Lupine Lifting Up Praise

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Lupine lifting up to praise God

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
When I praise God, I begin to review all he has done for me.
He has forgiven me, and removed my shame.
He has redeemed my life from sorrow and death.
He satisfies all my desires.
He leads me into goodness and guards me on the way.
His love for me knows no bounds, and he will not let anything come between us.
He shares himself with me, and gives me his name that I should call upon him.
Even the flowers of the field praise the Lord.
What a blessing it is to praise God
Praise the Lord, O my soul.

A paraphrase of Psalm 103

Enjoying Sunrise

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You don’t want to miss sunrise

When I am in a grumpy mood,
I miss out on goodness.
When I am angry,
I miss out on love.
When I covet and filled with discontent,
I miss out on all the gifts I have been given.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

For only when I am right with God can I enjoy all his blessings.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:11-12

How good is God that he wants to clean us up that we might enjoy life.

Hope in Midwinter

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Morning light on a cold day

In the dead of winter, it is the hope of Spring that keeps us going. In the same way, knowing the promises of God, and leaning upon them in our struggles gives us hope, that provides strength to go on.

Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:49-50

Open My Eyes

The others were hardened, as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day.” Romans 11:7-8

Lord, open the eyes of my heart.

This first picture is what came out of the camera. Pretty dull why even bother.

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Snow in the Woods

This second picture is after some color processing. Brings it closer to what I saw with my eyes. A little better and more exciting.

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Sunrise in the woods

The third picture is what I saw with my heart—Heaven’s gate.

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Heaven’s Gate

Light and Life

As I watched the sunrise this morning all the colors and beauty made my heart sing praise.

For in You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

Music by Aaron Copland / Sunrise over Leavenworth, WA / time lapse photography by Stephen Hufman / beauty, glory, joy, and praise all belong to God. Merry Christmas

 

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.

Letting in the Sunshine

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The light of day

In this current culture of obscuring the truth with words (e.g. locker room talk, boys will be boys), I need to reflect on the truth found in 1 Corinthians 13.

Lust wants to possess, to force.
Love hopes for love’s response.

Lust wants to rule, to conquer.
Love brings freedom to the lover.

Lust wants to be served, and uses others.
Love wants to serve.

Lust is self-seeking.
Love seeks for good in the one loved.

Lust lies to get what it wants.
Love rejoices with the truth.

Lust becomes angry when it doesn’t get its way.
Love is patient and kind.

Lust leads to self-gratification.
Love leads to self-sacrifice.

The one who lusts becomes like the purveyor of lust.
The one who loves becomes like the author of love.

I may not have stated it all quite right, but I want to point to the one who came to proclaim the truth of God’s love.

Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Forest Light

Dreaming in the forest

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”   1 Corinthians 2:9

The question is how do I love God? I know from Deuteronomy 6:5 that I am told to love God with everything in me. But how do I do that?

To understand how, keep reading in 1 Corinthians 2.

“But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 2:10

I can’t of myself truly love GodI need the help of the Holy Spirit. To receive that help all I need to do is ask and receive as His child. And what I receive is beyond my wildest dreams. To be loved by God and walk with my Lord.

Beautiful Iceberg Lake Trail

One of my favorite hikes is Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park. I would like to use the pictures from this trail as a metaphor for an even better hike through Psalm 103. Hopefully both hikes will lift your spirit as much as they lift mine.

The trail starts in a beautiful aspen grove with the early morning light just touching the tree tops like a crown.

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Aspen along the trail

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:1-4

As I gaze at this grove of aspen the more I remember of the crisp cool morning, the birds singing in the trees, the fragrant scent of the forest. In the same manner, the more I dwell on all God has done for me the greater my praise for Him.

Saying Grace

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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.