The Light of Life

SHg3_0266-6707

The sun chasing away the darkness in the Methow Valley

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” Matthew 4:16 NLT

Christmas is coming––let His light shine and push out and push out the darkness.

Breath of Heaven

SH_0267-7592

Breathe deep of the heavenly air.

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

The love of God is the air of heaven, and the joy of earth. You breathe it in then breathe it out.

Breathe in––God’s love is greater than all my failures.
Breathe out––I can rest easy for His love watches over me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and died in my place.
Breathe out––His life for mine, such love overwhelms me with gratitude.

Breathe in––The Spirit of God has freed me from the dark powers of this world.
Breathe out––peace and blessed assurance the victory is won.

Breathe in––God’s love surrounds me, and will never leave me.
Breathe out––I am His, and He is mine.

Breathe in––God’s love makes me what I was meant to be.
Breathe out––A reflection of Him to those around me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and sent His Spirit to live in my heart.
Breathe out––Jesus loves you, and invites you to breathe Him in.

It may take you a number of slow deep breaths to have His love sink in, but I can guarantee even after a thousand years you have not begun to breathe in the depths of God’s love in Jesus.

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.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:17-21

Where Is the Color?

Recently I traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway looking forward to rich Fall colors. But, the recent abnormally hot weather had roasted the leaves turning them brown, and dropped them to the ground.

SH_181028-BlueRidge-7326

Dreams gone dry

Disappointed, I sat dejected cursing my misfortune. Finally, I let out a feeble prayer, “Lord can You make something out of this nothing?”

Surprisingly He laughed for joy at my request, and pointed me to a small uninviting trail.

As I walked down the path the sun broke through the clouds revealing God’s wonderful creation.

SH_181028-BlueRidge-7336-HDR

A beautiful way

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18

Troubles, anxieties, and hurts often color life an ugly brown. We begin to doubt the Lord’s goodness, and our thoughts become buried in the scorched dead leaves of our way. Yet there is hope because the Lord longs to show us compassion, and refresh our souls by His grace. Jesus desires to lead us to green meadows and peaceful streams, because He is our Good Shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

So, when life seems colorless––remember:

“I am His and He is mine.” Song of Solomon 2:16

Mission Impossible

SH_0264-180914-6407

“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

The thing we all have in common is we’ve messed up our life in one way or another.

The good news is that God has plans for us, and this can be true even for the worst offender.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

But how can we do these good things when we keep messing up?

These verses out of Ephesians lay out how to do the good God has in mind for us:
– Trust that God has saved you by His grace alone, and not of your own doing.
– Trust that you are knew in Christ.
– Seek to do what is right and good.
– Don’t give up trusting God and relying on Him. For God is faithful to carry out what He has planned for us.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

I hope you choose to take on this mission.

Where Rest Begins

SHg3_0266-6857-Pano

The key to entering His rest

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 4:1 NIV

What causes people to not enter His rest? It seems unbelievable that someone would stop short of entering God’s rest. Like a mountain climber turning back a few meters short of the top, it doesn’t make sense. That’s where the second part of the verse comes in:

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Hebrews 4:1-2 NIV

Entering God’s rest happens when we trust Him. You can’t enter His rest unless you stop trying to do it your way, and trust Jesus––following His way.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

So trust Him and enter.

The Blessing of Humility

Utah_171009-0440_2_tonemapped

The Narrows, Zion National Park

Humble Pie
by Stephen Hufman

Humble pie drab and crusty
Has texture that’s kind of dusty.
Giving credit to God alone,
Leaves little left to call my own.
I prefer another way to follow
Yielding glory not quite so hollow.
Tis joy I find in great renown,
To hear applause in every town.
Not to worry I’ll give God his due,
I’m sure he’s proud of all I do.
Someday we’ll meet there in the sky,
He’ll set before me that piece of pie.
But I now prefer a tastier dinner,
One where I announce the winner.
I want to live life my way now,
Where I will never need to bow.
So off into the expanse of space,
No humble pie will I now face.
On my own path all alone,
A place where I can set the tone.
For no one there will I abide,
In no one there do I confide.
Just me alone in first place.
No humble pie in MY face.

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Deep Roots

SH_131103-8259

Deep roots to stand strong.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV

There is no shame that the love of God cannot remove.
There is no anger where God’s love cannot bring peace.
There is no hurt that the love of God cannot heal.
There is no dark place God’s love cannot reach.
There is no imperfection that will not yield to the love of God.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

Let your roots go deep into God’s love.

Unending Praise, Unending Joy

SH_0264-180914-6465-Edit

The joy of praising God.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Psalm 36:5 NLT

This morning I stopped to enjoy God’s love for me and my family.
To give thanks for the Lord is good and His love endures forever.
So I wrote this psalm:

Give thanks to the Lord, for creating all things.
They display His goodness, and His love, providing us with enjoyment.

Give glory to God, for His love will prevail against all evil.
His great love gives hope to the hopeless.

Give glory to God for His love will sustain us,
In our weakness He stoops to give us His strength.

Give all your worship to God, for His love will allow no other gods
He is jealous and will come out to find me when I wander off.

Worship the LORD, for He is the source of goodness and love.
And we become more like Him when we worship Him.

Give all praise to God, for His love and goodness are eternal,
And will never diminish nor change.

Give all praise to God for His power is infinite.
And it is always directed by His love.

Give all praise to the Lord, for if we do not the stones will cry out,
And we will miss out on the joy of praise.

Forever Praise

SHg3_180911-6368

Joyous wonderful praise to our Creator

The water drops bounce in exaltation to God,
As long as the river runs they sing praises to God.
Day and night they leap about in joyous worship.
Yes, You have given me the gift to praise You forever.
That knowledge stirs in me even greater thanksgiving and praise.

I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever. Psalm 145:1-2 NLT