Creation Speaks

cultivating eyes to see and hearts to hear

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"By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created,
people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see:
eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being."

Romans 1:20 (The Message)

December 26, 2011

Christmas– our holiday of all celebrations, set in the culmination of another year. Did your heart swell amidst warm hugs and laughter? Or did it pound with loss, longing for the embrace of someone gone away? For most, our hearts beat in a tumultuous mixture of joy and aching.

Revisiting my posts at the beginning of 2011, I foresaw it to be a difficult year. Looking into the distance, God braced me with His Word in my mind and strong arm around my shoulder, reminding me He would not forsake me. Thus, we set out for the journey. Throughout this year's passage, more than ever, I have experienced the horrible pressure on the heart of a parent (or grandparent) forced to witness your child in pain, in trouble, in danger, while remaining powerless to change the circumstances. Still, looking back over the harsh terrain, I can testify that, yes, God is faithful and true. And He remains good, inherently good. None of the awful came of His heart and choosing, it's just this world's fallen ways. Our God stands with us through every terror, every tear and yes, I have seen and will continue to hope and trust that all these things work for our good (Romans 8:28). Looking back, surely I would not have survived had the Lord not rescued me every time a wave threw me off balance and pounded me into the earth.

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we've projected
A child in a manger
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl
Just a child
Is this who we've waited for?

'Cause how many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

How Many Kings by Downhere

We are made in God's image, with a heart also like His, designed to pound with joy and pound with sorrow, concurrently.

Take heart in knowing God truly understands and feels what your heart feels. He cries when you cry, He smiles when you smile. Take heart in knowing He remains near through every step and every stumble, His strong arm around your shoulder, lifting, steadying, consoling, coaching.

Take greater heart in realizing that our God has the final word in all of this,

                                                                                                        and His last word is redemption and restoration.

"The sunrise is God's greeting - the sunset, his signature." author unknown                                       Sunset Bay, Oregon

December 18, 2011
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:8-20 TNIV

May the lowly conditions,

the miracles and mercies

of God becoming a man

in order to reach

and to die

for His creation

never cease to enthrall our hearts.

a blessed Christmas to all


December 11, 2011

...and heaven and nature sing...

"Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!

Let every created thing give praise to the LORD,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
He established them forever and forever.
His orders will never be revoked.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
fire and hail, snow and storm,
wind and weather that obey him,
mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all livestock, reptiles and birds,
kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
young men and maidens, old men and children.
Let them all praise the name of the LORD.

For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
He has made his people strong, honoring his godly ones
-- the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the LORD!"

Psalms 148 NLT  

"Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praise to our God; it is pleasant and right to praise him...

He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds...

His pleasure is not in strong horses, nor his delight in brave soldiers;
but he takes pleasure in those who honor him, in those who trust in his constant love...

He spreads snow like a blanket and scatters frost like dust."

Psalms 147:1, 3, 10-11, 16 GNT

December 4, 2011
"I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers.

Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!

The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and then he saved me.

Now I can rest again, for the LORD has been so good to me.

He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

And so I walk in the LORD's presence as I live here on earth!

What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?

I will lift up a cup symbolizing his salvation; I will praise the LORD's name for saving me.

I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people."

Psalms 116:1-2, 5-9, 12-14 NLT
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you.

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.

Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

John 15:4 TNIV

November 28, 2011

Saturday morning I slipped my camera over my shoulder and set out with Nutmeg (our dog) into the crisp autumn day. I simply felt drawn to trek to this vantage point overlooking my neighborhood, take this picture and share it with you. This is where I live. This is where God has chosen to put me.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

For in him we live and move and have our being."

Acts 17:24-28 NIV

This portion of Acts 17 continually stirs a sense of wonder. Happenstance has not placed us where we are.

I am fortunate to be set in this place, here where the McKenzie River, as cold as it is blue splashes through mountains a short journey east, then mellows into forest greens and silvery cloud grays as it winds through these last few canopies of firs, maples and oaks, then joins the Willamette in its wide, nearly perpetually green valley.

Together with loved ones we celebrated a blessed Thanksgiving this past weekend. Although a hunger for those absent quietly rumbled within, the rich warmth of those present blanketed my soul. I am truly blessed in where God has chosen to place me, here in the midst of these lives. Surrounded by feasts for my senses and feasts for my heart, my soul washes over with gratitude.

Verse 27 states that God strategically placed us exactly where we are for a very specific reason - in order that we would seek Him and hopefully reach out for Him and find Him.

So, beyond sharing this snapshot of my homeland, allow me to moreover bait your sense of wonder and reflection and mission, to consider God’s purpose in placing you exactly where you are.
Thurston - Springfield, Oregon  

November 21, 2011

Many of us here in the United States are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving this week – menu planning, guest inviting, grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking, cooking, cooking – a truly fine holiday where loved ones gather together to celebrate our many blessings. A warm anticipation fills my heart and fuels my steps as I look forward to the gathering of many of my own loved ones all in one place.

Yet, this morning my thoughts turned toward those carrying heavy burdens to the table this Thanksgiving holiday, straining for reasons to remain thankful. Over prayers too deep for words came a promise spoken by our Savior...

"...I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2 NIV)

Suddenly I became aware of His joy...

