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.

Be Thou My Vision

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Glorious waves of grace

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible”
Jonathan Swift – Thoughts On Various Subjects

I often think the scenes I try to capture and preserve in photos are little bits of the great beauty that Jesus splashes across His creation. Whether anyone notices is not relevant to beauties existence, it just is because God is good. Wave upon wave in unending splendor speaks of the glory of God. This is also true in my life; I have ongoing grace lavished upon me––His glorious presence working for my good. Sometimes I have the eyes to see it and thank Him, but often I am too preoccupied and it goes unnoticed. Like the beauty in nature, grace is not given only where it will be appreciated, it is freely poured out in abundance because that is the nature of God. His goodness and love lavished freely upon His creation.

You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 :5-6)

I need to continually remind myself to pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and wisdom to comprehend all that God is doing. Then with a heart of gratitude I can truly see, hear, and give thanks.

Dreaming Dreams

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May your dreams take flight

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

Lord pour out Your Spirit on me.
Dream Your dreams in me.
Let my thoughts come from You.
Then give me the words to express the vision You give,
So others may rejoice with me.

Piercing the Darkness

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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

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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

A Full Day

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The start of a new day

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

This morning I come before God and ask for His help to live this day to the full.

“Lord, don’t let the thief steal it with anger, laziness, or in the pursuit of worthless things. Send Your Holy Spirit to overcome my weakness and transform this day to one that glorifies You––the fullness of life.”

At the Start of Day

Rejoicing in the new day

Rejoicing in this day

It is God’s grace that turns this day into a special day with eternal purpose. All that is needed is God’s grace upon grace. His grace that forgives and makes me right, followed by grace to give me strength to do His will. At the start of each day I need to let these verse wash over me.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

Surprised by Glory

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The light of life in dark places

Thick wildfire smoke is not usually conducive to landscape photography. But God is so surprising, He can make an ash filled day into a vision of glory. Like this scene of an orange sun peaking through the aspen. When I took the photo I couldn’t help but give thanks, for I saw God in the dust of that dark dreary day.

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

That same evening on the news, there appeared a clip of people singing gospel music in a Texas evacuation center. Their praise carried a clear vision of God’s glory in the midst of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, even the news announcer smiled and said “Amen.”

Where ever you find yourself don’t forget to look for Immanuel (God is with us), He is wanting to surprise you.