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. 

Rule in Your Hearts

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

 

 

It had rained earlier, with the sky a stormy and threatening gray.

Now, with the tempest past, the clouds were blending into a creamy glow as sunset approached.

The lake beside me had become a living mirror, rippling a constantly changing reflection of light and shadow.

Through the ages, I suspect that many people have found a place of contemplation and solitude beside such a scene.

There’s something about the endless sky meeting the rhythmic waves that beckons us to be at peace.

Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts.

His peace should rule.

Rule over troubling thoughts.

Rule over fears.

Rule over guilt.

When the peace of Jesus comforts you from deep within, everything changes.

And when it does, we should be thankful.

 

 

rule in

Promised

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

–Numbers 23:19

Today, I received a weather warning on my cell phone. 

Looking further at the forecast, I read that the current condition was sunny, but that a thunderstorm would begin in three minutes. 

Three minutes?

That would’ve been quite an abrupt change in a short amount of time. 

To give credit to the weather service, the rain did start very soon. 

Sometimes it is hard to believe that change is coming, either good or bad. 

If things are going well, we may not believe that troubling circumstances are near. 

The opposite is also true–when things are going badly, we may not believe that relief is even in sight. 

God knows the future, however, and He knows when change will occur. 

When God makes a promise, He will carry it through. 

Even if the skies are dark, they will be sunny again, if God says says they will. 

We can trust Gid, for He is faithful. 

Whoever

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:17

As I walked outside just after sunset this evening, I noticed that the sky had soft pink clouds adorning its blue palette. 

Night was approaching, and the day had almost passed away. 

As the verse above reminds us, the world will actually pass away someday. 

Those who do the will of God will have eternal life forever with Him. 

Whom Shall I Fear?

Recently, I knew I was going to be facing a challenge.

I anticipated fear as an unwelcome component of the challenge.

My prayer request to many of my friends was the same—pray that I would not be afraid.

God answered my prayer and theirs.

In meeting the challenge, I found that God carried me through the entire thing.

Fear was not gripping me in its hold.

I felt at peace.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

 –Psalm 27:1

 

 

whom shall

 

He Knows

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The storm was coming.

An advisory had been issued by the weather service.

Not far from my neighborhood, there is a place where I can look out and see a nearby lake just beyond the trees and houses.

It was the perfect place to watch the dark clouds as they approached.

When the rain finally arrived, I had to enjoy the scene from inside my car.

If I hadn’t had any shelter–such as my car–I wouldn’t have been enjoying the scene at all.

I would’ve been sopping wet, exposed to wind and lightning and the dangers that come with them.

There are times in our lives when we can see the storms coming.

These storms have names of their own.

Illness.

Divorce.

Abandonment.

Grief.

These are just some of the storms that can come our way.

Do we have to just stand there, without any shelter at all when they appear?

Thankfully, we don’t.

God is our shelter.

Nahum 1:7 reads,

The LORD is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him.

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When troubles come, God will be our stronghold.

He knows who is trusting in Him.

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stronghold

The Desires of Your Heart

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The sun was setting as I went for a walk in the neighborhood.

I consciously thought of enjoying the time, taking in the reality of the moments I was being blessed with.

The sunlight was still falling on the trees in the orange grove beside my house, giving them a warm glow as they nestled in the thick green grass that had succumbed to the shadows.

Turning around, I noticed the flowering Crepe Myrtle trees in my yard, towering high with bundles of color.

A dog barked in the distance.

Gopher turtles had dug holes in the ground to shelter themselves in many places I walked.

The pink, fluffy clouds to the south looked like a lovely painting.

If I had decorated a room especially for someone, I wonder how I would feel if they entered it, but failed to notice or appreciate the decorations?

Day after day, God creates unspeakable beauty in our surroundings.

He gives it especially to us, to appreciate and enjoy.

Instead of hurrying through the hours and moments I am given, failing to notice and appreciate the creative works of His hands, I should take the time to enjoy what He has prepared with a thankful and grateful heart.

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Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

—Psalm 34:7

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delight

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

Never Walk in Darkness

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I almost didn’t go to the meeting.

The sky was turning dark gray and I was hesitant to possibly be driving in a storm.

At the last minute, I decided to go.

On the way back home when the meeting had ended, it was still raining and lightning was splitting the sky above me.

As I drove, I began to notice that there was a break in the clouds just where the sun was setting.

For about twenty minutes, I watched as magnificent colors of light cascaded across the sky in front of me.

Pulling my car to the side of the road, I took some photographs as the scene unfolded.

As I was continuing my journey home, blazing forks of lightning ripped through the clouds over my car.

