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 30, 2012

"Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us -- they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.

And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners...

...So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God -- all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. "

Romans 5:1-6, 11 NLT NLT

"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

Psalms 16:8 KJV

May you keep holding onto God in the New Year.

Central Oregon sunset - beyond Mt Washington

December 24, 2012


"At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant,and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger - there was no room for them to stay in the inn.

There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, 'Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Savior was born - Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'

Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!'

When the angels went away from them back 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.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said.

Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them.

The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen; it had been just as the angel had told them."

Luke 2:1-20 GNT

A blessed Christmas to all!

December 16, 2012

"We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, desolate, and ruined. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people! My tears flow down endlessly. They will not stop until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees. My heart is breaking over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem...

But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the well, and you heard me! You listened to my pleading; you heard my weeping! Yes, you came at my despairing cry and told me, 'Do not fear.'"

Lamentations 3:47-51, 55-58 NLT

"Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died,
so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope."

1 Thessalonians 4:13 GNT

"You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy."

John 16:22 NLT

Keep in mind, God has the FINAL word.

"He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

For the old world and its evils are gone forever."

Revelation 21:4 NLT (own emphasis added)

December 9, 2012

"In the beginning

the Word already existed.

He was with God,

and he was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

He created everything there is.

Nothing exists that he didn't make.

Life itself was in him,

and this life gives light to everyone.

The light shines through the darkness,

and the darkness can never extinguish it..."

"But although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him when he came.
Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn!

This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan -- this rebirth comes from God.

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.

He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father...

We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us -- one gracious blessing after another.

For the law was given through Moses; God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ."

John 1:1-5, 10-17 NLT

Rainbow over the Pacific Ocean 

December 2, 2012

"I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.

As the Scriptures say, 'I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas.' So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense...

God's way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense.

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This "foolish" plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength..."

"...Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom."

1 Corinthians 1:18-30 NLT

"A person who does not have the Spirit does not accept the truths that come from the Spirit of God. That person thinks they are foolish and cannot understand them, because they can only be judged to be true by the Spirit.

The spiritual person is able to judge all things, but no one can judge him.

The Scripture says: 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been able to teach him?'
But we have the mind of Christ."

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NCV

November 25, 2012

"If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  

And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).

Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.

Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking;

it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]...

"It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).

But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside...

"For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God.

And so faith, hope, love abide

faith—conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things;

hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation;

love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us,

these three; but the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13 AMP 

northeastern Massachusetts

November 18, 2012

"Praise the Lord, all people on earth, praise his glory and might.
Praise the Lord's glorious name; bring an offering and come into his Temple.
Bow down before the Holy One when he appears; tremble before him, all the earth!
The earth is set firmly in place and cannot be moved. Be glad, earth and sky!
Tell the nations that the Lord is king.
Roar, sea, and every creature in you; be glad, fields, and everything in you!
The trees in the woods will shout for joy when the Lord comes to rule the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good; his love is eternal.

Say to him, 'Save us, O God our Savior; gather us together;
rescue us from the nations, so that we may be thankful and praise your holy name.'"

1 Chronicles 16:28-35 GNT 

"Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe..."

Hebrews 12:28 GNT

November 11, 2012

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me every day
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
but joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

The Jesus Culture Band

"We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.

In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death?

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!

For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below
- there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:28, 31, 35, 37-39 GNT

November 4, 2012

"May our Lord Jesus Christ


and God our Father

encourage you and strengthen you

in every good thing you do and say.

God loved us,

and through his grace

he gave us a good hope

and encouragement that continues forever."

2 Thessalonians 2:17 NCV

"The Lord is good to those who hope in him,

to those who seek him."

Lamentations 3:25 NCV

"...those who hope in me will not be disappointed."

Isaiah 49:23 NIV

October 28, 2012

"You saw how I carried you on the wings of eagles and brought you to myself."

Exodus 19:4b NIRV 

"This is the voice of one who calls out: 'Prepare in the desert the way for the Lord.
Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God.

Every valley should be raised up, and every mountain and hill should be made flat.
The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth.

Then the glory of the Lord will be shown, and all people together will see it.
The Lord himself said these things.'

...Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Shout out loud the good news.
Shout it out and don't be afraid. Say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God.'

Look, the Lord God is coming with power to rule all the people.
Look, he will bring reward for his people; he will have their payment with him.

He takes care of his people like a shepherd.
He gathers them like lambs in his arms and carries them close to him.
He gently leads the mothers of the lambs.

...God, the Holy One, says, 'Can you compare me to anyone? Is anyone equal to me?'

