Where the Windows Opened

In the Old Testament, we find the account of Daniel, a servant of God, and a plot of evil against him from jealous men.

Since Daniel was a person of such integrity, the men realized they would never be able to accuse him of wrongdoing unless it had something to do with his devotion to God.

They devised a sinister plan:

 

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!  The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”  So King Darius put the decree in writing.

 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.  Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.  So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”   —Daniel 6:6-12

The king was then told that Daniel was still praying to his God.

Although Darius did not want to, he was forced to give the order to have Daniel placed in the lions’ den.

King Darius was troubled all night.

The next morning, he went to the lions’s den and found that Daniel was alive!

Daniel testified that it was God who had kept him safe.

The king had the evil men, their wives and their children thrown into the den where the lions killed them.

Then, he issued a decree stating that everyone should fear and have reverence for the God of Daniel.

God rescues.

God saves.

God loves…

 

windows opened

Prayer

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The garden area I saw was lush and inviting, with blooms of many colors.

An arch of vines formed a canopy over the brick walkway.

I am reminded of the lyrics of an old hymn:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

 

*

 

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:6-7

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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

 

 

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morning watch

You Hear My Voice

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The mist was so beautiful, I just had to pull over and photograph it.

In my area, fog is most commonly encountered in the early morning, before the warmth of the sun causes it to dissipate.

I pray a lot while I am driving my car.

It is then that I am usually alone.

Morning often finds me commuting to work, praying, and thinking about God and those I love.

There is no better way to start the day!

*

Listen to my words, O Lord,
    and hear my sighs.
 Listen to my cry for help,
    my God and king!

I pray to you, O Lord;
    you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer
    and wait for your answer.

—Psalm 5:1-3

 

 

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Let Your Hope Keep You

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How should I love?

What should I hate?

What should I hold on to?

How should I love someone?

How should I show respect?

How should I work?

How should I serve the Lord?

What can keep me joyful?

How should I respond during times of trouble?

When should I pray?

Should I share my belongings?

Should I open my home to people I don’t know?

~

Love must be completely sincere.

Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

Love one another warmly as Christians,

and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy.

Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 

Let your hope keep you joyful,

be patient in your troubles,

and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians,

and open your homes to strangers.

–Romans 12:9-13

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I Leave With You

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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

Jesus comforted His disciples by saying these words.

I think He wants me to be comforted by them, as well.

When so much is going on around me that constantly invites worry, I can have peace.

Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Jesus says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

In my human mind, I can respond with, “But what if…..”

With my surrendered heart, I can respond with, “Jesus, I accept Your peace.”

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By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

*

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—Philippians 4:6

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Life is in the Way

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Life is in the way of those who are right with God, and in its path there is no death.

 –Proverbs 12:28

Because of Jesus.

Because of Jesus and what He did for me.

Because of Jesus and what He did for me by paying the penalty for my sins.

Because of Jesus, I am right with God.

What path is before me?

Everlasting life.

No death.

Because of Jesus.

Do you know Him today?

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Come and Talk With Me

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My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with Me.”
    And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

—Psalm 27:8

The rose bush growing by the walkway to my front door has always delighted me.

I don’t believe it has ever had more than eight roses at once.

Most of the time, it has only one or two crimson red blooms.

As I come home from work or leave the house in the morning, often I am greeted with a new bloom.

When I notice a new rose, I am always pleased inside.

The part of me that reaches out to grasp the newness of the moment, night or day, responds to the blessing of the beautiful sight and smell sent to me on a thorny stalk of green.

It’s as though the roses say, “Come and see me.”

When I awaken in the morning, when I am falling asleep at night and at any moment throughout the time in between, God’s voice may bloom in front of me, saying, “Come and talk with Me.”

I want my heart to always respond, “LORD, I am coming,” reaching out to grasp the newness of that moment with God, night or day.

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my heart

Roar and Foam

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The water crashed against the large rocks over and over.

White foam accompanied each surge.

The ocean reminds me of God’s power.

The vastness of the sea and the unrelenting motion of the waves.

No matter what happens in our lives, as His children, the Lord Almighty is with us.

*

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

—Psalm 46:1-7

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roar and foam

Seek the Lord

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I am really glad we have lenses that allow us to see things that we otherwise could not.

We have eyeglasses to help us to see around us.

We have magnifying glasses and microscopes to help us view what is tiny.

