Piercing the Darkness

SHg3_180310-3085-Pano

The sky proclaims the sun is coming.

“He is risen,” but what does it mean?
The death of Death for those who believe.
His Life for our life for those who receive.
The proof of His Power to break all powers for those who bow.
The Joy of heaven becomes our joy for those who confess.
He is risen is hope reborn, declared by God for those who will follow.

Every morning comes heaven’s whisper––
“He is risen.”
Can you hear His love calling to you?
Let it pierce your darkness,
Let it wash over your heart,
And rest in His grace and peace.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

Extraordinary

SH_131003-7668_69_70_tonemapped

The sun shining through the trees…extraordinary!

O LORD make this an extraordinary day.

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

Jesus didn’t come to just save us from evil, He came to give us an abundant extraordinary life.

What makes for an extraordinary life? Living this day to the fullness of God’s blessing. What is God’s blessing? His love for us in Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Eph. 1:3

Life is not about fame, or power, or fortune, but living in, and through, and by the love of God.

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.  Eph. 3:17-19

Stop for a moment an let the love God has for you build into a crescendo of joy. For one day of God’s blessing and love, at work in us, and through, and for us is worth a lifetime elsewhere.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;  Psalm 84:10

Along the Road Home

SH_171020-0743

In case you drove by and did not stop to admire.

What a wonderful Thanksgiving prayer:

The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths
for the honor of his name.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff
comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23 NIRV

God has given us this prayer because He wants us to pray it, so He can fulfill it in our lives. Lord I fall at Your feet in thanksgiving.

When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

SH_170809-9858-Edit

Sunrise through smoke

After two weeks of gray thick smoke, this morning held blue skies, clouds, and distant peaks in full splendor. Each breath felt clean and wonderful. It brought to mind the joy we’ll have on that day when we enter our Lord’s kingdom. The smoky haze of this fallen world will be blown away, and for the first time we will see clearly––Jesus in all his glory. I think the beauty of that morning will truly be off the scale, and my photos do not do even come close to capturing the glory to be revealed.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If you’re lungs are burning from the smoke of this world remember:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

RAW_110911-8016

The glory of sunrise

Life Begins

RAW_080531-5097

Unfolding of life

Life is not about God pleasing us, but about us pleasing God.
Life is not about begging our pardon, but begins with begging for God’s pardon.
Life is not about how we see things, but about how God sees us.
Life is not in what we make of it, but in what God makes of us.
Life begins when I let my life go and seek God above all else.

Searching for Truth

SH-1604114-

Searching

“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus.
In our culture today, we don’t know what to believe, and ask the same question.

When I lie it is intended to deceive everyone about the truth.
For the truth will not bend to my will, therefore I lie and call that truth.
After all it is just a matter of sincerity.
The more sincere I am the more my lie seems to be true.
With enough repetition my lies become truth, and truth becomes a lie.
In the end no one can tell the truth from a lie.
Thus I am in control of truth, calling forth what suits me.
Except for one thing, without real truth, my life becomes a worthless lie.
All alone I cannot trust anyone, not even myself.
What I desperately need is the truth.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – Jesus (John 14:6)

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

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

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.

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)