The Lord’s Help

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Wait for the Lord’s help.
    Be strong and brave,
    and wait for the Lord’s help.

—Psalm 27:14

Someone I care about is facing a terminal illness.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is struggling at their work.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is angry with God.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about is distant and aloof.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

Someone I care about needs spiritual healing.

I am waiting for the Lord’s help.

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help

Gathering Sticks

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Do you believe in miracles?

In the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah was told by God to go to a place called Zarephath. There was a drought and God told Elijah that a widow living there would give him food.

What do you think Elijah did? God had spoken—–

~

So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”  As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.  For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.  For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

—1 Kings 17:10-16

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gathering

A Brother or Sister in Need

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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

—1 John 3:17-18

I think God puts thoughts into our minds sometimes.

When my husband came home from work today, he was in a great mood.

He said it was a beautiful day and we should go somewhere and enjoy it.

I responded by suggesting that we go to a lakeside park and watch the sun set.

After we had been at the park for only a few minutes, we met a woman on the boardwalk who had a need.

My husband and I were able to help her with what she was needing.

We were there at just the right time.

The time, I believe, that God wanted us to be there.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God cares so much for us that He will bring people to us when we need them?

~

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possessions

In Due Season

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Where I live, oranges are ready for picking around Christmas time.

Of course, there are other crops that are in season then, as well as many in October and November.

There are berry picking farms in my area.

Even corn fields.

One thing is worth noting—

No matter how hard we would want it to happen, the oranges aren’t going to be ready to eat three months earlier than normal.

The berries aren’t going to be ripe enough to eat three months before their time, either.

The corn isn’t good until each stalk has had the proper time to mature.

The Bible has this to say in the book of Galatians:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

—Galatians 6:9

Farmers can’t give up on their crops before the appointed time of their maturity.

They just have to trust that in time, they will see the fruits of their labor.

It’s that way with us.

We just can’t give up….

~

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due season

Our Church Meetings

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In response to all He has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.

 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.

—-Hebrews 10:24-25

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church meetings

Perfect Peace

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While visiting the ocean recently, I photographed two pelicans.

Often seen silently gliding in the air above in group formation, they are sometimes seen just sitting in the water, floating.

As I watched them, large waves would come up.

At times, they were completely hidden from my view because of the raging water and its foam.

Seconds later, they would appear in view again, still calmly riding the waves as though nothing had happened.

I know, of course, that at any moment they could’ve decided to just take off and fly away.

For a very long time, though, they chose not to.

They remained anchored in the water, moving as it moved, back and forth, high and low.

I can imagine them saying, “Let’s just sit here in the water for awhile and rest.”

Rest?

Rest in the constant surge of water beneath them?

Rest in the ocean’s white foam?

Evidently so.

They seemed at peace as they trusted their Maker.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26:3-4 that God can give perfect peace to those who trust Him:

You, Lord, give perfect peace
    to those who keep their purpose firm
    and put their trust in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever;
    He will always protect us.

The waves in our lives can we great, yet God can give us peace…

even in their midst.

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purpose

The Rock

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As for God, His way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    He shields all who take refuge in Him.
 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.

—Psalm 18:30-32

the rock

And the Two Will Become One

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What does it mean to be married?

Ephesians 5:31 reads:

As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.”

When someone is married, life is shared.

Happy life.
Sad life.

Healthy life.
Sick life.

Confident life.
Unsure life.

Faith life.
Doubting life.

What happens in one spouse’s life is felt in some way by the other.

A partnership of love.
An alliance of fidelity.
A union of commitment.

That’s what it means to be married.

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become one

Puzzling Reflections

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In my journey of faith, there are many things that I do not understand.

Yet, even in my lack of understanding, I must trust God.

He sees things perfectly.

His knowledge is complete.

His love for me is great.

Like a little child trusting in her father as she grasps his hand while crossing a busy street, I must put my faith in God’s wisdom and guidance as I walk through this life with Him at my side.

