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

I’m Slipping, Lord!

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I will forever be thankful that God saved me years ago.

Since that time, have I had doubts fill my mind about one thing or another?

Yes.

Has my heart ever been in turmoil?

Many times.

Who then, can quiet me and give me renewed hope?

Only God….

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I would have died unless the Lord had helped me.  I screamed, “I’m slipping, Lord!” and he was kind and saved me. Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.—Psalm 94:17-19

 

 

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slipping

Why a Man Leaves

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The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

–Genesis 2:18-24

 

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man leaves

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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builds

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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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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church meetings

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

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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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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command

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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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

Overcome Evil

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The barbed wire fence in my neighborhood is there to keep some things in–and some things out.

Either way, the sharp points on the twisted metal are harmful if contact is made with them.

I noticed that a vine had grown, making its way on the horizontal fence, gently moving past the painfully pointed ends.

The delicate and persistent vine had overcome the danger of the protruding barbs.

There are many “fences” encountered in life.

The Bible has this to say in Romans 12:21:

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

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with good

God’s Way

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There is an orange grove just across the street from my home.

Where I live, the oranges will be ripe in a couple of months or so.

Steadily they grow, getting sweeter each day.

God has been at work in my life, changing me and growing me since the time that I became a Christian years ago.

I have known that He was with me, guiding me and protecting me.

I want to live God’s way.

How about you?

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But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

—Galatians 5:22-23 

The Message

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gifts

To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

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the place

Wildly Wonderful

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As I walked into the grocery store to pick up a last minute item, I saw a display of fresh flowers for sale.

Stopping to admire the colorful blooms, I found many varieties producing a delightful visual fanfare.

Everywhere I turn, God’s creations tell of His greatness!

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What a wildly wonderful world, God!
    You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
    made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

—Psalm 104:24, The Message

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wildly wonderful

Save the World

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It was quite by accident that I saw it.

There was something I had just passed down the highway that I wanted to photograph.

While turning into a new housing development area, there was quite a bit of acreage with wild grasses and trees.

It was a lovely scene, made even more interesting by its contrasting centerpiece–an abandoned construction machine.

This type of equipment is quite costly and very specialized.

Why was this one left behind?

As it rusts in the harsh sun each day, the moments that it was once in use become more of a remnant of times gone by.

It appeared useless and condemned.

I suppose that if the right person came along, this big piece of machinery could be restored.

Like machinery rusting out in the elements, people need to be restored.

Not just some people—all people.

The rust and corrosion of sin affects everyone.

There is only one remedy.

Only one redemption.

Jesus came to save us.

When He died on the cross and rose from the dead, He paid the penalty for our sin.

God doesn’t want us to be lost and separated from Him forever.

He doesn’t want us to be in a condition of condemnation.

Instead, He wants us to be restored—to be made right with Him.

To be forgiven, whole and well.

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For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

–John 3:17

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Much Fruit

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Am I abiding in Jesus today?

Am I bearing fruit in my life that is pleasing to Him?

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I am the vine,

you are the branches;

he who abides in Me and I in him,

he bears much fruit,

for apart from Me

you can do nothing.

—John 15:5

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branches

I’m Writing This Myself

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I have heard before that many people believe that Paul had difficulties with vision.

If that is true, his poor eyesight did not keep him from serving the Lord.

It did not keep him from communicating with those he cared about.

As he wrote to the Galatians in the verses that follow, I sense that he cared very much for the people and for their decisions.

He wanted to encourage them to follow Jesus.

I can imagine saying these words to my children.

That may be how Paul felt.

Like a father instructing his children, wanting the very best possible for each of them.

With writing a letter being the best way to communicate at the time, he got his message out.

Who does God want you to encourage today?

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If you plant in the soil of your corrupt nature, you will harvest destruction.

But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life.

We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way.

Certainly, each of us will receive everlasting life at the proper time, if we don’t give up.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers.

Look at how large the letters in these words are because I’m writing this myself.

—Galatians 6:8-11

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Be Strong in the Faith

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As I walked along the lake, I felt impressed to photograph the scene before me.

All was calm and serene.

Strong trees growing near the edge, laced with plants growing right out of the water.

Like those trees, I want to have my “roots” connected to Jesus, so that my life will thrive as I go about each day.

I want my life to be built on Him, being strong in faith.

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As you received Christ Jesus the Lord,

so continue to live in Him.

Keep your roots deep in Him

and have your lives built on Him.

Be strong in the faith,

just as you were taught,

and always be thankful.

—Colossians 2:6-7

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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?

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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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