...His anticipation for His gathering of many loved ones all in one place... His place, the place He’s getting ready for us even now.

Thank you for this glance into your heart, Lord. Thank you for this incredible hope you’ve instilled in us.

Fill us to overflowing that we may serve up huge portions of such hope, Your hope that feeds and fills and fuels our steps in anticipation of the greatest family gathering of them all.

"Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death.

This fills us with a living hope,
and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people.
He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.
They are for you, who through faith are kept safe
by God's power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

Be glad about this,
even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while
because of the many kinds of trials you suffer.
Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine.
Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire;
and so your faith,
which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested,
so that it may endure..."

1 Peter 1:3-7 GNT

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,

rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,

and overflowing with thankfulness." 

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

November 14, 2011

Dirty Fingernails

The day I wrote last week's devotional followed the day my pastor shared from Matthew 25:14-30. This Parable of the Talents is one of many parables Jesus used to teach his disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven. To summarize, the Master invests in three of his servants before leaving on a journey: five talents are given to the first person, two to the second person and one to third. The servants given five and two talents put to use what is given and when the Master returns they have double to show for what had been entrusted. The third servant, given only one had buried the talent and returned it to the Master. It is not a happy ending – a very sobering passage of scripture (in fact terrifying, to say the least), one that compels serious consideration.

Pastor Mike brought out some important insights I had never really considered. One aspect is how God does not want us to compare ourselves with others. We can't look at the people we think have more and thus conclude that what we have does not really matter. I've fallen into line with those who reason that surely people with more skill, more influence, more success, etc., are capably handling the need without me.

God used my pastor's timely perception to shine a light into my heart last week. For years I've realized God has written stories upon my heart, our stories, stories He wants me to give away. For years I've let everything else take up my time while reasoning why does my little bit matter? I walk into a Christian bookstore and while my eyes take in the stacks and shelves of books, books, books from floor to ceiling, well, quite simply, I'm overwhelmed. Not to mention the endless sea of inspirational writings one can get lost in made available to us on the Internet. There is so much talent out there. Why does God want what unknown me has to offer? Time and again, I let my doubts, fears and reasoning rule, deferring to service in other ways.

Even at this very moment He answers my questioning and excuses with His Word:

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22 NIV)

In other words, when I answer "but...but...but..." He simply speaks (those famous parent's last words), "Because I said so."

So last Sunday, I felt cornered. No more excuses. It was time. Get digging, girl. In fact, the story I shared last week, God began stirring in me to share two weeks ago, but I just buried it under the biggest excuse, I don't have time. Thus, with God handing me a shovel and crossing His arms, it seemed I had no choice.

There come times when the fear of God overrides the fear of man, as well as the fear of an overwhelming to do list. When that happens, we simply must trust and obey.

And I'm so glad I did. During my years of offering this little devotional, I've yet to have received so much affirmation in return for what I offered. A number of you shared that my story brought tears. As I read your notes, well, I want you to know that all you wrote back brought tears to me as well. I found that what I offered last week mattered. Even if it only mattered to one, it was worth it – even if the one was solely God. Nevertheless, as I read each note, I could hear our Father's heart saying, "See? See?"  

With that, let me encourage you – be brave. Tarry not in giving away what God has given you to give.

You matter. What you have to give away matters.

"I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience... when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you...

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...according to the power of God... according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...."

2 Tim 1:3, 5-9 NKJV
I'm still cleaning the dirt out of my fingernails. So, now I'm handing the shovel off to you.

November 7, 2011
Fall is the season of warm colors, warm fires, warm drinks of cider. Yet as we welcome the warm and cozy feelings of fall there remains the inevitable – autumn bears winter on its heels. There’s no stopping the seasons – in nature, in our lives – seasons are inevitable, and some of them prove brutal as ice.

We returned just last week from a trip to visit my in-laws. (Last week’s picture featured the home they built in which to raise their family some 53 years ago. During our stay, we received the first dusting of snow.) More than ever, this last visit bore down on our souls. In recent years we’ve seen their health decline at exponential rates. My mom-in-law’s Alzheimer’s has recently required she be admitted to a care facility. All she wants is to return to her husband and the little slice of paradise where they built their lives. Back home, her husband has taped her picture to the headboard above his pillow. He’s battling cancer, loss of mobility, loneliness and despair. We did what we could to help out, to bring some small comfort here or there, all the while shouldering the utterly helpless feeling of being inept to make any lasting difference.

Over much of our lives we can make choices and have power to change the things we don’t like. It’s a cold, hard reality to feel entirely powerless.

Yes, life hands us the inevitable, though some of it is not so bad. I remember being in the hospital (many, many moons ago) about to give birth to our first child. As labor grew in intensity this picture came to mind of getting up out of that bed and marching myself right down the hallway, clutching my gown shut behind me, getting the heck out of there! Alright, I’ve had enough of this for now. I’m going home. Perhaps I’ll come back and have this baby tomorrow. Yeah, right. There was no escape, no U-Turn here – labor was inevitable.

So, I realize we have these two human experiences in life where we find ourselves, for the most part, powerless: the beginning of life and the end of life. And both hurt. A lot.

...where you do not want to go...

