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

Ever feel like you’re all washed up?

Icicle Creek

The water is tumbling down

A prayer for when I fall. Note that none of it is me all of it is God.

Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees:
Then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding…
Direct me in your path…
Turn my heart toward you…
Direct my eyes away from worthless things…
Fulfill your promises to me…
Take away my disgrace…
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Thank you Lord for all you do for me.
Taken from Psalm 119:33-40

A Prayer and an Amazing Response

Lost Sheep

We are like sheep who have gone astray. Isaiah 53:6

To you I call, O Lord my Rock;
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
With those who do evil,…
Psalm 28:1-3

This is a most amazing prayer God gives us to pray when all seems lost. Even more amazing, He gives us a wonderful answer––Jesus our shepherd, not only to save us, but to carry us forever.

Praise be to the LORD,
For he has heard my cry for mercy…
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:6,9

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.

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.

When Anxiety Presses In

lightening-7628

Fear of Fire

There are certain memories that I can’t allow my mind to dwell upon, or my anxiety takes charge. It is like thinking of sharks when you’re swimming in the ocean. When my angst starts to rise I must fall at the feet of Jesus and ask Him for help. Otherwise, I get all wound up and stress out. On the last occasion, when my fears started to rise, the Holy Spirit reminded me of John 17:26.

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

According to Jesus’ prayer for me, He will continue to make the Father known to me “in order that the love God has for Jesus may be in me.” Wow, how amazing is that? The love God has for the Son is placed upon and in me. The simple reason for this is the Holy Spirit places Jesus in me. Think of it, the creator of all things in me. When I set my mind to dwell upon this prayer, my anxiety and depression begin to bow before Jesus, and I can start to breath again.

Saying Grace

SHg3-160527-2721imp100

The beginning of another day at Icicle Gorge

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Before each meal I say grace, following the example of Jesus. The purpose is to give thanks for what God has provided, and ask the Lord’s blessing upon the food.

This morning as I lay in bed thinking of the coming day it struck me I could say grace over this day, following the same pattern of giving thanks and asking for God’s blessing. Saying grace over the day reminds me that God wants to bless it, to transform it into the fullness of why He has given it to me. Maybe the greatest transformation is in my perspective of the meaning and purpose of this day. After saying grace, it is no longer “just another day,” but one filled with God’s presence at every turn. The same possibility of blessing applies to the people we pray for: family, friends, and even person who cut us off in traffic.  What an awesome gift is grace, for we get to lavish it around on everything and everyone that God brings into our lives. This day will be forever changed simply by praying for God’s grace upon it, and with this simple prayer this day is elevated to eternal purpose.

The Land of Miracles

Mount Rainier-Berkeley Park

Berkeley Park, Mount Rainier National Park

Berkeley Park is a place of flowers and mist, a peaceful place for healing of the soul.

Have you ever prayed for healing? This appeal to God is little scary for me. It is even scarier when the prayer is for a child with a life threatening illness. I am scared because I don’t know if my faith measures up to what is required. Can I muster the faith required, or will one little deviation, one little doubt, one little slip cause the miracle to crumble? That is what one father worried about when he asked Jesus to heal his son.

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”                Mark 9:17-24

This man knew the faith needed to heal his son was beyond his ability. I think it is beyond most people’s ability to summon that kind of faith, even the disciples couldn’t do it. But Jesus healed the boy because He is the author and perfecter of faith and interceded with God on behalf of the man and his son.

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

I may not have what it takes, but I can go to my high priest, Jesus, and pray: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Knowing that brings peace to my soul.

The Well-worn 23rd Psalm

ps23

Aspen grove, Grand Canyon North Rim

This psalm is so familiar that reading it my mind often goes on auto-pilot, wandering unthinking through the words. Other times I get sidetracked into some memory from childhood. When this happens I have to remember to ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart, to make these verses jump off the page. After all Jesus calls the Word of God life giving food (Matthew 4:4). Isaiah compares the Word of God to rain and snow sent to accomplish a mighty task, for God’s power stands behind it (Isaiah 55:10-11). Jeremiah 23:29 declares: “Is not My word like fire, and like a hammer that breaks rock to pieces?” So when the words just sit on the page lifeless, I need to ask God for help.
The following is not the final word on this psalm but what I needed for this day.

The 23rd Psalm is about God’s relationship with me:
It is not a prayer, that I say, asking the Lord to be my shepherd. It is God saying “I am your shepherd, I will watch over you.
It is not about my finding water, or a place of rest — I just follow.
It is not about what I try to achieve. He is the one who directs me in path of righteousness by the power of His name.
He is there in darkness and in light, in the good and the bad, no matter where, always, no time outs.
It is not about what happens when I am good enough, or wise enough, or have faith enough. It is God telling me about His relationship to me because it is by His grace, and love, and forever.
Thus the 23rd Psalm is not my prayer to God, but His prayer to me.