Monday, January 31, 2011

This is how I write.......

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write......" 2 Thessalonians 3:16,17

I saw it laying on the table when I got home......a letter from my Dad. Again I thought, I will miss not seeing one of these, someday. So personal, handwritten letters. Like a bit of that person traveling across the miles. Their mark is on it, in their own handwriting. I call him before I read it, "He says to me, "Well, after you read it you may be sorry....." I was not. Emails are great, they are instantaneous, they are convenient, but nothing beats a handwritten letter. There is much you can read in between the lines, you can sense the depth of their feelings and their emotions by how they form their letters, how big or small the writing is, how it scrawls across the page.

When someone sends a handwritten letter or card, they are saying to me:

"This is really important and I want you to hear what I am saying."
"I want to show you how important you are to me."
"I trust you with these feelings."

It is hard for me to throw anything handwritten away......As I leaf through the pages of Dad's letter, I feel that there are not so many miles between us after all.

A couple of times in my life I have gotten a long letter from my brother, one time very unexpectedly and at a time when I really needed it. I never forgot it, I remember riding somewhere on my bicycle with the precious cargo laying in my basket...feeling the strength from it.

Letters have tremendous power. In war times, letter carriers masqueraded as harbingers of hope or angels of death. We are all seen the bicycle-riding, telegram bearing scene in the movies, how everything and everyone stopped and held their breath, hoping that it wasn't their house, their door......My Parent's generation remembers those times.

Over and over in his letters Paul states......"I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand" He wanted there to be no mistaking his message or who wrote it.

Maybe someone specific is on your mind today. Their name keeps coming up and won't go away. I encourage you to sit and write them out a note, a letter. Maybe you don't mail it, just leave it where they can find it. Maybe they will do the same.

Counting along with the gratitude community today.......toward 1000 but not stopping there, grateful for all the ways God speaks to me:

In the written word of ones I love, in the sunrise and sunset, His salutation of love, His Spirit who prompts me to love others, sparks of spontaneous joy at unexpected times, in the words of gifted teachers of the Word, through kindness of strangers, through answers to specific prayers, through hope that never leaves, nature who always speaks loudly of His touch, through the community of believers called His church.....#622-632

holy experience

photo from google images

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Imagining how it was.....

I was asked the other day if I thought Jesus did He ever walk down the road and break into song? I said I thought He probably did. The Bible says He sang songs of worship with His disciples, and He was filled with the Spirit so, yes I believe there were times when He spontaneously burst into song. Just imagining that set my mind in motion. Can you imagine hearing Him sing, or laugh? Seeing His face light up with a smile?

I think sometimes it is hard for us to think of Jesus as fully human. But I love to imagine Jesus doing the simple things of life. Walking down the road with His friends, or maybe helping His Mom with a task around the house, sitting down to dinner with His family. It is hard for us, for me anyway, to imagine Him being silly or joking around. Did He tease His Mother? Pull a practical joke on His brothers or sisters? I like to think He did. He was after all, fully God but also fully man, and fully human. 

I like to imagine those simple times when He greeted His friends with a smile or put an arm around them while walking, lifting His face to Heaven while He prayed, or sang a song, swung a child around just to listen to them laugh.

I like this form of meditation, imagining Jesus and how it was..... I think that many times He probably felt very burdened when He looked out over the crowds, at the immensity of the need, the desperation. I think it made Him sad many times, when people just didn't get the message, couldn't grasp His love for them.

But I also think there were times when Jesus had to lighten the mood by cracking a joke.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Church Etiquette

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14

Has something like this ever happened to you? You are sitting in church, trying desperately not to be distracted, but directly in front of you is a couple who can't seem to keep their hands off each other. It happened to me this past Sunday. Now this was not a young teen aged couple, they should have known better. They were 30 something, maybe even 40. What made it worse was this was during communion. I elbowed Elaine, sitting next to me who I knew was trying just as hard as I was to keep focused. Usually I can focus. Rattling papers, whispering, people walking up and down the aisle, no problem.....I can pay attention.

It went on and on.......I had so many crazy thoughts. I was almost ready to wad up my program and toss it in their direction. Where is the mischievous little boy throwing spit wads in class? I wished he was there. C'mon, we are trying to have a Holy moment here! Concentrate, breathe........focus. Even the Pastor, who was right in my line of vision and theirs, was looking at them.

He had his hand wound up in her hair, and she was making (as my Dad would say) cow eyes at him. She even puckered her lips at him, I swear! My mind twittered thoughts right and left......."at least they could have sat in the back row.....don't they have any clue about church etiquette? Why are they here? They really need to get a room."

Finally, at a loss as to what to do, I prayed for them, and for me. I know it was Jesus idea. It did help, it diffused the irritation. Opened the channels to a bit of love and understanding.....everyone has to start somewhere after all.

What do you think? Was it good that they were there regardless of how they acted? Had something like this happened to you?

"What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up." 1 Corinthians 14:26

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nothing to say?

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings

Whenever I start to write anything, I notice two voices speaking at once. The one that says, yes this feeling is true, someone will relate to this, you have something to offer. And then there is the other rising up simultaneously.....Oh that will never do, you really have nothing to say today, who do you think you are, the nerve....what do you think you are, an authority? You are really making a fool of yourself with that one.....Then I remember, if God is moving in my life, there is always something to say. If I am alive, that is reason enough to write about it!