~

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

—1 Corinthians 13:12

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reflections

Praise Him, Sun and Moon

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The sky was clear last night and the moon was bright and almost nearly overhead.

Braving the mosquitoes, I stood in my driveway, trying to get a good shot.

I really enjoy looking at the night sky and seeing a small part of the vastness in space that God has created.

Each time the moon rises, its very presence praises God who made it….

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Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise Him in the heights above.
 Praise Him, all His angels;
    praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.
 Praise Him, sun and moon;
    praise Him, all you shining stars.
 Praise Him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at His command they were created,
 and He established them for ever and ever—
    He issued a decree that will never pass away.

—Psalm 148:1-6

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praise

Amazing Things Happen

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Purple Gallinules are very common where I live.

Even though they are common, they are not commonly colored.

In fact, they are arrayed in a most beautiful mix of emerald, turquoise, indigo, red and yellow.

The Purple Gallinule is an amazingly adorned bird, decorated exactly the way God planned.

In the book of Job, God’s voice is spoken about in reference to thunder.

In a different way, I think God’s voice speaks through His visual creations.

Job 37:5 reads,

“At God’s command amazing things happen,
    wonderful things that we can’t understand.”

Amazing things happen every day.

Things like Purple Gallinules walking past us or a glorious sunset lighting up the western sky.

Amazing things happen, because God is amazing…..

~

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command

His Promises

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It was a windy afternoon coupled with an overcast sky and cool temperatures.

I decided that it would be a perfect time to visit a lakeside park in a nearby city.

As my husband and I walked around, we saw a bird on the grass past the wooden bridge we were standing on.

Having some stale biscuit bread in a bag, he threw a small piece into the grass below.

A different bird saw the morsel and eagerly ran up.

This commotion caused a bit of a stir in the long blades of grass, sufficient enough to flush some colorful butterflies out and into the open.

As they settled back down, once again lighting and being still, I took a few photographs of them.

Not knowing what type of butterfly I had seen, I did a bit of research.

It seems that I was watching some White Peacock butterflies.

Delicate and fragile, they truly were captivating to behold.

I’m not sure why butterflies remind us of a sense of freedom and serenity.

Perhaps their playful sprint from one place to another along with their carefree ability to do so is what does it.

In another way, their vulnerability might bring a sense of trust or confidence to mind.

1 Corinthians 1:9 reads,

“God faithfully keeps His promises. He called you to be partners with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We must trust God to keep His promises.

We must be confident in who He is and in His love for us.

~

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faithfully

Let Me Hear

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It was early morning yesterday when I went to my friend’s house.

After my visit, I drove to the end of her street and turned around near a pasture.

The sun was low in the sky as it was glowing across the grass and trees.

Two horses stood serenely behind the fence.

I was blessed to see such a peaceful landscape—a gift from God.

~

Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love,
    for in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to You I lift up my soul.

—Psalm 143:8

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steadfast cor final

They Sing Praises

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The lyrics to an old hymn mention birds singing to God:

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

(Maltbie D. Babcock)

Birds calling.

Flowers blooming.

The light of sunrise.

They are all praising God!

All the earth worships You
    and sings praises to You;
    they sing praises to Your Name. Selah

—Psalm 66:4

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all the earth

Everything He Does

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Walking over to a bush in my yard, I suddenly noticed something on a Lantana bloom.

Not really being sure what it was, I cautiously approached an intricately designed, winged creature.

Was it a wasp or a bee?

Would it decide to sting me at any moment, for being so close?

One photograph after another, it remained on the flower, content to be the object of my curiosity.

Looking on the internet later to try to find out what it was, I found that I had been watching a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth.

Well, now.

Imagine that!

Wonderfully arrayed in red, white and blue, this moth was such a beauty to behold.

Psalm 111:3 reads,

Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.

God fashioned this moth just the way He wanted to.

In each color and design on its body, God’s marvelous power of creation was evident.