We have binoculars and telescopes to help us see what is far away.

Because of these finely crafted pieces of glass, we have found great wonders.

But how does one search for God?

By looking at what He has made, we see His power and creativity.

Seeking God, longing to know more of Him, wanting to be closer to Him, cannot be aided by glass alone.

As we pray with open hearts, we find Him there.

As we read His word, we learn of His presence and love throughout the ages and into our very present lives.

*

Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!

—1 Chronicles 16:11

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Go to Your Room

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When you pray,

go to your room

and close the door.

Pray privately to your

Father who is with you.

Your Father sees

what you do in private.

He will reward you.

—-Matthew 6:6

Quiet moments.

Time spent seeking God’s guidance.

Listening with our hearts for our heavenly Father’s words to gently, yet clearly, speak to us.

There is no communication more precious and priceless…

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close the door

Your Worries

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Walking along the dock tonight, it was peaceful and calm.

My heart was fairly peaceful and calm, as well.

The sun had long been gone, but a hint of orange still remained in the gray sky of dusk above me.

It was raining and the lights reflected in the soaking wood beneath my feet.

In the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve had many issues to bring before the Lord in prayer.

Already, there have been answers to some.

If I just stop to consider, I have so many blessings to be thankful for.

Despite the issues that seem difficult and overwhelming, there are so many things that are right and good.

Things that are just as they should be, or actually, even better.

1 Peter 5:7 reads,

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

God loves us.

He doesn’t want us to be sick with worry and concern over things that are in His control.

He wants us to come to Him with our concerns.

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worries

Through the Valley

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When I drive, I sing.

A lot.

At different times, the lyrics that I am singing resonate in my heart in a significant way.

Today, I experienced just that.

One of my favorite songs is based on the twenty-third Psalm in the Old Testament.

As I was singing along with the music in my car, these words came alive in my heart:

IF I LET MY HEART BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, I CAN SEE BEYOND THE VALLEY TO THE MOUNTAIN OF MY DREAMS.*

Of course, I have known the words from the psalm that say, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….”

Strangely, I have never considered what it might be like to look beyond the valley I’m in toward the mountain.

That higher place in my journey with God.

The truth is, there have been, and will be, many valleys to go through.

There will also be many mountains.

Mountains of my dreams.

Mountains where the desires of my heart meet the will of God in a perfect union.

If I let my heart believe that God can do anything—-

even when things don’t look very promising,

then I can let my heart believe that He can bring me through any valley I might be traveling in.

*

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

—Psalm 23:4

*Manwell Reyes

*
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valley lomo

Courage

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Courage.

The dictionary defines courage as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

Psalm 3:3-4 reads,

“But, Lord, You are my shield.
    You are my wonderful God who gives me courage.
 I will pray to the Lord.
    And He will answer me from His holy mountain.”

If I were to take the modern definition of courage and consider it in this verse it would be,

“You are my wonderful God who gives me the quality of mind or spirit to enable me to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear. You are my wonderful God who gives me bravery.”

As I stood on the grass by the lake as the sun was setting tonight, I photographed the clouds towering in the sky, reflecting on the calm water below.

I prayed.

God knows that I am in need of some courage.

His courage.

He also knows all the other things I need, too, even though I haven’t realized it yet.

*

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courage

When I Am Afraid

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I’ve been afraid before.

Afraid as a child.

Afraid as a teenager.

Afraid as an adult.

Fear causes an inner turmoil that grips us, whether we are in a dentist’s chair or waking from a troubling dream.

Whatever the situation may be that causes the response of fear, we are never alone in it.

God does not abandon us when circumstances in life become frightening.

When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

We never, ever walk alone….

*

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

—Psalm 56:3

*

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afraid

Not Perish

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As I walked into the room, I saw him.

An anole lizard was sitting on the leg of my husband’s weight bench.

This surely meant death.

Not because I would bring about his demise, but because once a lizard gets into a building, away from life sustaining water, they lose the battle, dehydrate, and die.

Being someone who cares about the creatures of the wild, I set about to rescue him.

Getting a plastic cup and lid, I approached him and attempted to lure him into the cup.

He had other ideas….

Jumping and running this way and that, (him, not me…) he ran underneath a tall wooden wardrobe.

I couldn’t reach him now.

Giving up the quest for a few moments, I set about to do other things.

