All the Earth

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Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
    sing the glory of His name;
    give to Him glorious praise!
 Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!
    So great is Your power that Your enemies come cringing to You.
 All the earth worships You
    and sings praises to You;
    they sing praises to Your name.”

Selah

—Psalm 66:1-4

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all the earth

For Everything

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I know people who are terribly frightened by frogs.

Not necessarily the poison ones, just regular frogs that hop around harmlessly and make croaking sounds at night.

Also, I have personally witnessed people becoming really upset when they see a roach.

There are others who are afraid of mice, spiders or snakes.

So, what about me?

Bees and wasps……

I am only afraid of them if they start coming around me in an aggressive sort of way.

I am fine with them sitting on a flower or buzzing by a bush.

Even though I am afraid of them, I realize their beauty.

Dragonflies don’t bother me at all.

That’s a good thing, because there are a great many populating the skies where I live.

I think they are beautiful, as well.

In the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 4, we find this statement:

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

This statement, in context, is about certain foods that were available and the abstaining of them by some people.

When I think about the first part of the scripture, though, I feel it applies to all God’s creation—everything God created is good.

When all things are restored and sin is no more, there will be not be fear of anything God has made.

Not frogs.

Not roaches.

Not mice.

Not spiders.

Not snakes.

Not even bees, wasps or dragonflies.

We will marvel and wonder at the beauty of everything that God has created, knowing that they are good.

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The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

—1 Timothy 4:1-6

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good

Be Joyful

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Almost every day at work, I make a list.

A “to do” list.

If I don’t, I risk forgetting something very important.

And if I forget something important that I was supposed to do, a lot of my day–or even my week– could go wrong.

I have sticky notes on the edge of my computer screen for important dates to remember.

Often, I have a paper on my desk, listing my tasks.

It is ready for me to add to it at any moment.

In the 12th chapter of Romans, there is also a “to do” list.

Here are just a few of the things listed that should be on our list:

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil;

cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in love.

Honor one another above yourselves.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.

Practice hospitality.

—-Romans 12:12-13

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Maybe I should copy this down and place it on my desk at work.

If I forget about these things, a lot of my day–and even my week–could go wrong.

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The Riches

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Money.

Who has money, really?

We might hold it in our hands or have it deposited into a bank.

But is it ours?

I don’t think so.

Money—and all the things that it can buy—really belong to God.

Is your house that you bought with your money really yours?

Or is it the shelter that God provided for you through your work or some other means?

Is your car that you bought with your money really yours?

Or is it the vehicle that God provided for you through your work or some other means?

If God really owns all that we have, what does that make us?

Stewards.

To be a steward is to be the manager of something that belongs to another.

When God blesses us with anything—we become the caretakers of those blessings.

What happens when we feel that we need more money or something that money can buy?

We must go to God in prayer, asking for His provision of that which is already His and not ours.

Believing that He hears our prayer, we must wait for His answer, trusting that He loves us and knows what is best.

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And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:19

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Let Us Not Become Weary

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Have you ever noticed how some people can type lightning fast?

I’m talking about so fast it’s like a blur.

For example, the clerk that checks in patients at the hospital emergency room.

“What is your insurance identification number?”

Zzzzzzzip!

She just looks at it and her fingers fly over the keys in a millisecond.

Or how about those people at the property tax office?

“How much do I owe this year?”

Clack, clack, clickity clack, POW!

Their fingers zoom across the number keys at a dizzying speed and voila! There’s your total.

How can they do that?

Come to think of it, how do people who work in assembly lines perform their tasks so quickly and so well?

How can ballerinas stand on their toes?

How can musicians play their instruments so beautifully?

How does anyone EVER run a full marathon?

There is a common thread that unites them all.

They become accomplished at what they do, in part, because they spend a lot of time doing it.

If there is something that is important to us—something we really want to be able to do well—we are going to have to begin trying to do it.

If we want to be able to recall God’s word, we are going to have to spend time reading and studying the Bible.

If we want to be comfortable greeting visitors in church, we are going to have to begin by approaching newcomers, shaking hands and striking up conversations, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable at first.

If we want to be a good spouse, parent or employee, we must identify those attributes that are most important in those roles and start implementing them into our lives consistently.

What does God want us to be good at?

Let’s get started!

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

—Galatians 6:9

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Every Green Plant

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And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.  And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

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

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

—Genesis 1:24-30

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Not of Fear

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It was mid-morning when I was about to begin photographing an event.

As I waited for it to begin, I was noticing the surroundings, as I often do.

A bright blue bird caught my eye as he came to rest on a fence in the distance.

He would stay there only a moment or so, then fly down to the ground and back up again onto the fence.

Not recognizing what type of bird I was seeing, I asked someone about it.

