Along the Road Home

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In case you drove by and did not stop to admire.

What a wonderful Thanksgiving prayer:

The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths
for the honor of his name.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff
comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23 NIRV

God has given us this prayer because He wants us to pray it, so He can fulfill it in our lives. Lord I fall at Your feet in thanksgiving.

An Unexpected Turn

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Bend in the road of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Psalm 23:4

No matter how many unseen twists and turns life takes, God knows each one before hand and promises to go with us.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12

Pockmarks (PTSD)

stephenhufman.com

Long gone steps

Searing memories from the past
They crash into living
Making life die once more.
Swept up in their painful embrace
There is no running only hiding
Till it burns down but never out.
Gathering strength waiting to rise.

Can God turn yesterday back,
Free me from my past?
He anoints my head with oil.
I let Him have my pockmarks,
Trusting Him to mold history.
He makes my enemy a footstool for His feet,
And holds me in His lap.

The Blessing of Being Still

God cares for the pelicans

This morning my mind is beset by the turmoil of this world. At every level anger, greed, lying, and pride inflict our country. National trust is eroded by the leaders who should preserve and cherish it, and even religious leaders trade truth and justice for political gain. On top of this no one knows how much we have been manipulated by our enemies using social media to push lies and distrust. Our anxiety surges with each news flash. Into this cacophony we are given words to meditate upon:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The stillness and peace we long for doesn’t come with one reading of these verses. It takes time before God with thanksgiving, until finally you can say:

I have stilled and quieted my soul; Psalm 131:2

A Lot of Work

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Hard work, but easy to photograph. Gallatin Valley, Montana

The hard work of grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace is easy because all I need do is trust God.
It is hard because in all my ways I have to trust Him.

Grace is easy because none of it depends on my effort.
It is hard because I can’t do anything to earn it.

Grace is easy because it’s given even though I don’t deserve it.
It is hard because it is humbling––I don’t deserve it.

Grace is easy because I know God is in control.
It is hard because I am not in control.

Grace is easy because Jesus takes all the punishment for my sins.
It is hard because I am forgiven not excused.

Grace is easy because His mercy is new every morning.
It is hard because His mercy leads to change.

Grace is easy because it is sufficient for all my sins.
It is hard because some of them I want to keep.

Anger In the Night

SH_170921-0226In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

Anger robs me of enjoying the day.
It prevents me from loving those around me.
It leads to bitterness of spirit.
It keeps me in turmoil.
It puts me on edge ready to lash out.
It makes me ugly.
It shortens my life.
The bondage of anger is to strong I cannot walk away.

Forgiveness breaks the chains
Forgiveness leads to restoration
Forgiveness leads to peace.
Forgiveness allows me to love instead of hate
Forgiveness is what I need
Forgiveness makes me someone who can be loved
I need God’s forgiveness, so that I might forgive,
And live.

That Lonely Feeling

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When I feel alone, I just need to look up.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
…You stoop down to make me great. Psalm 18:32-33, 35

Today I trust God to give me the strength I need to follow Him in all I do.

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! Psalm 18:46

Oh, for the Love of God

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Life is hard sometimes

My life seems like series of near misses (with many attempts that came nowhere near going in). It makes me feel guilty for not walking in triumph with Jesus. I clunk with shame way more than I swoosh with “well done.” How good it is that Jesus loves me because God is love, not because I am lovely.

 

Whitewater Prayers

Icicle Creek

Bouncing water like bouncing prayers

Sometimes my prayers feel like this whitewater––my mind bouncing from one thing to another. Very small prayers that don’t go very high. Fortunately, prayer is not about my ability, but upon God’s.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

At the Start of Day

Rejoicing in the new day

Rejoicing in this day

It is God’s grace that turns this day into a special day with eternal purpose. All that is needed is God’s grace upon grace. His grace that forgives and makes me right, followed by grace to give me strength to do His will. At the start of each day I need to let these verse wash over me.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24