Trust In You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.

—Psalm 9:10

 

I could see the boat coming down the river at a fairly good speed.

It’s not uncommon at all to see boats travel up and down the river, but this was a little bit different.

There, on the front deck of the boat, was a dog.

A very happy dog, I would assume.

More than likely, it was his owner driving the vessel behind him.

I don’t know what the dog was thinking, but he must have been very trusting to sit right at the front with no one beside him as the trees passed, the water parted and the wind blew strongly through his fur!

Of course, there would have been no possible way for the owner to have explained to the dog how the boat was powered or steered, how he would make the proper decisions about speed and location or even how long the ride would be.

A dog cannot comprehend that level of thinking.

Still, the dog had the opportunity to trust the owner and enjoy the ride.

We cannot understand what is happening in our lives sometimes.

When God is steering the “boat” we can only accept His invitation to go where He wants us to go.

We cannot always comprehend the “what and why” of God’s plan.

The dog didn’t ask his owner, “Where are we going?”

“When will we come home?”

“How fast will we go?”

“What will I see?”

No. He just hopped on the boat and away they went.

As believers, we must trust God for the journey.

He will never forsake us.

 

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God Has Been Making It Grow

In 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, Paul addresses what some had been saying.

Some people were saying, “I follow Paul.”

Other people were saying, “I follow Apollos.”

Both Paul and Apollos were men who were serving God and through their witness, the people believed in Jesus.

He wanted them to understand what was most important, and what was most important wasn’t Paul or Apollos.

Paul speaks to them in this chapter using the example of seed:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

—1 Corinthians 3:6

As we look back in our own lives, there have been faithful people who have invested the truth of the gospel in us at various times.

Believing parents and grandparents.

A Sunday School teacher.

A youth director.

A Christian camp counselor.

A pastor.

A close friend.

As time passes and our situations and locations change, God can still take the seed that has been planted earlier and cause it to be watered by others through their investment in us.

All the while, it is only God who is making this seed of salvation and faith grow.

It is by His power and love that this takes place.

It is a beautiful circle of life.

Someone invests in us and we, then, invest in others.

And all the while, it is God who makes us grow….

watered

Great

There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might.

—Jeremiah 10:6

As I was driving along in the little town, I got a phone call. I needed to find a place to pull over and check on something regarding the conversation. 

I was approaching a church with a large parking lot. 

Deciding to pull into the lot, I found a good spot to park. 

Finishing my business, I decided to photograph part of the church building. 

The radio had been on in the car and I realized that “How Great is Our God” was on the radio. 

I was reminded of that as I stood on the empty lot, looking at the tower of the church. 

Our God is truly great. 

Divine Power to Demolish

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.

On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

—2 Corinthians 10:3-4

When discouragement comes my way, I cannot pick up a big stick and hit it.

If regret comes prowling around my heart, I cannot shut a door and keep it out.

When failure threatens to tear down success, I cannot push it away with strong arms.

The wiles of the enemy must be conquered through prayer and the power of God.

As I see strongholds of many kinds tightly binding those I love, I grieve for their condition and I long to help.

By myself, I can do nothing.

With God as my heavenly Father, I can pray and ask for His victorious  divine power to break the chains that hold them captive.

God is our healer.

He is the One who restores.

He makes things new.

He frees us from the ravages of the enemy.

He delivers us from evil.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

strongholds

Become Like Little Children

God knows all about my life.

Even when it is too difficult for me to grasp–all the issues and illnesses within my family, what my hopes and dreams are, how I am feeling from moment to moment.

He knows it all.

Even though I cannot understand how, I have to trust that He does.

Just like a small child sitting happily and calmly in their own house, quietly playing with toys in the floor.

They trust that their loving parent will prepare food for them.

They trust that they will be told when to go to sleep and rest.

If they pinch their finger on the wheel of a toy car, they trust that a simply cry of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” will bring them to their presence immediately.

They don’t worry about water bills.

They don’t spend time concerning themselves about car payments.

Yet, they drink water freely and ride in a car when their parents tell them to get in.

Jesus says that we need to be like little children:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

(Matthew 18:1-5)

Every day I need to become like a little child as far as my trust and belief in God are concerned.

Even though I do not fully understand, I must fully trust.

greatest

Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

—James 3:18

 

 

I really liked the flowers I had purchased.

Placing them at the end of my front walkway in a nice little pot, they were there to greet me each day as I left for work and returned.

When this winter is over, I am hopeful that the flowers with return, as they produced many seeds during their tenure in the warmer months.

I am quite ready to see the new beautiful blooms that emerge from the tender plants that push up through the soil.

We can be like those flowers, too.

What would it be like if we lived our days as peacemakers, planting seeds of peace wherever we happened to be?

 

harvest

Gentle Showers

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak!
    Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
 Let My teaching fall on you like rain;
    let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
    like gentle showers on young plants.
 I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
    how glorious is our God!
 He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect.
    Everything He does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
    how just and upright He is!”

—Deuteronomy 32:1-4

 

 

 

The leaves on the bushes by my front door often catch my eye when raindrops have found their place on each individual one.

