Peace

You, Lord, give perfect peace

to those who keep their purpose firm

and put their trust in You.

—-Isaiah 26:3

Walking along the country road, all was peaceful and calm.

Deer tracks in the sand, an occasional spider scurrying along and the gentle, but unyielding wind in the tops of the towering pine trees.

I wanted to be there.

I wanted to be surprised by every moment of beauty that presented itself as I took step after step.

A flowering tree had heard the call of spring, answering with a burst of creamy white blossoms.

Fences quietly separated farm land from the dusty road.

Although my surroundings were peaceful and serene, the peace I truly experienced was inside me.

A peace that only God could provide—a settled sense of who I am.

A quiet trust….

From His Innermost Being

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

–John 7:38

 

The plants grow wild where I live.

A type of grass that flowers pink.

They are captivating in the early morning, beaded with moisture, as they were when I noticed them.

Leaning down to the ground in order to capture them up close, I was surrounded by quiet and a lack of disturbance.

Without the water, the grass would die.

Without water, so would I.

Without the living water of Jesus, I would die spiritually.

I believe in Jesus and I am trusting in Him for my life, now and forever.

Today, as you notice the grass or plants around you, think of what they would be without water.

Do you believe in Jesus, who gives us living water?

 

 

 

 

 

 

rivers living water

 

Trees of the Forest

 

The trees stood in the balmy rays of the afternoon sun, shouting bursts of green and gold.

Nature draws me in a way that is difficult to explain.

Its detailed beauty and the handiwork of God cannot be separated.

The trees have no voice except for the divine artistry it exclaims.

When I take notice of what God has made, I join in with its singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

—Psalm 96:12

 

 

 

 

forest sing

 

 

Now Faith

Birds come and go this time of year.

Some fly for long distances to find shelter in a warmer climate.

In a way that I could never fully understand, I believe God tells the birds when and where to travel.

Some call it instinct.

I call it God’s direction.

When the birds set out on their journey, surely they must have a confidence in what they will eventually find.

A faith, if you will, on the part of the bird, to trust in that which it cannot yet see.

God has told us of what is in store for those who love Jesus.

We have an assurance that comes from Him about our future.

We have confidence in what we hope for.

Today, notice any birds that might be around you as you travel to work or look out your window.

They listen for God’s direction.

Are you listening?

 

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

–Hebrews 11:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

now faith

Little Children

It was a foggy morning.

As I climbed out of bed and walked into the kitchen, I could see the thick mist through my window.

A change of clothes was in order…

Quickly grabbing two cameras, I hurried to my car and set out to see how a blanket of moisture had transformed my little corner of the world.

Passing by a a home that bordered an open field, a quick glance made me turn around and go back to visit the scene again.

Simple.

Serene.

Peaceful.

Most of all, trusting.

A single car tire was hanging from a tree branch by a rope that had been tied.

If I had thought to have gone to try out the swing for myself, I would first have checked the knots securing the rope to the tire.

Next, I would’ve surveyed the branch up above for strength.

Would it have been able to have held my weight?

After looking closely at the knots on the branch to make sure they were tight, I might’ve then enjoyed a time of leisure swinging.

Would this have been the thought processes of a young child?

I think not.

Upon seeing the tire suspended from the branch, a child would likely squeal in delight as they ran to place themselves happily into the center.

With no thought to any worry, they would swing high and low, embracing each moment without a care.

Jesus said. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

God, in His mercy, has sent Jesus to die on the cross for payment of our sins.

Accepting His gift, we can put our complete trust in Him and enjoy an abundant life like no other.

If we insist on complete knowledge and understanding of our Creator with every “why” and “how” answered to our satisfaction, we may never fully trust that which could save us.

Yet, if upon learning of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus, we run joyfully to place ourselves happily into the center of His love for us, we come with child-like faith.

Today, as you think of your life, do you picture yourself swinging peacefully with an inner joy inside or do you see yourself standing under a tree, skeptically peering at a bundle of knots?

 

 

 

 

And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

–Matthew 18:3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

little child

This Is The Way

When I take a step

My gaze often on the road before me

Am I listening?

Listening for God

Awaiting His guidance

Walking in obedience

Instead of my own wisdom

Are my ears hearing a word behind me

Softly

Firmly

Telling me the way

When I take a step?

 

 

 

 

 

to the left

 

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

—Isaiah 30:21

 

 

 

 

Come Forth From the Heart

Matthew 15:18

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

 

The thistle bloom that grew by the fence

Was purple and brilliant

Sitting atop a mathematical wonder

Of pale green points

 

The perfect orb

A faded base

With prickly spears

 

For all who touch

It’s nature will be known

Sharp and hurtful

Barbs formed

From the inside

Now out

 

 

 

 

proceed

 

 

 

 

 

In Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

—Psalm 4:8

 

She sleeps tranquilly on the leather chair
Soft light surrounds her
Eyes closed
Ears relaxed

With a steady calm
She takes a breath
Then, another

She is not fearful
Her heart is at peace

May I sleep in calmness as she does
Knowing my Father in Heaven
Watches over me

 

 

in peace

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

Rain Down

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

It has rained for several hours now.

