Light in the Background

Early morning light

Early morning sunshine through the woods

This scene attracted my attention because of the light behind the trees. The foreground is cold with snow covering the tree limbs, but in the background the sun light holds the promise of a beautiful day. The sunlight truly makes all the difference in this picture.

Recently I had been praying for a dear Aunt in hospice going through the last stages of life. On the day before she died I used the 23 Psalm as a prayer for her and the family. When I came to verse 4 it literally jumped off the page.

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

God’s presence is what makes all the difference in life. There is no circumstance, no illness, no terror that will overwhelm having Jesus with us. On the flip side, there is nothing (fame, wealth, power, or person) that can match having Him in our life.

Jesus is with my aunt, her family and with me. As I allowed this truth to sink in, my heart and mind calmed in His presence. He is the light behind the trees of grief and sorrow. The wonderful knowledge that He is with us will never lose its power to brighten the day of fear, grief, or shame, into a day of hope, comfort, and ultimately joy.

The Line Between Light and Dark

Sun Mountain-1

Light meets dark

This picture is difficult to understand because there is nothing to help you align yourself as to the scene. Life is like this picture, we need something to help us in making sense of what is happening. A passage in Isaiah speaks to God meeting our need:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;” Isaiah 28:16-17

Isaiah is prophesying about a coming Messiah, who will be our foundation and cornerstone. Through the Messiah, life will not dismay us, but in Him we will gain understanding and meaning for all that happens. I desperately need help, to know up from down, right from wrong, and good from bad. In Jesus, God has given me a cornerstone for measuring and understanding life.

I have provided two additional photographs below for better orientation. They are from the same scene, but a slightly different direction to provide context.

Sun Mountain-2

Shades of snow

Sun Mountain-3

Valley fog and snow covered ridge

These photographs were taken near Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop WA. The first is looking up at a snow covered ridge, shrouded by a cloud. The second includes the side hill and a snow covered pine tree, and the third a view of the mountain in the distance as the cloud lifted.

Grace and Peace

Winter Along Icicle Creek

New snow, new day, peaceful and serene along the Icicle Creek

The scene is the Icicle Creek near Leavenworth WA. The photo was taken the morning after a snow fall in early winter. All is at peace with only the rushing of water for background music. I like to think of this moment as God’s salutation to me:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every letter in the New Testament begins with this greeting. The reason is grace and peace go together, with the gift of grace comes the gift of peace (see Romans 5:1). But I have to admit, often in accepting God’s forgiveness, I fail to also receive His peace that comes with it. Instead my mind falls into old ruts that rob me of the fullness of grace.

These are my ruts. I am sure you can add others to this list:

Grace and “Don’t let it happen again!”
Grace and “What a mess you’ve made.”
Grace and “You’re no good.”
Grace and the temptation to give up on myself.
Grace and fear.

Truth is I need help to receive all that God wants to give me. I need His help to put down the cacophony of lying voices in my head. I need His grace applied not only to forgive my sins, but also to let His peace rule in my life. Quite simply, I need grace upon grace.

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

Therefore, as you live by God’s grace don’t let your thoughts lie about the conditions of His grace. Instead ask for grace upon grace, so that you can walk in the peace that God has for you in Jesus Christ.

Grace, like new fallen snow, covering everything with His peace.

Grace Like Falling Snow

skier sleeping lady

Snow flake upon snow flake bringing winter joy.

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

Thank you Lord, that Your grace is not a one time gift, for I would have used it up long ago.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace goes beyond the forgiveness of my past sins to include my future.

Thank you Lord, that grace is also about the assurance of Your presence in my life, that You will be with me in all that takes place (O Immanuel).

Thank you Lord, that by Your grace, You want to change me from what I am, to what You want me to be.

I praise You that this miraculous transformation happens by Your strength not mine.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace soaks up what I have spilled, not just in my life, but also in the lives of those I have hurt.

Thank you Lord, that grace will never lose its power with use, or become dull with time.

Grace upon grace springing up eternally from Your fullness to my wholeness.

A Rising Vapor

Mist Rising to the Heavens

Morning steam rising off Icicle Creek

Vapor rising to the heavens warms this scene on a cold morning.

My prayer rising to the heavens warms my life.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,…”

This beginning to The LORD’s Prayer is what makes my life worthwhile. It’s that God allows me to call Him “Father.” When I think about this astounding truth in my life… I am lifted to the heavens

He loves me.
He provides me with access to Him at all times.
He takes time for me, and He is never too busy for me.
He gives me grace upon grace.
He gives me hope for eternity.
He is concerned about me, from the direction of my life, to the hairs on my head.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

What a wonderful thought for a new year.