Completion

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

 

—Philippians 1:6

 

You have a plan for me

Like the islands in the distant horizon

On the north Atlantic shore

I cannot see the course in sharp perspective

Yet, there is confidence that each part of the journey

Will be what You have allowed

This transformation of my heart

Will be brought to completion

In Your time and in Your way

 

 

 

 

 

 

completion2

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

Trust In

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

—Proverbs 3:5

 

My husband and I were spending the day at the ocean.

We decided to buy tickets for a boat taxi.

When tickets are purchased, the boat taxi will take groups of people to certain destinations on the coast and come back at later times to pick them up.

At a stop we had chosen, we got off the boat and walked a short distance to a road.

I had my cell phone with me, so I consulted a GPS application on it.

We had been told of a waterside restaurant not far away.

Looking it up on the GPS, I selected “walking” as my mode of transportation.

Faithfully, the instructions and maps provided led us to our destination.

The route involved walking down a dirt path/road with trees that made a canopy overhead.

Could this really be the short hike to a restaurant?

It didn’t feel like it was, but we needed to trust the GPS.

After awhile, we came upon a park and finally, the restaurant.

If we had decided to go another way that might have seemed better, we might not have made it there at all.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the LORD will all our hearts. We are not to lean on our own understanding.

God may lead us to a “rural path” in life when what we’d expected was a nicely paved city street.

When that happens, we must trust that He knows exactly where our destination is.

A GPS system can be flawed and sometimes there can be problems.

God’s direction, however, is never flawed.

We can always trust Him.

 

 

trust

My Hands Have Made

This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is My throne,

    and the earth is My footstool.

Could you build Me a temple as good as that?

    Could you build Me such a resting place?

My hands have made both heaven and earth;

    they and everything in them are mine.

    I, the Lord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,

    who tremble at My word.

—Isaiah 66:1-2

Walking along the beach, I am struck many times by the magnificence of the patterns in the sand created by the tide. 

As the water approaches and then recedes, it forms a mathematical pattern of its own atop the sculpted sand. 

Contemplating its beauty and perfection, I am drawn to watch its continuous rhythm. 

God has made Heaven and Earth. He made the water and commanded it to create waves. He made the sand and commanded it to rest in patterns. 

Our God is an awesome God!

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. 

Creatures of the Sea

I am fascinated by the ocean and the creatures that live there.

God has made living things that thrive in the depths that are yet undiscovered by man.

It is exciting to me just to watch life underwater and gaze at such beauty.

 

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
—Genesis 1:21

 

 

creatures

Along With the Seas

Let the heavens and the earth praise Him,  along with the seas and everything that swims in them! 

Psalm 69:34

I live only an hour and a half drive from the ocean. 

Tonight, while visiting friends far away from my home, we went to “their” ocean–the one not far from their home. 

It was evening when we arrived. 

The moon was high in the night sky and the rolling, white waves crashed on the sand before me. 

It was a shoreline I had never seen, but it was God’s. 

Tonight was just the night that He was allowing me to experience another beautiful part of His creation. 

All praise belongs to God. 

 

Pardon

What do we do when we see someone struggling in the water, possibly drowning?

Most of us–certainly nearly all of us–would try to help in some way and do it quickly.

Yell for help.

Find a lifeguard.

Throw out a life jacket.

Maybe even jump into the water ourselves to attempt a rescue.

We would do this not just for our families and loved ones, but even for strangers.

People we had never met.

Imagine the unthinkable scenario of a person in a boat taking notice of a struggling, drowning swimmer.

Amid the cries for help, the man in the boat doesn’t reach for the life ring to throw in.

He doesn’t consider jumping into the water to save the swimmer.

Instead, he shakes his head and calls out, “Didn’t you know that the currents were rough over there?

You shouldn’t have ever gone swimming by yourself, anyway!

It’s your own fault to be in the mess you’re in!

You should’ve been in a boat, like me!”

No compassion.

No understanding.

No help….

It’s horrible just to think about it, isn’t it?