I remember this phrase whispering into my thoughts two years ago as I helped care for my mom. The hospice nurse was teaching my dad and me how to administer pain meds to make mom as comfortable as possible during her final days. I remember the suffocating pressure on my heart of being forced down a cruel, dark path – a path with no U-Turn, no detour, no escape. Why are you showing me how to do this? I thought while the nurse explained application and dosage, I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. Yet, above my raw emotion a greater love spoke louder. I have to do this. I’m the one who needs to do this, who should do this. The truth of the matter was that wild horses couldn’t drag me away from being in that place for my mom, in the place of taking care of my mom in these vulnerable, final moments, a mom who has laid down her life for me my entire life.

...where you do not want to go...
Throughout that day the phrase would return and drift over my mind. I knew it was God whispering to me. I knew it. His tone wasn’t mean, or containing some matter-of-fact, well, here you are so you better get tough quality. Although it did include a firm element of resolution, above all I felt the ache in His heart. Within His whisper I felt an enormous compassion. He knew it was tough to be there; He knew it was taking everything within me to be there and to be strong.

And that everything within me was Him. I can remember during those days how streams flowed from my eyes during the entire 23 minute drive from my house to my parents. As I’d make the final assent up their hill I’d pray to God, Oh Lord, please give me Your strength, Your grace. And in my spirit we’d rest our foreheads together for those last few moments and I’d just breathe Him in. Deep breaths. I’d pull into the driveway and walk into the house. At the end of the day I’d marvel, realizing how He answered my prayer.

...where you do not want to go... I remembered the phrase came from the Bible, a time when Jesus was talking to Peter. Later on I read the story in John 21 (a truly fun, rich story full of many amusing things, like Peter overcome with excitement, putting on his coat to jump in the lake). Jesus had just cooked breakfast. As they finished eating He asked Peter if he truly loved Him. In fact, He asked Peter this same question three times in a row, even though each time Peter answered yes, yes, yes, You know I love You, Lord! I’ve read that story numerous times and every time the Lord instills in my heart things much deeper than my mind can quite take in. So it’s hard to put into words, how He’s changing me, showing me, growing me, but I’ll try…

When we really love Jesus, He’s going to ask us if we love him. And I think He needs to ask us repeatedly, in order to make sure, or maybe it’s just that we need to make sure. He’s going to ask us if we love Him more than all these things we know and depend on. And if we truly love Him and if we truly determine to be His disciple and follow Him, then He’s going to ask us to care about the things He cares about. He’s going to ask us to love what He loves. Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep. And that love is going to require action that sometimes takes us where we do not want to go. But we have to go there for Him. Because those places are where He is and thus, those places are where He’ll ask you to be. Yet, not to fear, He’s always right there with you. He really is. He won’t forsake you. You see, He’s asking you to be there for Him, to be His hands, His words, to be His love in a tangible way.

Okay, so life holds these two inevitable realities. Birth is really, really painful. But the pain comes to an end and as a result you get to hold this beautiful new life in your arms.

And death is really, really painful, too. But here, you’re letting go. Saying good-bye. In the end, there’s no lovely miracle cooing in your arms to melt away all memory of pain. The only thing you feel in your arms is the stark reality of separation, of loss.

So God continues teaching my heart regarding these hard, harsh seasons. Once again, autumn is here and winter is inevitable. Going where you do not want to go means being there for loved ones during the most painful, painful times. And being there for them also means being there for Him. And if I really, really love Him, I’ll accept this charge. And even in the pains of labor, as I breathe Him in, I acquire a mysteriously deep, aching joy. For within this dawns His consolation: maybe we don’t get to receive and embrace that new life as they cross over, but He does. He’s the One that gets to hold them this time, really hold them, for the very first tangible time. It’s the moment He’s longed for and lived for and died for all our lives.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:7 NIV)

So with that, I can face winter, I can go where I do not want to go, for Him -- because I love them, because I love Him, and because I do it for His joy.
Holliston, Massachusetts  

October 30, 2011
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace...

"What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God.

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that people will fear him.

Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account...

...This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for people to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.

Moreover, when God gives people wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil--this is a gift of God.

They seldom reflect on the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, 5:18-20 TNIV

"After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands,

because this is all that we were created for."

Ecclesiastes 12:13 GNT
Holliston, Massachusetts  

October 21, 2011
"And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you..."

1 Thessalonians 3:12 The Message

Pour My Love On You
written by Dan Dean, performed by Phillips, Craig and Dean

I don't know how to say exactly how I feel
And I can't begin to tell you what your love has meant
I'm lost for words
Is there a way to show the passion in my heart
Can I express how truly great I think you are
My dearest friend
Lord this is my desire, to pour my love on you  

Like oil upon your feet
Like wine for you to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on you
With praises like the perfume
I lavish mine on you
'Til every drop is gone
I pour my love on you  

"My counsel now is to pour on the love."

2 Corinthians 2:8 The Message
Northwestern Massachusetts  

October 16, 2011
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV
"Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always...

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Deuteronomy 11:1, 19 NIV
some of my beautiful children and grandchildren, October 15, 2011, Sunset Bay, Oregon 

October 10, 2011

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty..."

