Turbulence

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When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43:2

This morning I was reading from the end of Jeremiah, where Jeremiah is warning the Israelites not to run off to Egypt. They instead are told to remain in Israel to be taken into captivity by Babylon. In other words it is better to go into captivity with God than to seek refuge anywhere without God.

This is a hard lesson to grasp, but so very important.

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Proverbs 15:16-17

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness. Psalm 84:10

I find that this day is better because God is with me. This blessing is not found in anything else (not in vacation trips, not in winning the lottery, not in great acclaim, not in anything I can imagine). As I meditate upon this fact it changes my perspective for whatever I’m doing. I begin to worship taking a deep breath of the joy in this moment, for my joy is God being with me.

Be Thou My Vision

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Glorious waves of grace

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible”
Jonathan Swift – Thoughts On Various Subjects

I often think the scenes I try to capture and preserve in photos are little bits of the great beauty that Jesus splashes across His creation. Whether anyone notices is not relevant to beauties existence, it just is because God is good. Wave upon wave in unending splendor speaks of the glory of God. This is also true in my life; I have ongoing grace lavished upon me––His glorious presence working for my good. Sometimes I have the eyes to see it and thank Him, but often I am too preoccupied and it goes unnoticed. Like the beauty in nature, grace is not given only where it will be appreciated, it is freely poured out in abundance because that is the nature of God. His goodness and love lavished freely upon His creation.

You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 :5-6)

I need to continually remind myself to pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and wisdom to comprehend all that God is doing. Then with a heart of gratitude I can truly see, hear, and give thanks.

Dreaming Dreams

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May your dreams take flight

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17

Lord pour out Your Spirit on me.
Dream Your dreams in me.
Let my thoughts come from You.
Then give me the words to express the vision You give,
So others may rejoice with me.

Taming Your Anxious Thoughts

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Arrowleaf Balsamroot soaking in the sunshine

Worry is a sticky thought––once touched it is hard to brush it away.

The flowers of the field remind us there is a way to take care of worry:

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:28-34

To get rid of worry for tomorrow requires actively pursuing the Kingdom of Jesus today (letting Him forgive past wrongs and rule in every area). Then humbly walk with God allowing the Holy Spirit’s help you make right choices. If you mess up, or another worry pops up start again with step one. Worry itself is not a sin, but it is the temptation to take your eyes off of Jesus.

Being What You Were Created to Be

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What a wonder to see.

Turtles floating in the water,
Being all the turtle they can be.
Day after day they join the chorus.
A wondrous sight for me to see.
Turtles being turtles,
Floating out in the sea.

Oh Lord, help me to be,
All that You want to see done in me.
A wondrous sight for You to see.
Oh Lord, You living in me.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,… Psalm 8:3-4

…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27

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