The Breath

The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

–Job 33:4

 

As I walked over the wooden bridge, I paused to watch a small turtle surfacing in the water below me.

With his little neck stretched up into the air, he was sustaining his life as he took a breath.

It pleased God to make turtles, as it pleased Him to make all His creatures.

He designed this particular type to have the need to come up for air every now and then.

Air gives us life, as well.

If we cease to breathe, we cease to live.

Yet, if we did not have God’s breath in us, we would never have existed.

It is God who gives and sustains our lives.

 

breath

Believe in Your Own Heart

For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

—-Romans 10:9
Tonight the wind was cool as the sunset over the lake captivated my attention. Storms had occurred nearby and a beautiful mix of clouds and radiant light made a glorious backdrop for the palm trees and downtown buildings. 

Each evening God creates a masterpiece of beauty in the sky for all to see. 

I have been praying in the last few months for a friend who does not know Jesus as their Savior. I am praying for their salvation. I want them to know the great love of Jesus. 

One day, I am hoping they will look at a sunset and praise God for His wondrous works in the sky and for His wondrous work within their life. 

Dear Lord, You know who my heart is burdened for. I pray that they will come to see You as the way, the truth and the life. I pray that You would draw them away from anything that is not of You. I pray they would give their life to you completely. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of salvation. 

Do Also To Them

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

—Matthew 7:12

 

A week or two ago, I was doing a photo session for a family of four in a nearby park.

The park borders a large lake and there are always a lot of birds near the water.

As I was photographing the family out in the open grass, a duck came walking up to us.

Since ducks are normally shy creatures that keep their distance, this was quite a delightful surprise.

He was probably hoping we had something to feed him.

He was going to make the first step in being friendly.

For whatever reason, he marched right up and melted our hearts.

I started taking photographs of the children with their new duck friend.

Why, if a duck wanted to be nice to us, we were going to be nice to him!

In the verse above, Jesus tells us to do to others what we wish they would do to us.

What would happen if we showed interest in people the way we wished they would be interested in our well being?

What if we would just take the first step and walk up to someone we do not know at work or church with a sincere smile and a cordial word?

Would their heart be open to friendship because of that first step on our part?

If a duck could be friendly to people he didn’t know, couldn’t I?

do also

 

Your Requests

What do you wish for?

As I was walking on a small bridge above a pond of water, I noticed that people had thrown coins into the water to make a wish.

Although I do not know how that tradition ever came about, I am certain that throwing money into water does nothing to help.

What is a wish, anyway?

A hope or desire?

I wish for many things.

Not a bigger house or an expensive car.

Many of the things I wish for I could not bring about.

I wish for a better relationship with someone that I love very much who is within my family.

I wish for the salvation of my unsaved friends.

I wish for good health for people I know who are very ill.

I can do my part in attaining wishes like these.

It will never involve throwing coins into a body of water…

I can work toward being friendly and loving to help a relationship mend.

I can talk to friends about Jesus and what He has done in my life.

I can encourage friends who are ill with cards, phone calls and visits.

But cause someone’s heart to change?

God will need to do that.

See salvation come to a lost soul?

God will need to draw them to repentance.

Hear a diagnosis of remission of cancer?

God will have to heal and restore.

There’s one more thing I can do besides wish…

In fact, it’s the most important thing.

I can pray and talk to God about my hopes.

About my desires.

I can pray for healed relationships.

I can pray for physical healings.

I can pray for the salvation of others.

What do you wish for?

****

 

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

 

peace of

 

 

Oh, the Joys

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

—Psalm 1:1

If I am not following the advice of the wicked, then I am probably following the advice from those who aren’t.

If I am not choosing to embrace the lifestyles of  people who are living ungodly lives, then I am probably choosing to embrace the lifestyles of people who are living a godly life.

If I do not join with people who are mocking others, mocking faith or mocking God, I am choosing to distance myself from those who do.

There is joy for those who have a desire to please God and follow His guidance for everyday living.

joys

Parched Ground

I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.

—Isaiah 41:18

 

If your life is barren, things can change.

If your life is dry like a desert, things can change.

Things can change when God brings the change.

Are you ready?

 

parched

A Place for You

The waterfall was peaceful, surrounded by the beauty of the flowers growing near it.

The water that had pooled nearby reflected the blossoms in a dreamy blur, reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting.

There is true beauty in this world.

God has made it all, and it is wondrous.

When I think of Heaven, though, I imagine that it will be far more beautiful that anything we could ever imagine.

What we see here—even the most spectacular scene—will pale in significance to the beauty of Heaven, filled with the light of the glory of God.

