Into God’s Presence

Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

—Ephesians 3:12

 

 

 

Walking out of the restaurant in a small town near a lake, I noticed the sun setting with radiant color.

Getting my camera out of the car, I quickly made my way to the water’s edge to take some photographs before the sun was completely gone.

The light dazzled on the horizon, coloring the water with a golden orange hue.

Birds flew in the distance.

The beauty in front of me was just one display of God’s wondrous creation.

A gift for all to see.

We can praise Him for that beauty.

We can thank Him for all His gifts.

We can come to Him with our needs and our concerns.

We can come to Him accepted and forgiven–

Because of Christ and our faith in Him.

 

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Trust in the Lord

The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
I have read that the place God had designated for them was less than two hundred miles away, making their journey’s length a matter of weeks.
Certainly not forty years.
All the reasons why they ended up in the desert so long might be summed up into one observation: they didn’t trust God.
God had displayed His great power to them many times, yet somehow, they didn’t trust Him completely.
Whatever the “desert” in my own life might look like, I know I don’t belong there.
It may be His choosing for me to go through a season on the way to the main destination, but I don’t want to be stuck on the journey, never really arriving where He wanted me.
I know that I must always do three things: Listen. Consider. Obey.
These three must be done over and over throughout my life.
I should listen for God to speak, then consider what I have heard, discerning what action I am to take.
This requires thought and prayer.
Finally, I am to obey, trusting Him.
There is an old hymn that speaks to this: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6
trust in

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

Bright Light

The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death.

—–Matthew 4:16

The trees at my friend’s house had branches filled with green leaves.

While sitting outside and enjoying the late afternoon, I noticed that the sun had set just close enough to the horizon that its powerful light was shining almost straight on the trees.

The branches, with their green leaves, along with the bark on the trunk, did not just simply become more visible.

They began to glow with an intensely amber color.

I quickly photographed the scene before the sun was completely gone.

Theses trees were totally transformed in color because of the light.

Some of the branches were just out of the sun’s penetrating rays.

They remained green.

The tree closest to me appeared dark and untouched by the bathing yellow radiance.

When Jesus came, those who lived in darkness could now be bathed in His great light.

His light of love and salvation.

His light of forgiveness and hope.

His light of eternal life.

When He came, everything changed.

Do you know of His love?

Do you know of His forgiveness and hope?

He is waiting for you today to call out to Him in prayer.

It’s not too late…..

bright-light

The Nearness of God

With a matter of extreme concern on my heart tonight, I went to the kitchen to eat a very late dinner. Right before opening a cupboard door, I prayed about the situation. Within seconds, I realized that there was a song playing in my mind. I paused to consider what it was. The lyrics began to reach my focus. The song was an old hymn–“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

As I sat down on the couch, I looked up the lyrics online. Here are a few of the words:

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,Leaning on the everlasting arms;

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

I believe that God led me to read the words of the song to comfort me and encourage me not to be afraid.

I am not to be afraid because I have Jesus.

My Lord is near.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

—Psalm 73:28



Look to the Lord

Look to the Lord and His strength;
    seek His face always.

—1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

What should we do when we pray and then we don’t understand what happens next?

What if situations in our lives seem confusing, even though we have prayed about them?

God’s thoughts are not ours and His timing is not our timing.

His understanding of every human heart is beyond our comprehension.

No matter what happens to us, we are to look to God and His strength.

We need to always be seeking Him.

He knows what is best.

 

 

 

look-to

 

When I Look

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
 what is man that You are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that You care for him?

–Psalm 8:3-4

 

When I left the grocery store, it was beginning to get dark.

The traffic was busy on the two lane highway toward home.

As I looked at the sky in front of me, I realized how beautiful it was.

Passing my street and driving on a little farther down the road to a clearing, I stopped the car and took a picture.

Venus was white and blazing above a creamy glow of pale orange and yellow.

When I look at the sky like this, I see the mighty work of God.

 

heavens

Do You Want to Get Well?

Driving home this evening, the sun was on the horizon as dusk was fast approaching.

Another day would soon be past.

How many sunsets have I seen in my life?

God has blessed me with the beauty and grandeur of more than I remember.

Year after year, He has been faithful to me, whether I understood it at the time, or not.

Year after year, He has known the longings of my heart.

He has answered prayers, given me guidance, and restored me from illnesses both great and small.

God has also protected me from dangers that I recognized and from those that I was never even aware of.

He knows the deep desires of my heart for the salvation of those I love and the restoration of broken relationships.

While reading tonight about the healing of a man by Jesus, His question to the man went straight to my heart–“Do you want to get well?”

The man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

Thirty-eight years…

Then, suddenly, he was healed.

Walking.

Completely whole.

Only the evening before, the sun had set as it had for thousands of times in his life, finding him to be unable to walk.

But not on this day–

This was the day of freedom.

The day of answered prayer for healing.

The day of salvation.

The day of restoration.

What have you been longing for?

Has it been thirty-eight years?

Twenty years?

Ten?

