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. 

A Rope or a Bucket

In the book of John, we find an account of Jesus speaking with a woman.

Jesus had left Judea and was on a return trip to Galilee.

He went through Samaria as He traveled and He came to a village near land that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph—-

Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”  He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

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.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

(John 4:6-12)

There are so many aspects of this passage to consider.

The generosity of a father in giving his son a well.

One people group not wanting to associate with another.

God’s gift of living water.

Jesus’ willingness to speak to a Samaritan woman.

What I am pondering now is the woman’s question to Jesus when He says He would give her living water:

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

She didn’t know yet that Jesus was the Messiah.

She didn’t know yet that He could do anything.

She didn’t know that He was speaking of something other than water that she could touch and see.

Not knowing that, she points out that He does not have a rope or bucket.

She wants to know where He is going to get this water that He speaks of.

She questions how He could be offering something better than what has already been made available.

I do know who Jesus is.

I know that He is the Messiah.

I know that He is God’s Son.

I know that He is the Savior of the world.

Yet, if Jesus tells me that He will provide for me throughout my life, do I question just how He will do it?

Do I have doubt in my mind, not believing that He can do anything?

Do I think somewhere down in my heart that He doesn’t have a “rope or a bucket” to meet the needs I have at the moment?

I would like to think that I would not feel this way, but sometimes, doubts and fears creep in.

When this happens, I need to remember to pray.

As I do, He will assure me of His love and His ability to do more than I could ever imagine.

Jesus will calm my fears, each and every time, giving me faith to trust Him.

rope bucket

In Quietness and Rest

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

I spent time yesterday just being at the ocean’s edge, watching the waves come and go. 

Occasionally a group of pelicans would fly silently overhead. 

Lying down, I could see jet streams from time to time streak across the cloudless blue sky above me. 

It was windy and cool. 

Walking barefoot into the shallow water the cold water moved sparking sand past me as each wave receded back into the sea. 

It was good to be quiet. 

I read from the Bible and from a book on praise. 

I have found that I need quietness. 

Time to listen. 

Time to rest….

Trust in the Lord

The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
I have read that the place God had designated for them was less than two hundred miles away, making their journey’s length a matter of weeks.
Certainly not forty years.
All the reasons why they ended up in the desert so long might be summed up into one observation: they didn’t trust God.
God had displayed His great power to them many times, yet somehow, they didn’t trust Him completely.
Whatever the “desert” in my own life might look like, I know I don’t belong there.
It may be His choosing for me to go through a season on the way to the main destination, but I don’t want to be stuck on the journey, never really arriving where He wanted me.
I know that I must always do three things: Listen. Consider. Obey.
These three must be done over and over throughout my life.
I should listen for God to speak, then consider what I have heard, discerning what action I am to take.
This requires thought and prayer.
Finally, I am to obey, trusting Him.
There is an old hymn that speaks to this: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6
trust in

The Bronze Snake

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

 

—John 3:14:15

 

 

Easter is coming.

A time to remember what Jesus has done for us.

Eternal life—

Is there anything more important than where you will spend eternity?

 

 

 

 

 

bronze

 

Out of the Same Mouth

Larger than life. That’s what they were.

On the manicured lawn near an art museum, I noticed a very interesting work.

It portrayed gigantic pencils placed together at different points.

Writing implements are tools with which we communicate our thoughts to others, releasing what is in our minds to the world outside of ourselves.

Like pencils, our tongues can communicate our thoughts to others, releasing what is in our minds to the world outside of ourselves.

It is up to us if we communicate positive, uplifting thoughts or negative, destructive thoughts.

I’m not sure what idea the artist wanted to communicate with their giant pencil art.

I do know that the power of a pencil in someone’s hand is far greater than what is conveyed by its size.

So it is with the tongue.

Though small, it has much power.

James 3:10 reads, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

We have the power to uplift and encourage.

We have the power to tear down and dishearten.

How will you use you words today?

How will I?

 

 

 

same mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartache Crushes

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.—Proverbs 15:13
Happiness and heartache can be like two channels on a television. 

With just a touch of the remote, the channel we are watching can change, just like that. 

One second its politics and world news and the next second it’s sports or a cooking show. 

Happiness and heartache can come just as quickly. 

Knowing that we all deal with both realities, how can we best help others when heartache strikes?

Praying and asking Jesus to show us what we can do is always good. 

Listening. 

Showing true concern. 

Pointing the hurting friend to Jesus.

Praying with them. 

Writing an encouraging note or card. 

Recently, someone took the time to make a card for me as an encouragement. 

They drew hearts on the front and coloured them red. 

Reaching out to those around us with the love of Jesus is a testimony to His faithfulness. 

Small acts of kindness mean a lot. 

Is there someone you know today who has a crushed spirit?

Is there something Jesus would have you say or do to comfort them?

The Lord Forgave You

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

—Colossians 3:13
When we do not forgive, the weight of another’s actions becomes increasingly heavy upon our shoulders. 

Anger and bitterness cannot share the same heart space with love and compassion. 

Our hearts need to be whole and set to a perfect oneness of peace with God and with others. 

Like the petals of a rose bud opening more each day, God’s forgiveness opens to us each moment. 

Fragrant and beautiful, it releases us from the debt of our mistakes. 

May we offer the same to those around us….

A New Life

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

—2 Corinthians 5:17

My husband and I bought the large plant with its multicoloured leaves and proudly brought it home to our front yard. 

Purchasing a large decorative container, I placed it there with some potting soil. 

Shortly afterwards, it looked ill. 

Moving it from one spot to another didn’t help. 

