Unfading Beauty

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

—1 Peter 3:3-4

 

Looking out over the water

I didn’t expect to see it

A quiet beauty in soft pink

A delicate statement of color

On a warm summer afternoon

 

With no tailored stones

Or fashioned presentation

The natural spoke silently

With marvelous eloquence

 

unfading

Keep Me Safe

 

 

As I drove home from work today, I was praying fervently for someone I care about very much.

After being home a few moments, I sat down at the table and began to read my Bible, along with a couple of devotional and study help booklets.

God’s word was comforting to me as I read passages that I felt related to my heart’s longing.

I heard a bird singing outside the window.

Deciding that I didn’t need to be distracted from my reading, I chose not to go to the window to look out.

Moments passed, and I was once again aware of a bird singing sweetly and clearly outside.

This time, I decided I would walk to the window and carefully peer through the blinds into the back yard.

Though I couldn’t find the bird, my eyes were immediately drawn to the rosebush my husband had purchased for me years ago.

Delicately pink roses had burst forth on the bush, covering it with color.

Taking my camera with me, I made my way to the fence and looked at all the blooms.

Beautiful and tender, they brought a certain happiness to my heart.

I was now calmer than on the ride home.

One of the verses I had read at the table spoke of divinely gifted peace:

Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace
    because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe.

—Psalm 4:8

I must trust God and God alone to keep my loved one safe.

God is the only One who can.

With that trust, I will rest with a peace that God has given me.

God blessed me with roses this afternoon…

 

 

 

keep-me-safe

 

 

 

Before They Call

Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

–Isaiah 65:24
This morning as I walked out to my car to drive to work, the sun had not yet come up. 

The day was bright with the sun’s approach, however. 

As I started to get into the car, I could see a giant cloud, blazing with glorious hues of orange, yellow and pink in the western sky. 

Putting my things in the car, I photographed the cloud with my phone. 

Even though I couldn’t see the sun directly, I could see it’s illuminating effect on the billowing mass of water vapor that rose so high in the distance. 

It was a testimony of what was soon to come into view. 

I have been praying about many concerns lately. 

God knows about them all. 

Even though I may not see how God is working in a particular moment, there are times when I can see His light shining on a situation. 

It is a testimony of His faithfulness and answered prayers to come. 

Your Wonders

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;

from Psalm 89:5

The sunset over the lake was dazzling with radiant light and color.

With each pattern changing as darkness approached, there would never be quite the same sunset again.

In all its beauty, the heavens were praising God’s magnificent wonders.

Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Your wonders

Trust in You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.—Psalm 9:10

 

As I got into my car early this morning, I was well aware that I was running late.

I would not actually be late for work, but I would be arriving past the time that I had planned.

Pulling out of my driveway, I turned my car to face toward the east as I began the journey down my long street to get to the highway.

My car radio was on, set to a Christian radio station.

Right as I pulled into the street, I saw the sky.

I can’t fully describe the beauty that was before me.

Stopping the car immediately, I took my cell phone and began to take pictures.

As I was already experiencing praise in my heart for such a display of God’s glory in the sky, I realized the song that was playing at that time on the radio was speaking about trusting in God even when we don’t hear or see Him working in particular situations that we are concerned about.

As the beams of sunlight were bursting out onto its morning canvas, a jet plane was bursting through the sky, as well, leaving a trail of white as it sped on to its destination.

There before me was an example of man’s accomplishment in flight and an example of God’s creative and limitless power.

We must trust Him, even when we don’t understand…

 

Trust in

 

Rich Simplicity

A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.

–Timothy 6:6 The Message

 

A few days ago, I stepped out into my back yard to look at some clouds.

As I approached the fence, I noticed that my rose bush was blooming.

The last time I had checked it, there were no blooms at all.

Now, the bush had several roses in various stages of budding out.

There they were, just being red roses, showing the beauty that God had created.

Roses don’t try to be anything that they aren’t.

Being a rose is good enough.

