Friday, July 31, 2015

God's Works

Some of the marshes of Glynn County, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gifts

The “Happy Birthday” bouquet of beautiful flowers delighted me. I immediately sent my friend a text message to let her know the florist had delivered it. In addition to delighting in the sight of the bouquet, I spent hours photographing it. As I experimented with the settings on two cameras and external flashes, I took an even closer look at the individual flowers that comprised the bouquet and was awed by the perfection I saw in each one.



As I worked, I also felt thankful to have such a caring friend who knows how much I love to photograph beautiful flowers, whether from a florist or in a neighbor’s yard or in a formal garden or alongside the road. Her gift reminded me that she was thinking about me and was celebrating with me, though we live 150 miles apart.


The more I thought about her gift and others I’d received, the more I realized that it’s not the price of the gift that matters. It’s the unspoken message that says, “I remember you. And to prove that I do, I’m giving you this gift” (or sending a card or calling to say hello, etc.). For example, I cherish this message my 8-year-old grandson wrote on the card he made for me: “I am the most happiest boy in the world because of you!!!!!!!!” 

Truly, it’s not the price of the gift that matters. It knowing that we are remembered—and loved.


I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you [to Me] with lovingkindness.”
~God
Jeremiah 31:3, New American Standard Bible

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Too Fast


Ultimately, every problem I see 
in every person I know 
is a problem of moving too fast 
for too long 
in too many aspects of life. 
Every problem.
~Pastor Brady Boyd
Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul



The LORD is my shepherd, 
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the 
paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
~David
Psalm 23:1-3, New American Standard Bible



Monday, July 27, 2015

Me!


The things that make me different 
are the things that make me me.
A. A. Milne

I will give thanks to Thee, 
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...
David in Psalm 139:14, NASB

Friday, July 24, 2015

Unplug!

When I saw the above Anne Lamott quote on a fellow writer's blog, I decided I'd share it with my readers. So, I typed them on a photo I'd taken recently while I was "unplugging" for a few days on the Georgia coast. As I reflected on the truth Anne's words contained, I remembered a similar, but far greater, truth I found many years ago in Isaiah 30:15:

In repentance and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.
~~The Lord GOD 

Although I've posted this Bible verse before, I need to be reminded of its truth again, since I am prone to rush, rush, rush (as, perhaps, you do) and forget to take time to unplug from time to time--if not for days, at least for a few minutes here and there. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yes!

As I write these words, today is my birthday. The schedule is full, so I set the alarm last night so that I’d be sure to have plenty of time to pray, to read God’s Word, to write, to sing praises to Him, etc.

Why are those activities so important to me?

I realize that, apart from Him, I’d have no life, no blessings, no abilities, no opportunities, no resources for study, and no time to sit at His feet and learn about Him so that I can love Him more and serve Him better.

My daily Bible reading brought me to Psalm 108. As I read those ancient words, written by King David, my whole being said, “Yes!” and “Amen!” to the glorious truths found in those 13 verses.
  • My heart is steadfast, O God, because day by day You’re teaching me to love You and trust You.
  • I will sing (and I do!) and make melody with all my being.
  • I will give thanks (and I do!) to You, O LORD, among all the people (in casual conversations and in my writings, which are on my blog and in a local magazine).
  • I am beginning to understand more and more that Your steadfast love and faithfulness extend higher than the heavens, far beyond where the human eye can see.
  • I want You to be exalted above the heavens.
  • I want Your glory to be spread over all the earth.
  • I know that You alone give victory in all of life’s battles; thus I can courageously face whatever You allow to come my way.

Will I have a happy birthday—no matter what happens or doesn’t happen? Yes!

Sunrise at Crescent Beach, Florida

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Full of Life

Shortly before my sixty-something birthday, I came across an article about a 101-year-old woman who celebrated that birthday by repelling down a 328-foot tower, despite the wind and the rain, breaking her own record as the world’s oldest abseil-er. She’s looking forward to a similar celebration next year.