1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV

Born in 1098 AD, the 10th child to a noble family in Germany, Hildegard of Bingen was given to the church as a tithe when she was 8-years old. As a polymath, Christian mystic and philosopher, Hildegard wrote three books sharing her visions and their biblical interpretations. Elected as magistra, Hildegard founded two monasteries. With a keen interest in creation and medicine, she wrote texts on the natural sciences integrating it with theology. She composed music and wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, liturgical songs, poems, and the oldest surviving morality play. Although Hildegard studied the medicinal properties of herbs, animals and stones, she also was said to have healed the blind using water from the Rhine River. Many sought her prayers, counsel and opinions, including popes, statesmen, emperors and others of notable positions throughout Europe. Hildegard traveled on four preaching tours - something quite unusual for a woman of her time.


there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honor.

Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along.

Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God."

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.'"

James 4:6 NKJV

October 3, 2011
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

...God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

James 1:2-4, 12 NLT
If I had the chance
To go back again
Take a different road, bear a lighter load
Tell an easy story
I would walk away
With my yesterdays
And I would not trade
   what is broken for beauty only

Every valley
Every bitter chill
Made me ready to climb back up the hill
And find that . . .

You are sunrise
You are blue skies
How would I know the morning
If I knew not midnight?

You're my horizon
You're the light of a new dawn
So thank You, thank You
That after the long night, You are sunrise

There's a moment when
Faith caves in
There's a time when every soul is certain
   God is gone
But every shadow is evidence of sun
And every tomorrow holds out hope for us
For every one of us

You alone will shine
You alone can resurrect this heart of mine

Sunrise by Nicole Nordeman  

"May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better. As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!

...For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes. And he received honor and glory from God the Father when God's glorious, majestic voice called down from heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son; I am fully pleased with him.’ We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain. Because of that, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place -- until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts."

2 Peter 1:2-3, 16-19 NLT
The Three Sisters Mountains, view from Iron Mountain, Oregon 

September 25, 2011
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

"I've been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles
They've gone white
I'm fighting for who I wanna be
I'm just trying to find security

But You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the ones who lose control
You say you will be everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go

Well it's hard enough to hear
Harder still, to move beyond this fear
We know there's nothing I can bring
So tell me, what do you want from me?...


"What do I love?

What do I hate?

What will I lose?

What will I gain?

How do I save my soul?

What if I bend?

What if I break?

What will it cost?

What will it take?

For you to save my soul

But You say let it go

You say let it go

You say life is waiting for

the ones who lose control

You say you will be

everything I need

You said if I lose my life

it's then I'll find my soul

You say let it go"

Tenth Avenue North; Songwriters:
Mike Donehey, Jason Ingram,
Jeffrey Stephen Norman

September 18, 2011

"My child, find your source of strength in the kindness of Christ Jesus...

Understand what I'm saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

Always think about Jesus Christ...

Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker who isn't ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly.

Avoid pointless discussions...

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments. You know they cause quarrels. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone.

He must be a good teacher.

He must be willing to suffer wrong.

He must be gentle in correcting those who oppose the Good News. Maybe God will allow them to change the way they think and act and lead them to know the truth. Then they might come back to their senses and God will free them from the devil's snare so that they can do his will."

2 Tim 2:1, 7-8, 15-16, 23-26 GW

"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience,

not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

Romans 2:4 NIV
Southern Oregon Coast

September 11, 2011
"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to wait for the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The five foolish bridesmaids took their lamps, but they did not take more oil for the lamps to burn. The wise bridesmaids took their lamps and more oil in jars.

Because the bridegroom was late, they became sleepy and went to sleep. At midnight someone cried out, 'The bridegroom is coming! Come and meet him!' Then all the bridesmaids woke up and got their lamps ready. But the foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.' The wise bridesmaids answered, 'No, the oil we have might not be enough for all of us. Go to the people who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

So while the five foolish bridesmaids went to buy oil, the bridegroom came. The bridesmaids who were ready went in with the bridegroom to the wedding feast. Then the door was closed and locked.

Later the others came back and said, 'Sir, sir, open the door to let us in.' But the bridegroom answered, 'I tell you the truth, I don't want to know you.'

So always be ready, because you don't know the day or the hour the Son of Man will come."

~ Jesus, Matthew 25:1-13 NCV
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,

who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

James 1:5 NIV
"Here is what the angel told me to write. 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'

Then he added, 'These are the true words of God.'"

Revelation 19:9 NIRV
"I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father's Kingdom."

~ Jesus, Matthew 26:29 GNT

September 5, 2011

"When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came to him, and he began to teach them, saying: 'Those people who know they have great spiritual needs are happy, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Those who are sad now are happy, because God will comfort them...

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on.

You are the light that gives light to the world.
A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden.

And people don't hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house.

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.'"

Matthew 5:1-4, 13-16 NCV

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you."

Isaiah 60:1 TNIV

August 29, 2011

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there's a God who loves you
Where is He now

Maybe there are things you can't see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Someday somehow you'll see

Would you dare
Would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
You know where you're going
You just don't know how you'll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there's good
For those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time
But you'll see the bigger picture
Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It's just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning

Before the Morning
written by Ben Glover; Josh Wilson

"Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time.

But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles."

2 Corinthians 4:17 NIRV

August 22, 2011
"I, a prisoner in the Lord, encourage you to live the kind of life which proves that God has called you. Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other. Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives...

"God's favor has been given to each of us. It was measured out to us by Christ who gave it. That's why the Scriptures say: 'When he went to the highest place, he took captive those who had captured us and gave gifts to people.'

