Even the Cattle

His thunder announces the coming storm;    even the cattle make known its approach.

Job 36:33

The weather reports were filled with only one thing yesterday:

Hurricane Irma. 

My family prepared as best as we could. 

But one thing remained out of our reach–

We couldn’t control the storm. 

Only God could do that. 

Walking outside before the conditions deteriorated, I noticed that the cows in the field across from my house were gathered. 

Did they somehow know the storm was coming?

The sky eventually began to grow darker and the rain and wind began. 

Only God can control the wind. 

Only God can control the rain. 

A Glass Darkly

 

There is an old hymn titled, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”  written by Charles Albert Tindley.

Here are some of the lyrics:

Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us
to that blessed promised land;
but He guides us with his eye,
and we’ll follow till we die,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

 

Trials, hardships.

Storms.

Arguments.

Illnesses.

They make our vision dark and confusing.

We may ask ourselves why God would lead us to live with Him someday through a journey that looks like the one we’re on.

Sometimes, it is difficult to understand.

Yet, He does guide us and we must follow Him.

We will understand the “whys” of our lives later on.

1 Corinthians 13:12 reads,

“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.”

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to see at times, looking through a glass.

The images are skewed and our perception is weak.

There will be a day when the story of our own life will be clear.

We will understand it better, by and by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

glass darkly

Lilies

 

 

 

“And why worry about your clothing?

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.

They don’t work or make their clothing,

yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers

that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow,

He will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith?”

 

–Matthew 6:28-30

 

 

 

lilies

Troubled

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

—John 14:1

Do not let your heart–

my heart,

the part of me that is,

that thinks,

that tries to understand

 

Be troubled—

worried, distraught, fearful, anxious

 

Believe in God–

God, my Father in Heaven,

the Creator,

the one who holds the universe together

 

Believe also in Me—

Jesus, the one who died in my place

to pay the penalty for my sin,

who loves me greatly with no conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

troubled

For I Am Lonely

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

—Psalm 25:16

 

 

 

Who are those that are lonely?

The ones in need so deeply inside

They’re mixed in crowds

yet still, they hide

 

Who are those that are afflicted?

The ones so burdened with pain

They blend in around us

But the hurt continues to remain

 

It is not known to their hurting hearts

That God would take them in

Who are those that could tell them?

It’s you and I, my friend

 

turn to me

 

 

 

 

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

 

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. 

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

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

That the Hawk Soars

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,

Stretching his wings toward the south?

—Job 39:26

 

Today, I looked out my back window and saw a red shouldered hawk in the misty rain.

Taking my camera out into the back yard, I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as I sought to photograph him.

I have come to recognize their call, as it is distinct and loud.

Beautifully marked with an array of patterned colors in their feathers, they seem to project a stateliness as they perch.

God has made thousands of creatures, both great and small.

Each one is to His perfect liking.

I watched the hawk fly down to the ground and back up again.

The rain was increasing, so I finally left him to welcome the evening without me.

God tells the hawks what to do–where they should fly, how to build a nest.

It’s not by my understanding.

There are times when I don’t understand how God is working in my life or the lives of others, but I know that His ways are not my ways.

I am limited.

He is limitless….

 

 

 

your-understanding

But I Am Trusting You

But I am trusting You, O Lord,
    saying, “You are my God!”

—Psalm 31:14

 

There are trustworthy people in this world.

But people can fail.

You can.

I can.

We may expect the best of others, rarely being disappointed.

Yet, we know deep down that no one is perfect.

God, however, is perfect.

If we trust Him, He cannot fail.

He is our God.

 

 

trusting-you

Great Is the LORD!

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
(Great Are You Lord by All Sons and Daughters)
This song has become so meaningful to me this past year, especially the last couple of weeks.
I went to a conference with my daughter-in-law a few months ago and this was the theme song of the gathering.
It was sung at every worship service.
It was the first time I had ever heard it.
As I see God at work in several aspects of my life and in the lives of those I love, my heart has been filling with praise.
God does give hope.
God does restore.
God does bring light to the darkness in our lives.
God is love and He gives us our life.
The breath we breathe?
We only have it because He gives it to us.
God is truly great.
Our praise belongs to Him only.
Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure His greatness.
—Psalm 145:3
great-is

Love His Brother Also

What does it look like to love others?