Look up to the skies. Who created all these stars?
He leads out the army of heaven one by one and calls all the stars by name.
Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing.

People of Jacob, why do you complain?
People of Israel, why do you say,
'The Lord does not see what happens to me; he does not care if I am treated fairly'?

Surely you know. Surely you have heard. The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world.
He does not become tired or need to rest. No one can understand how great his wisdom is.

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.

Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall.

But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired."

Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11, 25-31 NCV

October 21, 2012

"Do you ever sense creation's restlessness? Do you hear groaning in the cold night wind? Do you feel the forest's loneliness, the ocean's agitation? Do you hear longing in the cries of whales?

...Despite vestiges of beauty and joy, something on this earth is terribly wrong. But there's also hope, visible in springtime after a hard winter. As Martin Luther put it, 'Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.'

Creation hopes for, even anticipates, resurrection. That's exactly what Scripture tells us."

Heaven, p. 126-7, by Randy Alcorn 

"For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom."

Romans 8:19-24 NLT 

Cape Arago, Oregon Coast

October 14, 2012

"I look up to the hills,

but where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let you be defeated.

He who guards you never sleeps."

Psalms 121:1-3 NCV

"... I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute."

Isaiah 42:16 (The Message)

Vine Maple, Oregon Cascade Mountains

October 7, 2012

Tom bent down, bringing his face just inches from hers.

"Hi Mom," he said.

She opened her hazel eyes. The resulting smile seemed to indicate she recognized her son.

"We're here from Oregon. We came to see you," Tom spoke gently, keeping his face close, his large hand resting lightly on her shoulder.

I took my turn. "Hi, Jean," I said as I leaned in with a kiss on the cheek. "It's so nice to see you."

Jean's smiling eyes looked attentively at each one of us, Tom, me and his brother John, yet it only seemed a few moments before they closed and returned to sleep. I saw a place on her bed below her curled up legs where I could sit and lay my hand upon her knee. Tom and John continued speaking quietly to one another and I began praying silently for this dear woman in bondage to advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

Just days before, we had buried the love of her life, her husband and best friend of 58 years. I remembered a conversation only a few years ago during a visit – Jean and I were pulling some weeds out in the yard when she shared how many of their friends had retired and moved to warmer places like Florida. But she went on to explain that for them, their home was the only place they wanted to be, that no other place on earth could give her the joy she found simply in working in the gardens and just being home. Jean loved all the flowers, trees and shrubs surrounding their home, skillfully placed under the care of Tom's dad who had owned a landscaping business. The two of them kept their acreage like a park. Jean also enjoyed taking their dog for a daily walk up to the pond and through the woods behind their home. My heart broke for her being trapped an entire year now, away from home, in this place she never wanted to be, wondering what it was like for her, wondering what she could know and feel.

I asked our merciful, loving God to wrap himself around her, that our Holy Spirit Comforter would fill every inch of her mind and heart, and speak to her in a way that only he could speak to her. It was at that very moment of my prayer Jean opened her eyes and looked down to me. Her lips curled into a warm smile as she continued looking at me intently, though only for a moment, then she closed her eyes again, returning to peaceful sleep.

Those who tend to be skeptical could easily say the timing of such a smile was purely coincidence and that I have no proof to refute them. Yet, I know my God. And I know what His promises say. And I know how incredibly deep His love is for Jean. Thus, I have no reason to doubt that He answered my prayer in that moment. He had no reason not to.

"And this is the boldness we have in God's presence: that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what he wants, he hears us. If we know he hears us every time we ask him, we know we have what we ask from him."  
(1 John 5:14-15 NCV)

"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.
Keep on looking, and you will find.
Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.

For everyone who asks, receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.

You fathers -- if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?
Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!
If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

Luke 11:9-13 NLT
Allen home, eastern Massachusetts

September 16, 2012


are a garden fountain,

a well of living water,

as refreshing

as the streams

from the

Lebanon mountains."

Song of Solomon 4:15 NLT 

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants."

Isaiah 44:3 NIV 

Upper Proxy Falls, Oregon Cascades

September 9, 2012

"It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega -- the Beginning and the End.

To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge!"

Revelation 21:6 NLT

"Come, all you who are thirsty,

come to the waters;

and you who have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without cost."

Isaiah 55:1 NIV

"If anyone believes in me,

rivers of living water

will flow out from

that person's heart,

as the Scripture says."

John 7:38 NCV
Sahalie Falls, Oregon Cascade Mountains

September 3, 2012

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes...

So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don't do it, you sin."

James 4:14b, 17 TNIV

"Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins."

