How the Wild Flowers Grow

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“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes?  Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?  Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

 “And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.  It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!

 “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’”

—Matthew 6:25-31

 

 

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wild flowers

I Am Doing a New Thing!

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On my way to church this morning, I noticed a group of purple flowers on the side of the road.

They were growing in an arch out among tall grass and weeds.

I made a mental note to stop and photograph them when I returned toward home later in the day.

Having lived in the same neighborhood for several years, I am surprised that I had not noticed these wildflowers before.

Could it be possible that this is the first year they have bloomed in this area?

Upon closer inspection, I am guessing that the winding plant with purple flowers is a type of climbing wild potato vine.

I didn’t plant it there.

In fact, I’m not sure anyone did.

However the seed was planted, it is God that has been making it grow.

Before the purple blooms appeared, I had not noticed what God was bringing about at all.

The vine was there, though, growing steadily each day.

There are so many concerns that I am praying about.

Could it be that God is answering my prayers—even now—yet I am not noticing it yet?

Could it be that God is at work changing and bringing something to life that will bloom in the beauty of His divine purpose very soon?

My heart swells with joy when I think about the moments I will perceive His answers to prayer, decorating my journey of faith with vibrant assurance of His presence and love.

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See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up;

do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

—Isaiah 43:19

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new thing

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….

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

—Psalm 56:3

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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

Let Him Ask God

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Do you remember when you were a child?

You wouldn’t just walk away from your home without telling your family and asking permission.

In fact, you probably wouldn’t have made plans to do anything without talking to your parents first.

Virtually all your childhood plans were subject to the thoughts and guidance of your parents or guardians.

When you became an adult, things changed somewhat.

Being mature, many of your decisions could be made independently.

There was no longer any need to ask your parents about everything.

Still, it was a good thing to seek advice and listen to your parents’ opinions.

Parents are only human and, of course, they may not always know what’s best.

In thinking about this today, I was considering how we, as believers, have God as our Heavenly Father.

Even though we are adults, we are His children.

Unlike our earthly parents, God cannot make a mistake.

His judgment is always right and His guidance is perfect.

Knowing that, why is it that we make plans without asking what He thinks about it?

If we feel that we should seek the advice and opinions of our parents, shouldn’t we also ask the same of our Heavenly Father?

Shouldn’t all our plans be subject to the thoughts and guidance of God?

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If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

—James 1:5-6

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lacks wisdom

Be Still

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At any given time, there can be circumstances in our lives that pull us toward becoming distraught.

While deeply concerned about one thing, another issue arises.

At certain moments, it just seems like too much for our minds to process.

We pray for ourselves when we have needs.

We pray for others as we see their struggles.

This problem and that problem coupled with this dilemma and that dilemma, hastens toward us with a fevered rush.

It’s as though they come screaming, “Fix us! Fix us! Right now!”

But, we can’t….

So, the striving begins.

The unsettled motion of useless worry.

Only God can make the wrongs right, heal diseases, restore relationships, and bind up the brokenhearted.

We are to come to Him in prayer about the looming circumstances before us.

We are to be still.

Restfully so.

Peacefully so.

“Still” in the knowledge that He is God.

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“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

—Psalm 46:10

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While They Are Yet Speaking

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God hears every prayer.

Prayers about big issues.

Prayers about small things.

He doesn’t just hear them only; He answers, as well.

This morning, after I had left for work, my husband sent me a text message and photo.

As he was getting ready to leave for the day, he noticed a green lizard in the bathroom.

He took a picture of it as it sat on the top ledge of the mirror.

Not having time to try to catch it and take it outside, he simply informed me of it, shut the door and placed a towel at the bottom so he couldn’t get out.

He knew I would want to catch it and release it when I got home.

If lizards get trapped in a house, they have no water supply and dehydrate.

When I arrived home this afternoon, I got a paper sack and went into the bathroom.

I prayed and asked God to allow me to find the lizard if he was still in there.

After looking around, I concluded that there was no lizard.

Putting the sack away, I began to do some housework as we had invited guests for dinner this evening.

At one point, I decided to take the cloth off our dining table in order to take it outside and give it a shake.

Our cat had jumped up on the cloth.

Pulling the cloth all around, I finally persuaded her to get down.

Bunching the cloth up in a big wad, I took it outside. As I was stepping on the front walkway, I noticed something moving in my bundle.

It was the green anole lizard!

