Completion

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

 

—Philippians 1:6

 

You have a plan for me

Like the islands in the distant horizon

On the north Atlantic shore

I cannot see the course in sharp perspective

Yet, there is confidence that each part of the journey

Will be what You have allowed

This transformation of my heart

Will be brought to completion

In Your time and in Your way

 

 

 

 

 

 

completion2

He Covers the Heavens

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;

    make melody to our God on the lyre!

He covers the heavens with clouds;

    He prepares rain for the earth;

    He makes grass grow on the hills.

—Psalm 147:7-8

I could see the tall cloud mass in front of us as my husband and I drove down the highway. 

I found out later through a weather warning and a good look at the radar that the storm was about an hour’s drive from us. 

Towering so tall, the clouds were likely to bring hail and 40 mile per hour winds. 

Looking at the sky with the clouds so massive, I am reminded of God’s power. 

He creates the clouds and sends us life-giving rain. 

Thank You, Lord, for providing for all our needs. 

Great Is the LORD!

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
(Great Are You Lord by All Sons and Daughters)
This song has become so meaningful to me this past year, especially the last couple of weeks.
I went to a conference with my daughter-in-law a few months ago and this was the theme song of the gathering.
It was sung at every worship service.
It was the first time I had ever heard it.
As I see God at work in several aspects of my life and in the lives of those I love, my heart has been filling with praise.
God does give hope.
God does restore.
God does bring light to the darkness in our lives.
God is love and He gives us our life.
The breath we breathe?
We only have it because He gives it to us.
God is truly great.
Our praise belongs to Him only.
Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure His greatness.
—Psalm 145:3
great-is

Possible With God

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

–Luke 18:27
Yesterday, a miracle we had been praying for occurred. 

A great answer to prayer with truly eternal significance. 

I noticed today as I looked out into my back yard that the first rose of spring had bloomed on my bush. 

New life. 

That’s what miracles are all about. 

God brings us new life!!

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

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!

strongholds

In the Barren Desert

pine-twoWalking out into my friend’s front yard, I photographed the view.

Tall pine trees grew stately toward the sky, ever green in the middle of winter.

Just before the trees, foliage that had succumbed to the cold had turned a rusty, yet golden, brown.

What a stark difference between the two.

God speaks in Isaiah 41:19:

“I will plant trees in the barren desert–cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.”

When I think of a barren desert, I don’t think of tall, healthy trees being able to grow there.

What a stark difference between the two–trees growing where a barren desert once was.

No matter what the circumstances are in our lives right now, God is able to renew, remake and restore.

There can be tall, lush pine trees where only dry sand once blew in the wind.

Don’t give up hope—God is in control of every desert you encounter, AND He is the creator of every tall tree.

Appearance

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a balloon before it was inflated?

I can honestly say that I don’t.

If I think about what that would have been like for me, though, I can imagine that I might not have thought that a colorful and small piece of stretchy plastic could ever have changed into an air filled toy that would bounce and float in the air.

Of course, I would have been wrong.

More than likely, my little child’s mind wouldn’t have considered any possibilities past what I could’ve actually seen.

As recorded in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, the Lord sent Samuel to anoint a new king.

Samuel was sent to a man named Jesse, who had several sons.

When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought that he would be the one that the Lord had chosen–but he wasn’t:

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:6-7)

When Samuel had seen seven of Jesse’s sons, the Lord had not chosen any of them.

Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons.

There was one other, who was tending to the sheep.

That son was David.

It was David that the Lord had chosen.

The Lord could see in David what others may not have seen.

He saw David’s heart.

He knew what David could be.

When we look at other people, it’s easy to just take them at “face value”—their apparent worth— isn’t it?

What do you think when you see a homeless person on the street?

An old man on a park bench?

A child running in the park?

A clerk in the grocery store?

We see them as they appear, but the Lord sees their hearts.

He sees the talents He has given them.

He sees their great worth.

He sees what they can become.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could try to see past appearances and look at others’ hearts?

appearance

I Will Help You

There’s a popular song out now that I hear on the radio a lot.

It’s “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns.

Here are part of the lyrics:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

I was recently privileged to hold a three month old goat.

It was cold outside and the little thing simply allowed me to hold him in my arms and rock him side to side for about twenty minutes.

I think he just about went to sleep, even though there were a lot of people walking around us.

He was trusting.

He was calm.

He was relaxed.

He wasn’t struggling to get away.

