Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

—Romans 12:2
Do you ever find yourself in a place where deep inside you know you don’t fit in?

Like being in a grocery store when a group of marathon runners come down the aisle to purchase water and all you’ve ever done is walk your dog. 

You don’t fit in.  

Or maybe while visiting at a friend’s house the conversation turns to the big game on television the night before. Everyone has seen it–except you. There’s not much you can say. 

You don’t fit in. 

There are so many situations where we find ourselves to be different. 

That’s okay. 

We can’t all be runners or sports fans or scientists or artists. 

We don’t have to conform to everyone. 

Spiritually, we don’t have to be like everyone else, either. 

We don’t have to conform to the world. 

We can be changed and transformed to think in the way that is pleasing to God. 

When we are changed, we become different. 

We stand out. 

We don’t fit in with the world. 

Instead, we fit in with God…

The Peace of Christ

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

The view of the water from my canoe was serene and calm. 

The complete opposite of a raging lightning storm with torrential rain. 

Even flowing water with manatees, turtles and fish as its inhabitants. 

The peace of Christ calms us and comforts us. 

Our hearts can be at peace through His strength in us. 

The complete opposite of the chaotic, fast-paced environment of the world. 

I want a peaceful heart. 

Don’t you?

Creatures That Move

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

—Genesis 1:26

 

 

Strolling slowly on the boardwalk, I noticed several dragonflies darting around near the water’s surface.

Dragonflies are so delicate, so quick and so ornate.

Everything that God has made is beautiful.

Every creature that exists is a masterpiece of God.

 

 

creatures that move

 

Encourage One Another

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

—1 Thessalonians 5:11

As I was walking down the street, I noticed a single flower coming up underneath a palm tree. 

Did someone intentionally plant it there?

Did a bird drop a seed in this unlikely spot?

It was so strikingly beautiful against the backdrop of gray palm bark, I just had to photograph it. 

It’s bloom added so much to its surroundings. 

Sometimes we find ourselves in a “gray” area, where joy and color are lacking in others. 

Relationship issues, health problems, financial woes…

We can be the bright yellow flower that speaks a word of truth and love as Jesus would have us to. 

We can be the listener that shows concern and empathy. 

We can encourage and build up where there has been discouragement. 

We can help….

From the Rising

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

—Psalm 113:3

 

Looking out over the lake, the sun was setting in a soft haze above the tree line.

It had been a very hot day, but the air was finally cooling as night approached.

No matter how many times I am privileged to view the setting or rising of the sun, it is always a thing of beauty to behold.

God’s creation is too marvelous for me to understand, but I do know this:

as the psalmist has said, the name of the LORD is to be praised!

 

 

the sun

We Lie

If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1John 1:6

I went shopping yesterday. 

It was a brief trip– I knew exactly what I wanted to buy from a leather goods dealer. 

Walking up to the display of purses, wallets and bags, I saw an array of other items on a table nearby. 

There was a tray of rings. 

They looked like beautiful gemstones surrounded by diamonds. 

Somewhat intrigued by how nice they looked, I actually picked one up and looked at it. 

Even though they looked so nice, I knew they weren’t genuine. 

They weren’t locked in a secure glass case, protected from would-be thieves. 

I knew if I purchased one that it would look lovely on my finger for a short time, but then it’s true nature would become apparent. 

After awhile, the finish on the inexpensive metal would begin to wear off and my skin would likely turn green in response to contact with it. 

They may have looked like something of great value, but on closer inspection, these rings were practically worthless. 

Our walk with the Lord must be genuine. 

If we are only claiming to be forgiven and redeemed, while we actually have no relationship with Jesus, we are lying and not really being truthful.

We may look “good” on the outside–our lives may seem to be in right relationship with Him–but when Jesus looks deep within our hearts, He knows if we are genuinely desiring to live for Him or not. 

If we are only pretending, we are lying and not living out the truth. 

Jesus is ready to accept us fully, just as we are.

When we repent and ask for forgiveness, committing our lives to Him, everything changes….

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

—Isaiah 43:9

 

Many years ago, an elderly neighbor helped me to plant some flowers in my front yard.

The flowers we planted actually came from her yard.

She was sharing what she had with me.

The flowers that we planted bloomed a dark pink, as I recall.

In the years that followed, the flowers began to come back from the new seeds that had fallen in a new color–yellow.

My kind neighbor has since passed away, but the flowers she helped me plant have now spread to a sizeable area in my yard.

Dark pink, light pink and yellow.

The investment she made in our yard was really an investment in our friendship.

The plants that are thriving now came from that original day when she brought over her flowers.

The yellow ones were a new surprise when they first bloomed.

God is the Creator of new things.

New situations.

New hope.

New life.

New joy.

Sometimes, when all we’ve known is pink, we are pleasantly surprised by the yellow.

God is at work.

Can you see it?

 

 

 

newthing

Shine

 

 

“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make His face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn His face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

—-Numbers 6:24-26

 

The grass behind my house was glowing in the sun shortly before nightfall.

Walking peacefully around the neighborhood, I was taking in the beauty all around me.

God makes the sun to shine upon the grass.

