Harassed and Helpless

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

 

—Matthew 9:35-38

I am a sheep.

By myself, I don’t know what is best for me.

I might choose green grass to eat –right on the edge of a cliff– without even once understanding the danger.

I can’t fight a wolf.

If a predator comes after me, I must have protection or I will perish.

If I see no water to drink, I may wander aimlessly looking for it.

I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.

I have a Shepherd.

He knows what is best for me.

I must trust Him to guide me.

He chooses what grass I will eat and where I will eat it.

He protects me against my enemies.

There is none who attacks that He cannot stop.

I am a sheep, but I’m not alone.

I have a Shepherd.

Do you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

sheep Shepherd

 

 

 

 

 

He Will Show You

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek His will in all you do,

and He will show you which path to take.

—Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

I see the sunset as it meets the ocean

A seam of water and sky

Blended with blurred reflection

 

I hurry beside the fence

Intent on finding a clearer view

The blazing light before me

Fills my thoughts and fuels my steps

 

Drawn to what I see

The path is laid before me

The only direction I need

 

 

pathto

 

 

 

 

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

Your Needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:19

 

It wasn’t what I had planned at all.

I wanted to have a peaceful, wonderful day.

Actually, it turned out to be that way, but I wasn’t feeling well.

Having developed a fever and sore throat the day before, I wasn’t up to doing everything I had hoped to.

Still, the morning was beautiful, so I decided to step out into the yard and take a few photos in the early mist.

A squirrel was playfully moving about on a tree.

He was having a good day.

By watching him, I began to experience a certain happiness.

It’s like that for me.

As I look at my surroundings and notice the beauty of what God has created, I begin to feel a happy calmness.

As the verse above speaks of the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, it seems to me that God will provide our needs, whatever they are.

Spiritual needs.

Physical needs.

Relational needs.

All our needs.

Even as He was healing my body of a sore throat and fever, He was giving me calm through the morning mist and the company of a scampering little squirrel.

 

your-needs

And Teach Me

 

 

 

Many people are concerned about the education of their children.

They want them to go to the best schools.

They want them to have good teachers who are knowledgeable, as well as kind and understanding.

They want a solid curriculum with adequate preparation for living in society and attaining a productive career.

As children get a bit older, some of them begin to feel this way about their own education.

Applying themselves to their studies, they look toward the future and the positive outcomes a good education will avail.

Who wouldn’t want this?

In Psalm 25:4-5, the writer prays:

Make me to know Your ways, O Lord;
teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
for You I wait all the day long.

How important is it to us to know the ways of the Lord?

How important is it to us to have the Lord teach us His paths?

How important is it to have the Lord lead us in His truth?

Do we long to have this spiritual “education” from the Lord for ourselves and our children?

In light of eternity, it will not matter what college we have graduated from.

Our vocational skills here on earth will not be of great significance when we die.

Our relationship with God and our salvation through Jesus, His Son, will be the most important thing then.

Shouldn’t it be the most important thing now?

 

teach-me

 

 

 

 

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

—John 14:27

A troubled heart can be calmed.

A restless mind can be quieted.

A sleepless night can be changed to one of healing rest.

A broken life can be made whole again.

Jesus gives us peace….

peace

A New Heart

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart
of flesh.
—Ezekiel 36:26

When we see a rainbow, we may think of God’s promise to never flood the earth again. 

But do we think about how the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise and a new beginning for mankind?

As a rainbow forms in the atmosphere, it is a reminder of new beginnings for us, right now. 

Stony, unforgiving hearts within us can be made soft. 

New attitudes that are pleasing to God can take the place of old, harmful attitudes. 

What about you?

Are you in need of a new beginning today?

My Hope is in You

Glancing out my window, I could see that the clouds had given way to a brilliant sunset.

Hurrying out the door with my camera, I walked quickly to the farmland near my house.

Cows no longer roamed and grazed as they used to there, but it was still a quiet and serene place–especially as the day drew to an end.

As the sun lowered deeper into the horizon, its muted tones of light created a fleeting nuance of beauty not possible in the earlier hours.

Wild berries had grown along the barbed wire fence closest to the road.

Thinking thoughts without words, I was still basking in the wonderful beauty of the day I had just experienced.

Traveling to see family in a different city, a trail ride on a bicycle, a visit to a park.

It had all been so very wonderful.

Arriving home, I just wanted to pray and thank God.

And then, to have had this peaceful and resplendent sunset–

Every day, my hope begins and ends in God.

 

 

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.

–Psalm 39:7

 

my hope 2

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

Able to Give

 

As I stood in the backyard of a friend’s house, I admired the calm scene of water as it reflected the cloudy sky and the surrounding trees.

