Give

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Give, and it will be given to you.

A good measure,

pressed down,

shaken together

and running over,

will be poured into your lap.

For with the measure you use,

it will be measured to you.

—Luke 6:38

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Living in the Light

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But if we are living in the light,

as God is in the light,

then we have fellowship

with each other,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son,

cleanses us from all sin.

—1 John 1:7

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What Great Love

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Roses are given as a gift of love.

Graceful and elegant, their aromatic petals delight us as we accept them.

We have been given a gift that is the greatest gift of all.

We must choose, however, to accept it.

God has lavished His love on us!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

—1 John 3:1-2

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Recounted in Order

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The water from the ocean crawls relentlessly up onshore, traveling with intensity and force.

In a moment, as though it had specific orders to do so, it stops–and returns to the vast sea from which it came, leaving behind evidence of its short presence there.

Often, ripples form in the sand.

Intriguing and magnificent, mathematical and perfect; ordered, yet chaotic.

If I could take a photograph of the shore just after the recession of a wave and then measure each ripple with great accuracy, what would I find?

The numbers would certainly show God’s design–a picture of His Divine calculation.

The sand between my toes, the feel of the ripples left behind.

The sensation of cool water passing over my feet.

These are grand testimonies of the power and creativity of the Maker of the universe.

Many, O LORD my God, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are toward us: they cannot be recounted in order unto you: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

–Psalm 40:5

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Promises

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For all of

God’s promises

have been fulfilled

in Christ

with a resounding “Yes!”

And through Christ,

our “Amen”

(which means “Yes”)

ascends to

God for His glory.

–2 Corinthians 1:20

 

 

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A Way That Appears

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It was very dark and somewhat difficult to see.

As I was driving on a multi-lane highway, I turned left at the signal to enter a two lane highway that intersected it.

Although the pavement over the four lanes I had to cross was marked with paint to guide vehicles to the correct point on the other side, I somehow failed to follow it correctly.

When I entered the two lane road, I did so on the wrong side of the double yellow lines into a turn lane for oncoming traffic.

I had made a serious error.

Immediately aware of the double yellow lines and my placement to the left of them, I called out loud, “God! I’m in the the wrong place!” as I looked in my rear view mirror to see some headlights behind me.

Instantly increasing my speed and moving to the correct lane without a collision from the rear or the front, my heart was beating quickly.

I was thankful for God’s protection in the midst of the danger.

In essence, we all must come to a point where we call out to God for help, realizing that we are in the wrong place—a place of sin and separation from Him.

Proverbs 14:12 reads, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

When I turned my car into the wrong lane, it appeared to be right at first–but it wasn’t.

When we call to God, He hears us.

When we ask for forgiveness, He grants it.

When we give our lives to Him, He saves us.

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Through a Glass

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Walking along the ocean side is one of my favorite things.

The gentle, yet powerful, roar of the waves as they break onto the shore.

The sound of the seagulls squawking above me.

The feel of the wet sand on my feet.

And, of course, the sea spray…

The mist created by the vast expanse of water causes a haze to hang like an opaque backdrop, removing clarity from everything in its path.

Buildings lose their distinctiveness as they succumb to the white, concealing moisture all about them.

As I walked along the water’s edge, I photographed the scene in front of me.

Children playing.

Couples strolling.

Birds flying.

Sand castles being constructed.

All within the mist.

The Bible reads in 1 Corinthians 13:12,

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

We are all living “in the mist” at this time.
Playing.
Strolling.
Building—
All with limited vision.
There will be a day when that will change.
Are you ready for that day?
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Vapor

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Our lives are important.

What we do every day is important.

Every minute.

Every hour.

God has given us time to spend.

May we have the wisdom to spend it wisely….

 

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Yet

you do not know

what your life

will be like

tomorrow.

You are

just a vapor

that appears

for a little while

and then

vanishes away.

—James 4:14

 

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vapor

Afraid

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What was the bird in my yard really thinking?