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Love is Patient

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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.

—1Corinthians 13:4-7

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patient

Job Description

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The pair of birds sat in the top of the tree, not minding my inquisitive presence.

Looking this way and that, the golden light from the setting sun gave a soft glow to their feathery bodies.

There is food for them to eat.

There is water nearby, as well.

God is providing for them in every way that is needed.

God can provide for us in every way that is needed, also, and we are worth more to Him than birds…

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“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds.”

—Matthew 6:25-26 The Message

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job description final

Overcome Evil

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The barbed wire fence in my neighborhood is there to keep some things in–and some things out.

Either way, the sharp points on the twisted metal are harmful if contact is made with them.

I noticed that a vine had grown, making its way on the horizontal fence, gently moving past the painfully pointed ends.

The delicate and persistent vine had overcome the danger of the protruding barbs.

There are many “fences” encountered in life.

The Bible has this to say in Romans 12:21:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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with good

God’s Way

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There is an orange grove just across the street from my home.

Where I live, the oranges will be ripe in a couple of months or so.

Steadily they grow, getting sweeter each day.

God has been at work in my life, changing me and growing me since the time that I became a Christian years ago.

I have known that He was with me, guiding me and protecting me.

I want to live God’s way.

How about you?

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But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

—Galatians 5:22-23 

The Message

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gifts

To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

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the place

Wildly Wonderful

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As I walked into the grocery store to pick up a last minute item, I saw a display of fresh flowers for sale.

Stopping to admire the colorful blooms, I found many varieties producing a delightful visual fanfare.

Everywhere I turn, God’s creations tell of His greatness!

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What a wildly wonderful world, God!
    You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
    made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

—Psalm 104:24, The Message

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wildly wonderful

Quiet and at Rest

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What is there to worry about?

Plenty of things.

Yet, worrying won’t change them.

It won’t help at all.

Sometimes, it’s just good for me to walk around outside–even if it is just in my own yard–and look at the fascinating creations of God that are right there.

Flowers, butterflies, tiny blooms on weeds.

Birds flying overhead, lizards scurrying about, dragonflies that come to hover near me.

There, I find a calm and a respite from responsibilities, if only for a short while.

I have been praying lately about many things, wanting to trust God with people and situations, instead of worrying.

God is in control.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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hearts quiet

Done in Love

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I read the sign in front of a veterinary clinic as I drove past.

“DEAF PETS HEAR WITH THEIR HEARTS.”

Those words went straight to mine….

I have a fifteen year old Basset Hound.

Her eyesight is failing and she can barely hear.

Sometimes, I pick up one long ear (they are several inches in length) and say, “I love you” directly into it.

I hope she hears it.

If she doesn’t, I hope that she feels it in her heart when I brush her, give her a bath, take her for a walk or put my arms around her and hold her sweet doggy face near mine.

As you can tell, I truly do love my dog.

But after only seconds had past from my reading of the sign, I thought about it in a different way.

Certainly, deaf pets hear with their hearts.

The ones that have good ears do, as well.

Not only that, I believe that PEOPLE hear with their hearts.

Babies do.

Children do.

Teenagers do.

Adults do.

We may not hear the words, “I love you,” but we feel it when love is shown to us in the actions of others.

The thoughtful remembrances.

An outstretched hand.

The sympathy card.

The home cooked meal.

The flat tire fixed.

The tender hug.

Just sitting near us when we’re sad.

Just cheering from the stands when we’re out on the field….

God wants us to love each other.

1 Corinthians 16:14 reads, “Let all that you do be done in love.”

I have an idea for another sign.

It should read,

“ALL PEOPLE HEAR WITH THEIR HEARTS.”

Wouldn’t you agree?

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done in love

Save the World

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It was quite by accident that I saw it.

There was something I had just passed down the highway that I wanted to photograph.

While turning into a new housing development area, there was quite a bit of acreage with wild grasses and trees.

