Sun Rise in the Western Sky

Wow, God dressed up the western Sky in the Sunrise this morning!

This Sunday morning worship time with the Lord, before worshiping with others, I was facing west from our kitchen table, the opposite way to watch a sunrise. It took a half an hour for the sun to dress the morning. The western sky was really getting dressed up for this day. Random thought here: Which special saints are you bringing home today Lord?

I was reminded that God can take anything or anyone at hand to serve his purposes, communicate His truths or just get our attention. He has mine.

He loves us so very much and He seeks us, woos us, whispers on the wind and shouts from the skies. It’s all there in His word and in the hearts of his children who have found Him.

It’s possible that in the next 24 hours, millions of people will see some aspect of a beautiful sunrise around the world. Each one of us will have our own unique perspective point of the same event. Each of us has our very own unique relationship with God. I am merely sharing a small slice of mine with you.

Today: Let God speak to your heart his love, His Grace. Share this love, this Grace with someone else.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

 I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

Gary

 

 

Another Language

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

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Don’t worry, We do not have our lights up yet, and will not until December sometime.. I chose last years picture of a grandson communicating without words.

When Christ says “Learn of me”, I often think we who call ourselves “Followers of Jesus” honestly think Christ meant believe the right information and be good people.

I think my grandson in the picture above is going to say “sorry” for something he did. Does anyone here believe he is sorry?

It takes time to learn another language. My second language teacher was really excited when I told her I had a dream in Spanish. She figured The language had finally become me. I didn’t tell her it was more like a nightmare where I didn’t really understand what was being said, and it was all about me…in Spanish.

When we resemble the meek and lowly. When we use our hands, feet, mouth and resources for others that would normally go to taking care of…well us, is that not a part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices?

I don’t have to go far for an example. Marriage, raising a family, neighbors and the work place all saw the language of Jesus in my mom and dad.

Everyone wants what mom and dad had. It was not so much that they had Jesus. Jesus was just the start. Actually Jesus had them and they put each other first. I have stories too numerous to count of people who wanted what they had. I witnessed radical changed lives from these two salt and light people. Neighbors, friends and strangers were attracted to them. This picture says a lot and that’s who they were.

Dad and Mom 62 years e-mail

Do you want what they had? You need Jesus to have you, and He will teach you His language. It’s different, out of this world, counter intuitive, powerful and most of all so attractive people around you will want what you have when you speak without words Christ’s language. Don’t worry, you get to talk when you earn the right to be heard.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

Gary

Sorry, I forgot to mention that there will be trolls, hurtful people and those who hate Christ’s language. It will be worth it though.

please add your helpful comments below.

Wandering Into Highlight

Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights.  When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.

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Wild fires hazed the sky, colored and magnified the setting sun view from our front lawn.

16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!”  A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)

Times are a changing are they not?

 

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A hot summer evening watching colors and rays appear, change and disappear.

I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys  in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!

 

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Another Sunset from our yard. Every night is different, every sunset unique

Just a thought:  Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.

   My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.

 Gary

 

 

 

When it Rains

Plans are changed, priorities shuffled and lifes pictures may seem gloomy. We unknowingly booked a vacation for a hotspot of flooding, flash flooding, plenty of power outages and more rain on the way. Yes, the storms even come without warnings or disclaimers. That’s not fair!

Do you know how many camera clicks it take seems to capture a raindrop? Especially repositioning for a raindrop with it’s reflection. That’s ok (not really), I had time (about that). I’m on vacation! (can I get a do-over?)

 

Maybe God helps us pause, prioritize, reposition and see the reflections of our lives to gain what He wants in and for us.

I honestly did not think much of our vacation condo deck or it furniture. I sense that sometimes I am like the old deck wood; old and useable but warped with a few spots that hold water and have some rot. Maybe I am even more like the warped plastic table that cannot even shed water and am drowning in the rains of life.

But, maybe God wants to show his kind of beauty in my life in strange ways. Strange like the blue air in the pictures below after the rain.  Click to enlarge and scroll through the pictures. 

 

Just maybe, God knows I am planted in the crevice of a rock and I need a lot of rain in my life to stay alive and grow. Whatever the reasons for life changing storms and torrents of rain, God is the one who knows what He is doing. In trusting Him I hope when others look at my life, they see reflections of life and hope. Reflections, if only partial or broken up, of Jesus.

After all, if an old warped cheap plastic table can reflect a beautiful image of a tree, could I not in some small way reflect the character of Jesus if I stay close to him?

If a small tree can sink it’s roots into a rock and survive the seasons of life, Could my soul not thrive on the feast available in God’s word?

If some lowly outdated warped deck boards way past their prime can still hold water enough to reflect what is around them after the rain for awhile, I suspect God can still use me somehow as I get older and less useful by human standards.

Sometimes God waits till “after the rain” to speak to us. If you are like me, I am not ready to hear or listen until the rain has passed.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Gary

Your insightful thoughts and comments are greatly encouraged!

