Mighty Song

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It is the flowers in the background that make this a beautiful photo

I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” Psalm 118:13-16

In movies did you ever notice how important the music is playing in the background? With the right music the movie comes alive sweeping us along in its story. It is the same for our lives we need the right music playing to add depth and hope for living. God wants to be the music of our life, constantly singing His song in and through us.

Trusting in Jesus is the way we hear God’s music playing. No matter where you find yourself, the Lord’s right hand wants to do mighty things––to be the music behind our life.

Breath of Heaven

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Breathe Deep

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––Jesus loves me, and lives in my heart.
Breathe out––Jesus love you, and waits to be invited in.

Prayer Ascending

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Steam arising from Kilauea

Are you going through difficult times? Here is insight form Apostle Paul to help you endure:

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Corinthians 1:9-11

Lesson: rely on God and get prayer support.

The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Revelation 8:4

Stand on the Heights

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Reaching above the clouds

God does not give us tasks we can do by our own strength or ability. He gives us good works to do that require us to rely upon Him.

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

We are not just called to do the ordinary with integrity, but also to do the extraordinary work of the Kingdom of Jesus. Not by our strength which is insufficient, but by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.

It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights. Psalm 18:32-33

Joy to the Full

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Hawaiian sunrise

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:11

Every once in a while I am struck with the joy of life. It is not because of the freshness of the mountain air or the brilliant morning sunrise. It is that these joyous moments are but a foretaste of eternal life in Jesus. When I sit down and contemplate why I have such joy, it always comes back to His love for me. The verses just before John 15:11 confirms it:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved Me,” Jesus says, “so I have loved you.” There it is––Jesus loves me deeply.

Part of that love for me is to tell me how I should be. Jesus uses the word command because what He says next about staying in His love is absolutely essential. It is the difference between looking through the window at the Christmas celebration, or going in to sit down to fully partake in it. Jesus is telling us that to have complete joy you have to join in His love:

Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

I urge you to let the Holy Spirit pour His love through every part of your existence and join the celebration of joy to the full.

Have We Forgotten How to Act?

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Lupine in a field of Indian Paintbrush. Each flower, each color enhances the others.

In this time of incivility and rancor, how should we act?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

What does it mean to act justly?  It is to treat others rightly.

He (God) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Deuteronomy 10:18-20

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:16-17

What does it mean to love mercy? It is to love others as God loves you.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

To walk humbly with God is to walk in His way not your own. Then you will be enhancing not subtracting from creation, and pleasing to behold.

Eruptions in Life

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Kīlauea erupting

Words have power

They can bring harrowing fear:
“The biopsy shows cancer.”

They can produce shame:
“The jury finds the defendant guilty.”

They can bring terrible sorrow:
“I am sorry we tried everything to save your child.”

Fortunately, the Word has more power than any words:

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:11-12

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

“ I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” Matthew 28:18

Therefore humble yourself before The Word, and let Him quiet the words in your life, and bring forth peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Yet, God still Loves Us.

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When life seems to be going down.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

The “yet” that starts verse eight is huge, because the preceding verse six lays out the truth about our past.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, Isaiah 64:6

Though our actions are like filthy rags, yet You are our Father.
Though we have given up on ourselves, yet You do not throw us away.
Though we have made a mess of everything,
Yet, from this lump You will form something beautiful.

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.