Heaven Comes Down

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Clouds of heaven invading the darkness

Prayer is one of the great undervalued gifts from God. Think about it—in Jesus, I have a clear, secure channel to talk directly with God.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:34-35

Jesus has made it so easy that often I take it for granted.

So, if the problems of this day have crowded out your praying, stop right now and ask God to restore one of the joys of salvation in Christ—talking with Him, and worshiping up close and personal with the Lord of all.

Oh, one other amazing thing He wants to talk with you right now.

From the Depths

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His Deep calling to my deep

Grief is a deep dark pit, where no sunlight can reach. When you are there no good thing seems possible, and death is all you hear.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. Psalm 42:5-7

It is in my grief that God’s Deepness calls to my deep pit. God’s waves and breakers crash upon me—letting me know He is with me, His goodness will prevail, and His love will hold onto me through eternity.

When God’s waves break over me I begin to hear His voice over the din of my sorrow.

I will never leave you.
Roars from the crashing water.
My love endures forever.
Smashes upon my darkness
I will carry you and dry your tears.
Splits the rocks that tower over me.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

A reminder of the real battle

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The war between light and darkness

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12

Some days I feel beaten down. But then I remember the battle, and who is with me in the fight, for my courage comes not from me.

Hope at Midnight

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Waiting for the sun

A few years ago a hurricane hit South Texas. National evening news showed people at an evacuation center singing praises to God. They showed hope and light in the midst of devastating tragedy. Even the newscaster got caught up in their praise and ended the newscast with “Amen,”

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

No matter what our situation, even at midnight in prison, we can have hope in Jesus,
Because:
we have goodness in Jesus,
we have God’s faithfulness in Jesus,
we can talk to Jesus,
we can have forgiveness in Jesus,
we can know our life has meaning in Jesus,
we can have strength in Jesus,
we can hide in Jesus,
we can run to Jesus,
we know nothing will separate us from the love of Jesus,
we have a glorious future in Jesus,
we have a mighty shepherd to lead and protect us in Jesus.
God has good works for us to do in Jesus,
we have abundant life in Jesus,
And we have all eternity to enjoy life in Jesus.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

The Blessing of Ascribing to the Lord

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Sunrise over Leavenworth WA

Psalm 29

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

Making the Desolate Beautiful

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My desert His palette

What makes this day?
A day with work and toil,
A day with struggle and worry,
A day with grief and sadness,

Jesus makes this day filled with His love.
He makes it a day of salvation from my troubles,
A day of deliverance from my foes,
A day where past failure is forgiven,
A day where hope can flourish,
A day with purpose and meaning,
A day of good things for me to do,
A day of guidance to His pasture,
A day of communion with God,
A day of feasting in His presence,
A day of giving thanks for His unfailing love,
Thank You Lord for making this day for me.

A reminder for your desert days from Psalm 107

Morning Mist

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Burning away the mist.

“I, the Lord, made you,
and I will not forget you.
I have swept away your sins like a cloud.
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.
Oh, return to me,
for I have paid the price to set you free.” Isaiah 44:21-22 NLT

As I struggle with the ups and downs of life it is good to remember: God made me and paid the price of my sins that I might be with Him forever. With that in mind I keep facing the Son to let Him burn away all the mist.

“Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 NLT

Thank You Jesus.
Merry Christmas

Breath of Heaven

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Breathe deep of the heavenly air.

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

The love of God is the air of heaven, and the joy of earth. You breathe it in then breathe it out.

Breathe in––God’s love is greater than all my failures.
Breathe out––I can rest easy for His love watches over me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and died in my place.
Breathe out––His life for mine, such love overwhelms me with gratitude.

Breathe in––The Spirit of God has freed me from the dark powers of this world.
Breathe out––peace and blessed assurance the victory is won.

Breathe in––God’s love surrounds me, and will never leave me.
Breathe out––I am His, and He is mine.

Breathe in––God’s love makes me what I was meant to be.
Breathe out––A reflection of Him to those around me.

Breathe in––Jesus loves me, and sent His Spirit to live in my heart.
Breathe out––Jesus loves you, and invites you to breathe Him in.

It may take you a number of slow deep breaths to have His love sink in, but I can guarantee even after a thousand years you have not begun to breathe in the depths of God’s love in Jesus.

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.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:17-21

Where Is the Color?

Recently I traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway looking forward to rich Fall colors. But, the recent abnormally hot weather had roasted the leaves turning them brown, and dropped them to the ground.

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Dreams gone dry

Disappointed, I sat dejected cursing my misfortune. Finally, I let out a feeble prayer, “Lord can You make something out of this nothing?”

Surprisingly He laughed for joy at my request, and pointed me to a small uninviting trail.

As I walked down the path the sun broke through the clouds revealing God’s wonderful creation.

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A beautiful way

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18

Troubles, anxieties, and hurts often color life an ugly brown. We begin to doubt the Lord’s goodness, and our thoughts become buried in the scorched dead leaves of our way. Yet there is hope because the Lord longs to show us compassion, and refresh our souls by His grace. Jesus desires to lead us to green meadows and peaceful streams, because He is our Good Shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

So, when life seems colorless––remember:

“I am His and He is mine.” Song of Solomon 2:16

Joy to the Full

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Hawaiian sunrise

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:11

Every once in a while I am struck with the joy of life. It is not because of the freshness of the mountain air or the brilliant morning sunrise. It is that these joyous moments are but a foretaste of eternal life in Jesus. When I sit down and contemplate why I have such joy, it always comes back to His love for me. The verses just before John 15:11 confirms it:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved Me,” Jesus says, “so I have loved you.” There it is––Jesus loves me deeply.

Part of that love for me is to tell me how I should be. Jesus uses the word command because what He says next about staying in His love is absolutely essential. It is the difference between looking through the window at the Christmas celebration, or going in to sit down to fully partake in it. Jesus is telling us that to have complete joy you have to join in His love:

Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

I urge you to let the Holy Spirit pour His love through every part of your existence and join the celebration of joy to the full.