Beautiful Leaves, Beautiful Words

Not one of these leaves has fallen outside of God’s sight or understanding. They remind me that God cares.

I repeatedly check the news channels to see if there is any change for the better. I go on line looking for news that will calm my fears, but I only hear words of anger, and terrible troubles. I want to hear words of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness…words with power to control my anxious thoughts.

Beautiful words—
God’s words of forgiveness.
God’s words of patience.
God’s words of His unfailing love.
These words I need to hear.
Even more marvelous—
God wraps these words with a promise.
“I will help you and watch over you.
I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
Now those are beautiful words.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Aging with Grace

In elder years I begin to fret.
Forgetting things makes me upset.
Is this normal a mind that’s blurry,
or do I have cause for greater worry?
I forget the date and peoples names.
I forget instructions to children’s games.
In my angst I lose sight
that Jesus is with me through the night.
I’m tempted to fear what may be,
Angry at God for hardship I see.
Feelings takeover and hide the truth—
To rely on His strength as I lose my youth.
Thankfully He’s numbered those days that groan,
and holds my hand to guide me home.
Amazing grace from the throne above,
being griped forever in His unfailing love.

When I thought, “My foot is slipping,” 
Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. 
When the cares of my heart are many, 
your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:18-19

All Creation Rejoice

Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love. Psalm 143:7-8

I hear God’s unfailing love in the singing of His birds.
I see Your unfailing love in the Autumn colors.
I smell Your unfailing love in the scent of the pines after a rain.
I know Your unfailing love in the promise that Your Spirit is always with me.
I rejoice with all creation for Your unfailing love.

Being There

Not as majestic as being there

I can describe music,
but it is nothing without the hearing.

I can explain a beautiful mountain scene
but it is not the same as hiking to the top and being there.

I can read about the great banquet,
but knowledge falls far short of sitting at God’s table and tasting.

I can talk about joy,
but only by putting my hope in Jesus does it take wing.

We fool ourselves into being satisfied with hollow words,
instead of plunging into God’s love and living in Him.

Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:1-2

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and believes in Me will never be thirsty.”  John 6:35

I can hear about “Living Water,” and the “Bread of life, but until you drink from God’s well of salvation it remains merely words.

So, how does one drink and eat?

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10

So ask, and believe,
by faith you receive.

In Awe

Yellowstone Falls

His forgiveness extends beyond forever,
I’m in awe of His grace for me.
His loves endures forever,
I’m in awe of His compassion given to me.
Jesus is right and just in all His ways,
I’m in awe of His plans for me.
He is my Savior, Shepherd, and King.
In awe I’m brought to His banquet hall,
Where His banner over me is love,
and I am in awe of all He has done for me.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;  Psalm 103:10-13

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14

He has brought me to His banquet hall, And his banner over me is love. Song of Solomon 2:4

The Love of God in the Storm

Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

His goodness plots the course of the sun and clouds to create a beautiful scene. Though the beauty of the moment is fleeting His goodness and love are everlasting.

Thank You Lord that Your love is not limited by my ability to put it into words or to take a picture.

It is greater than my imagination.
It is not measured by what I deserve.
It does not stop when I wander off,
or get caught in a storm.
His love seeks me out and brings me back.
I cannot diminish it,
but I can increase it by receiving His love and giving it away.
It surrounds me like a shield,
and guides me on the right path.
God’s love gives me freedom to be all that He created me to be.
His love washes over me and will never leave nor forsake me.
I don’t have to worry about tomorrow,
because God’s love and mercy will greet me like the sunrise with beauty and glory.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Give thanks to the LORD for He is good. His love endures forever.

Reflecting on Grace vs. Disgrace

Reflection of Mount Rainier

Disgrace is ignoring or turning from God’s grace.

At the time of Last Supper Jesus announced:
The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. Matthew 26:24

Judas walked with Jesus.
He talked with Jesus.
He witnessed the miracles of Jesus.
He was chosen by Jesus.
Yet he betrayed Jesus and ran off in shame. In trying to undo what he had done, he turned away from God’s grace in Jesus and punished himself.

Peter walked with Jesus.
He talked with Jesus,
He witnessed miracles by Jesus
He was chosen by Jesus.
Yet he betrayed Jesus 3 times and ran off in shame. In time, Peter humbly turned from his failure to receive God’s grace in Jesus.

The difference between them is Peter chose to humble himself, and Judas chose to punish himself.

Woe to those who refuse to admit their need.
Ignoring the cross, where Christ did bleed.
Bemoaning their failure, counting their dross.
Too proud to bow before the cross.
This eulogy of the forlorn…
Better off to had never been born.

There is something more terrible than all your shame, and that is trying to live with it. 

Troubling Thoughts

Beauty from the Bramble

I have nightmares that make me weep.
Dark thoughts unbidden from the deep.
Disturbing dreams that make me wonder,
Where did I get their ugly thunder?
The haunting of my sleep.

Then I think of Joseph, the dreamer from of old.
A baker asked Joseph what his dream foretold.
In this nightmare birds picked at his bread.
“It means three days till you’re hanged and dead.”

Shaken I ask, “What’s my dream’s meaning?”
This ugliness my mind is weaving.
Do they reflect what I am inside?
Take them, please take them, I can’t abide.

The Lord’s response:

Three days I spent in death’s dark terror,
that your nightmares may be condemned as error.
I arose with dawn just and true.
be assured I have good dreams for you,
Remember this, the fight’s been won.
My mercy is new as the coming sun.

epilog

Each morning I awake of this I know,
His unfailing love won’t me let go.
So if fears and hurts plague your thought,
Know that each one He has bought
and buried forever in the deepest hell.
That you might draw joy from salvation’s well.

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:4-5

Faith vs. Feelings

Solid rock changing the course of the stream.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Don’t let your feelings guide you,
Don’t listen to what they say.
For feelings abhor discomfort,
trading future goodness for ease today.

God’s help comes through faith in Him,
and does not depend on how I feel.
Emotions gyrate up and down
causing life to sway and reel.

I’m learning to trust in God alone,
He is faithful in all His ways.
My rock and my salvation,
My shepherd for all my days.

When I stumble in the dark.
Anxious thoughts begin to bound.
God wants my faith to lead the way,
till my feelings come around.

Night Crossings

Sunrise breaking up the clouds

Night swoops in, I cannot see,
Its darkness fills my mind.
Fear creeping up to devour me.
With dread I glance behind.

Voices recount my past disgust.
The shadows laughing at my plight.
In desperation I cry out to God.
Lord, hold me by Your might.

God makes my feet bound like a deer,
to stand upon the height,
and anoints me with my tears
to greet His mourning light.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. Psalm 18:33