I look at this picture above and wonder who chopped that wood, and then I think of the time my Dad and I stacked wood together. Every now and then he reminds me of it. I look at the photographer's name, Brunhilde Reinig and I hear my Grandmother's voice speaking in German to her sisters, I remember that I love you in German is Ich Leibe Dich......and I wish that could have been said and done, instead of the Holocaust and I wonder again how it could have happened. I think of the German speaking people who did good, who hid Jews at the risk of their own lives.....

I think of the trip to the grocery store yesterday with my best friend and her Mom who is suffering with Alzheimer's. It was sad, it was tragic, and yet there were some humorous moments. She always has to get three items no matter what....potatoes, ice-cream and hamburger.....And we always have to go in the same door. And she gets insulted if you tell her to make a list. My friend tells me even when she was in her right mind she was insulted if you suggested a list. Funny how disease touches some parts and leaves some parts untouched......

I think of she and her brother, each of whom have grieved both parents already, neither one are the person they were before. I think of the many divorced people out there who are grieving walking dead.....dead to them anyway. What heartache they carry. I think of how wonderful it is that little green shoots of love can bloom again in that same born again.

Yes, as long as there is life, there are words to say.
As long as there is God, there is Spirit movement......and hope. by Brunhilde Reinig

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clay jar or crystal pitcher?

"Give your entire attention to what is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:34 The Message

I lost a day to worry. That opened the door to depression. Thinking about events on "the road ahead." I was bogged down and I couldn't see things clearly. I have touched on the fact that I am a worrier before. But Jesus commands us not to worry. This is a problem if I want to live for Him! I hate to think of the many moments and days I have wasted on events that may or may not happen. It all comes down to one thing.....When I worry I am living for myself and not for God. When I worry I am taking Him off the throne of my heart and life!  

Paul was having some discouraging moments dealing with the Corinthian church. He was right in the thick of things, not like me, worrying about things that haven't happened yet, he was fighting a real battle. I can imagine that he was in prayer, and God spoke to him about the clay jars lining the walls. I can imagine him feeling as humble and lowly as one of those jars. But God showed him how valuable he was and he spoke these very wise words......
"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. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Paul knew where his strength was, I forgot for awhile. A few weeks ago out of the blue I thought of a song that I sang years ago. I had totally forgotten about it, but as I remembered it tears sprang to my eyes. That particular time, life was simpler (or maybe it just seemed so)......I was young and life was not so complicated. I had yielded myself to God and I saw His power work through me in a way that I never forgot.While I was thinking of that song a beautiful image came to my mind, an image of a crystal pitcher with clear water being poured into it. I have wondered about it ever since. Then this morning I read this:

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb." Revelation 22:1 

I think He was trying to tell me that He sees me as that crystal pitcher filling with the water of life......His life. Most days I feel just like that little clay jar, humble, weak and scarred; yet He has poured His pure Spirit inside of me and even now is turning me into that Waterford crystal vase, sparkling with His life, reflecting His light for all to see. He sees me as the finished product already and wants me to see myself that way too!

This is the comfort I bring today......."For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

If Paul can carry on right in the thick of the battle, I can surely carry on when the things I am worried about haven't even happened yet!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lori's prayer closet: God moments.....

Taken from the is acting up today! on link below.

Lori's prayer closet: God moments.....: "You know those times when you are just going about your day and you feel an inexplicible feeling of joy? It's as if for one solitary minute ..."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Faith takes over.......

Sometimes the words aren't there, but the gratefulness still is.
Sometimes faith has to take over when you have momentarily misplaced hope.
Sometimes you have to be reminded that God is still God, and that
everything is going to be okay.

And things are still very good indeed, it is your mind that is
temporarily looking at things askew. Temporarily is the key.
Because things always turn around, I know that for a fact.

I am so thankful for those in my life that have surrounded me over the years,
when I have felt like this, come alongside and believed with me.....

Yes, it will be okay.

There are many more reasons for praise than for despair.
You start counting, and before you know it,
you are restored, I am restored.

Thank you to all of know who you are.
This post is dedicated to you today.

sun through clouds, voices of hope, hands grabbing mine, prayers sent with my name on them, smiling eyes over lunch, beautiful songs that leave you breathless, God in the silence listening always, listening, dawn breaking inside and knowing where it is coming from, blogger friends, friends old and new, memories that bring smiles, laughter in the midst of tears.......#609-621

The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me. Psalm 116:4,5

holy experience

photos: google images

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Prayer Cave

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4

It was very cozy in my prayer shed/closet today. I lit the little stove in the corner as well as the lantern that sits on top of the roll around toolchest......It was windy and cold, and the windchimes sang the accompanyment to my prayer this morning. I was thankful, so thankful for this moment, these moments that come at the start of every day. He has brought me through another week.

As I end my prayer I think of going out for a walk, but as I open the door it blows in like a gust......and I sit back down. Maybe a bit more prayer instead.....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Say what???

