For Everything

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On my way home from the grocery store, traffic came to a halt on the highway.

Every now and then, the vehicles in front of me would move forward—a little.

I didn’t know what the cause was, but I went into flexibility mode and began to sing along with my car stereo.

I repeated the song several times because I was still really wanting to sing it.

As I sang, I got my camera and started taking pictures of my surroundings.

Not always having the time to just stop and take in the beauty along the side of the road, this was an unforeseen delight.

Tall pine trees lined most of the road.

Wildflowers and grapevines, fence posts and wire—it was all so quiet.

As I sang the lyrics that dealt with trying and failing, realizing we’re not who we think we are sometimes and wanting to just be centered on God and held by His Spirit, I enjoyed the blessing of seeing some of the beauty He had created up close.

As it turned out, I think I was out on that stretch of highway for maybe 30-45 minutes, creeping forward a little at a time.

Coming to the end of it, roadwork and only a one lane opening was probably the main cause of the delay.

When I left the store, I didn’t know that I would be given the opportunity for reflection and solitude.

A gift from God on a sunny, late afternoon….

~

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

–from Ephesians 5:19-20

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giving thanks

Possible With God

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Lately, when I am out walking for exercise, I have been listening to the same song on my phone over and over.

I know that may seem a bit much, yet I think it is positive for me in a couple of ways.

The song has a good tempo that keeps me walking at a brisk pace.

Most importantly, the lyrics speak about how nothing is impossible with God.

Nothing.

As I am trying to keep my heart and muscles physically fit, I am also renewing my mind by putting God’s truth into my hearing.

Even when I cannot see how a situation can be fixed, I must trust that what is impossible for me to understand, imagine or even carry out is not impossible for God.

~

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

—Luke 18:27

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impossible

Be Strong in the Faith

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As I walked along the lake, I felt impressed to photograph the scene before me.

All was calm and serene.

Strong trees growing near the edge, laced with plants growing right out of the water.

Like those trees, I want to have my “roots” connected to Jesus, so that my life will thrive as I go about each day.

I want my life to be built on Him, being strong in faith.

~

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord,

so continue to live in Him.

Keep your roots deep in Him

and have your lives built on Him.

Be strong in the faith,

just as you were taught,

and always be thankful.

—Colossians 2:6-7

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be strong

Let Your Hope Keep You

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How should I love?

What should I hate?

What should I hold on to?

How should I love someone?

How should I show respect?

How should I work?

How should I serve the Lord?

What can keep me joyful?

How should I respond during times of trouble?

When should I pray?

Should I share my belongings?

Should I open my home to people I don’t know?

~

Love must be completely sincere.

Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

Love one another warmly as Christians,

and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy.

Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 

Let your hope keep you joyful,

be patient in your troubles,

and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians,

and open your homes to strangers.

–Romans 12:9-13

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Blessed is the Nation

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Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people He chose for His inheritance.
 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and sees all mankind;
 from His dwelling place He watches
    all who live on earth—
  He who forms the hearts of all,
    who considers everything they do.

—Psalm 33:12-15

God considers what the people of my country do.

God considers what the people of my state do.

God considers what the people of my county do.

God considers what the people of my city do.

God considers what the people living on my street do.

God considers what I do.

Blessed are the people who God considers and finds that they are trusting in Him with hearts of faith.

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inheritance final

Showers of Blessing

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I will send down

showers in season;

there will be

showers of blessing.

—from Ezekiel 34:26

God gives a message to the Israelites in the book of Ezekiel in chapter 34.

Part of this message mentions “showers of blessing.”

My husband and I went to a nearby city to take care of some details for a family member who has been in the hospital for a few weeks.

Arriving at our destination, I got out of my car, even as it was lightly raining, to get a few photographs of a glorious rainbow that had appeared. My husband had gone inside the building.

After returning to the car and making a couple of phone calls, we found out that our family member may be well enough to come home in just a couple of days!

Showers of water were falling on us in the parking lot.

