Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Just Bloom


The analogy, of course, is obvious. We can bloom no matter what the circumstances. But isn’t it a hopeful, encouraging truth - especially in these difficult times?

I think what captivates me about these sweet little flowers is the way their beauty shines against their dark surroundings. They haven’t simply bloomed; they’ve done it to the very best of their ability with verve and joy. 

They don’t pine away wishing someone would come and make things better or wilt with longing to be somewhere else. They simply - well - faithfully bloom right where they’re planted, knowing the One who placed them there loves them - and is well pleased.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Free Prayer Always

 Summer temperatures have arrived, blown in on gusty winds. A return to walking in the mall seems like the best option these days for old retirees who don't rise with the sun. 

I've walked past this Christian Book Store many times, but this sign is new. I didn't read the full sign until the second or third time around but on the last lap I slowed to take it all in. 

"Need prayer? Come on in. Free prayer always."

What a lovely, kind invitation. It's one that is open to anyone - and, I thought as I walked by, one that the Lord extends to us every moment of every day. The promise is written in His word: 

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

Jeremiah 29:12

We have an open invitation. It's free - always. 

A little picture from my morning walk (outdoors today). Sweet Mexican Hat flowers, dancing in the wind. They're a free gift from Him too!



Thursday, April 7, 2022

All Things Made New

Every spring I find myself searching for just the right adjective to describe the green of newly formed leaves. They stand framed by a clear blue, luminous sky and appear filled with light and life. In the coming weeks they will mature and look more staid and solid, but for now they speak new life in a way I  simply cannot find adequate words to describe. 

You will no doubt notice the poor dead tree in the foreground. A harsh winter freeze robbed it of life, and there will be no luxurious growth of fresh green leaves or the lovely pink flowers that bloomed in past years.

I feel a bit sad in the face of such a dramatic contrast, but I'm reminded of something that brings me hope. There will be barrenness and suffering and death, but we have the promise of new life. In Jesus, the power of death is subsumed into resurrected life - luminous, beautiful and new. He came to make all things new. 

"And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Revelation 21:5

 "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies," John 11:25



Sunday, March 27, 2022

Praise Anyway

A time came when the circumstances of my life became a wall between the Lord and my heart. Sorrow, disappointment and even anger piled one on top of the other, rendering prayer impossible. My desperate prayers still hung somewhere between heaven and earth, and I had no more words.

To live separated from God is an empty existence, especially when it is a choice. One day I got down on my knees and asked Him how to pray. What could I say after such disappointment?

The answer came: "Praise."

I took up residence in the Psalms. Like a slow metamorphosis it came - peace.

We are living in overwhelming times. Images flash on screens and embed themselves in our hearts and minds. We long for answers and pray for peace and for His kingdom to come. Some days it's hard to pray.

I walked this morning - right in the middle of His beautiful, breathtaking creation - and I heard Him whisper it again: "Praise."

I praise You Lord:

 - You are the One true God, and there is none beside You
 - You are holy and righteous
 - Your word is living and powerful and true
 - You are the great Creator and You hold the world in Your hands
 - You hung the stars in space and know each one by name
 - Your hand spans the heavens
 - You see every heart and know us by name
 - Your plans and purposes are good
 - You bend down low and hear each voice as though it was the only one
 - You have won the victory over sin and death
 - You are unchanging - the same yesterday, today and forever
 - In You and through You we have everything we need
 - You love us unconditionally with a love that cannot be measured
 - You are our refuge and strength - our shelter in times of trouble
 - Your are the sure foundation under our feet
 - You have promised to never leave us or forsake us, and Your promises are true


(A repost from 2014)

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Great Is Thy Faithfulness


Great Is Thy Faithfulness

This beautiful, inspiring hymn is a gentle reminder to us in these days of such turmoil and sorrow of the faithfulness of our God. When things look their darkest, we have only to look around us at the myriad ways He has kept His promise to keep us in HIs care. 

The author of this and over 1200 other poems and hymns is -  Thomas Obediah Chisholm. Born in a humble log cabin in Kentucky in 1866 he went on to teach in the one room school he had attended. In time he became a pastor but had to retire a few years later due to ill health. His later years were spent at The Methodist Home for the Aged in New Jersey where he died in 1960.

These words were found in a letter he wrote in 1941: 

“My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now, although I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

"His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3: 22,23

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter and spring-time and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see; 

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided-

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The WayMaker

 I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this beautiful book. Ann Voskamp is so much more than a gifted writer. She lives what she writes from a heart totally surrendered to the Lord. When she says she wrote with us in mind - you may be sure that’s true. I encourage you to get her book.



Sunday, March 13, 2022

All Your Cares

 Lieut. Col. Edward Henry Joy, an officer in the Salvation Army, wrote a hymn called "All Your Anxiety" in 1920. Now those words penned more than one hundred years later, hold great encouragement and hope for us. We live in perilous times - never more evident than right now. The cares and worries of this world can be overwhelming if left for us to carry within our fragile hearts. 

One of the reasons I've been doing this series on hymns is the timeless messages they hold. While I have grown to love our contemporary praise music, I think we will have lost something of great value if we let these hymns fade from memory. Just reading through the verses is like reading the most beautiful inspirational poetry. I would like to preserve this timeless treasure for future generations.

Is there a heart o'er-bound by sorrow?
Is there a life weighed down by care?
Come to the cross--each burden bearing,
All your anxiety--leave it there.

All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat--leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus.

No other friend so keen to help you,
No other friend so quick to hear;
No other place to leave your burden,
No other one to hear your prayer.

Come then at once--delay no longer!
Heed His entreaty kind and sweet;
You need not fear a disappointment--
You shall find peace at the mercy seat.

"Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6,7