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

It has never been hard for me to accept the Genesis account of the fall of man. I guess because I can easily see that as good and beautiful this world is, what we had before was much, much better. Why would God make something as wonderful as bearing children so very painful, if not for the fall. I have tried to grow things and I can attest to the fact that it is toil. The Bible teaches creation itself to be under a curse. This is very easy for me to believe as well. All I have to do is look around.

I can imagine that it was so much better than this, yes. Even as good as it is. I can imagine being unhindered by time and space, by death. I can imagine colors we have never dreamed of, walking through walls, and time travel.

I have always assumed that Eve was tempted by Satan but the Bible says that it was a serpent. Well, Satan working throught the serpent. It also says that he only slithered on the ground after the fall. I think he was probably a very captivating and stunning creature, and of course extremely crafty and intelligent.

What amazes me though was that Eve didn't seem surprised that this creature talked. Can someone correct my theology here? Even if it was Satan talking through the beast, don't you think Eve would have been just a little surprised? What if your dog or cat started talking all of a sudden? Whoa......

No, if I had been Eve, I think the conversation would have been different.

The Serpent: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve: Dumbfounded that the serpent was actually talking, she ran to get Adam. "Come quick, you gotta hear this."

So was the serpent talking all along? Did all the animals talk? Was C.S. Lewis onto something?

When I think of how it must have been in Eden, my head spins. If Hollywood can create wonderful, magical worlds like Oz, Narnia, Middle-earth, and Pandora, just think what God could do. And by the way, the Bible never said it was an apple either. I think it was probably one of the most beautiful sparkling luscious things we could ever see. I think it caught the light and danced on the limbs like prisms....

photo credit: google images

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bought another goat!

I bought another goat this year through World Vision. This is a wonderful gift. You have heard it takes a village to raise a child, well these goats can raise a small village. Well, okay a family anyway. They use the milk to make cheese and they also use the manure to fertilize their crops. The goats can also provide income for the family by being able to sell extra dairy products and produce at market. You can donate in someone else's name and they will get a card in the mail notifying them of the gift, which is pretty cool!

I have donated to World Vision for many years.....there are other wonderful organizations out there who are doing great work also, Compassion International and also Heifer International are some others you can check out who also participate in the animal donation program.

Of course the skeptic in me rises up and wonders if my goat really gets there, or if there is a goat at all, or if my money actually goes where it says it goes. I see the cute little picture of a smiling child with an adorable baby goat and I hope and pray that a few seconds after the photo, the goat is snatched away and.....well, never mind......You can ease your mind by checking out the accreditation's on all the websites and you can also view all of your donations online. I encourage you to do your own research.

I always feel that if you donate your money to a reputable organization, the blessing will come back to you.

So where's my goat? I did an online search and found someone else who was asking the same question. He actually did a documentary that chronicles his journey to Zambia to track down his charitable goat. See the website here.

I have a warm fuzzy about buying this goat and I pray it is a blessing wherever it goes.

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where isn't God.....

"Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." Psalm 103:2-5

I have always wondered why people who don't really give much thought to God blame Him when catastrophes happen. They ask, "Where was God?" Most of the time they say it when especially evil people do terrible things to innocent people. Every terrible event in history it seems to come up again. I heard it concerning the Holocaust, events in Africa, every war that has ever been fought. And here at home it came up again after 9/11.

When it's a natural disaster, the question comes up again. They say: "Why did God allow this? I have also  heard some Christians try to pin it on God as His judgment on whoever got struck down.
Why didn't God do something? The question should rather be, "Why didn't we do something, or for that matter, "Why didn't I do something?"  We are creatures of free-will, and that was given to us as a supreme gift from God. This is a sacred gift, and He will not take it away. We can use it to do good, or use it to cause tremendous grief and suffering for others. Yes, He could certainly stop all evil for good, and someday He will. But the time is not now. It has been said.....
“Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”~British statesman Edmund Burke
The truth is, evil flourishes anyway. It just flourishes more when good people do nothing. It is the result of sin, and that is a word we don't use much anymore.

God was watching, has been watching, and His heart has broken along with all those who have suffered loss. He has been there in every foxhole and trench, every death camp and burned village, in the towers that fell. I have heard the stories. His Spirit was there residing in people who came alongside to help, hiding people at the risk of their own life, putting people on trains to freedom, getting people to safety, jumping in front of bullets raining death.

Believe me, I understand about asking why and where when you are in deep sorrow. Some people have gone through some things so horrific, so unimaginably terrible that I can't imagine how they got through it, are getting through it. But I do know this, it is possible to get through it victoriously with Him but not without Him.

When Jesus was on the cross they scoffed, "Where is Your God?" What they couldn't understand was that by His very act He was saying....."I am right here."

“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

If you are going through something right now that you think is unfair, unwarranted and you feel neglected and abandoned by God, please draw comfort from the fact that He is surely with you. He still loves you and He is working for your ultimate good.

Maybe you are asking where He is. He understands that. The asking is in itself an acknowledgement of Him. That is something He can work with.

photo credit: Anna Cervova

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Written Word......

“Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Revelation 1:19

There is power in the written word. When someone writes something down, in essence they are saying, "Come with me." They want to take you to a particular place they have been or want to go. It is a journey they are on, and they want you to go too. They are expressing a feeling that just has to be let out; let out and captured all at the same time. If you ask a writer why they write, I think they would all say the same thing. "Because I have to." Once words are written down they tend to take on a life of their own, but only after they are read.

