Light for the Coming Darkness

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Light on a hill

Where there looms fear,
There is need for drawing close to God.
Where there is no fear,
We invest little in prayer.

Where there is grief,
There is need for hope.
Where there is no sorrow,
We grip tightly to the present instead of Jesus.

Where there is doubt.
There is a need for faith
Where doubt does not exist,
There is little need to exercise faith.

Where there is love and forgiveness,
There is passionate devotion.
Where there is no love there is indifference,
and indifference makes the heart grow hard.

Where there is horrid ugliness
There is a longing for innocence.
Where people accept the grotesque,
There is no desire for salvation.

All the doubt, the fear, the sorrow, the ugliness does not show the absence of God, but quite to the contrary … Shows our need for Him.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. – Jesus John 16:33

Just Peeking

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The moon playing “hide and seek,” Alaska inland passage.

If you have ever played “hide and seek” then you probably said this and complained mightily if someone didn’t follow the rules. In fact, throughout life, we all want to be treated fairly… it is built into our humanity. Jesus speaks to this point in the Sermon on the Mount:

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 NLT

Justice is something we have to hunger and thirst for… to work at diligently, and we are told we will be blessed by God if we do. Unfortunately, we have hungered for other things letting justice be put on the shelf. We hunger for power, wealth, pleasure and security. Justice gets twisted into “what I want.” We substitute what is good for me and my family, rather than what is right and good for our neighbor. Black Lives Matter is a cry for justice (don’t be sidetracked by certain people’s breaking and looting that’s wrong and evil and co-opts the call for justice). When Jesus returns He will bring truth, justice and judgement. On that day will Jesus find we have turned away from our neighbors cries for justice, or did we hunger and thirst for justice?

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. Matthew 23:23 NIV

If we have knowledge of justice as children playing “hide and seek,” how can we neglect working to act justly as Christ’s followers?

Sundown in a Dry and Thirsty Land

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Sunset over Arches National Park.

In the desert of coronavirus:

In the desert,
the heat shrivels up life.

In the desert,
only doubts form in the salty flats.

In the desert,
your trust in God begins to wilt.

In the desert,
love dries up and cracks.

In the desert,
you fight the thoughts of dying.

In this pandemic remember:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs; Psalm 84:5-6

Take heart with God’s help, we can make this calamity place of springs.

God’s Goodness for Me

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So beautiful and good

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

In Jesus I have good works prepared by God for me to do… how wonderful is that knowledge.

Obviously the good is determined by God not me. Which is reassuring because I have a tendency to choose temporary earthly pleasures over eternal goodness and true joy.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Yes, in Jesus my life will be good, pleasing and perfect, and He will never leave me to do otherwise.

Approaching the Throne of God

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The heights of heaven

I can approach the throne of God in His grace and be confident I will find mercy and help. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can leave my past behind and know that it does not cling to me.
Life is be pure again.
It is not mine to lose or spoil, I can only receive it, and it is a new gift every morning.
This amazing grace comes with God’s power to live for Him,
And the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not have to worry about tomorrow for the end of my story has been written.
I can breathe in the peace of God.
I can rest in the knowledge that God will cause all things to work out for good when I walk in His love. (Romans 8: 28)
When I get lost, He finds me and restores my soul.
What Jesus has started in me will be carried onto completion by His grace and power not mine. (James 1: 6)
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)

The Grandeur of God’s Love

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So large it is hard to comprehend

Some things are hard to explain even seeing a picture does not fully reveal the enormity of what you see. The Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed places in the world but no words can describe, or picture convey the enormity and grandeur of that place. You have to experience it for yourself, even then it is more than the mind can wrap around. This is also how it is with John 3:16

I will never fully comprehend the height, width, or depth of God’s love. But, when God blessed me with children, I read John 3:16 with new insight. I looked at my child and cried at what God allowed to happen to Jesus because of His love for me.

To hear ugly words used against your child hurts.
To see your child keep quiet in the face of accusations is hard.
To see your child rejected, causes deep pain.
To see your child in sorrow brings terrible heartache.
The thought of your child suffering is unbearable.
But to stand back and allow your child to die is grief beyond compare.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens

The changing landscape

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 139

Why is the word endures used here? Why not lasts or goes on? I think part of the reason is that God still loves me in spite of my waywardness. His love endures my shortcomings.

God’s love does not erode over time. The mountains will eventual crumble, but God’s love endures forever. His love is just as forgiving, just as intense, just as strong, just as pure, as it was at the beginning of time. God’s love will never fail. So fall on your knees and give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures for ever.

Recapturing Innocence

Innocence

Oh, the peace of innocence

Often, when I try to pray, past memories harp at me about why I’m unworthy to go before God. Only when I pray trusting in the power of Jesus to forgive all my past and future, am I able to enter the peace of God’s presence. Placing my faith in the His grace, and the power of Christ’s blood is the key. God’s love then quiets the cacophony in my head and brings me to innocent communion with Him.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.         –Ephesians 3:12

I need the Lord’s help to remember the sufficiency of His grace. I need the Lord’s help to forget the ugliness He has forgiven. I need the Lord’s help to live for Him in the innocence He gives.