He Was Wounded

But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.

—Isaiah 53:5

Michael W. Smith wrote a song titled, “Above All.”

“Crucified

Laid behind the stone

You lived to die

Rejected and alone

Like a rose trampled on the ground

You took the fall

And thought of me

Above all”

Jesus died for me. 

Jesus died for you. 

For the Cattle

You make grass grow for cattle and make vegetables for humans to use in order to get food from the ground.

—Psalm 104:14

The cows from the farm behind my house were on the move late yesterday afternoon. 

They were walking slowly, yet with determination, to the land closer to me. 

The grass they needed was plentiful. 

God provides even for the cattle. 

Will He not also provide for you and me?

With a Gift

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

—John 14:27

This afternoon at work, someone noticed a cloud with a “rainbow” inside it. 

Since I happened to have my phone with me, I took a quick picture of the colourful beauty displayed in the sky. What I witnessed today is commonly called a fire rainbow. 

The rainbow, of course, reminds us of God’s promise to us after the great flood. 

Rainbows also remind me of all God’s promises—that they are true. 

Jesus has given us a gift–the gift of peace of mind and heart. 

We are not to be troubled and afraid. 

Think On

Finally, brothers and sisters,

whatever is true,

whatever is noble,

whatever is right,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable–

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–

think about such things.

—Philippians 4:8

 

Changing the dial on my radio as I was driving home, I came across a broadcast of someone speaking about God. 

Having only a few moments to listen before the program was over, I did not hear his context entirely. 

However, one of his statements stood out to me. 

He said to “spend your time wisely.”

But that wasn’t all of the sentence. He actually said, “Spend your time and your mind wisely.”

I had never heard someone say that I needed to spend my mind wisely. 

I understood the principle of spending my money wisely. 

I understood the concept of spending my time wisely. 

But my mind?

How does one spend their mind?

Could it be that the thoughts I allow to turn over and over and over again in my head are what I am spending my mind on?

I suppose I could see the difference in someone spending an evening thinking only about video games and someone spending an evening thinking and studying for a chemistry test. 

But what if I spent an evening worried about an illness as opposed to spending that same evening in prayer and praise?

Would I be spending my mind wisely by worrying?

What if I spent my thoughts criticizing others?

Being angry?

Bitter?

Jealous?

For those moments, I think it would fair to say I’d be wasting my mind. 

What about the times I spend my mind thinking about God?

Loving others?

Considering what God is showing me?

That would be spending my mind wisely, wouldn’t you say?

think on

 

 

According to His Riches

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

—Philippians 4:19

There is nothing I need that God doesn’t have the ability to give to me. 

He can meet all my needs and yours, too. 

He can also meet the needs of those you love. 

God knows what we truly need, even when we don’t. 

The Strength of My Heart

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

–Psalm 73:26

It’s not a pretty picture. 

It’s not really very interesting, either, but the above photograph I took means something to me. 

I was supposed to direct a vocal performance at a nearby city celebration last weekend. 

When I arrived near the center of town, I found that a parade was going on and I would not be able to go to the performance location until after the parade because of roadblocks by local police. 

Instead, I parked my car and watched the parade. 

As is typical for town parades, fire trucks went by slowly, as well as groups of people in clubs and organisations. 

Parades aren’t bad. 

Parades show those lined up on the sides of the street some of what they can be proud of in their city. 

Things like police cars and fire trucks show that there is strength and protection. 

Organisations show that like-minded people are gathering together for different efforts. 

So, what’s meaningful thought that came from all this?

Sometimes we try to have a personal “parade” of all the things we’ve got going for us—intelligence, money, career, friends, popularity—to show ourselves that we don’t need God’s help. 

The truth is, we have nothing at all. 

Nothing. 

No one has anything at all–

except what God has given us. 

We need His help in every aspect of our lives. 

There is nothing about us that we can handle “on our own.”

A parade of independence doesn’t show our strength. 

