Bloom Salvation

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Have you felt the rain?

Have the drops of God’s goodness fallen on your heart?

Has salvation bloomed within you today?

Open up, heavens, and rain.
    Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
    sprout right living.
    I, God, generate all this.

–Isaiah 45:8  The Message

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bloom

Joy

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Tonight, I attended a celebration.

A nearby city has an annual event to begin the Christmas season.

At this event, the crowds await the moment when the switch will be flipped and TWO MILLION Christmas lights decorating the downtown park area come on.

The mayor of the city spoke to the hundreds of people who had gathered.

She led a countdown to the time the lights would finally illuminate the park.

As soon as the lights came on, the crowd was told that there would be a song.

Broadcast on loudspeakers throughout the downtown area, “Joy to the World” was sung.

Standing in the street, I sang along.

Fighting back tears, my heart was full.

Here, with all those people, we were beginning the Christmas season as a community.

And we were starting it with “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

The hymn was written based on this Psalm:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
 make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
 Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
 let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

—Psalm 98:4-9

Leaving the park, I saw a church steeple, brightly lit just a couple of streets over.

It reached high into the night sky, another reminder of Jesus.

Christmas is about Him, you know.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come!

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shout

Love Never Fails

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I photographed a wedding today.

The scenery was lovely.

The food was delicious.

The weather was perfect.

None of that actually mattered, though.

During the ceremony, words were spoken about love.

Words about not being alone anymore, but being as one.

What mattered was the love between two people who wanted to live their lives together.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 encourages us in this way:

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.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

What matters after all?

Love matters….

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love never fails

Carefree Before God

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Carefree.

I decided to look the definition up in the dictionary.

What did I find?

“Free from anxiety and responsibility.”

I Peter 5:7 in The Message reads,

“Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”

Living a life free of anxiety sounds good.

But, do we live lives without responsibilities?

When we think about it, we are responsible for making the decision to allow God into our hearts and lives.

Then, we are responsible for how we obey His leading.

We are totally free, however, from some other responsibilities.

God is responsible for those.

The verse above as written in the Living Bible reads,

“Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”

God gave us our lives and He is sustaining them.

The world and the universe are held by His power.

He is aware of absolutely everything in our lives.

God loves us, and because of that, we can trust Him with all of those responsibilities we could not possibly handle.

He is “most careful” with me and with you.

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carefree

Give Thanks

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I am thankful.

My house is warm inside.

I ate dinner tonight.

My closet is filled with clothes and shoes.

I have a reliable car.

My refrigerator has food in it.

I also have food in my pantry.

I am blessed with a family and with friends.

I am blessed to have a job.

Besides these things, I am blessed with forgiveness and a promise of life forever with God.

I am blessed with the privilege of prayer.

I am blessed with the presence of God every moment of my life.

I am blessed with the goodness of God, my Creator.

I am blessed with His steadfast love that will never end.

What are you thankful for today?

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

–Psalm 107:1

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Thanks

But I Will Hope

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Walking along the lake, I saw some plants growing in the water.

The leaves were positioned on the top of the water, not submerged.

Their beautiful hues of lavender and green adorned the murky lake.

Though surrounded by water, the leaves were above it.

We often find ourselves in less than perfect situations.

Circumstances can be hard.

During those times, we can continue to reach out for God’s strength, even when ours is fading.

When we are surrounded by problems, we can still stay above them with His help.

Although things might look really murky, the colors of God’s love are evidence within us of His faithfulness in our lives.

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But I will hope continually
    and will praise you yet more and more.

–Psalm 71:14

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hope final

Wait in Silence

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For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7

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In Wisdom

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Sunday morning.

Warm.

Misty.

Flowers growing by the lake.

A spider was sitting still on one of the flowers.

A type of spider I have never seen before.

A creation of God that I didn’t know existed.

Slender legs, long and flaxen-like.

A sleek, green body the color of a ripened lime.

Two beautiful creations of God, proclaiming silent praise as the work of His hands.

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

–Psalm 104:24

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works

Summer and Winter

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The leaf had fallen to the deck below with its underside up.

Like a satellite image of an intricate roadway system, the veins that had once brought life-giving food and water to the leaf still formed patterns of strength along its blade.

Tiny water droplets glistened like tiny streetlights along the way.

The leaf would eventually die, making way for the new growth of another season.

A cycle of life put into motion by God.

You determined all the boundaries of the earth.
    You created summer and winter.

—Psalm 74:17

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summer

Kind Words Bring Life

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What if all the things we said to people were written with a permanent marker on their faces?

