 31 speaks of what a wife of noble character is like.

To me, the list of qualities really applies to anyone.

Our friend was a construction worker, who worked with "eager hands" and "set about his work vigorously."

She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands. –verse 13

She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
–verse 17

Our friend and his wife cared for many foster children throughout their marriage, along with their own three children.

He cared about helping little ones in overwhelming situations.

She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy. –verse 20

He invested time in others consistently.

She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue. –verse 26

Today, his wife gave a fitting eulogy of the many years they had spent together.

His daughter spoke, as well, commiting publicly to live life in the same manner as her father had done.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
–verse 28

Our friend was not concerned about appearances.

Being a very genuine person, he loved God and served Him faithfully.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
–verse 30

After having attended such a meaningful memorial service as this, I think it would be next to impossible to leave through the  sanctuary doors without contemplating how one should live their moments on this earth.

I want to do more to show God’s love to others.

I want to invest more in other people.

I want to spend my moments on the things that matter most…. to Him.

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

Keep His Way

 

 

 

Self-suffiency.

It’s not exactly a bad thing, really, if you think of it as being responsible for oneself.

Pressed further, however, it takes on a different meaning.

Our very existence is dependent on God.

If we embrace the attitude that we can take care of ourselves without any assistance from Him, we are in a barren place, fooled into believing that our strength and fortitude will suffice.

There are times when running ahead of God and choosing our own direction without consulting Him is a very real temptation.

Trusting His timing instead of ours comes face to face with our own impatience.

Why walk when we could take the train and be there ten times faster?

Logical thinking may not be in harmony with the plans of God.

It may be that lessons learned on the walk would’ve been missed on the railway.

Those same lessons could be vital sources of wisdom once the destination is reached.

Psalm 37:34a says,

"Wait for the Lord
    and keep his way."

 

One hundred percent of the time, God’s way is best.

Why not ask Him before we start the journey?

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

No Harm

 

 

 

 Let no debt remain outstanding,

 except the continuing debt

to love one another,

for he who loves his fellowman

has fulfilled the law.

  The commandments,

“Do not commit adultery,”

“Do not murder,”

“Do not steal,”

“Do not covet,”

and whatever other commandment

there may be,

are summed up in this one rule:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  Love does no harm to its neighbor.

Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

 –Romans 13:8-10

 

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

Revealed

 

 

This has been such a day.

A day of learning from God.

A day of understanding a little more about certain things He is revealing to me.

A day of equipping.

A day of reminding me that He is near.

A day when many occurances around me fit together in an order pointing to His love and will for mankind to know Him.

God wants us to know that He is real, He loves us and that He offers eternal life through Jesus, His Son.

A favorite song of mine speaks of this life—-

Like the waters flooding the desert
Like the sunrise showing all things

Where it comes flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
Where death dies all things live

(When Death Dies–Michael Gungor)

 

In Isaiah 40, verse 5, the prophet says,

"And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”


Has God’s love for you been revealed in your own heart today?

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

He Must Not Tell Lies

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband received a call today on his cell phone.

I watched in the kitchen as he listened for a moment and then ended the one sided conversation.

It actually had not been a conversation at all, since he had been listening to an automated message.

The message stated that he had filled out an entry for a cruise recently and he had won…..

The truth?

No.

Neither of us had filled out anything about a cruise.

How does this make me feel?

The company was being deceitful in their marketing.

If I did want to plan a cruise, I wouldn’t want to go with that company.

They have not shown themselves to have integrity.

Not only would I not want to go on a trip with a cruise line like that, I wouldn’t want to be involved with  any business that I could not trust.

Have someone work on my car?

I want to trust them.

Hire a crew to roof my house?

I want to trust them.

Take my child to a dentist?

I want to trust them.

At this point, I need to ask myself if others view me as trustworthy.

Do they believe my words or dismiss them as lies?

As followers of Christ, how should we live?

 

The Scripture says,

“A person must do these things

    to enjoy life and have many happy days.
He must not say evil things,
    and he must not tell lies.
 He must stop doing evil and do good.
    He must look for peace and work for it.
 The Lord sees the good people
    and listens to their prayers.
But the Lord is against
    those who do evil.”

