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Never Alone

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Category : Encouragement , Faith

Never Alone

Hello! I want to take you on a picture walk  in Glacier National Park. I tried to make the pictures small enough so they will load quickly. But, if you want only the devotion without the pictures, then you can click here.

 Our goal was Glacier Lake in Glacier National Park.

It was a glorious trail through a thick canopy of red cedars. Some of my favorite trees on the planet.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

The light that filtered through the trees kissed the tiny emerald mosses that regally carpeted fat boulders all along the trail.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National ParkOur path wound past and sometimes beside a swift, thundering mountain stream that created background music for our 3 mile mountain hike. Our chatter silenced the birds, but as we grew winded from the climb the sounds of song birds and chirps filled our silence.

A young moose deer foraged fearlessly in the thick bushes that grew beside the swift waters. We all grabbed our camera and snapped pictures furiously. I know that deer was thinking, “What’s wrong with you guys? Never seen a deer before?”

surely I am with you always

Gurgling waters of tiny streams and the roaring white water announced their presence long before we could see their spectacular beauty.

 

 

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

And yes, I include the tiny streams deliberately in my description of spectacular beauty because I stopped to enjoy the beauty of the white fungus and ferns that grew there.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

 

The return trip was mostly downhill so the group moved swiftly along the trail. Everyone except Wayne and I.

Maybe those frequents stops is why Lee slowed his pace to walk with us.

We were older than most of the group, so he wanted to be sure we were ok. Lee is that kind of man. It didn’t take him long to realize that my frequent stops were the the cause for the delay. But he didn’t rush us. He didn’t grow inpatient.

 

 

He stopped with us. Again and again, he waited for me to take a picture or look at the texture of a stump or a red something growing on a tree.

He walked with us.

He didn’t hurry us. He just walked with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

Let’s stop while I tell you why I took you with me on this walk through the thick forest to Glacier Lake.
Yes, it is a beautiful walk and the teacher in me always wants to share my acquired knowledge with people.

 

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

I’m so child-like when I’m walking through the woods. I want to see every little thing. The texture of the trees, the boulders, the smells, the sounds.

But I stopped at this crook in our walk together to point out…a truth that I have missed again and again as I have studied The Great Commission. I memorized it as a child in Girl’s Ministries. It’s all about the “Go!” “Make!” Or at least that’s what I’ve always seen. But there’s more to that commission.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b Glacier Lake Glacier National Park

 

When Jesus commissioned His followers in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus closed “His Great Commission” with a powerful truth that we need to grasp!

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20 Berean Study Bible

 

glacier-lake-matthew-28-20b

He said, “I am with you.” He wasn’t sending them to do life or ministry alone.

He emphasized “Surely, I am with you.” I hear Him saying, “I want you to know  with certainty  that I am with you!”

He wants to walk with us…you and me.
Through beautiful places…
though hard places.

Jesus is not a fair weather friend.

He doesn’t run off when we cry.
Or when we sin.
or when we stumble.

Oh yes, that’s the best part of walking with Him; when I stumble He gives me the grace and strength to get back up. He doesn’t laugh at my silliness or ineptness. He loves me too much for that.

  • He corrects.
  • He guides.
  • He comforts.
  • He heals.

I’ve discovered if I walk with Him through beautiful places, I’m quicker to recognize and respond to His presence in difficult places.

The timeless one. The Great I Am. The all sufficient one walks with us because He wants to be with us!

He was telling them what to do, but not the how. The how would come from walking with Him.
The how would come out of relationship with Him.

I get it! I really do.

God had a big, big job for His disciples to accomplish. He still does.

But if we believe the commission part,

don’t we need to believe and embrace the “I am with you” part too?

We can’t afford to miss this part!

That’s the critical part. Because without Him, we can’t do anything. He’s the one that enables us to be and do and live.

Yes! There are great things that God wants us to do and we need to be diligent to use our talents…
But everything…everything we do…

needs to flow out of our relationship with Him.

 

God bless you dear friend! Never forget…you are not alone! God is with you!

If you were encouraged by this post, will you please share it!


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Whatever you plant…you’ll reap

Whatever you plant…you’ll reap.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7It’s not rocket science!

Even the youngest child understands if they plant birdseed they’ll grow birds…ahh! Just teasing!

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV

   We get it.

