Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Lyrics from “Abide with Me” by Henry Francis Lyte
As the years accumulate, and my body struggles to do what once I took for granted, I take comfort and courage in these lyrics from the hymn “Abide with Me.”
Life without Jesus would be difficult to face, for it would be about what I’ve lost, but praise God—Jesus has risen and conquered decay. Life is not about getting old, but about being redeemed and abiding in my Lord!
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Psalm 103:1-5
Sunrise over Leavenworth WA
Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:1-2
Ascribe in Psalm 29 means to attribute, to give homage, to acknowledge in a worshipful manner. It is His infinite strength, glory, and holy splendor we are to ascribe to the Lord.
Unfortunately, I will go through a whole day and not ascribe to the Lord. This robs me of the peace I can have affirming God is more than able to handle the troubles before me. Psalm 29 continues by telling us about the power of God.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. Psalm 29:4-5
It is normal to be anxious about things, but when I ascribe to the Lord His glory and power and strength, then I begin to breathe easy again.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
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.
Unfolding of life
Life is not about God pleasing us, but about us pleasing God.
Life is not about begging our pardon, but begins with begging for God’s pardon.
Life is not about how we see things, but about how God sees us.
Life is not in what we make of it, but in what God makes of us.
Life begins when I let my life go and seek God above all else.
Balsamroot along the Icicle River
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. 1 Peter 1:24-25
Sometimes I just read the Bible like a homework assignment…and get very little out of it. Then there are those moments when I meet God in the Word, resting in His presence. I lay still, letting the words and the Holy Spirit wash over me to change me and refocus the day. The funny thing is I never seem to develop any skill at being still and resting before God. Instead, I have to start from scratch each time, going over the same terrain of reigning in my will and submitting to his will. I know God endeavors to make it easy to rest. I am the one who makes it hard.
This flower is one among hundreds on this hillside. Hardly worth taking its picture, until you get the early morning sun behind it and then — Oh my, it is glorious.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Balsamroot spill over from the heights
This picture, from above my home, shows the Spring cascade of color.
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom… But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:1, 9-10
My hope is not in the beauty of this world, but in Jesus my creator, my redeemer, my shepherd, my king. Only in Him do gladness and joy reside forever. Only in Him will sorrow and sighing be excluded from spoiling eternity.
Beauty at the end of life
The love of God is not dependent on competence, nor diminished by the wilting of abilities with age. He loves the old on their last day of life. He loves the newborn (and the unborn) on their first day of life. He loves those suffering from mental illness unable to function. He even loves the demon possessed man running naked among the tombs of the dead (Luke 8:26-27). God loves us regardless of our condition or accomplishments.
Sadly, our natural abilities can be a hindrance to receiving God’s love, because success can so easily become the desire of life, pushing aside God. It is at the far ends of life that we set aside dignity and run to the love of God. Allowing him to bath us in forgiveness and hold us in his loving arms.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God’s love has no boundaries except the ones we impose by our foolish pride.
Blooming orchards and Balsamroot in the foothills of the Cascades
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
It is Spring. The orchards and Balsamroot are blooming and I am blessed to be surrounded by all this beauty. What makes it even more thrilling is that the creator of all this, has given Himself to me, and I am His.