It is exactly what God intended it to be.

For people, knowing Jesus as our Savior and being ourselves is good enough.

We don’t have to try to be something that we aren’t.

We are exactly what God intended us to be and He will grow us into something more beautiful each day as we enter various stages of our faith journey with Him.

There is a definitely a “rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

Don’t you agree?

 

 

rich

 

Countless Miracles

He does great things too marvelous to understand.
    He performs countless miracles.

—Job 9:10

 

The Passion Flowers growing near the fence by the parking lot were so colorful and bright.

Each bloom was so intricately designed and formed in perfection.

God creates beautiful flowers every day.

And not just beautiful flowers.

Beautiful sunsets.

Beautiful rainbows.

Beautiful snowflakes.

And not just all these—

He creates a beautiful heart inside each of us who is willing, every day.

Isn’t that a miracle?

 

marvelous

Every Creature

My friend found the little moth outside my front door when she was visiting a couple of weeks ago.

Impressed by its unusually striking appearance, she showed it to me.

I’m not sure if either of us had ever seen a moth like that one.

After doing some research, I found that we had been looking at a Giant Leopard Moth.

This one hadn’t made it to “giant” status yet, but it was still impressive.

As my friend held it in her hands, I photographed it.

Black and white with a bit of orange on the body, its appearance was quite dramatic.

The Bible tells us in Job 12:10,

“In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

God has made every creature on the earth.

Each one is a testimony to His greatness.

 

everycreature

 

Let Him Ask of God

If it looks good for you, then it surely IS good for you, right?

Well….not exactly.

Several weeks ago, I was walking along the beach and saw a beautiful sea creature on the sand.

If something is beautiful, then it must be good, right?

Well….not exactly.

I recognized the creature for what it was, having witnessed its dangerous characteristics before.

It was a dead Portuguese Man of War.

A particularly poisonous jelly fish with venom-filled tendrils.

Since it was dead, there was no problem, right?

Well…not exactly.

Years ago at the beach, one of our young sons, being curious and inquisitive, poked a dead Portuguese Man of War that was lying on the sand with his snorkel.

A few moments later, he decided to go out into the water for a swim.

Touching the part of his snorkel that had touched the jelly fish, he was suddenly in desperate pain.

I will probably remember those moments the rest of my life as they taught us both a valuable lesson.

The venom is still potent even AFTER the creature is dead.

True wisdom is wisdom that comes from God.

If we ask for His guidance in life, He will do just that—guide us.

Things will look good, but He will say it’s not for us.

Things will be beautiful, but He will tell us of the potential danger involved.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

—James 1:5

 

wisdom let

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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Darkens Day Into Night

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I had been photographing an outdoor event that lasted into early evening.

It had been raining earlier and the clouds were big and billowy.

When my photography work was finished, my husband and I decided to drive to a nearby city to eat dinner.

As he was driving, I noticed that the sunset, which was almost completely covered by dark clouds at one point, was spectacular.

Rolling down the passenger side window, I tried to photograph the scene behind me.

The colors were magnificent and glorious.

A creation of God, only visible for a few moments….

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He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    who turns midnight into dawn
    and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land—
    the Lord is His name.

—Amos 5:8

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orion

Everything Beautiful

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Without really thinking about, I glanced outside the kitchen window.

It had been rainy for the last few hours.

Now, in the midst of all the wet grass and glossy tree leaves, golden sunlight was streaming onto my front yard.

For me, that was a resounding call to go outside with my camera.

After taking some photos of the sunset, I walked around my house, enjoying the coolness of the air and the gentle sounds around me.

Stopping at some flowers I had planted earlier in the summer, I found that water droplets were adorning each one like little clear jewels on pink pillows.

Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty.

Other flowers blooming.

Turtle nests.

A red-shouldered hawk, high in a tree.

How blessed I was to see it all!

God has made everything beautiful.

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He has made everything beautiful in its time.

—from Ecclesiastes 3:11

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in its time