It was an Eastern Bluebird.

I certainly don’t know the habits of such a bird, but I was able to observe one for just a little while.

When he flew to the fence, he would come to rest near twisted wires poking out to the top.

With great accuracy, he didn’t allow his little feet or his delicate body to be hurt by the sharp metal points.

He was close to them, but he avoided true contact, seemingly with confidence.

Am I like that bird?

I don’t know.

If I know I should be on the fence, do I worry and focus on the spiky wires, wasting time just gazing at them?

Or do I just go right up to the safe place on the fence and commit to avoid the wires?

2 Timothy 1:7 reads,

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

What fences might God be asking me to stand on today?

Which ones might He be asking you to stand on?

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Love Endures Forever

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After completing a photo session with a client late this afternoon, I stepped over to the side of the road to look at the ornate landscaping.

A rod iron fence was separating the road from the grassy lake area below.

Admiring the lush, red flowers before me, I photographed them up close.

As I looked down the road, I realized that the flowers were not only in front of me, but they lined the pavement as far as I could see.

If I traveled down the road a little farther, I’d still be graced with the beauty of the delicate red petals.

Psalm 136:26 reminds us to–

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

No matter how long our journey is, God will love us the entire time.

Even though I couldn’t see it, I knew there had to be an end to all those flowers blooming along the road.

At some point, they would cease to adorn it.

God’s love isn’t like that.

It endures.

It endures forever.

It endures forever as far as we can see with our incredibly limited understanding, plus on and on with a divine steadfastness we cannot fully comprehend.

If things are difficult for you right now, why not take a moment to visualize God’s love for you.

It’s right there in front of you, and if you look up, you’ll see that His love will be there to greet you with each new step that you make.

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forever

Not Quickly Broken

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The ropes were wrapped securely around the wooden posts.

Looking closer, one can see that the single rope appears to be two ropes, intertwined.

Looking even more closely, it also appears that each rope is made of several smaller strands.

Ropes similar to this were used to make tire swings when I was young.

With one end tied to a strong tree branch and the other end tied to an old tire, the rope would be strong enough to hold a giggling child as they would sway back and forth, carefree in the summer shade.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads,

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Though a single strand might be overpowered by the weight of a child sitting in a tire, a cord of many might not.

We are never alone.

God is always with us, giving us His strength.

Sometimes, He chooses to strengthen us by providing friends to come alongside us.

They could be companions from long ago or new acquaintances.

God does the choosing.

He knows the weight of the situation.

He will provide the perfect strength and support when needed.

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strands

What Is It?

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As I pulled my car into the parking space and got out, I noticed some unusual flowers growing by the front entrance of the clinic.

My watery eyes, stuffy nose and sneezing had been the ugly culprits that had caused me to make the appointment.

Seeing these flowers was a bright way to begin the morning.

I walked over to them for a quick look–I didn’t want to be late signing in.

I think I even thought the words, “What are these flowers?” in my mind.

Beautiful and delicate, they were cream colored with just a touch of lavender on the edges of the petals.

When my appointment was over, I headed out to my car.

Getting my camera, I took several photographs of the flowers before leaving.

Of course, I know that I don’t know everything.

Still, seeing flowers that I didn’t recognize seemed a bit of a surprise.

The world is filled with the wonders of God’s creation, and there are so many things that He has made that we have not discovered yet.

The flowers at the clinic are probably quite common, but for some reason, I had never noticed them before.

God knew He had made them.

Today, He introduced me to them!

In the Old Testament, God provided manna in the desert for His people to eat.

It was new to them; in fact, it was completely new.

God had created it just for them:

When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”
For they did not know what it was.
And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”

–Exodus 16:15

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All throughout our lives we will be introduced to the wonders of God.

The wonders of His faithfulness,

the wonders of His love,

and the wonders of His creation.

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The Sea is Never Full

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The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
 All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.

—Ecclesiastes 1:6-7

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all streams

Better Off Than One

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There they were.

Two ducks sitting beside each other.

Together.

Not alone.

Although I don’t know exactly how being alone feels to a duck, I do know how being alone feels to me.

God has blessed me with friends and companionship throughout my life.

There have been numerous people who have come alongside me to help me succeed.

When I have fallen, God has provided friends who have reached out to help.

Friends are a true blessing from God.

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Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.

But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.

But how can one be warm alone?

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,

but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.

Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

—Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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The Light of Life

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The grass would not have been alive without having the sunlight.

Trees growing at the edge of the sloping field would not have had leafy branches.

Growing vibrantly green, both had been nurtured by the life-giving light.

Jesus is our light.

We are alive because of Him.

He is the light of life.

Do you know Him today?

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

—John 8:12

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follows Me

Trust in Him

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Where can we find rest?