There was not a time, however, that I could not see the light piercing through the opening in the atmosphere.

John 8:12 reads,

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Even though we may feel that we are surrounded by darkness and sin in the world, we do not have to walk in darkness ourselves.

We can follow Jesus, who is the light of the world, keeping our eyes on Him.

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light of life

There Is No Other

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As I was leaving home today, I noticed the formation while I was still on my street.

The white, puffy clouds were creating a circle around an empty sky of clear blue.

Happy to have my camera with me, I got out of my car to photograph such an unusual sight.

It looked like a portal to another place!

Of course, only sky was on the other side.

Nothing different.

There IS another place, though.

One that we cannot see now.

I believe that Heaven is real and that God is sovereign over all.

Moses spoke these words to the Israelites in the Old Testament:

Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

—Deuteronomy 4:39

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One day, we will find ourselves passing from this earth beneath to the Heaven above.

Are you ready today to meet the Lord Himself?

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no other

It Will All Happen

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I was a passenger in the car that day.

Riding down the highway, I noticed a large cloud in the sky.

It was such a captivating sight, it was difficult to look away.

As each moment passed, I didn’t want to miss any change or subtle nuance in the sky.

Have you ever wondered what it will be like when Jesus returns?

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 reads,

I tell you this, my brothers: an earthly body made of flesh and blood cannot get into God’s Kingdom. These perishable bodies of ours are not the right kind to live forever.

 But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies!  It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky, and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too.  For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.

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Can you just imagine seeing Jesus returning in the sky as big as that cloud?

What a glorious sight that will be!

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twinkling

eternal light

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There are times when the magnificence of the sky captures my attention.

On this day, the sun was breaking forth through an opening in the clouds.

Other beams were bursting out with brilliance from behind.

If God allows us to see such resplendent scenes while we are here on Earth, just imagine what it will be like when His glory will replace the light of the sun and the moon!

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“No longer will the sun be your light by day Or the moon be your light by night; I, the Lord, will be your eternal light; The light of my glory will shine on you.”

—Isaiah 60:19

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eternal four

The Light

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It was magnificent.

In the late afternoon hours at work, I looked up to see that the sky was almost completely filled with clouds that looked like patches of snow.

The sun was shining brightly through them, just above the trees.

Its light illumined the white clouds and the blue sky, forming a scene that was difficult to look away from.

Captivating.

Inviting.

Almost surreal.

The sun lights the sky, but it is Jesus who lights our hearts with His love.

Do you know Him today?

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

—John 8:12

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light of the world

The Face of Christ

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The light was beaming onto the vast ocean, diffused by the moisture that hung heavily within each cloud.

There was beauty in the white light piercing the gray shadows that day.

There is a light within those who know Jesus that has pierced the shadows of separation from Him.

We can look to the face of Jesus and know forgiveness, peace and compassion.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

—2 Corinthians 4:5-6  The Message

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it started correct

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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everlasting

He Calmed the Storm

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I could see the storm coming over the beach and out to sea.

The unrelenting power of the wind and rain.

Vast and uncontrollable, it could not be stopped.

The storms in our lives look just like that, don’t they?

Unrelenting.

Powerful.

Vast.

Uncontrollable.

God sees things in a different way than we do.

The storm at the beach was not too big for Him.

The storms in our lives aren’t either.

He has the power to calm the wind and the waves.

 

He calmed the storm to a whisper
    and stilled the waves.

–Psalm 107:29

 

 

storm two

 

 

 

He Comforts Us

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When I came out of the meeting, the sun was just beginning to set.

Most of the sky was riddled in clouds and it was raining.

Other people were exiting to the outside, as well.

I said something like, “I love it when it rains and the sun is shining!”

Getting into my car, I began to drive as I witnessed a magnificent display of color and beauty as the sun’s rays painted the monochrome clouds in a brilliant array.

Stopping the engine on a street, (no other cars were in sight) I snapped a photo or two.

For at least the next twenty minutes, I watched the various hues emerge in intensity within the moving clouds.

I began to think—

It had been raining.

The sun had been shining through the rain.

For some reason, we associate rain with difficult times and sunshine with happy times.

Thinking along those lines, I was experiencing a visual representation of “happy difficulty.”

How can circumstances bring us happiness and still be difficult and trying at the same time?

Life can get hard.  Really hard.

So much can go wrong.

But, along with the struggles, we can become aware of God’s presence through it all.

His light can begin to blaze through the rain, creating a spectacle of radiance that captures our gaze and draws us away from the storm.

At these moments, we are aware of both our problems and His presence.

2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us,

“He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.”

God does not leave us alone…

even when it rains.

 

H