With a Gift

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

—John 14:27

This afternoon at work, someone noticed a cloud with a “rainbow” inside it. 

Since I happened to have my phone with me, I took a quick picture of the colourful beauty displayed in the sky. What I witnessed today is commonly called a fire rainbow. 

The rainbow, of course, reminds us of God’s promise to us after the great flood. 

Rainbows also remind me of all God’s promises—that they are true. 

Jesus has given us a gift–the gift of peace of mind and heart. 

We are not to be troubled and afraid. 

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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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

He Split the Rocks

He split the rocks in the wilderness

And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.

—Psalm 78:15

 

Miracles.

They happened before.

They still happen…

God split rocks and provided water for His people in the wilderness long ago.

God hasn’t changed.

His power remains constant.

He is able to do the miraculous in our lives, too.

Do you trust Him today?

 

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He Had a Dream

While visiting a city about an hour and a half away from my home, I needed to walk in an area that was unfamiliar to me in order to get to my parked car.

As I strolled on the sidewalk, I suddenly noticed a stone that had been placed in a lovely shaded landscaped area near a tree.

It read, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

In the Old Testament, there is an account of Jacob:

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

–Genesis 28:10-16

The presence of the Lord was certainly with Jacob.

We may not have had a dream like his, but God’s presence is in the hearts of His children.

He comforts, teaches, guides and corrects.

He loves us with an everlasting love.

Surely, the presence of the Lord is in our hearts.

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A Full Life

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.

–Proverbs 13:7  The Message

 

What does it mean to be pretentious?

The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary states that the definition of pretentious is as follows:

“Having or showing the unpleasant quality of people who want to be regarded as more impressive, successful, or important than they really are.”

If we want to be regarded as more impressive than we really are, how much time and energy would it take to hopefully bring that about?

If we want to be regarded as more successful than we really are, how much would we have to work to constantly support that facade?

If we want to be regarded as more important than we really are, how many worthwhile opportunities would be lost while our attention was focused on maintaining the illusion of importance?

After awhile, if we were to look back, a great portion of our time (and our lives) would have been lost to deception.

Our lives might be characterized as empty.

Proverbs 13:7 in The Message reads,

“A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.”

If we live as who we are, and if our identity is in Christ as His follower, we have no need to be known as something that we are not.

We simply seek to be known as who we are–children of God, forgiven and free.

Now, that’s a full life….

 

 

showy

What Great Love

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Roses are given as a gift of love.

Graceful and elegant, their aromatic petals delight us as we accept them.

We have been given a gift that is the greatest gift of all.

We must choose, however, to accept it.

God has lavished His love on us!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

—1 John 3:1-2

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greatlove

Afraid

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What was the bird in my yard really thinking?

Was he afraid?

Was he curious?

Was he hungry?

I can look at the photograph I took of him and imagine any one of these feelings as I look at his face.

At some point in our lives, we are all afraid.

When that happens, God is there.

He is there to comfort and to calm us.

We must trust in Him in those moments.

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When I am afraid,

I put my trust

in

You.

–Psalm 56:3

 

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By Which Also

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Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures.

I believe that.

Jesus was buried.

I believe that.

He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

I believe that.

Many people saw Jesus after He was raised from the dead.

I believe that, as well.

Because of Jesus’ great love, I can be saved.

So can you…

 

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Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

–1 Corinthians 15:1-7

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by which

Mansions

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Jesus said,

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2)

I don’t know if there will be numbers on each mansion in Heaven or if there will be any identification or distinction between any of them at all.

I do know that Jesus spoke of them and of preparing a place for those who believe in Him.

If our earthly fathers were to build a new home for us, they would do so from a loving heart along with their financial capabilities.

If our earthly father owned a lucrative business and sustained a large bank account, we would rightly feel that a home built for us would reflect that wealth.

Our Heavenly Father owns the universe.

The most dazzling constellation is but a necklace in His hand.

The brightest, most colorful nebula is just one work of art in His gallery of creation.

