Sunrise through smoke
After two weeks of gray thick smoke, this morning held blue skies, clouds, and distant peaks in full splendor. Each breath felt clean and wonderful. It brought to mind the joy we’ll have on that day when we enter our Lord’s kingdom. The smoky haze of this fallen world will be blown away, and for the first time we will see clearly––Jesus in all his glory. I think the beauty of that morning will truly be off the scale, and my photos do not do even come close to capturing the glory to be revealed.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
If you’re lungs are burning from the smoke of this world remember:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
The glory of sunrise
A heavenly dream
We all dream,
Life is full of dreams.
Our dreams are sometimes good, and sometimes nightmares.
Sometimes dreams come true…sometimes not.
But all our dreams will fade and get old with us.
I wonder if God dreams?
I bet his dreams are good.
Good beyond our wildest dreams,
And His dream will never end.
For in Jesus we are not the dreamer, but the dream.
The heights of heaven
I can approach the throne of God in His grace and be confident I will find mercy and help. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can leave my past behind and know that it does not cling to me.
Life is be pure again.
It is not mine to lose or spoil, I can only receive it, and it is a new gift every morning.
This amazing grace comes with God’s power to live for Him,
And the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not have to worry about tomorrow for the end of my story has been written.
I can breathe in the peace of God.
I can rest in the knowledge that God will cause all things to work out for good when I walk in His love. (Romans 8: 28)
When I get lost, He finds me and restores my soul.
What Jesus has started in me will be carried onto completion by His grace and power not mine. (James 1: 6)
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
On the edge with Mountain Penstemon
These Mountain Penstemon cling to a steep edge along the Icicle Creek, living life in a precarious place. Sometimes my life feels like these wildflowers––I am just barely hanging on. Psalm 33 is given to us for such times.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, Psalm 33:17-18
Great wealth cannot save.
Great intelligence cannot save.
Great beauty cannot save.
Great power cannot save.
Instead put your hope in Jesus, the unfailing love of God, whose sacrifice brings us unassailable deliverance from our worst fears.
So large it is hard to comprehend
Some things are hard to explain even seeing a picture does not fully reveal the enormity of what you see. The Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed places in the world but no words can describe, or picture convey the enormity and grandeur of that place. You have to experience it for yourself, even then it is more than the mind can wrap around. This is also how it is with John 3:16
I will never fully comprehend the height, width, or depth of God’s love. But, when God blessed me with children, I read John 3:16 with new insight. I looked at my child and cried at what God allowed to happen to Jesus because of His love for me.
To hear ugly words used against your child hurts.
To see your child keep quiet in the face of accusations is hard.
To see your child rejected, causes deep pain.
To see your child in sorrow brings terrible heartache.
The thought of your child suffering is unbearable.
But to stand back and allow your child to die is grief beyond compare.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16
Unfolding of life
Life is not about God pleasing us, but about us pleasing God.
Life is not about begging our pardon, but begins with begging for God’s pardon.
Life is not about how we see things, but about how God sees us.
Life is not in what we make of it, but in what God makes of us.
Life begins when I let my life go and seek God above all else.
Flowers of the field
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18
When I have no clear vision of God then my thoughts begin to drift.
Worries about what the future holds draw me further away.
In my fear I hoard and build embattlements.
I imagine everyone is coming to take what’s mine.
Then I see this flower and am reminded,
If God clothes the grass like this, how much more will he care for me.
I release my anxious thoughts and grab hold of my makers hand.
Something beautiful happens as I walk with Jesus,
I begin to see his goodness blossom in me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:25-30
The sun shining through the darkness
What if, as some believe, the resurrection of Jesus never happened?
We would be alone in a universe of laws with no compassion.
Our only hope would be––I hope I don’t die today.
Grief’s only respite is in trying to forget.
Life would be about survival of the fittest, where everyone competes to be on top.
And if for a moment you succeed, you have to fight off those trying to take your place.
Evil triumphs, and lust becomes the force behind every action,
And pain the ultimate fate for everyone.
In the end death is your final companion.
Darkness your only friend.
But Jesus did rise up in triumph as morning declares.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
God’s compassion is new with each morning.
Our hope is raised up to the heavens with Jesus,
And our grief is turned into songs of joy.
We know that there is more to life than death.
God’s love conquers our fears.
We are freely loved,
And told to love freely.
His love reaches to the skies, and to the deepest pit.
Through the resurrection we shed our darkness and partake in God’s goodness.
The risen Lord knows all our sorrows, and ultimately takes our pain.
The beauty of that sunrise on an empty tomb is a never ending moment with God.
Our survival is by our savior, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Jesus lights our way and will take us home someday.
Death has been silenced for Jesus has risen.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
Multnomah Falls and the celebration of Pentecost
Certain elements of this picture transform it for me from nondescript picture into wonder to behold. The elements are the water cascading down, and the rock balancing the picture in the foreground. Without them I would have tossed it away.
This is the same for my life certain elements make it so worthwhile. The Rock of my salvation, Jesus, who anchors my life in his forgiveness and love.
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 22:47
The second element is the Holy Spirit cascading down, refreshing and anointing my life with God’s goodness.
“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17
Multnomah Falls a celebration of Pentecost.
Lupine lifting up to praise God
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
When I praise God, I begin to review all he has done for me.
He has forgiven me, and removed my shame.
He has redeemed my life from sorrow and death.
He satisfies all my desires.
He leads me into goodness and guards me on the way.
His love for me knows no bounds, and he will not let anything come between us.
He shares himself with me, and gives me his name that I should call upon him.
Even the flowers of the field praise the Lord.
What a blessing it is to praise God
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
A paraphrase of Psalm 103