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

They Sing Praises

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The lyrics to an old hymn mention birds singing to God:

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

(Maltbie D. Babcock)

Birds calling.

Flowers blooming.

The light of sunrise.

They are all praising God!

All the earth worships You
    and sings praises to You;
    they sing praises to Your Name. Selah

—Psalm 66:4

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all the earth

Everything He Does

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Walking over to a bush in my yard, I suddenly noticed something on a Lantana bloom.

Not really being sure what it was, I cautiously approached an intricately designed, winged creature.

Was it a wasp or a bee?

Would it decide to sting me at any moment, for being so close?

One photograph after another, it remained on the flower, content to be the object of my curiosity.

Looking on the internet later to try to find out what it was, I found that I had been watching a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth.

Well, now.

Imagine that!

Wonderfully arrayed in red, white and blue, this moth was such a beauty to behold.

Psalm 111:3 reads,

Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.

God fashioned this moth just the way He wanted to.

In each color and design on its body, God’s marvelous power of creation was evident.

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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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Always Be Joyful

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As I was walking to my car this morning to travel to work, I suddenly noticed something unusual across the street in my neighbor’s yard.

I probably thought something like, “What are those things?”

Within a second or two, I realized that I was looking at five wild turkeys, enjoying the moist grass before the sun was completely up.

Scrambling to get my camera out, I was able to photograph a couple of the turkeys, as the other three had mosied on behind my neighbor’s house.

What makes me happy?

What makes me joyful?

Many, many things.

Among them is the rare sighting of a wild animal or bird.

I could go to a zoo and enjoy seeing a wide variety of animals, but there is just something very special to me about seeing them in their natural habitat.

I know God wants me to be joyful in living my life for Him.

This morning was just one more of those joyful times…..

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Always be joyful.
—-1 Thessalonians 5:16

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And Narrow the Road

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It was a new place for me.

I had never hiked there before.

A path was split, with a fence bordering only one.

Which was the best way to go?

Did each path lead to the same place or to quite different destinations?

Jesus said,

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

—Matthew 7:13-14

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Into the Wilderness

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My friend has a lovely house nestled in the trees near a swiftly moving river.

Visiting there this weekend, I sat and watched as the water moved past, never stopping, always traveling.

The back yard has branches that canopy over the ground, filtering the setting sun with a warm glow that travels through windows onto the walls within her home.

A chair sits in the yard, inviting.

Almost as if to say, “Come, sit awhile.”

Solitary places, devoid of the rush-rush, hurry-hurry business of life allow quiet moments that can be filled with prayer.

With distractions reduced to the chirping of birds and the occasional scamper of an inquisitive squirrel, listening for God’s voice becomes easier.

Jesus went  to places like this to pray, as we see in this account of His healing of an afflicted man:

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

 And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

—Luke 5:12-16

Whether I am sitting near a river, sitting alone in my car or sitting alone in my home, I can pray.

I can talk to God.

I can also listen for what He has to say to me.

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You Will Be Free Indeed

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It was a beautiful time of day to stand on the dock at the lake.

Flowers were in bloom along the water’s edge.

The birds flew quickly past in front of me.

They were free.

They could go anywhere their wings might take them.

Free to soar.

Free to glide almost effortlessly in the space God created for them.

We can be spiritually free.

God has created that reality for us.

Are you living in that freedom today?

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To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

—John 8:31-36

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Contentment Is Not In Wealth

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If I lived in the biggest house I could imagine with the finest of furnishings, but I knew things were not right between me and God, would I be content?

If I drove the finest car on the market, but I knew things were not right between me and God, would I be content?

If I could travel around the world to see the most magnificent sights known to man, but I knew things were not right between me and God, would I be content?

If I were famous, and millions of people applauded my accomplishments, but I knew things were not right between me and God, would I be content?

Would you?

But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face.

—Psalm 17:15

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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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Poised to Pounce

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Does the tiger in the photo seem like he is poised to pounce on some unsuspecting victim?

I think tigers are beautiful and majestic animals.

Photographing them is especially enjoyable to me.

One thing I know—-never, ever get too close to them.

Why?

Because I know they could attack at any moment.

I have only photographed tigers in captive settings.

If I were in an area where they were free in the wild, I would certainly have to be alert and ready at any time for a possible attack.

As Christians, we need to be alert to the workings of the devil.

Temptations.

Lures toward things that would harm us.

Consider this passage from The Message:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

—1 Peter 5:8-11

We need to keep our guard up every day, choosing paths that lead us away from the wiles of the devil.

God has great plans for us.

I want to see those plans realized, don’t you?

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poised

Good and Perfect Comes to Us

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I had only visited the quaint, little town perhaps twice before.

Consisting of only a half square mile, the atmosphere seemed calm and peaceful, leaving hurry behind.

Walking along and looking at the houses as I passed, I was met with quite the surprise.

Not one–but two, brightly colored peacocks were just browsing a small dirt road entrance between homes.

My presence was probably noted, yet dismissed as being of any sensible interest.

Putting my camera to very good use, I snapped a few photos of this odd, but wonderful sight.

There are many birds that populate the cities and towns where I live, but this was probably the first time that I had ever seen peacocks out strolling in a residential area.

I didn’t expect to see them, but I was delighted.

I consider occasions like this to be gifts from God.

Other gifts from Him happen unexpectedly, as well, sometimes.

We may not be praying about it.

We may not have even thought about wanting it or needing it.

Yet, suddenly, right there in front of you, is a wonderful blessing from God.

A gift from Him.

It could be a material item or something like—-

A phone call from a friend.

A hug.

An apology.

A note of encouragement.

A job offer.

The words, “I love you.”

Sometimes, when you least expect it, a peacock walks by….

 But whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the Creator of all light, and he shines forever without change or shadow.

—James 1:17

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Be Still

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Friday night, some of my friends wanted to go out to see a movie.

I didn’t want to go.

There was this compelling idea of staying home and being less busy.

Maybe even quiet.

Yesterday and today, there was a nearby nature festival with a lot of photo opportunities and things to learn.

A friend invited me.

I decided not to go.

Instead, I quietly trimmed limbs from the trees in my yard.

Not talking to anyone.

Sometimes praying.

Sometimes singing.

Trying to listen for what God might be telling me.

After church this morning, I looked forward to coming home with more time to be quiet and thoughtful.

Sitting in a chair, writing some things down as I pondered, I saw a butterfly through the window fluttering around a blooming bush outside.

I am thankful for the past two days.

Intentionally slower days.

Decidedly quieter days.

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be still