If you want corn to grow, then you plant corn.
Or cantaloupes, plant cantaloup seed.

And we understand that if we sow bad actions, they have bad consequences! Right?

Why is it so much easier…

to believe that this law works in the negative realm than it is to believe it works in the positive?

I talked with a pastor recently that answered my generic, “How are things going?” with “Great. I’ve sowed good things and I’m reaping good things.”

His reply was so much more than an empty mantra. It was an honest, unemotional reply to my question.

That one sentence has hounded me!

I’ve used that verse like a goad to encourage and sometimes manipulate my children into doing what they need to do! But why couldn’t I see that the verse works in the positive equally as well.

Why haven’t I believed God that when I plant good things I will reap good things?
Sometimes I am better at it than other times.

I’ve noticed everywhere I go I see smiling faces.
One day I realized that people are simply responding to my smile. I’m receiving what I gave. That’s God’s law working in the positive!

I plant kindness and thoughtfulness and I look for it in other people. And the wonderful thing is…I find exactly what I am looking for…almost every time!

I know. I know!

Some people’s face looks like it will crack into a million pieces, if they actually smile.
And those are the ones that I love to walk past.

That’s my signal to pray!

No, it’s not a loud, overt prayer. But, it’s a deep whisper, “Father, you know their need. Minster to them Father. Encourage their heart. If they don’t know you, open their eyes to the truth of your love. Give them peace through Jesus. Give them joy!”

As believer’s, aren’t we on assignment from Almighty God?

to care…
to love…
to serve..

But, it’s important to realize our assignment has benefits.

We get to lick the bowl and the beaters…and God always makes sure there’s plenty left in the bowl. (Please tell me you lick the icing off the beaters!)

 I can enjoy the benefits of sowing and reaping.

Let me give an example. As I love people, God wants me to receive love as well. He will provide loving people in my life.

I hear your protests…I know exactly what you’re thinking, “But I loved people that didn’t love me back.
So have I. Actually too many times to count.
But, because I believe in God’s law of sowing and reaping AND I lean in to receive the love that I need to nourish my emotions, He, not me, meets that need!
And believe me, that love comes in all kinds of unusual places.

What are you growing in your life?

Weeds? Fruit?

Those Pesky Weeds

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIVThey seem to come from nowhere and they seem to thrive.
In drought. In searing heat. They still thrive.

Weeds are automatic, but the good things that we want to grow in our lives must be planted and

nurtured.
Fertilized.
Watered.
Weeded.

We don’t want weeds. We want good seeds of good things growing in our lives.

So what are you planting?

 

Maybe a better question would be, “What are you nurturing?”

Are you nurturing and cultivating kindness (or whatever else you want to see grow in your life) in both your mind and heart?
Are you cultivating it by renewing your mind, planting Scriptures in your heart?
Are you aligning your choices with Scriptures so you walk in the truth that produces the fruit you want?Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV

 

So why am I spending all this time talking about planting when the signs of Fall Harvest are all around us?

Because there can be no harvest without planting. Strategic planting. And, I want a good Harvest.

For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Zechariah 8:12 NLT

 

Here’s one I’m going after!

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 1:2 NLT

 

And here Paul throws out a clear challenge.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

So let me ask you again…What are you nurturing?


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Fruitful

It’s a beautiful ante-bellum style home.

Tall columns.

Gleaming white paint.

Long front porch.

I love that house and my head automatically turns for a glimpse whenever I pass. The lady of the house was decorating her front porch with golden leaves and happy orange pumpkins yesterday when I passed. I’ve wanted to bring mine out, but I thought it might still be a little early.

But it’s not! It’s almost October.

In Northern areas, farmers are gathering the last of the tomatoes, herbs, squash and even okra. And I thought okra was a Southern thing….

I saved the crown jewels of the harvest to mention last…fat, orange pumpkins!

We can’t grow them very well in Florida, but Illinois holds bragging rights as the number one pumpkin grower in the United States.

Hebrews 13:21 (NLT) 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.Orange and…

Everybody knows pumpkins are orange, but they come in red, yellow, and blue as well (I think the person that called them blue might be exaggerating just a little).  The new rage is the lighter colored pumpkins that are showing up everywhere. I seen lots of white, tan and faded salmon color pumpkins.

The happy orange ones are still my favorite.