To love people the way God wants us to love them?

It’s easy to love those who love us.

But what about the ones who don’t?

Or what about the people of the world we have never met?

Or those that we come in contact with that are homeless or jobless?

What does it look like to love others who may be dirty from living on the street?

Or the ones who dress differently than we do and act differently than we do?

What does loving them look like?

Years ago, our children had a game that was intended for car trips.

It was a set of long cards on a ring, as I remember it.

One person would ask the other player a question that was listed on a particular card.

I can’t recall all the the details of the game, but there was a colored plastic sheet that could go on top of a card.

If the plastic sheet was on top of the card, the answer could be read.

Otherwise, it was hard to see the letters–maybe they couldn’t be seen at all.

Loving people the way God wants us to love them has to start with understanding that God loves them.

If we don’t understand that, they are like letters and words that we cannot see on a card.

We don’t feel the need to love them because we have not noticed that they need love.

We have not recognized them as being precious to God and loved by Him.

Once the “colored plastic” of this truth is placed over our view of them, we see clearly what we had not before.

When that happens, God will allow us to see just what loving that other person means right then.

 

 

 

And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

—1 John 4:21

 

 

 

love-his-brother-correct

Heavenly Lights

It’s easy to get used to things.

I live in a subtropical area, with palm trees, warm weather most of the year and an incredible amount of wildlife roaming about at any hour of the day.

People come from all over the world to vacation in this area.

I’m used to the beauty of it all, so there are times that I fail to appreciate it.

Tonight, I was looking at the moon while standing in my back yard.

It was a clear evening, and the moon was bright and almost directly overhead.

Photographing the moon is something I have enjoyed for awhile.

It is easy to just get used to the moon being there, without really thinking about it.

If I do think about the fact that something so incredibly large is right out there so close to earth, orbiting and yet always staying right where it should be, it’s almost a little frightening.

Just that initial thought of how small I am and how big the moon is—that moon that’s right above me.

I trust that God will keep it in its place, so I don’t really concern myself with it.

The fact that God is keeping it there brings me to consider His great power.

He is holding the moon in place and He is holding my life in place.

Even though I may feel overwhelmed at times, I know I can trust Him.

The moon above is a reminder that He is in control.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

 Give thanks to Him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
 Give thanks to Him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
 the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
 and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

—Psalm 136:3-9

give-thanks

And Yet

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

—Matthew 6:26

 

 

The bird was perched on top of the feeder, looking down as I photographed him.

I wonder what birds think about the feeders that people put out for them.

Do they understand that an actual person somehow gets all that seed and is placing it out where they can have it?

Do they wonder with amazement how an entire container of just seed happens to be near them?

Or do they just accept that it is simply there and never ponder how or why?

God provides for the birds by natural means and also by enabling humans to gather seed and generously present it in various types of feeders.

God provides for the birds.

We are worth much more than they are.

God will provide for us, too, in whatever way we need.

And when He does, do we understand and acknowledge that it is God who is providing for us?

 

 

sow nor.jpg

 

Trust In You

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.

—Psalm 9:10

 

I could see the boat coming down the river at a fairly good speed.

It’s not uncommon at all to see boats travel up and down the river, but this was a little bit different.

There, on the front deck of the boat, was a dog.

A very happy dog, I would assume.

More than likely, it was his owner driving the vessel behind him.

I don’t know what the dog was thinking, but he must have been very trusting to sit right at the front with no one beside him as the trees passed, the water parted and the wind blew strongly through his fur!

Of course, there would have been no possible way for the owner to have explained to the dog how the boat was powered or steered, how he would make the proper decisions about speed and location or even how long the ride would be.

A dog cannot comprehend that level of thinking.

Still, the dog had the opportunity to trust the owner and enjoy the ride.

We cannot understand what is happening in our lives sometimes.

When God is steering the “boat” we can only accept His invitation to go where He wants us to go.

We cannot always comprehend the “what and why” of God’s plan.

The dog didn’t ask his owner, “Where are we going?”

“When will we come home?”

“How fast will we go?”

“What will I see?”

No. He just hopped on the boat and away they went.

As believers, we must trust God for the journey.

He will never forsake us.

 

trust in You.jpg

 

 

Become Like Little Children

God knows all about my life.