 1 Peter 3:10-12

 


 

 

A Generous Man

 

 

 

 

When you give from the heart, something happens.

Something wonderful.

In a way that cannot be fully explained, the one giving gains as well as the one who is receiving.

There is the satisfaction of knowing that what is given is done in love and that it will bring joy as it is accepted by another.

Apart from that, the one who is obtaining what is given is likely to be grateful, spurring charity in their own hearts.

As one gives to others, God is able to provide even more to be given away.

It is a enduring cycle of receiving and giving.

What has God given you to give away?

Your time?

Your kindness?

Your thoughtfulness?

What does He want you to give?

 

One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

 A generous man will prosper;
    he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

–Proverbs 11:24-25

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

Wonderful Things

 

 

What would it look like if the wonderful things God has done for you could be represented by an object?

If He has taken you from a low and depressed state to a life of freedom, perhaps a tall building could represent that.

If He has given you strength, a rock might suffice to suggest that strength.

If He has grown within you a desire to serve Him in a particular way, a plant’s bloom could capture the essence of the progression of that desire.

What objects could portray God’s work in your life?

 

I will praise You, Lord,

with all my heart.


I will tell about

the wonderful things

You have done.

–Psalm 9:1

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

No Place

 

 

 

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.  Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  —Matthew 8:18-20

 


Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

 Did you know there is freedom in Jesus?

 

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Luke 4:16-21

 

 

 

To Be Remembered

 

 

 

It was peaceful sitting on the bench.

Looking around me, I saw a leaf that had blown from a tree.

With an autumn yellow color, its perfectly formed edges were quite noticeable.

Have you ever thought about the perfection in everything that God has made?

The ridges on a leaf’s edge?

The mathematical accuracy in the unfolding shape of a sea shell?

The elegant, endless patterns in a snowflake?

They all proclaim His majesty.

The next time you bend to smell a blooming rose, gaze into the night sky or brush the delicately soft fur of a newborn kitten, think of God.

He never tires of thinking about you.

 

 

He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.

–Psalm 111:4

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

The Watches of the Night

 

 

 

 

 On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.

–Psalm 63:6

 

When I get up in the morning, do I think about God?

As I am driving to work, do I consider my day and how God might have me live it?

When someone asks my opinion, do I answer in a way that is honorable in His sight?

As food is set before me on a table, do I pause and remember that God has blessed me with nourishment?

When evening shadows fall and it is time to light the house from within, do I reflect on the previous hours and His work in my life?

As I am finally in bed to rest, do I remember God and His great love for me?

 

 

 

All One in Christ Jesus

 

 

 

 

The iridescent bird was standing on the dock, displaying his unique coloration in the late afternoon sunshine.

Black, white, tan, lavender, turquoise, green–exactly what color was he?

That depended on several factors.

The angle I was looking and the angle of the sunlight might have served to change my perception of his appearance.

The bird, however, remained the same.

As people, we aren’t iridescent, yet we are so diverse.

Our ethnicity, our social and work status, our gender–they all separate us into categories, depending on who is considering us.

But when we are considered as children of God, redeemed and brought into relationship with Him, we most beautifully and perfectly fit into a single category—we are all one in Christ Jesus.

All that we are at any given time, if we are surrendered to Him, may be displayed in various "colors" depending on the moment.

Our words may be lavender as we comfort a friend.

Our actions may be tan or tourquoise as we seek to help someone in need.

Whatever "color" we display, we are still just the same–one in Christ.

 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

—Galatians 3:28

 

 

 ***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

All of You Who Are Tired

 

 

 

I know someone whose daughter recently participated in a weight lifting competition.

Not being one who has ever lifted more than perhaps thirty pounds, this is completely out of my scope of experience.

Even if I wanted to pick up something really heavy, there would be limitations that I could not overcome.

The strength of my arms, my own height and weight and my general physical fitness would come into play.

There is a limit, however, to everyone’s ability.

Just consider—no one picks up an elephant.

Ever.

Some may try to bear the weight of their lives without Jesus, but it is just too much.

Searching for answers, they are weary, looking for acceptance, love and forgiveness.