He also gave apostles, prophets, missionaries, as well as pastors and teachers as gifts [to his church]. Their purpose is to prepare God's people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ..."

" ...This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God's Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray. Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head..."

"He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

Ephesians 4:1-3, 7-8, 11-16 GW

"God does not ask us to do the things that are easy to us naturally;
He only asks us to do the things we are perfectly fitted to do by His grace."  Oswald Chambers

Samuel H Boardman State Park, Oregon Coast

August 16, 2011
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.

I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and stand before him?

Day and night, I have only tears for food,

while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, 'Where is this God of yours?'

My heart is breaking...

Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember your kindness...

I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.

Through each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me,

and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.

'O God my rock,' I cry, 'Why have you forsaken me?

Why must I wander in darkness, oppressed by my enemies?'

Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God!

I will praise him again -- my Savior and my God!"

Psalms 42:1-9, 11 NLT

"As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.

You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

James 5:11 NIV
Nesika Beach, southern Oregon coast 

August 8, 2011
"You have patience

and have suffered troubles for my name

and have not given up."

Revelation 2:3 NCV

"And the ones who win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God."

1 John 5:5 NLT

August 1, 2011

When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I can not climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me.

When every moment is more than I can take
And all of my strength is slipping away
When every breath gets harder to breathe
You carry me, Jesus carry me

I need You
You are everything I need
I love everything about You

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

Everything I Need written by Jon Micah Sumrall & Dave Lubben
from the album "All is Well" by Kutless

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

2 Timothy 4:18 NIV

July 25, 2011
"In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands;

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD."

Psalms 31:1-2, 4-5, 7-10 14-15, 24 NIV
Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater,
Our God is stronger
God You are higher
Than any other
Our God is Healer,
Awesome in power
Our God, Our God

And if Our God is for us,
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us,
Then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

Our God by Chris Tomlin
Robinson Lake, Oregon Cascades
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, 'For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.')
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.
Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't.
Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean,
nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:35-39 NLT

"Ah, this is the God I love...The answer to all our fears, Man of Sorrows and Lord of Joy, always permitting what he hates, to accomplish what he loves."                                                                        Joni Eareckson Tada, The God I Love

July 18, 2011

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

~ Jesus, Matthew 7:24-27 NIV

summer storm over Dexter Reservoir, Oregon

"One of the teachers of the law came and...asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?'

'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this:

'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.'" 

Mark 12:28-30 NIV

"For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field. You are also God's building...
But each of you must be careful how you build." 

1 Corinthians 3:9-10 GNT

"I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell." 

1 Corinthians 13:1 GNT

The context of all kingdom living is love. If your context isn’t love, you miss the point.
If you are sharing God’s information without being in the context of love, well then, it would be better if you just remained quiet.                                                              Steve Savelich, Waypoint Community Church, Thurston, OR, 7/17/11

"But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved...

He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus...

You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit." 

Ephesians 2:4-7, 20-22 GNT

July 11, 2011
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake,
so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body...

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:6-9, 11, 16-18 NIV

"I want to know Christ
and the power of his resurrection
and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect,
but I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. "

Philippians 3:10-14 NIV

July 4, 2011                                                                   INDEPENDENCE DAY

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed..."

~ Jesus, Luke 4:18 NIV

"Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom." 

2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." 

Galatians 5:1 NIV

The eastern view from on top of Iron Mountain, Cascade Range - snowy peaks: left, Mt Washington; middle right, Three Sisters

June 27, 2011

"His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step."

Job 34:21 NIV

   They arrived at ORU's Mabee Center, a concert hall in Tulsa. Nancy had never heard of Keith Green, yet the place was jam-packed that March evening in 1979 with those who came to hear this piano-playing preacher. His album No Compromise had rose to number one on the Christian music charts, and his previous album For Him Who Has Ears to Hear stood at number four. As Keith walked out on stage, his massive dark curly locks brushed the collar of his plaid shirt. Eyes intent on the audience, bringing the microphone up before his neatly trimmed beard, Keith wasted no time in speaking directly from his heart.

   "Tonight we're gonna speak about holiness."

   Beyond sharing the Gospel to those who hadn't heard, God had called this impassioned 26-year old to shake complacency out of the church.

   "First John says if any man loves the world, he's an enemy of God," said Keith.

   His bold, radical message accosted the full attention of every person in the concert hall.

   "I have a definition of sin that's pretty encompassing," he said, "anything that causes God pain."

   It seemed every heart in the place stood captive, challenged. Perhaps many had never given much thought to a God of strong emotion, and even less thought to what emotions their own actions provoked in such a One so High above the Heavens. The daughter of a Baptist preacher, Nancy hadn't given much thought to God at all since she'd graduated from college and moved to Oklahoma City. In a few short years she'd gained an affluent lifestyle selling narcotics while working in a members-only high-end nightclub. Who knows how long thoughts of God had been shut out of her heart. But now there was no escaping His presence in this place.

   "God is the most loving person in the universe," Keith explained. "That means He's also the most sensitive person in the universe. Love is making yourself vulnerable. The more you love, the more you can get hurt. How would you like to have the eyes that saw every sin that was ever committed every single day?"