Walking back into the room a bit later, there he was again.

Continuing my unsuccessful cup trapping method, he stubbornly avoided me.

I prayed and asked God to allow me to save him.

The little brown miniature version of a dinosaur ran over to a bookshelf near the door to the back yard.

I carefully opened the door, and with some encouraging movements on my part, he glimpsed the sunlight and caught the smell of freedom.

He made a good decision and bolted for the threshold, continuing on to the concrete patio.

I realized that God had answered my prayer, as my little friend was now going to be all right.

I had intended to rescue him in the cup and take him to safety.

Instead, I merely opened the door and it was his choice to go through.

How I long to just rescue people who do not know Jesus!

If I could just scoop them up in my arms and take them to eternal safefy—–

but I can’t.

They have to believe and ask for forgiveness of sin themselves.

I can’t do it for them.

Sure, I can open the door—

Talk to them about God and His plan of salvation.

Show them verses in the Bible.

Live the way God would have me to and be a light that points to life in Him.

Once the door is opened though, and they see the offer of complete forgiveness and a home in Heaven, it is their choice–not mine–that will send them across the threshold.

*
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

—John 3:16

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From the Rising

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Standing on the dock of the intracoastal waters, I had a prime vantage point for viewing the sunset.

The fiery ball of light before me was vanishing behind a blanket of clouds low to the horizon, giving the illusion of

of mountains in the distance.

As the light danced on the gentle ripples of the water’s surface, it mirrored the subtle colors of gold and gray above.

Psalm 113:3

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

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rising

Listen to My Voice

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It’s been a rainy afternoon—the kind that throws your sense of time off a bit because it looks like dusk at three o’clock.

My basset hound had the look about her that begged for a walk, so with leash in hand, we ventured outside.

A few feet into the yard, I became aware of the slightest sound of wind chimes delicately moving in the breeze.

Immediately, I was aware that it was quiet enough for my ears to acknowledge them.

With my mind in comparison mode, my thoughts quickly ran to an experience from just days ago.

I had been staying at a hotel near the ocean with friends for some much needed rest and calm.

The hotel had a very nice pool for its guests to enjoy, along with scheduled poolside events throughout the week.

Along with things like water games, hula hoop contests and making your own tie-dyed shirt, they also offered a game where those participating were given a card with numbers.

During that activity, everyone had to be very quiet to see if a number on their card was being announced.

On this particular occasion, my friends and I were not involved in the game.

Sitting almost at the edge of the pool deck, we were talking together when it happened—-

I noticed that the noise was gone.

Suddenly, everyone had stopped talking, listening only for the voice of the game announcer.

The significant thing to me–even then–was that I hadn’t even noticed that there WAS any noise, until it stopped.

I had grown used to the clutter of sounds around me, adapting my hearing to only selected conversation.

What would it take for me to really listen for God?

For all the noise to cease, listening only for His voice, like the delicate tones of wind chimes on a quiet, rainy day?

*

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

–John 10:27

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I Have Overcome

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16.33

What trouble do you have today?

Has this trouble stolen your peace?

Has worry replaced calm?

Jesus has overcome.

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Present Your Requests

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While visiting my son’s lakeside apartment, I suggested that we take a walk in the park across the street.

As we began our stroll, we noticed some heavy equipment parked near the fishing dock.

Neither of us could tell what work was about to be done, but it obviously looked as though some serious digging was planned.

On the way back from our walk, I decided to photograph the machines.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have only a spoon with which to dig in order to complete a task like the one probably planned near the dock?

Diligent work for weeks and months—perhaps years—might still not be enough to tackle the need.

There are many times in our lives when God provides a spoon for us to complete a work because a spoon is all that is needed.

At other times, situations loom before us as we feel helpless and defeated with our lack of resources or ability.

God knows our limitations.

Sometimes, He is the only One who can take care of a situation.

In an instant, He can heal, provide, change, forgive and encourage.

Even so, we can forget that He is available to help us.

With spoon in hand, we tackle those things never meant to be faced alone.

Philippians 4:6 says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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anxious

Fear, But Of Power

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Walking through the park with a friend, we came upon a squirrel.

When I see these creatures in my own yard, they are quite shy and usually run away if I come close.

This was not the case with our little park friend.

Instead, he was very comfortable approaching us, hoping to be fed, no doubt.