In fact, he seemed content and happy—just being held.

Can you just picture yourself as a little child, resting in Jesus’s arms?

Just allowing Him to rock you side to side as you drift to sleep, even though there are a lot of things happening all around you?

Can you picture yourself there?

Being trusting?

Being calm?

Being relaxed?

Not struggling to get away?

Content and happy–-just being held?

So, when we are on our knees in prayer, or in our car in prayer or at work in prayer, and answers seem so far away, can we trust that we are not alone?

Can we trust that Jesus is at work and that things in our lives are falling into place?

Can we understand that God is on His throne and He is in control–not us?

Can we stop struggling and just be held?

 

~

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

—Isaiah 41:13

 

help-you

When I Look

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
 what is man that You are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that You care for him?

–Psalm 8:3-4

 

When I left the grocery store, it was beginning to get dark.

The traffic was busy on the two lane highway toward home.

As I looked at the sky in front of me, I realized how beautiful it was.

Passing my street and driving on a little farther down the road to a clearing, I stopped the car and took a picture.

Venus was white and blazing above a creamy glow of pale orange and yellow.

When I look at the sky like this, I see the mighty work of God.

 

heavens

New Things

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

 

As I walked along the bridge, I noticed that a palm tree had been cut down.

Looking more closely, I could see that there was new growth.

Out of the stump near the ground, new life was emerging!

Bright and green, defying a hopeless end, it was springing forth.

So it is with us when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

The old goes away.

The new comes, springing forth, growing ever brighter with each moment.

 

new-things

 

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

Prepare a Place

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.

—John 14:3

 

The water at the end of my driveway reflected the sunset and its colors like a giant glass mirror.

So perfectly was the image of the pastel hues blending with clouds in the sky, you could almost imagine just stepping into the scene and finding yourself in another world.

That sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?

Another realm of life, just a footstep away.

Although it is a fascinating subject for novels and movies, most people wouldn’t quite take it seriously.

Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, we do take that thought seriously.

Another realm of life, just a footstep–just a breath–just a heartbeat–away.

Jesus said that if He would go and prepare a place for us, then He would come back and take us to be where He was.

The spiritual realm is right with us, but we don’t see it with our earthly eyes.

Our faith is not in what we can touch, but what we are sure about in our hearts.

Heaven is real.

It’s not science fiction.

It’s our future home.

 

 

prepare

 

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

Hushed

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

—Psalm 107:29

 

Storms can be big.

Things get torn up.

Ruined.

Blown away.

Flooded.

Waves can be giant.

Overwhelming.

Relentless.

God can make a storm be still.

He can hush any wave.

What storms are you facing today?

God is bigger than the storm.

 

sea were

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

 

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?

 

wilderness

 

Whatever the Lord Pleases

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

—Psalm 135:6

 

What is the picture of below?

The tops of mushrooms?

A microscopic view of bacteria?

River rocks?

Chicken eggs?

Candy peanuts?

Potatoes?

Just by looking, it’s hard to tell.

So many things in this world have similar shapes and contours.

God created all that we know in a way that pleased Him.

All that we know…

In addition, He created all that we do not know in a way that pleased Him.

What we see is only a small portion of God’s great creation.

Our generation has been blessed with seeing so much of it.

It wasn’t that long ago when no one had EVER seen what the earth looked like from space.

NO ONE.

Now, with a simple application on a smart phone, even a young child can look at any spot on earth as viewed from space.

So, what is the picture of?

A sea creature in an aquarium.

God’s works are truly to be marveled at.

 

 

 

seas

 

 

 

And That is What Happened

 

Every creature God has made has its own beauty.

Every fish, every bird.

Every animal that walks the earth.

Genesis 1:24 reads:

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind–livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened.

When I look at an animal’s face, I see the face of a living being that God made.

scurry

 

 

My Hands Have Made

This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is My throne,

    and the earth is My footstool.

Could you build Me a temple as good as that?

    Could you build Me such a resting place?

My hands have made both heaven and earth;

    they and everything in them are mine.

    I, the Lord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,

    who tremble at My word.

—Isaiah 66:1-2

Walking along the beach, I am struck many times by the magnificence of the patterns in the sand created by the tide. 

As the water approaches and then recedes, it forms a mathematical pattern of its own atop the sculpted sand. 

Contemplating its beauty and perfection, I am drawn to watch its continuous rhythm. 