Very carefully, I moved the cloth over to some decorative grass planted near the porch.

The lizard hopped off into the thick, green blades.

Hurrying inside, I picked up my cell phone and took some photos of the now liberated lizard.

I had asked God to let me find him if he was still in the bathroom.

Instead, He allowed me to find him bundled in a cloth in my arms—a cloth that had recently been sat on by our cat.

God delivered the lizard from death by dehydration and death by predator attack!

He also allowed ME to be part of the rescue.

Upon telling this story to my husband, he said that God was at work when we didn’t even know it.

Saving a lizard may seem to be a little thing, but to the lizard, nothing could have meant more.

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Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.

—Isaiah 65:24

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The Streams of God

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You care for the land and water it;
    You enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so You have ordained it.

You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    You soften it with showers and bless its crops.
 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and Your carts overflow with abundance.

—Psalm 65:9-11

You crown the year with Your bounty….

2015.

A new year.

The first month of the new year.

What will we see in the coming days and weeks?

I have faith that we will see the bounty of God.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bounty this way:

“good things that are given or provided freely and in large amounts”

Everywhere we look, even in difficult situations, there are blessings from God.

Things given.

Things provided.

Things that are bestowed willingly to us.

Things from the loving heart of God.

2015.

A new year.

The first month of the new year.

What do you think you will see in the coming days and weeks?

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streams

To the Throne of Grace

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Below are some of the lyrics to a popular Christian song:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

(from “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher)

Lately, the words, “And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You” have gone to a special place in my heart.

How precious to even consider that during our greatest weakness, God is there for us to fall on.
In recent weeks, several people that I know have faced extreme circumstances.
In fact, some of them are still facing these trials today.
This song, when changed to an intercessory prayer, is a comfort to me concerning them:

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Lord, they come, they confess
Bowing there, they find their rest
Without You they would fall apart
You’re the One that guides their heart
Lord, they need You, oh, they need You
Every hour they need You
Their one defense, their righteousness
Oh God, how they need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, they are free
Holiness is Christ in them
Teach their song to rise to You
When temptation comes their way
And when they cannot stand let them fall on You
Jesus, You’re their hope and stay
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My heart is solemn as I yearn for healing of every situation in the lives of my each of my friends who are facing troubles.
God is the only One who can take care of each of the needs.
What a precious privilege to have the gift of prayer.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:16

 

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Throne of Grace

Before They Call

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It was a really big deal.

I had recently received a package at work with an order I had sent out some time before.

There were several items in the package that were quite important.

Last week, I was working at a different location and I had taken the box and its contents with me.

Today, I was once again going to work at a different location.

I needed two of the items in the box.

Where was it?

I looked all over my area, to no avail.

I considered that I might have left the box in my car from last week.

Checking there, still I could not find it.

It didn’t make any sense.

Walking alone into the area nearest my office, I prayed.

My prayer was something like this:

“Lord, if that box is in this room somewhere, would you please let me find it?”

Almost immediately, in perhaps only a second or two, my eyes fell on the box.

It had been placed in a tall chair and I just had not seen it before.

Problem solved.

Answered prayer.

A reminder that God is with me through every moment of the day.

He is ready to help me, even if it is only to find a box.

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God is describing what things will be like when there is a new heaven and a new earth.

He says, Before they call I will answer;
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.

—Isaiah 65:24

I feel that I experienced this today.

How blessed we are to have a heavenly Father who cares about us and hears us when we call.

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To Prepare a Place

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My mother died when I was only 28 years old.

Many memories of her live on in my heart.

She tried to make sure she read the Bible every single day.

Most of the time, when I was a child, she would read it out loud to me.

When she came to a passage that she didn’t understand, she would just say so.

Sometimes, my mother displayed a lot of understanding.

One memory I have is of a story she used to tell.

At a time before I was born, she was talking with one of my cousins, who was a child.

He wanted to talk to her about Heaven.

He asked her if he could have a pony in Heaven.

Her answer seems wise to me, even today.

She told him that if having a pony was what it would take to make him happy, then God would give him a pony in Heaven.

Going further with this thought, I personally believe that there will not be anyone in Heaven who is unhappy.

After all, we will be with Jesus who died to purchase our place there.

Our loved ones who followed Jesus on Earth will be with us.

With overflowing hearts, we will be filled with gratitude and praise in His presence.

Jesus also tells us in John 14:2 that,

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Jesus is preparing a place for us!