Her story reminded me of a friend of mine who celebrated her 88th birthday by taking a motorcycle ride, courtesy of a friend who drove her around town. For her 89th birthday, she took a hot air balloon ride.

I’m not planning to do anything quite as daring as they did, but I’m glad I had an opportunity to take an untethered hot air balloon ride several years ago. I never dreamed I’d get to do it—or that I’d have the courage to do it. But I did! 
I'm the one waving!

What I do hope to do on my birthday (and in all the days ahead) is to experience the reality of the promise found in Psalm 92:14-15, NASB:

[The righteous] will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the LORD is upright.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sweet!


How sweet to my taste are Thy words, O God.
May I return to them again and again 
so they can nourish my soul
and strengthen me for service to You. 

(A prayer based on Psalm 119:103)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wise Words As Welcome As Water!


Let my teaching fall on you like rain;
let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers on young plants.
I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
how glorious is our God!
He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.
Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
how just and upright he is.
--Moses, in Deuteronomy 32:2-4, New Living Translation

Friday, July 10, 2015

Feed His Sheep

While visiting a friend, I was privileged to hold
a three-week-old lamb.
What a special experience!
While reading some writings of Charles H. Spurgeon, I came across this sentence: "May our Lord Jesus accept my service for His sheep and lambs."


The moment I read it, I realized that Spurgeon's prayer was also that of my heart! 


Whether my service is writing, lending a helping hand, sharing a word of Scripture at an opportune time, forgiving someone, praying for others, cooking, cleaning, keeping the laundry done, etc., I do pray that the Lord will accept my service (every act of kindness) done to and/or for His sheep and lambs--and, ultimately, unto Him.


*****
Know that the LORD Himself is God; 
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; 
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Psalm 100:3, NASB


*****
Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love Me?"
Peter answered, "Lord, You know all things; 
You know that I love You."
Jesus replied, "Feed [Tend, Care for] My sheep."
John 21:17






Thursday, July 9, 2015

Where's God?

Remember the "Where's Waldo?" books and images that were published in the late 1980s and became hugely popular. (Think multi-million.) The creator of the series would insert a small image of Waldo in the busy scene on each page. The viewer's job was to look and look and look in order to answer the question, "Where's Waldo?"

I thought of the "finding Waldo" challenge when I looked at the photo below and realized how hard it is to spot certain pieces of glass, say red ones, amid the myriad of other pieces of broken glass worn smooth by the years and years of relentless surging and swirling of the Pacific Ocean.

I thought of Waldo and the photo below when I read this sentence: You'll always find God in His Word. Actually, that's the BEST place to look. If you read the Bible carefully, you'll find info about Him on nearly every page. After all, the entire Bible is His Story! Look for Him. Learn about Him. Learn from Him. Learn to trust Him. That's far more exciting and life-changing than finding Waldo!!!!


Glass Beach (in Fort Bragg, California) was a city dump for over 20 years, but now is the repository of countless tiny pebbles of colored, polished glass that has been worn by time, water, and weather.

You will seek Me and find Me 
when you search for Me 
with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13, New American Standard Bible

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Steadfast

Steadfast. Now, there’s a word you rarely hear these days. However, we do use words with a similar meaning: committed, constant, dependable, faithful, loyal, reliable, staunch, steady, true, etc.

Since steadfast is used infrequently these days, I noticed it appears quite often, usually as an adjective describing the word love, in the English Standard Version of the Bible, which I am reading through this year.

For example, in Psalm 36, the writer (David) uses steadfast three times. At the beginning of that chapter, he’s thinking about the wicked. But rather than keep thinking about them, David shifts his focus to the Lord.

“Your steadfast love, O LORD, 
extends to the heavens, 
your faithfulness to the clouds…
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! 
The children of mankind 
take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
They feast on the abundance of your house, 
and you give them drink 
from the river of your delights…
Oh, continue your steadfast love 
to those who know you 
and your righteous to the upright of heart!” 
(Psalm 36:5-10, emphasis added).

