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!!

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

Every Bird

I know every bird on the mountains,

and all the animals of the field are Mine. 

—Psalm 50:11
When I arrived at work, the tree by the parking lot was filled with birds. 

I could hear them speaking with their chirping and tweeting. 

As I watched, some flew away and others came to rest on the branches of the tree. 

I am sitting now in the hospital room of a family member. 

Is God still in control?

Yes, He is. 

God knows every bird in the tree I was looking at. 

He knows me and every member of my family, too. 

He has not forgotten us. 

If You Only Knew

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water.”

—John 4:10
So many people do not know the gift God has for them. 

They do not know the love God has for them. 

They do not know that they can be forgiven of their sins. 

They do not know they can live forever in eternity. 

Do you know?

Because Love Covers

Today is Valentine’s Day.

My husband bought me three rose bushes, two bags of candy and a card.

I will save the card, eat the candy, and plant the  bushes in the yard.

Each bush yields a different color rose.

We will be able to see these bushes as they grow and mature, able to produce many blooms.

Marriage is like that.

We have grown and matured through happy times and sad ones.

Even now, our love is maturing and growing as we get closer to our Heavenly Father.

I am thankful for a husband who loves God and lives his life from that starting place.

Who are you thankful for today?

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

—1 Peter 4:8

 

 

 

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Wilderness

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

—Isaiah 43:19

The bridge above the water provides a safe crossing over the dangers below.

Although the water looks peaceful enough, I have photographed a swimming alligator there before….

God continues to make a way for us, every day.

Each of us has a wilderness to cross at specific points in our lives.

Deserts may be on the horizon.

Yet, in all things, God is faithful.

He will make a way.

wilderness

In Your Unfailing Love

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

—Psalm 13:5

 

Your love is unfailing and so is Your faithfulness.

No matter what happens, my heart can rejoice in knowing that I have a place in Heaven with You.

I can never repay You for all the blessings You have given to me.

Everything I have is Yours.

When I sleep at night, You watch over me.

When I wake in the morning, You see me open my eyes.

Help me to live each day as You want me to.

Please give me wisdom to do Your will in every situation.

Thank You for giving me life.

 

trust-in

He Gives Strength

If I accidentally spilled a bag of dry beans on my kitchen floor, it would be hard to clean up, but I could do it.

With a broom and dust pan in hand,  I could gather them all up in a few moments.

If I worked for a food outlet and I accidentally knocked over a pallet of dry beans in the warehouse while driving a fork lift, tearing several large bags open on the floor, it would be hard to clean up, but I could do it.

It would, however, take a while.

If I worked for a farming company and 2,000 pounds of dry beans going through a broken silo chute were accidentally spilled onto the ground, it would be tremendously hard to clean up, and I don’t think I could do it.

Not by myself.

In reality, I couldn’t do any of these things without God’s help.

It is God who would give me health enough to bend over and clean a kitchen floor.

It is God who would give me strength enough to clean up a warehouse floor.

All the things I have ever thought that I was handling by myself were actually being taken care of by me, with God right there with me.

Feeling self-sufficient and not feeling the need for God is not a choice that will ever serve any of us well.

As we encounter things in life that we can’t handle–things much more important than a silo of spilled beans–we realize that we need God.

We have always needed God, but we may not have always known that we needed Him.

When we do realize our need for God, we are drawn closer to Him.

We see more of ourselves as we truly are and more of God as He truly is.

We begin to admit our weaknesses as we being to declare His strengths.

 

 

 

 

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

–Isaiah 40:29

 

 

to-the-weary

 

Love His Brother Also

What does it look like to love others?

To love people the way God wants us to love them?

It’s easy to love those who love us.

But what about the ones who don’t?

Or what about the people of the world we have never met?

Or those that we come in contact with that are homeless or jobless?

What does it look like to love others who may be dirty from living on the street?

Or the ones who dress differently than we do and act differently than we do?

What does loving them look like?

Years ago, our children had a game that was intended for car trips.

It was a set of long cards on a ring, as I remember it.

One person would ask the other player a question that was listed on a particular card.

I can’t recall all the the details of the game, but there was a colored plastic sheet that could go on top of a card.

If the plastic sheet was on top of the card, the answer could be read.

Otherwise, it was hard to see the letters–maybe they couldn’t be seen at all.

Loving people the way God wants us to love them has to start with understanding that God loves them.

If we don’t understand that, they are like letters and words that we cannot see on a card.

We don’t feel the need to love them because we have not noticed that they need love.

We have not recognized them as being precious to God and loved by Him.

Once the “colored plastic” of this truth is placed over our view of them, we see clearly what we had not before.

When that happens, God will allow us to see just what loving that other person means right then.

 

 

 

And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

—1 John 4:21

 

 

 

love-his-brother-correct

Be Thankful

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

–1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

I’ve really been pondering a lot of things lately.

Things concerning faith in God.