It gets a lot worse if you think about the swimmer as being someone you love.

One of your children.

Your dad.

Your mom.

Your spouse…

Yet, could this be how we think about others that don’t know about the saving grace of Jesus?

If we have found safety and forgiveness in Him, are we reluctant to help others when they are struggling with sin and its effects?

When people we see are drowning in life’s problems, how do we respond?

Do we call out (sometimes silently in our own minds), “Didn’t you know better than to…

get mixed up with drugs?

date those kind of people?

stay out all night?

marry him?

marry her?

take that job?

become an alcoholic?

You should never have done that!

It’s your own fault that you’re in the mess you’re in!”

How do we respond?

Do we try to help and do it quickly?

Do we call to others to assist in helping?

Do we throw out a life ring and tell them that there is a Savior who loves them?

Do we try to jump into the “water” ourselves and begin to really know and understand their problems, all the while pointing them to God?

What if it was your child, your parent or your spouse who was struggling?

Wouldn’t you want someone—anyone—to help?

Look out on the water around you.

Who’s out there?

How will you respond?

*

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

–Luke 6:37

 

pardon

Recounted in Order

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

 

 

 

 

The water from the ocean crawls relentlessly up onshore, traveling with intensity and force.

In a moment, as though it had specific orders to do so, it stops–and returns to the vast sea from which it came, leaving behind evidence of its short presence there.

Often, ripples form in the sand.

Intriguing and magnificent, mathematical and perfect; ordered, yet chaotic.

If I could take a photograph of the shore just after the recession of a wave and then measure each ripple with great accuracy, what would I find?

The numbers would certainly show God’s design–a picture of His Divine calculation.

The sand between my toes, the feel of the ripples left behind.

The sensation of cool water passing over my feet.

These are grand testimonies of the power and creativity of the Maker of the universe.

Many, O LORD my God, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are toward us: they cannot be recounted in order unto you: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

–Psalm 40:5

*

Click image to enlarge.

declare

 

Through a Glass

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Walking along the ocean side is one of my favorite things.

The gentle, yet powerful, roar of the waves as they break onto the shore.

The sound of the seagulls squawking above me.

The feel of the wet sand on my feet.

And, of course, the sea spray…

The mist created by the vast expanse of water causes a haze to hang like an opaque backdrop, removing clarity from everything in its path.

Buildings lose their distinctiveness as they succumb to the white, concealing moisture all about them.

As I walked along the water’s edge, I photographed the scene in front of me.

Children playing.

Couples strolling.

Birds flying.

Sand castles being constructed.

All within the mist.

The Bible reads in 1 Corinthians 13:12,

“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.”

We are all living “in the mist” at this time.
Playing.
Strolling.
Building—
All with limited vision.
There will be a day when that will change.
Are you ready for that day?
*

Click image to enlarge.

glass darkly

When The Ocean Was Born

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

I am fascinated by the ocean.

I love the sound of the waves.

I love to watch the water as it changes shape to form them.

I love to ponder the ripples in the sand that remain when the tide pulls back.

God keeps the vast ocean in its place, every day, every night, without ceasing.

Awesome.

Amazing.

All-powerful.

That’s what God is….

*

When the ocean was born,
    I set its boundaries
 and wrapped it in blankets
    of thickest fog.
 Then I built a wall around it,
    locked the gates,  and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!
    They can go no farther.”

—Job 38:8-10

Click image to enlarge.

no farther 2

They Sing Praises

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

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

*

Click image to enlarge.

all the earth

Go Everywhere

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Standing by the boats on the water, everything was so quiet and calm.

There is something about seeing a boat that makes me want to go somewhere on it.

Somehow there is a silent invitation to an unknown adventure just by being in its vicinity.

Actually, every day brings with it an invitation as a believer of Jesus.

Mark 16:15 reads,

Jesus said to His followers, “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.”

If you and I are followers of Jesus, wherever we go–down the street or around the globe–we will be witnesses of what He has done for us.

Our transformed lives will speak in our actions and our words to those around us.