Where can we find real hope?

Where can we find salvation?

Where can we find protection?

Who can we really trust?

Who can we pour out our hearts to?

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Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

—Psalm 62:5-8

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What is Mankind?

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The Moon orbits Earth at a tremendous speed.

Traveling constantly at 2,288 miles per hour, always in its track, never coming too close to Earth, never venturing too far away.

Perfectly placed by its Creator, suspended in space by His constant power.

Here we are on Earth, each of us going about our daily lives.

Compared to all the wonders in the heavens, we seem small in comparison.

Yet, God is mindful of us.

Every part of our who we are.

He cares for us with a love that is greater than we can understand.

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Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

—-Psalm 8:1-4

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Be Still

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At any given time, there can be circumstances in our lives that pull us toward becoming distraught.

While deeply concerned about one thing, another issue arises.

At certain moments, it just seems like too much for our minds to process.

We pray for ourselves when we have needs.

We pray for others as we see their struggles.

This problem and that problem coupled with this dilemma and that dilemma, hastens toward us with a fevered rush.

It’s as though they come screaming, “Fix us! Fix us! Right now!”

But, we can’t….

So, the striving begins.

The unsettled motion of useless worry.

Only God can make the wrongs right, heal diseases, restore relationships, and bind up the brokenhearted.

We are to come to Him in prayer about the looming circumstances before us.

We are to be still.

Restfully so.

Peacefully so.

“Still” in the knowledge that He is God.

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“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

—Psalm 46:10

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And Narrow the Road

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It was a new place for me.

I had never hiked there before.

A path was split, with a fence bordering only one.

Which was the best way to go?

Did each path lead to the same place or to quite different destinations?

Jesus said,

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

—Matthew 7:13-14

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Don’t Say Anything

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Negative words.
How do they affect you?
When you hear negative talk from someone, how do you respond?
When the conversation is over, do you spread the negativity by telling someone else what was just said to you?
Sometimes, that might be necessary.
Other times, however, it’s a good practice to just let the negative words drop right there, going no further.

We have an oak tree in our front yard.

Acorns abound each year in the lawn underneath it.

As long as the acorns stay on the ground under the tree, new seedlings will only develop there.

If a squirrel carries one off and buries it in a field nearby, a new tree may emerge and grow where there was none before.

When I hear negative words, I have a choice to make.

If they need to be repeated, I must do so responsibly.

If they do not need to be repeated, I must let them drop like acorns to the ground and resist the temptation to carry them away to someone else where they could take root and grow more negativity in a new place.

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Don’t say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.

—Ephesians 4:29

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No Condemnation

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Jesus paid our debt.

There is no condemnation for those who know Him as their Savior.

No condemnation.

Only forgiveness.

Life with Him, now and forever.

Blooming for eternity as a testimony to His power and His love.

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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

—Romans 8:1-2

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Come and Go

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Does God ever just not know where you are?

Is your current situation something He might miss?

Could it be that God is looking after you now, but later on in life, He might stop?

The psalmist wrote these words:

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

—Psalm 121:8

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God always knows where you are.

He fully understands your current situation even more than you do.

He is keeping watch over you now and He will continue to do so.

Whether you are coming home or leaving, wherever you are, God is with you.

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With Peace

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As the sun was setting, the birds began their chorus.

Heralding the approach of the night, you could hear the different calls from various trees in the neighborhood. Hoping to get some photographs while there was still enough light to see them, I took my camera outside.

A male cardinal came to rest on my fence.

A velvety crimson color, he stood out against the white panels of the fence and the green of the trees in the background.

I walked around my home, over to the orange grove across the street and into the field behind my house.

All was calm and quiet with gentle chirps and songs around me.

Peace.

What a blessing from God….

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

 —Psalm 29:11

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Mountain Pastures

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There is a prairie located about 70 miles from my home.

Being a protected area of 21,000 acres, it is home to many animals and birds.

Wild horses and bison are found there.

As I hiked along a trail, I came upon a horse, comfortably grazing.

Unhurried.

Calm.

He had all the means for nourishment necessary, provided for him by his Creator.

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Sing out your thanks to the Lord;

    sing praises to our God with a harp.
 He covers the heavens with clouds,
    provides rain for the earth,
    and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
 He gives food to the wild animals
    and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
    or in human might.
 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
    those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

—Psalm 147:7-11

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mountain pastures correct

As The Deer

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He was not at the water.

Instead, he was standing at a large stone where a few spindly branches with bright green leaves were growing.

Leaves are good food and they do have moisture inside, but leaves are not water.

Not an endless, flowing stream.

Although I didn’t see it, I am sure he looked for water when he was thirsty and found it.

Deep within us is a longing to connect with God, our Father.

