When He Saw the Crowds

 

 

 

 

Traffic was usual, I suppose, for a Saturday.

Car after car, truck after truck, all going somewhere.

So many people.

So very many.

If time could be frozen for an instant, and God would count how many people living would go to Heaven if they were to die right then and how many would be separated from Him forever, I wonder what the number would be?

What if He only counted the numbers that were visible in my photograph?

How many people in those cars and trucks would make it to Heaven?

How many wouldn’t?

 

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

—Matthew 9:35-38

 

 

 

 

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The Old Has Gone

 

 

 I went to a party tonight.

The backyard grill was going and the hamburgers and hotdogs were in abundance.

At some point in the evening, a game was suggested.

Everyone gathered in a large room and found a chair to sit in.

The instructions to the game were given:

Slips of paper had been prepared with the names of each person in attendance.

These slips were handed out randomly.

Everyone had a slip of paper with a new name.

As the game continued, it became very important to remember your own new name and the new names of those around you.

We could no longer consider ourselves to be called by our former names.

As each turn of the game occurred, some would have to change chairs and in so doing, change their name.

 

When we become a follower of Christ, something changes—something very significant.

Previously, we lived our lives for ourselves, for what we wanted, without regard to God’s wishes.

As a believer, the Holy Spirit guides us as we live as a new creation, looking to please God.

It is important to remember who we are now; we have a new name in Christ.

A forgiven name.

A name newly created for us.

We can no longer consider ourselves to be called by our former names….

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

—-2 Corinthians 5:17-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Always Thank My God

 

 

Our family joined us for dinner this evening.

All our children, one daughter-in-law, one fiance, one grandmother and one mom.

Two cats and a dog were also present.

If I could see a written account of all the prayers that we each had prayed for one another, I wonder how many volumes it would take?

When love bonds a heart to another, it hurts when they hurt.

It rejoices when they rejoice.

It thrives in their presence.

My family is a family of believers in the Lord Jesus.

God has blessed us with love as we live our lives of faith.

Love…..

Where would we be without it?

 

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,  because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. —Philemon 1:4-5

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Light Shine

 

 

The morning sunlight was streaming through the trees and into the bay window.

Hues of bright amber and emerald made a soft glow from the plants that call the sill their home.

Noticing the temporary scene, I hoped to photograph it before the sun’s rays changed their focus.

 

Psalm 118:27a reads,

"The Lord is God,
    and He has made His light shine on us."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On His Own Donkey

 

 

 

In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus tells us how to love our "neighbors" as our own selves.

 

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

–Luke 10:30-35

 

We may not be confronted with a beaten man on the street, but there are many opportunities to help someone in need.

A few dollars given to a homeless man…

Volunteering time at a feeding ministry…

Giving someone a ride to the doctor…

Visiting a nursing home…

Helping a motorist with a flat tire…

Taking a meal to an ailing friend…

When the opportunity arises, what should we do?

 

 


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Always Hopes

 

 

 

 

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil

but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

always trusts,

always hopes,

always perseveres.

 –1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

 

 

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She Will Protect You

 

 

 

On our way to a store last night, my husband and I passed a large antique car show going on in a nearby town.

On the spur of the moment, we decided to alter our plans for the evening in order to attend.

Every car displayed was intricately detailed.

Clean and shiny.

Old, yet like new.

I wonder how many of those cars had been ill cared for?

Had any of them been taken out for careless, wreckless drives in the mud?

Had their owners left them out in the elements to bake in the sun or be pummelled by hail?

Had the upholstery weathered drive-in food spills that had never properly been cleaned?

What about their engines?

Had the motor oil been changed so little that it was damaging?

Had irresponsible care been given to keeping the engines in good working condition?

I realize that many of the cars had indeed been restored in various ways.

Yet, some aspects of these automobiles were in their originally good condition, or at least in good enough condition for restoration to even be possible.

As Christians, we may choose God’s wisdom in every aspect of our lives.

We may also choose it through every season of our lives.

God can restore anyone’s life, no matter how irresponsible the care for that life has been.

However, choosing God’s wisdom has a profound effect on every individual.

Whenever we become old, don’t we want to be in good condition—- spiritually, physically and emotionally?

Clean and shiny with forgiveness and at peace with God?