1 Peter 4:8 HCSB
Sunrise on Three Sisters Mountains

August 27, 2012

"Do this to remember me."

Luke 22:19 GW

"As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God's blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying,

'Take it and eat it, for this is my body.'

And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said,

'Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.'

'Mark my words -- I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom.'"

Matthew 26:26-29 NLT

"So then, as Christians, do you have any encouragement? Do you have any comfort from love? Do you have any spiritual relationships? Do you have any sympathy and compassion? Then fill me with joy by having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind.

Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.

Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.

Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality. Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance.

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross. This is why God has given him an exceptional honor-- the name honored above all other names-- so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will kneel and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:1-11 GW

August 19, 2012

To you I give my life
   not just the parts I want to
To you I sacrifice
   these dreams that I hold on to

To you I give the gifts
   your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasures
   that you've designed for free?

To you I give my future
As long as it may last
To you I give my present
To you I give my past

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life

No Sacrifice by Jason Upton  

"So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God - what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

And because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you. We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body.

So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.

Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.

Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion.

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.

Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.

Ask God to bless those who persecute you - yes, ask him to bless, not to curse.

Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep.

Have the same concern for everyone.

Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.

If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God's anger do it. For the scripture says, 'I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.' Instead, as the scripture says: 'If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.'

Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good. "

Romans 12:1-21 GNT 

August 12, 2012

"You've captured my heart, dear friend.
You looked at me, and I fell in love.
One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!"

Song of Solomon 4:9 The Message

"You are the one that overwhelms his heart...
You are the one who takes his breath away by your beautiful heart that, against all odds, hopes in him...

God wants to live this life together with you, to share in your day and decisions, your desires and disappointments. He wants intimacy with you in the midst of the madness and mundane, the meetings and memos, the laundry and lists, the carpools and conversations and projects and pain. He wants to pour his love into your heart and he longs to have you pour yours into his. He wants your deep heart, that center place within that is the truest you...
He wants intimacy with the real you."

Captivating, John & Stasi Eldredge, ©2005 Nelson Books. p 120-121 

"And from far away the Lord appeared to his people and said,
'I love you people with a love that will last forever...'"

Jeremiah 31:3 NCV

August 5, 2012

"I believe there's one central explanation why so many of God's children have such a vague, negative and uninspired view of Heaven: the work of Satan...

Satan hates the New Heaven and the New Earth as much as a deposed dictator hates the new nation and the new government that replaces his. Satan cannot stop Christ's redemptive work, but he can keep us from seeing the breadth and depth of redemption that extends to the earth and beyond. He cannot keep Christ from defeating him, but he can persuade us that Christ's victory is only partial, that God will abandon his original plan for mankind and the earth.

Because Satan hates us, he's determined to rob us of the joy we'd have if we believe what God tells us about the magnificent world to come."

Heaven by Randy Alcorn, ©2004 by Eternal Perspective Ministries, p 10-12 

"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

Ephesians 1:15-23 NIV 

"Someday..." said the caterpillar with a gleam in his eye, "...someday." 

July 29, 2012

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.
And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven
like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, the home of God is now among his people!
He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.
He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
For the old world and its evils are gone forever.'

And the one sitting on the throne said, 'Look, I am making all things new!'
And then he said to me, 'Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.'
And he also said, 'It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega -- the Beginning and the End.
To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge!
All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children."

Revelation 21:1-7 NLT

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Ochoco Mountain sunset over the Oregon Cascades   

July 23, 2012

"I got up before dawn, and I cried out for help. My hope is based on your word."

Psalm 119:147 GW

"O God, you are my God, and I long for you. My whole being desires you;

like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land, my soul is thirsty for you."

Psalm 63:1 GNT

"I thirst for the living God. When can I go to meet with him?"

Psalm 42:2 NCV

"I love those who love me. Those eagerly looking for me will find me."

Proverbs 8:17 GW
daily morning coffee date with God   

July 17, 2012

There's no escaping it.

Life this side of heaven is not easy.

Sin is here.

Disease. Depravity. Divorce. Death.
I call them the Dastardly D's.
Any one of them can show up uninvited, without mercy, without warning, wielding doubt and despair.

And those dastardly weapons formed against us threaten to destroy precious elements instilled within us,
elements which fortify our very means of survival... and sanity...

...essential elements, written into the core of our being by our Creator and awakened by our Savior.

These elements: faith, hope and love, carry us into victory, into eternity.

"But no weapon that is used against you will succeed."

Isaiah 54:17 NIRV

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God...

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)

and find out what pleases the Lord...

...for it is light that makes everything visible.