I love color! Color is something that I thank God for regularly. Of all things to be thankful for…color??? Now you know your suspicions about me are valid.

The sight of orange pumpkins piled in wooden bins or lined in rows at a farmer’s market overwhelm my emotions.

I am wowed with…

the sense of accomplishment they must have felt bringing them to market.

their productivity.

the satisfaction they must feel from their achievement.

the sense of relief they must feel that another harvest is over for them.

the peace they must feel that now they have time to rest from the harvest.

Hebrews 13:21 (NLT) 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.

But with those emotions always comes the awareness there can be no harvest without planting.

without the sun.

without the water.

As believers, we are called to live purposefully.

Called…

To love God.

To know God.

To serve God.

And, out of that relationship we are to produce fruit.

(Do you ever wonder if a fruit tree experiences pain growing its fruit? Some of the fruit I’m growing is painful. Do you ever experience growing pains?)

You know the patient…long-suffering stuff.

It can be really painful sometimes.

I sidetracked.

No planting. No harvest.

Gal 6:7-9 You know what I’m saying; the whole law of sowing and reaping.

Every harvest, EVERY YEAR… I’m reminded…No plant…No reap.

I want fruit in my life…are you nodding your head in agreement with me?

Fruitfulness is God’s plan for our lives.

Then I (we) must plant the Word of God, not just in our minds, but in a deeper place…our spirits. We have to wrap our seed, the Word of God, with faith that His power will produce fruit in our lives.

A farmer never accidentally grew anything but weeds.

A farmer is strategic.

Because I want to be fruitful, I am strategically planting God’s Word in my heart.

I’m savoring Scripture like I savor the decadent Belgian chocolates my friend brought me.

I’m tasting each word and letting  it melt on my tongue.

I’m reading the phrases aloud.

I’m praying the words and the thoughts they generate.

I’m holding revealed Scripture like gifts…precious gifts…like priceless diamonds.

Not fearfully as if it might fall through my fingers…but lovingly, understanding what it cost the giver.

Here is one of those verses I’m lingering over…

I’m praying over…

I’m declaring over my heart and my life.

Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)

“may he equip you with all you need for doing his will.

May he produce in you,

through the power of Jesus Christ,

every good thing that is pleasing to him.

All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

Hebrews 13:21 (NLT) 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.

 

I’m celebrating the Harvest early this year.

Work well done.

Provision.

Blessings.

I’m celebrating because I am believing God to produce in me everything I need to do His will, through the power of Jesus Christ!

I pray that same prayer over you.  Father, I pray that you will equip my readers “… with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)

If you enjoy my blog post, would you please share it with a friend. Will you partner with me and help me encourage more people? Thank you dear friend. God bless you!


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And He Will Be the Stability of Your Times

Category : Bible , Encouragement , Faith

I’ve seen postcards of them.

I’ve dreamed of seeing them, but I never have…until the detour.

I’ve visited Kansas several times. I’ve…

flown into the airport.
driven highways and back roads.
stayed with friends. Spoken in seminars and camps.
climbed all 296 steps to the top of the rotunda in the capitol building at Topeka.
but I’ve never personally seen the famous Kansas sunflower fields.
I’ve tried to imagine the huge flowers on thick stalks towering above my head, stretching and reaching toward the sun. I’m not talking about just a flower or two, but a vast expanse of glorious sunflowers as far as my eye can see.
 img_2623a-sunflower-field

Somehow, I never went to Kansas at the right time.

I arrived either too early or too late in the growing season. I’ve stood at the edge of a beautiful field of golden wheat only days before harvest. It’s beautiful, but not as beautiful as sunflowers field I had pictured in my mind.
Toward the end of summer we were on our way to North Carolina. There was an accident on I-95 that had traffic snarled and stopped. Wayne took a detour.
Wayne loves back roads.
     Rusty tin roofs.
     Old cars.
     Old tractors.
     Old barns.

It was the typical two lane,

twisting road through rural america.

Coming out of a curve in the road, I spotted a huge field of brilliant sunflowers. Giant, golden gifts on tall green stalks. Golden heads, with brown faces dropping  from the hot summer heat like shy children hiding behind their mama. And Wayne, always the loving kind man he is…turned and stopped on a side road for me to get a better look.

They were beautiful. So beautiful.