A parade of weakness and an acknowledgment of dependence on God is quite different from the kind our self-sufficiency would line up. 

The strength of our hearts must be God or we really have no strength at all. 

Bearing Fruit Each Season

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,

meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!

They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.

They will be condemned at the time of judgment.

Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,

but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

–Psalm 1:1-6

trees planted

But With God

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

—Matthew 19:26

 

“That will never happen.”

“They will never change.”

“That marriage is over.”

“I will never get that job.”

“I can’t go to college.”

“No one will ever love me.”

“There’s no cure for this.”

How many times during the day do we limit what God can do with our words and thoughts?

It is so very important to pray about everything that concerns us.

With God, all things are possible….

 

 

possible

He Is Not Here

He is not here; He has risen!

From Luke 24:6
As I got up from the pew to exit the church, I noticed a banner displayed in a corner to my right. 

Victory. 

An empty tomb. 

A stone rolled away. 

A dazzling light. 

Jesus is alive!

He is victorious over death. 

He is victorious over all evil. 

What does that mean for us?

If Jesus is standing with us, what power is there that can defeat us?

In every moment–when trouble comes–Jesus is standing with us. 

We must remember: Jesus is victorious!

The Eyes of the Blind

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;

–From Psalm 146:8
Most of the windows in our home have interior blinds to cover them. 

When the blinds are raised and the clear glass of the window is exposed, it’s easy to see what is right in front of me. 

When the blinds are down and closed, I don’t know what’s there. 

A snake could be sitting on the outer window sill—just inches from me—but with the blinds down, I wouldn’t be aware of the danger.  

I know that God can heal someone who is physically blind. 

I believe He can also bring spiritual sight to someone who has “blinds” in front of them. 

Satan would like for us to be unaware of the deception and danger he is putting in our path. 

With carefully constructed blinders of disappointment, bitterness, selfishness and hurt, we can fall prey to believing that there is no danger to us in our present condition. 

We cannot see the venomous snake on the window sill. 

We do not notice the poisonous spider. 

We cannot see the true outcome of our rebellious choices or notice the destruction taking place in our lives. 

God has the power to remove these blinders, giving us a clear view of where we  are. 

With the truth becoming exposed, we can then make a conscious choice for what is best. 
 

Innermost Being

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

—John 7:38

 

It seems that I have been noticing birds a lot lately.

This afternoon, my husband was watering a section of our yard that had very little grass.

Having recently planted grass seed in that area, he wanted to make sure it had enough irrigation to grow.

I watched a mocking bird fly up into a tree just past the water that was shooting up in streams from the hose on the ground.

As he sat there looking at the water, I was able to get a few photos of him.

As believers of Jesus, rivers of living water flow from us.

Our lives are different.

Other people are watching us.

At work they see us, talk to us, notice how we respond to everyday situations.

At school, at the store, at a ballgame, in church, on a train, in a grocery store line.

Our families watch us at home–at the dinner table, at the family reunion, when we are tired, when we are energetic, when we are happy, when we are sad.

Are they seeing the rivers of living water?

Through everything that happens–as believers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to show that living water is flowing from our lives.

 

 

 

innermost

Be On Guard

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

—1 Corinthians 16:13

 

The Eastern Bluebird stood on the apex of my neighbor’s roof.

Looking.

Being aware.

 

Sometimes we have to get to the very top of our circumstances–above them all–and look at things from an eternal perspective.

We have to be on guard, for temptations and difficulties surround us.

No matter what, we know we can stand firm in our faith.

God is in control.

Because He is and we are not, we can be courageous.

Our strength comes from Him.

 

 

 

 

 

be on guard

 

He Covers the Heavens

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;

    make melody to our God on the lyre!

He covers the heavens with clouds;

    He prepares rain for the earth;

    He makes grass grow on the hills.

—Psalm 147:7-8

I could see the tall cloud mass in front of us as my husband and I drove down the highway. 

I found out later through a weather warning and a good look at the radar that the storm was about an hour’s drive from us. 

