From Springs Into Valleys

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I don’t understand how God holds the universe in place.

My thoughts can’t begin to comprehend His greatness.

All that I can do is trust that He does love me and that He is holding my life and the lives of those I love in His hands.

As my heart yearns for healing in the hearts of others, God knows my greatest desires.

He has the power to hold the universe in place, to hold our world in orbit and to hold the oceans within their boundaries while bringing water to every land.

I must trust that His great power can change lives and change hearts for all of eternity, as well.

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You set the earth on its foundations
    so that it can never be shaken.
 You covered the earth with an ocean as though it were a robe.
    Water stood above the mountains
         and fled because of Your threat.
    Water ran away at the sound of Your thunder.
         The mountains rose and the valleys sank
            to the place You appointed for them.
     Water cannot cross the boundary You set
        and cannot come back to cover the earth.

 You make water gush from springs into valleys.
    It flows between the mountains.

—Psalm 104:5-10

 

 

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water gush

Scale A Wall

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If God wants you to do something and you are willing to do it, is there anything that could possibly keep you from accomplishing it?

With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

—2 Samuel 22:30

 

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scale a wall

Every Weight

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What kinds of things slow you down?

If I had to walk a long distance, I would hope not to be burdened with a heavy backpack.

That would make everything so much harder.

In fact, I might not arrive at my destination as quickly as I had hoped.

If it was really heavy, I might even have to stop walking for a while.

Frustration brought on by the weight that I was carrying could possibly tempt me to give up, turn around, and head back home.

Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us in this way:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

What things are weighing us down and keeping us from running the race the way Jesus would have us to?

Attitudes?

Unforgiveness?

Anger?

Fear?

Other people?

Whatever the weight may be, isn’t it time that it is placed on the side of the road, freeing you to run?

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lay aside

 

 

 

Safety

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Today is Thanksgiving.

My family gathered for a meal early in the afternoon.

Later on, as I was walking my dog in the front yard, I was caught by surprise.

I dropped my dog’s leash and ran into the house to get my camera.

Oh, no!! It wasn’t there!

I ran (I really did run) to my car to see if it was there.

Finding it, I furiously began to photograph the FOUR wild turkeys that were sauntering into a neighbor’s yard.

I walked toward them.

They didn’t seem particularly frightened, yet they were aware of my presence.

I photographed all four, at first.

I photographed just one and also two together.

Following them as they entered another neighbor’s yard, I continued snapping.

I live in a subdivision of perhaps 400 homes.

Four turkeys casually walking by on Thanksgiving Day was not something I expected.

Relating this story to someone today, it was suggested that the turkeys were not frightened here and that they felt safe.

I’ve thought about that.

On a day when turkeys that have been killed are sold in great quantities for this holiday celebration, they exhibited no great fear.

When we, as humans, are trusting in God’s protection, we know that He is in control.

Our safety is in His hands.

There is a verse in Proverbs, chapter 21 that speaks about safety.

It reads, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

We can plan our defense in life–insurance policies, job securities, prenuptial agreements.

A locked house, a locked car.

We can even train to physically protect ourselves.

All of these things are good.

But even if our “horse” is ready to take us out to “battle” each day, our safety can only come from God.

If God is protecting us in a situation, we need not fear.

Like those turkeys, we can feel safe—

even on Thanksgiving.

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safety

Rain Down

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“You heavens above, rain down My righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.

—Isaiah 45:8

 

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rain down

When I Am Afraid

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Even though it is nearing the end of November, the Romerillo plants are still blooming—at least some of them.

I noticed one at the end of my front sidewalk, gently growing at the edge of my front plant garden.

Many of the plants that were blooming a few weeks ago are gone now, yet these continued to grow.

It was still possible to them to thrive.

Sometimes it can be frightening to be among the few.

Maybe even to be the only one.

I don’t think flowers feel emotion, but I can compare our lives to the plant.

Even if it seems unlikely, God can cause growth in us, no matter what season we are in.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So what if we are afraid out there, blooming all by ourselves?

We must trust in God at all times—

especially when we are afraid.

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When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.