Our new home in Heaven will convey His great love for us and the beauty and glory of His presence will forever surround us.

Dear Jesus, thank You for paying the price for my sins and offering me forgiveness and salvation. Thank you for my home in Heaven that awaits me and all those who love You.   ~Amen

 

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mansions

It is the Gift of God

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Gifts will be given this Christmas to show love to one another.

The greatest gift given in history is the gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our salvation.

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But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

—Ephesians 2:4-8

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For the Joy

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What is joy?

What is happiness?

Recently, I heard someone say that joy was the result of Jesus and that happiness was the result of happenings.

This is one of those statements that can be taken apart and pondered over from every angle.

What kinds of happenings make us happy?

Driving a new car?

Getting married?

Being selected for a special job?

Winning a medal?

Having a baby?

Finishing school?

Falling in love?

Almost anything could make us happy in the right circumstances.

What kind of joy does Jesus give?

That’s more difficult to describe, isn’t it?

A sense of deep personal worth.

A strong awareness of His presence.

A faith that comforts.

A belief that above all else, we are loved.

Joy comprises all these and more.

Of great importance is the distinction between things that could happen and what is already and forever in existence.

The joy in our heart that comes from Jesus fills our souls, remaining a constant source.

Happiness from any given situation may flourish and then decrease.

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Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

—from Nehemiah 8:10

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joy of the LORD

 

 

With Peace

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As I walked along, I saw a beautiful Christmas tree delicately decorated with ornaments.

Looking more closely, I realized there were many ornaments of birds.

There’s something about a small bird sitting quietly and safely in a tree branch that gives a feeling of serenity.

If you think about it, when danger seems to be near, birds will flee.

Their calm presence makes a subtle statement of peace.

Psalm 29:11 reads:

The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.

It is fitting to have joyful, peaceful bird ornaments at Christmas.

What a perfect time to remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

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with peace

Glory to God

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What would it have been like on that night long ago to have seen the angels appearing?

I have always thought of this scene with the angels filling the night sky and the shepherds looking up at them.

The passage below really doesn’t say that.

I wonder if the angels were standing with them.

The shepherds had the glory of the Lord shining about them.

Imagine–light ALL around you.

Imagine–an angel right there with you.

Imagine–a MULTITUDE of angels all standing around you praising God!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

—Luke 2:8-14

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peace good will

The Word of Our God

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The flowers beside my house are beautiful, but the weather is changing and I know the flowers will succumb to the cold eventually.

Things change.

It is part of life.

One thing is constant, however–

God’s word.

 

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The grass withers,

the flowers fade,

but the word of our God

shall stand forever.

—Isaiah 40:8

 

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When I Am Afraid

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Even though it is nearing the end of November, the Romerillo plants are still blooming—at least some of them.

I noticed one at the end of my front sidewalk, gently growing at the edge of my front plant garden.

Many of the plants that were blooming a few weeks ago are gone now, yet these continued to grow.

It was still possible to them to thrive.

Sometimes it can be frightening to be among the few.

Maybe even to be the only one.

I don’t think flowers feel emotion, but I can compare our lives to the plant.

Even if it seems unlikely, God can cause growth in us, no matter what season we are in.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So what if we are afraid out there, blooming all by ourselves?

We must trust in God at all times—

especially when we are afraid.

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

—Psalm 56:3

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my trust final

You Hear My Voice

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The mist was so beautiful, I just had to pull over and photograph it.

In my area, fog is most commonly encountered in the early morning, before the warmth of the sun causes it to dissipate.

I pray a lot while I am driving my car.

It is then that I am usually alone.

Morning often finds me commuting to work, praying, and thinking about God and those I love.

There is no better way to start the day!

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Listen to my words, O Lord,
    and hear my sighs.
 Listen to my cry for help,
    my God and king!

I pray to you, O Lord;
    you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
    and wait for your answer.

—Psalm 5:1-3

 

 

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i pray 2

To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. 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 14:1-4

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the place