He had come to trust other visitors and he felt safe with us.

Fear is a very strong emotion.

As Christians, we are not to live fearful lives.

2 Timothy 1:7 reads,

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

We are to experience life with power.

Life with love.

Life with a sound mind.

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Whatever You Are Doing

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Yesterday, I heard a very interesting story.

It seems that once there was a woman who had several children.

She was a widow and she had no car.

One of her young children needed to go to a doctor appointment out of town.

Speaking with her pastor, she told him of the need.

The pastor contacted a man in the church and asked him if he would take the young boy to the doctor.

After getting some time off work approved, the man came to take the child to the appointment.

On the way the child asked the man a question.

“Are you God?” he asked.

“No. Why would you think that?” the man replied.

“My mother prayed that God would send someone to take me to the doctor and no one came except you,” was the boy’s explanation.

There was yet another question to be asked.

“Well, if you’re not God, do you work for Him?” asked the boy.

The man thought and replied, “Yes….. Yes I do.”

I heard this story while in church yesterday.

The sermon for the morning was about doing all our work—everything that we do—-for God.

Colossians 3:23 reads,

“Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.”

If I am to be a living sacrifice to God, I will be doing things that He wants me to do.

It may not be taking a child to the doctor, but it could be.

It might be checking on a neighbor, listening to someone cry as they are grieving, or giving a gift to a friend.

It also could be doing a good job at the many tasks I have at work and at home.

As Christian believers, do we work for ourselves?

Or, do we work for God?

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All Your Worries

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He sat there so lonely looking.

I wonder what he was thinking?

You’ve probably heard someone say before, “You look like I feel….”

I think I have felt like this animal looks.

Alone.

Sad.

Tired.

Maybe even worried.

1 Peter 5:7 encourages us with these words:

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

When we feel like this animal looks, we can turn to God for help.

He is always there with us, able to comfort us in whatever situation we may find ourselves.

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Everyone Who Calls

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In the book of Acts in the New Testament, Peter is speaking to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost when he says these words, quoting the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days,’ God says,

‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit

even on my servants—men and women alike—

and they will prophesy.

And I will cause wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below—

blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

The sun will become dark,

and the moon will turn blood red

before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord

will be saved.’

—Acts 2:17-21

These descriptions sound frightening, don’t they?

A darkened sun?

A moon that’s red like blood?

Fire?

Clouds of smoke?

The last verse in this quote is paramount to all people—

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

We can rest in knowing that whatever happens in this world, this truth will remain.

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moon blood final

He Will Keep

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Walking along the water’s edge, I came upon a sailboat.

Lodged securely in the sand, it gave a silent testimony to trips gone by.

To gentle winds that had given it flight across the lake.

To moments of solitude.

To a calmness that comes from leaving the shore behind…

There is a peace that can come only from God.

A perfect peace.

A peace born in fellowship with Him.

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!

—Isaiah 26:3

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perfect peace

He Performs Wonders

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There were so many plants for sale!

Walking through a market area, I came to an open air aisle with several varieties of plants.

On the end of a display a particularly unusual one warranted closer inspection.

I didn’t recognize its kind at all.

Of course, God has always known, since it was created by Him.

I just didn’t know about it.

In fact, I don’t believe I have never even imagined anything like it.

But there it was, right in front of me….

In the Old Testament book of Job, we find this words:

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.

—Job 5:9

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I have been praying for several people lately involving incredible needs.

There are times when those needs are so heavy and so great.

I can’t fix the problems.

I can’t lift the burdens.

Beyond that, I don’t have the wisdom to really know what would be best in each situation.

It is happened before, though, and I trust it will happen again—

I will see how God works in each life as He performs wonders that I have never even imagined.

There will be miracles that I may not even recognize at first, yet they will be right there in front of me and all involved.

Of course, God will have known all along what He would do.

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wonders

I Lack Nothing

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
     He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for His name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

—Psalm 23

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dwell in

Hold Me Fast

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In our day and age, travel is so common. There are many, many people today who have journeyed thousands of miles away from home–not once, but several times. I have a friend who will be flying to the opposite side of the world tomorrow morning. I can’t keep him safe, but God can. There is no place that we can venture where God is not. And wherever we are, His power and presence will hold us tightly–safely–in the grip of His love.

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If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

—Psalm 139:9-10

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