This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'

Be very careful, then, how you live--
not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil."

Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10, 14-16 NIV

"Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous."

Psalm 112:4 TNIV

"We need you. We need you to awaken to God more fully and to awaken the desires of the heart that he placed within you so that you will come alive to him and to the role that is yours to play… And that is crucial, dear heart. Whatever your particular calling, you are meant to grace the world with your dance, to follow the lead of Jesus wherever he leads you. He will lead you first into himself; and then, with him, he will lead you into the world that he loves and needs you to love."

Captivating, by John & Stasi Eldredge. ©2005 Nelson Books. p 217

"LORD, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness."

Psalm 18:28 NLT

July 9, 2012

 "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."

James 1: 2-4 NLT

"...God knows
the way
that I take,
and when
he has tested me,
I will come out
like gold."

Job 23:10 NCV 

"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."

John 16:22 TNIV 

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."

1 Peter 5:10-11 NIV

July 1, 2012
Does it really matter how we talk to one another?

I mean, after all, some people are just asking for it, right?

"Tell them not to speak evil things against anyone. Remind them to live in peace.
They must consider the needs of others.
They must be kind and gentle toward all people."
Titus 3:2 NIRV

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

"Finally, I want all of you to live together in peace. Be understanding.
Love one another like members of the same family.
Be kind and tender (be tenderhearted, be courteous; NKJV). Don't be proud."
1 Peter 3:8 NIRV

"Try to live in peace with all people, and try to live free from sin..."
Hebrews 12:14 NCV

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:18 NIV

"I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak."
Matthew 12:36 CSB

Whoa. You mean "every careless word"?
Alright then, LORD, I really need Your help.
"Set a guard,

O Lord,

over my mouth;

Keep watch

over the door

of my lips."

Psalm 141:3 NKJV 

"So let us do all we can to live in peace (let us aim for harmony in the church; NLT).
And let us work hard to build each other up."

Romans 14:19 NIRV 

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

Matthew 5:9 KJV

June 24, 2012     

"...we're living in a real world
                                                     with real hurt
                                                                                    and real pain
                                                                                                                  and all we really need is a real thing..."

                                                                                                                             4 Him, Dave Clark, Mark Harris, Don Koch

So what makes what I have,
what you have,
in Jesus,
any different from what anybody else has
in their philosophy or religion
apart from Jesus?

It's the life that Jesus gives us
when we have Him in our lives.

It's the way He corrects me.
It's the way He forgives me.
It's the way He enables me to forgive.

It's the way He speaks to me.
The way He stills my anxious heart.

It's the way He heals me.

It's the way He comes after me, to rescue me.

The way He breathes trust in me,
peace in me,
courage in me,
hope in me,
love in me.

Because of Jesus, I can keep going, keep giving,
when my strength is gone, He gives me more.

Because of Jesus, I can start a new day
a new life
with reason to hope.

He really is real.
Because He makes a real difference in our lives.

"'Go, stand in the temple courts,' he said, 'and tell the people all about this new life.'"

Acts 5:20 TNIV 

June 17, 2012                                                       The Parable of the Lost Son                                     In Honor of Father's Day

"There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.' So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him..."

The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

Luke 15:11-32 TNIV

"We all have our versions of events.
Who we are, who we aren't, what we've done, what that means for our future. Our worth, value, significance.
The things we believe about ourselves that we cling to despite the pain and agony they're causing us...

...What the gospel does is confront our version of our story with God's version of our story... spite of what's been done to us or what we've done, God has made peace with us."

Love Wins, Rob Bell, p 170-2 

"Sometimes the truth is better than our imagination, it's truer than the impossible. We just need to believe it."

The Love Wins Companion, Rob Bell: Chp 7 Trusting the Story God is Telling, Cathleen Falsani, p 160
What an incredibly benevolent Father we have. Enjoy Him for who He is. Celebrate His love for you.

June 10, 2012

Grape-Nuts. I checked the cereal's ingredients again this morning and there's nothing in them derived from either grapes or nuts.

Regardless of their blunt deception, I really like Grape-Nuts. I mean, you gotta give them a chance. They're one of those stick-to-your-ribs kinds of breakfast. I can have a bowlful for breakfast and I'm good to go well into the afternoon. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't care for Grape-Nuts. But that's alright. I always get the entire box all to myself.

Now, what I like to do with this straight-out-of-the-box-might-just-harm-your-dental-work crunchy cereal is let them soak in soy milk for awhile. So, while I was showering this morning, my tummy grumbling, I was soooo looking forward to my bowl of Grape-Nuts waiting for me on the bathroom counter. Mmmmm-mmm, they were sure to settle my by now quite veracious rumblings.