There is a bit of magic in writing too......a bit of the turning water into wine metamorphosis. By that I mean that sometimes, just sometimes that notion that is floating around in your head is captured just the way you felt it. When this happens it is something of a miracle! If someone compliments you on it, that is icing on the cake. The fact that you captured it is the reward. The reason why you do it.

I think of the early church leaders scratching Holy words out onto the parchments. Bent over by candlelight, lamplit, light of dawn's early morning.....light from prison cell window..... Ever feel like something just writes itself? I think of the mystery of how the Spirit of God breathed Holy words into a Spirit led people over a span of hundreds of years and yet turned out a perfectly cohesive whole, interwoven and seal-proof, a tightly woven basket that holds All Truth....It stands on its own, and it will stand forever as all truth does.

I think that when we write we do something very powerful. We let others know who we are.....That is why God wanted us to have His Book, so that we could know who He is.

I think of how the Word was always there even before the beginning of life as we know it, and I think of how it was made into flesh.....the flesh of Jesus.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

photo credit:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wish you were here!

As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights. Psalm 18:30-33

Sorry everyone! I had my post all done this morning and poof! It was gone and no getting it back........I had a wonderful post all ready about worry and how I do too much of it......but it wasn't meant to be and now you came for inspiration and all you get is this picture of me on Monday's hike! The weather here in Arizona is a bit of heaven right now. It makes up for the months of living like you are inside a pizza oven in summer. I wish you all could have this weather.......72 and sunny right now.

Well, the inspiration of Psalm 18 is more than enough to set you in those high secure places....Blessings and peace from the desert.

I was happy to see the bench empty.....

all pics from iphone

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Path to Freedom

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. Acts 2:28

I have recently started to hit the trail a bit again, since the weather is so spectacular now here in Arizona. I grew up hiking, so it is something familiar to me. I greet the trail like an old friend. Hiking is a bit like life. I have been on some hikes that I absolutely thought I could go no further. The trail became the enemy and I hated every step I took, I cursed every bend and corner. The end result was the only thing that kept me going. That, and the fact that I had encouragers along the way. The funny thing was though, once I got to the top I tended to forget how hard it was. With distance, the pain faded a bit. Its easy to laugh about knees shaking like jackhammers after you're off the trail.

In life and hiking there are times when you reach a point where you simply don't have it in you to keep going.

In one of Martin Luther Kings recorded sermons he tells about such a time. He had just gotten another phone call, a death threat, threatening he and his whole family. Not long before he had been arrested and thrown in jail for driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. He was sitting at his kitchen table, a cold cup of coffee before him. He was trying to figure a way out. How he could turn it all over to someone else and go back to the quiet life of a scholar like he had planned. Here is how he describes that moment:

"I discovered then that religion had to become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I will never forget it......I prayed a prayer, and I prayed out loud that night. I said, "Lord, I am down here trying to do what's right. I think I'm right. I think the cause that we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I'm weak now. I'm faltering. I'm losing my courage."

It was then that he heard an inner voice......."Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo I will be with you, even until the end of the world."  Three nights later a bomb exploded on the front porch of King's home, filling the house with smoke and broken glass but injuring no one. He took it calmly: "My religious experience a few nights before had given me the strength to face it."

We have all reached that crossroads.......we ask the question: "How can I get out of this?" We can't take another step. We want escape. But it is at that point where the Holy Spirit comes in and does what we can't do. He takes over.......Peter was at that point after he denied Jesus, but what happened just a few days after that? The day of Pentecost! After Peter was done preaching those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:41

Lord, I am thankful for all those who didn't give up in the fight for freedom. The ones still fighting today. I thank you for Your Precious Holy Spirit because now you are not only walking beside us, but are actually within us! Thank you for all those times when You picked me up when I thought I couldn't go on. I continue numbering my gifts today, though I know I can never put a number on what you have done, it is infinite......the numbers teach me much about You......sleeping in peace without angry steps at the door.....getting to enjoy the view after the climb.....the prayers of encouragers along the way......freedom to go to school without worship without windows without bars......weakness that causes me to lean on You.....laughter to lighten the way......little streams that sing songs of hope....yes you can! #598-608

holy experience

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just an ordinary day.......

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13 NKJV

The really good stuff in life is made up of ordinary days, many of them over a long period of time, like a string of beautiful pearls...or maybe I will say opals, I have always loved the fire in them. Tragedies all start with ordinary days that begin like any other. You get up, and if you are like me you have coffee right away, soon after you hit the floor.

I remember I slept in on September 11, 2001.....I was awakened by a phone conversation I heard taking place in the next room, my roommate talking with my Mom. I heart snatches of, "Yes, I am watching it now...." and "No, she is not awake yet....." I will never forget that day, the moment.....starting out like any other.

Another day many years ago started with irritability on my part, with my new husband.......I was critical, I was not kind. I remember being focused on what I wanted, not really thinking of him. It wasn't terrible, there were no raised voices, but we did end up separating and doing different things that day. I should add that we came together marvelously later that afternoon....but that is not what I remember the day he died. I remember what happened earlier.