God has made Heaven and Earth. He made the water and commanded it to create waves. He made the sand and commanded it to rest in patterns. 

Our God is an awesome God!

The Dawn and the Sunset

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
—Psalm 65:8

As the sun was going down behind me, bold rays were streaking across the sky above the ocean in front. 

Soft pink and cream sunbeams traveled across a velvet blue sky, silently shouting their magnificence to the world below. 

It is God who created this evening’s masterpiece of beauty. 

He Is

A rainbow.

I knew there just had to be one.

My husband had gone into a store and I had chosen to wait in the car for him.

Thunder began to crack and lightning was nearby.

Looking out the front of the car, it was sunny.

Looking out the back window, it was a dark gray.

As it started to rain, I tried to peer behind me to see if a rainbow had formed.

Because of the lightning, I wasn’t going to venture out of the car, however.

When my husband returned, umbrella in hand, we began driving off the parking lot. As we made a turn, I saw it.

A vibrant rainbow!

Trying to photograph a rainbow with my car window down and the rain coming in was a feat for the persistent….

I have since pondered rainbows in a little different way than I have in the past.

We tend to think of troublesome times in our lives as “storms.”

We apply the word “storm” to a great many situations.

A stormy relationship.

A physical challenge.

An onslaught of something bad.

For a rainbow to form in all its dazzling brilliance, there must be rain.

As the dark clouds are depositing each drop to the ground, the light of the sun streaks across the atmosphere, creating a vision of vividly colored transparency.

While the storm is still going on—and even as it has just passed–the light shines into the darkness with a promise.

When we have those troubling times–those challenging situations and heartbreaking events–God’s light is still shining on it all.

If we turn to look, we can trust that somewhere—somewhere—He is forming a rainbow.

 

He is

 

Scurries and Swarms

Several weeks ago, I visited an aquarium area with many types of sea creatures on display.

Finding almost everything I looked at to be fascinating, I took several pictures.

One creature, in particular, was so incredible!

It was the Leafy Sea Dragon, a marine fish that looks like a floating plant.

It looks so much like the vegetation around it, becoming camouflaged in the midst.

For me, I can see God’s work in this.

A beautiful fish swimming around looking amazingly like the surrounding plants.

I don’t believe that it just “developed on its own” a likeness to its surroundings.

Gazing at this marvelous creature only increases my faith in God’s perfect creation of all things.

What about you?

 

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird–each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

–Genesis 1:21

 

swarms

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. 

Peoples and Languages

Walking through a quaint downtown area of a nearby city for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I came up to a store with several chairs on the sidewalk.

A black one.

A teal one.

A pink one.

A red one.

A green one.

They were all chairs, but they were all different.

Thinking about that, I am reminded of another recent experience.

I attended a church service in a large city whose members were all from a specific country other than my own.

Their language was one I could not speak.

Being prepared for visitors that were not of their background, they had an interpreter and a glass sound booth that he sat in.

I was given a little electronic box with headphones.

As the pastor was speaking in his language to the congregation, I was hearing an English translation for every sentence by the man in the booth.

So, in thinking of different chairs, I am also reminded of different people.

People who look differently than I do.

People who speak  a language that I cannot understand.

People from all different nations in the world.

God’s offer of salvation through Jesus is given to every person He has created.

It doesn’t matter what they look like or how they speak.

It doesn’t matter how old they are or their level of education.

God loves us all the same.

Jesus died for everyone.

Someday, as the book of Revelation states, there will be people from all tribes and languages standing before God.

How happy I am to know that this is true!

~

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

–Revelation 7:9-10

 

 

from all

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

Which of All These

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

or let the fish in the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know

that the hand of the Lord has done this?

In His hand is the life of every creature

and the breath of all mankind.”

—Job 12:7-10

which of

This Is The Day

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

—Psalm 118:24

 

I watched as the juvenile heron walked on the edge of the water.

He was so small—at least when compared to what he would someday be.

You see, he’s not just any heron.

He’s a Great Blue Heron.

There will come a day when he will be large and graceful with flowing feathers off the top of his head.

That day has not come yet, but God has made it so that it will.

We have an internal map made by God, as well.

We are babies and children for a few short years, then we become adults.

When we are “born again” as a new Christian, we begin a growth process, also.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are “new” Christians.

We are young in our faith, but we are on a pathway of change as we learn to trust God more and more.

It is okay to be new.

We will be different one day.

God has made it so that we will.

 

 

rejoice and be