Stepping out of the shower, grabbing my towel and looking toward my breakfast on the counter, well, I couldn't believe my eyes. Now, I am forgetful sometimes, but I think I would have remembered eating all my Grape-Nuts.
But wait, what's this? A note...

My husband Tom was outside working in the front yard. Earlier, as he'd put on his flannel shirt and left the master bathroom he told me he'd have his cell phone on him, in case I needed him. Oh yeah! Now I remember, he'd also said something about no need to yell out the windows for him. Ah ha! He knew he was in for it and he just didn't want the neighborhood to know about it!

My text: "Tommy T Trouble! Where's my Grape-Nuts????" His text: "I ate them. Didn't you get my note?!?!?!?"

He must've sensed the coming wrath. Only a few moments passed and I received his next text: "On my bureau."

I went out to his dresser (in Oregon we call them dressers, but in Massachusetts I think they call them bureaus) and there sat my full mug, banana slices and all, just as I remembered it. Tummy relief!

So what's the point of sharing this on my "devotional" website? Well, the point is, God always comes through.
Yep, that's it. He always does. And I'm thankful. So thankful.

And you may say, "Come on, Deb. Really? It's Grape-Nuts. Just Grape-Nuts."

Well, it's more than just Grape-Nuts.

It wasn't all that long ago my son and I were recalling a hopeless and dark season in our lives.
Fifteen years ago his dad, my husband, had been torn from our lives in one fatal accident.

"I remember watching my buddies horse around, laughing and being silly," he confided in me, "and I thought,
I wonder if I'll ever be able to laugh like that again."

I remember feeling exactly the same.

It felt like life would never be alright again.

No one ever takes anyone's place, but my second husband Tom came and took a new place. And this new place makes for life not being so painfully lonely. Tom was God's custom-made rescue plan for me. God's way, in God's timing. When all I looked and prayed for was Jesus' return to rescue us from this world of hurt, Tom's the one who came into my life, got my feet back on the ground, and made me laugh again.

And nothing has given me greater joy over these past years than to watch my sons laugh again, and to laugh with them. I mean jaw-hurting, eyes-tearing, table-slapping laughter.

Life can be so unexpected. A sudden winter storm can hit when we thought it was well into spring and knock us to the ground, breathless. One day we're walking in the sunshine and the next we find ourselves swallowed up in a merciless, dark night.

But night doesn't last forever. Winter doesn't last forever. Yeah, it takes time. Painful time. But God has brought us through. He has restored joy. And I'm thankful.

He will bring you through as well.
"...The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter."

Psalms 30:5 The Message

"Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD."

Psalms 27:14 NAS
to my friend, Carrie, with hope   

June 3, 2012

"Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me..."

 "In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes).

If it were not so, I would have told you;

for I am going away to prepare a place for you.

And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.

And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way..."

"Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.

[Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].

If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—

The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him.

But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you."

John 14:1-4, 6, 12-17 AMP  
We really need to listen to what Jesus has told us. We need to listen more intently than we ever have before.

What are you saying to me, Jesus?
Open the eyes of my heart, LORD. Open the eyes of my spirit.
Show me how to apply Your Truth to my life, to my everyday life.
Help me to believe in, adhere to, trust in, rely on You, God.
I want to know You, recognize You, love you.
You say loving means obeying, so help me, LORD.

Thank You for assuring us of our hope in You for the future.
Thank You for remaining faithful, for constantly standing by us, for being right here.
Father, be glorified, be extolled through Your Son, by Your Spirit living in us.

May 27, 2012
When I'm walking,

   I can hear you talking

When I'm singing,

   You are dancing with me

You give me reason to breathe again

In fact Lord, You make it possible

And you are like

   a flower blooming in the spring

And you are like

   the colors of an autumn leaf

And you are like

   the sea in all its majesty

And that is why

   I love to be with You

You whisper

   your love in the morning

And you cradle

   my head in the evening

You give me reason

   to dance in sun

After I have been out in the cold

I Love To Be With You by Bob Fitts 
"Yet I always stay close to you, and you hold me by the hand.

You guide me with your instruction and at the end you will receive me with honor.

What else do I have in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I want on earth?

My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need.

Those who abandon you will certainly perish; you will destroy those who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, how wonderful to be near God,

   to find protection with the Sovereign Lord and to proclaim all that he has done!"

Psalms 73:23-28 GNT 

May 20, 2012

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalms 34:18 NIV

Out of nowhere, the blow came

swift and hard,

without warning.