Being a Christian, all of my life actually concerns faith.

Lately, though, I have been really contemplating matters of blessing, disobedience, and thankfulness.

Those three may seem random, yet those are some of the things I have been reading about and praying about.

My focus has been on thankfulness the last couple of days.

I really am very grateful for so many blessings in my life.

My relationship with Jesus, my health, my job, my family, the provisions I have of food and shelter.

The radiant sunrise I photographed this morning on the way to work.

Why, I could write a list that would never be finished!

What I’ve been thinking about lately are the things that I have considered to be bad.

Sicknesses, poor choices, accidents—things like that.

Not just in my own life, but in the lives of others.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads,

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

All circumstances.

All.

Thanking God for the loss of a job?

I know He can work good from that and also provide a different job.

Thanking God for the situations arising from a poor choice?

I know He can work good from poor choices as we learn of our dependence on Him and the need for His guidance.

With every “bad” circumstance that I can think of, I have to acknowledge that God has not left me or others.

Having a thankful heart in the midst of trouble– and not just when everything is good–seems to be what verse 18 is saying.

Since circumstances change day by day and moment to moment, our thankfulness should be renewed with each situation.

A heart of thankfulness.

I’m going to continue to think about that….

thankful

 

Above Yourselves

My reaction was immediate–and I’m sad to say that it wasn’t a good one.

Arriving early for work, I had planned to do some reading at my desk just prior to moving to an assigned area.

Only having a short amount of time for the reading, I sat down at my desk and looked at the clock.

Before I could even get started, someone who would be working part of the day in the next room stopped by just to have a friendly conversation with me.

There was a sudden thought of selfishness racing across my mind.

I was truly disappointed that I would not be able to do what I had planned in those short moments, because of the interruption of another worker.

Realizing very quickly that this was not the attitude that God would want me to have, I spent the next few moments listening to my visitor and making comments, deciding that talking with them was more important than what I had planned.

Quickly, it was time for us both to change areas and say goodbye.

Arriving at my new assigned area for that specific time, I was once again alone.

Within a few moments another coworker happened to be walking by me, having just arrived at work.

Instead of only saying, “Good morning,” to me and moving on, this person stopped and asked how things were going, since they knew that I had been dealing with some concerns in my family.

They stood there, patiently, as I spoke of recent issues dear to my heart.

With caring compassion, they encouraged me with sincere words and then walked on.

I had been so focused on what I wanted to do moments earlier that I was inwardly disappointed to see someone walk into the room while I was at my desk.

Now, in complete contrast, a coworker took the time out of their busy day to stop and check on me and how I was doing, freely giving up their moments to show their concern.

What attitude was pleasing to God?

Clearly, not my initial one.

Just as clearly, my coworker’s attitude was the right one to have.

Romans 12:10 reads, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

There are times that I need to put my own personal agenda aside and honor someone else above myself.

honor

Heavenly Lights

It’s easy to get used to things.

I live in a subtropical area, with palm trees, warm weather most of the year and an incredible amount of wildlife roaming about at any hour of the day.

People come from all over the world to vacation in this area.

I’m used to the beauty of it all, so there are times that I fail to appreciate it.

Tonight, I was looking at the moon while standing in my back yard.

It was a clear evening, and the moon was bright and almost directly overhead.

Photographing the moon is something I have enjoyed for awhile.

It is easy to just get used to the moon being there, without really thinking about it.

If I do think about the fact that something so incredibly large is right out there so close to earth, orbiting and yet always staying right where it should be, it’s almost a little frightening.

Just that initial thought of how small I am and how big the moon is—that moon that’s right above me.

I trust that God will keep it in its place, so I don’t really concern myself with it.

The fact that God is keeping it there brings me to consider His great power.

He is holding the moon in place and He is holding my life in place.

Even though I may feel overwhelmed at times, I know I can trust Him.

The moon above is a reminder that He is in control.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

 Give thanks to Him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
 the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
 and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

—Psalm 136:3-9

give-thanks

With Your Counsel

What does it mean to depend on God?

For those who say that they do not depend on Him, what is it that they are doing instead?

If we make our own decisions without consulting Him, are we depending on Him?

If we try to handle the tasks of the day–and, ultimately, the tasks of our life–on our own strength, are we depending on Him?

To go our own way–our own direction–without His guidance and permission, is to choose disappointment and adversity.

It may not seem to be the path that we are on at first, but in the end, we will find that our independence has been our undoing.

God is well aware of our need for dependence on Him.

He welcomes us to come before Him in prayer on any matter.

He offers forgiveness and guidance to every seeking heart.

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.

With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

—Psalm 73:23-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

counsel

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

Bright Light

The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death.

—–Matthew 4:16

The trees at my friend’s house had branches filled with green leaves.

While sitting outside and enjoying the late afternoon, I noticed that the sun had set just close enough to the horizon that its powerful light was shining almost straight on the trees.

