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

Multnomah Falls

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Multnomah Falls and the celebration of Pentecost

Certain elements of this picture transform it for me from nondescript picture into wonder to behold. The elements are the water cascading down, and the rock balancing the picture in the foreground. Without them I would have tossed it away.

This is the same for my life certain elements make it so worthwhile. The Rock of my salvation, Jesus, who anchors my life in his forgiveness and love.

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 22:47

The second element is the Holy Spirit cascading down, refreshing and anointing my life with God’s goodness.

“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:17

Multnomah Falls a celebration of Pentecost.

The Full Measure of Life

Dogwood

Reflecting the Creator

Of this life what shall we measure?
Is it time or is it treasure?
Beauty, fame or accomplishment?
Result in choking compliment.
These become for us gods, dressed as goals,
And bring forth pride, to become deep holes.

To be like Him should be our hope,
faith and love a heavenward slope.
Thus reflecting the Lord in all his glory,
And have His light become your story.
Can only be borne upon a tree,
All of Him and none of me.

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.  Ephesians 3:17-19

Enjoying Sunrise

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You don’t want to miss sunrise

When I am in a grumpy mood,
I miss out on goodness.
When I am angry,
I miss out on love.
When I covet and filled with discontent,
I miss out on all the gifts I have been given.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

For only when I am right with God can I enjoy all his blessings.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:11-12

How good is God that he wants to clean us up that we might enjoy life.

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

On This Brand New Day

Brand New Day

A brand new day in the Icicle Canyon

On this brand new day what do I most need?

I need to reaffirm my hope is in the Lord and not myself. With His help I can scale the wall before me.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:28-29

Along with hope, I need remind myself of God’s faithfulness to His promises (His Word). I can trust in Him.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

And most of all, I need to rest in His love for me.

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

This is what I need. This is what we are given in Jesus. Take a long deep drink of this “Living Water” on this new day.

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

Morning After Nightmares

Awaken to the Morning

Sunrise against the clouds

I awaken just short of being devoured.
The fear lingers on.
My mind is stalked by the night terror.
I call out to Jesus and He comes to hold me like a mother holds her child.
Together we review the truth,
The verses of His compassion and faithfulness.
The depths of his love explored.
The nightmare cannot come it is left outside.
I am made ready for the day.

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.

Limitations of Words and Pictures

There are times when music transports me to the gates of heaven (this last Sunday singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” during worship was such an occasion). That moment, of deep calling to deep, stirred me in a way, that I want to help others share its fullness. But, when I go to write it down, the words are sorely inadequate. So I resort to photography, hints of heaven in nature. But then the photograph I take never quite recounts my glimpse of heaven. Therefore, when you look at the following picture, play your most stirring music, smell the fragrance of the ocean after a rain, and meditate on: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Then you may catch a glimpse of “Holy, holy, holy! The Lord God Almighty.”

Hope in the Storm