A beloved is stolen away in a moment.

A one and only.

And we didn't even get to say good-bye.

Our hearts reel. Stunned. We stagger.

How can we bear such pain?

How can we go on?

Oh Most High,
What can we do?
What can we do for the hurting?

Pray. Weep. Pray. Take a breath.

Pray. Take a step. Day by day.

Pray. Take a meal. Pray. Do the dishes.

Pray. Hold them close. Day by day.

Pray. Weep. Pray. Send a card.

Pray. Sweep the floor. Day by day.

Pray. Bring flowers. Pray. Wash the car.

Pray. Bring a song. Day by day.

Pray. Weep. Pray. Plant a tree.

Pray. Cut the grass. Day by day.

Pray. Listen.

Pray. Listen.




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

Matthew 25:35-40 GWT 

He promises.    And He will.    Hold on.    He will.    He will.
To my hurting church family with love.

May 13, 2012                                                    H A P P Y     M O T H E R' S     D A Y !

"No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:13 HCSB

Most moms just give and give and give, expecting nothing in return; it's just what they do – it's just the way God wired them. Their greatest reward rests simply in watching their children flourish.

Perhaps many of you, like me, have a mom who's now passed away. When I think about my mom, I like to think about her enjoying new life now without the physical limitations that kept her bound during the final years of her life.

My mom had lived a very active life. Much of that activity made life richer for me. For all she did for me, I wish I could've honored her more, thanked her more, spent more time with her, while she was here.

If you've been blessed to have a mom like that, make opportunity to thank God and to thank her.

Your mom may say she doesn't need anything, but let me encourage you, while you have the chance,
love her well. It doesn't take much –
a heart-felt hug with a whisper,
"Thanks, Mom. You're the best I could ever ask for."
It won't just make her day –
it'll make her life.

If you haven't been given a mom like that, well, you still can be that kind of parent or mentor to another. You can be the gift. And it will feel just as good to be the blesser as it does to be the blessed. Even better. Great will be your reward in this life, and in the life to come. Guaranteed.

Make life sweeter, honeybee!

"I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

Then the people who have God's approval will reply to him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

The king will answer them, 'I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant [they seemed], you did for me.'"

Matthew 25:35-40 GWT 

May 6, 2012
I set out on a great adventure
The day my Father started leading me home
He said there's gonna be some mountains to climb
And some valleys we're gonna go through

But I had no way of knowing
Just how hard this journey could be
Cause the valleys are deeper
And the mountains are steeper than I ever would have dreamed

But I know we're gonna make it
And I know we're gonna get there soon
And I know sometimes it feels like we're going the wrong way
But its just the long way home

I got some rocks in my shoes
Fears I wish I could lose
That make the mountains so hard to climb
And my heart gets so heavy with the weight of the world sometimes

There's a bag of regrets,
My should've beens, and not yets
I keep on dragging around
And I can hardly wait for the day I get to lay them all down

I know that day is coming
I know it's gonna be here soon
And I won't turn back even if the whole world says I'm going the wrong way
Cause its just the long way home

When we can't take another step
The Father will pick us up and carry us in His arms
And even on the best days, He says to remember we're not home yet
So don't get too comfortable
Cause really all we are is just pilgrims passing through

Well, I know we're gonna make it
And I know we're gonna get there soon
So I keep on singing and believing
What all of my songs say

Cause our God has made a promise
And I know that everything He says is true
And I know wherever we go
He will never leave us
Cause He's gonna lead us home

Long Way Home by Steven Curtis Chapman
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown."

Revelation 3:11 TNIV

April 27, 2012
"...If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -
- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Romans 8:31b-32, 35, 37 NIV
"For those who are worn with nothing to bring but empty hands
For those who are weak, for those who can't find the strength to stand

Lord we know it's for those You've come
Lord we know it's for those You've given Your Son
Lord we know it's for those who can't come on their own
That You've come, You have come for those

For those who are poor
For those who are broken, those who mourn
For those bound by chains with no way to freedom but for grace
But for grace

If You are for us, who can be against us
Who can be against Your own  
If You are with us who can separate us
Who can separate Your own"

For Those by Rush of Fools

April 22, 2012
"And therefore the Lord earnestly waits expecting, looking, and longing to be gracious to you;

and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.

For the Lord is a God of justice.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who earnestly wait for Him,

who expect and look and long for Him for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy,

and His matchless, unbroken companionship!"