That taught me a lesson that I have kept close. Ordinary days are anything but ordinary. They are all a gift.

So today, over that cup of coffee, catch their eye and hold it for a moment longer.....tell them you love them so they really believe it. Grab their hand as they walk by. Swing them around for an impromptu dance in the kitchen. As my best friend is fond of saying...."sometimes you just gotta give it a little dance...."

Laugh for no reason........Make the call if you are far away. Lori

photo credit: vojko kalan

Friday, January 14, 2011

Behold Your God......

A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8

Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture......the imagery in it captures my imagination. As I read it I see Isaiah stepping up to a giant canvas, brush in hand.....waiting to see what God will do. The canvas seems to take on a life of its own as the Spirit speaking through him begins to fill it with all the colors of Heaven and earth, lush valleys, flowering meadows, lush streams and God, the Master Creator above it all.....He paints a stark picture of the brevity of our lives, the futility of trying to live a life without God......the breath of His mouth blowing us into the dust we started out as. He is over all, in all and through all.

But then here in verse 11 is another picture he paints of God.....

"He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young."

......that of God as Gentle Shepherd wanting to heal a wounded Israel, a wounded world.......

Saint Jerome says of Isaiah: "He was more of an Evangelist than a Prophet, because he described all of the Mysteries of the Church of Christ so vividly that you would assume he was not prophesying about the future, but rather was composing a history of past events. "

In the midst of all this beauty we see another picture start to form.......all the vivid colors of the painting melt away with the fervent heat of a relentless desert scene and a lone figure walks down a dusty road. We hear the shouts of John the Baptist carried across the desert wind and we watch the crowds coming out to see this crazy fool of a man who was telling them to repent. They couldn't stop themselves from listening because somewhere deep inside they recognized truth.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

The lonely figure is now walking towards us and as He gets closer, we see that He is wearing a crown of thorns and bleeding, stumbling under the weight of a massive cross......."Behold the man," Pilate says, and then he turns and washes his hands as if he could dismiss Jesus that easily....His wife watches from a distance, eyes sunken in from lack of sleep from the nightmares she had the night before....about Jesus. Matt. 27:19

Suddenly it all comes together.........Isaiah states: Behold Your God! The statement itself demands a response from us. Isaiah rings with promise.....we no longer have to wait. The highway in the desert has been built, it is straight and plain and visible for all to see. There are many other roads to take but only this one leads to Heaven.....
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
photo credit: by Anna Cervova

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On leaving 2010 behind......

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

You know those Cd's you can buy with highlights only? I have one with Phantom of the Opera. It's what you buy when you don't want to hear everything in between the parts you really like. It isn't really fair because you are getting a cut and paste version of what was supposed to be a full story. Looking back over the past year is a bit like buying one of those cut and paste versions. Highlights rise to the surface, things I want to remember so I pause and turn them over again in my mind....they are important and I don't want to forget.

I know the old year is gone and the new one has rushed in to take its place, very fast I might add......but still I find myself wanting to pause for just a moment, still caught a bit in the afterglow of last year. So I share these treasures with you as I hold them dear, I clasp them to my heart and commit them to memory. I write some down so they will be kept safe, though I know they are etched into my heart forever and have already become part of the fabric of my soul.

Catching the dogwood in full bloom in Yosemite......a nature poetry book given to me by my brother with the inscription, "I love you more than you know...."with another note beside his favorite quotation......

Praying with my Dad in the dark of a very early morning.... Hearing my Mom say to me...."That reminds me of a day with you...." After listening to the song A Perfect Day....Cold walks in the park in the evening with my Dad watching my niece hang upside down on the bars....

My wonderful and amazing friend who made my "prayer closet" like home with laminate floors she toiled and installed herself......Helping my Mom get her decorations out for Christmas one more time....surprising my Mom and Dad with a sign on the downtown marquee celebrating their 60th Anniversary.

A full five minute conversation with my very excited niece of 8, words and phrases all jumbled together, but I heard the love loud and clear and I couldn't stop smiling because I have hoped and prayed for it for so long....I still hear it even now.

Conversations and good times with neighbors who have become friends.......a restored special friendship I thought lost.

Evenings by the fire and learning the hard way that you can't re-light fake logs without creating much black smoke! Being caught in the rain on first evening in Monterey during sabbatical and running into a cozy pub for a bite knowing I had two months off work ahead of me....with pay....oh the joy, where did the time go?

Well, there are a few of them....I am grateful to God for each and every one of these moments, knowing that He holds them all together and binds us all together in love. I can't imagine experiencing even one of them without Him in my life......Now make your own list, and see if you don't smile in the remembering.....

Oh it's such a perfect day,
I'm glad I spent it with you.
Oh such a perfect day,
You just keep me hanging on....Lou Reed

May your own 2011 be filled with many of those perfect days and God's comfort and strength when they aren't......I treasure each and every one of you my blogging friends and readers.

photo from my iphone, Pacific Coast Highway 1

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fellowship of the Unashamed

An African martyr's last words.......