Showers of blessing were falling, too….

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showers final

Fresh as the Morning

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The Lord‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
    Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

—Lamentations 3:22-23

As I walked past the roses planted in the church yard, I stopped to photograph them.

The shower was now over and the water droplets were adorning the leaves and petals like transparent jewels.

Fresh after the rain, the life giving water would reach down into the soil, sustaining the beauty for another day.

God’s unfailing love and mercy toward us is ever present.

It reaches down into our lives, sustaining us each and every day.

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While We Were Still

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I heard the song for the first time playing in the background while at a restaurant tonight.

Not recognizing it, I listened more intently to the lyrics.

Being a love song, the main idea was that the singer wanted more than anything to just be “somebody” to the other person.

As I listened, I began thinking that I was already “somebody” to Jesus.

In fact, you are, too.

We do not have to hope and hope or worry and wonder if we are important to Him.

We don’t have to work at impressing Him in order to be noticed.

We don’t have to sink into sadness if we learn that He really doesn’t care, after all.

That won’t ever happen, because He will never stop caring about us or offering us His love.

His love will remain constant.

It is up to us to respond to that love.

He suffered and died for us on the cross because we were “somebody” important to Him.

Somebody worth dying for.

Somebody worth offering eternal life to.

Never forget—you are somebody to Jesus.

Who is Jesus to you?

*

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
—Romans 5:8

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while we final two

Darkens Day Into Night

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I had been photographing an outdoor event that lasted into early evening.

It had been raining earlier and the clouds were big and billowy.

When my photography work was finished, my husband and I decided to drive to a nearby city to eat dinner.

As he was driving, I noticed that the sunset, which was almost completely covered by dark clouds at one point, was spectacular.

Rolling down the passenger side window, I tried to photograph the scene behind me.

The colors were magnificent and glorious.

A creation of God, only visible for a few moments….

*

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    who turns midnight into dawn
    and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land—
    the Lord is His name.

—Amos 5:8

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orion

The Lord’s House

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Standing on the lawn of my church, the clouds were forming a beautiful backdrop.

I have spent many hours in this church, learning about God, and listening for His voice.

Through the years, it has been a meeting place for those who trust in Him.

People have come and gone with the decades, each having been part of a fellowship of believers who strengthened one another in the Lord.

*
I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the Lord‘s house.”

—Psalm 122:1

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i as glad

In Our Hearts

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The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!”

is the same God

who made His light

shine in our hearts,

to bring us the knowledge

of God’s glory

shining in the face

of Christ.

—2 Corinthians 4:6

The light was shining through the tall trees near my house as I walked.

Each branch had a backdrop of pale hues of gold and tan.

God, who made the universe and who made YOU and ME, is making His light shine in our hearts, shining through us, His children.

Think of it–He created everything.

Everything.

And He loves us so very much…..

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ligh shall

I Leave With You

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

–John 14:27

Jesus comforted His disciples by saying these words.

I think He wants me to be comforted by them, as well.

When so much is going on around me that constantly invites worry, I can have peace.

Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Jesus says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

In my human mind, I can respond with, “But what if…..”

With my surrendered heart, I can respond with, “Jesus, I accept Your peace.”

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peace

Always Be Joyful

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As I was walking to my car this morning to travel to work, I suddenly noticed something unusual across the street in my neighbor’s yard.

I probably thought something like, “What are those things?”

Within a second or two, I realized that I was looking at five wild turkeys, enjoying the moist grass before the sun was completely up.

Scrambling to get my camera out, I was able to photograph a couple of the turkeys, as the other three had mosied on behind my neighbor’s house.

What makes me happy?

What makes me joyful?

Many, many things.

Among them is the rare sighting of a wild animal or bird.

I could go to a zoo and enjoy seeing a wide variety of animals, but there is just something very special to me about seeing them in their natural habitat.

I know God wants me to be joyful in living my life for Him.

This morning was just one more of those joyful times…..