Isaiah 30:18 AMP
"You dance over me while I am unaware     You sing all around      But I never hear the sound    

Lord, I'm amazed by You...     How You love me

You paint the morning sky with miracles In mind     My hope will always stand     For you hold me in Your hand

Lord, I'm amazed by You...     How You love me

How wide     How deep     How great is Your love for me"

Amazed by Jared Anderson
Why is it, LORD, how is it, LORD, that You love us so unconditionally, so relentlessly? My viewpoint, so very limited and small, witnesses countless actions that must break Your heart… over… and over… and over. I don't know how You continue to love us so, love me so. But I'm so glad that you do. The more I learn of You, the more I fall deeper in awe, deeper in love with You. Your love is amazing. Truly amazing. There is none like You.
sunrise on Mt Jefferson, central Oregon

April 15, 2012
"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--

the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven

and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing,

just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth..."

"...For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you

and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord

and may please him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might

so that you may have great endurance and patience,

and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,

who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Colossians 1:3-6, 9-14 NIV

April 8, 2012                                  H E     I S     R I S E N !           J E S U S     I S     A L I V E !

"...but the angel said, "Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified.
He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead!"

Mark 16:6 NLT

"When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life."

Romans 6:4 NCV

"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power."

Colossians 3:1 NLT

"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him.

I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me.

For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."

Philippians 3:8-14 NIV

April 1, 2012

"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.' Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'"

Matthew 26:36-39 NIV

"Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor...

...'What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?' Pilate asked.
They all answered, 'Crucify him!'
'Why? What crime has he committed?' asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!'

...Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. 'Hail, king of the Jews!' they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him...

...From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'--which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'...

...And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth shook and the rocks split.
The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely he was the Son of God!'"

Matthew 27:1-2, 22-23, 27-31, 45-46, 50-54 NIV

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see -- kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together. Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once so far away from God."

Colossians 1:15-21 NLT

March 25, 2012

"Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions.

Some people's faith allows them to eat anything, but the person who is weak in the faith eats only vegetables. The person who will eat anything is not to despise the one who doesn't; while the one who eats only vegetables is not to pass judgment on the one who will eat anything; for God has accepted that person.

"Who are you to judge the servants of someone else? It is their own Master who will decide whether they succeed or fail. And they will succeed, because the Lord is able to make them succeed.

Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We each should firmly make up our own minds.

We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only.

If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Every one of us, then, will have to give an account to God.

So then, let us stop judging one another.

Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make others stumble or fall into sin.

So then, we must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another.

Do not, because of food, destroy what God has done. The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall. Keep what you believe about this matter, then, between yourself and God.

Happy are those who do not feel guilty when they do something they judge is right! But if they have doubts about what they eat, God condemns them when they eat it, because their action is not based on faith. And anything that is not based on faith is sin."

Romans 14 GNT

"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Ephesians 4:3 TNIV

March 18, 2012
"The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.

They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies;
yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world..."
"...The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight to life.

Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair.

They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.

They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.

Keep me from deliberate sins! Don't let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."

Psalms 19:1-4, 8-14 NLT

March 11, 2012

"Even the wilderness will rejoice in those days. The desert will blossom with flowers."

Isaiah 35:1 NLT

"First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people...

This is good and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth.

For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race.

That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved..."

1 Tim 2:1,3-6 GNT

"I will show love to those who were called 'Unloved,'
and to those who were called 'Not-My-People' I will say, 'You are my people,'
and they will answer, 'You are our God.'"

Hosea 2: 23b GNT

March 4, 2012

"Then Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and said, 'O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.

My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.'"

Luke 10:21-22 NLT

Jesus, I long to see all You desire for me to see.

February 25, 2012
Waiting for Spring

"The Lord is not slow

in doing what he promised --

the way some people

understand slowness.

But God is being patient

with you.

He does not want anyone

to be lost,

but he wants all people

to change their hearts and lives."

2 Peter 3:9 NCV

"Remember that while our Lord is waiting patiently to return, people are being saved."

2 Peter 3:15 NIRV

February 19, 2012

"Christ means everything to me in this life"

Philippians 1:21 GW

    God in my living
    There in my breathing
    God in my waking
    God in my sleeping

    God in my resting
    There in my working
    God in my thinking
    God in my speaking

    Be my everything

    God in my hoping
    There in my dreaming
    God in my watching
    God in my waiting

    God in my laughing
    There in my weeping
    God in my hurting
    God in my healing

    Christ in me
    Christ in me
    Christ in me
    The hope of glory

    You are everything

            by Tim Hughes

"God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious secret which he has for all people.

This secret is Christ himself, who is in you.

He is our only hope for glory.

So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone,
in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ.

