Where Is My Focus?

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Flowers of the field

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18

When I have no clear vision of God then my thoughts begin to drift.
Worries about what the future holds draw me further away.
In my fear I hoard and build embattlements.
I imagine everyone is coming to take what’s mine.
Then I see this flower and am reminded,
If God clothes the grass like this, how much more will he care for me.
I release my anxious thoughts and grab hold of my makers hand.
Something beautiful happens as I walk with Jesus,
I begin to see his goodness blossom in me.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“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. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?              Matthew 6:25-30

Lupine Lifting Up Praise

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Lupine lifting up to praise God

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
When I praise God, I begin to review all he has done for me.
He has forgiven me, and removed my shame.
He has redeemed my life from sorrow and death.
He satisfies all my desires.
He leads me into goodness and guards me on the way.
His love for me knows no bounds, and he will not let anything come between us.
He shares himself with me, and gives me his name that I should call upon him.
Even the flowers of the field praise the Lord.
What a blessing it is to praise God
Praise the Lord, O my soul.

A paraphrase of Psalm 103

Dancing with God

Cedar branches touching the stream

Dancing in the water

This scene only came to my attention when I stopped…and sat…and waited. Initially I was bored and saw nothing. Finally, I asked God to open my eyes and allow me to see. Slowly I began to sense the deeper rhythms of the stream. I heard the churning of the water against the rocks, then the call of birds overhead, followed by a chattering squirrel upset by my presence. Breathing in I noticed the fragrance of cedar boughs, and finally became entranced by the branches playing in the fast moving water perpetually dancing before the Lord. The joy in that moment returns even now, looking upon this scene I give thanks.

Prayer is like that. It is only when I stop and wait that I begin to perceive what God has for me. To read and meditate upon the Bible letting the Holy Spirit slowly direct my thoughts. It becomes wonderful dance of me with my creator. Unfortunately, as the day progresses my mind gets sidetracked, fretting about so many things. I must restart the process again, waiting on the Lord trying to catch His rhythm. Thankfully God never tires of waiting for me.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Psalm 37:7-9

Hope Like Wildflowers

Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP

Wildflowers along the Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP 

The smallest trouble is like a tiny blister on your foot,
With walking it will soon grow to unbearable proportions.
But I can put up with the most difficult circumstance if I have hope.
For hope is like wildflowers along the trail, they take my mind and heart to heavenly places.

Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:49-50

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

The Miracle of Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Snowflakes frozen in pond ice

Each snow flake is a unique wonder of God’s creation, no two are alike. Yet, often when we see them float down it starts us thinking about having to shovel snow, or worry about icy roads. Life is like that, we receive many blessings each day, yet our minds are preoccupied by problems and struggles. It is not to say we should not think about difficult issues, it’s just we should not let them be all we think about. For when we fail to praise God for His “snowflakes,” we miss the beauty and wonder in each day.

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4-5

If you like me have difficulty getting past the troubles of each day, then let Psalm 145 through Psalm 150 guide you in praise.

What Does It Say?

Icicle Creek

A cold day on Icicle Creek

What does this scene say to you?

For some it doesn’t say anything but burr.

My hope is that it speaks to your heart of God’s glory. That you hear echoes of His love for us. That it reminds you of God’s perfection that He wants to share with us.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world….
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19

Thoughts to Warm Up a Cold Day

Oregon Coast

A cold lonely day

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies. Psalm 118:6-7

The Lord is with me; I am not alone.
The Lord is with me; He knows my way.
The Lord is with me; His yoke is easy and His burden light.
The Lord is with me; He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
The Lord is with me; I shall not want.
The Lord is with me; He restores my soul.
The Lord is with me; His goodness and mercy will follow me forever.
The Lord is with me, and He is the victor over all including me.

Thank you Jesus.

Open My Eyes

The others were hardened, as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day.” Romans 11:7-8

Lord, open the eyes of my heart.

This first picture is what came out of the camera. Pretty dull why even bother.

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Snow in the Woods

This second picture is after some color processing. Brings it closer to what I saw with my eyes. A little better and more exciting.

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Sunrise in the woods

The third picture is what I saw with my heart—Heaven’s gate.

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Heaven’s Gate

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.

The Greatest Gift

Blackbird Island

Psalm 36:5

Show the wonder of Your great love,
You who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in You from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye.  Psalm 17:7-8

Even in the cold, God’s love makes us warm.
In rocky places, love gives us a soft place to lie.
His love gives us courage and protects us in truth.
When we do wrong love forgives and leads us to forgive each other.
When there is no time left, there is time enough for love.
Love brings hope even when we are hopeless.
When our lives fill with painful noise, love overcomes with a song.
When we trip and fall, love covers the hurt.
A mountain of anger will yield to love.
When life is empty love will fill the void.
There is no dark place that love cannot reach.
When life appears worthless, love makes it worthwhile.
Fear must leave when love comes in.
Love makes death a brief cry.
Love produces endless joy in the lover and the loved.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Merry Christmas