—Psalm 56:3

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my trust final

He Can Be Depended On

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Do you know what it is like not to be forgiven?

Do you know how it feels to truly be sorry about something and yet your most heartfelt words are not received?

Although I would hope not, I am afraid that there are many people in this world who have experienced these feelings time and again.

God, however, will never cease to forgive when we ask.

When we are truly sorry about something, our most heartfelt words are received by our heavenly Father.

Not only are they received, but they are placed beside the truth that Jesus has already paid the penalty for the transgressions we are speaking about.

With the penalty being paid, He is faithful to forgive.

Not once, but always.

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If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.

–1 John 1:8-9

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cleanse

A Clean Heart

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I want to let go when I am supposed to let go.

I want to hang on when I am supposed to hang on.

I want to stay when I am supposed to stay.

I want to move when I am supposed to move.

I want to speak when I am supposed to speak.

I want to love when I am supposed to love.

And I want to do it all with a clean heart—a renewed heart.

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

—Psalm 51:10

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clean heart

Now Faith

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What does wind look like?

I could tell you the effects of wind.

I could tell you what wind feels like as it brushes against my face.

I could even describe how I think wind moves.

But tell you what it looks like?

I can’t do it.

Even so, I know it is there.

I have faith in knowing that wind exists.

I am sure of it.

I believe in God.

I believe that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins.

I can’t tell you exactly what Jesus looks like.

I can’t tell you a place where you could go and “see” God.

I can tell you what effect God has had on me.

I can tell you how He forgave me.

I can tell you what it feels like to know that forgiveness down in my heart.

I can tell you what it’s like to experience God moving in my life.

I have faith in God…..

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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

—Hebrews 11:1

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faith

 

 

 

You Hear My Voice

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The mist was so beautiful, I just had to pull over and photograph it.

In my area, fog is most commonly encountered in the early morning, before the warmth of the sun causes it to dissipate.

I pray a lot while I am driving my car.

It is then that I am usually alone.

Morning often finds me commuting to work, praying, and thinking about God and those I love.

There is no better way to start the day!

*

Listen to my words, O Lord,
    and hear my sighs.
 Listen to my cry for help,
    my God and king!

I pray to you, O Lord;
    you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
    and wait for your answer.

—Psalm 5:1-3

 

 

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i pray 2

In the Hands of God

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As I walked by the water’s edge, a pair of ducks swam nearby.

A darker, brown duck was accompanied by a white, pekin duck.

Drawn to their beauty and their carefree movements, I spent a few moments watching them and photographing them.

Days come and go, and on every one, God provides for them.

 

*

Every living creature
    is in the hands of God.

–Job 12:10

 

 

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living creature

How the Wild Flowers Grow

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“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes?  Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?  Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

 “And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.  It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!

 “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’”

—Matthew 6:25-31

 

 

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wild flowers

My Peace I Give to You

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While visiting a nearby city to make a hospital visit, my husband and I decided to go to a park we had never been to.

Having searched online for parks in the area, we found one that looked interesting.

Finding a place to leave our car, we walked along the water’s edge.

Many people were enjoying the surroundings, as well, and we were blessed to see families out with baby strollers and toddlers and couples sitting together in the late afternoon sun.

The air was cool and the atmosphere was calm.

Unhurried.

At one point, we noticed a grandfather as he held a very small child up to the rod iron fence and let the boy experience the wonderment of throwing a stick down into the water.

A woman on a bench was accompanied by a white curly-haired dog.

A group of ducks swam together on the gently rippled water.

It was peaceful.

Jesus gave us words about peace:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

—-John 14:27

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Peace I leave

When The Ocean Was Born

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I am fascinated by the ocean.

I love the sound of the waves.

I love to watch the water as it changes shape to form them.

I love to ponder the ripples in the sand that remain when the tide pulls back.

God keeps the vast ocean in its place, every day, every night, without ceasing.

Awesome.

Amazing.

All-powerful.

That’s what God is….

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When the ocean was born,
    I set its boundaries
 and wrapped it in blankets
    of thickest fog.
 Then I built a wall around it,
    locked the gates,  and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!
    They can go no farther.”

