Life Begins

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Unfolding of life

Life is not about God pleasing us, but about us pleasing God.
Life is not about begging our pardon, but begins with begging for God’s pardon.
Life is not about how we see things, but about how God sees us.
Life is not in what we make of it, but in what God makes of us.
Life begins when I let my life go and seek God above all else.

Wildflowers of Life

Wildflowers Along the Icicle

Balsamroot along the Icicle River

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  1 Peter 1:24-25

Sometimes I just read the Bible like a homework assignment…and get very little out of it. Then there are those moments when I meet God in the Word, resting in His presence. I lay still, letting the words and the Holy Spirit wash over me to change me and refocus the day. The funny thing is I never seem to develop any skill at being still and resting before God. Instead, I have to start from scratch each time, going over the same terrain of reigning in my will and submitting to his will. I know God endeavors to make it easy to rest. I am the one who makes it hard.

Morning Feast

morning lupine

Morning taste of glory

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love  Psalm 143:8

As I begin this day my thoughts gravitate to my failures, lack of discipline, lack of prayer, too much TV, wrong thoughts, and I feel pulled down unable to enjoy the day due to my shame. But then a voice says it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). I grab hold of these words, laying aside my self-doubt and shame, to begin this day again in Christ. Renewed to pray for my family, trusting that my failures will not foil God’s love and provision for them. That His love has not diminished and remains as wide and long and high and deep for me as it is for the greatest saint (Eph. 3:18). By faith the day changes from one of struggle with sadness and shame to one of victory and thanksgiving unto the LORD. Knowing He is good, His love endures forever (Psalm 136). This is my morning feast, my wake up coffee.

O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Psalm 34:8

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.

When Lupine Call

Lupine

Come and enjoy

The lupine are so inviting, but many people just drive by not realizing what they have missed.

But I tell you it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgement than for you. Matthew 11: 24

Does this verse mean judgement will be metered out based on some sort of reverse merit system? Scripture also states that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6: 23), how are some more dead than others? I think this instead refers to knowing you had great gift before you and instead of receiving it with joy, you passed it bye. How dreadful to spend eternity with the thought of what might have been. Thinking of the “great wedding feast,” but knowing you chose to do something else. It is easier to bear the loss when you chose hell over heaven than to know you just ignored the invitation.

Spring Cascade of Color

Spring Bouquet

Balsamroot spill over from the heights

This picture, from above my home, shows the Spring cascade of color.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom… But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:1, 9-10

My hope is not in the beauty of this world, but in Jesus my creator, my redeemer, my shepherd, my king. Only in Him do gladness and joy reside forever. Only in Him will sorrow and sighing be excluded from spoiling eternity.

Harbinger

Glacier Lily

Harbinger of Spring

The Glacier Lily is one of the first wildflowers announcing Spring. It is a welcome harbinger of all the beauty coming in the weeks ahead.

To get this picture I had to get down close to the ground, upon trying to get up my joints and back complained mightily. The groan told me Spring had long since come and gone for my body. But those aches and pains reminded me of another harbinger that holds an even greater hope.

For while we are in this tent (our mortal body), we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:4-5

The Holy Spirit is a harbinger of what is to come. But more than that, God’s Spirit is an initial deposit in us of all the good He wants to bestow.

Because of His Spirit within, I can rejoice in my groaning for I know it is temporary, and God will use it to mold me into something far greater than the Glacier Lily.

I Never Saw It Coming

Barestem Biscuitroot full of  suprises

Barestem Biscuitroot full of suprises

I looked at this Barestem Biscuitroot from all angles to capture the best picture. It wasn’t till I put the photo up on my computer that I noticed something that surprised me. If I had known at the time I probably would done things differently (like not roll around in the dirt). See if you can find the unseen. For the answer I have cropped the picture below for a closer look.

Life is full of unexpected surprises, things we never saw coming, some are pleasant surprises, unfortunately some very tragic.

A young woman came to my office, addicted to heroin, asking for help. In the course of our conversation she said, “I never saw it coming.” She was truly ashamed and shocked at her current state: using dirty needles to poke around her body looking for unscarred veins. Always fearing she might overdose, unable to care for her child, but unable to stop using. How could what started as fun end in such a hellacious web.

In life many things lurk around in the shadows of our choices, things we never see coming. The song, “I Did It My Way,” sounds good (especially when Frank Sinatra sings it), but it is misguided.

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows –
And did it my way!

That is the real decision of life, to do it my way, or kneel before Jesus and do it His way. Often I do not know the full consequences of my choices, so I choose to follow the one who does.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11

spider waiting

spider waiting

The Love of God at the Far Ends of Life

Beauty when life nears the end

Beauty at the end of life

The love of God is not dependent on competence, nor diminished by the wilting of abilities with age. He loves the old on their last day of life. He loves the newborn (and the unborn) on their first day of life. He loves those suffering from mental illness unable to function. He even loves the demon possessed man running naked among the tombs of the dead (Luke 8:26-27). God loves us regardless of our condition or accomplishments.

Sadly, our natural abilities can be a hindrance to receiving God’s love, because success can so easily become the desire of life, pushing aside God. It is at the far ends of life that we set aside dignity and run to the love of God. Allowing him to bath us in forgiveness and hold us in his loving arms.

“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God’s love has no boundaries except the ones we impose by our foolish pride.