To DeClutter Life

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Psalm 1: What will be standing in my life when someday I stand before the almighty God? You and I will watch all that is seemingly important fall away.

I watched a leaf fall off a tree this morning, before it’s time, yet not I thought. but Fall is a ways off when leaves die and clutter the ground.

It was 50 degrees (f) on the screen porch where I sat with a bible and a cup of coffee. The hummingbirds were scolding me for being close to “their” flowers and feeders for a backdrop in my morning meet with God. In the distance a Rooster pheasant crowed to add reverence with a dozen song birds chirping in.
I had just had a conversation with my neighbor about decluttering our garages, storage sheds and so many extras. This morning I was reminded to think about decluttering my spiritual life. The to do lists, priorities and even not taking my own thoughts and views seriously unless they really come from God. This is serious stuff when an outdoorsman begins to pray for a smaller boat!

I had opened my Bible to Psalm 1. “Lord I want to be like the tree” I prayed. “Please help me declutter my life from the unimportant”.

I drew out a rough illustrated rendition of the psalm 1 version of  the two things that could happen to each of us when we stand before God. That day is coming. It will happen.  Add your comments to make it personal…Some great insights from fellow bloggers. Makes me feel like a lion in a den of Daniels.

Check out a very insightful comment below from parishdynamics . Also check out some great insight from InnerDialects written from a half a world away prompted by this blog and the concept of decluttering.

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This is my own little book with blank pages ment for scribbles and bits of wisdom potential. It’s a kind of sort of journal that works for me.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

 Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

GARY

 

Monday Worship

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Monday morning, a balmy 40 degrees Fahrenheit  on the screen porch

When I can, which is most days, I approach the author and creator of this universe boldly on our screen porch (or the breakfast table inside). The loud traffic outside comes from hundreds of birds excited over a few patches of ground showing up in the snow (and three birds I have named Martha 1,2 and 3 fighting over a single bird house. I listen and worship today from the book of James. So much peace, joy and worship comes from this screen porch. I suspect someday some will want to ban screen porches.

Where is your place of worship? We all worship something or someone everyday.

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Praising God and reflecting on his word. When hard times (which we see) and God’s goodness (only God sees) collide, we are never the same. We are Gods masterpiece created in Christ Jesus (EPH 2:10) 

Dressed for the occasion in my wilderness wool, blue jeans and moccasins. It is finally above freezing and the screen porch is a great meeting place with my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for now. I am competing with scores of upland song birds vivaciously singing at the top of their lungs. Sometimes God may enjoy their unabashed worship more than mine. Oh that God would melt the snow patches on my own heart and in that melted puddle reflect his glory.

What or who do we reflect?

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Morning reflections from the woods as the snow melts. The suns reflection  is noticeably absent

I Pray that the light of Jesus is not absent in the reflections of my life.

James 1:22-24   

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  

I’m looking forward to the eternal display of those masterpieces!

Please add your thoughts as well. Thanks for reading.

 Gary

Merry Christmas everyone!

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To all you readers and fellow bloggers, Merry Christmas from the frozen lakes areas of northern United States. The sun is a bit inconspicuous through the cab and the trees as it sets over the small lake I was fishing.  A safe 7″ of ice with the fold up shelter allowed me to see 9 fish and catch 3.

When I read your blogs from South Africa, UK, South America and so many warmer countries, I often wonder what I am missing that excites you. I only know what you are missing if you have never driven or walked on a frozen lake or peered down a hole in the ice as a monster fish suddenly appears to bite your hook (Or decide not to).

I dropped a camera down the hole to show you just what it looks like down there. I was catching some blue gill that day.  Check out this utube video 

Have a Merry Christmas fellow readers and bloggers. may you keep connected. May you also become more connected to the God who created all that we know and love.

For me, Christmas is a time where I reflect on how our creator exchanged His eternal Glory for a different kind of glory never seen before. A glory He wants to pass on to us through God in a finite human body as a baby. Inconspicuously inserting himself into his own creation to make a way to restore our relationship to Him.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ” Luke 2:14. take some time to mull over what the angels proclaimed to some obscure shepherds who would worship God in the form of a baby born in a barn. Glory to God both in heaven and now on earth

May you make room for Jesus in your everyday life this next year.

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We have a christmas tree wall for some of our Christmas Cards

 

Merry christmas All from the Frozen state of Wisconsin, USA. It’s -8 F actual temperature and diving. Wind chill close to -30 F.

Gary

Love Potion 3:16

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Different: What if you were the only one?

He stained our planet with His blood.

He Killed Death.

His Love permeated all time and space.

If the force of love could be measured  it would have shattered the Richter Scale at the cross

Jesus Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (new species…italics.. my words) has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

If you claim to be “in Christ” that means He lives “in you”. It’s fair for the whole world to say “well then, where’s the Love?”.

 Oh that we are becoming more like Christ daily.