God is able to answer your deepest cries in prayer.

Do you want to get well?

Do you want others to get well?

Continue praying for them.

Tomorrow may yet be the day of healing…

 

~~~~

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

—John 5:2-8

~~~~

 

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Prepare a Place

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.

—John 14:3

 

The water at the end of my driveway reflected the sunset and its colors like a giant glass mirror.

So perfectly was the image of the pastel hues blending with clouds in the sky, you could almost imagine just stepping into the scene and finding yourself in another world.

That sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?

Another realm of life, just a footstep away.

Although it is a fascinating subject for novels and movies, most people wouldn’t quite take it seriously.

Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, we do take that thought seriously.

Another realm of life, just a footstep–just a breath–just a heartbeat–away.

Jesus said that if He would go and prepare a place for us, then He would come back and take us to be where He was.

The spiritual realm is right with us, but we don’t see it with our earthly eyes.

Our faith is not in what we can touch, but what we are sure about in our hearts.

Heaven is real.

It’s not science fiction.

It’s our future home.

 

 

prepare

 

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

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. 

The New Has Come

Everyone needs to start over at some point in their lives. 

A new house. 

A new job. 

A new outlook. 

A chance to start over with things being different. 

We like starting over, really. 

We do little mini- start overs all the time. 

We paint the kitchen a different color. 

We get a hair cut. 

We rearrange the furniture. 

We buy new clothes. 

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but at the end of the day, their attributes have one thing in common—they’re not permanent. 

Jesus can truly allow us to start over. 

Everything in the past is over and He changes us into a new creation. 

Everyone needs to start over with things being different—

Things like being forgiven instead of guilty. 

Knowing we are loved instead of feeling abandoned. 

Having the assurance of eternal life instead of insatiable fear of the unknown. 

With Jesus, we can become new–permanently. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

  

Strength

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

—Psalm 46:1

From the air, the sky looks so big and the world looks so small and vulnerable. 

It helps to remember that God is our protector. 

He is with us to bring strength. 

When things aren’t going the way we hoped they would, He is our help. 

  

Friend of God

Today is our son, Benji’s birthday.

He was killed in a car accident when he was 19.
The memories of his life will forever be with me.
Things that he left behind are cherished——
His tattered Bible.
The card he gave me as a teenager that said, “I love you.”

Shortly after his death, I was told a story about him.
It is one that I also continue to cherish.

It seems that Benji was out with friends in a car.
One of the young men with him happened to use God’s name in a cursing manner.
Benji didn’t like his choice of words and told him not to say that.

His friend responded by saying the offensive words over and over again, probably trying to be funny.
Benji became very insistent about the language being used.

Reacting to Benji’s anger over the situation, the young man said something like, “Whoa! Benji! I thought we were friends!”

Benji replied, “Yeah. Well, I’m better friends with God….”

My boy…..

Friends with God.

When someone we love dies, certain things don’t really matter anymore.

Things like—
Did they go to college?
What job did they have?
Where did they live?

No.
Those things aren’t really what’s most important.

Benji went on a journey the day he left this earth.
It was a journey I was not expecting him to take for many years.
When he left, there was only one thing that was mattered.

Benji was friends with God….

************

 

And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.

—James 2:23

 

friend

Living in the Light

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But if we are living in the light,

as God is in the light,

then we have fellowship

with each other,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son,

cleanses us from all sin.

—1 John 1:7

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fellowship

 

 

 

 

 

The Skies Proclaim

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While driving to the hospital to make a visit, I noticed the sunset was incredibly amazing.

Not sure that I had ever seen anything quite like it before, I wanted to get some photographs of it.

Shadows were reaching up from the horizon, crossing different layers of clouds, making finger-like projections.

The entire collage of sun, shadow and clouds was inhabiting so much of the western sky, its vastness made the earth seem small in comparison.

Many of my friends later communicated to me that they had seen this glorious sight, also.

One of them referred to it all as, “God art.”

I agree.

God was allowing us to see great beauty above as He pulled the blanket of sky and clouds away for the night, sending this half of the world to rest until dawn.

~

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

—Psalm 19:1-4

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proclaim

Possible With God

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Lately, when I am out walking for exercise, I have been listening to the same song on my phone over and over.

I know that may seem a bit much, yet I think it is positive for me in a couple of ways.

The song has a good tempo that keeps me walking at a brisk pace.

Most importantly, the lyrics speak about how nothing is impossible with God.

Nothing.

As I am trying to keep my heart and muscles physically fit, I am also renewing my mind by putting God’s truth into my hearing.

Even when I cannot see how a situation can be fixed, I must trust that what is impossible for me to understand, imagine or even carry out is not impossible for God.

~

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

—Luke 18:27

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impossible

Blessed is the Nation

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Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people He chose for His inheritance.
 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and sees all mankind;
 from His dwelling place He watches
    all who live on earth—
  He who forms the hearts of all,
    who considers everything they do.

—Psalm 33:12-15

God considers what the people of my country do.

God considers what the people of my state do.