*

Always be joyful.
—-1 Thessalonians 5:16

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joyful

A Season

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The birds were lined up in a row on both rungs of a street light.

A single bird was flying off in the distance.

Had he just left the crowd?

Decided to go on to better things?

Perhaps.

If he did leave the rest behind, it might’ve taken quite a bit of bravery on his part to do so.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Bible study at the home of a dear, older woman.

Listening to her comments and to the comments of others as we contemplated a chapter in the book of Proverbs, this woman made a wise statement that went straight to my heart.

I made sure that I wrote it down, word for word, because of its great significance:

“When a season is over and you know it, you have to be brave enough to dismiss yourself from it.”

Hearing this declaration made everything stop for a moment inside my mind, forcing me to consider its significance.

For me, it seems that I get comfortable in a place or situation and to leave it for a new beginning somehow threatens to make me feel like a “quitter.”

Should I always be a member of the same club or organization?

Should I always have the same job?

Should I always take part in the same ministries or charities?

Should I always spend my time with the exact same group of friends?

It’s hard to break away from the crowd, especially when you’re comfortable on the same street light with everyone else.

But if God is leading me to a new season, I need to recognize it and fly away.

Wouldn’t you agree?

*
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens…

—Ecclesiastes 3:1

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season

Everything Beautiful

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Without really thinking about, I glanced outside the kitchen window.

It had been rainy for the last few hours.

Now, in the midst of all the wet grass and glossy tree leaves, golden sunlight was streaming onto my front yard.

For me, that was a resounding call to go outside with my camera.

After taking some photos of the sunset, I walked around my house, enjoying the coolness of the air and the gentle sounds around me.

Stopping at some flowers I had planted earlier in the summer, I found that water droplets were adorning each one like little clear jewels on pink pillows.

Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty.

Other flowers blooming.

Turtle nests.

A red-shouldered hawk, high in a tree.

How blessed I was to see it all!

God has made everything beautiful.

*

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

—from Ecclesiastes 3:11

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in its time

Name Was Not Found

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If you’ve ever tried to get a visa on your passport in order to enter a particular country, then you know it can be a complicated matter.

It’s likely that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions on a form.

Maybe more than one form, even.

Some of the questions might turn out to be pretty hard to answer.

Questions about your job.

Your parents.

Your grandparents.

Your driver’s license.

Where you were born.

The list goes on and on….

Even after you send in the information, it is always possible that your request may be denied.

You’re not allowed in.

No particular reason.

Just, “No.”

But what about getting into Heaven?

There aren’t any forms to be filled out.

Your job status doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter who your parents were.

It doesn’t matter who your grandparents were, either.

Really, it doesn’t even matter when you were born.

The only thing that matters is if you have believed in Jesus and repented of your sins, asking for forgiveness.

Look at these verses:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

—Ephesians 2:8-9

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

—Romans 10:9

That leaves us with a question.

So, what if you don’t believe and repent?

It’s not a popular topic and it can certainly cause some divisive arguments.

In the book of Revelation, the Bible speaks of the book of life:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

–Revelation 20:11-15

*
Not many people want to talk about the “So, what if you don’t” question.

Not many people want to talk about the passage above from Revelation.

It’s frightening.

I believe that my name is written in the book of life because I have believed in Jesus and repented of my sins.

Still, I am frightened for those who have not.

If you feel that your name would not be there, why not change that right now.

God is ready to hear your prayer.

It’s not too late…..

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book of life

A Reflection

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It had rained so much this morning and in recent days that the end of my driveway was filled with water.

While walking my dog, I noticed that the sun was coming out, finally.

As we walked toward the driveway, I noticed the sun was reflecting in the water as an intensely bright light.

Noticing how the trees nearby had taken on a surreal look as an occasional leaf or bubble floated on the surface, I decided to photograph the watery canvas.

Paul relates in his letter to the people of Corinth in the New Testament that our understanding is limited on this side of eternity:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

—1 Corinthians 13:12

When we see a reflection, I think it is only natural for our eyes to then move to that which has been reflected.