Towering so tall, the clouds were likely to bring hail and 40 mile per hour winds. 

Looking at the sky with the clouds so massive, I am reminded of God’s power. 

He creates the clouds and sends us life-giving rain. 

Thank You, Lord, for providing for all our needs. 

A Rope or a Bucket

In the book of John, we find an account of Jesus speaking with a woman.

Jesus had left Judea and was on a return trip to Galilee.

He went through Samaria as He traveled and He came to a village near land that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph—-

Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”  He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

(John 4:6-12)

There are so many aspects of this passage to consider.

The generosity of a father in giving his son a well.

One people group not wanting to associate with another.

God’s gift of living water.

Jesus’ willingness to speak to a Samaritan woman.

What I am pondering now is the woman’s question to Jesus when He says He would give her living water:

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

She didn’t know yet that Jesus was the Messiah.

She didn’t know yet that He could do anything.

She didn’t know that He was speaking of something other than water that she could touch and see.

Not knowing that, she points out that He does not have a rope or bucket.

She wants to know where He is going to get this water that He speaks of.

She questions how He could be offering something better than what has already been made available.

I do know who Jesus is.

I know that He is the Messiah.

I know that He is God’s Son.

I know that He is the Savior of the world.

Yet, if Jesus tells me that He will provide for me throughout my life, do I question just how He will do it?

Do I have doubt in my mind, not believing that He can do anything?

Do I think somewhere down in my heart that He doesn’t have a “rope or a bucket” to meet the needs I have at the moment?

I would like to think that I would not feel this way, but sometimes, doubts and fears creep in.

When this happens, I need to remember to pray.

As I do, He will assure me of His love and His ability to do more than I could ever imagine.

Jesus will calm my fears, each and every time, giving me faith to trust Him.

rope bucket

Your Light Has Come

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

See, darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

and His glory appears over you.

Nations will come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

—Isaiah 60:1-3

As for me, many years ago, a light came into my heart as I accepted Jesus as my Savior.

Darkness covered me–a thick darkness that separated me from His forgiveness.

A darkness of unwillingness to give my life to Him.

A darkness of doubt mixed with fear and shame.

Yet, the love of Jesus rose up in my heart one day and the brightness of salvation came to me.

In asking for forgiveness, I received it from Him.

In desiring His divine guidance for my life, He gave it.

By asking Him to be my Lord, He became just that.

Do you know Jesus today?

your light

 

In Quietness and Rest

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

I spent time yesterday just being at the ocean’s edge, watching the waves come and go. 

Occasionally a group of pelicans would fly silently overhead. 

Lying down, I could see jet streams from time to time streak across the cloudless blue sky above me. 

It was windy and cool. 

Walking barefoot into the shallow water the cold water moved sparking sand past me as each wave receded back into the sea. 

It was good to be quiet. 

I read from the Bible and from a book on praise. 

I have found that I need quietness. 

Time to listen. 

Time to rest….

Trust in the Lord

The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
I have read that the place God had designated for them was less than two hundred miles away, making their journey’s length a matter of weeks.
Certainly not forty years.
All the reasons why they ended up in the desert so long might be summed up into one observation: they didn’t trust God.
God had displayed His great power to them many times, yet somehow, they didn’t trust Him completely.
Whatever the “desert” in my own life might look like, I know I don’t belong there.
It may be His choosing for me to go through a season on the way to the main destination, but I don’t want to be stuck on the journey, never really arriving where He wanted me.
I know that I must always do three things: Listen. Consider. Obey.
These three must be done over and over throughout my life.
I should listen for God to speak, then consider what I have heard, discerning what action I am to take.
This requires thought and prayer.
Finally, I am to obey, trusting Him.
There is an old hymn that speaks to this: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6
trust in

The Bronze Snake

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

 

—John 3:14:15

 

 

Easter is coming.

A time to remember what Jesus has done for us.

Eternal life—

Is there anything more important than where you will spend eternity?

 

 

 

 

 

bronze