For you.

For me.

But what if we would really like to have a pony for eternity?

If that would bring great joy to our hearts, I think God might just give us one…..

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mansions

You Are Worth More

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It had started raining about a half hour before I was to leave work.

When I had finally gathered all my things—-including a briefcase, purse, and a bottle of water—I headed out to the parking lot.

On the way, I scurried under a covered walkway as far as I could.

Not only was there rain, there was lightning.

Feeling uneasy about walking right out into the rain and flashes of light, I began to pray as I did so.

My prayer was probably something like this:

“Lord, please protect me.”

As I walked on the pavement, I suddenly heard a bird.

I looked up to see a bird singing, very high in a palm tree.

Singing in the midst of the storm.

Singing in the top of a tree.

Some lyrics came to my mind.

“For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

(by Civilla D. Martin)

As I got into my car, the storm continued.

I lowered a window in the car and got out my camera.

With a good zoom shot, I photographed the little bird.

Jesus said, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

—Matthew 10:29-31

God was comforting me with a singing bird, reminding me that His eye was on me as I walked across the parking lot in the rain and lightning.

His eye is on you, too.

Even when you walk through a storm…..

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Everlasting

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Answered prayer.

How could I possibly describe what it feels like to see God work?

People experience answers to prayer all the time—–

When they pray for funds and an unexpected check comes in the mail.

When they pray for healing and the tests come back negative.

When they pray for a marriage and the divorce is cancelled.

When they pray for the salvation of someone they know and that person comes to know the Lord as their Savior.

I could try to describe it.

There’s a feeling of gratitude that bubbles forth from deep within.

Praise rises from your thoughts to your lips.

A testimony of God’s goodness can hardly be contained.

Several weeks ago, my heart was heavy concerning those I was praying for.

I told God that I needed a miracle.

I was praying this prayer with my head covered with a towel, because it had just started raining as I was sitting in a chair at the beach.

When I uncovered my head, a beautiful rainbow had appeared above the ocean in front of me.

I thanked God for showing me a rainbow, and I felt that in His time, there would be a miracle concerning my request.

In the past several days, miraculous occurrences have been taking place in the realm of that request.

I have been thanking God for His work.

Praise and gratitude fill my heart.

Yesterday, I was driving to a Bible study, or so I thought.

As I drove, I saw a rainbow. I stopped to photograph it.

Within minutes, it was gone.

As I drove on further, I saw an incredible site.

A rainbow-like patch had appeared by a cloud.

I had been thinking about how I could see God working in one person’s life that I had prayed for, but I was still hoping for miracles in the other person’s life.

As I watched the rainbow patch, a dark cloud began to cover it.

I could tell that the bands of glorious color were still there, even though the dark cloud was beginning to hide it from view.

I believe that God is going to answer my prayer from that day on the beach for BOTH the people that were on my heart.

Just because I can’t see a rainbow, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Just because I may not see God working in someone’s life, it doesn’t mean that He isn’t.

As I pulled up to the home where I was to attend the Bible study, there were no cars in the driveway.

Checking the message I had received about it, I realized that I had come on the wrong day.

If I had not gone out to go to the Bible study, I might never have seen the rainbow patch and the dark clouds that floated past.

God wanted me to see it, I believe, to encourage me.

To remind me of His message to me that day at the beach.

His brilliant arc of blazing light in the sky as I uncovered my head.

God is with us, you and me.

He hears our prayers.

He knows our hearts.

He loves us with an everlasting love.

But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

Psalm 103:17-18

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Suddenly All Was Calm

 

 

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Do you know the feeling of going from “Oh, no!” to “Okay!” in a matter of seconds?

There was the time when the power company accidentally placed an extra zero on the amount of our monthly bill.
Oh, no.
After calling them, they realized their error and adjusted things accordingly.
Okay.

There was the time that a doctor was showing me my diagnostic image that was taken because of a health concern.

I asked why someone else’s name was on the corner.
It was the wrong image. Not mine.
Oh, no.
The doctor was able to get the proper one with MY name on it.
Okay.

Our hearts can jump in our throats in a second, and blessed relief and assurance can come just as speedily.

When we are fearful, we can immediately reach out to God.
He can turn our, “Oh, no!”s into “Okay!”s just like that.

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a terrible storm came up, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  And Jesus answered, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he stood up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. –Matthew 8:23-26
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