The branches, with their green leaves, along with the bark on the trunk, did not just simply become more visible.

They began to glow with an intensely amber color.

I quickly photographed the scene before the sun was completely gone.

Theses trees were totally transformed in color because of the light.

Some of the branches were just out of the sun’s penetrating rays.

They remained green.

The tree closest to me appeared dark and untouched by the bathing yellow radiance.

When Jesus came, those who lived in darkness could now be bathed in His great light.

His light of love and salvation.

His light of forgiveness and hope.

His light of eternal life.

When He came, everything changed.

Do you know of His love?

Do you know of His forgiveness and hope?

He is waiting for you today to call out to Him in prayer.

It’s not too late…..

bright-light

And Yet

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

—Matthew 6:26

 

 

The bird was perched on top of the feeder, looking down as I photographed him.

I wonder what birds think about the feeders that people put out for them.

Do they understand that an actual person somehow gets all that seed and is placing it out where they can have it?

Do they wonder with amazement how an entire container of just seed happens to be near them?

Or do they just accept that it is simply there and never ponder how or why?

God provides for the birds by natural means and also by enabling humans to gather seed and generously present it in various types of feeders.

God provides for the birds.

We are worth much more than they are.

God will provide for us, too, in whatever way we need.

And when He does, do we understand and acknowledge that it is God who is providing for us?

 

 

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Trust In You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.

—Psalm 9:10

 

I could see the boat coming down the river at a fairly good speed.

It’s not uncommon at all to see boats travel up and down the river, but this was a little bit different.

There, on the front deck of the boat, was a dog.

A very happy dog, I would assume.

More than likely, it was his owner driving the vessel behind him.

I don’t know what the dog was thinking, but he must have been very trusting to sit right at the front with no one beside him as the trees passed, the water parted and the wind blew strongly through his fur!

Of course, there would have been no possible way for the owner to have explained to the dog how the boat was powered or steered, how he would make the proper decisions about speed and location or even how long the ride would be.

A dog cannot comprehend that level of thinking.

Still, the dog had the opportunity to trust the owner and enjoy the ride.

We cannot understand what is happening in our lives sometimes.

When God is steering the “boat” we can only accept His invitation to go where He wants us to go.

We cannot always comprehend the “what and why” of God’s plan.

The dog didn’t ask his owner, “Where are we going?”

“When will we come home?”

“How fast will we go?”

“What will I see?”

No. He just hopped on the boat and away they went.

As believers, we must trust God for the journey.

He will never forsake us.

 

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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!

strongholds

Become Like Little Children

God knows all about my life.

Even when it is too difficult for me to grasp–all the issues and illnesses within my family, what my hopes and dreams are, how I am feeling from moment to moment.

He knows it all.

Even though I cannot understand how, I have to trust that He does.

Just like a small child sitting happily and calmly in their own house, quietly playing with toys in the floor.

They trust that their loving parent will prepare food for them.

They trust that they will be told when to go to sleep and rest.

If they pinch their finger on the wheel of a toy car, they trust that a simply cry of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” will bring them to their presence immediately.

They don’t worry about water bills.

They don’t spend time concerning themselves about car payments.

Yet, they drink water freely and ride in a car when their parents tell them to get in.

Jesus says that we need to be like little children:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

(Matthew 18:1-5)

Every day I need to become like a little child as far as my trust and belief in God are concerned.

Even though I do not fully understand, I must fully trust.

greatest

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

Gentle Showers

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak!
    Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
 Let My teaching fall on you like rain;
    let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
    like gentle showers on young plants.
 I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
    how glorious is our God!
 He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect.
    Everything He does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
    how just and upright He is!”

—Deuteronomy 32:1-4

 

 

 

The leaves on the bushes by my front door often catch my eye when raindrops have found their place on each individual one.

The water is life-giving to the plants.

Without it, they would die.

Like rain falling on us, the truths of God give us life in Him.

He is glorious!

He is the Rock!

His deeds are perfect!

He is just!

He is fair!

He is faithful!

He does no wrong!

He is just!

He is upright!

 

tendergrass

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.

 

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Hidden

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

—Hebrew 4:12-13

 

Looking out across the water to a small island, I could see something in the wildflowers growing there.

An Anhinga bird was behind them.

Looking at my photograph later, it almost looks as if he is hiding.

He does blend in with a certain amount of camouflage, yet upon closer inspection, he’s hard to miss.

I’ll never know if he was truly intending to hide that afternoon, but I can certainly identify with him if he was.

At times in my life–even as a child–I wanted to just hide away and be alone, in what I felt was a safe place.

There are many reasons, however, to hide.

Shame.

Guilt.

Fear.

Failure.

Sadness.

Depression.

Grief.

The list is long.

We may hide from people and flee from circumstances, but we cannot hide from God.

He sees us wherever we are, in whatever condition we are in.

Our emotions may urge us to hide, yet His great love beckons us back into the open–in the light of His comfort and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

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