The water is life-giving to the plants.

Without it, they would die.

Like rain falling on us, the truths of God give us life in Him.

He is glorious!

He is the Rock!

His deeds are perfect!

He is just!

He is fair!

He is faithful!

He does no wrong!

He is just!

He is upright!

 

tendergrass

Then It’s Gone

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.–James 4:14

 

I live very close to one of the most visited cities in the world.

What brings so many visitors?

There is a very large and famous theme park there.

Various tickets are available to those who want to enjoy all the park has to offer.

One day admission tickets are available, as well as several days.

If I were planning a trip to this theme park for just one day, I would want to see and do all that I could, since my time there would be over quickly.

There would be rides to ride, shows to see and many things to experience on my list of priorities.

I would want to plan out the day, making sure that what was important to me would not be missed.

Our lives are  a lot like that, aren’t they?

Some people, though rare, live past one hundred years.

Many people live into their eighties.

But no one lives on this earth forever.

We are here a short time.

We have a one-life “ticket” and then we must move on–to eternity.

Understanding that, we should plan for what is most important.

While we are here on earth, having a relationship with God is more important than anything.

We’re like morning fog–we’re here for only a little while.

Then, we’re gone.

 

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Hidden

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

—Hebrew 4:12-13

 

Looking out across the water to a small island, I could see something in the wildflowers growing there.

An Anhinga bird was behind them.

Looking at my photograph later, it almost looks as if he is hiding.

He does blend in with a certain amount of camouflage, yet upon closer inspection, he’s hard to miss.

I’ll never know if he was truly intending to hide that afternoon, but I can certainly identify with him if he was.

At times in my life–even as a child–I wanted to just hide away and be alone, in what I felt was a safe place.

There are many reasons, however, to hide.

Shame.

Guilt.

Fear.

Failure.

Sadness.

Depression.

Grief.

The list is long.

We may hide from people and flee from circumstances, but we cannot hide from God.

He sees us wherever we are, in whatever condition we are in.

Our emotions may urge us to hide, yet His great love beckons us back into the open–in the light of His comfort and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

hidden

Truly Free

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
—John 8:36

It’s easy to think of spiritual bondage in certain ways.

Someone could be in bondage to alcohol.

They might be in bondage to drugs or a worldly lifestyle.

But what about things like depression or anxiety?

Someone could be in bondage to those, too.

Even negative self talk could keep a person in bondage.

The actual list of bondage makers would be long, wouldn’t it?

No matter what is keeping us from being free, Jesus can rid it from our lives.

No matter what “chain” is holding us fast– keeping us from God’s best– Jesus has the power to break it.

truly-free

In the Barren Desert

pine-twoWalking out into my friend’s front yard, I photographed the view.

Tall pine trees grew stately toward the sky, ever green in the middle of winter.

Just before the trees, foliage that had succumbed to the cold had turned a rusty, yet golden, brown.

What a stark difference between the two.

God speaks in Isaiah 41:19:

“I will plant trees in the barren desert–cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.”

When I think of a barren desert, I don’t think of tall, healthy trees being able to grow there.

What a stark difference between the two–trees growing where a barren desert once was.

No matter what the circumstances are in our lives right now, God is able to renew, remake and restore.

There can be tall, lush pine trees where only dry sand once blew in the wind.

Don’t give up hope—God is in control of every desert you encounter, AND He is the creator of every tall tree.

Your Needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:19

 

It wasn’t what I had planned at all.

I wanted to have a peaceful, wonderful day.

Actually, it turned out to be that way, but I wasn’t feeling well.

Having developed a fever and sore throat the day before, I wasn’t up to doing everything I had hoped to.

Still, the morning was beautiful, so I decided to step out into the yard and take a few photos in the early mist.

A squirrel was playfully moving about on a tree.

He was having a good day.

By watching him, I began to experience a certain happiness.

It’s like that for me.

As I look at my surroundings and notice the beauty of what God has created, I begin to feel a happy calmness.

As the verse above speaks of the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, it seems to me that God will provide our needs, whatever they are.

Spiritual needs.

Physical needs.

Relational needs.

All our needs.

Even as He was healing my body of a sore throat and fever, He was giving me calm through the morning mist and the company of a scampering little squirrel.

 

your-needs

A Green Olive Tree

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.

—Psalm 52:8
I photographed the metal artwork on the foyer wall at church. 

It is the symbol of our congregation. 

A tree can be symbolic of many things, so the artwork can be interpreted in many ways, as well. 

My husband and I were talking about trust this evening. 

It is so very important to put our trust in God. 

If I imagine that I am the tree represented here, my branches and leaves are flourishing in the loving kindness of God. 

What do you think of when you look at the tree?

Rivers

Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

—John 7:38

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This weekend, I am attending a ladies retreat on the Suwannee River. 

It is peaceful and calm. 

A place where I can ponder my life and who I am. 

As believers, we have rivers of living water flowing from within us. 

May we always share this love of Jesus with others. 

