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.

Light in the Background

Early morning light

Early morning sunshine through the woods

This scene attracted my attention because of the light behind the trees. The foreground is cold with snow covering the tree limbs, but in the background the sun light holds the promise of a beautiful day. The sunlight truly makes all the difference in this picture.

Recently I had been praying for a dear Aunt in hospice going through the last stages of life. On the day before she died I used the 23 Psalm as a prayer for her and the family. When I came to verse 4 it literally jumped off the page.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Psalm 23:4

God’s presence is what makes all the difference in life. There is no circumstance, no illness, no terror that will overwhelm having Jesus with us. On the flip side, there is nothing (fame, wealth, power, or person) that can match having Him in our life.

Jesus is with my aunt, her family and with me. As I allowed this truth to sink in, my heart and mind calmed in His presence. He is the light behind the trees of grief and sorrow. The wonderful knowledge that He is with us will never lose its power to brighten the day of fear, grief, or shame, into a day of hope, comfort, and ultimately joy.

A Rising Vapor

Mist Rising to the Heavens

Morning steam rising off Icicle Creek

Vapor rising to the heavens warms this scene on a cold morning.

My prayer rising to the heavens warms my life.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,…”

This beginning to The LORD’s Prayer is what makes my life worthwhile. It’s that God allows me to call Him “Father.” When I think about this astounding truth in my life… I am lifted to the heavens

He loves me.
He provides me with access to Him at all times.
He takes time for me, and He is never too busy for me.
He gives me grace upon grace.
He gives me hope for eternity.
He is concerned about me, from the direction of my life, to the hairs on my head.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

What a wonderful thought for a new year.

A Prayer Plagiarized

snow covering a meandering stream

Pure peace, and gentle rest, wrapped in love for us to enjoy.

The LORD’s Prayer given to me.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13

My prayer given back.

Deliver me from lust, and lead into into love.
Starve my stomach, and feed my heart.
Forgive what I have done, and reveal in me what You are doing.
Remove my shame, and drench me with Your grace.
Help me let go of my worry, and lead me in the pasture of Your peace.
Drown my pain with the hope of Your glory.
Remove the curse, and anoint me with joyful blessing.
Let me forget where I have been, by the power of whose I am.
Cover me with thy presence.
Rescue those I love, and bring us together in Your goodness … forever!

Just What I Need

Sunrise announces a great day.

Sunrise announces a great day.


Turn, O Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love. (Psalm 6:4)

A prayer of King David given to us by God to pray for ourselves and our families. The wonder of this prayer is the deliverance comes not because David was such a man of God, but because of God’s unfailing love. That is what I need, for no matter what I have done, or others are doing to me, I can fall upon the unfailing love of God and pray for deliverance.