We want to see the “real thing.”

There will be a day for those who believe in Jesus, when we will know fully and be fully known.

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reflection

He Knows

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The storm was coming.

An advisory had been issued by the weather service.

Not far from my neighborhood, there is a place where I can look out and see a nearby lake just beyond the trees and houses.

It was the perfect place to watch the dark clouds as they approached.

When the rain finally arrived, I had to enjoy the scene from inside my car.

If I hadn’t had any shelter–such as my car–I wouldn’t have been enjoying the scene at all.

I would’ve been sopping wet, exposed to wind and lightning and the dangers that come with them.

There are times in our lives when we can see the storms coming.

These storms have names of their own.

Illness.

Divorce.

Abandonment.

Grief.

These are just some of the storms that can come our way.

Do we have to just stand there, without any shelter at all when they appear?

Thankfully, we don’t.

God is our shelter.

Nahum 1:7 reads,

The LORD is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him.

*
When troubles come, God will be our stronghold.

He knows who is trusting in Him.

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stronghold

By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

*

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—Philippians 4:6

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prayer

Get Rid of All

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I had just walked out the door.

It was early morning and I was on my way to work.

As I approached my car in the driveway, I saw the piles of fresh dirt by the concrete.

Ants.

Probably hundreds of them, even though only a few were out and about where I could see them.

Where I live, it is quite common to be bitten by ants.

They set up shop almost anywhere and you don’t really know where they are hidden until they decide to show themselves.

The mounds of dirt that seem to appear so quickly are just the final testimony of what’s been going on all along.

Under the surface of the ground, the ants have been multiplying and building their forces, silently and without any fanfare.

Then, without warning, one day they come out of hiding for all to see.

There are some issues in our lives that behave just like that.

Anger.

Jealousy.

Bitterness.

No one really wants to think about these, but they are often there.

Hidden deep inside us, these emotions multiply like ants, building their forces, silently—without letting anyone else know about it.

Hidden behind smiles and appropriate behavior, their presence may go unnoticed, perhaps for years.

Then, for whatever reason, feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, guilt, regret or anxiety suddenly seem to surface for all to see.

It may seem sudden to onlookers at the time, but the problems have perhaps had quite a long history behind them.

So, what can be done?

Anything at all?

If I’d had access to a large enough shovel and the time to devote to it, I might have been able to dig up the ant nests.

I could have purchased a product designed to rid them from my yard.

What can be done for the human heart that suffers from detrimental feelings?

God can remove them all.

Fear?

Anger?

It doesn’t matter what the problem is.

He can rid them from your heart.

If any of these things are troubling you, why not ask God to take them away?

*

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

—Ephesians 4:31

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bitterness

For the Lord Himself Will Come Down

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Sunday afternoon, the train cars were parked, awaiting their next journey as they sat quiet and still along the rails.

Something about trains makes me want to photograph them almost every time I see them.

Maybe it’s the thought of travel and moving on to a different place that intrigues me.

For a believer in Jesus, there is always the faith that a different place awaits us in Heaven.

Many songs about our eternal home have been written using a train as a metaphor regarding our way of passage.

One that I have been familiar with for a long time is, “This Train.”

This train is bound for glory, this train,
This train is bound for glory, this train,
This train is bound for glory,
Don’t ride nothin’ but the righteous and holy
This train is bound for glory, this train.

Another song is “The Gospel Train.”

The gospel train is coming,
I hear it just at hand,
I hear the car wheels moving,
And rumbling thro’ the land.
Get on board, children,
Get on board, children,
Get on board, children,
For there’s room for many a more.

Still another is “The Warning.”

The Gospel train’s at hand,

Be in time, be in time!

The Gospel train’s at hand,

Be in time,

Behold your station there, JESUS has paid your fare; Let’s all engage in prayer:

Be in time, be in time!

Let’s all engage in prayer:

Be in time!