What if we were the only ones who could see what we had said?

We would be happy and relieved to see things like, “I love you” written there.

Or things like—

“You’re doing a great job!”

“I will be there for you.”

“I will pray for you.”

“You are such a good friend.”

But how would we feel when we saw someone and read things like–

“I hate you.”

“You are so stupid! Can’t you do this job right?”

“I don’t have time for you.”

We surely forget many of the things we say to others.

What if weeks or years go by before we see them again, and then suddenly there they are–with those things that we said to them written all over their faces.

We may forget.

But sometimes, they don’t.

If you have said positive, loving things, you are both encouraged.

If you have said negative, hurtful things, you are both likely to feel regret and pain.

Our words begin in our thoughts and emotions.

What kind of words does God want written on the person you are talking to?

Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.

—Proverbs 15:4

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kind words two

For God So Loved The World

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The potted plants were placed in a circle above a fountain.

Which plant seems to be the most beautiful to you?

The truth is, they are all very lovely.

Each has its own characteristics that God has chosen for it.

They are His creation, and it pleased Him to make them, just the way they are.

It’s that way with people too, you know.

Every person is important to God.

We are all His creation, and it pleased Him to give us life.

The truth is, we are all “lovely” or of great worth to God.

Each of us has our own characteristics that God has chosen for us.

I may be a “rose” while you are a “daisy,” but that doesn’t matter to God.

We were all important enough to Him to send Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

—John 3:16

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loved the world anc

 

He Will Carry Them

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I was really scared.

In connection with my career, I was receiving special training in a city a few hours away.

Part of this training involved visiting a large factory.

Did I say large?

A HUGE factory.

The team of people I was with were total strangers to me, all there to learn as I was.

Before going inside one of the multistory structures, a man with obvious authority from the factory gave us a short briefing.

We were given ear protectors because the noise level inside would be quite loud.

We were separated into smaller groups and paired with a guide.

Next, we were told that there would be a representative at the end of each line that we could go to if we experienced any problems.

They were there to help in an emergency.

With ear protectors in place and a bit of uncertain courage, I walked in.

Following in a single file line, I immediately thought that my hearing protectors were malfunctioning.

The noise was so incredibly LOUD!

I took one off to check it.

That was a bad decision…..

After putting the hearing protector back in, the intense heat that filled the giant complex surrounded me.

Not being one who is fond of heights, I was disappointed to find that we were trekking up onto a higher level and walking on what could best be described as a grating—-a see-through maze of metal meant to be a floor.

I wanted to be brave.

I really did.

When panic begin setting in from the heat, the height and the extreme smells, (I forgot to mention the production smells) I had a little talk with myself.

If I turned around and tried to find the man who was supposed to help my group in an emergency, I would be so embarrassed.

People would stare at me and think poorly of me.

At some point, my arms began to feel cold.

There was no way in the world that I could be cold up on that grating, looking so far down.

I was in a panic.

Turning around to find the emergency man, I realized that he wasn’t there!

Was he suddenly called away?

Stopped by a coworker to handle another situation?

I turned back around and began to pray and sing to myself mentally, although I could have done both out loud and no one would have heard me….

Within a few short minutes, we were all ushered into a real room with a real floor beneath my feet.

It also had real air conditioning.

We were still near the roof as far as height was concerned, but looking down several stories from a closed in window view was a lot better than what I had previously experienced.

As the training continued, I began to calm down.

No longer in an environment where one could feasibly be filming an upper warehouse chase scene in a super hero movie, I was going to be all right.

Psalm 55:22 reads,

Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.

I honestly don’t know why the man who was supposed to “be there” for anyone in our group that day wasn’t there.

But, you know what?

God was there the entire time.

When I began to pray, He heard me.

He wasn’t called away to handle another situation.

He was there.

When I asked for help, He helped me.

I told him of my burden of fear and panic.

He carried it and calmed me.

I made it to the air conditioned, back-to-reality room and my fears subsided.

When I am afraid–really afraid-–I can always count on Him to be with me.

When I am just a little uneasy about something—I can also count on Him to be with me then.

Do you want to know something else?

He’ll be there for you, too.

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burdens

To Prepare a Place

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My mother died when I was only 28 years old.

Many memories of her live on in my heart.

She tried to make sure she read the Bible every single day.

Most of the time, when I was a child, she would read it out loud to me.

When she came to a passage that she didn’t understand, she would just say so.

Sometimes, my mother displayed a lot of understanding.

One memory I have is of a story she used to tell.