I watered it a lot. 

As I recall, that didn’t help, either. 

So, I stopped watering it and allowed the rain to give it moisture. 

Finally, it seemed that it was a lost cause. 

I gave up. 

Being busy and not really concerning myself with the yard, I forgot about the plant which looked like barren sticks protruding from the large blue pot. 

This afternoon, I took a few moments to sit outside in the sun. 

Casually looking over to the area in front of our house, I noticed the plant in the blue pot. 

New green leaves were coming out on the lifeless looking branches. 

It had not died, after all. 

Even though I had given up on it, all was not lost. 

Sometimes we give up on other people in our lives. 

We try to help them through difficult times. 

When one thing doesn’t work, we try another. 

But after awhile, it’s easy to just give up and forget about them, isn’t it?

Even though we may forget them, God does not. 

When we fail to have compassion and love, He still does. 

When others look like barren branches, He still sees life within them, and all they can be through His strength. 

Make Music

Make music to praise the LORD, you faithful people who belong to Him. Remember His holiness by giving thanks.

—Psalm 30:4

I saw him among the branches of the tree in my front yard.

The sun wasn’t far from setting and the blue jay was perched high.

Wanting just to be quiet and calm while enjoying a few moments outside, I listened to the various birds sing and tweet as they prepared for nighttime to fall.

When the birds sing, they make music.

They are able to do so because God gives them that ability.

With each chirp and call, they testify to the greatness of their Creator.

I want to praise God with my voice and with instruments as I make music, giving thanks.

That is possible because He gave me a voice and the ability to play instruments.

Thank You, God, for all that You have done for me. All praise belongs to You.

make music

With Good

What do we do when bad things happen? It could be as simple as the washing machine breaking.

It might be as difficult as a loved one becoming ill.

It might be as devastating as a divorce.

It might be as confusing as an unforeseen job loss.

How do we respond?

Do we see the difficulty ahead of us and angrily run straight ahead to fight?

Although that might be the common and natural response, is it the best one?

Is it the response that God would be pleased with?

Romans 12:21 reads:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

 
If we have a response of evil to battle evil—that is the opposite of choosing God to battle the evil for us.

If we can just stop and consider that God is right there with us when the bad things happen, we can remove the pressure of thinking we are personally responsible to combat them alone.

 

overcome

Get Insight

How much better to get wisdom than gold,to get insight rather than silver!

—Proverbs 16:16

It was a small thing, really. 

I wanted to wash dishes so I began running the water and squirting dishwashing liquid into the water. 

Something wasn’t right, though. 

The sink wasn’t filling up with water. 

Checking further, I found that I had neglected to put the stopper in the drain. 

The water and the detergent were simply flowing down the drain, missing my purpose for them entirely. 

I know I need wisdom. 

Being a wise person surely means more than having money. 

Sometimes, I can imagine that my efforts–though good intentionally–are flowing down the drain. 

If that’s happening, I’ve probably not remembered something—I need to pray about those efforts and see if I have forgotten to ask God if that’s what He wants for me right then. 

Doing what God wants is worth more than silver or gold. 

That the Hawk Soars

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,

Stretching his wings toward the south?

—Job 39:26

 

Today, I looked out my back window and saw a red shouldered hawk in the misty rain.

Taking my camera out into the back yard, I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as I sought to photograph him.

I have come to recognize their call, as it is distinct and loud.

Beautifully marked with an array of patterned colors in their feathers, they seem to project a stateliness as they perch.

God has made thousands of creatures, both great and small.

Each one is to His perfect liking.

I watched the hawk fly down to the ground and back up again.

The rain was increasing, so I finally left him to welcome the evening without me.

God tells the hawks what to do–where they should fly, how to build a nest.

It’s not by my understanding.

There are times when I don’t understand how God is working in my life or the lives of others, but I know that His ways are not my ways.

I am limited.

He is limitless….

 

 

 

your-understanding

The Very Hairs

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

—Luke 12:6-7

God knows the number of hairs on my head. 

He knows if I lose one when I brush my hair and the number is then adjusted…

But it’s more than that, really. 

God knows how many cells are in my body. 

He knows how it’s all working together because He’s the One telling my body to live and how to do it. 

I can’t count the hairs on my head or the cells in my body. 

No worries. 

God knows the exact number. 

God is holding the entire universe together. 

He is at this moment giving us life. 

We are of such great worth to God. 

Is He of great worth to you?

According To His Purpose

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

–Romans 8:28

To know—to understand deep within my heart

In all things—the wonderful, beautiful, priceless moments and the crushing, heartbreaking, confusing ones

God works for the good—the good that only He can bring about, the good of His choosing

Those who love Him—those who have seen and felt His compassionate love and mercy and respond 

Called–set apart, chosen

According to His purpose—His design

All praise belongs to Him!

Christ As Lord

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 

From 1 Peter 3:15

Sometimes I hear someone speak of allowing God to be in the “driver’s seat” of your life. 

If He is to be the Lord of our life, we can’t be making all our decisions without Him. 

“What do You want, Lord?” should be something I ask more often. 

Continual Sacrifice

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.

—Hebrews 13:15

 

I am learning more and more about praising God.

Perhaps it would be better stated if I said that I am learning more and more to praise God for the things in my life.

Not just actual things like a house or a car, but situations, too.

Praising Him for what is happening in my life and what has happened.

God is worthy of praise.

That doesn’t change according to earthly circumstances.

As I am beginning to think about praising God even on occasions when difficulties arise, I am coming to understand that He allows events in my life and He will work for my good through them.

 

 

 

 

 

therefore

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