Summer Reading

The lilacs are definitely in full bloom in our area. I am partial to lilacs because their sweet and delicate fragrance contrasts with their gnarly almost ancient looking stems. As summer comes knocking on our doors some of us think of time spent reading a new book or two. Here is a collection of 3 months of short devotional readings available in     e-book format and accompanied by photography. You can follow the link of find it on Amazon.

Running the Race – Summer Reading with Jesus

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Released

And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:44 NKJV

Today I have had to say goodbye to a dear friend. Maria has finished her war with weakness and is now standing in the presence of our Lord. She has been fully and eternally released from the things of this life and is walking around her new home with Jesus. All the tears remain behind here and only Joy has found her just the other side of the door.IMG-20170416-WA0000

Light

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The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple. Psalms 119:130

When it seems that everything is dark remember that God’s light is always available. It is tucked into the folds of his robe and if we ask he delights in showing us the way. A clear understanding of his word will penetrate any dark night and bring courage in what appears our deepest despair. He is not like any teacher on earth because He loves the simple. His office is open 24/7 and he will help us especially when we don’t know the answers!

Waiting for Spring

The Robin  an English Nursery Rhyme

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?

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He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing    

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In the early Spring of 1865, the daffodils were just peaking out to bloom and hope hung in the air of our nation. The long bloody conflict of the war between the states had ended and it seemed there would finally be peace. On April 15th a shot rang out in Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. Though the peace we came to enjoy would never be shared by Lincoln, the hope of new life could never be put out by a bullet. God will release again the sweet fragrance of the lilacs just as surely, because hope is never a prisoner when put our trust in God.daffodils with signature
When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring  Walt Whitman

The Promise

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“When you choose to look beyond the horizon: the sky’s the limit” Gail McWilliams

God’s promise of mercy is greater than our ability to receive it. My greatest encouragement today is that God is on my side. When I feel hopelessness trying to surround me like a fog I am snatched away from the cliff of despair by the faithfulness of the God who chose to love me. May you also be lifted up and encouraged today. Lift up your eyes to the horizon because He is on the way to help!

God’s Way in the Wilderness

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:19

Wilderness:   a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings    Merriam Webster
    Have you some areas in your own life that might fit this definition? Is there some location spiritually in your world that you would call uncultivated: an area no one has taken the time to prepare for growth?
    Is there some place that is uninhabited: no one has ever gone and seen the potential that is locked inside?
God is a specialist in exactly those areas we have abandoned. God is concerned about places in our heart that we have forgotten. God is claiming for his own the things we have given up on and is saying today,
“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wilderness.”
Let’s look briefly at someone in the Bible who was just like us. His name was Elijah.
 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”  Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 1 Kings 19:4-5 
Elijah had given up. Elijah had decided that his life no longer made any difference. Elijah felt that he had given his best, but it wasn’t enough. The good news for Elijah and for us is that God didn’t agree! God tenderly comes through the presence of His angel and stands by our sides when we are sleeping. God tracks us down into the most remote regions of our wildernesses. God wakes us up by a gentle touch on our shoulder and the first thing we discover is the wonderful aroma of fresh bread which He has made with His own hands. We find a cup of cold water there waiting, just for us to drink.
Our plan has been to quit. God’s plan has been to restore! Our plan has been028 (1)
 to resign. God’s plan has been to re-assign.
Our plan has been to be alone. God’s plan has been to send us to new people. Our plan has been to retire. God’s plan is to put us to work!
When our travel plans end in the wilderness – He resets our GPS for the mountain of God!
He will  make a way,
Give us new strength,
Bring us to the mountain
When God makes the way He will be with us for every step of our journey!

Friends Know Your Heart

 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Here is a picture of my pastor and I. He has prayed for me at the altar, comforted me after the death of my father and encouraged me to be faithful to the calling God has for my life. Though we have had some battles, some frictions and some misunderstandings, yet we have come to trust one another. I know that not only would my pastor lay down his life for me, He already has. I can truly say that my pastor is also my friend.

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    Though God’s friendship with us is different from our friendship with one another, there are some basics that remain the same. A true friend is someone with whom we have passed through many  experiences and though we have areas where there have been disagreements or even hurts, we have by those shared times come to trust their heart. Though in God we find no failure, yet we still pass must walk some paths of hurts and disappointments. Just like a toddler learning his first steps, little by little we can begin to trust the heart of our God.

    Jesus was saying to His disciples not that He was telling them everything God’s plans. Rather, Jesus explained that He was passing on to them everything God had for their lives. Nothing they needed to know was being hidden or held back. Facing our own struggles today sometimes lying awake at night wondering what God wants,  we can have the confidence that He has called us friends. The more we come to God honestly opening every deep place of our own hearts, the more God will come and gently unfold His thoughts and desires to us.

Exodus 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend…

But before God spoke to Moses this way much changed in Moses’ life and he had suffered through many difficulties and trials. Moses came to God hiding nothing from Him. But God;s friendship wasn’t only for Moses, Abraham and the disciples. Whenever any of us comes to rest completely in His arms, He will carry us, comfort us and also call us friends.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!    Joseph Scriven