I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast, I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is
redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I'm finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small
planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions,
mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way
is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.
I won't give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I've preached up, prayed up,
paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.
I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach
until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no
problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes........." Romans 1:16

Since time is short today, I thought I would share this writing that I found. When I read it I can hear the echoes of the Apostle Paul as he travels from city to city with the Gospel message. Once his life's work was persecuting the church, and by the end of his life he is ready to die and does die for the cause of Christ. What happened in between? He met Jesus. What happened to this African martyr? He met Jesus.

Will He be able to recognize me? is a sobering question, but one I think I can never stop asking.

 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get thee up into a high mountain.....

Or even one that is not so high, but high enough......

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
Isaiah 40:9

There is something very good and healing about climbing a mountain, even a hill. You get a clearer perspective on things, you see things down below, sounds rise up as you climb higher, and you forget your problems for a bit, they tend to shrink while you are up there. Your eyes are on the trail. Where I live you have to watch for rattlesnakes sunning themselves on the rocks.  Believe me, my eyes were peeled yesterday. It was a gorgeous day in Arizona, the sun was shining brightly and there were many out enjoying the day and I was sure the snakes felt the same way......but there were none that I could see.

It was so what I needed. With my first step I felt lighter, with every step I felt my heart lighten, my spirits lift.

The Bible talks about going up to God's holy mountain.....that captures my imagination because I love hiking. I grew up in California, hiking the Sierra Nevada in Yosemite.
The desert is a bit different, but the feeling I get is the same. Climbing for the joy of it, the view all along the way.

Channels of communication tend to open up........You don't have all the interruptions, the telephone, computer, chores,'s just you and your companion and the sound of footfalls. You hear a birdcall you may not have heard before and you ask, "What was that?" In a few short moments you are reconnected with someone and something you have missed.....maybe without even realizing it. Conversation flows freely.

The time is precious and I feel I something has been redeemed......I have been redeemed.
Thank you God for reminding me again why I need to do this....

Here is Elaine on the trail......she insisted that i was trying to kill her for taking the Huff and Puff trail, yes, it is actually called that.....She thanked me later!

It was a very good day.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31
all photos taken from my iphone

Monday, January 10, 2011

He is near......

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

This evening I wish to draw our hearts together in prayer for the victims of the tragic shooting that happened here in our Arizona. I pray for the families of the 6 who were killed and the 14 wounded 2 of whom are still critical. Words can't express the suffering they and their families are going through now, and I pray that God will bring His comfort and healing to all involved.

One man was a church leader who covered his wife as the shooting started, she survived, he did not. A little girl born on 9-11 was also killed, each and every one were equally important to God and will be grieved by family members and friends.
Nothing escapes His notice.......Thank you for praying as I join with churches across our state and country in vigils tonight for the victims and all involved.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And it was Very Good.......

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

I  like to think of that first day after creation, when God paused and called it very good. The Bible says He rested, but we all know that God neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4) so it wasn't that He needed a rest. He did it for us. To show us the pattern we needed to live successfully on this earth. So today, I pause as the Trinity did on that day. I like to imagine that day and when I do, I imagine all three members of the Holy family in a circle with Adam and Eve, the animals looking on curiously from the fringe......

I imagine them dancing in the sunlight, and yes a bit of resting too, as they sat back to enjoy the fruits of their labor. That was the first Church service for Adam and Eve as they reveled in everything they saw around them. As they praised and thanked their Creators for giving them life, lavishing on them, loving them.......It was a perfect day.

So today, I pause and thank Him for all of the same. Bringing me to the end of yet another week in good to enjoy some time off and remember where all this comes from. To praise Him, to thank Him yet again. To remember that He could have created all this in a nanosecond, but instead He did it in seven days just for me and all of us. For us to remember that this day is different from all the rest......

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:1-3

photo credits: google images

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The "S" Word

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
sub·mit (səb mit′) present or refer to others for decision, consideration, etc. yield to the action, control, power, etc. of another or others; also, to subject or allow to be subjected to treatment, analysis, etc. of some sort: often used reflexively offer as an opinion; suggest; propose

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church"—Ephesians 5:21-29

This is a tough concept for us, even in the Church, although it shouldn't be. I think that these verses are some of the most misused and misunderstood in the Bible. They have been used by men, including clergy, to make women feel quilty about leaving abusers. They have also been used by women against other women.....but when we think of submit, we have to think of Christ first. He submitted Himself unto death. He submitted Himself to His Father for our good.
Likewise, in a Christian marriage, somebody has to be the deal breaker when it comes to major decisions, and that would be the husband. This is not to say that wife must ask her husband if she can spend the money for a broom, or ask him what brand of peanut butter to buy! (I actually knew of a woman whose husband made her ask for money for household items, and he had to approve the amount!)
This is not what this means...... 
To break it down very simply, in my own opinion and understanding of Scripture it looks like this: In a Christian marriage, both man and woman submit to Christ as He is head of the church. The husband and wife each have a responsibility. The husband has the responsibility to love his wife and be willing to die for her as Christ died for His church. That puts a huge responsibility on the husband, since he also must be accountable to God for how he treats his wife. The wife has a responsibility to let that rest on the husband's shoulders and not try to wrestle it away.
This is as far as I want to go with this, it is Saturday and I am really in the mood for something more like this today!
Or this:

cartoons from Far Side....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Advice on Marriage from a Single

I realize I am stepping out on a precarious limb today. You may ask, can a person who has lived most of their life single offer advice on marriage? Well, the Apostle Paul was unmarried and he had much to say about it. His advice came straight from God. The Bible is clear on what marriage should be: A beautiful picture of Christ and the Church. So how come the divorce rate is much the same in the church as outside the church? This statistic is very troubling and I wonder how that can be? I think it is because as the church has moved away from teaching directly from the Bible, marriage has suffered the conquences. That and the fact that nobody wants to yield anymore, we all want our rights. Even in the church, we don't want anyone telling us what to do, and then there are all the outside influences that wreak havoc on relationships. Throw in blended families and the difficulties increase......