Steadfast. How precious is that word in these days when everything seems to be changing, crumbling, shifting… 

 Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Right Attitude

Sanibel Island (Florida) Sunset
Create in me a clean heart, O God; 
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10, King James Version

Monday, July 6, 2015

Word of the Day

The agenda for each meeting of the local chapter of Toastmasters International includes time for the Word of the Day (WOD). At the appointed time, a member (who has volunteered a couple of weeks or so in advance) displays the WOD he/she has written in large letters on a sheet of letter-size paper, pronounces the word, defines it, uses it in a sentence, and reminds those who speak during the remainder of the meeting to try to include the WOD in their verbal responses and presentations.

I thought about this one recent morning as I read several chapters in the Bible. As always, I came across many verses that stood out from among the others, but I wondered, Which of these will I choose for the Word of the Day? Which one will I try to memorize and then include in my communications with others?

That day, I chose Psalm 89:1, King James Version:
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever:
with my mouth will I make known
thy faithfulness to all generations.

Since for many years I’ve known a song that includes those words, it was easy for me to say/sing these words many times that day. And…as I spoke with people throughout the day, the Lord gave me opportunities to easily mention the mercies of God and to express heartfelt thanks for His faithfulness—without sounding sermonic.


I’m eager to see what tomorrow’s Word of the Day will be and how God will allow me to see it, say it, and share it!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Better Than Gold

Several years ago, my husband and I visited the site of what had once been an amethyst mining operation. The price of admission included the privilege of searching for left-behind pieces of amethysts that still littered a rocky half-acre or more of land adjacent to the visitor’s center where we purchased tickets.

With great excitement, we set right to work. At first, we walked around looking for pieces lying on the ground. Then we resorted to digging in places that seemed promising. By the time we grew too weary to continue the back-breaking “mining,” we’d placed several various-sized pieces of purple stones in our buckets.

We were thrilled with our semi-precious stones, as we’d been pleased with the flecks of gold we’d panned for while on a trip to Alaska in 1996. (I opted to let an employee there place my gold in a pair of small, oval-shaped earrings.) 


But the “mining” we’d done wasn’t the real kind done by true miners! Their work is infinitely harder because they have to go far deeper (and more often!) into the earth to find the sought-after riches.


As I thought about these two “mining” experiences, I realized that studying the Bible is much like mining. Even a casual reading of God’s Word yields precious gems of truth. But if we’ll dig deeper and deeper (and dig often!) into His Word, the treasures (such as wisdom, knowledge, understanding, vision, perspective, faith, trust, and …) will increase exponentially.


Cry out for insight and understanding. 
Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, 
and you will gain knowledge of God. 
For the LORD grants wisdom! 
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 
He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly.
Proverbs 2:3-7a, New Living Translation

Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding. For the profit of wisdom is better than silver, 
and her wages are better than gold. 
Wisdom is more precious than rubies; 
nothing you desire can compare with her. 
She offers you life in her right hand, 
and riches and honor in her left. 
She will guide you down delightful paths; 
all her ways are satisfying.
Proverbs 3:13-17, New Living Translation


Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Prayer for the Nations

O Father, all the nations of the world are in great, great need of You! Thus, I offer this prayer, based on Your Holy Word:

May Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, give thanks to You forever; from generation to generation may Your people in every nation recount Your praise, may we tell of all Your goodness to and Your great love for Your people. (Psalm 79:13)

May Your people who are called by Your name humble ourselves, and pray and seek Your face and turn away from our wicked ways so that You will hear from heaven and will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

O Father, as Your Holy Word says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any nation.” (Proverbs 14:34). May people from every nation acknowledge, with great shame, that their nation is filled with sin because individual citizens are filled with sin. Therefore, You cannot—and will not—exalt any such nation, even our own nation. O Father, help us to cry out to You for cleansing and restoration, as David did in Psalm 51:1-2. May his prayer be our prayer:

Have mercy on me; have mercy on us, O God, according to Your steadfast love; 
according to Your abundant mercy 
blot out my transgressions; 
blot out our transgressions. 
Wash me, wash us, thoroughly 
from our individual and collective iniquity, 
and cleanse each and all of us from sin!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Long May It Wave!