We have an invitation every day.

Will we go wherever Jesus has planned for us in the upcoming hours, showing others His love through each situation we encounter?

*

Click image to enlarge.

ships final

Roar and Foam

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

The water crashed against the large rocks over and over.

White foam accompanied each surge.

The ocean reminds me of God’s power.

The vastness of the sea and the unrelenting motion of the waves.

No matter what happens in our lives, as His children, the Lord Almighty is with us.

*

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

—Psalm 46:1-7

Click image to enlarge.

roar and foam

Full of Unfailing Love

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
    so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

—Psalm 86:5

I don’t know how to glide over the waves on a surf board.

For some reason, when I see someone gracefully traveling along with a giant wall of water, I want to watch.

They must not be afraid to venture out far from the shore or they wouldn’t keep at it time and again.

The life guard is there, sitting atop the tall stand, ready to rescue.

That must surely be a comfort.

Even when they are just sitting on the board or swimming along beside it, there is certainly some trust of available help, should they need it.

There is a popular Christian song that speaks of such a situation, yet in a spiritual sense.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture

Even when we are out in the “open seas” of life, caught in strong wind and deep water, God is with us.

We are never alone.

God’s love is unfailing.

*

Click image to enlarge.

unfailing final

The Fountain of Life

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

The ocean’s vast waters glow with the brilliant light of the evening sun.

Bursting from the horizon, it’s reflection marks a pathway across the waves in blazing intensity.

I watched as a man traveled alone across the waves, heading for the light.

Am I heading for God’s light, where true life is found?

*

Indeed, the fountain of life is with you. In your light we see light.

—Psalm 36:9

*
Click image to enlarge.

fountain frame

Great Sea Creatures

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

God made everything.

All the animals.

All the birds.

All the insects.

Apple trees.

Holly bushes.

Grass.

Creatures in the sea.

I think each creation pleased Him.

I think He knew that we would someday look at dolphins and say, “They look like they’re smiling!”

I think that pleased God, too.

*

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
 you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
 young men and women,
    old men and children.

—-Psalm 148:7-12

*

Click image to enlarge.

great sea creatures

Carefree Before God

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Carefree.

I decided to look the definition up in the dictionary.

What did I find?

“Free from anxiety and responsibility.”

I Peter 5:7 in The Message reads,

“Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”

Living a life free of anxiety sounds good.

But, do we live lives without responsibilities?

When we think about it, we are responsible for making the decision to allow God into our hearts and lives.

Then, we are responsible for how we obey His leading.

We are totally free, however, from some other responsibilities.

God is responsible for those.

The verse above as written in the Living Bible reads,

“Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”

God gave us our lives and He is sustaining them.

The world and the universe are held by His power.

He is aware of absolutely everything in our lives.

God loves us, and because of that, we can trust Him with all of those responsibilities we could not possibly handle.

He is “most careful” with me and with you.

*
*
CLICK POST TITLE TO LEAVE A COMMENT

*
*

Click image to enlarge.

carefree

Stride Freely

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Sailboats fascinate me.

Something about them catches my interest every single time I see one out on the water.

This time, it was a rather large boat on the ocean.

Drifting along with sails spread out, the wind above the sea carrying them along on a bright and sunny day.

I took several photographs of the boat, capturing its journey in still snippets of time.

Describing the scene would be easy.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure.

The definition itself draws me in.

Psalm 119:43-48 from The Message reads,

Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever – your commandments are what I depend on.  Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever;  And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;  Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.  I cherish your commandments – oh, how I love them! –  relishing every fragment of your counsel.

What if I didn’t have God’s truth deep within my heart?

What if I didn’t know how He wanted me to act?

What if He had never revealed anything to me?

I would be lost and desperate.

Bound by confusion.

Uncertain.

Thankfully, I am not without God’s truth and direction.

I can “stride freely through wide open spaces” as I grow closer to Him, like a sailing vessel out on the open seas.

As I find more truth and more wisdom on my journey, I am changed—day by day—into the person God wants me to be.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure…..

