New Life

Years ago, one of our son’s best friends paid for him to go skydiving as a gift.

Before he boarded the plane, an instructor spoke to him about the upcoming experience.

Our son was dressed in a special flight suit and given a parachute.

Although I was not there, I am sure he listened to the instructions about the parachute and everything else that was advised.

After all, who would dare to go skydiving without having any knowledge whatsoever about the parachute?

I was thinking about this earlier today.

People die all the time.

Every day.

Most everyone dies before they reach 100 years old.

Only a few make it a little past that mark.

Yet, how many people inquire as to what will happen when they die?

How many people are concerned enough to look into it?

Taking the trip from this life to eternity is far more important than skydiving.

God has made known His plan for safe passage for those who die.

His plan was the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and the offering of a new life with Him, now and forever.

Jesus became our “parachute” when we had nothing to save us from the fall to Hell.

Still, there are those who do not wish to hear of a safe passage.

They do not wish to hear about a parachute.

They desire no instructions from God about the trip we all must make.

There are some, though, who have heard His call for instruction.

They have listened intently about a safe passage.

They have decided that having a Savior is the only way to life after death.

What preparations have you made personally for your passage?

1 Corinthians 15:22 reads,

“Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”

 

 

 

 

new life

 

 

 

Through a Glass

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Walking along the ocean side is one of my favorite things.

The gentle, yet powerful, roar of the waves as they break onto the shore.

The sound of the seagulls squawking above me.

The feel of the wet sand on my feet.

And, of course, the sea spray…

The mist created by the vast expanse of water causes a haze to hang like an opaque backdrop, removing clarity from everything in its path.

Buildings lose their distinctiveness as they succumb to the white, concealing moisture all about them.

As I walked along the water’s edge, I photographed the scene in front of me.

Children playing.

Couples strolling.

Birds flying.

Sand castles being constructed.

All within the mist.

The Bible reads in 1 Corinthians 13:12,

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

We are all living “in the mist” at this time.
Playing.
Strolling.
Building—
All with limited vision.
There will be a day when that will change.
Are you ready for that day?
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glass darkly

He Can Be Depended On

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Do you know what it is like not to be forgiven?

Do you know how it feels to truly be sorry about something and yet your most heartfelt words are not received?

Although I would hope not, I am afraid that there are many people in this world who have experienced these feelings time and again.

God, however, will never cease to forgive when we ask.

When we are truly sorry about something, our most heartfelt words are received by our heavenly Father.

Not only are they received, but they are placed beside the truth that Jesus has already paid the penalty for the transgressions we are speaking about.

With the penalty being paid, He is faithful to forgive.

Not once, but always.

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If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.

–1 John 1:8-9

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Now Faith

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What does wind look like?

I could tell you the effects of wind.

I could tell you what wind feels like as it brushes against my face.

I could even describe how I think wind moves.

But tell you what it looks like?

I can’t do it.

Even so, I know it is there.

I have faith in knowing that wind exists.

I am sure of it.

I believe in God.

I believe that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins.

I can’t tell you exactly what Jesus looks like.

I can’t tell you a place where you could go and “see” God.

I can tell you what effect God has had on me.

I can tell you how He forgave me.

I can tell you what it feels like to know that forgiveness down in my heart.

I can tell you what it’s like to experience God moving in my life.

I have faith in God…..

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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

—Hebrews 11:1

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My Peace I Give to You

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While visiting a nearby city to make a hospital visit, my husband and I decided to go to a park we had never been to.

Having searched online for parks in the area, we found one that looked interesting.

Finding a place to leave our car, we walked along the water’s edge.

Many people were enjoying the surroundings, as well, and we were blessed to see families out with baby strollers and toddlers and couples sitting together in the late afternoon sun.

The air was cool and the atmosphere was calm.

Unhurried.

At one point, we noticed a grandfather as he held a very small child up to the rod iron fence and let the boy experience the wonderment of throwing a stick down into the water.

A woman on a bench was accompanied by a white curly-haired dog.

A group of ducks swam together on the gently rippled water.

It was peaceful.

Jesus gave us words about peace:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

—-John 14:27

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Peace I leave

When The Ocean Was Born

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I am fascinated by the ocean.

I love the sound of the waves.

I love to watch the water as it changes shape to form them.

I love to ponder the ripples in the sand that remain when the tide pulls back.

God keeps the vast ocean in its place, every day, every night, without ceasing.

Awesome.

Amazing.

All-powerful.

That’s what God is….

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When the ocean was born,
    I set its boundaries
 and wrapped it in blankets
    of thickest fog.
 Then I built a wall around it,
    locked the gates,  and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!
    They can go no farther.”

—Job 38:8-10

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no farther 2

Bitter Root

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Since I was off work today, I decided to do some weeding in the yard.

At one side of my house, I have some nice plants in a rectangular bed.

Sadly, I have neglected it and many weeds have grown up.