 

 

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

—Proverbs 4:6

 

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The Sea is His

 

 

Traveling toward the drawbridge, I realized the massive structure had just raised to allow a couple of very tall boats to pass to the other side.

 I watched the boats and began to photograph them.

Think about it—-

The sea is ours in which to place boats.

It is ours to gather food from as we go fishing.

But, is it really ours?

All that we have belongs to God.

 

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

—-Psalm 95:3-5

 

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Hawks

 

 

 Earth’s surface is a field for grain,
    but its depths are a forge
Firing sapphires from stones
    and chiseling gold from rocks.
Vultures are blind to its riches,
    hawks never lay eyes on it.
Wild animals are oblivious to it,
    lions don’t know it’s there.
Miners hammer away at the rock,
    they uproot the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock
    and find all kinds of beautiful gems.
They discover the origins of rivers,
    and bring earth’s secrets to light.

Job 28:5-11 The Message

 

 

 

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time

 

 

 

 

 Earth’s surface is a field for grain,
    but its depths are a forge
Firing sapphires from stones
    and chiseling gold from rocks.
Vultures are blind to its riches,
    hawks never lay eyes on it.
Wild animals are oblivious to it,
    lions don’t know it’s there.
Miners hammer away at the rock,
    they uproot the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock
    and find all kinds of beautiful gems.
They discover the origins of rivers,
    and bring earth’s secrets to light.

Job 28:5-11 The Message

 

 

 

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With God, All Things Are Possible

 

 

 

The highway I travel when returning home from work is, at some points, six lanes wide, also with a center turning lane.

For what seems like a very, very long time, there has been a large construction project going on with the road.

It would seem that more lanes are coming at different locations in the roadway.

As I was stopped in traffic during my afternoon commute, I began to notice the big machines working.

Seeing the massive amounts of dirt being moved, I contemplated how the machines could do so much and do it quickly; it would take a person forever to accomplish the task, if it could even be done.

I thought about God.

When a task or trial is massive before us, God can do so much.

In fact, He can do anything and do it quickly.

Instantly, if He chooses.

Like tons of dirt before us, our problems can seem insurmountable.

Yet, God can make level that which is rocky and uneven.

 

Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.”

 

 

 

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Honoring Each Other

 

 

 

Respect.

Admiration.

Esteem.

To treat with regard to worth.

What am I talking about?

Honor.

It can be shown in the smallest of actions, like simply opening a door for someone—even a stranger.

A caring telephone call just to see how someone is doing.

To treat another with respect shows that we value them as a person.

God values them to such an extent that He sent Jesus to pay for their redemption.

How does God want us to show love and honor to others?

 

Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other.

—Romans 12:10

 

 

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Your Face Mirrors Your Heart

 

 

 

 

The morning was inviting with the slightest hint of coolness in the air. 

Drops of dew adorned the grass as the reflections of the sky mimicked diamonds in the light.

The water could only mirror what was truly a part of the surroundings.

Proverbs 27:19 in The Message reads,

Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart.

 

Our countenance often shows the deepest concerns of the heart.

It shows our joys and our sorrows.

It shows our anxiety and it shows our peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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Walk in Obedience

 

 

How can we show love to God?

How can we show love to one another?

How can we walk in the truth?

How can we walk in obedience?

What is God’s command to us?

 

 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.  And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

—2 John 1:4-6

 

 

 

 

 

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A City Broken

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we lack self-control, we are vulnerable to any harm

that may come through our unbridled choices.

Self-control is like a protective fence around our lives,

guarding us from haphazard decisions and the pain

that accompanies them.

 

 

 

Like a city

broken

 

into and left

 

without a wall,

 

so is a person

who lacks

self-control.

 

–Proverbs 25:28

 

 

 

 

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He Safeguards the Steps

 

Visiting a nearby city, I stood by a wooden bridge leading over the water to well lit buildings on the other side.

Taking photographs of the scene, I wasn’t concerned of my safety at all–especially from darkness and not being able to see.

If there had been no light available, however, it would have been a different story.

Stumbling in the dark on a bridge would have been a dangerous experience.

If we walk in God’s light as one of His children, we are not in darkness.

He "safeguards" our steps.

We do not have to live in fear.