Night has fallen as the rain continues to bring life-giving moisture as every drop falls.

Salvation is a gift from God.

It is life forever, coming from the love of God to us.

raindown

My People Do Not Know

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“ ‘When people fall down, do they not get up?

When someone turns away, do they not return?

Why then have these people turned away?

Why does Jerusalem always turn away?

They cling to deceit;

they refuse to return.

I have listened attentively,

but they do not say what is right.

None of them repent of their wickedness,

saying, “What have I done?”

Each pursues their own course

like a horse charging into battle.

Even the stork in the sky

knows her appointed seasons,

and the dove, the swift and the thrush

observe the time of their migration.

But My people do not know

the requirements of the Lord.”

—Jeremiah 8:4-7

requirements-correct

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

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.

 

then-its-gone

The Lord’s Servant

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient…

—2 Timothy 2:24

What does it mean to quarrel?
To have an angry argument seems like the best definition. 
So, a servant of the Lord must not have angry arguments. 
I truly desire to be a servant of the Lord, but I have definitely been a part of some angry arguments…
I should also be gentle to all. 
At my workplace, there is an overarching motto that is put out to the employees:

“All means all.”

If there is a directive for a group of people at work, it is for all of them. No one should be left out. 
If I am to be gentle to all, well, all means all. 
I can’t pick one person to be mean or harsh with and pick another to be gentle to.   
As a servant, I should be able to teach. 

I should be able to teach others through my words and actions about God’s love and faithfulness. 
I should also be patient…
Not quickly frustrated with others, it would seem. 
Are these easy character traits and attitudes to have?
Sometimes, the answer would be, “no.”
Still, if I have the desire to do what God wants, He will strengthen me. 

Perfect Clarity

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
—1 Corinthians 13:12
The reflection I saw near the lake was like a painting.
Subtle colors, mirroring themselves in the still, quiet water.
Ripples bending the shapes into patterns of light and shadows.
The reflection wasn’t far from the true image of the plants growing close to the water’s edge.
We are not far from seeing our lives in perfect clarity, either.
When we enter Heaven, we will know everything completely, just as God now knows us completely.
clarity

Strengthens

 

I have read that some ducks can fly at speeds of 50 miles per hour or greater for a sustained length of time.

Ducks can also fly for hours.

It makes me think of people who run marathons….

There are times in our lives where we feel like we are in situations in which we are running “marathons” or trying to have the strength to “fly” long distances.

Extended illnesses, military deployments, relationship struggles—plus countless other circumstances that require personal strength to get through—compel us to look to Jesus for help.

He is with us.

Do you believe?

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

—Philippians 4:13

 

strengthens.jpg

The Day is Almost Here

And do this, understanding the present time:

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.

So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness,

not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,

and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

—Romans 13:11-14

 

Wake up.

Put aside.

Put on the armor.

Behave decently.

Clothe yourselves.

The day is almost here…….

 

 

the-day

 

 

 

With You

The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, even though some of them doubted. Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”

—Matthew 28:16-20

 

Even though we may feel alone, we are not.

Even though we may doubt, Jesus remains the same.

Even though the end of the age may come, Jesus will be with us, always…

 

 

with-you

I Will Give Thanks

Salvation.

Redemption.

A new life here on earth.

The gift of eternal life in Heaven.

Forgiveness.

Unfailing love.

Guidance.

Assurance.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds.

—Psalm 9:1

 

thanks

The Word of Our God

The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.

—Isaiah 40:8

 

The grass withers.

Flowers fade.

We know that.

The word of our God stands forever.

Do we know that?

Or, stated another way, do we believe that?

Are we comforted by that?

Do we remember that?

The things of this world are temporary.

God and His word are eternal, never ending.

No matter what we may be facing today, God is there.

We can trust His faithfulness completely….

forever.

 

flower-fades

 

 

 

 

Instead of Looking

What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

—Isaiah 31:1

When I read this passage of scripture, I think of who I am looking to. 
Although I think that it is certainly good to seek out a doctor when illness strikes or a plumber if a pipe breaks beneath your sink, talking to God about every situation is very important. 
If I am sick, do I put my TRUST in what the doctor can do alone? Or do I pray and ask God to work healing in my condition?
If a pipe breaks under the sink, do I pray and ask God for wisdom in what to do right then and what plumber I should call to help?
God is ready and willing to be the first to hear from you about absolutely every need that arises. 
If we do not consider Him able to help us, but focus instead on the strengths and expertise of other people as our sole means of help, we do ourselves a great disservice. 
God is the only healer. 

