Breaking the Silence

Sounds in the forest. Does anyone hear?

Do you ever pray and think God is not listening…

When I am worried and I pray, but my anxious thoughts continue.
When I am tired and I pray for strength but continue to feel weary.
When I am filled with grief and I pray but continue to cry.
When I am afraid, and I pray but only hear my racing heart.

Lord, are You listening?

In my anxiety, God helps me to rely on His peace.
In my weakness, God helps me build my faith in Him.
In my sorrow, God cries with me and draws me closer to Him.
In my fear, the fear of God triumphs and burns away the dross.

When I think God is not listening,
I am the one who is not listening,
for He is at work in me.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

A Tangle of Feelings

Sometimes I don’t know which way is up

In my life feelings have their way,
when they’re up—I’m up
when they’re down—I’m down.
Sometimes they go in opposite directions.
That’s why God has me walk by faith and not sight.
To make feelings follow…
instead of lead.

Jesus is my source of joy not my feelings.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas

Hope gives Life to life

The hope of a new day

Hope is knowing of wonder yet to be seen.
Of rivers, of mountains covered in green.

Hope is scent of joy yet to come,
Of love in a family together as one.

Hope is courage in this covid blight.
Hope is God’s hand holding me tight.

Enduring great trials hope will sustain,
When anchored upon God’s holiest name.

So I can rejoice even in sorrow,
For hope assures of a better tomorrow.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

Therefore, we who have fled to him (Jesus) for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 6:18-20

The Fruit of Your Words

By the fruit you know the tree

Words can send a blessing.
The same words can send a curse.
I love you is a blessing.
I love you if… a hidden curse.

Words can tell the truth.
The same words can be a lie.
Often we don’t know which is which,
Only time will break the tie.

How do you avoid being taken in?
Caught in a sugary trance.
Look at the fruit in their life,
Good fruit is not by chance.

-by Stephen Hufman

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 

Matthew 7:15-23

The Heights of Glory

Autumn glory in Icicle Canyon

I can scale the wall of glory
once there they’ll want my story.
I just need a little more effort,
a little more time.

From the heights I will survey,
proud of climbing my own way.
All with a little more effort,
a little more time.

There are some trade-offs, some compromises
little things some sacrifices,
but in the end it’ll be all mine.
Given a little more effort,
a little more time.

When I get there what will be said?
a eulogy of the dead—if only he had…
a little more effort,
and little more time.

—poem by Stephen Hufman

Unless the Lord builds the house, 
its builders labor in vain. 
Unless the Lord watches over the city, 
the watchmen stand guard in vain. 
In vain you rise early 
and stay up late, 
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:1-2

Hope for the Day

Ray of sunshine breaking through.

Hope reminds me of good to come.
Hope is the thumping of God’s victory drum.
Hope is the music that sets the mood.
Hope the aroma of the banquet food.
Hope is the lighthouse piercing the storm.
Hope is the blanket keeping me warm.
Hope provides strength to my weary feet.
Hope is the breeze cooling toilsome heat.
Hope holds on to me when I fear.
Hope is the whisper, “God is near.”
I’ll have no regret when I’m called home.
For my hope in Jesus is life’s cornerstone.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5

Light for the Coming Darkness

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Light on a hill

Where there looms fear,
There is need for drawing close to God.
Where there is no fear,
We invest little in prayer.

Where there is grief,
There is need for hope.
Where there is no sorrow,
We grip tightly to the present instead of Jesus.

Where there is doubt.
There is a need for faith
Where doubt does not exist,
There is little need to exercise faith.

Where there is love and forgiveness,
There is passionate devotion.
Where there is no love there is indifference,
and indifference makes the heart grow hard.

Where there is horrid ugliness
There is a longing for innocence.
Where people accept the grotesque,
There is no desire for salvation.

All the doubt, the fear, the sorrow, the ugliness does not show the absence of God, but quite to the contrary … Shows our need for Him.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. – Jesus John 16:33

How Lovely

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California Poppy opening to the morning sun

Where there is love, life is too short.
And too long where there is none.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Eternity is pure joy where there is love,
And pure hell where there is none.

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