God shines on us, giving us peace and love for eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

shine

Full of Water

“You visit the earth and water it,You greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

You provide the people with grain,

for so You have prepared it.”

—Psalm 65:9
A friend gave a bottle of water to me as a gift. She had decorated the outside of the swirled plastic bottle with colourful paper in the middle. 

Next, she attached a single powdered packet of orange flavouring. Part of the note with it read, “Enjoy your summer–relax, renew, refresh.”
We all have to have water to live. 

God gives us that water. 

He causes the rain to come. 

He provides the source for our water. 

The river of God is full of water–everything that we will ever need is readily available from God. 

He Will Guide Me

When I left for work today the sky was overcast and the air was warm, even though it was quite early. 
I had received a weather warning on my cell phone. 

A tornado watch was in effect for my area. 

Of course, that meant that conditions were favourable for the forming of a tornado. 
Honestly, I couldn’t tell that. 

Even though it was cloudy, it looked just like an average rainy day with no apparent dangers. 
But that’s the different between me and the good folks at the National Weather Service. 
I was just looking around with my normal, human eyes at the situation. 
They were looking at a host of various measurements taken from the atmosphere, coupled with sophisticated radar systems. 
They know what’s likely ahead even when I am not perceiving it. 
They don’t keep all that information to themselves, either. 
When there’s a danger approaching, they give a warning. 
After that, it’s up to me to heed their warnings. 
I thought about something earlier today. 
There are situations in life that look just normal to me—
yet, God knows differently. 
I’m looking at things from a human perspective. 
He’s looking at things from His perfect, all knowing perspective. 
Through the reading of His word, through prayer and His word to my heart, I am warned of the dangers and temptations that come over the horizon like stormy, threatening clouds. 
Even so, it’s up to me to heed God’s warnings. 
A gray day could mean much more than a gentle rain….
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God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. 

—Psalm 32:8

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For Their Animals

Proverbs 12:10
The godly care for their animals,

    but the wicked are always cruel.
Our cat trusts us. 

Lying peacefully on the rug at the entrance to our home, she doesn’t seem to worry about any danger. 

She has reason to trust us. 

We feed her. 

We give her water. 

We speak kindly to her. 

I think God cares about how we treat our pets. 

Don’t you?

From the Storm and Rain

In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.  Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

—Isaiah 4:2-6

Full Armor

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

–Ephesians 6:11
Reading the Bible is so important. 

Knowing God’s truth is so important. 

Understanding the battle we are in as Christians is so important. 

Hiding God’s word in our hearts is so important. 

When was the last time you read something in the Bible?

Why not start again—today?

The Flower Fades

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

–Isaiah 40:8

 

While visiting a large city, I was driving through a residential area.

One home, in particular, caught my eye.

Spring blossoms, ablaze in color, were bursting forth on bushes planted by a fence.

An opening near a gate separated two colors as the bushes seemed to beckon an onlooker into the back yard.

With this much beauty on the outside, could their be a gorgeous flower garden on the inside?

As stunning as they were, the flowers on the bushes would soon wither and fade.

There for only a season—–

God is not just with us for a time and then gone.

He is with us always.

His word stands forever!

 

 

flower fades

My Ways

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

—Isaiah 55:8

I watched a rocket launch earlier this evening.

It was carrying a satellite to space.

Of course, that’s easy for me to say and that’s where the word “easy” stops in this conversation….

If ever anything wasn’t easy, it could be a successful rocket launch.

There I stood on planet earth, gazing into the sky and taking photographs of the rocket as it soared higher and higher into the sky.

A rocket literally escaping from the world below and it’s gravity.

The wisdom and knowledge needed to make what I watched even possible is astounding to me.

The mathematical calculations.

The understanding of the movement of the earth.

The entire thought process is absolutely amazing.

Even so, the most intelligent scientists and engineers among us only possess the knowledge they have because God has allowed it.

Think of it—we send rockets to space.

God created space…..

God has allowed us to know many things about what He has made.

Watching a rocket in the sky is just one more reason to recognize God and His infinite power.

ways correct

The World

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

 

I went to a party recently.

On the table, I saw a large bowl of many colored jelly beans……….

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When I was a child, I learned a song about the love of God.

Specifically, how He loves children.

All children.

The song speaks of various ethnic groups, but it applies to the differences in each of us, no matter what they are.

“Jesus loves the little children.

All the children of the world.

Red and yellow, black and white,

they are precious in His sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

All the children and everyone else, too.

Hair color, eye color, skin color.

Man or woman.

From this country or that country.

With this name or that name.

He creates each of us uniquely.

We are one of a kind, different from everyone else.

It doesn’t matter who we are— Jesus died for us.

God gave His one and only Son so that we might not perish but have eternal life with Him.

Right now—today—know this:

You are precious in His sight.

 

 

the world

 

 

Do Not

Fear gets in the way of so many things. 

Fear keeps us from taking positive action. 

Fear keeps us weighed down, causing us to achieve less than what God wants for us. 

Fear is best friends with doubt and discouragement. 

God is truly with us, knowing everything. 

We can trust Him when fear wells up within us. 

When it does, meet fear with prayer….

The LORD Himself  goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

—Deuteronomy 31:8