At a time before I was born, she was talking with one of my cousins, who was a child.

He wanted to talk to her about Heaven.

He asked her if he could have a pony in Heaven.

Her answer seems wise to me, even today.

She told him that if having a pony was what it would take to make him happy, then God would give him a pony in Heaven.

Going further with this thought, I personally believe that there will not be anyone in Heaven who is unhappy.

After all, we will be with Jesus who died to purchase our place there.

Our loved ones who followed Jesus on Earth will be with us.

With overflowing hearts, we will be filled with gratitude and praise in His presence.

Jesus also tells us in John 14:2 that,

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Jesus is preparing a place for us!

For you.

For me.

But what if we would really like to have a pony for eternity?

If that would bring great joy to our hearts, I think God might just give us one…..

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mansions

Look to the LORD

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Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.

–1 Chronicles 16:11

Where can we find the strength of the LORD?

Do we find it as we see the moon above us, held perfectly in place?

Do we find it as we hear the waves of the ocean crashing onto the shore, remaining within its boundaries?

Do we find it in the mathematical patterns of plants?

Can it be found in the miracle of birth?

Can it be felt as guilt and shame are forgiven?

Can it be perceived in an answered prayer?

Do we seek His face in the midst of joy?

Do we seek His face in the trial of pain?

Do we seek His face in each of our decisions?

In all things, we must look to the LORD.

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look fr

With Gratitude in Your Hearts

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Just before the sun was about to set, we arrived at the tree farm.

The trees were beautiful, standing majestically in order, row after row.

Gathering there with others for a time to roast hot dogs and melt marshmallows over a campfire, we visited with friends as the sky grew dark and the stars became brighter.

We all came together to pray for the food we were about to share.

Some went on hayrides around the farm.

I walked with a friend around the acreage to look at some of the animals living there.

Baby goats.

Chickens.

Horses.

A couple of donkeys…..

There’s so much to be grateful for.

Friends.

Food.

Companionship.

Laughter.

The bond that is shared between believers in Jesus.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

–Colossians 3:16

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gratitude

Stride Freely

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Sailboats fascinate me.

Something about them catches my interest every single time I see one out on the water.

This time, it was a rather large boat on the ocean.

Drifting along with sails spread out, the wind above the sea carrying them along on a bright and sunny day.

I took several photographs of the boat, capturing its journey in still snippets of time.

Describing the scene would be easy.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure.

The definition itself draws me in.

Psalm 119:43-48 from The Message reads,

Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever – your commandments are what I depend on.  Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever;  And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;  Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.  I cherish your commandments – oh, how I love them! –  relishing every fragment of your counsel.

What if I didn’t have God’s truth deep within my heart?

What if I didn’t know how He wanted me to act?

What if He had never revealed anything to me?

I would be lost and desperate.

Bound by confusion.

Uncertain.

Thankfully, I am not without God’s truth and direction.

I can “stride freely through wide open spaces” as I grow closer to Him, like a sailing vessel out on the open seas.

As I find more truth and more wisdom on my journey, I am changed—day by day—into the person God wants me to be.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure…..

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stride

Poised to Pounce

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Does the tiger in the photo seem like he is poised to pounce on some unsuspecting victim?

I think tigers are beautiful and majestic animals.

Photographing them is especially enjoyable to me.

One thing I know—-never, ever get too close to them.

Why?

Because I know they could attack at any moment.

I have only photographed tigers in captive settings.

If I were in an area where they were free in the wild, I would certainly have to be alert and ready at any time for a possible attack.

As Christians, we need to be alert to the workings of the devil.

Temptations.

Lures toward things that would harm us.

Consider this passage from The Message:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

—1 Peter 5:8-11

We need to keep our guard up every day, choosing paths that lead us away from the wiles of the devil.

God has great plans for us.

I want to see those plans realized, don’t you?

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poised

Enlightening the Eyes

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A lot depends on your point of view.

If someone is generally unhappy, they may say,

“What an awful, gray and rainy day. I should have stayed in bed this morning.”

If someone just said “Yes” to a marriage proposal while at breakfast on that very same morning, they may say,

“This is the most wonderful day I could’ve imagined! I will remember those soft drops of rain on our umbrella and the beautiful clouds forever!”

Same day.

Same rain.

Same gray clouds.

So, what’s the difference?

It’s how we see things.

I photographed a swallowtail butterfly in my yard a while ago.

In the back of my mind somewhere, I thought I remembered that there was something special about a butterfly’s vision.

Doing a little research, I found that swallowtail butterflies can see ultraviolet, purple, blue, green, red and wideband light from red to purple.