The lyrics to “The Gospel Railroad” encourage others toward salvation:

Come, sinner! join the Gospel-train
Would you the Holy City gain;
That you the journey may begin—
The train is waiting—O step in!

The lyrics of all these songs point to one, very important thing:

There is just one passage to Heaven.

That passage is through Jesus; He is our “train.”

We can hear Him in our land right now.

Only those who have believed in Him for salvation may go with Him.

He has paid the fare for any sinner to come and there is room for every person that wants to go.

Here’s the big question:

Are YOU on board?

*
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

—1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

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come down

The Benefits of Freedom

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Christ has freed us

so that we may enjoy

the benefits of freedom.

Therefore, be firm in this freedom,

and don’t become slaves again.

—-Galatians 5:1

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What does it mean to be free?

The dictionary says,

“to make free; set at liberty; release from bondage, imprisonment, or restraint.”
In the verse above, what if we thought of it this way?
“Christ has made us free, set us at liberty, released us from bondage, released us from imprisonment, and released us from restraint.”
Butterflies are a perfect picture of a creature released from bondage.
As a caterpillar, they cannot fly.
Trapped within the chrysalis, they cannot even move along the ground.
But then, freedom comes!
As they emerge from the the darkness around them, they are suddenly flooded with light and with wings made for flight, they soar into the air, free to fly!
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benefits of freedom

In Whatever Situation

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Not here.

Not at that job.

Not in this neighborhood.

Not in that family…..

Where I work, there is a covered walkway leading out to the parking lot.

One day last week, I noticed a plant hanging down from the metal roof above me.

The next day, I noticed it again.

It had grown quite a bit more.

Growing plants are not unusual; plants that grow on a metal roof are.

Thinking about this occurrence, I supposed that a bird must have been carrying a seed and dropped it on the metal walkway covering.

Even though I couldn’t see it, there must have been some dirt or sand that had collected up there, too.

Somehow, against all odds, this plant was thriving.

We may question our own circumstances sometimes.

We may even feel that we cannot be of any use to God where we are.

We may decide that we can’t grow in our faith as long as we are where we are.

Maybe.

Maybe not….

God may have us placed in just the situation that He wants for His purposes and His will.

With our human eyes, we look at the rich soil across the road and think, “Now, that’s the place to grow!”

Yet, God may look at us, planted in rocky terrain, seeing our future as a strong, healthy plant rising up around the stones.

I honestly would not have thought the beautiful cascade of green leaves could have thrived at all being rooted on a flat metal platform.

Even so, it’s there for all to see.

It’s true that God may lead us to another job, another neighborhood, another circumstance.

But if He isn’t moving us just yet, we can trust that He is with us—-

wherever He has us planted.

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Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.

—1 Corinthians 7:17

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called them

Think About These

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Normally, I don’t watch these types of shows on television.

While visiting someone, though, a cooking program came on.

It was a contest, actually.

Two people were at separate cooking stations.

Some ingredients had been hidden in front of them.

They could not see what was under a covering.

When a timer started, each person was allowed to look at the ingredients before them and then also go to a large pantry and pick out any other ingredients they wanted in order to make “something.”

That was the key—-each contestant could decide exactly what they wanted to make with the ingredients they had been given along with whatever other ingredients they chose from the pantry.

I didn’t finish the entire program.

I would imagine that the show ended with each culinary creation being complete and judges deciding which one tasted best.

If my life could be “made” new every day, what would I want to put in it?

If I compared my life to a pan of cornbread, what would I use to make it?

Cornmeal, eggs, oil, milk and flour.

Would I put in a few small pebbles from the yard?

Of course not!

The cornbread would bake just fine, but when I tried to eat it, I could bite into a small rock and break a tooth.

Worse than than, I could possibly swallow a pebble and then it could cause all kinds of problems inside.

In my actual life, I need to put only good things in my mind.

Things that God would want there.

Just as I wouldn’t want to put rocks in corn meal, I wouldn’t want to put ungodly things in my mind where they could blend in and cause me a lot of trouble and pain.