To do this, I work and struggle, using Christ's great strength that works so powerfully in me."

Colossians 1:27-29 NCV

Nesika Beach, Southern Oregon Coast

February 12, 2012

"At that time Jesus said, 'Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen...

'Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.

For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.'"

Matthew 11:25-30 GNT

"If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free."

John 8:36 GNT
Agate Beach, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon

February 6, 2012

It was a beautiful crisp day yesterday so I headed out to see if I could find any first blooms promising Spring.

Crocuses are usually the first noticeable flowers to appear on the tail of winter in my neighborhood, but I found none – of no surprise with frost yet clinging to the shadows even at mid day. The only blooms found, soaking in the sunshine, braving still frosty nights and chilly days, were these tiny blues (what I think are Persian Speedwells), only about the size of a rolled oat.

Then across the way this towering Pampas caught my eye. Its graceful white plumes reached radiantly into the mighty blue sky, unashamed while most of the world remained asleep in winter's grasp. My small zoom lens brought the view a little closer to the 10-ft high glittering fronds in my attempt to capture this scene for you.

Gazing up into them, something stirred deep within, even ached, for God's righteousness.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.

'For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.'

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."

Isaiah 61:1-11 NIV

Ah LORD God, Your great and yet mysterious promises call out to my soul. 

January 29, 2012
"Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:9 NCV

Never stop growing. Never stop learning.

God will ever breath further understanding into our heart and mind, if we are open–
revelation regarding who He is,
revelation regarding who we are,
revelation regarding what it means to pray, "Your Kingdom come, O God."

We shall ever be in need of God aligning our perspective with His.

The more I learn, the less I know.   Socrates

"Call to me and I will answer you.

I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own."

Jeremiah 33:3 MSG

January 22, 2012
"How long will you forget me, Lord? Forever? How long will you hide from me?

How long must I worry and feel sad in my heart all day? How long will my enemy win over me?

Lord, look at me. Answer me, my God; tell me, or I will die.

Otherwise my enemy will say, 'I have won!' Those against me will rejoice that I've been defeated..."

Psalms 13:1-4 NCV

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."

Isaiah 42:16 NIV

"...I trust in your love. My heart is happy because you saved me.

I sing to the Lord because he has taken care of me."

Psalms 13:5-6 NCV

God is yet writing your story.

January 15, 2012

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I'm still hurting
Wondering if I'll ever be
The one I think I am
I think I am

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me
Is only there because of who you are
Who you are

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan
As you daily recreate me
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me

    All I Every Have To Be written by Gary Chapman

"I'm convinced that God, who began this good work in you,

will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 1:6 GW

Just take life one day at a time. Make sure to spend plenty of time with Him, just sitting at His feet, soaking Him in.
He won’t let you miss His heart for you. 

January 8, 2012                                                               Y O U   S H I N E
"Are you cheerful because you belong to Christ? Does his love comfort you? Is the Holy Spirit your companion? Has Christ been gentle and loving toward you?

Then make my joy complete by agreeing with each other. Have the same love. Be one in spirit and purpose.

Don't do anything only to get ahead. Don't do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others..."

"...You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does. In his very nature he was God. But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to. Instead, he made himself nothing. He took on the very nature of a servant. He was made in human form. He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. So God lifted him up to the highest place. He gave him the name that is above every name.

When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone's knee will bow to worship him. Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him. Everyone's mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord. And God the Father will receive the glory.

My dear friends, you have always obeyed God...So continue to work out your own salvation. Do it with fear and trembling.

God is working in you. He wants your plans and your acts to be in keeping with his good purpose.

Do everything without finding fault or arguing. Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world.

Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens."

Philippians 2:1-15 NIRV  

winter rose

January 1, 2012
"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him; and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'

'No one, sir,' she said.

'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"

John 8:1-11 NIV
My pastor Tim taught on this message this morning, and there doesn’t seem another message more apropos for the first day of the new year:

It’s never too late for a new start with Christ.

No one is ever too far gone that we should give up praying for them, or that we should give up on ourselves. 
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Hebrews 12:1 NIV
What hinders? What entangles?

Join me in getting real with God regarding our own life and heart. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8 NIV) Yet, because His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) we can bravely face the truth about ourselves.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalms 139:23-24 NLT)

What road has God marked out for you in 2012?

Let's open our hearts to ask Him. In boldly laying our lives before Him, we can arise in the strength He supplies to overcome whatever stands in our way. Let's seek out His wisdom for the specific steps to put action to His desires for us, one step at a time.

May you feel complete and live victorious in 2012. 

sunrise over my homeland, a new day

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