God is the only true provider. 
Looking to God first in every situation is always the best decision. 

For You Are With Me

This morning, my mind was filled with great thoughts of concern over a loved one.

As I drove to work, I prayed about the matter, almost constantly.

I usually have music on while I drive, and today was no different.

My music began by starting at the beginning of my collection with songs that start with the letter “A.”

A song titled, “And That My Soul Knows Very Well” came on.

The sun was just about to come up, as it was very early.

My heart was heavy with concern as I prayed.

Suddenly, the blazing light of the rising sun came through a break in the trees behind me and reflected into my rear view mirror.

It only lasted a second or so.

My face was flooded with bright light from the reflection.

At just that moment the singers’ voices were saying, “You make Your face to shine on me, now my soul knows very well….”

I could not escape knowing what had just happened.

The light of the sun bathed my face at the same time the words reached my ears–

A message from God that He was with me.

When I arrived at work, the parking lot was crowded. I parked in a different place than I normally do.

As I was getting ready to get out of the car, the sun was coming up over the building in front of me, once again bathing me in dazzling light.

I decided to take a photo of the sunlight with my cell phone.

God knows what my heart is longing for and the concerns that I have.

He is with me, and He is with you, too….

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

–Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

fear-no-evil

I Will Give You Rest

 

 

I have a favorite scenic place about a thirty minute drive from my home.

Serene and lovely, the still waters beckon me to be calm, as well.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

—Matthew 11:28

Our hearts will forever be in a state of unease and confusion until we open them to Jesus.

When we do, He will give us rest.

 

 

give-you-rest

Everyone Will Know

After work today, I decided to stop at a large grocery store.

I was still wearing my identification tag on my shirt.

That’s not a problem really, unless I don’t want to be identified.

As I pushed my cart through the store, I said, “excuse me” to someone that I needed to pass at the end of an aisle.

Seconds later, I heard my name being called.

I turned and it was the man that I had passed by.

He wanted to tell me that there was another woman in the store with my same name.

Evidently, she was wearing an identification tag of some kind, too.

I guess he thought it was rather interesting for that to happen.

As I checked out my groceries, the clerk who rang up the order also called me by name, yet I had not met him before.

He also had read my identification tag.

I began to think about this.

My name is my name no matter how I behave.

If I am wearing an identification tag, others simply read it and determine who I am.

I have no identification to wear to inform others that I am a follower of Jesus, however.

Certainly, I could wear Christian t-shirts with messages or scripture on them, but that doesn’t really prove what I believe.

I could wear jewelry that is associated with Christianity.

Once again, doing that doesn’t really prove anything.

But how I act and what I say gives evidence to who I am and what I believe.

What is my attitude?

What is my tone of voice?

Am I helpful are hurtful?

Selfish or giving?

Loving or cold?

John 13:35 reads,

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

If I love others in the way that Jesus wants me to, people will take notice.

They may stop me in a hallway just to ask about my faith.

When someone is hurting, they may ask for prayer—

IF I love others the way Jesus wants me to.

Here’s the question:

Do other people see me and identify me as a follower of Jesus?

 

 

love one

 

 

Rule in Your Hearts

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

 

 

It had rained earlier, with the sky a stormy and threatening gray.

Now, with the tempest past, the clouds were blending into a creamy glow as sunset approached.

The lake beside me had become a living mirror, rippling a constantly changing reflection of light and shadow.

Through the ages, I suspect that many people have found a place of contemplation and solitude beside such a scene.

There’s something about the endless sky meeting the rhythmic waves that beckons us to be at peace.

Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts.

His peace should rule.

Rule over troubling thoughts.

Rule over fears.

Rule over guilt.

When the peace of Jesus comforts you from deep within, everything changes.

And when it does, we should be thankful.

 

 

rule in

Well-Watered Garden

The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

–Isaiah 58:11

 

There is a neighborhood that I have passed on the way to a large city that always catches my eye.

I don’t think I could ever just drive by without looking at the entrance, admiring the peaceful calm of the water and the fountain surrounded by beautiful plants.

There’s something about a vibrant garden scene that draws me into it.

A garden must have water to grow and flourish.

Without it, the lush emerald leaves would wither and die.

No colorful blooms would grace a carpet of green grass.

God gives us guidance, strength and hope.

Those who trust in Him are like a well-watered garden.

Others are drawn to them and the peace they exhibit from their hearts.

How would you describe your life today?

Is it a well-watered garden—peaceful, calm and beautiful?

 

 

watered garden