Was he afraid?

Was he curious?

Was he hungry?

I can look at the photograph I took of him and imagine any one of these feelings as I look at his face.

At some point in our lives, we are all afraid.

When that happens, God is there.

He is there to comfort and to calm us.

We must trust in Him in those moments.

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When I am afraid,

I put my trust

in

You.

–Psalm 56:3

 

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To Number

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It has been a night to speak about important matters.

I have a family member who has a terminal illness.

While speaking with him, he mentioned this quote by Winston Churchill:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

It is difficult for our loved one to communicate, but I think I understood why these words were spoken.
As a Christian, the life he has lived here is only the beginning of his eternal life.
His passing from this earth is not the end for him.
It’s not even the beginning of the end.
The Bible says,
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
—Psalm 90:12
While some people live to be 100 years old and a little beyond while in their mortal state, we all know that the time will come for all people to die.
Understanding that our time is limited–even if we were to live to be 100–we come to the realization that our our days are numbered and they are precious.
With wisdom that can only come from God, we can choose wisely how to spend our time.
Our lives here may be long or they may be short by human standards.
Even so, when we die, it is not the end….
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number

The Nation

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A nation…

What is a nation?

A nation could be a group of people who are united in some way living in the same area.

It is the people who make the nation.

Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

Blessed are the parents whose God is the LORD.

Blessed are the children whose God is the LORD.

Blessed is everyone whose God is the LORD.

Here is a most important question—

Is God your LORD?

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Blessed is

the nation

whose God

is the LORD,

the people

He chose

for His inheritance.


—Psalm 33:12

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Sing

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Birds sing to the Lord.

When lions roar, they are singing, too.

As the dolphin jumps for a moment from the water with elegance and grace, it is “singing” to the Lord.

The golden butterfly sings as it flutters from bloom to bloom.

All the creatures of the earth sing to the Lord, their Maker.

Shouldn’t we, as well?

 

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Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

—Psalm 96:1-3

 

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No More

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Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

—Revelation 21:1-7

 

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no more

Prayer

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The garden area I saw was lush and inviting, with blooms of many colors.

An arch of vines formed a canopy over the brick walkway.

I am reminded of the lyrics of an old hymn:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

 

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:6-7

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Let Not Your Hearts

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It’s hard to say goodbye.

When someone that you love has left this world, there is a pain that is unlike any other.

An empty chair at the table.

An empty bed.

A photograph of times gone by.

For those who love the Lord, the pain and grief of loved ones left behind will be replaced one day in Heaven with rejoicing as they are reunited.

Knowing this deep within our hearts is a testimony of faith and God’s Spirit within us.

Jesus said,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.

Believe in God;

believe also in Me.

In My Father’s house are many rooms.

If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.

And you know the way to where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

 

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By Which Also

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Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures.

I believe that.

Jesus was buried.

I believe that.

He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

I believe that.

Many people saw Jesus after He was raised from the dead.

I believe that, as well.

Because of Jesus’ great love, I can be saved.

So can you…

 

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Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

–1 Corinthians 15:1-7

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He Heals

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At this particular time in my life, I am aware of some great needs in the lives of people that I know.

I know someone who is physically ill.

I know someone who is grieving over the recent loss of a loved one.

I know someone who is discouraged about their job…

There are too many needs to list.

How does God know all these needs?

How could He understand each one?

I cannot comprehend God’s ways, yet I believe He is holding the universe together and at the same time, He knows everything about you and me.

Not only is He aware of us, but He comforts us, heals us and bandages our hurts.

 

 

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He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.

—Psalm 147:3

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What a Person Has Built

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I had a wonderful time!

The lighting was fantastic and I was taking the most beautiful photos of water droplets on a fence.

Crystal looking orbs of water glowing with the morning sun.

Excited to see the images I had collected, I was ready to upload them to my computer.

Something was wrong, however.

I was getting an error message.

I decided to charge my camera’s battery and try the upload again.