When their hearts are opened to Him, all is changed.

Knowing Jesus, they find that He will give them rest.

Are you tired from carrying heavy loads?

 

“My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” —Matthew 11:27-30

 


 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

I Will Sing To The Lord

 

 

For many hours I have been thoughtful.

A friend of our family died last night.

Still with teenage children living at home, he was not an old man.

Trusting in God when he found out he had cancer, he continued to be an encouragement to others.

He was a dedicated musician, giving of his time and talent to help others to learn to play.

Our friend enjoyed hearing me play hymns on the piano.

Last Sunday, aware that his condition was getting worse, I offered to come to his home and play hymns on his family piano as he rested in the "in home" hospital bed.

When I finished, we had a time of prayer with family and visitors.

He said, "Please come back."

I had planned to go again tomorrow and play….

This man loved God and he loved to worship God through song.

Many young musicians are leading in worship themselves through the encouragment of his teaching.

I know he is with God now in Heaven.

Psalm 104:33 reads,

"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being."

Our friend gave praise to the LORD through music while he was alive on this earth.

I have no doubt that he is singing praise to Him now, seeing Him face to face, in the light of His glory.

There is a an old hymn that is a comfort to me—especially this verse:

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.
1

Many will miss our dear friend and the love and fellowship that flowed from his words and actions.

He, however, will be there to welcome us when we one day join him, singing on through eternity.

 

(1 What Wondrous Love is This? by Alexander Means)

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

The Far Side

 

 

Walking along by the hotel, I was suddenly aware of a seaplane on the lake nearby.

The sun was so bright just before its setting, reflecting off the water in a blinding blaze of gold.

As I photographed the plane, I thought at first that it was taking off from lake.

Watching more closely, I realized that it was, in fact, landing.

Capturing the scene as it was gliding in, I could see the spray of water splashing up and glowing in the light.

Where had the plane been?

Where would it be going?

Psalm 139:9-10 says,

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast."

Settle on the far side of the sea…..

That plane was setting on the "sea" before me.

Wherever I am, God is there with me.

If the circumstances in my life could be likened to landing a seaplane in the water, He would still be there.

Are you trusting Him, wherever you are today?

 

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

Whatever You Do

 

 

 

 

Look closely at the picture of the grass in the lake water.

Exactly where does the grass end and the reflection begin?

So seamless is the connection between the realm of the tangible and the abstract, one can barely distinguish between the two.

Could this compare to what living a Christian life should be?

Is there a clear distinction between how a believer in Jesus thinks and acts at church or church related events and how they act at home, at work or at recreational functions?

Do believers have a "spiritual" life and a separate "secular" one?

If they do, should they?

In the book of 1st Corinthians, chapter 10, we find this instruction:

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (verse 31)

Whatever I do.

Singing in church?

Yes.

Arranging chairs in a large room for a meeting at work?

Yes.

Listening to a person I’ve just met on a passenger plane tell me in anguish how they have just lost their spouse?

Yes.

Being kind to a rude cashier in a busy, bustling store?

Yes.

Whatever I do.

Whatever you do.

Every element of our lives should be permeated with the presence of God.

What we say, what we do, wherever we are—church, home or work.

When someone looks at us, there should be no distinct line between who we are in Christ and who they see before them.


 

 

 ***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Life, Prosperity and Honor

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty one.

For me, the year passed as the "new normal" set it.

My birthday was about halfway into my first year of marriage and my third year of college.

I had worked at the same job for about a year and a half when that famous birthday arrived.

I have a friend whose daughter turned twenty one this week.

Feeling proud of her and blessed by God to be her mother, her heart is no doubt full.

Twenty one!

So many possibilities, so many opportunities.

So many choices.

So many dreams.

What can be said to a young man or woman who is turning twenty one?

Here’s something good thing to remember—

Lead them to Proverbs, chapter 21, verse 21:

He who pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity and honor.

 

If each possibility, opportunity, choice or dream is met with a goal toward righteousness and love, an honorable life is sure to be the result.

 

 

***It would be a privilege to hear YOUR thoughts! If you would like to comment on what you’ve just read, please send an email to me at this address:
                         myrasthoughts@yahoo.com