He Will Guide Me

When I left for work today the sky was overcast and the air was warm, even though it was quite early. 
I had received a weather warning on my cell phone. 

A tornado watch was in effect for my area. 

Of course, that meant that conditions were favourable for the forming of a tornado. 
Honestly, I couldn’t tell that. 

Even though it was cloudy, it looked just like an average rainy day with no apparent dangers. 
But that’s the different between me and the good folks at the National Weather Service. 
I was just looking around with my normal, human eyes at the situation. 
They were looking at a host of various measurements taken from the atmosphere, coupled with sophisticated radar systems. 
They know what’s likely ahead even when I am not perceiving it. 
They don’t keep all that information to themselves, either. 
When there’s a danger approaching, they give a warning. 
After that, it’s up to me to heed their warnings. 
I thought about something earlier today. 
There are situations in life that look just normal to me—
yet, God knows differently. 
I’m looking at things from a human perspective. 
He’s looking at things from His perfect, all knowing perspective. 
Through the reading of His word, through prayer and His word to my heart, I am warned of the dangers and temptations that come over the horizon like stormy, threatening clouds. 
Even so, it’s up to me to heed God’s warnings. 
A gray day could mean much more than a gentle rain….
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God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. 

—Psalm 32:8

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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!

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A New Heart

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart
of flesh.
—Ezekiel 36:26

When we see a rainbow, we may think of God’s promise to never flood the earth again. 

But do we think about how the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise and a new beginning for mankind?

As a rainbow forms in the atmosphere, it is a reminder of new beginnings for us, right now. 

Stony, unforgiving hearts within us can be made soft. 

New attitudes that are pleasing to God can take the place of old, harmful attitudes. 

What about you?

Are you in need of a new beginning today?

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

 

Promised

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

–Numbers 23:19

Today, I received a weather warning on my cell phone. 

Looking further at the forecast, I read that the current condition was sunny, but that a thunderstorm would begin in three minutes. 

Three minutes?

That would’ve been quite an abrupt change in a short amount of time. 

To give credit to the weather service, the rain did start very soon. 

Sometimes it is hard to believe that change is coming, either good or bad. 

If things are going well, we may not believe that troubling circumstances are near. 

The opposite is also true–when things are going badly, we may not believe that relief is even in sight. 

God knows the future, however, and He knows when change will occur. 

When God makes a promise, He will carry it through. 

Even if the skies are dark, they will be sunny again, if God says says they will. 

We can trust Gid, for He is faithful. 

Whoever

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:17

As I walked outside just after sunset this evening, I noticed that the sky had soft pink clouds adorning its blue palette. 

Night was approaching, and the day had almost passed away. 

As the verse above reminds us, the world will actually pass away someday. 

Those who do the will of God will have eternal life forever with Him. 

Rays of Light

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I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
    the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

—Habakkuk 3:2-4

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While We Were Still

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I heard the song for the first time playing in the background while at a restaurant tonight.

Not recognizing it, I listened more intently to the lyrics.

Being a love song, the main idea was that the singer wanted more than anything to just be “somebody” to the other person.

As I listened, I began thinking that I was already “somebody” to Jesus.

In fact, you are, too.

We do not have to hope and hope or worry and wonder if we are important to Him.

We don’t have to work at impressing Him in order to be noticed.

We don’t have to sink into sadness if we learn that He really doesn’t care, after all.

That won’t ever happen, because He will never stop caring about us or offering us His love.

His love will remain constant.

It is up to us to respond to that love.

He suffered and died for us on the cross because we were “somebody” important to Him.

Somebody worth dying for.

Somebody worth offering eternal life to.

Never forget—you are somebody to Jesus.

Who is Jesus to you?

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But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
—Romans 5:8

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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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The Lord’s House

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Standing on the lawn of my church, the clouds were forming a beautiful backdrop.

I have spent many hours in this church, learning about God, and listening for His voice.

Through the years, it has been a meeting place for those who trust in Him.

People have come and gone with the decades, each having been part of a fellowship of believers who strengthened one another in the Lord.

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I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the Lord‘s house.”

—Psalm 122:1

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i as glad

He Knows

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The storm was coming.

An advisory had been issued by the weather service.

Not far from my neighborhood, there is a place where I can look out and see a nearby lake just beyond the trees and houses.

It was the perfect place to watch the dark clouds as they approached.

When the rain finally arrived, I had to enjoy the scene from inside my car.

If I hadn’t had any shelter–such as my car–I wouldn’t have been enjoying the scene at all.

I would’ve been sopping wet, exposed to wind and lightning and the dangers that come with them.

There are times in our lives when we can see the storms coming.

These storms have names of their own.

Illness.

Divorce.