Love the Lord

I read a phrase today that was new for me–

“God’s revealed will.”

If I understood what the writer was referring to, God’s revealed will is what is already been told to us in the Bible.

Questions like, “What is God’s will concerning lying about my income?” should be discernible with passages such as Proverbs 12:22:

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Thinking further about lying, this verse allows us to see more as Jesus was speaking to some who were against Him:

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

So, it is very clear that God’s will for our lives does not involve lying.

That has been revealed to us already.

There are many other things listed in the Bible that are revealed to us.

It is God’s will that I love Him? Is it His will that I love my neighbor?

Mark 12:28-29 reads:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

God’s revealed will.

Now, the question is, will we choose to obey?

love

 

Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

—Galatians 5:22-23

If I could look inside your heart, would I find?

Would there be love?

Would there be joy?

Would I find peace there?

Would patience and kindness be evident?

Would I see goodness?

Would there be faithfulness?

Would I find gentleness?

Would self-control be there?

These are the fruits—the things that grow out of—the Spirit within us.

If I looked into my own heart, what would I see?

 

 

 

fruit

All Things

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments,

and His paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been His counselor?”

“Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?”

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

—Romans 11:33-36

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God knows everything.

He knows all about us and what is happening in our lives.

That seems too difficult for us to imagine, yet He is holding all the stars in the universe in place, He is keeping all the cells in our bodies alive, and He has formed and created each individual thing on earth.

A magnificent flower, blooming in mathematical perfection draws itself upward to the sun as the earth follows a path around it prescribed by God Himself.

God knows everything.

all-things

Lies

Imagine playing a game with several people. 

The contestant is blindfolded. 

On a ping pong table or other flat surface, there is an object to be moved. 

The point of the game is to see if the blindfolded contestant will listen to the “right” voices as they call out instructions for where to push the object to get it to a certain area on the table. 

The challenge is difficult, because the opposing team is calling out bogus instructions to throw the contestant off, hoping to keep him from winning. 

If you’re like me, you’ve listened to the “wrong” voice more than once. 

If we are not listening for God’s instructions, we won’t know how to succeed at any given moment. 

Instead, we will be listening to the lies of the devil, confused and off course. 

Ephesians 6:11 says, 

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Stand Firm

Last night, there was a freeze warning for my area. Wind chills were to be in the 20’s. 

Trying to be conscientious, my husband and I covered many of our outdoor plants to protect them. 

This morning, there was frost on our roof. 

As I was leaving a friend’s house this afternoon, I stopped to photograph a common weed growing in their yard. 

They had not covered it in the night, yet it survived and even thrived through the cold. 

1 Corinthians 16:13 reads:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

That bright yellow bloom was standing proudly in the grass, strong and healthy. 

God is our strength and our help no matter what conditions surround us. 

Great is Your Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassion’s, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
The words of the old hymn are comforting.
God is not going to change.
His compassion is not going to fail.
We can trust Him.
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The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
         For His compassions never fail.They are new every morning;
         Great is Your faithfulness.

—Lamentations 3:22-23
great

For God So Loved

After leaving a friend’s house tonight, I was driving home. 

Listening to the radio as I went down the highway, a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. 

I had been praying for someone who feels that God doesn’t love them. 

Suddenly, part of the lyrics just struck me:

This is what I’m sure of, I can only show love

When I really know how loved I am

(Steven Curtis Chapman)
The person I’d been praying for needs to know deep within their heart that God loves them. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16


The Nearness of God

With a matter of extreme concern on my heart tonight, I went to the kitchen to eat a very late dinner. Right before opening a cupboard door, I prayed about the situation. Within seconds, I realized that there was a song playing in my mind. I paused to consider what it was. The lyrics began to reach my focus. The song was an old hymn–“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

As I sat down on the couch, I looked up the lyrics online. Here are a few of the words:

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,Leaning on the everlasting arms;

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

I believe that God led me to read the words of the song to comfort me and encourage me not to be afraid.

I am not to be afraid because I have Jesus.

My Lord is near.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

—Psalm 73:28



Not in Vain

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

—1 Corinthians 15:58

Do you know the feeling?

You plant some vegetable seeds in a new little garden spot in the yard.

Most of the seeds produce a little plant, but before the summer is over, they all die.

All of that work!

Digging out the weeds.

Preparing the soil for planting.

Watering every day.

Now, it seems that all that work was in vain.

Nothing came of it.

The work of the Lord is not like that.

Nothing that we do in the work of the Lord is wasted.

He can use all of the offerings of our time, our talents and our words for His purpose.

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labor

It Determines the Course

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

—Proverbs 4:23

Fences.

They keep things in.

They keep things out.

They protect.

They guard.

At the very existence of a fence, it is reasonable to recognize that something or someone needed protection.

No one can really see a fence around our hearts.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping God out.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping sin and temptation at bay.

It could be a harmful fence, keeping sin and temptations close inside.

It could be a helpful fence, keeping God close inside.

As followers of Jesus, we need to guard our hearts from the lure and the harm of evil.

Our hearts will determine the course of our lives.

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