While removing some of them today, I reached down to pull an unwanted weed.

To my surprise, when I pulled it from the ground, it was actually spread out for quite a way to either side of the root.

What looked like a lot of plants was actually only one weed that had grown and spread its tendrils over an impressive area of soil.

Almost immediately as I looked at the mass of greenery hanging from my gloved hand, I thought of how that applies to life.

I hung the removed mass of stems and leaves up and took a photograph of them.

Pondering further, I think there are many spiritual problems that can threaten to overtake someone.

I wonder if those vast number of issues could actually be stemming from an initial one–

Bitterness?

Greed?

Anger?

If so, how can a person be delivered from a life plagued with the wages of sin?

Only God can deliver us from our plight.

When He removes, forgives and redeems, everything is taken out.

We can be healed from our transgressions and have a renewed mind—a mind devoted to Him.

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See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

—Hebrews 12:15

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What Lies Behind

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I could hear the screech of the hawk as I was about to get into my car.

Flying toward the tall tree, it came to rest in the branches that were already thinning as colder weather approached.

Changing my schedule for a few moments, I took the opportunity to photograph the stately bird.

In one of the photos, his body was facing forward in the direction he was headed when I first saw him.

His head, however, was turned around—looking back from where he had flown from.

As believers in Jesus, we must look ahead at our new life in Him.

We can forget the old way of life that we had, with no need to look back.

We must keep looking forward.

We must trust in Him.

All things are new.

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 3:8-14

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forgetting

Cut The Hay

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Cut the hay, and new grass will grow.

Then gather the new plants that grow on the hills.

—Proverbs 27:25 ERV

The Good News version of the Bible translates this verse in this way:

You cut the hay and then cut the grass on the hillsides while the next crop of hay is growing.

God’s continual provision is with us always.

We must trust God to provide for us in every way that we have needs.

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cut the hay

The Wind Blows

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Nicodemas was a Pharisee who was alive during Jesus’ time on the earth.

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

—John 3:2-8

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wind blows

Everlasting

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
 Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

—Psalm 90:1-2

God loves you right now.

God loved your parents.

God loved your grandparents.

God loved your great-grandparents, too.

No matter how far back you can go in your lineage, God has loved every person.

No matter how far back you go or how far forward you look to, God will still love—

From everlasting to everlasting.

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everlasting

Unless the LORD Builds

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Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

–Psalm 127:1

Who is building your life?

Is it God, or is it you?

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Rays of Light

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I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
    the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

—Habakkuk 3:2-4

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brilliant

Do Not Be Anxious

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Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything by prayer and supplication

with thanksgiving let your requests

be made known to God.

And the peace of God,

which surpasses all understanding,

will guard your hearts

and your minds

in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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peace

Declare His Glory

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There is a small market near my son’s apartment in a nearby town.

Quaint and eclectic, it is a delightful place to visit.

Out in front of the store, a cart with flowers for sale brightens the corner.

As each plant is sold, beauty goes out from that place and spreads to another.

Psalm 96:3 reads,

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”

As we learn of God’s marvelous works and experience His glory, we then may go out and share what we have found to others.

We declare our faith and what God has done to those we are in contact with.

Each time we tell of God’s great love and forgiveness, we spread the beauty of the gospel.

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marvelous works

A Brother or Sister in Need

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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

—1 John 3:17-18

I think God puts thoughts into our minds sometimes.

When my husband came home from work today, he was in a great mood.

He said it was a beautiful day and we should go somewhere and enjoy it.

I responded by suggesting that we go to a lakeside park and watch the sun set.

After we had been at the park for only a few minutes, we met a woman on the boardwalk who had a need.

My husband and I were able to help her with what she was needing.

We were there at just the right time.

The time, I believe, that God wanted us to be there.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God cares so much for us that He will bring people to us when we need them?

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possessions

In Due Season

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Where I live, oranges are ready for picking around Christmas time.

Of course, there are other crops that are in season then, as well as many in October and November.

There are berry picking farms in my area.

Even corn fields.

One thing is worth noting—

No matter how hard we would want it to happen, the oranges aren’t going to be ready to eat three months earlier than normal.

The berries aren’t going to be ripe enough to eat three months before their time, either.

The corn isn’t good until each stalk has had the proper time to mature.

The Bible has this to say in the book of Galatians:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

—Galatians 6:9

Farmers can’t give up on their crops before the appointed time of their maturity.

They just have to trust that in time, they will see the fruits of their labor.

It’s that way with us.

We just can’t give up….

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due season

Our Church Meetings

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In response to all He has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.

 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.

—-Hebrews 10:24-25

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Perfect Peace

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While visiting the ocean recently, I photographed two pelicans.

Often seen silently gliding in the air above in group formation, they are sometimes seen just sitting in the water, floating.

As I watched them, large waves would come up.

At times, they were completely hidden from my view because of the raging water and its foam.

