The View From Here

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So far, yet so close

In a National Geographic story it stated that somewhere in the universe a star explodes into a supernova every second. It also mentioned that if a star exploded anywhere near us (<15 light years away) we would be wiped out by the blast. That made me ponder just how big the universe is, and how small our planet is in comparison. Personally I would not be able to locate my own solar system within our galaxy (one star among 100-150 billion), or even pick out the Milky Way from among all the millions of galaxies that are out there (over 125 billion from observation by Hubble space telescope). With this vastness of the universe how is God, who is over all, even concerned about me? I exist for such a short time, one of over 7.5 billion people who populate this insignificant planet coursing around an insignificant star tucked away in one of billions of galaxies. How do I know that the creator of all this even cares? It comes down to one word, Jesus. I do not fathom His love for me, or how He even knows me, but because Jesus the creator of the universe came and died for me, this says God loves me and will not lose me in the vastness of all His stars. Even the hairs on my head are numbered. What an amazing statement of God’s concern (Matthew 10:30). Oh how wide and deep and beyond my imagination is the love of God for me in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:18).

Approaching the Throne of God

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The heights of heaven

I can approach the throne of God in His grace and be confident I will find mercy and help. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can leave my past behind and know that it does not cling to me.
Life is be pure again.
It is not mine to lose or spoil, I can only receive it, and it is a new gift every morning.
This amazing grace comes with God’s power to live for Him,
And the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not have to worry about tomorrow for the end of my story has been written.
I can breathe in the peace of God.
I can rest in the knowledge that God will cause all things to work out for good when I walk in His love. (Romans 8: 28)
When I get lost, He finds me and restores my soul.
What Jesus has started in me will be carried onto completion by His grace and power not mine. (James 1: 6)
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)

Piercing the Darkness

Piercing the Darkness

The sun shining through the darkness

What if, as some believe, the resurrection of Jesus never happened?

We would be alone in a universe of laws with no compassion.
Our only hope would be––I hope I don’t die today.
Grief’s only respite is in trying to forget.
Life would be about survival of the fittest, where everyone competes to be on top.
And if for a moment you succeed, you have to fight off those trying to take your place.
Evil triumphs, and lust becomes the force behind every action,
And pain the ultimate fate for everyone.
In the end death is your final companion.
Darkness your only friend.

But Jesus did rise up in triumph as morning declares.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

God’s compassion is new with each morning.
Our hope is raised up to the heavens with Jesus,
And our grief is turned into songs of joy.
We know that there is more to life than death.
God’s love conquers our fears.
We are freely loved,
And told to love freely.

His love reaches to the skies, and to the deepest pit.
Through the resurrection we shed our darkness and partake in God’s goodness.
The risen Lord knows all our sorrows, and ultimately takes our pain.
The beauty of that sunrise on an empty tomb is a never ending moment with God.
Our survival is by our savior, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Jesus lights our way and will take us home someday.
Death has been silenced for Jesus has risen.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

I Feel Small

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Looking up

Trees sometimes make me feel small. Especially, when I look up and and see them pointing at the sky.

In a similar way, Ephesians 3:17-19 fills me wonder at the immensity of God’s love, and the smallness of my understanding.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

“Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!”
Refrain from “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” by Charles Wesley

A Place Where Heaven Touches Earth

Cascades

Where earth and sky meet

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:1-6

And we can touch Heaven.

Before the Sunrise

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When the earth is still dark look up and take heart.

Courage and strength that comes from God, does not come in large reassuring scoops.  Usually, the Lord doles it out in little wisps, as we stick our foot out for the next step. I guess, that is because having it in large amounts would direct our attention to ourselves, instead of constantly having to rely on God.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13-14

Shadows in the Sky

Shadows in the Sky

Shadows light up the sky

The shadow of pine trees cast upon the clouds is fascinating to me. Who would have imagined casting shadows in the sky, yet here is this wonder, lasting but a moment then gone. God does this all the time, sometimes we see it and give Him glory, and sometimes we miss it leaving the heavens to declare the glory of God, Thankfully, He does not hold back His glory waiting for an audience.

My Plans Gone Awry

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The Cascades break through the clouds

To get the full impact of this picture you need to know how it came about. Due to weather conditions my late night flight home had been canceled. I had to wait till morning to catch the next plane. I must admit to being pretty grumpy and upset. Then on the morning flight the clouds parted and I saw this scene. One glimpse made it all worthwhile, and I started to praise God for His weather delay.

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thank you Lord for determining my steps.

Light and Life

As I watched the sunrise this morning all the colors and beauty made my heart sing praise.

For in You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

Music by Aaron Copland / Sunrise over Leavenworth, WA / time lapse photography by Stephen Hufman / beauty, glory, joy, and praise all belong to God. Merry Christmas

 

Coming Before the Throne

Before the Throne

At Heaven’s gate

Trying to write, but I am so uninspired and sleepy.
Trying to pray for a good friend who has terminal cancer, but I am so lifeless in prayer.
Trying to live for my Lord, but I am so weak and easily tripped up.
How wonderful is my great high priest who sits enthroned at the right hand of God.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

My soul soars to His mercy seat and I fall before Him in thanksgiving.