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 14:2-4

 

 

prepare

Tiger

 

 

 

This is scary: You can tame a tiger,
 but you can’t tame a tongue – it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.
 With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image.
 Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
 A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it?
 Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts.
James 3:7-13 The Message
tiger
 

Giving a Gift

Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!

—Proverbs 18:16

When I read the scripture above, I believe that I understand its meaning.

Everyone likes gifts.

If you want to visit an important person that you do not know personally, buying a gift for them might be the answer.

Most people would be ready to see someone who was bringing a gift to them.

There’s something else about this verse that comes to my mind, though.

What exactly are gifts?

In the context above, I would imagine monetary gifts or material gifts.

I also imagine some really important person.

A king.

An official, perhaps.

In my way of thinking, there are other gifts and other people that apply to this verse, as well.

Is your smile a gift?

Your time?

Your respectfulness?

How about a kind word?

A listening ear?

If you bring any one of these “gifts” to someone, wouldn’t they usually want to receive it?

If you would like to make a new friend or develop a friendship further, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear or a respectful attitude might just open the door.

Would you turn away a sincere gift?

 

 

 

gift

 

 

Completely

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
—Ephesians 4:12

My husband bought a very thoughtful and loving card for me, along with some gifts. 

The card had a gem heart on it that was visible through a circular opening. 

The occasion?

Our wedding anniversary. 

Ephesians 4:12 encourages us to be completely humble.

Have I been completely humble in my marriage?

No.

The scripture also says to be  gentle. 

Have I been gentle in my actions and words?

Sometimes, yes. 

Other times, however, I haven’t. 

Have I been patient with my husband?

Have I always found myself to be “bearing” with him in love?

No.

Not always…

I will never be perfect, but I can always try to respond in the way God wants me to:

Humbly. 

Patiently.

Gently. 

After all, I do want my attitude to be right in my marriage when God looks through my life and sees my heart. 

Your Love

The flowers floating in the planter on the water were beautiful.

They had grown tall and lush in the fertile soil.

Love is beautiful.

Is my love for others growing and overflowing as God would want it to?

Is yours?

 

 

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.

—1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

your love

In Every Situation

 

 

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

—2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

What can we do when bad news arrives?

Last week, we found out that the young son of someone we know has leukemia.

About the same time, some new friends of ours had a baby very prematurely and the baby died.

What could be said at times like these?

I am not a doctor, so I would not have been able to advise either couple on medical issues, even though I really do care.

Nor am I able to heal a broken heart, even though I hope for that healing.

Jesus is the Lord of peace, however, and He can carry any of us through any and every situation—even illness and death.

How does He do that?

I don’t know.

I just know that He knows all things and He is able to do all things.

Even when it seems impossible, He can comfort and heal.

His peace

 

In the Same Way

If you have ever been outside when it is really dark–away from street lights–then you know just how “dark” dark can be.

I remember walking with a group of friends once in a forest at night without any light.

I couldn’t see my own feet, and it felt strange putting each foot forward to move along.

In situations like that, you long for the light of a distant house or an approaching car.

There are those we know who are walking in darkness.

They do not know what the true light of Jesus is, yet something in their souls longs for Him.

As Christians, we can show them the light that Jesus is shining within us.

~

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

light

 

The Road That Leads

Jesus said:

 

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

–Matthew 7:13-14

On any given day, we can see hundreds of vehicles pass us as we travel to and from work.

How many of those cars, trucks and vans would there be transporting people who know Jesus and are destined for Heaven when they die?

How many vehicles would be transporting people who are lost without Him?

I am afraid that there would be many more people traveling by who do not know Jesus as they Savior than those who do.

Is there someone you know that you could invite to church this week?

Is there someone you work with that you could talk to about your faith?

destruction

He Will Guide Me

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)
I have a new bracelet. 

It’s not very fashionable, but I didn’t purchase it in the interest of fashion. 

A friend was wearing one, and when I asked them about it, their short testimony of its practicality and usefulness made me curios enough to research it. 

After doing so, I decided to get one myself. 

Being a handy little item, it keeps up with quite a bit. 

It records how many steps I have walked in a day.  

It tells me how many times I woke up in the night and for how long.

It records when I am dreaming or in deep sleep with minute by minute accuracy. 

It even records what time I fell asleep and  woke up. 

All of this information is stored and partitioned into charts and graphs for further study and contemplation. 

As nifty as all these features are, my bracelet is lacking. 

It can tell me how many steps I’ve walked in a day, but it cannot instruct me on where I should go. 