If God doesn’t approve of an ingredient I am considering, I don’t need to use it.

What I look at, what I listen to, who I spend time with,  what I read.

Is it a good ingredient or is it not?

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

—Philippians 4:8

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think about

Her Arms are Strong

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Sometimes, when I am reading, a particular thought just jumps out at me and overtakes the next few moments.

That happened today.

While I was reading a section of Matthew Henry’s concise commentary on Proverbs 31, this sentence about a noble wife of good character reverberated in my mind:

“Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world.”

Wait….

What?

I needed to read it again.

The words were heavy with meaning and they warranted weighty contemplation on my part.

I understand busy.

Busy could be my middle name.

But what about my heart?

Is it really full of another world, the eternal world that awaits me in Heaven?

The other spiritual world that even now coexists beside me as I go about my day to day life?

The wife, the woman, the person—of good character spoken of in that last chapter of Proverbs had many virtues.

Verse 17 says this about her:

“She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.”

She was not idle, wasting time.

She worked diligently at what she knew to be her calling.

And, according to Pastor Henry, her heart was full of another world.

A world where Jesus is.

Do I long to be with Jesus, yet set my mind to work here until my work is done?

Do I try my best with the tasks at hand, fueled by the knowledge of His presence and love?

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strong

Hunger and Thirst

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The sun had gone down completely and the deep gray of dusk was beginning to overtake my surroundings.

My dog had been acting as though she needed a walk, so out we went.

As we walked around an area in the yard heavily populated with Four O’clock plants, I noticed some movement.

Realizing that a very large moth was visiting the flowers, I hurried in (as fast as a person can hurry in with a fifteen year old basset hound) to get my camera.

When I returned, the moth was still there.

To my delight, two other moths came to visit.

Four O’clock plants bloom late in the day and the early evening.

The moths were heeding the silent call that the fragrant blossoms were sounding:

“Suppers’s ready!”

The entire scene was delicate and inviting.

It had rained an hour or so earlier and the ferns and Four O’clocks seemed a deep, moist green as they were fanned by the moths’ wings, flitting to and fro.

God was providing food at night for a creature of the night.

Beyond that, He was blessing me with being able to see His provision first hand.

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You constantly satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

—Psalm 145:16

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hunger and thirst

Do Not Conform

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

—Romans 12:2

Do you know anyone who has conformed to the pattern of this world?

Do you know anyone who has not?

The dictionary states that a pattern is:

Anything fashioned or designed as a model or guide for something to be made.

How should we live our lives?

Every source of media—from theaters to cell phones—gives us a daily, even hourly, model for how our lives are to be made.

Are we, as Christians, to be conforming to the models of living set before us by the world?

No….

Instead, we are to have a new mind that is wanting to know God’s will for how we should be living.

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pattern

On Your Own

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If you were going to climb a pretty tall mountain, what would you take with you?

How would you dress?

Whatever you might list as clothing essentials for your trip, most of the articles would be fail to be as important as  your shoes.

Think of it—climbing up the mountain wearing a special, pocketed vest to hold important items, a hat to shield you from the sun, rugged trousers, a good belt—you’re all set, right?

There’s just one problem, though.

You’re barefooted….

“I can do this,” you think.

The first hour or so of incline isn’t so bad.

But little by little, the path becomes more rocky.

The terrain before you promises only to be worse.

So, what do you do?

You resolve to keep going, ignoring the pain and focusing on how smart you were to have brought a hat and worn study pants.

Another hour goes by, but your pace has slowed.

Occasionally, you have seen other climbers passing you by.

They were wearing hiking boots….

Isn’t it strange how we would never set out to climb a mountain barefooted, yet we think we can ascend through life without God’s help, determined to believe that we have secured all the help that we might need on our own?

Even when things get tough, we resolve to keep going, ignoring the pain and focusing on how smart we were to have planned for our lives on our own, doing only what we thought was best, without including Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

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on your own