"It says, 'The eyes of the Lord are in all places watching the good and the evil,'" said Keith holding up his Bible.
"Our sin hurts God."

   The young preacher continued to pierce the darkness of Nancy's soul with the reality she had long ignored, or better said, from what she’d been running from in a dead heat.

   "My eyes are dry, my faith is old," Keith began to sing, "my heart is hard, my prayers are cold..."

Arrows of truth penetrated snug, smug armor and hit the mark of many a soul.

"...but I know how I ought to be, alive to You, and dead to me."

   "Do you hear this part?" Nancy whispered to Kerry. "My heart is hard – that's me. It ain't gonna happen."

   Transparently honest, yet stubbornly staunch. Still, Nancy stood captivated in the incredible atmosphere. People filled the seats and aisles, and even sat on the stage, right up next to Keith's piano. Here she stood at a Christian university, in a concert hall that was likely filled with Christians, and all these people began going forward. One after the other they came, climbing over the many bodies laying prostrate in the aisles in order to reach the microphone. Confessing, repenting, weeping – and being forgiven and cleansed. Whether admitted publicly or not, eternity challenged every heart in that place that night.

   During the trip home, Nancy rode silent, concealing the ensuing battle within her heart. Nevertheless, as Kerry dropped her off, she forged into her apartment, emboldened. Drawer to cabinet, stash to stash, she gathered up all the dope and hard stuff she had. Marching into the bathroom, she flushed everything down the toilet.

   "I'm not going to do drugs anymore," she promised.

   The next morning as Nancy stepped into a church, her heart began its steadfast journey home.  

                                                          The above is an excerpt from a story I've been writing in memory of Nancy Brown Ross

"Look up at the heavens and see;
gaze at the clouds so high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect him?
If your sins are many, what does that do to him?"

Job 35:5-6 NIV

"I have a definition of sin that's pretty encompassing: anything that causes God pain." 

the legendary Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982)

June 20, 2011

"Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts."

Psalms 36:10 NLT

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD...

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven...

I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: Do not close your ears to my cry for relief. You came near when I called you, and you said, 'Do not fear.'

O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life. You have seen, O LORD, the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause!"

Lamentations 3:21-26, 40-41, 55-59 NIV


"LORD, how great is your mercy; in your justice, give me back my life."

Psalms 119:156 NLT

June 13, 2011

"...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward... Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up.

...Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? ... God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening -- it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong. Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: 'Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.' This means that the things on earth will be shaken, so that only eternal things will be left. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire."

Hebrews 12:1-3, 10-14, 26-29 NLT

June 6, 2011

If You washed away my vanity
If You took away my words
If all my world was swept away
Would You be enough for me?
Would my beating heart still sing?

When my life is not what I expected
The plans I made have failed
When there's nothing left to steal me away
Will You be enough for me?
Will my broken heart still sing?

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives and takes away

If You take it all
This life You've given
Still my heart will sing to You

Even if You take it all away
You’ll never let me go
Take it all away, but I still know

That I'm Yours
I'm still Yours

I’m Still Yours written by Nick De Partee & Jon Howard

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm."

Job 38:1 NIV

weather-beaten Juniper – gnarled, broken, yet still producing life, Central Oregon

June 3, 2011

"LORD, I have heard of your fame;

I stand in awe of your deeds,


Renew them in our day,

in our time make them known;

in wrath remember mercy....

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to go on the heights."

Habakkuk 3:2, 17-19 NIV

"Though I’m weak and poor

All I have is Yours

Every single breath"

Matt Redman, The Heart of Worship

May 23, 2011

"Jesus said, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

Does anyone believe in me? Then, just as Scripture says, streams of living water will flow from inside him.'"

John 7:37b-38 NIRV  

"Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me."

Psalms 42:7 NKJV

I’ve felt the churning – rumbling, rolling, rising... Just below the surface the pressure builds, subsides, builds, subsides. I know what it is. It’s the life. His life. The life Jesus has nurtured inside day by day from the moment I invited Him in. The energy seeks an aperture in which to find some release. At times it flows through a conversation, an invigorating connection with another believer, or with someone who perhaps secretly longs for a reason to believe. Little by little, here and there it finds expression, as in these small weekly doses offered upon this web page. A premium path is found simply in making another’s life a little lighter – acts of kindness, love lived louder than words. 

"They eat well because there is more than enough in your house.

You let them drink from your river that flows with good things."

Psalms 36:8 NIRV

Sahalie Falls, McKenzie River, Oregon

May 16, 2011

"So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do.
A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life.
It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself."

James 3:5-6 NLT

"A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad...

For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.

And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned."

Matthew 12:33-37 NLT


"Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Psalms 141:3 NIV

"I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth..."

Psalms 39:1 TNIV

May 9, 2011

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—"

Colossians 1:3-4 NIV

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 13:35 NIV

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

John 15:12 NIV

"Then Jesus said to the disciples, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds.'"

Matthew 16:24-27 NLT

"After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter replied, 'you know I love you.' 'Then feed my lambs,' Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter said, 'you know I love you.' 'Then take care of my sheep,' Jesus said. Once more he asked him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, 'Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.' Jesus said, 'Then feed my sheep.'"

John 21:15-17 NLT

"I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master's business.
Instead, I have called you friends."

John 15:15 NIRV

"The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends."