—Job 38:8-10

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no farther 2

Bitter Root

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Since I was off work today, I decided to do some weeding in the yard.

At one side of my house, I have some nice plants in a rectangular bed.

Sadly, I have neglected it and many weeds have grown up.

While removing some of them today, I reached down to pull an unwanted weed.

To my surprise, when I pulled it from the ground, it was actually spread out for quite a way to either side of the root.

What looked like a lot of plants was actually only one weed that had grown and spread its tendrils over an impressive area of soil.

Almost immediately as I looked at the mass of greenery hanging from my gloved hand, I thought of how that applies to life.

I hung the removed mass of stems and leaves up and took a photograph of them.

Pondering further, I think there are many spiritual problems that can threaten to overtake someone.

I wonder if those vast number of issues could actually be stemming from an initial one–

Bitterness?

Greed?

Anger?

If so, how can a person be delivered from a life plagued with the wages of sin?

Only God can deliver us from our plight.

When He removes, forgives and redeems, everything is taken out.

We can be healed from our transgressions and have a renewed mind—a mind devoted to Him.

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See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

—Hebrews 12:15

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root

While the Earth Remains

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While walking in the park, I noticed a branch that had fallen to the ground.

Crimson red outlined some of the leaves.

Once again, God is continuing to bring about seasons.

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While the earth remains,

seedtime and harvest,

cold and heat,

summer and winter,

day and night,

shall not cease.

—Genesis 8:22

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harvest

What Lies Behind

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I could hear the screech of the hawk as I was about to get into my car.

Flying toward the tall tree, it came to rest in the branches that were already thinning as colder weather approached.

Changing my schedule for a few moments, I took the opportunity to photograph the stately bird.

In one of the photos, his body was facing forward in the direction he was headed when I first saw him.

His head, however, was turned around—looking back from where he had flown from.

As believers in Jesus, we must look ahead at our new life in Him.

We can forget the old way of life that we had, with no need to look back.

We must keep looking forward.

We must trust in Him.

All things are new.

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 3:8-14

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forgetting

Cut The Hay

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Cut the hay, and new grass will grow.

Then gather the new plants that grow on the hills.

—Proverbs 27:25 ERV

The Good News version of the Bible translates this verse in this way:

You cut the hay and then cut the grass on the hillsides while the next crop of hay is growing.

God’s continual provision is with us always.

We must trust God to provide for us in every way that we have needs.

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cut the hay

The Wind Blows

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Nicodemas was a Pharisee who was alive during Jesus’ time on the earth.

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

—John 3:2-8

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wind blows

Everlasting

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

—Psalm 90:1-2

God loves you right now.

God loved your parents.

God loved your grandparents.

God loved your great-grandparents, too.

No matter how far back you can go in your lineage, God has loved every person.

No matter how far back you go or how far forward you look to, God will still love—

From everlasting to everlasting.

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everlasting

Devoted to Things

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Things.

Things can be destroyed.

They are only temporary.

Things can wash away in a flood.

Things can blow away in a storm.

Things can only be what they are—just things.

A God-shaped life?

It will continue on into eternity….

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A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
    a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.

—Proverbs 11:28  The Message

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devoted

Unless the LORD Builds

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Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

–Psalm 127:1

Who is building your life?

Is it God, or is it you?

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builds

Rays of Light

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I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
    the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

—Habakkuk 3:2-4

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brilliant

Do Not Be Anxious

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Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything by prayer and supplication

with thanksgiving let your requests

be made known to God.

And the peace of God,

which surpasses all understanding,

will guard your hearts

and your minds

in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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peace

Declare His Glory

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There is a small market near my son’s apartment in a nearby town.

Quaint and eclectic, it is a delightful place to visit.

Out in front of the store, a cart with flowers for sale brightens the corner.

As each plant is sold, beauty goes out from that place and spreads to another.

Psalm 96:3 reads,

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”

As we learn of God’s marvelous works and experience His glory, we then may go out and share what we have found to others.

We declare our faith and what God has done to those we are in contact with.

Each time we tell of God’s great love and forgiveness, we spread the beauty of the gospel.

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marvelous works