God considers what the people of my county do.

God considers what the people of my city do.

God considers what the people living on my street do.

God considers what I do.

Blessed are the people who God considers and finds that they are trusting in Him with hearts of faith.

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inheritance final

Darkens Day Into Night

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I had been photographing an outdoor event that lasted into early evening.

It had been raining earlier and the clouds were big and billowy.

When my photography work was finished, my husband and I decided to drive to a nearby city to eat dinner.

As he was driving, I noticed that the sunset, which was almost completely covered by dark clouds at one point, was spectacular.

Rolling down the passenger side window, I tried to photograph the scene behind me.

The colors were magnificent and glorious.

A creation of God, only visible for a few moments….

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He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    who turns midnight into dawn
    and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land—
    the Lord is His name.

—Amos 5:8

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orion

From the Rising

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Standing on the dock of the intracoastal waters, I had a prime vantage point for viewing the sunset.

The fiery ball of light before me was vanishing behind a blanket of clouds low to the horizon, giving the illusion of

of mountains in the distance.

As the light danced on the gentle ripples of the water’s surface, it mirrored the subtle colors of gold and gray above.

Psalm 113:3

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

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rising

He is the Radiance

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My rosebush was just two big.

It had grown tall over the years and I had not pruned it as I should have.

Several days ago, I decided to drastically prune the bush, cutting off almost every branch.

Gathering the cut branches, I put them all in a vase of water, hoping that I could use these cuttings to have other rosebushes in the yard.

Today was the day—-I decided to plant several of the branches in two flower beds.

As I was planting them, I noticed a neighbor at the edge of her yard, photographing the sunset.

From where I was, the scene was blocked by the house next door.

When I went to investigate what she was photographing, I, too, wanted to capture that moment forever!

Taking a quick photo with my phone, I went inside and retrieved my camera to take more photos.

Beams of light soared through the sky, emerging from silver lined clouds of gray.

Soon, another neighbor was out photographing it, as well.

We were all quite captivated by the glorious display.

Hebrews 1:1-4 reads,

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

Jesus.

The radiance of the glory of God.

When I look at the setting or rising sun, I can only imagine what Heaven will be like where the glory of God shines forever and ever, without end.

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exact imprint

Greatness, Power, Splendor

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The sunset was blazing with brilliant light that shot through the sky above the clouds on the western horizon.

Driving along the highway, I was captivated by the splendor of such a scene.

At some point, I looked the other direction, toward the east.

I was almost startled by what I saw.

Subtle pink sunbeams had traveled through the atmosphere and formed a dynamic display of dazzling light on the opposite horizon.

How glorious the sky looked!

The same God who holds the universe together and paints the heavens with color and light is the God who loves us with an everlasting love.

Do you know Him today?

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splendor glory

Rejoice In All His Faithfulness

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Driving home around sunset, I noticed a break in the gray clouds ahead of me.

Many times, sunsets are a brilliant orange, red and yellow.

Other times, it seems that they take on only a white and gray glow.

Such was today.

The break in the vast silver curtain of clouds was so bright it couldn’t be looked at straight on.

Pulling off the highway, I photographed the scene in the sky above a tree nursery.

I had been listening to a song as I drove.

Part of the lyrics say,

All of my life, in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

The sun shines brightly, no matter what circumstances I may find myself in.

As consistent as the sun is, it will one day cease.

In all my life and for eternity, God will still be God.

Holy.

Faithful.

All powerful.

Sovereign.

I will always have a reason to worship Him.

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It is good to say thank you to the Lord, to sing praises to the God who is above all gods.

 Every morning tell him, “Thank you for your kindness,” and every evening rejoice in all his faithfulness.  Sing his praises, accompanied by music from the harp and lute and lyre.  You have done so much for me, O Lord. No wonder I am glad! I sing for joy.

 O Lord, what miracles you do! And how deep are your thoughts!

—Psalm 92:1-5

*Desert Song–Brooke Fraser

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Thank you

Awesome in Your Sanctuary

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The colors in the photo below have not been altered.

This is what it looked like as I stood on the shore of the lake, taking in one of the most beautiful sights of my life.

I was surrounded by a heavenly glow of color that was almost too much to take in.

Standing there alone for several minutes, I didn’t want to leave the water’s edge.

I didn’t want to miss a single second of the beauty that God had placed in motion before me.

How gorgeous Heaven must be in the presence of our Holy Father and His Son, Jesus Christ!

Imagine the glorious colors that will surround the throne!

On this earth, He allows us to see such beauty in the skies above us—only a hint of what is to be known in eternity.

The psalmist has penned:

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
    sing praise to the Lord,
 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

—Psalm 68:32-35

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sanctuary

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

Shout for Joy

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The sun was going down as I walked with my husband in the quiet little town.

We had been looking at birds overhead and at birds in the water.

The colors in the sky were in constant visual motion, changing hue with each passing moment.

God was creating the once-in-a-lifetime scene, and we were witnesses to see its beauty.

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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

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shout

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