Marriage is extremely difficult, that much is clear, even Paul says:  "But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this." But marriage done God's way is a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church.

There is so much focus on what people do wrong in marriage, here are some things I have observed from very strong marriages that are wonderful examples of things done right: (*note I said strong marriages, not perfect marriages!)

Go into it for life, and never threaten divorce. It would be even better in my opinion if divorce were not a topic at all, why go into something already defeated! (My folks have been married 60 years and it was never an option for them.) 

Be able to apologize and not just say "If I did something wrong" but "Will you forgive me?" This I learned from a Bill Gothard seminar years ago.

Be best friends first, be able to talk to each other. Your husband or wife should be the first person you want to share something with. Passion is great, but it will not last forever. Sooner or later you have to talk.

A sense of humor is a must. Find at least one thing you can laugh about together every day.

Be aware of your differences. Yes, despite what our culture says, there are distinct differences between men and women as well as personality differences!

Kindness, kindness, kindness. A soft answer turns away wrath as the Bible says.......Treat your mate as respectful as you treat your boss, your co-worker, your friends. Sometimes I listen to how married couples talk to each other and I think, no wonder the divorce rate is so high. They bark orders and throw sarcastic barbs back and forth like they are participating in verbal jousting matches. To some people this is normal, but it is a destructive way to live, especially with children in the house.

Stay individuals....don't turn into the same person. Don't depend on that person for your well-being or happiness. Be happy by yourself first!

The best advice of all is taken from the book of Ephesians...........Reverence for one another as you revere Christ.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

More thoughts on submitting tomorrow.....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Something Worth Singing About

The best way to honor someone's legacy is to pass it on....... "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 15:12

One of the most valuable things I learned, and am still learning from my parents is that no matter what life throws at you, you just keep going, press on, never sink into defeat. You tighten the straps of your backpack and hit the trail again.You can despair for a time, but ultimately you get up and start doing what has to be done, keep the rhythm of life going. For as long as I can remember, my Mom has started the day singing. She does it a bit less now.....her days are long and she has many aches and pains, but she still gets up before everyone else. She presses on. She has always found something worth singing about. She knows the song of redemption.

Love is showing through demonstration that there is always a reason to sing because life is a gift. 

I was raised with music, singing. I was raised with people who believed that there was always something worth singing about. My Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, all of us gathered around while somebody played the piano or organ.....I can still hear their voices even now all these years later, my Grandmother's warbly soprano, my Aunt's alto harmonies, the plink-plink of my Uncle Bill's banjo. What wonderful memories those are, they weaved themselves into the fabric of my very being, they are part of who I am today.

There is something about singing that lifts the spirit when nothing else can. There is power in song. This is part of our very DNA set there by our Creator. He first put the song in our hearts and He sang the stars into existence! Ever notice that kids find it very easy to sing? It just comes naturally. But life can really stifle that song right out of you at don't have to let it. Heaven is filled with music we can scarely imagine, and when we sing in spite of how bad things may get down here, we bring part of Heaven down on earth. Turn that old music master Satan's instrument against him!

I think of the Slaves, singing out through the depths and horrors of bondage, of death all around them. I think of soldiers singing as they march into battle......I think of Paul and Silas' song in prison and Jesus and His disciples singing a hymn before they went out into the black night of sorrow. They were all thinking of the joy set before them as Jesus was......Freedom, peace, deliverance, Heaven.......

This morning I remembered all those songs. They made me sad for times past, but also encouraged me to pick up the song and sing with them. As I was pouring my coffee, The Holy Spirit breathed a little song into my heart that I had completely forgotten about and I found myself singing it on the way to work, though I had a hard time remembering the melody for the first few bars.......The lyrics say......"You are the reason I sing, You who taught all bells of Heaven to ring, I had no song just drifted along, but now You're the reason I sing......"

Yes, that redemption song. That's the best way to honor all who have gone before, and those still with me, I choose to keep singing the song of hope and never stop.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book recommendations.......

I thought I would post the two books that most impacted my Christian walk in 2010, so here is the first, Radical by David Platt. This book knocked my socks off. Several moments while I journeyed through this book it brought me to complete silence......sit in a corner and stare at the wall kind of silence. David points the way back to the heart of what Jesus said, what He meant, and it answers the important question: What does God expect from me? Many times we puzzle over God's will and the answer is right there in front of us in Scripture.....we just don't want to do what it says. This book will impact your life, your walk with God, and challenge you to think differently about your responsibility to people in need.