The afternoon visit was a contemplative one.

My friend and her husband had suffered a great loss.

Their infant son—only a few days old—passed away while in the hospital recently.

I am hoping that I will be able to comfort them in the coming weeks and months.

God has comforted me during times of loss, as well.

My husband and I lost a child through miscarriage and another child in an accident.

How can I help my friends?

The Bible says,

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:4

Is there someone you could comfort and encourage today?

 

comforts us

Every Living Thing

Psalm 145:15-16

The eyes of all look to You in hope; You give them their food as they need it. When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

 

When I realized I was looking at a pair of pelicans as they cared for their young, I was very excited.

As one parent looks lovingly and carefully at his two little ones, his only means to feed them is to give to them what God has already provided.

every living

The Breath

The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

–Job 33:4

 

As I walked over the wooden bridge, I paused to watch a small turtle surfacing in the water below me.

With his little neck stretched up into the air, he was sustaining his life as he took a breath.

It pleased God to make turtles, as it pleased Him to make all His creatures.

He designed this particular type to have the need to come up for air every now and then.

Air gives us life, as well.

If we cease to breathe, we cease to live.

Yet, if we did not have God’s breath in us, we would never have existed.

It is God who gives and sustains our lives.

 

breath

Save the Lost

I really don’t know how he got there, exactly.

While at work today, I went into a restroom located in a fairly large building, quite a ways from any exterior entrances.

I noticed a caterpillar on the gray tile floor.

Why would he venture from his home in the great outdoors to come into a place where he would surely die from lack of nourishment?

Crawling through a door or window into the out-of-this-world (his anyway) carpeted wonderland may have looked like a dream come true, but instead, that choice turned out to be one to regret.

Without water and green leaves to munch on, life was going to be drawing to a close.

The caterpillar was probably confused at his circumstances, all the while desperately searching for a way out.

It’s likely you know someone like this caterpillar.

For some reason, they have ventured from their good lifestyle into a place where they will surely suffer from lack of spiritual guidance, positive encouragement and the support of faithful friends.

It’s as if they crawled through a doorway into what looked great at the time–the hope of popularity, acceptance, and even love–only to find themselves involved in substance abuse, destructive habits and self-deprecation.

It’s a choice they have come to regret as confusion and hopelessness gain a tighter grip on their day to day existence.

Although they may try to hide it, they are desperately searching for a way out–a way back home where they can be at peace.

I knew what I had to do with the caterpillar today.

Getting a small tissue, I picked him up, bundled and safe, and took him outside.

There, I placed him in the grass where he could begin his “rescued” life out in the open.

That’s a great ending for the caterpillar, but what about people?

We can’t just pick them up and transport them to safety and prosperous living.

Only God can do that.

He can restore and heal.

He can lead the way back.

Back to the place where people can be at peace with God and with themselves.

 

 

save the lost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steadfast, Immovable

While at a friend’s house, she showed me a dove who was faithfully sitting on a nest located in a garden planter.

The dove sat quietly as she looked at me—that odd looking person with a black box in her hand, coming ever so close.

As my camera and I visited her for a few brief moments, I captured a precious scene.

A scene of commitment.

A scene of love.

Who told the dove to sit on her nest?

God gives the animals instructions like that.

We, as believers, need to be committed to doing what God asks us to do.

We need to be steadfast…

 

 

 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

 

 

 

steadfast

New Strength

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

—Isaiah 40:31

 

Are you tired today?

Weary?

Ready to give up?

The LORD can give you new strength.

New energy.

A new vision for the future….

 

wings

Friend of God

Today is our son, Benji’s birthday.

He was killed in a car accident when he was 19.
The memories of his life will forever be with me.
Things that he left behind are cherished——
His tattered Bible.
The card he gave me as a teenager that said, “I love you.”

Shortly after his death, I was told a story about him.
It is one that I also continue to cherish.

It seems that Benji was out with friends in a car.
One of the young men with him happened to use God’s name in a cursing manner.
Benji didn’t like his choice of words and told him not to say that.

His friend responded by saying the offensive words over and over again, probably trying to be funny.
Benji became very insistent about the language being used.

Reacting to Benji’s anger over the situation, the young man said something like, “Whoa! Benji! I thought we were friends!”

Benji replied, “Yeah. Well, I’m better friends with God….”

My boy…..

Friends with God.

When someone we love dies, certain things don’t really matter anymore.

Things like—
Did they go to college?
What job did they have?
Where did they live?

No.
Those things aren’t really what’s most important.

Benji went on a journey the day he left this earth.
It was a journey I was not expecting him to take for many years.
When he left, there was only one thing that was mattered.

Benji was friends with God….

************

 

And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.

