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

I Feel Small

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Looking up

Trees sometimes make me feel small. Especially, when I look up and and see them pointing at the sky.

In a similar way, Ephesians 3:17-19 fills me wonder at the immensity of God’s love, and the smallness of my understanding.

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.

“Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!”
Refrain from “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” by Charles Wesley

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.

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.

The Howling Wind (Ps. 103:5-8)

Iceberg Lake-2

The wind molds the trees along the Iceberg Lake Trail

Can you imagine the wind and harsh weather that molded these trees, but here they are  hanging on, some how surviving. We have to admit that what life throws at us sometimes makes us think we won’t survive … so oppressed we would rather die.

In the trek along Psalm 103 the next section extols the Lord’s abounding love and compassion. A love that helps renew our strength like the eagle’s.

Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:5-8

How does this help in our time of trouble, fear, high anxiety? By meditating on the goodness of God’s love found in 1 Corinthians 13

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I can hold onto God’s love when the wind blows so hard I feel that I am about to crack because His love holds onto me.  Then instead of breaking I am molded into something beautiful like these trees along the Iceberg Lake trail.

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.

Iceberg Lake-1

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.

Stumbling Tumbling Water

Tumbling Water

Water tumbling down the Icicle River

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23

This morning I stumbled through prayer. Constantly distracted I behaved more like a four year old stuck in a pew at church. That is why I take heart with this verse. It tells me when I try to follow Him that even when I stumble, the Lord upholds me with His right hand. He won’t hold my stumbling against me, instead He loves me as His child in need of help.

Come Let Us Worship

Lifting Hands in Worship

All nature worships

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Everyone worships something. Some worship nature, some wealth, some humanity. It is important to ask yourself what you worship for you will become like what you worship (Psalm 115, Rom. 1:25). With this in mind there is only one worthy of worship the creator of all things.

Worship of God starts with bowing before Jesus, bowing in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). In other words humbling myself and calling Him Lord of all. This act of worship involves offering my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This holiness can only happen by God’s grace given to me through Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1). Thus, I begin worship by bowing before the Shepherd of my soul and end being made into His likeness. Jesus becomes for me the Alpha and Omega of worship.

The Line Between Light and Dark

Sun Mountain-1

Light meets dark

This picture is difficult to understand because there is nothing to help you align yourself as to the scene. Life is like this picture, we need something to help us in making sense of what is happening. A passage in Isaiah speaks to God meeting our need:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;” Isaiah 28:16-17

Isaiah is prophesying about a coming Messiah, who will be our foundation and cornerstone. Through the Messiah, life will not dismay us, but in Him we will gain understanding and meaning for all that happens. I desperately need help, to know up from down, right from wrong, and good from bad. In Jesus, God has given me a cornerstone for measuring and understanding life.

I have provided two additional photographs below for better orientation. They are from the same scene, but a slightly different direction to provide context.

Sun Mountain-2

Shades of snow

Sun Mountain-3

Valley fog and snow covered ridge

These photographs were taken near Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop WA. The first is looking up at a snow covered ridge, shrouded by a cloud. The second includes the side hill and a snow covered pine tree, and the third a view of the mountain in the distance as the cloud lifted.