In the late afternoon on the eve of July 4th, I stopped by one of the local churches to photograph a display of American flags. Fortunately, there was a brisk wind that furled and unfurled the beautiful flags--and kept me cool on that hot, humid day.

Later that evening, as I edited the photos, I thought about the song Francis Scott Key wrote in 1814.The first verse in The Star-Spangled Banner is very familiar to most of us, since it's our national anthem; but the remaining verses may not be. (You'll find all of them listed here: http://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/the-lyrics.aspx

I particularly liked the last three lines of the fourth verse; so, as I often do, I paraphrased the words and used them as a prayer:


O may this always be our motto 
(and way of life!)--
"In God is our trust,"
So that the star-spangled banner 
in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free 
and the home of the brave.



Blessed is the nation 
whose God is the LORD, 
the people whom He has chosen 
for His own inheritance.
Psalm 33:12, New American Standard Bible

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Timeless Truths

I enjoy browsing in hymnals. Often, I’ll stop and sing the songs I know and love. But if I come to one I don’t know, I don’t let my inability to read music (and, thus, figure out the tune) keep me from enjoying the hymn’s message. I simply read the hymn as if it were a poem.  

One recent morning, I came across a hymn I’d never heard before: God Is Love, His Mercy Brightens, which was written by John Bowring, 1825.  After I’d read all the words, I summarized (using my own words) the timeless truths Mr. Bowring had expressed so poetically centuries ago.


  • God is love and, therefore, loving--always!!!
  • God's mercy brightens every path.
  • God kindles happiness within us.
  • God lightens our loads of care.
  • Changes are ever-present: man decays; ages move. Yet God’s mercy never diminishes.
  • Even the times that seem the darkest verify God’s changeless goodness.
  • Through the gloom, God’s brightness streams.
  • God interlaces hope and comfort into our earthly cares.
  • God’s glory shines everywhere! (Oh, may we have the vision to see it.)
What an awesome God we have!


The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is [His] faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22, 23, NASB

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Take Joy!

 “Hurry! You’ll want to see this,” my husband said.

I followed him to our bedroom window and stood beside him as we watched twin fawns running with joyful abandon around and around in our backyard. Their mother made no attempt to slow them down, though she kept a watchful eye on them as she grazed on tender blades of grass. So, around and around they went, their skinny legs fully extended. If deer could smile, I feel sure those fawns would have had huge grins on their spotted faces!

Naturally, I longed to take a picture of them, and I did try. However, by the time I’d grabbed my camera and sneaked as silently as possible to the edge of the deck closest to them, they’d stopped running. One was standing near its mother as she grazed underneath a cedar tree. I snapped a photo, though it wasn’t the one I wanted. Neither was it technically correct, due to distance, low light, etc.

We’ve seen the fawns another time or two since then, but they’ve never been running as wild and free as they were that morning. Was that their first time to try their legs in a wide open space? Whatever their motivation, their exuberance was obvious and such a delight to watch.

Come to think of it, it’s also a delight to watch people enjoy their lives, whether it’s a child splashing happily in a pool or an adult savoring a good meal or a runner crossing the finish line with arms high in the air…Since we humans love to see others relishing their experiences, surely our heavenly Father takes pleasure in seeing His children (and His animals) enjoying the life He has given them.

I came that they may have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance—to the full, till it overflows.
~Jesus in John 10:10, Amplified Bible

No matter how difficult life is, 
I will rejoice in the LORD. 
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Paraphrase of Habakkuk 3:17-18