We are thirsty for that connection as a deer is thirsty for water.

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As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.

—Psalm 42:1

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deer pants

Believe In Your Heart

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Today is our third son’s birthday.
We have four sons.
Our third son was killed in a car accident in 2005. He was 19 years old.
When he was in elementary school, he gave his heart to Jesus.
I still have the Bible he read when he was in high school and college.
The pages and bent and it is somewhat tattered.
Remembering him today—loving him, missing him.
It brings everything to a true focal point.
All the things in my son’s life that are not the most important get moved off the table to leave only one.
Just one.
Did my son know Jesus as His Savior?

The answer is “yes.”
That’s the most important thing.
Because it is “yes,” he is alive with Him now, and will always be.
In my life—and in yours—we MUST ask the question: Do we believe in God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ?
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If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
—Romans 10:9

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your heart

At the Heart

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Last year, we purchased an unusual looking plant with curly, maroon leaves.

We planted it near a small rock fountain near our front door.

As the weather became colder, we covered it on nights when frost might’ve damaged it.

Now, as spring is upon us, we realize that our little purple-red plant is here for another year.

Recently, however, we noticed a change.

When we purchased the plant, it was a “low to the ground” kind of thing.

Maybe two inches tall.

So, what was the change?

Delicate, pink flowers were sprouting up from it!

What’s this?

We had no idea that they would appear.

God knew, however.

He knew what was hidden that would eventually come forth.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, we read that God had instructed Samuel to anoint the man He would indicate as the new king.

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

–1 Samuel 16:1-7

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Samuel was making a judgment at first by what he could see.

God explained that He looks at our hearts.

As the chapter unfolds, we find that David, son of Jesse, was who God had selected to be king.

God knew David’s heart.

God knew what would come forth from this young man, although others could not.

What will you become?

God knows your heart.

There may be incredible gifts placed inside you, ready to bloom in God’s timing.

Who knows what beauty is about to bloom from within you?

God knows.

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outward

I Am Alive

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After church this morning, those in attendance were asked to bring flowers and place them on a cross outside to signify that Jesus was alive.

Jesus was crucified and yet, He came back to life on the third day.

Where is Jesus now?

In the book of Revelation, John describes being in the Spirit and hearing a loud voice like a trumpet telling him to write what he saw in a book and then to send it to seven churches, which are listed in the first chapter. Beginning with verse 12, here are a few of the verses that John wrote:

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Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,  and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

—Revelation 1:12-18

Who is Jesus?

He is the first and the last.

He is the living one.

He died, but He is alive forevermore.

He suffered and died to pay the penalty of our sin, so that we could believe in Him and be alive forevermore, as well.

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forevermore

A New Tomb

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Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.

What happened then?

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

–John 19:38-42

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new tomb

What Shall I Do?

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While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

—Matthew 27:19-25

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There is a question that every person must ask themselves.

It is simply this—

What shall I do, then, with Jesus called the Messiah?

Will we believe in Him and His gift of eternal life?

Or will we refuse to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, leaving His gift for us behind?

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what shall

Without Self-Control

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I’m not exactly sure what the little building was for.

It had a small fence in front of it.

There were no windows or doors.

In fact, there didn’t seem to be any walls.

Just posts to hold up the sturdy looking roof.

It was some type of shelter, I’m sure, but it would not have been able to protect someone inside from anything other than sun and rain.

If it had been constructed with walls, windows and doors, that would have been a different story.

Someone inside could have been protected from anything outside.

Proverbs 25:28 in The Message reads,

“A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.”

A house with missing windows and doors is unprotected, much like the structure I saw.

Someone who does not have self-control is unprotected, as well.

Just about anything can come into their lives because there are no boundaries or barriers to keep the bad things out.

Those windows and doors are the boundaries and barriers in our lives that can open up to let good things in and shut tightly to keep what is not good from entering.

I need to consider—-

Do I have self-control?

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house

Equipped for Every Good Work

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As I walked by the building, there were pegs on the wall placed in position to hang tools and useful things.

A shovel, a rope and a ladle…

To place needed items where they can be easily accessed is always a good idea.

I enjoy camping from time to time.

Before I go, I make a list of necessary items that I expect to need when I arrive at the site.

It is very important to have everything on the list at my disposal.

If I don’t have what I need, the trip will not be as successful as I had hoped.

What do I need every day in order to be prepared?

If I have been consistent in reading the Bible, I will have God’s words stored in my mind.

It would be a really good idea to have a Bible placed where I could get to it easily.

As I am starting my day, prayer will allow me time to communicate with God, receiving guidance for the hours ahead.

Throughout the day, these “tools”—God’s word and prayer—-will be what I need.

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

—2 Timothy 3:16-17

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