Beyond My Vision

Vista Shrouded in Clouds

Vista Shrouded in Clouds

There are many grand beautiful things beyond my vision. I know this because Jesus speaks to his disciples about it in John 16:12.

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

In my enthusiasm to jump ahead and see the great vistas of heaven, I often overlook the vital lessons of today. Things I consider boring and unnecessary (love, patience, perseverance, self-control, generosity, long suffering, gentleness), yet Christ, in his wisdom, knows how vital they are to my well being. They are so important that to jump ahead would cause a spiritual nearsightedness, and I would hamper my ability to see the full glory of heaven.

This picture of the forest shrouded in fog, reminds me to drink in fully the beauty of what God gives me today, so that I might fully appreciate all that he has for me tomorrow.

So Much Given, Yet So Little Received

So close to water, yet unable to drink it in.

So close to water, yet unable to drink it in.

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

I have been forgiven much, but fail to comprehend the enormity of this forgiveness.
I have been forgiven much, but often take it for granted.
I have been forgiven much, but do not care much about the price Jesus paid.
I have been forgiven much, but shrug off those in need.
I have been forgiven much, but can’t forgive a neighbors slight.
I have been forgiven much, but resist utter brokenness before you.
I have been forgiven much, but I still want to look back.
I have been forgiven much, but can’t let go of my guilt.
I have been forgiven much, but the depth of my love does not match the depth of your forgiveness.

I need the Holy Spirit to bring forth in me true vision of all you have done.
I need the Holy Spirit to cut away the callousness about my heart.
I need the Holy Spirit to break the shackles of my guilt.
I need the Holy Spirit to break the pride that strives with you.
I need the Holy Spirit to heal the pain I have caused.
I need the Holy Spirit to unseat myself from the throne.
I need the Holy Spirit to create in me the gratitude for all you have forgiven.
I need the Holy Spirit to give me a steadfast heart to live for you.
I pray the Holy Spirit helps me to love you with wild abandon, and my neighbor as myself.
Lord, through the Holy Spirit, please orchestrate in me your love and life, for I am poor and needy.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13)

Beautiful Cady Ridge

Cady Ridge from Lake Sally Ann (Pacific Crest Trail

Cady Ridge from Lake Sally Ann (Pacific Crest Trail)

This beautiful picture is Cady Ridge as seen from Lake Sally Ann on the Pacific Crest Trail. What you do not see is how hard, steep, and dry the Cady Ridge trail is, especially carrying heavy packs and camera gear. Though once there, the beauty made it worth all the effort, but if you would have asked me during the grind up the mountain, I would have said turn back. Fortunately, I hiked with a friend who carried the tent and stove. We persevered for no other reason then each other. We both had unspoken thoughts, wondering if this was worth the exhausting effort, but kept on because the other kept on.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 makes a similar statement about eternal glory:

“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.”

When we come together in Christ it is not just to worship, but to encourage each other to keep on. To remind one another other that one day we will see God’s glory and be filled with great joy.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Hold on, take another step, we can do this together with God’s help. Someday we will stand before the throne and it will be a thousand times more glorious than beautiful Cady Ridge.

Filling the Void

Cedar grove along Snow Lake trail

Cedar grove along Snow Lake trail

There are days when I feel a void in life. The void can appear with the Monday morning blahs, and my longing for freedom. Somedays I feel it facing the same old boring routine repeated over and over, that is when somewhere in me whispers, there must be more in life. Other times the void looms after of a long and difficult day, I just want to run away to a place of peace and quiet. There are all sorts of voids in life, some of the most difficult, and largest, come in the form of fear, loneliness, depression, and grief.

At some point all of us try to fill these voids. The list is long of things we use to quell the ache: food, spending money, traveling, risk-taking, lust, gambling, alcohol, drugs, it goes on and on. The trouble is that filling the void with these things is temporary and grossly inadequate. They can only pretend to fill the void, but do no more than divert attention away from the hole in life.

That is the issue that Jesus addressed with the woman at the well (John 4). She tried to fill her void with men: five failed marriages and starting on the sixth. Her thirst to be loved could not be quenched with a thousand men. To fill her void Jesus offers her living water that only he can give. We are all like this woman and must choose to continue trying to fill the void with self-indulgence, or deny our own remedy and let Jesus fill our life with living water. But what is this “living water” that Jesus wants to give us?

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34)

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)

Since the beginning, the main void we have had is a relationship with God. No wonder nothing of this world can satisfy. Through Jesus, we can have the one thing we need the most, that fills the void as nothing else can, the Holy Spirit, God in us.

A Fortunate Accident

So many colors

So many colors

This picture reminds me that there are so many beautiful things in God’s creation that I never notice. Mostly, it is due to my not seeing what is there. Other times, it is because I fail to give glory and thanks to God for what he has done. Thus, I miss all the marvelous things that he is doing.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:20-21)

This picture was not due to some computer manipulation by me. Instead, it occurred by a fortunate accident when the wind came up and disturbed the picture that I wanted. The following picture is the one I intended of a spiderweb. Oh, how thankful I am that God brings the wind to give us more than we knew existed.

Spider web without the wind

Spider web without the wind