Seconds later, they would appear in view again, still calmly riding the waves as though nothing had happened.

I know, of course, that at any moment they could’ve decided to just take off and fly away.

For a very long time, though, they chose not to.

They remained anchored in the water, moving as it moved, back and forth, high and low.

I can imagine them saying, “Let’s just sit here in the water for awhile and rest.”

Rest?

Rest in the constant surge of water beneath them?

Rest in the ocean’s white foam?

Evidently so.

They seemed at peace as they trusted their Maker.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26:3-4 that God can give perfect peace to those who trust Him:

You, Lord, give perfect peace
    to those who keep their purpose firm
    and put their trust in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever;
    He will always protect us.

The waves in our lives can we great, yet God can give us peace…

even in their midst.

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purpose

The Rock

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As for God, His way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    He shields all who take refuge in Him.
 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.

—Psalm 18:30-32

the rock

And the Two Will Become One

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What does it mean to be married?

Ephesians 5:31 reads:

As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.”

When someone is married, life is shared.

Happy life.
Sad life.

Healthy life.
Sick life.

Confident life.
Unsure life.

Faith life.
Doubting life.

What happens in one spouse’s life is felt in some way by the other.

A partnership of love.
An alliance of fidelity.
A union of commitment.

That’s what it means to be married.

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Puzzling Reflections

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In my journey of faith, there are many things that I do not understand.

Yet, even in my lack of understanding, I must trust God.

He sees things perfectly.

His knowledge is complete.

His love for me is great.

Like a little child trusting in her father as she grasps his hand while crossing a busy street, I must put my faith in God’s wisdom and guidance as I walk through this life with Him at my side.

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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

—1 Corinthians 13:12

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Praise Him, Sun and Moon

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The sky was clear last night and the moon was bright and almost nearly overhead.

Braving the mosquitoes, I stood in my driveway, trying to get a good shot.

I really enjoy looking at the night sky and seeing a small part of the vastness in space that God has created.

Each time the moon rises, its very presence praises God who made it….

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Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise Him in the heights above.
 Praise Him, all His angels;
    praise Him, all His heavenly hosts.
 Praise Him, sun and moon;
    praise Him, all you shining stars.
 Praise Him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at His command they were created,
 and He established them for ever and ever—
    He issued a decree that will never pass away.

—Psalm 148:1-6

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praise

Amazing Things Happen

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Purple Gallinules are very common where I live.

Even though they are common, they are not commonly colored.

In fact, they are arrayed in a most beautiful mix of emerald, turquoise, indigo, red and yellow.

The Purple Gallinule is an amazingly adorned bird, decorated exactly the way God planned.

In the book of Job, God’s voice is spoken about in reference to thunder.

In a different way, I think God’s voice speaks through His visual creations.

Job 37:5 reads,

“At God’s command amazing things happen,
    wonderful things that we can’t understand.”

Amazing things happen every day.

Things like Purple Gallinules walking past us or a glorious sunset lighting up the western sky.

Amazing things happen, because God is amazing…..

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His Promises

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It was a windy afternoon coupled with an overcast sky and cool temperatures.

I decided that it would be a perfect time to visit a lakeside park in a nearby city.

As my husband and I walked around, we saw a bird on the grass past the wooden bridge we were standing on.

Having some stale biscuit bread in a bag, he threw a small piece into the grass below.

A different bird saw the morsel and eagerly ran up.

This commotion caused a bit of a stir in the long blades of grass, sufficient enough to flush some colorful butterflies out and into the open.

As they settled back down, once again lighting and being still, I took a few photographs of them.

Not knowing what type of butterfly I had seen, I did a bit of research.

It seems that I was watching some White Peacock butterflies.

Delicate and fragile, they truly were captivating to behold.

I’m not sure why butterflies remind us of a sense of freedom and serenity.

Perhaps their playful sprint from one place to another along with their carefree ability to do so is what does it.

In another way, their vulnerability might bring a sense of trust or confidence to mind.

1 Corinthians 1:9 reads,

“God faithfully keeps His promises. He called you to be partners with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We must trust God to keep His promises.

We must be confident in who He is and in His love for us.

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faithfully

Let Me Hear

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It was early morning yesterday when I went to my friend’s house.

After my visit, I drove to the end of her street and turned around near a pasture.

The sun was low in the sky as it was glowing across the grass and trees.

Two horses stood serenely behind the fence.

I was blessed to see such a peaceful landscape—a gift from God.

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Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love,
    for in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to You I lift up my soul.

—Psalm 143:8

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steadfast cor final

They Sing Praises

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The lyrics to an old hymn mention birds singing to God:

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

(Maltbie D. Babcock)

Birds calling.

Flowers blooming.

The light of sunrise.

They are all praising God!

All the earth worships You
    and sings praises to You;
    they sing praises to Your Name. Selah

—Psalm 66:4

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all the earth