Abandonment.

Grief.

These are just some of the storms that can come our way.

Do we have to just stand there, without any shelter at all when they appear?

Thankfully, we don’t.

God is our shelter.

Nahum 1:7 reads,

The LORD is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him.

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When troubles come, God will be our stronghold.

He knows who is trusting in Him.

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By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

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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.

—Philippians 4:6

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Going or Coming

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My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.
 God won’t let your foot slip.
    Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job.
 No! Israel’s protector
    never sleeps or rests!
 The Lord is your protector;
    the Lord is your shade right beside you.
 The sun won’t strike you during the day;
    neither will the moon at night.
 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
    God will protect your very life.
 The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
    whether going or coming—
    from now until forever from now.

—Psalm 121:2-8

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In Times of Trouble

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The dinner party at a friend’s house was going to start in about half an hour.

I knew I had plenty of time to make it, though.

Deciding to take a more scenic route to their community, I drove through rural areas instead of the busy highway.

Not long into the trip, I began to notice the clouds.

A storm was coming and it looked like it could be quite severe.

Being fascinated by the steel blue sky, I looked for a place to stop the car.

I wanted to photograph the heavy blanket of water that was slowly overtaking the horizon.

The dirt road led to a place I had not traveled before.

There was no immediate shelter that I could see nearby.

I wasn’t worried—I had my car to sit in if the storm began to rage around me.

After a few shots, I put my camera down and continued on to the party.

What would have been different if I had been walking alone on that road when the storm hit?

Choosing a tree as an option, I might’ve gotten underneath it.

I wouldn’t have felt safe from the lightning, though—-lightning strikes trees.

I’m really not sure what I would’ve done to ensure my safety in that situation.

There are so many people in the world who realize their lack of shelter.

They can’t think of any real protection if things actually did get bad.

Physical protection.

Emotional protection.

Spiritual protection.

They know they need it, but they don’t know how to have it.

When “storms” happen in their lives, they find themselves alone on a dirt road with a dark, threatening sky and no where to turn.

No shelter.

No car.

No house.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however.

God is a ready and willing refuge for us.

When the skies are dark, do we have the confidence to think, “I’ll be fine. I will just take shelter with God”?

When we look back on the last tempest we encountered, could we say, “I wasn’t worried—I knew I had my Father’s lap to sit in if the storm began to rage around me”?

It is good to remember these words of encouragement in the Old Testament book of Nahum:

The LORD is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.

–from chapter 1, verse 7

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refuge correct

The Desires of Your Heart

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The sun was setting as I went for a walk in the neighborhood.

I consciously thought of enjoying the time, taking in the reality of the moments I was being blessed with.

The sunlight was still falling on the trees in the orange grove beside my house, giving them a warm glow as they nestled in the thick green grass that had succumbed to the shadows.

Turning around, I noticed the flowering Crepe Myrtle trees in my yard, towering high with bundles of color.

A dog barked in the distance.

Gopher turtles had dug holes in the ground to shelter themselves in many places I walked.

The pink, fluffy clouds to the south looked like a lovely painting.

If I had decorated a room especially for someone, I wonder how I would feel if they entered it, but failed to notice or appreciate the decorations?

Day after day, God creates unspeakable beauty in our surroundings.

He gives it especially to us, to appreciate and enjoy.

Instead of hurrying through the hours and moments I am given, failing to notice and appreciate the creative works of His hands, I should take the time to enjoy what He has prepared with a thankful and grateful heart.

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Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

—Psalm 34:7

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Courage

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Courage.

The dictionary defines courage as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

Psalm 3:3-4 reads,

“But, Lord, You are my shield.
    You are my wonderful God who gives me courage.
 I will pray to the Lord.
    And He will answer me from His holy mountain.”

If I were to take the modern definition of courage and consider it in this verse it would be,

“You are my wonderful God who gives me the quality of mind or spirit to enable me to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear. You are my wonderful God who gives me bravery.”

As I stood on the grass by the lake as the sun was setting tonight, I photographed the clouds towering in the sky, reflecting on the calm water below.

I prayed.

God knows that I am in need of some courage.

His courage.

He also knows all the other things I need, too, even though I haven’t realized it yet.

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courage

When I Am Afraid

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I’ve been afraid before.

Afraid as a child.

Afraid as a teenager.

Afraid as an adult.

Fear causes an inner turmoil that grips us, whether we are in a dentist’s chair or waking from a troubling dream.

Whatever the situation may be that causes the response of fear, we are never alone in it.

God does not abandon us when circumstances in life become frightening.

When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

We never, ever walk alone….

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

—Psalm 56:3

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Those In Need

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We have a family member that is ill.