Even when it is too difficult for me to grasp–all the issues and illnesses within my family, what my hopes and dreams are, how I am feeling from moment to moment.

He knows it all.

Even though I cannot understand how, I have to trust that He does.

Just like a small child sitting happily and calmly in their own house, quietly playing with toys in the floor.

They trust that their loving parent will prepare food for them.

They trust that they will be told when to go to sleep and rest.

If they pinch their finger on the wheel of a toy car, they trust that a simply cry of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” will bring them to their presence immediately.

They don’t worry about water bills.

They don’t spend time concerning themselves about car payments.

Yet, they drink water freely and ride in a car when their parents tell them to get in.

Jesus says that we need to be like little children:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

(Matthew 18:1-5)

Every day I need to become like a little child as far as my trust and belief in God are concerned.

Even though I do not fully understand, I must fully trust.

greatest

Gentle Showers

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak!
    Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
 Let My teaching fall on you like rain;
    let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
    like gentle showers on young plants.
 I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
    how glorious is our God!
 He is the Rock; His deeds are perfect.
    Everything He does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
    how just and upright He is!”

—Deuteronomy 32:1-4

 

 

 

The leaves on the bushes by my front door often catch my eye when raindrops have found their place on each individual one.

The water is life-giving to the plants.

Without it, they would die.

Like rain falling on us, the truths of God give us life in Him.

He is glorious!

He is the Rock!

His deeds are perfect!

He is just!

He is fair!

He is faithful!

He does no wrong!

He is just!

He is upright!

 

tendergrass

All Things

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments,

and His paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been His counselor?”

“Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?”

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

—Romans 11:33-36

~

God knows everything.

He knows all about us and what is happening in our lives.

That seems too difficult for us to imagine, yet He is holding all the stars in the universe in place, He is keeping all the cells in our bodies alive, and He has formed and created each individual thing on earth.

A magnificent flower, blooming in mathematical perfection draws itself upward to the sun as the earth follows a path around it prescribed by God Himself.

God knows everything.

all-things

Everlasting Rock

Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

–Isaiah 26:4

If we trust in ourselves for guidance without God, who are we to have the answers?

We are feeble.

We are human.

He is God.

When we try to do things our way instead of His way, who are we to know what is best?

We are feeble.

We are human.

He is God.

If we trust in God all of our lives, we are putting our confidence in an everlasting rock.

We are feeble.

We are human.

He is God.

We are to be thankful….

 

everlasting-rock1

He Will Not Leave You

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

 

There’s a hurricane coming to my area.

It is forecast to be here in a matter of hours.

God had a plan for Joshua to lead His people after Moses.

Moses encouraged Joshua with these words:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

God will not leave His children.

Not in a hurricane.

Or an earthquake.

Not in a tornado.

Or a tsunami.

Not in a time of drought.

Or in a flood.

God will not leave His children or forsake them.

 

dismayed.jpg

 

 

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

—John 14:27

A troubled heart can be calmed.

A restless mind can be quieted.

A sleepless night can be changed to one of healing rest.

A broken life can be made whole again.

Jesus gives us peace….

peace

For God is Love

 Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know Him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.

—1 John 4:7-8

How can I practice loving someone else?

In what ways can I be loving and kind?

By what actions and words can I show that I am a child of God?

How will those who are around me tell that I am getting to know God better?

How can my life show others that God is love?

Your Wisdom

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom

and spread its wings toward the south?

—Job 39:26

This morning as my husband and I were driving on a rural area of highway, I began thinking about how God places people in the lives of others.

I shared a few of my thoughts with him.

God is holding everything together–all life, all the universe.

He sustains all things.

Yet, I truly feel that He knows about us individually in a complete way.

I believe that He orchestrates things to happen, people to meet and opportunities to be in community with each other.

As for my understanding, things don’t just “happen” to us.

God is very personal to us, and at the same time, He has a sovereign plan for all of His creation.

In the book of Job, God asks many questions that lead to the answer that He is in control.

We are not in control, but we can be in fellowship with the One who is.

hawk take

The Dawn and the Sunset

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
—Psalm 65:8

As the sun was going down behind me, bold rays were streaking across the sky above the ocean in front. 

Soft pink and cream sunbeams traveled across a velvet blue sky, silently shouting their magnificence to the world below. 

It is God who created this evening’s masterpiece of beauty.