The second one I just finished. It is One Heartbeat Away by Mark Cahill. This book was a perfect one to read after "Radical." The former took me outside the bounderies of my own comfortable little safe world, and this one took me back around to the person I meet right outside my door. The service person who works on your washer, the person on the plane next to you, your neighbor.....Mark brings us right to the heart of the big question: What lies on the other side of eternity and what happens when we die, and more importantly, if we know the answer to these questions, why aren't we telling others? Both books rest on the solid foundation of Scripture.

Two books, two questions.....

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

What happens after we take our last breath?

Read them both with an open heart, and I believe they will have a great impact on your life and challenge you to grow, they did that for me! Happy reading......Lori

Monday, January 3, 2011

Challenge: Make God part of your day

Are you making God a part of your plan today? You are in His plan, and thoughts.......This is what the Bible says:

"Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice." Psalm 55:17 NAS

"Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Thy bottle; Are they not in Thy book?" Psalm 56:8 NAS

"You know when I sit and when I rise; you percieve my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down." Psalm 139:2,3

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:16

Get up early, find some time, get alone with the One who wants to know you......I am convinced that the heart that honestly seeks Him, finds Him. Just talk to Him, prayer is just that, talking to Him like you talk to your best friend. Pour everything out in your own words. He likes plain honest talk and He doesn't care if you leave out the Thees and Thous, He just wants real honest prayer from your heart. He already knows your innermost thoughts, but it is amazing how much better you feel when you tell Him anyway!

Thank you, Lord for meeting me this morning. Thank you that I am always on Your calendar, even if You are not always on mine. I love you, God.

I continue counting toward one thousand today with many others in the Gratitude Community..........Glorious sunrise this morning, warm beds and heaters that come on, all the many promises in Your Word, for loving me even though I don't represent You very well many times, for Your unending patience and grace towards me, for answered prayers always, for the knowledge that You hear my prayers, for family and friends that pray, for physical health and strength, for the stars that follow the cosmic dance You set in motion, the north star that always makes me think of You, Your glorious nature that speaks constantly of You......#585-597

holy experience
Photo credit:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Who is in the boat with you?

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41

They had already seen multitudes healed, and the command and depth of knowledge that Jesus had in the Scriptures, but was it possible that they weren't really sure who Jesus was until He calmed that sea? Imagine being in that boat, small boat I should say, they didn't have cruise ships back then, and being tossed by a violent storm. It must have been bad, for they feared for their lives. These were men who were used to being out in a boat. This had to be something like a Perfect Storm.

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

He wasn't worried, he was fast asleep on a comfortable cushion no less........He knew who He was. But when He calmed that raging sea, something clicked for the disciples. Nobody has that kind of power, that even nature itself obeys. But Jesus is the creator of everything, He created nature and everything in it, along with the Father and the Spirit. All three were present at creation.

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness......" Genesis 1:26

I don't blame the disciples for being afraid. I am always just a little uneasy in boats, I tend to get seasick. I have felt the panic, the clammy skin, the feeling you may have to head for the side of the boat...quick!

When storms rage in life, it is easy to forget who is sleeping in the boat with you. He taught the disciples a valuable lesson that day, and I don't think they ever forgot it.

No matter what storms rage in your life today, remember He is in the boat with you. I pray calm and peaceful waters for you today, may you enjoy the view of the sunlight sparkling off the water, the warm breeze and the cry of the sea birds, the sun on your face, the lapping of the gentle waves against the side of your boat.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Year filled with Promise

So far this New Year feels much like the old one for me, since I am working. As I stared out through the windshield on my morning commute, grateful that there was almost nobody on the road (hey there's a blessing!) I thought about the New Year and what it means. I wonder how the year went so fast.....In my honest reflection, I had to admit that there are some circumstances that I do not feel positive about going into the New Year. But then I thought about the Big Picture. All the good surrounding me. Good friends, good family, and surrounding on every side are God's promises. When I think of everything He has brought me through how can I be anything but eternally grateful and also hopeful for what's ahead?
While we all wish each other a New Year full of  prosperity and blessings, we know that there will be things that happen that will stop us in our tracks, take the wind out of our sails, make us want to crawl through the wardrobe and find a secret world like the Narnia kids. Just today I heard of a dear blogger who lost her husband on Christmas Eve, and another who lost her home and everything in it and yet.....and yet.... she is grateful that they all escaped unharmed.

Sometimes you have to stare really hard through the fog of our circumstances to see the good that surrounds us. But it is getting easier for me to do this, I am happy to say. It is nothing that I have done, it's everything He's done and continues to do. This is not just looking on the bright side. What it is, is knowing, remembering, all those times before when I thought I couldn't...... and He said....Yes you can, I will help you. I have promised to never leave you and I never will....It is knowing who He is.

As I was thinking these things, He gave me one of those confirmations. As I was praying the song I needed to hear, Mighty to Save came on the radio, and right after that, Jesus Saves. He was telling me twice, not to worry.

God is in the outfield, and you are the fly ball, He says, "I got it!"
He is also across the chasm with His hands outstretched, saying "Jump, I've got you!"

Just like He grabbed Peter when he started to sink........Why did I ever doubt?

Isaiah 40:31 - but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 71:5 - For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.
Romans 5:2 - through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Psalms 27:5 - For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Ephesians 3:20 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.....