Perfect Clarity

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
—1 Corinthians 13:12
The reflection I saw near the lake was like a painting.
Subtle colors, mirroring themselves in the still, quiet water.
Ripples bending the shapes into patterns of light and shadows.
The reflection wasn’t far from the true image of the plants growing close to the water’s edge.
We are not far from seeing our lives in perfect clarity, either.
When we enter Heaven, we will know everything completely, just as God now knows us completely.
clarity

The Peace of Christ

It was a different kind of day at work.

That’s because I really wasn’t at work, exactly.

I spent the day at a community center, taking part in a special training.

Walking into the room, I recognized only two people in the crowd.

Throughout the training seminar, there were times when I was deep in thought, processing all of the new material through my mind.

When the last session was over, people began to exit the building, walking to their cars.

I did that, as well, but looking out in front of the parking lot, there was a railroad track with a large lake beyond it.

It had been a cloudy and overcast day and the misty lake scene drew my interest.

Placing my things into the car, I took my cell phone with me as I walked to the railroad track and beyond.

Standing toward the edge of the lake, I photographed a visual representation of serenity.

Things were tranquil.

Calm.

I probably needed that.

I’m not exactly sure what emotions compelled me to walk toward the water.

Perhaps I needed to pause for a moment and just take in the peaceful, gray surroundings.

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

rule

In the Midst of Trouble

Do you remember the accident you didn’t have?
How about the time the thieves decided NOT to break into your home?
Do you recall the day your doctor didn’t prescribe the wrong medication?
Or the time the poisonous snake in the woods didn’t bite you while you were hiking?
You don’t remember those things because they never happened.
The protection of God–we are not always aware of it, but it doesn’t mean we are not right in the center of it.
Sometimes we are guided away from danger without recognizing our circumstances.
We may feel an intense urge to leave a place or to go to another–finding later that we avoided catastrophe.
God will never leave us.
He is in control over all things.
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Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life. —from Psalm 138:7
midst-of

Your Wonders

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;

from Psalm 89:5

The sunset over the lake was dazzling with radiant light and color.

With each pattern changing as darkness approached, there would never be quite the same sunset again.

In all its beauty, the heavens were praising God’s magnificent wonders.

Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Your wonders

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

A Brother or Sister in Need

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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

—1 John 3:17-18

I think God puts thoughts into our minds sometimes.

When my husband came home from work today, he was in a great mood.

He said it was a beautiful day and we should go somewhere and enjoy it.

I responded by suggesting that we go to a lakeside park and watch the sun set.

After we had been at the park for only a few minutes, we met a woman on the boardwalk who had a need.

My husband and I were able to help her with what she was needing.

We were there at just the right time.

The time, I believe, that God wanted us to be there.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God cares so much for us that He will bring people to us when we need them?

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possessions

Be Strong in the Faith

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As I walked along the lake, I felt impressed to photograph the scene before me.

All was calm and serene.

Strong trees growing near the edge, laced with plants growing right out of the water.

Like those trees, I want to have my “roots” connected to Jesus, so that my life will thrive as I go about each day.

I want my life to be built on Him, being strong in faith.

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As you received Christ Jesus the Lord,

so continue to live in Him.

Keep your roots deep in Him

and have your lives built on Him.

Be strong in the faith,

just as you were taught,

and always be thankful.

—Colossians 2:6-7

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be strong

Present Your Requests

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While visiting my son’s lakeside apartment, I suggested that we take a walk in the park across the street.

As we began our stroll, we noticed some heavy equipment parked near the fishing dock.

Neither of us could tell what work was about to be done, but it obviously looked as though some serious digging was planned.

On the way back from our walk, I decided to photograph the machines.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have only a spoon with which to dig in order to complete a task like the one probably planned near the dock?

Diligent work for weeks and months—perhaps years—might still not be enough to tackle the need.

There are many times in our lives when God provides a spoon for us to complete a work because a spoon is all that is needed.

At other times, situations loom before us as we feel helpless and defeated with our lack of resources or ability.

God knows our limitations.

Sometimes, He is the only One who can take care of a situation.

In an instant, He can heal, provide, change, forgive and encourage.

Even so, we can forget that He is available to help us.

With spoon in hand, we tackle those things never meant to be faced alone.

Philippians 4:6 says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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anxious

He Will Keep

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Walking along the water’s edge, I came upon a sailboat.

Lodged securely in the sand, it gave a silent testimony to trips gone by.

To gentle winds that had given it flight across the lake.

To moments of solitude.

To a calmness that comes from leaving the shore behind…

There is a peace that can come only from God.

A perfect peace.

A peace born in fellowship with Him.

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!

—Isaiah 26:3

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perfect peace

Then God Said

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The cormorants were congregating on the lake.

They had successfully harnessed my attention.

Some would fly effortlessly above the water while others floated just as easily on its surface.

On the water.

Above the water.

They were adept at either location.

While I was watching, a sea plane approached.

Skimming at a fairly quick rate of speed on the water once it made contact from the air, it began to steer to its destination.

Many of the birds chose to just stay in the lake and watch the giant man-made bird as it joined them for a swim.

Others flew around it or above it.

People have longed for generations to fly like the birds and swim to the depths of the sea.

It is only in current history that we have been able to do so by mechanical means.

God created creatures to fly and creatures to swim.