 

 

“The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s.
    He has set the world on them.
 He safeguards the steps of his faithful ones,
    but wicked people are silenced in darkness
        because humans cannot succeed by their own strength."

—1 Samuel 2:9

 

 

 

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Living and Active

 

 

That moment when you were kind?

He was there.

When your heart felt like it would break in two?

He was there.

The day you shut the door in anger and walked away?

He was there, then, also.

The day everyone misunderstood your actions and words?

He was there.

He understood you more than you understood yourself.

The night you gave some food to a homeless person sitting outside a grocery store?

He was there, watching you give.

God—–He knows it all, and He loves you.

 

God’s word is living and active.

It is sharper than any two-edged sword

and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet,

the place where joints and marrow meet.

God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.

No creature can hide from God.

Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see.

We must answer to him.

—Hebrews 4:12-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Will Thank the LORD

 

 

 

 

 

I will thank the Lord at all times.
    My mouth will always praise him.
 My soul will boast about the Lord.
    Those who are oppressed will hear it and rejoice.
 Praise the Lord’s greatness with me.
    Let us highly honor his name together.

—Psalm 134:1-3

 

 

 

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To the One Who Seeks Him

 

 

 

 

 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

 —Lamentations 3:21-26

 

 

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Your Deliverance

 

 

 

 I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.

 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!

—-Psalm 40:9-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Snare of the Fowler

 

 

Is there a fowler out to get you?

As I walked along the boardwalk, I noticed a snake bird sitting calmly on a post that was partially submerged in the shallow water.

The activity of the people walking by with fishing poles didn’t seem to bother him.

Nor was he upset by my presence, pointing a camera straight at him.

He was free to fly off at any moment, and he knew it.

No traps here.

In fact, the last time anyone had ever seen a hunter in this spot was, well…..never.

He was safe and comfortable, quietly tending to the grooming needs of his upper torso.

But, it could be so different.

If he chose to be in another place–a place where a flying arrow or a hunter’s gun could reach him, peril might soon befall him.

We have some important choices to make, too.

Our greatest and only real protection is God.

The psalmist exhorts us in this way:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
 You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

–Psalm 91:1-6

 

Will we choose to take refuge in God, our Heavenly Father?


 

 

***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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The Rock That is Higher

 

 

The sun had only passed the horizon moments before when I noticed the trail in the sky.

The plane was making its way across the velvety blue expanse at such a speed that it was a challenge to keep it in view on my camera.

The contrail was fiery bright, high enough in the atmosphere to be strikingly illuminated by the sun’s rays.

We have reached the upper limits of our world; we have sent men to stand on the moon.

Satellites keep vigil around our spinning planet, as probes sent years ago still soar into the galaxy on a mission to explore the unknown.

With all our achievements, we are still yet human.

God, in His greatness, has created us and all that we strive to discover.

When our hearts are full of doubt, fear or anguish, He is there.

When we feel overwhelmed with life itself, He is there.

 

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

—Psalm 61:1-2

 

 

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Our Daily Bread

 

 

 

The morning sun had slowly raced to the ocean’s edge by the time that I walked out on the patio.

While staying the night before with some friends in order to attend a Bible conference in another city, I had been given the opportunity to gaze out into the vastness of the water and sky as the day was just beginning.

A cyclist casually rode by as the waves accompanied her journey from a distance.

It was a peaceful scene—calm, yet full of bridled strength.

In the next few hours, I found myself taking notes as I listened to the teacher speak.

Looking back over those notes this evening, I found a reference to Matthew 6:11:

Give us this day our daily bread.

I hadn’t written much about the verse, but I understood the meaning that was brought out.

Of course, it is part of the Lord’s prayer.

As a child, I was probably taught to say the prayer by my mother.

"Daily bread" has always seemed to mean the nutritional needs of each day.

This morning, I was hearing it used differently.

As I am considering it now, there are so many things that we may need on a daily basis.

Daily compassion to look on others with love.

Daily strength to accomplish what God has set before us to do.

Daily faith to trust Him.

Daily clarity of thought and mind.

We can ask Him for these things and more–

Today.

Tomorrow.

The day after that.

Gazing out into the vastness of possibility in each new day, can we not trust that God is willing to provide?

 

 

 

 

***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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