They were a gift.
a golden gift on tall green stems from God
just cause…no reason,
except He wanted to remind me that He loves me
and that He knew how long I had dreamed of seeing a field of sunflowers.

His gifts are so far beyond the beauty of sunflowers or even sunrises.

The gift of God’s Son, Jesus, still thrills me even though I’ve walked with Him since I was a young child. Oh how I love Jesus! There are so many facets of his nature that awe me. Some so obvious, others I would fail to see if scripture didn’t point them out. Like Isaiah 33:6 points out stability. And I personalize the first part of the verse. He will be the stability of my times…Jesus you are the stability of all my times.

Stability! What a powerful word!

in troubled times? When everything is falling apart?

in lonely times?

Yes, Jesus is the stability in all our times…if we let Him.

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As I reflect, I recognize that again and again, He has been my rock, the stabilizing factor in my life.
I am amazed at the stability
His faithfulness,
His goodness,
His grace brings into my life…
and can bring into your life if you allow Him,
believe Him,
receive Him!
Faith in God’s promises is the only way to find peace in the midst of trouble.
–Warren Wiersby  Tweet this!
And He will be the stability of your times Isaiah 33:6

“And He will be the stability of your times”

 

… the verse continues

“A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.” Isaiah 33:6  Tweet this!

And His gifts are so bountiful!
  • Peace, even in tough times.
  • Joy, that goes beyond our understanding.
  • Love, unconditional, even undeserved, but lavished on us anyway. 

You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you Isa 26:3 NKJV stability because we trust in Jesus.

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Yes, I see His great love

in the golden sunrises.
in the soft hands of my grandchildren
in the twinkle of my husband’s eyes,
when he dishes out one of his jokes, that he expects me to laugh at…
and I almost always laugh.
They are all gifts…amazing…bountiful…beautiful gifts from my heavenly Father.

But stability hasn’t ever been on my list before.  Now it is!

Thank you, Father! Thank you that you are the stability of all my times.

I am thankful…so thankful.


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Savor the Moment

Category : Encouragement , Faith , Fear

I found myself looking back at one of the pictures in my blog post “Amazing Feet” several times yesterday. Even again this morning, I just sat looking and savoring the picture of that crazy goat.

mountain goat The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,   he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

Talking about being between a rock and a hard place.

That’s exactly where that goat was and he was there with almost no place to put his feet.

What is she doing?

Did you see it?

She/he’s (I have no idea!) is licking the rock.

That’s right! Look at that tongue hanging out of the goat’s mouth. They tell me that a goat’s favorite snack is the mineral salts found in some rocks.

She’s Smarter Than She looks

She’s definitely in a difficult place, but she’s savoring the moment. Literally! She’s licking the rock while she’s there. She is taking advantage of her situation.

And that’s what we need to do when we find ourselves in a difficult situation…Savor the Moment.

It’s Hard

Yet, choose to make the best of the situation. How can I Savor this moment? What is in this situation that will benefit me or someone else?

Choose to turn upward instead of inward.

Choose to pray bold prayers and believe God.

Choose to ask yourself hard questions:

What can I learn in this situation?

What’s in my life that needs to go…or grow?

What is God saying to me in this situation?

Who are you there to rescue,

encourage,

assist?

Not that I plan on licking any rocks. But I want to tell you, since I’m here,  at the very least…

I’m going to enjoy the scenery!

 

Oh, and I’ve made another choice too…

it’s a life style choice…

I will rejoice!

I choose to join my dear brother, Habakkuk, who chose in the middle of extremely difficult circumstances to rejoice.

“Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:18

yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:18

Simple words. Difficult choice.

It’s much easier to grumble or pout than it is to make the best of adversity. But I’ve been down Grumbling Road too many times to want to go there again. It’s a dead end!

So even though it’s hard, I choose to make the best of the situation… not that I plan on licking any rocks.

When I rejoice in God my Savior…

He comes close.

I become aware of His presence.

He quiets my heart.

He gives me peace.

He strengthens me.

And like you Bro. Habakkuk,

I point at that mountain goat or deer, whichever one you meant, and I declare, Thank you Father! Thank you Heavenly Father, that YOU make my feet like that! (I’m pointing at that goat stuck between the rock and the hard place.)

Yes, sir, just like that! You give me feet like THAT, so I am ABLE to skip and leap in challenging places.

And how ’bout you? Wanna join me?


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