The River of Life

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The might and power of the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park

When I am feeling burdened by the troubles of life, I cheat and go to the last chapter of the Bible to see how it will end.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. Revelation 22:1-5

Next I go to Psalm 46:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;…
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;…
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;

Jesus is that river of living water––the power of God. I need to be still and trust Immanuel, the Lord Almighty, is with me and my family. Carrying us along to do His will. Isn’t that good news.

The Power I Cannot See

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Wind power

Without the wind these machines can produce nothing, but with the wind there is power.

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD Almighty.  Zechariah 4:6

Without the Holy Spirit we can do nothing, but with the Holy Spirit all things are possible.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Acts 1:8

Hide and Seek

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Trees playing hide and seek in the clouds

When I play hide and seek with my grandkids the joy is in being found. “Come find me,” they yell from their hiding place, then squeal for joy when I find them. Unfortunately, as children grow up they become more like adults and want to stay hidden. Even more sad they don’t care to play at all.

Thankfully the Lord knows that our real joy is in being found. Don’t miss out on life by trying to stay hidden from God. Become like a little child by calling out–– “Come find me,” and Jesus will come running to embrace you with all the joy of heaven.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7

Redwoods of Mount Hermon, CA

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I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. J.Kilmer

A poem for National Poetry Month

When I see a child’s happy face,
It reminds me of a different place.
A child of an innocent age,
But now, time has turned the page.

Fading memory my only measure,
Longing for that long lost treasure.
I see it faintly in my dreams,
What could have been is all it means.

Wars and famine crush and rake,
Leaving sadness in their wake.
Such joy lost, the world has taken,
Bewildered children left forsaken.

To carry this burden of what was lost,
Squandered purity, a terrible cost.
I had no idea how much it mattered,
Joy and peace so quickly scattered.

Can anything undo what’s been done?
Bring back the child to play and run.
Roll back time before I knew,
The terrible taste of that cursed brew.

With great love God became the key,
Stooping down He rescued me.
He offered His life exchanged for mine,
Pure and holy no end with time.

Now I dance before my Lord.
His love my banner not the sword.
Held secure above the fray,
Purest joy with no decay.

Come all who thirst for water clear,
Drink in His life; wash away the fear.
Let God write your poem anew,
Sparkling glory of God in you.

by Stephen Hufman

Piercing the Darkness

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The sky proclaims the sun is coming.

“He is risen,” but what does it mean?
The death of Death for those who believe.
His Life for our life for those who receive.
The proof of His Power to break all powers for those who bow.
The Joy of heaven becomes our joy for those who confess.
He is risen is hope reborn, declared by God for those who will follow.

Every morning comes heaven’s whisper––
“He is risen.”
Can you hear His love calling to you?
Let it pierce your darkness,
Let it wash over your heart,
And rest in His grace and peace.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

Belated Praise

 

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Beauty that is hard to miss

Mount Rainier looms large over Seattle yet most of my fellow passengers on the ferry took little notice (they had seen it hundreds of times); instead they were caught up in reading or conversation. I must say I took a few photos, then returned to doing something else until we docked at Edmonds. It chagrined me later, when I downloaded the pictures, that I had failed to give thanks to the Lord for the beauty I had witnessed.

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. Romans 1:20

So I offer this belated praise as I share this picture:

In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God… Psalm 95:4-7

The Way Through Fear

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Deep dark woods of fear

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

“Fear of the Lord”…strange words to use as the beginning of anything let alone wisdom. It gives me the picture of Snow White running through the woods to escape the evil queen. So how is fear the beginning of wisdom? There are lots of fears in life from a child’s fear of what is under the bed, to an older adult’s fear of dementia or cancer, with all sorts of fears in between that shape our choices. Proverbs is urging us to let this fear of the Lord push aside all other fears, and let God be the one to mold our lives. But what exactly does it mean to “fear the Lord?” These words do not exactly fill me with warm fuzzies.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in his commands. Psalms 112:1

Fearing the Lord is to delight in doing His will, because when we do that we don’t have to worry about what is coming for we know the power of God will triumph as we follow Him. And what is His command for us?

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 37-40

There you are––to fear God is to love God above everything else, and love your neighbor as yourself. That is the beginning of wisdom––the way through the dark woods of life.

Fears in Life

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When storm clouds roll in––

It is good to meditate upon the truth when things look unsettling.

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14

 

Looking Up in Prayer

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Lifting hands to heaven

When I pray sometimes I catch myself going through a formula to determine how effective my prayer will be:

  • Have I been obedient for at least 48 hours?
  • Length of prayer is directly proportional to its effectiveness.
  • Fasting will really increase my chances for a favorable outcome to my petition.

It is funny how I think I can twist God’s arm by doing these things. Don’t get me wrong these spiritual disciplines are good to do, but they are not meant to leverage God––to get Him to do what we want. Instead they are disciplines that get us to a place of humility and dependence upon God.

I propose a different checklist to go through as you approach God with a request:

  • Does God’s love reach to the heaven’s and endure forever?  Psalm 36:5 √
  • Is His compassion new this morning?  Lamentations 3:22-23 √
  • Is God faithful in all that He does?  1 Corinthians 1:9 √

I must remember prayer is all about God, and not about me.

Extraordinary

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The sun shining through the trees…extraordinary!

O LORD make this an extraordinary day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

Jesus didn’t come to just save us from evil, He came to give us an abundant extraordinary life.

What makes for an extraordinary life? Living this day to the fullness of God’s blessing. What is God’s blessing? His love for us in Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Eph. 1:3

Life is not about fame, or power, or fortune, but living in, and through, and by the love of God.

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.  Eph. 3:17-19

Stop for a moment an let the love God has for you build into a crescendo of joy. For one day of God’s blessing and love, at work in us, and through, and for us is worth a lifetime elsewhere.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;  Psalm 84:10