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

Flying Through the Morning Mist

Morning Mist Along the Wenatchee River

Flying through the fog of fear

Life is like this scene along the Wenatchee River—shrouded in fog. I am often unable to see clearly to know what lies ahead. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Philippi, encourages us to to move forward not letting our past sins and fears bind us and prevent our advance.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…” Phil. 3:13

So I made my own list of the things I need to forget:

Past sins and failures that have been forgiven.
Past ugliness and pain.
Fear that I don’t have what it takes to keep going.

Trouble is to forget I need to replace my fears with something that encourages, and clears the fog of uncertainty as I move forward. This is why I also need to remember:

Jesus Christ died for my sins, and now I am new in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus loves me and is my faithful shepherd. (John 10:11)
God is building me up in Jesus to do good things. (Ephesians 2:10)
Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39)

When you can’t see ahead moving forward depends on what you let your mind dwell upon. (Phil. 4:8)

Link

Autumn Along the Wenatchee

Autumn along the Wenatchee River

This scene was beautiful but short-lived, the next year a second fire burned through this area. Life is like this landscape: beautiful for a time, but things happen. That is why I love John 14:6

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jesus

His compassion is new every morning.
He forgives me and helps me forgive.
He gives me a new heart.
He opens my eyes to see, and my ears to hear.
He is my strength and my self control.
He is the good shepherd watching over me and my family.
He is my shield.
He is my hope that conquers fear.
He is my peace and security––my Rock.
He loves me with an enduring love.
He promised to come back and take me home with Him.
No matter what happens He will never leave me nor forsake me.
He is just what I need for life.

Life is not life without Jesus.

Depression (meditation on Psalm 139)

Clouds Obscure My Vision

All my thoughts are gray.
I am lost in despondency.
I cannot move for the weight of my darkness.
O Lord, You search for me, because You care for me.
I make my bed in Sheol.
Behold, You are here with me.
You stoop down to meet me, because You love me.
You come along side me, because of Your great compassion.
You understand how I feel, because You walked these paths.
You cry with me and do not run out of tears.
This gray day has been known by You since I was first made,
Its purpose is not lost, because You are with me.
Your compassion for me will never end; it will never grow old.
You surround me and have laid Your hand upon me.
I scarcely understand.
Though I forsake myself, You will not.
And someday, I will enter Your rest,
Because Your grip is sure and You know the way.

Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Forest Light

Dreaming in the forest

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”   1 Corinthians 2:9

The question is how do I love God? I know from Deuteronomy 6:5 that I am told to love God with everything in me. But how do I do that?

To understand how, keep reading in 1 Corinthians 2.

“But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 2:10

I can’t of myself truly love GodI need the help of the Holy Spirit. To receive that help all I need to do is ask and receive as His child. And what I receive is beyond my wildest dreams. To be loved by God and walk with my Lord.

Killing Time Till I Die

Crystal clear water of Iceberg Creek

Crystal clear water of Iceberg Creek

This stream coming down from Iceberg Lake reminds me of a hiker I met on that trail. He had diabetes and lived out of his car. He had a little money saved, and with it was able to buy gas, food, and insulin. Stopping at various camp grounds his days were spent hiking the trails of national parks. As we hiked and talked he spoke of the many regrets in his life. He really wanted to do something meaningful, something to make his life worthwhile. After a pause he woefully admitted: “Right now I’m just killing time ‘till I die.”

How sad to wander through life with such an epithet. It made me think of my own life. How do I avoid falling prey to similar regrets? The pursuit of what seems worthwhile, only to find in the end that it is mirage, empty of any lasting purpose.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

In truth there is a spiritual battle going on. One side wants to steal and make my life worthless — “killing time, ‘till I die.” On the other side Jesus wants me to have a full life, a life with lasting significance.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last.  John 15:16

This “fruit” is explained in the rest of John 15. The big thing for me is to know is life has a good purpose beyond the years of my existence an eternal purpose.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

God has good things for me to do, so instead of “just killing time ‘till I die,” I want to follow Jesus, being filled with “living water” and flow like this stream — in the fullness of life.

The End of the Trail to Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

When I was young I wished to be older,

now that I am old I wish to be younger.

Life taken for granted is wished away,

until their is no longer room for today.

Ice floating on a lake is a metaphor for human existence “here today, gone tomorrow.” Psalm 103 reminds us of of this truth concerning life so that we might dwell upon what is truly important.

For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, Psalm 103:14-17

Thank goodness the Lord’s love is from everlasting to everlasting. That love anchors each day no matter what comes. It is the living water for our dry days. It is the sun breaking through on our cloudy days. It is what gives us hope when all seems hopeless.  The love of God is the most important thing for each day of my life. It will triumph over my  yesterday, provide joy for today, and be my hope forever, even though I am melting away.

His love is given to us in Jesus Christ that who ever believes in Him will be saved and live in His love forever (John 3:16-17)