*
*
CLICK ON POST TITLE TO LEAVE A COMMENT

*
*

Click image to enlarge.

stride

The Face of Christ

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

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

*
*

CLICK POST TITLE TO LEAVE A MESSAGE

*
*

Click image to enlarge.

it started correct

The Sea Into Jars

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

I was certainly surprised.

The rain was pouring off my roof at an amazing rate.

In a flower garden area by my kitchen window, I have a large glass vase filled with water.

If a section of a plant in the garden breaks off, it can be placed in the glass container to root.

The rain was collecting in just the right area on the roof to come barreling down right into the vase.

This was causing tremendous bubbling.

Intrigued by natural phenomena like bubbling water in a rainstorm, I decided to photograph the vase and the surrounding area.

Looking at the result, I could see uniform bubbles near the top of the vase.

Deciding to crop the photo just at the bubbling area to see what it looked like, I was amazed.

The clear bubbles now looked a misty white color, surrounding a violet colored plant that was rooting in the vase.

It looked like an oil painting, with gentle hues of green and mauve brushed delicately as a reflection in each individual sphere of liquid and air.

The task of gathering rain water into a jar is an easy one, given the presence of rain.

We are limited in how much water we can gather into one place by the size of the container we can construct.

Not so with God.

Psalm 33:7 reads,

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.

Can you imagine what it would be like for God to gather all the water on earth together at one place and time and simply put it in a jar?

He could if He wanted to.

God is not limited.

Ever.

Can you and I trust God, who can place the oceans of the world in a jar, to:

-guide us daily?

-comfort our hearts?

-transform our lives?

Shouldn’t  we ask God, who is limitless, to work past our limitations?

*
*
CLICK POST TITLE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.
*

Click image to enlarge.

into jars

Ever-Present Help

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

It was a day to relax, mostly.

Reclining on the beach with friends, I looked out toward the water.

There was peace.

The steady, yet calm roar of the waves never ceased.

Predictable…..

Consistent…..

Then, I saw it!

What was that?

My friends hadn’t noticed, but I peered more closely toward the water.

Something jumped a couple of feet above the sand and flopped back down.

It did it again!

Could a jellyfish do that?

Ever curious, I got out of my luxury lawn chair, complete with a built in neck pillow, cup holder and supply bag and started walking toward the object in question.

As I grew closer, I realized what it was.

A TREE FROG!

He had his arms tucked under him as he sat still in my presence.

Along with sunglasses and sunscreen, I had decided to bring my camera to the beach.

It was time to take a few photos before embarking on the task of getting the little creature back to a more hospitable environment.

One of my friends had a ball cap on, which came in very handy when trying to catch a hopping frog.

When she had him secured, she walked to the nearest area of palm trees and other foliage to let him go.

The adventure complete, we settled back into our chairs, basking in the sun and the mist of the sea.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder….how did that frog get to the beach?

After some thought, I decided that he could have hopped into someone’s fishing supplies.

Maybe in a garage miles away, an unsuspecting sportsman picked up a bucket or bag, placed it into their truck and transported it with the tiny, green stowaway on board.

How he got there was not really the important thing, however.

Getting him back to a safe place was.

 

People do this all the time, you know.

Surroundings look interesting and relatively safe, like a bag or bucket with fisherman’s gear.

We crawl in, feeling quite accomplished.

Before we know it, we decide it’s time to hop out, but when we do, things have changed.

Tall, leafy trees and damp, green grass have been replaced by salt water and burning hot sand as far as the eye can see.

In a panic, we jump high into the air, not realizing that doing so alerts predators to our presence in an unforgiving and hostile place.

Even so, God is watching.

He knows where we are when we ourselves do not.

He knows the danger when we venture into the bag.

He watches us as we are filled with fear when we see where our decisions have taken us.

He knows we can’t live in the salty waves.

When we hop frantically on the shore, He can pick us up and take us to a place—

a safe place we can call home.

 

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

—Psalm 146:1-3

 

 

help