John 15:13 GW

May 2, 2011                                                strength to strength ~ lifting others

"Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody.

Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else.

For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them.

Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."

Galatians 6:2-9 NLT

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
[that is, the valley of weeping]

they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,

till each appears before God in Zion."

Psalms 84:5-7 NIV


April 25, 2011

"Early Sunday morning...Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away...

...That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! 'Peace be with you,' he said. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord! He spoke to them again and said, 'Peace be with you...As the Father has sent me, so I send you.'

Then he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'

One of the disciples, Thomas, was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he replied, 'I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.'

...Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them.

...The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, 'Peace be with you.' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!' 'My Lord and my God!' Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, 'You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway.'"

John 20:1, 19-22, 24-29 NLT

breathe on me 

April 18, 2011                                                                  FORGET-ME-NOT

"Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, 'Crucify him! Crucify him!'...

...When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him,
along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left...

"Jesus said,

'Father, forgive them,

for they do not know

what they are doing.'...


"...One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!'
But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence?
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.'

Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'

Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'"

Luke 23:20-21, 33-34, 39-43 NIV

April 8, 2011

"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world
that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son,
so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him
shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost)
but have eternal (everlasting) life.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge
(to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world,
but that the world might find salvation
and be made safe and sound through Him."

John 3:16-17 (AMP)  






April 4, 2011

"With unfailing love you will lead this people whom you have ransomed.

You will guide them in your strength to the place where your holiness dwells."

Exodus 15:13 NLT  

"And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water

whose waters do not fail."

Isaiah 58:11 NAS  


"I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve me.

For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."

Isaiah 41:9-10 NLT

"The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'"

Psalms 32:8 NLT

March 28, 2011

"A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.

Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.

Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.

On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'

Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."

Matthew 7:17-27 NLT

"For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord,
and your behavior should show it!
For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true..." 
Ephesians 5:8-9 NLT

"...and find out what pleases the Lord." Ephesians 5:10 NIV

March 21, 2011

"For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory."

Psalms 32:7 NLT  

Sometimes He Calms the Storm by Scott Krippayne

All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong
Suddenly fear is like white water
Pounding on the soul
Still we sail on knowing
That our Lord is in control
Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child
He has a reason for each trial
That we pass through in life
And though we're shaken
We cannot be pulled apart from Christ
No matter how the driving rain beats down
On those who hold to faith
A heart of trust will always
Be a quiet peaceful place

"During danger he will keep me safe

in his shelter.

He will hide me in his Holy Tent,

or he will keep me safe on a high mountain."

Psalms 27:5 NCV  


March 14, 2011

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy...

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world."

–-Jesus, John 16:21-22, 33 NIV  

"All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again.

Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.

For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

1 Peter 1:3-7 NLT  

March 7, 2011


"Guard your steps
when you go to the house of God.
Go near to listen
rather than to offer
the sacrifice of fools,
who do not know that they do wrong."

Ecclesiastes 5:1 NIV

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
Listen to him!"

Matthew 17:5 NIV

"My child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to what I say."
Proverbs 4:20 NCV

"Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right."
Proverbs 8:6 NIV

"Hear, O my people, and I will warn you-- if you would but listen to me, O Israel!"
Psalms 81:8 NIV

"My child, listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right path."
Proverbs 23:19 NIRV

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak."
James 1:19 TNIV

"Therefore consider carefully how you listen.
Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
Luke 8:18 NIV

"I am listening to what the Lord God is saying; he promises peace to us, his own people,
if we do not go back to our foolish ways."
Psalms 85:8 GNT  

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

February 28, 2011

from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller:

"Life was a story about me because I was in every scene. In fact... I was everywhere I went. If someone walked into my scene it would frustrate me because they were disrupting the general theme of the play...

...Living in community made me realize one of my faults: I was addicted to myself... I discovered that my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-DON, all Don, all the time...

...I hear addicts talk about the shakes and panic attacks and the highs and lows of resisting their habit...There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction."

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,

but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."

Philippians 2:3 NAS  

"No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends."

John 15:13 NIRV

February 21, 2011

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

3 John 1:4 TNIV  

"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor,
for we are all members of one body."

Ephesians 4:17-24 TNIV  

"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy mountain?

Those whose walk is blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth from their hearts..."

Psalms 15:1-2 TNIV  

"LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?"

Jeremiah 5:3a TNIV  

February 14, 2011

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love... Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us...

...We love because he first loved us.

If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, 19-21 NIV

"When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen."

Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT

"Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause many sins to be forgiven."  1 Peter 4:8 NCV

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13 NIV

February 7, 2011

"O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!

From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help,

for my heart is overwhelmed.

Lead me to the towering rock of safety,

for you are my safe refuge,

a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me."

Psalms 61:1-4 NLT  

"Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. When people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.

Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us."

Hebrews 6:15-20 NLT  
Steins Pillar (350 feet high), Mill Creek Valley, Central Oregon

January 31, 2011

"'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,'
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

'O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.

All your sons will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be your children's peace.
In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.

If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
'See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.

This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me,' declares the LORD."

Isaiah 54:10-17 NIV  

"But this precious treasure -- this light and power that now shine within us --
is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies.
So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.
We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit.
We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.
We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going."