—James 2:23

 

friend

The Time of Singing

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

–Song of Solomon 2:11-12

 

Driving past a church on my way home, I noticed a nearby home with a tree in the yard.

It was bursting with color!

Alive with captivating blossoms, it was lovely to behold.

Getting out of the car in the church parking lot, I took some photos of the branches with their delicate and graceful flowers as they were singing silently of the beauty and majesty of their Creator.

The winter is certainly over where I live.

The flowers have appeared.

The time of singing has come!

flowers appear

Control Your Mind

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

—Romans 8:5-8

What do I want to be controlled by?

Dominated by?

Do I want death or do I want life and peace?

Each of us must make that choice.

 

 

 

sinful

Every Creature

My friend found the little moth outside my front door when she was visiting a couple of weeks ago.

Impressed by its unusually striking appearance, she showed it to me.

I’m not sure if either of us had ever seen a moth like that one.

After doing some research, I found that we had been looking at a Giant Leopard Moth.

This one hadn’t made it to “giant” status yet, but it was still impressive.

As my friend held it in her hands, I photographed it.

Black and white with a bit of orange on the body, its appearance was quite dramatic.

The Bible tells us in Job 12:10,

“In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

God has made every creature on the earth.

Each one is a testimony to His greatness.

 

everycreature

 

So Death Spread

Walking near a park area in the early morning hours, I noticed some trees—well, they used to be trees, or maybe they still were–but they hardly resembled trees anymore.

Having been absolutely overtaken by a growing vine, the trees were almost unrecognizable.

Instead, the tightly intertwining vines had taken over, creating a lush, green shroud.

The trunks and branches beneath this blanket are probably in danger of dying from the vines that hold them in bondage.

People are kind of like those trees.

Once sin came into the world, it brought death with it.

Sin and death have spread, covering humanity.

Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin that entangles us.

He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

Because of Him, those who believe are rescued from its heavy blanket of death, restored to new life, forever.

*

 

 

 

Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

–Romans 5:12

 

 

sin

Vapor

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Our lives are important.

What we do every day is important.

Every minute.

Every hour.

God has given us time to spend.

May we have the wisdom to spend it wisely….

 

*

Yet

you do not know

what your life

will be like

tomorrow.

You are

just a vapor

that appears

for a little while

and then

vanishes away.

—James 4:14

 

Click image to enlarge.

 

vapor

Be Like the Ant

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Walking along early at the park, I suddenly noticed a large ant hill at my feet.

Happily, they weren’t up yet…at least they weren’t out yet.

Because of their bite and the large numbers of them usually together, ants have to be respected and feared.

Beyond that, ants can be respected for something else, as well.

Ants work together and also alone.

Either way, ants work.

They seem to work quite diligently, in fact.

Proverbs 6:6-8 reads,

“Be like the ant and see her ways and learn, for there is no harvest for her,

And there is no ruler over her, neither anyone to drive her.

And she prepares for herself her bread from the summer and she stores her food at harvest.”

What work is it that God has called you to do?

Are you working diligently together with others to accomplish it?

Are you working alone, also, to do the same?

This is something I must ask myself…

*

Click image to enlarge.

the ant

I Will Watch

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When I got up this morning, the fog was gently draping itself like a blanket just above the dewy ground.

As the sun’s rays came streaming down, they formed a natural spotlight for the grassy stage below.

Quiet.

Undisturbed.

Peaceful.

The start of a new day.

There are many concerns tugging at my heart.

God knows each one.

When I awaken to a new day, often I am reminded of my concerns.

As I pray for God to work in a way that only He can in the lives of those I am interceding for, I must wait.

I must wait and watch for His answer.

*

LORD, in the morning You will hear my voice; in the morning I will pray to You, and I will watch for Your answer.

–Psalm 5:3

 

 

*

Click image to enlarge.

morning watch

Set in Their Places

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This year, there will be a full moon on Christmas.

That hasn’t happened since 1977.

In fact, it’s only happened three times since 1900.

So, when will it occur again on Christmas?

The year 2034….

Figuring out such things requires a great deal of scientific and mathematical knowledge and expertise—a task for the highly educated.

Keeping the moon in orbit around the earth and the earth sailing around the sun and the sun in its place in the Milky Way requires a Creator with ultimate power—a task that only God can handle.

*

O Lord, our Lord,
    Your greatness is seen in all the world!
Your praise reaches up to the heavens;
 it is sung by children and babies.
You are safe and secure from all Your enemies;
    You stop anyone who opposes You.

 When I look at the sky, which You have made,
    at the moon and the stars, which You set in their places—
 what are human beings, that You think of them;
    mere mortals, that You care for them?

—Psalm 8:1-4

*

 

 

Click image to enlarge.

mortals