It was a lovely scene, made even more interesting by its contrasting centerpiece–an abandoned construction machine.

This type of equipment is quite costly and very specialized.

Why was this one left behind?

As it rusts in the harsh sun each day, the moments that it was once in use become more of a remnant of times gone by.

It appeared useless and condemned.

I suppose that if the right person came along, this big piece of machinery could be restored.

Like machinery rusting out in the elements, people need to be restored.

Not just some people—all people.

The rust and corrosion of sin affects everyone.

There is only one remedy.

Only one redemption.

Jesus came to save us.

When He died on the cross and rose from the dead, He paid the penalty for our sin.

God doesn’t want us to be lost and separated from Him forever.

He doesn’t want us to be in a condition of condemnation.

Instead, He wants us to be restored—to be made right with Him.

To be forgiven, whole and well.

~

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

–John 3:17

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condemn

But Rejoicing Comes

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Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
 For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

—Psalm 30:4-5

~

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weeping

Much Fruit

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Am I abiding in Jesus today?

Am I bearing fruit in my life that is pleasing to Him?

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I am the vine,

you are the branches;

he who abides in Me and I in him,

he bears much fruit,

for apart from Me

you can do nothing.

—John 15:5

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branches

I Am Doing a New Thing!

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On my way to church this morning, I noticed a group of purple flowers on the side of the road.

They were growing in an arch out among tall grass and weeds.

I made a mental note to stop and photograph them when I returned toward home later in the day.

Having lived in the same neighborhood for several years, I am surprised that I had not noticed these wildflowers before.

Could it be possible that this is the first year they have bloomed in this area?

Upon closer inspection, I am guessing that the winding plant with purple flowers is a type of climbing wild potato vine.

I didn’t plant it there.

In fact, I’m not sure anyone did.

However the seed was planted, it is God that has been making it grow.

Before the purple blooms appeared, I had not noticed what God was bringing about at all.

The vine was there, though, growing steadily each day.

There are so many concerns that I am praying about.

Could it be that God is answering my prayers—even now—yet I am not noticing it yet?

Could it be that God is at work changing and bringing something to life that will bloom in the beauty of His divine purpose very soon?

My heart swells with joy when I think about the moments I will perceive His answers to prayer, decorating my journey of faith with vibrant assurance of His presence and love.

~

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up;

do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

—Isaiah 43:19

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new thing

I’m Writing This Myself

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I have heard before that many people believe that Paul had difficulties with vision.

If that is true, his poor eyesight did not keep him from serving the Lord.

It did not keep him from communicating with those he cared about.

As he wrote to the Galatians in the verses that follow, I sense that he cared very much for the people and for their decisions.

He wanted to encourage them to follow Jesus.

I can imagine saying these words to my children.

That may be how Paul felt.

Like a father instructing his children, wanting the very best possible for each of them.

With writing a letter being the best way to communicate at the time, he got his message out.

Who does God want you to encourage today?

~

If you plant in the soil of your corrupt nature, you will harvest destruction.

But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life.

We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way.

Certainly, each of us will receive everlasting life at the proper time, if we don’t give up.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers.

Look at how large the letters in these words are because I’m writing this myself.

—Galatians 6:8-11

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writing final

The Skies Proclaim

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While driving to the hospital to make a visit, I noticed the sunset was incredibly amazing.

Not sure that I had ever seen anything quite like it before, I wanted to get some photographs of it.

Shadows were reaching up from the horizon, crossing different layers of clouds, making finger-like projections.

The entire collage of sun, shadow and clouds was inhabiting so much of the western sky, its vastness made the earth seem small in comparison.

Many of my friends later communicated to me that they had seen this glorious sight, also.

One of them referred to it all as, “God art.”

I agree.

God was allowing us to see great beauty above as He pulled the blanket of sky and clouds away for the night, sending this half of the world to rest until dawn.

~

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

—Psalm 19:1-4

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proclaim