The Law of Unless

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Water flows to the law of gravity, and it is beautiful

Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

Unless the Lord controls our every thought, we degrade into what we hate.
Unless the Lord builds our life, we step back from being God’s temple.
Unless the Lord is our undivided desire, we become inflamed with lust.
Unless we humbly walk with God, our pride leads us to walk away.
Unless we forgive as we are forgiven, we become what we cannot forgive.
Unless we offer up thanksgiving for all God has done, we miss out on all He wants to do.
Unless we honor God, we lose our understanding of what is honorable.
Unless God gives us wisdom, we cannot discern what is foolish.
Unless we glorify God, we will become inglorious.
Unless we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, our vision will fill with the sordid.
Unless we run to God our refuge, our fears will overtake us.
God wants to mold us into the image of the Son. All else is vain.

Love Poured Out

 

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Water pouring out from Colchuck Lake.

Because of God’s love, I have life.
Because of His love, I am forgiven.
Because of His love, I can forgive others and be free to love.
Because of His love, I can lay my past at the alter and leave it there.
Because of His love, when I am lost, He comes to find me.
Because of His love, I know I will never be forgotten.
Because of His love, I know He has ordered all my days.
Because of His love, I know He will give me strength for all I face.
Because of His love, I have a future filled with goodness.
Because of His love, I can pray blessings upon my family, and know Jesus loves them more than me.
Because of His love, I can pray for those I have hurt and know Jesus loves them and will bring about goodness.
Because His love is poured out upon me, I will joyfully worship Him.

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. Psalm 63:3

Days I Did Not Ask For

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He is risen

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

You said to ask and you shall receive.
But You gave me days I did not ask for.

Days with heartache, days of pain,
Days I can’t walk ‘cause I’m lame.
Days overwhelmed with my tears.
Days when I run chased by my fears.

Days of toil with no relief.
Days of suffering cavernous grief.
Please tell me why?…Don’t let me doubt.
Is it something I did, or left out?

Days that go in the wrong direction.
Suffering betrayal and rejection.
“My Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me.
Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:29)

In the breeze, oh so slight,
Your prayer of anguish that fateful night.
You asked for my days, and did atone,
Cut off from God in death…alone.

Startled, I realize You walked this path.
You stepped in to take sin’s wrath.
Giving up life to the Father’s glory,
You came down to alter my story.

I now have hope on my darkest day,
You hold me close through the fray.
To guide me where I cannot see,
I must depend on You, and not on me.

Thank You for days I did not ask for.

Sundown in a Dry and Thirsty Land

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Sunset over Arches National Park.

In the desert of coronavirus:

In the desert,
the heat shrivels up life.

In the desert,
only doubts form in the salty flats.

In the desert,
your trust in God begins to wilt.

In the desert,
love dries up and cracks.

In the desert,
you fight the thoughts of dying.

In this pandemic remember:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs; Psalm 84:5-6

Take heart with God’s help, we can make this calamity place of springs.

The Wonder of Grace

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The Grace of Winter White

The Wonderful Grace of Jesus

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

The best and the greatest of this world cannot replace it.
The worst and most painful cannot spoil it.
The wonderful grace of Jesus.

There is no imagined splendor that can outshine it.
There is no ugliness that can diminish it.
The beautiful grace of Jesus.

There is no stronghold it cannot topple.
There is no past it cannot overcome.
The redeeming grace of Jesus.

There is no intelligence that can understand it.
The smallest child can receive it.
The all-encompassing grace of Jesus.

There is no life in living without it.
There is no death in life with it.
The joyous grace of Jesus.

There is no day that can be lived without it.
There is no day that will outlive it.
the enduring grace of Jesus.

A bruised reed he will not break,
And a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42:3)
The loving grace of Jesus.

The grace of Jesus gives redemption and purpose for my yesterdays.
The grace of Jesus gives me help and direction for today.
The grace of Jesus gives me hope for tomorrow.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT

Grace takes the all the things we suffer—the self inflicted, as well as what has been inflicted upon us, and redeems it for His glory through His grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

I do not thank God for my past mistakes and failures; I thank Him for His grace that frees me from them, and works to redeem the harm I have caused.

O the wonder of God’s grace.

Little Things Make Big Things

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Crack by crack the glacier recedes

It’s the little cracks that will cause the fall.
One upon another to bring down the wall.
Of themselves hardly a worry,
But they combine to a diabolical fury.

Such great loss from such little things.
Who knew the curse disobedience brings.
Enslaved to follow this eroding course,
What might’ve been is my remorse.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2 NIV

Little crumbs can become a great meal,
One after another to forge armor of steel.
Of themselves hard to consider,
O the blessing they will come to deliver.

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 NIV

Such great gain from such little things,
God tells us the riches obedience brings.
Who knew the glory it would unlock,
A temple to God built block upon rock.

Dawn of Revelation

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Morning beauty

 

I have no great thoughts,
but I know wonderful revelation is out there.
There are colors to enthrall the eyes still to put on canvas.
There is music that will lift the heart, but awaits a composer.
There are poems to inspire the soul, that remain unreleased.
There is great beauty that will captivate the beholder,
but we have lost our purity to take it in and give it away.
I need clear eyes to see, unstopped ears to hear.
A clean heart to bow before the Lord and receive all he wants me to know.
This gives me hope.
I pause from my daily activities,
and pray for God’s Holy Spirit,
to come upon me,
and make His glory known.

“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Memories of Tomorrow

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Foretaste of glory

Yesterday we had so much fun,
the joy that children bring.
To have the laughter never end,
In songs we love to sing.

Visit cut short, I wanted longer.
So many seeds to sow
Time consumes the love we shared,
Forgotten as they grow.

In that day when life moves on,
I hope not in fading sorrow.
But in the love of Jesus Christ
Who makes yesterday a foretaste of tomorrow.

In Jesus we have a sure hope that our tomorrows will be even better than our yesterdays.

We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33:20-22

Reflection On Words

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Reflections on Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park

Thoughtless words I say.
Careless tossing words about.
Not comprehending there is hell to pay,
When good is not what comes out.

Some words push life into darkness.
Some words bring about light.
Writing a story of sorrow,
Or one that shines in the night.

“It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:11 NLT

The Blessing of Humility

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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