It tells me if I have been in deep sleep, but it can’t give me the peace of mind to usher me into restful serenity.  

It can tell me what time I woke up on any given day, but it cannot advise me about how to spend my day. 

A bracelet will never be able to do that. 

Only God can give that kind of guidance. 

I will continue to look to my bracelet for an accurate picture of my fitness needs. More importantly, I will need to look to God for guidance and peace of heart and mind. 

A fitness bracelet can only do so much. 

God can do anything…..

Wonderfully

When I saw the bird with it’s long flowing head feathers, I immediately began to photograph him.

How beautiful he was!

Ruby colored eyes and a long, sleek beak.

He was tall, with black feathers closely hugging his neck.

When I look at creatures God has made, I marvel at His works and I am blessed by the privilege of seeing them.

I was thinking today about people.

So often, we look at ourselves in a negative way.

We don’t feel as if we are worth much.

We think of ourselves as unattractive and unimportant.

What if—just for consideration—birds were the most intelligent beings on the planet with minds like people and all people had the minds of birds?

Just think of how the birds would look at us!

They might take a photograph and say,

“Look at that human! He’s beautiful! He has clear, brown eyes and sleek black hair. He has such a kind looking face.”

“Look at that human! She’s perfect! Red hair and eyes of blue. Look! I think she’s smiling at us!”

We forget that God has made us in a wonderful way.

Just look at us!

We stand tall.

We have fingers that do fine motor skills.

We run and jump.

We speak and sing.

We have hair!

And beautiful eyes!

We smile!

We love….

If another creature had a mind like ours, they would see us as wonderful creations of God.

Why don’t we see ourselves that way?

 

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

–Psalm 139:14

 

fearfully correct

You Invited Me In

 

 

 

 

A few days ago, I stopped at a dollar store after work to get a few items.

As I parked my car in the lot, I noticed a very elderly woman on the sidewalk in front of the store.

She was obviously having a difficult time as she tried to maneuver a multi-footed cane.

Taking tiny steps near the entrance door, she looked as if she needed help.

For a few seconds I began to think of how I could go to her and assist her.

Before I could leave my car, though, an employee of the store came outside to her aid.

As he was opening the door and helping her enter the store, all was well.

I don’t know if the man who came to help this woman was a Christian or not, but he was displaying Christ-like behavior.

Jesus said,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

Matthew 25:31-36

Those on his right ask Jesus to tell them when it was that they helped him in these ways.

His answer?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Matthew 25:40

 

When we care for others–even if it is helping an elderly lady enter a store–Jesus knows.

When we give food to people who are hungry–Jesus knows.

When we show love to other people in need, it matters.

It matters a lot….

 

 

invited

 

 

Let the Fish

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
—Job 12:7-10
 

 

 

 

 

fish in.jpg

 

 

 

 

Treasures on Earth

A good friend bought a small treasure chest for me as a gift. 

She intended for me to use it as a container to place written prayers in. 

Prayer is something that has eternal significance. 

Talking with God is the most important  communication we have. 

It is a privilege and a treasure. 

There are many treasures we could acquire during our time on earth. 

The most important treasure, however, is our relationship with God. 

~

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

—Matthew 6:19

 

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

—1 John 1:9

I received a beautiful bar of sandalwood scented soap as a gift. 

The aroma that surrounds its perfectly smooth surface is wonderful. 

I am certain that bathing with it will fill the bathroom with its pleasant scent. 

Besides being so aromatic, it will surely get me clean, as well. 

That is, clean on the inside

My spiritual self can only be made clean by Jesus. 

When He cleanses me—and you—from sin, we are truly clean and forgiven. 

Light Shines

“Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.”

Psalm 97:11
Tonight, the spotlights were on and those who were performing could well be seen by the audience. 

During a production, the spotlights reveal the focus of a performance. 

The lighting technician is instructed where to shine the lights. 

For Christians, there is a different kind of light on us. 

The light of love. 

The light of the knowledge that we are redeemed and forgiven.  

The light of joy that assures us of acceptance by God. 

We have a spotlight on us every moment of every day. 

We are God’s children, well seen by our Heavenly Father. 

The First Foundation

The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

—Revelation 21:15-21

 

foundation

Ice Is Made

There is nothing on earth that was not made by God.

Nothing….

Ice.

Snow.

Deserts.

Flowers.

Trees.

Mountains.

Clouds.

Rocks.

Sand.

Water.

Lightning.

Animals.

Fish.

You and me…

 

 

 

From the breath of God ice is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen.

—Job 37:10

 

 

 

ice is made