He gave them that ability.

From birth, they were designed to do so.

We are only in the process of discovering the wonders that God has set into place.

With each new endeavor to achieve, we find that each discovery brings us back to the awesomeness of God.

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Then God said, “Let the waters teem with fish and other life, and let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.”

 —Genesis 1:20
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teem

I Watch

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It’s one of my favorite places.

The little town borders a quiet lake that often reflects the sunset in vibrant splendor.

When I am near the water, I am compelled to look out over its surface, whether it is across the vast expanse of the ocean or the relatively short distance across a lake.

I am looking—but for what?

I am always expectant, I believe, for something beautiful.

Beautiful and meaningful.

My eyes are fixed with bridled excitement at the possibilities of what my gaze should fall upon.

Glorious hues of golden sun rays on cotton ball clouds.

Sea birds gliding effortlessly on a gentle wind.

Sailboats traveling with calm serenity across the horizon.

Something good is always there.

The prophet Micah wrote these words:

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

—Micah 7:7

Do our hearts watch, day and night, in hope for the Lord?

Watching and hoping, but for what?

Are we expectant for something beautiful?

Beautiful and meaningful?

Are our minds fixed with excitement at the possibilities of what we might see?

No matter what is going on in our lives, we can watch in hope for the Lord.

He is our God.

He is our Savior.

He will hear us.

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But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

—Micah 7:7

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I watch

So the Heart Reflects the Real Person

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Early morning.

The boardwalk was quiet for the most part.

I passed a couple of people fishing off the rail.

Silent birds gliding through the still, moist air made their way across the wide expanse of the water.

The lake before me was like a perfect mirror, reflecting the perfect beauty all around.

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As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

—Proverbs 27:19

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face

Always Give Thanks

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It was an unexpected blessing.

My husband and I had just left a Christmas dinner party at a local restaurant. We had both come right after work, so we were in two separate vehicles. We decided that since my car was parked closest, he would get into my car and I would drive him to his car which was parked some distance away.

He had chosen to leave his car at a lot by a lakeside park.

The sun had already gone down, leaving pink and gray swirls behind to wave goodbye just before darkness would settle in.

Seven ducks (I counted them!) were swimming in the lake which had been transformed into a glowing surface of color. Some fishermen were nearby, taking in their surroundings, just as I was.

Enthralled by such beauty, I looked up into the sky and took a deep breath, taking in the moment as a blessing from God.

The sky, the sweet, cool air, the ducks, the shimmering water—all played a part in a magnificently delicate scene before me.

I was thankful for the unplanned opportunity to see God’s creation.

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give thanks

But I Will Hope

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Walking along the lake, I saw some plants growing in the water.

The leaves were positioned on the top of the water, not submerged.

Their beautiful hues of lavender and green adorned the murky lake.

Though surrounded by water, the leaves were above it.

We often find ourselves in less than perfect situations.

Circumstances can be hard.

During those times, we can continue to reach out for God’s strength, even when ours is fading.

When we are surrounded by problems, we can still stay above them with His help.

Although things might look really murky, the colors of God’s love are evidence within us of His faithfulness in our lives.

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But I will hope continually
    and will praise you yet more and more.

–Psalm 71:14

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hope final

Wait in Silence

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For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7

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soul

In Wisdom

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Sunday morning.

Warm.

Misty.

Flowers growing by the lake.

A spider was sitting still on one of the flowers.

A type of spider I have never seen before.

A creation of God that I didn’t know existed.

Slender legs, long and flaxen-like.

A sleek, green body the color of a ripened lime.

Two beautiful creations of God, proclaiming silent praise as the work of His hands.

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

–Psalm 104:24

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works

The Longer They Live

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Walking across from the hotel, the deck was adorned with flowers as we approached the water.

The late evening sun was glowing over the lake and coming to rest on some purple blooms.

Made transparent, almost, by the intense light, the delicate blooms were gleaming.

Have you ever met someone like that?

Transparent.

Honest.

Loving.

Christ-like.

As each year goes by, does it seem that as they grow closer to God, they grow more kind and loving than before?

Like fragrant flowers growing beside a lake, we are drawn to their inner beauty that comes from their faith in God.

The ways of right-living people glow with light;
    the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
    travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.

—Proverbs 4:18-19

    The Message

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living

Rather, He Delights

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I had only been to the restaurant once before.

Located at the shoreline of a large lake, the scenery was delightful.

Walking along a wooden deck after dinner, I noticed the property right beside the restaurant.

A home had been built there.

In the backyard, a boat and chair sat, waiting to be used.

The boat would take the owners out on the water, allowing them to fish or just enjoy the movement of the gentle waves.

The chair would allow them to sit and take in the beauty of the lake before them, watching the sun set over the calm water.

The boat and the chair did not just happen along in the yard.

Someone purchased them and placed them where they could be used.

There was a plan.

A deliberate plan.

 

Do I plan to notice what God has made?

Do I plan to enjoy what He has provided for me?

Do I make a deliberate plan to focus on His presence?

 

Blessed is the person who does not
    follow the advice of wicked people,
        take the path of sinners,
            or join the company of mockers.
Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord
    and reflects on his teachings day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside streams—
    a tree that produces fruit in season
        and whose leaves do not wither.
    He succeeds in everything he does.

—Psalm 1:1-3

 

 

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