They have been in the hospital for quite some time and their condition has been a matter of prayer through these past days and weeks.

When an illness strikes, it can be overwhelming.

What about treatment?

What about medications?

Which hospital is best?

What doctor should be chosen?

Yesterday and today were especially trying with a lot of details as our family member is being transferred to another hospital.

As I was driving down the highway just before sunset, I suddenly saw a rainbow in front of me.

I stopped the car at a local business and got out to take some photos of the glowing arc in the sky.

Driving a little further, I stopped again—this time at a service station near a lake.

Because it was so beautiful, I just had to have more pictures!

While I was looking at the rainbow, “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin came on the radio.

I started singing along, agreeing in my heart that God truly is the everlasting God.

He comforts those in need.

Our family is in need right now.

I am reminded that God will meet our needs as our hope is in Him.

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You are the everlasting God,
The everlasting God,
You do not faint, You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need,
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord…

—Chris Tomlin

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He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

—Isaiah 40:29-31

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From the Rising

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Standing on the dock of the intracoastal waters, I had a prime vantage point for viewing the sunset.

The fiery ball of light before me was vanishing behind a blanket of clouds low to the horizon, giving the illusion of

of mountains in the distance.

As the light danced on the gentle ripples of the water’s surface, it mirrored the subtle colors of gold and gray above.

Psalm 113:3

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

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Everyone Who Calls

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In the book of Acts in the New Testament, Peter is speaking to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost when he says these words, quoting the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days,’ God says,

‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit

even on my servants—men and women alike—

and they will prophesy.

And I will cause wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below—

blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

The sun will become dark,

and the moon will turn blood red

before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord

will be saved.’

—Acts 2:17-21

These descriptions sound frightening, don’t they?

A darkened sun?

A moon that’s red like blood?

Fire?

Clouds of smoke?

The last verse in this quote is paramount to all people—

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

We can rest in knowing that whatever happens in this world, this truth will remain.

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Make a Loud Noise

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As I was turning into my friend’s neighborhood, I happened to look toward the west.

What I saw was so incredible!

A giant anvil cloud was absolutely bursting into the atmosphere.

It appeared to be so large, it dwarfed the houses and trees below.

Pulling my car to the side of the road, I immediately got my camera out to photograph such a stunning sight.

From where I was, the massive cloud structure made no sound, yet its presence was loud and commanding.

Psalm 98:4 reads,

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

In those moments, the clouds and the sun sang a duet of silent, yet loud, praise to their Maker.

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The Lord Looks

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I was captivated by the sky.

Looking one way at the deep, yet bright blue in the east, then turning to the west to see the blazing golden colors and wisps of clouds tinted orange by the sun’s last rays.

I would take one photo, then another.

Then, another….

The beauty surrounding me was a gift God was sending to earth.

As I am thinking about God or praying while I am outside, I often look up.

Something about the infinity of God’s universe causes me to look upward as I pray.

A scripture states that God “looks down” on those on earth:

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

—Psalm 14:2

As God considers me, I hope that He finds me to be someone who is seeking Him.

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It is God’s Power

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It had been rainy and overcast for several hours.

As night was approaching, I remembered that I needed to run a quick errand to the store just down the road.

On my way back home, I passed a familiar sight.

A church that sits quietly on several acres of land by the highway has a very tall cross erected on the property.

Towering above the treeline, it can be seen from miles away.

Looking at the cross as I drove by, I noticed that the white sunset glow was the background behind it.

I decided to turn my car around and go back to photograph it.

The white cross is a reminder of Jesus to those who see it.

For some, it may not have any special meaning.

To others, it is a representation of all that life is, now and for eternity.

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For the message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God’s power.

—1 Corinthians 1:18

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There Is No Other

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As I was leaving home today, I noticed the formation while I was still on my street.

The white, puffy clouds were creating a circle around an empty sky of clear blue.

Happy to have my camera with me, I got out of my car to photograph such an unusual sight.

It looked like a portal to another place!

Of course, only sky was on the other side.

Nothing different.

There IS another place, though.

One that we cannot see now.

I believe that Heaven is real and that God is sovereign over all.

Moses spoke these words to the Israelites in the Old Testament:

Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

—Deuteronomy 4:39

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One day, we will find ourselves passing from this earth beneath to the Heaven above.

Are you ready today to meet the Lord Himself?

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Hold Me Fast

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In our day and age, travel is so common. There are many, many people today who have journeyed thousands of miles away from home–not once, but several times. I have a friend who will be flying to the opposite side of the world tomorrow morning. I can’t keep him safe, but God can. There is no place that we can venture where God is not. And wherever we are, His power and presence will hold us tightly–safely–in the grip of His love.

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If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

—Psalm 139:9-10

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