There has been a lot of research on just what a swallowtail can see and how it sees it.

There’s even research about why they see like they do.

Although I can’t tell the difference between how a butterfly views my backyard and how I view it, I can easily assume that it’s not the same.

For one thing, I can’t see ultraviolet light.

The psalmist says,

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.

–Psalm 19:7-9

If I am looking at life with eyes that have been enlightened by God’s guidance, my viewpoint will be vastly different from that of others.

Through every situation, whether it be a happy occasion or a difficult trial, we will not perceive it in the same way.

As a swallowtail butterfly sees ultraviolet light, so we can perceive the love and direction of God in our lives.

Perfect.

Sure.

Right.

Pure.

Clean.

True.

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enlightening

Lord! Help!

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Have you ever heard of a lament?

In the Bible, a lament is a prayer for help from God, brought on by pain.

When we are in physical pain or emotional pain, we can cry out to God for help.

When the pain of fear has a tight grip on us, we can cry to our heavenly Father and He hears us.

At times, we hurt because of our concern for someone else.

That pain can be very real.

The pain can be for a loved one who is making harmful choices.

It can be over the ungodly actions of those around us–a neighborhood, a city, a country–even the world.

Can you hear the pain in this prayer from the Old Testament?

Lord! Help! Godly men are fast disappearing.

Where in all the world can dependable men be found?

 Everyone deceives and flatters and lies.

There is no sincerity left.

–Psalm 12:1-2

Have you ever felt that way?

Wondering if there were really any people left who seek to live godly lives?

Wondering if any dependable people existed anymore?

Realizing that so many people are insincere in their words and actions?

Finding deceitfulness at every turn?

This verse is an pertinent today as it was two thousand years ago.

People everywhere are still making mistakes, still not following God and still being deceitful.

And because of that, we still hurt for others, hurt for ourselves and cry out to God in the midst of that hurt.

Whatever the problem may be, God is there.

Besides hurting because of the sinful actions of the world, people everywhere are suffering from illnesses beyond their control.

If we or someone we know is sick, God hears our prayers for help and healing.

He understands our lament, whatever it is about.

We need only cry out, “Lord! Help!”

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help

Brokenhearted

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Sometimes when I’m driving, the songs on the radio just “play” and my mind is on so many things that I don’t really take in the message of the lyrics.

At other times, I am totally focused on the words and I connect with the song.

Today, I was connected when I heard a song titled, “The Broken Beautiful.”

Here are part of the lyrics:

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful *

Contemplating the meaning, I remembered a movie I once watched about Jesus.

In one of the scenes, someone took a glass creation–perhaps a sculpture–and threw it on the floor in anger and pain.

It broke into many pieces.

Later in another scene, Jesus had restored the sculpture, but not in the way you might expect.

It did not look like it did before.

The broken pieces were put together as a collage of broken parts.

Beautiful, but different.

The same sculpture, yet changed.

I also remembered that, recently, something I cared about was broken.

A dear friend had purchased an expensive ceramic pottery piece for me.

Displayed in my living room, our cat somehow knocked it onto the floor, breaking it into several parts.

I haven’t thrown it all away yet.

Perhaps I can glue it together or make it into something else.

When Jesus takes our broken hearts, broken lives and broken hopes and dreams, He restores us.

But what is that restoration like?

If we have suffered loss and pain, we still remember that.

If we have made big mistakes, the consequences may still be evident.

Like the glass sculpture in the movie, Jesus can make something beautiful out of our broken lives.

With forgiveness, acceptance and love, He gently puts us back together in a new way.

With our new form and likeness, we give honor to our Savior who has given us new life.

Are you broken today?

Jesus can take broken things and make them beautiful.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

—Psalm 43:18

*Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb

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crushed

God Cleared a Path

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As we walked out to the shore, the moon was almost directly overhead.

The waves were glowing as its light fixed a glowing beam upon them.

We were gathering at the ocean’s side to have a time of worship and prayer.

A wooden cross had been placed in the sand.

It was a meaningful time of reflection.

A time of quiet before God.

Walking down the shoreline, we followed a path marked out for us.

It led right up to where the cross was standing.

God cleared the path to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Is it time that you followed the path and made your way to the cross to find forgiveness?

It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him—all things in heaven and on earth—for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.

Colossians 1:20

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cross

Point Me Down Your Highway, God

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I went to a restaurant today.

Not really knowing the way, I relied on a friend to take me there.

I was never in the driver’s seat.