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NLT  

"So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames. But suddenly, as he was watching, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, 'Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?' 'Yes,' they said, 'we did indeed, Your Majesty.' 'Look!' Nebuchadnezzar shouted. 'I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren't even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!'"

Daniel 3:23-25 NIV  

January 24, 2011
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
I can be in pain or want, yet pray to God, release my cares into His hands and trust Him for the outcome. Then when reading the previous passage in Philippians I breathe a sigh of self-satisfaction – hurray for me, I’ve accomplished this great admonition. To not worry presents one of the most difficult human tendencies to overcome. What an achievement to go forward enjoying amazing, lifting, infiltrating peace – it is a precious gift from God, indeed.

However, recently I’ve discovered how weak I really am in living up to the "always" part (vs. 4) of this admonition. You see, when one of my kids falls into trouble and I see the pain on his face, hear the pain in his voice, well, that pain sinks deep into my core and I carry it, I carry it all the way to resolution… and resolution can be a long time coming.

I’m being totally transparent, making myself vulnerable because honestly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of this pain and concern beating me up day and night. It’s robbing my time, it’s robbing my health, it’s robbing my life. And it’s not my kid’s fault, and it’s not the fault of the circumstances raising all this havoc in the first place, however horrendous they may be. Havoc is a part of life this side of heaven. So I need to deal with it. And I need to deal with it God’s way.

God's Word doesn’t say "Do not be anxious about anything, except when the situation is really, really awful, like threatening the innocent and deathly uncertain, well then it’s okay to be anxious about that!" No, He says "Do not be anxious about anything."

So here is my test, my quest, especially for the coming week. I am going to present my requests to God with thanksgiving. In fact I’m going to write out my requests to force myself to stop fretting and crying and pacing and bleeding. I’m going to sit myself down and talk with my heavenly Father, I'm going to list particular requests in faith, and I’m going to wait for His voice to guide me and to quiet my heart, and I’m especially going to wait for His love and assurance to fill me with peace.

This Is Life
by Jared Anderson

Brace yourself
This is gonna take every part of you
This is gonna make God believe in you
And you believe in Him

Pace yourself
Eternity is not a fairy tale
The in-between can be your heaven
Or just another day in hell

Calm yourself
The fear that's in your heart must surely die
You always say it's hard and you don't know why
Well welcome to everybody else's life

And lift yourself
You're bigger when you're on your knees again
Just look above and look within
Don't look around its all just spin

‘Cause the road we walk is straight and narrow
The times we have they're ours to borrow
So give a little understanding
This is life and its hell if you only live for yourself
Winterberry, the only vegetation in our yard bearing fruit in the middle of winter 

January 17, 2011

"For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the LORD.

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God to restrain them.
In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do what is good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their course of action is never good.
They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.

You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight.
For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts.
Don't let the proud trample me; don't let the wicked push me around.
Look! They have fallen! They have been thrown down, never to rise again."

Psalms 36 NLT  

Psalm 36 paints a vivid contrast between darkness and light, evil and righteousness. At the heart of evil is selfishness and pride. At the heart of God is enormous love and extravagant generosity. Thank God, He reigns!
Yoakam Point, Oregon Coast

January 10, 2011

"But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says:
Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters and great trouble,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown!
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior...
Others died that you might live.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children...
...You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God;
there never has been and never will be.
I am the LORD, and there is no other Savior... "

Isaiah 43:1-6, 10-11 NLT  

January 3, 2011

A new year dawns

and I stand at a precipice that takes my breath away,
both for beautiful hope as well as sobering fear of the unknown.

An initial outlook presents unscalable mountains, valleys dark with uncertainty – my heart grows faint and my knees grow weak. Every hardship, every challenge presents a unique opportunity – so much more so than when paths meander through sunshiny meadows of wildflowers. Harsh conditions propel me into the only shelter I have come to know as reliable and true, the shelter of the Most High God.

I stand fast and take in a Spirit-filled breath – He reminds me of His ever-presence. Breathing deep, I recognize His firm grip around my shoulder. He steadies my stance, quiets my soul, and strengthens my heart. How essential in days of brazen attacks on our life and faith that we allow ourselves the indulgence, the privilege God’s provided us to take shelter in Him, to quiet our souls and soak in what we discover can be true – a perfect love that drives out all fear (see 1 John 4:18).

If I’ve ever been resolute at the dawn of a new year, let me be resolute in this:
mustering more passion, more intention, I will seek the Lord with all my heart.  

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.
Even if a whole army surrounds me, I will not be afraid; even if enemies attack me, I will still trust God.

I have asked the Lord for one thing; one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord's house all my life, to marvel there at his goodness, and to ask for his guidance.
In times of trouble he will shelter me; he will keep me safe in his Temple and make me secure on a high rock.

So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple; I will sing, I will praise the Lord.
Hear me, Lord, when I call to you! Be merciful and answer me!

When you said, ‘Come worship me,’ I answered, ‘I will come, Lord.’

Don't hide yourself from me! Don't be angry with me; don't turn your servant away.
You have been my help; don't leave me, don't abandon me, O God, my savior.
My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me.
Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do, and lead me along a safe path, because I have many enemies.

I know that I will live to see the Lord's goodness in this present life.

Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord."

Psalms 27:1-14 GNT  

Looking west, sunrise on the Three Sisters Mountains, Oregon

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