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
“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus.
In our culture today, we don’t know what to believe, and ask the same question.
When I lie it is intended to deceive everyone about the truth.
For the truth will not bend to my will, therefore I lie and call that truth.
After all it is just a matter of sincerity.
The more sincere I am the more my lie seems to be true.
With enough repetition my lies become truth, and truth becomes a lie.
In the end no one can tell the truth from a lie.
Thus I am in control of truth, calling forth what suits me.
Except for one thing, without real truth, my life becomes a worthless lie.
All alone I cannot trust anyone, not even myself.
What I desperately need is the truth.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – Jesus (John 14:6)
Dancing in the water
This scene only came to my attention when I stopped…and sat…and waited. Initially I was bored and saw nothing. Finally, I asked God to open my eyes and allow me to see. Slowly I began to sense the deeper rhythms of the stream. I heard the churning of the water against the rocks, then the call of birds overhead, followed by a chattering squirrel upset by my presence. Breathing in I noticed the fragrance of cedar boughs, and finally became entranced by the branches playing in the fast moving water perpetually dancing before the Lord. The joy in that moment returns even now, looking upon this scene I give thanks.
Prayer is like that. It is only when I stop and wait that I begin to perceive what God has for me. To read and meditate upon the Bible letting the Holy Spirit slowly direct my thoughts. It becomes wonderful dance of me with my creator. Unfortunately, as the day progresses my mind gets sidetracked, fretting about so many things. I must restart the process again, waiting on the Lord trying to catch His rhythm. Thankfully God never tires of waiting for me.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Psalm 37:7-9
The water is tumbling down
A prayer for when I fall. Note that none of it is me all of it is God.
Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees:
Then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding…
Direct me in your path…
Turn my heart toward you…
Direct my eyes away from worthless things…
Fulfill your promises to me…
Take away my disgrace…
Preserve my life in your righteousness.
Thank you Lord for all you do for me.
Taken from Psalm 119:33-40
Wildflowers along the Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP
The smallest trouble is like a tiny blister on your foot,
With walking it will soon grow to unbearable proportions.
But I can put up with the most difficult circumstance if I have hope.
For hope is like wildflowers along the trail, they take my mind and heart to heavenly places.
Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:49-50
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3
He knows all of our steps… not one is overlooked.
In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps. Prov.16:9
With all the turmoil and strife in the world it is good to know the Lord determines our steps. All we need do is take another step trusting in Him.
The lower portion of Deception Falls, WA
If you have never stopped at Deception Falls, while traversing Stevens Pass, you are missing a beautiful spot. Now about my personal deception falls.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
When I make a sinful choice, I often place the blame on someone else, or point to the circumstances of life as the reason for my relapse into wrong (I can always find an excuse). This lets me think of myself as the victim and not the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this rationalization only takes me further from what I really need––forgiveness and the Holy Spirit’s help. So, I mope around enslaved to this subtle self-deception missing out on God’s joy. The good news is I am just a humble confession away from a pure heart and a renewed spirit. God’s grace to wash away my deception and renew the joy of my salvation
Reflecting the Creator
Of this life what shall we measure?
Is it time or is it treasure?
Beauty, fame or accomplishment?
Result in choking compliment.
These become for us gods, dressed as goals,
And bring forth pride, to become deep holes.
To be like Him should be our hope,
faith and love a heavenward slope.
Thus reflecting the Lord in all his glory,
And have His light become your story.
Can only be borne upon a tree,
All of Him and none of me.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19