After getting out of the car, we met other friends who had driven there, as well.

After parking the vehicles, we had to walk quite a bit to get to the particular restaurant we were going to.

One person I was with had been there before, so he led the way.

The walkways were crowded, but we were able to follow him through all the turns–past this building and that building.

In fact, it took about twenty minutes to finally arrive at our destination.

There wasn’t a single moment that I was concerned.

Trusting that he knew just where to walk, I simply followed and enjoyed friendly conversation along the way.

After lunch, when it was time to go home, I still had no idea which way led back to the cars.

Trusting my friend once again, I simply followed.

When I got into the car, I had no idea how to get back to the highway and go home.

That wasn’t a problem at all.

I wasn’t driving, but another friend was.

She knew the way home.

There wasn’t a single moment when I was concerned about not knowing the way back.

I trusted her.

As we drove away, there was a long curve in front of us.

Beautiful trees stood in the median, creating a peaceful scene before us.

Sometimes we find ourselves not knowing which way to go in life.

We have to rely on God to take us there.

We aren’t in the driver’s seat.

Since God is the only one who knows where He wants us to go, we have to follow Him.

We are able to follow Him through all the turns–past this situation and that situation.

In fact, it’s going to take us the rest of our lives to reach all the destinations He has planned for us.

As His children, there is no cause for concern.

There may be a long curve in front of us sometimes, but looking to God will bring a peaceful calm.

We can trust Him to know the way.

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street

The Lord Blesses His People With Peace

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In what areas of your life do you need strength today?

God is with you.

In what areas of your life do you need peace today?

God is with you.

The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

—Psalm 29:11

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lily correct

Every Green Plant for Food

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I noticed the squirrel sitting on a knob of a tree.

Still.

Holding something.

Probably food.

He was enjoying God’s provision.

Warm sunshine.

A tree-side seat with a view.

All the creatures that God has made are provided food and shelter, each having what it needs.

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

—Genesis 1:27-31

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beasts final

He Who Forms Mountains and Creates the Wind

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Driving around the town one morning, my husband and I noticed a windmill placed on top of a home in a residential area.

That’s not a common thing to see…..

It was obviously very important in someone’s mind.

There was no doubt that day which direction the wind was blowing.

God has created all things.

Amos 4:13 reads,

For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind
And declares to man what are His thoughts,
He who makes dawn into darkness
And treads on the high places of the earth,
The LORD God of hosts is His name.

What would it be like if we were as obedient to God as the windmill is to the blowing of the wind?

Whatever way the air is moving, the windmill responds.

It never decides, “I don’t want to move that way.”

This direction—-that direction—-it’s all up to the wind to decide.

This direction—-that direction—-shouldn’t it all be up to God to decide for you?

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wind

The Face of Christ

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The light was beaming onto the vast ocean, diffused by the moisture that hung heavily within each cloud.

There was beauty in the white light piercing the gray shadows that day.

There is a light within those who know Jesus that has pierced the shadows of separation from Him.

We can look to the face of Jesus and know forgiveness, peace and compassion.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

—2 Corinthians 4:5-6  The Message

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it started correct

God Reality

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What is God doing in my life right now?

Am I paying attention to it, or focusing my mind on other things?

What provisions are being placed in front of me as gifts from Him?

What is He wanting me to do–to take the initiative on?

In what area does He want me to step out in faith?

God knows my concerns.

He knows about my today and my tomorrow.

I must trust in Him.

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

—Matthew 6:33-34  The Message

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steep

And All the More

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It was very, very crowded.

Every year, the town hosts a craft festival on a weekend.

I would guess that thousands of people come to browse items like artwork, handmade jewelry and pottery.

The festival is held downtown, just blocks from the church that I attend.

People were parking anywhere they could and walking sometimes quite a distance to get to the festivities.

Watching the groups of people walk by the front of the church on their way to peruse the various booths and displays, I had a thought.

What if all these people were walking up and down the street in order to get to a church service?

Besides the church that I attend, there is another church located diagonally across the street from it.

What if parking lots were filling up and people were parking their cars along the streets and walking briskly to church?

Sadly, I have never seen that many people coming to church on a Sunday morning.

Hebrews 10:23-25 reads:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

It’s important to go to church.

To study with others.

To worship with others.

To talk about the concerns of our hearts.

How about you?

If you haven’t been to church in awhile, why not go this Sunday?

It’s important—and all the more as we see the day that Jesus returns is drawing nearer.

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drawing near

The Great Street

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What will Heaven be like?

 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

—Revelation 21:21-23

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gold