The Flower Fades

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

–Isaiah 40:8

 

While visiting a large city, I was driving through a residential area.

One home, in particular, caught my eye.

Spring blossoms, ablaze in color, were bursting forth on bushes planted by a fence.

An opening near a gate separated two colors as the bushes seemed to beckon an onlooker into the back yard.

With this much beauty on the outside, could their be a gorgeous flower garden on the inside?

As stunning as they were, the flowers on the bushes would soon wither and fade.

There for only a season—–

God is not just with us for a time and then gone.

He is with us always.

His word stands forever!

 

 

flower fades

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

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

The Set Time

We know how long it takes for a baby to form before it is born.

We know how long it takes for certain crops to mature, ready for harvest.

We know how long it takes for the earth to make its journey around the sun.

Yet, there are so many things that we have no idea how long we will have to wait for.

In fact, we are not even sure that some of the things we are waiting for will ever take place.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth at just the right time.

Jesus was not early in coming, nor was He late.

In our own lives, God is in control of time.

We pray, and God answers in His time frame.

He will never be late with an answered prayer.

He will never be early with an answered prayer.

When the set time has come, He will work in the lives of His children according to His will.

Through faith, we must trust Him completely to care for us as our all-knowing Father.

 

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But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman,

born under the law,  to redeem those under the law,

that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child;

and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.

—Galatians 4:4-7

 

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Let the Peace

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

Walking along the deck at a park I had not visited before, I saw some flowers growing from the watery edge.

The blooms were a beautiful lavender color with marks of yellow and blue.

Surrounded by green leaves, the flower commanded attention as its beauty stood out from the surroundings.

I need to remember to let the peace that Jesus gives rule in my heart, commanding the attention of my mind.

The beauty of His peace will always stand out from the anxiety and confusion in the world.

 

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A New Thing

The wildflowers blooming near the lake caught my attention.

Pausing to photograph them, I noticed that some blooms on the stem had withered and died.

I hadn’t given it that much thought until tonight.

As I looked at the image of the flowers, I could see several of the blooms that had become brown and shriveled, but also the new white ones that were dazzling and bright.

Among those, I also noticed the flowers that were yet to burst forth, just waiting for the appointed time.

In Isaiah 43:19, God says,

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Time is moving forward for all of us and God is in each moment of time.

As situations change, we sometimes have to let go.

There are times when one opportunity withers, yet another is right before us.

If we could see what God sees, we would know that He has other opportunities waiting to bloom–ready to burst forth, at their appointed time.

This photograph is now a comfort for me.

An illustration of God’s activity in our lives.

One chapter closes as another unfolds.

At the time of God’s choosing, the new will come.

 

 

 

new-thing

Seek Me

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

—Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever noticed how some flowers turn their blooms toward the sun?

I wonder how many times I have gone to a window in my home and turned a plant around, because it’s blooms and stems were leaning toward the light. 

We need to look to God. 

We need to turn our hearts toward Him. 

If we seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him. 

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

 

Great are the Works

Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.—Psalm 111:2

Every weekend, vendors come to a local venue near my home to sell items to the general public. 

One of my favorite areas is populated by several people selling a great variety of potted plants, bushes and small trees. 

While walking in that section this morning, I came upon a flowering plant that I did not recognize with vibrant pink blooms. 

Stopping to look at it more closely, I decided to photograph my new discovery. 

Somehow, I think Heaven will be just a bit like this. 

At every turn we will see a marvelous masterpiece of God’s design, new to our eternal eyes. 

Until then, He has given us an entire world to enjoy, as we ponder each of His glorious creations with awe and wonder. 

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

Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

cast all

 

Oh, the Joys

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

—Psalm 1:1

If I am not following the advice of the wicked, then I am probably following the advice from those who aren’t.

If I am not choosing to embrace the lifestyles of  people who are living ungodly lives, then I am probably choosing to embrace the lifestyles of people who are living a godly life.

If I do not join with people who are mocking others, mocking faith or mocking God, I am choosing to distance myself from those who do.

There is joy for those who have a desire to please God and follow His guidance for everyday living.

joys

Love Never Fails

Love never fails. 

From 1 Corinthians 13:8

 Today I was presented with an elegant bouquet of white roses. 

They were meant to convey appreciation. 

They were meant to be an encouragement. 

They were meant to show love. 

Honoured to have them, I placed each stem into a vase with water, setting it on my dining table. 

Love never fails. 
 

Devote Yourselves

We need God in every area of our lives. 

He is at work whether we perceive it or not. 

As we come to God in prayer, we remember that He is with us, understanding whatever situation we are experiencing. 

If we are watchful, we will live in expectancy of God.  

If we are thankful, we will remain in an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for all that He has done. 

We need to come to God in prayer—

every day. 

 

With Your Favor

Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous;
    You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.

—Psalm 5:12

A friend brought flowers to me.

She blessed me with the beautiful blooms that God had created.

The Lord blesses us every day.

He surrounds us with blessings and His favor.

 

shield b

By This

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

—John 13:35

 

Yesterday, a friend came by my house to deliver a beautiful arrangement of flowers in a lavender colored vase.

Tonight, another friend loaned us their van so our entire family could travel together to a funeral out of state.

There are cards sitting on my piano from friends who are comforting and encouraging me and my family.

Another friend brought a wreath and placed it on my door.

It has been four days since we lost a loved one.

We have had four days of kindness.

Four days of love and consideration.

Four days of caring and consolation.

Four days of provision.

These things and many more are but a testimony of God’s love and the faithfulness and generosity of His people.

By these acts and those even before this time, our friends are showing that we love one another.

By these acts, also, others will know that they are followers of Jesus as they demonstrate His love.

 

 

love one another

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

He Heard Me

Walking with my friends in the garden, I came upon a beautiful camellia flower blooming.

Still cradling water droplets from the recent rain, its delicate, pink petals were layered in elegant, star-like formation.

There’s something curative and calming about strolling through a garden, pausing to appreciate the artistry that God has created in every design.

Fears and anxieties begin to ebb as we view each new expanse of beauty.

Psalm 34:4 reads,

“I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

What better place to pray than in the quiet solitude of a garden of flowers?

 

 

sought

No Condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

–Romans 8:1

While visiting a family member in a hospice house, I noticed a vase of crimson and cream colored flowers on the counter of the nurses station.

Delicate petals, bright with a glowing hue, giving a silent testimony of life and beauty.

For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is hope, because there is no longer any condemnation.

 

 

 

 

condemnation

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

No More

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Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

—Revelation 21:1-7

 

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no more

Prayer

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The garden area I saw was lush and inviting, with blooms of many colors.

An arch of vines formed a canopy over the brick walkway.

I am reminded of the lyrics of an old hymn:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

 

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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.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:6-7

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