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Perfect

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Soul Food for thought

What we desperately want and need we avoid

I opened up Facebook this morning to see what was going on. more news feeds to get the blood boiling and tempt one to dive into the fray. How to ruin a perfect Saturday morning. No, I need to settle my soul, look for words of encouragement, start the day with time alone with God as I usually do through the week. I share with you some worthwhile thoughts and perhaps share some depth to an undefinable peace that permeates the core of one walking in an intimate fellowship with Jesus. We want all that Jesus gives without taking the time to have an intimate walk with God. Here is a glimpse of my morning time with God. I know my mind goes to many places over a few words of scripture in the mulling.

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Hebrews 5:8 Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, and was designated by God to be High Priest.

“Once made Perfect” That took 33 years by the way.

“How are you today?” (overheard in the church entryway) “I’m perfect!” Hmmm…Lester with his gnarly fingers wrapped around a home made cane from a bent and twisted tree that resembled his body frame and the physical trials of life. Lester living in pain was “perfect”. maybe the perfect poster boy for selling home made canes out of bent and twisted tree branches and similar small trees cut to length, debarked, polished and finished into a beautiful product actually. One of a kind, original, possibly perfect and becoming more perfect in the aging, testing, usefulness and possibly essential to another like Lester himself. Sometimes I rebel and actually hate God’s perfectness and all I see is the pain and tragedy of what I would call perfect.

Our middle daughter with 35 surgeries, in constant pain, clinging to a hope that one day she will run and jump and play, is perfect and becoming more perfect as she has her own intimate walk with Jesus. This is hard to accept!

Lester with his attitude and contagious crooked smile. His company is enjoyable and I am better for it. In a world where most things lean toward falling apart rather than building up there is something worth exploring here. Lester is not so perfect for the church basketball team and many other tasks but when did “perfect” take on so many meanings?

As a little kid the perfect Christmas gift could cause all kinds of fights with the siblings. No wonder we received clothes from our grandparents. The perfect husband or wife often becomes very imperfect after being tried and tested with time and life. Parents are perfect until they have kids for even a very short time. The perfect newborn child does not stay perfect very long and the new car gets a scratch and it’s another old beater.

Jesus was made perfect

How strange to think that even though Jesus was perfect he had to be made perfect in order to be our High Priest and intercede for us in front of God. It took 33 years of becoming us, living every moment perfectly, responding perfectly to pain, abuse, temptation, success, all of human life stuff including death. Perfect. Oh, and he also had to conquer his human death to become our advocate before the Father God. He was made perfect.

The one who was made perfect can be making us perfect but we need to trust his sense of perfection!

I have an idea in my head of what my perfection would be. I’m quite sure it’s different than God’s. My life has been detoured quite a bit. I need to trust that God is making me perfect as I trust him. To those who believe in him he declares  “Perfect” but He also says (in the context of loving your enemies) “Be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48

So how are you today? Can we say “I’m Perfect” ? Or “walk with me, this will take awhile”

 

 

Manning Up Gods Way

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My grand daughters is not afraid of snakes…we should take lessons

It started in the Garden of Eden. We can blame the snake but our motives, words and actions loudly shout to the rest of the world if we are truly followers of Jesus. The problem is that much of the world seems confused over what following Jesus looks like including His followers. I include myself here.

I was minding my own business, I thought, attempting to sing some new song along with the worship band in church “He is Lord” Umm…let’s talk about that.

    I physically trembled, tears came and I quit singing as random everyday life s

Subjects flittered (in a millisecond it seemed) through my mind. Three words in the middle of the song and I came undone. My “Christian” friends are typical people.

    Driving: A highway Patrol friend saying “sooner or later everyone in the church will be a customer, and they all have an excuse”. There is something wrong here! Don’t they know obedience? (Romans 13:1)

    Work: An employee friend telling me he would do an extra job but not for me or the company but for himself only. This is his common unhappy response. I watch “Christian” people subtly steal time, talent and resource from the company. Don’t they know they are working for Jesus? (Colossians 3:23)

    Marriage: A friend saying to me “I’m not happy, it’s my wife’s fault. All she does is play computer games and Facebook”. Sorry guy but take the lead, she is waiting for you to Love her in your retirement (Ephesians 5:28-33)

    Prayer: All the times I have heard “it’s too personal”. Wow, what a privilege to have an audience with God, you know the author of the universe who invites us into a most intimate relationship that we were created to have. (Philippians 4:6-7)

    Scripture Reading: “I’m too busy”, “I don’t get into reading”, “I listen to Christian music”, and “I figure the pastor will tell me what I need to know”. OK, can I interpret that as “I’m too busy and important to read instructions from the King of the universe about whom I am, who and whose I should be and how I should handle life.(Hebrews 11:6)

A myriad of thoughts flew by but one remained to become a prayer, I suspect the Holy Spirit got my attention; “God help us all. We need revival in this land”.

When He is Lord: If my people who are called by my name shall… (Can you complete the sentence?). “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw… (Look this one up if you do not know what Jesus said).

Action: Start by looking up all the “one another” passages. This is only a start of how we should think and act as followers of Jesus.

We are on 24/7 full display by the way (Hebrews 12:1-2) There are witnesses.

Gary D