It didn’t help…

Finally, I decided to look at the memory card.

When I opened the casing to take it out, it wasn’t there.

All the photos that I thought I had taken were never recorded because there was no card to record them to.

I thought my work had amounted to something, but it hadn’t.

I thought I had something, but in fact, I had nothing…

The Bible speaks about things that we have done.

Paul writes these verses in 1 Corinthians:

The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own work.  We are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field.

You are God’s building.  As a skilled and experienced builder, I used the gift that God gave me to lay the foundation for that building. However, someone else is building on it. Each person must be careful how he builds on it.  After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that foundation is Jesus Christ. People may build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw.  The day will make what each one does clearly visible because fire will reveal it. That fire will determine what kind of work each person has done.  If what a person has built survives, he will receive a reward.

–1 Corinthians 3:8-14

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The things that we do may seem important, but if they are not pleasing to God, they really aren’t.

When our life on earth is over, what we have done will be known.

If the things I have done were not pleasing to God, they will not survive.

They will be like pictures that I thought I took, yet have nothing to show for them.

Instead of a beautiful photograph of water droplets on a fence, I had a black screen.

I don’t want to have a “black screen” representing what I have done in life.

I want what I do to be what is pleasing to God.

What matters to Him.

Isn’t that what you want, as well?

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Even More Fruitful

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I have a philodendron plant hanging in my kitchen window.

From time to time, some of the leaves turn yellow and then brown.

They finally shrivel up into a completely dead leaf.

Unsightly looking at the least, it is best to gently pull them off the living vine.

They are no longer of any use to the plant.

This afternoon, I noticed that I had a few leaves that had turned brown.

As I was removing them from their branches, my thoughts turned to life in general.

There are times when certain things need to be removed from our lives.

Not just bad things or things that could hurt us, but things that we may need to move away from as we are continuing on in our journey of faith.

If we were to sign up for an introductory class in mathematics, we would hope to move on to the next level of instruction when we had sufficiently learned what was being taught.

There would be no need to continue going to the first class if it was time for the second one.

Like a leaf that no longer needs to remain on a vine, we would need to put that class schedule away and spend our time in a more productive way.

As God continues to work in our lives, there will be “classes” He wants us to attend–a certain job, a ministry opportunity–even a particular neighborhood to live in.

When the time is right, He may then direct us to the next “class.”

We may feel His leading to move on in the new direction He is preparing for us.

The old leaves removed one by one at just the right time, making room for growth of new leaves—at just the right time.

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“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

—John 15:1-2

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Be Like the Ant

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Walking along early at the park, I suddenly noticed a large ant hill at my feet.

Happily, they weren’t up yet…at least they weren’t out yet.

Because of their bite and the large numbers of them usually together, ants have to be respected and feared.

Beyond that, ants can be respected for something else, as well.

Ants work together and also alone.

Either way, ants work.

They seem to work quite diligently, in fact.

Proverbs 6:6-8 reads,

“Be like the ant and see her ways and learn, for there is no harvest for her,

And there is no ruler over her, neither anyone to drive her.

And she prepares for herself her bread from the summer and she stores her food at harvest.”

What work is it that God has called you to do?

Are you working diligently together with others to accomplish it?

Are you working alone, also, to do the same?

This is something I must ask myself…

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the ant

I Will Watch

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When I got up this morning, the fog was gently draping itself like a blanket just above the dewy ground.

As the sun’s rays came streaming down, they formed a natural spotlight for the grassy stage below.

Quiet.

Undisturbed.

Peaceful.

The start of a new day.

There are many concerns tugging at my heart.

God knows each one.

When I awaken to a new day, often I am reminded of my concerns.

As I pray for God to work in a way that only He can in the lives of those I am interceding for, I must wait.

I must wait and watch for His answer.

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LORD, in the morning You will hear my voice; in the morning I will pray to You, and I will watch for Your answer.

–Psalm 5:3

 

 

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