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Showing posts from January, 2019

As It Was In The Days Of Noah

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One might argue that the days we are living in are such as in the days of Noah. Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:37

So, what was it like? How bad could things have been that God would decide to destroy all humans with the exception of eight? Check it out...

Genesis 6:5
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Yet, while Noah built the ark for decades, the people ignored his words of warning regarding approaching judgment and probably scoffed and jeered as he persisted in this incredible project. The people kept on living their normal lives -- eating, drinking, marrying, working, socializing, etc. without any thought toward a holy God who is also the righteous judge of mankind.

Matthew 24:38-39
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in …

Difficult Journeys

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Sometimes life's journey is paved with smooth asphalt... sometimes the path is covered in ankle-twisting roots. We might not plan to take the more difficult path, but we are not in control of our destiny regardless of what the self-help gurus say -- God's purpose trumps man's plans.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

It is assuring to know that IF I'm following Jesus Christ THEN the promise of my final reward and His daily strength gives me the ability and courage to press on through any adverse conditions along the way.

Psalm 73:24
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.

And while we as Christians look forward to our final resting place in heaven, we ought to be mindful that the journey is the present destination and we ought to live each moment for the sake and glory of our Lord and Savior.

Psalm 31:3
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

My Corona

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It was my joy to experience and photograph the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2107. I watched through a very heavy filter designed for looking at the sun. The large yellow ball in the sky slowly but surely began to be covered by the full moon. It grew darker and then the most amazing sight I have ever seen appeared in the sky!

My glasses and filter came off as I watched the sun's corona shine brilliantly from the edges of the moon. I was transfixed in awe... speechless.

I think there is something very valuable to be learned from what I saw that day. We all know the significant influence that the sun has in all it's burning glory -- heat, light, energy, etc. But the impact the sun had on it's surroundings continued to extend out into the universe even when the core was hidden from our sight. And I can attest to the extraordinary affect it had on me physically, spiritually and emotionally as I watched that light pulse gloriously in the darkness.

That's the way we ought t…

Deep Roots

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Where all other trees have fallen or been washed away, it is the tree with the deepest roots that remains and endures life's storms. This was one of the final trees standing upright on the day we visited Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, GA.

This tree is a reminder for us to sink your roots deeply into a firm foundation, and we too will be able to withstand the winds, waves and tides of life.

Colossians 2:7
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

It should not go unnoticed that a person whose life is deeply and securely rooted in JesusChrist will demonstrate a stronger faith and a life overflowing with thankfulness. Well, how can you not be full of gratitude when you realize what a great privilege it is to be a child of God because of Jesus' demonstration of great love on our behalf?!
When we fail to dig in deeply, then we are likely to be "tos…

Keep on Truckin'!

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I was told this was a 1958 Ford F100 pickup truck. If that's the case then it's one year older than I am. It's got a little rust but sure looks good for its age. In fact, it might be holding up better than me. 😉

I keep hearing that age is just a number. Others say that age is all in your mind. It would not be a stretch then when my wife accuses me of acting like a 3 year old in a (clear my throat) slightly older body. Sure, I can still do most of what I could decades ago... but it might just take a little longer.

Serving the Lord has no age limits and physical capability is not as important as spiritual availability. It doesn't matter your age... just do as the front plate on this truck exclaims: "Keep on Truckin' for Jesus!"

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)

Now... get up out of that Lazy Boy and let's show the world some enthusiasm for Jesus!

Burnout Road

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Are you tired? Worn down? On the road to burnout? Jesus felt that way at times too... So He made time to rest.

Mark 6:31
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Won't you find a quiet place to rest with Jesus? Give Him your worries and burdens. Lay them down at His feet. He cares for you and your well-being.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.

You cannot be effective when running on empty. We all need to be refreshed, renewed and re-energized regularly. God offers soul refreshment that cannot be obtained anywhere else. Drink from His well that never runs dry.

Psalm 23:3
He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Perspectives

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It has been said that most people who visit the Grand Canyon National Park see it from the top-side looking down and those who visit Zion National Park see it from the bottom-side looking up. In either case, a person cannot experience the totality of either park unless they venture beyond the typical tourist spots.

Likewise, our perspective of life situations is almost always from the current vantage point -- as we are going through them. We can look back on the past but have no possible way to know what the future holds. Our perspective may be that conditions are absolutely bleak and hopeless yet God's plan may be for us to trust His hand as we endure for a short period of time until He teaches us a lesson, builds character in us, or just draws us closer to Him until His will is accomplished in and/or through us.

I don't know what you are going through today, but I hope you can say like the Psalmist, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He he…

Humble Beginnings

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This place marks a place of humble beginnings for someone. It is no longer occupied but I imagine that it was home to farmers, families or field hands for decades. Life is pretty easy today compared to growing up in a place like this, but it is a reminder to each of us not to think too highly of ourselves. Who we are and what we have is all because of a gracious and loving God.

We are reminded in the Bible to be humble people who place others before ourselves. Each morning we are to "clothe ourselves" with a proper attitude of service, compassion, kindness, love, patience, etc. This is what we do as God's children.

Colossians 3:12 reads, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Why is it important to be humble? Because this is a person that God can lead and guide. A prideful person wants to do things his or her own way. A humble heart is open to being taught. A prid…

You Can't Choose Your Sunsets

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I love photographing sunsets, particularly those where high wispy clouds glow with shades of yellow, orange and red. I love it when a thundercloud lights up like a ball of fire when the sun's final rays shine on them. I enjoy watching the horizon change colors until the last hint of the sun's light is gone. I do not like it when I go out of my way and spend hours in anticipation and preparation for what I thought would be a spectacular sunset display just to see a wall of gray clouds.

You CAN'T choose how a sunset will turn out but you CAN choose how you respond to it. That is true about all things in life. We all wish we could have more control over nature and life situations but in reality the only thing we can control is our attitudes and reactions to them (before and afterwards).

Yes, we can have a heart of gratitude even when the clouds take over our sunset. Why? Because it is not "our sunset." We truly own nothing and we certainly do not have the power or aut…

One Prickly Situation

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This place is full of prickly landmines. It's beautiful to observe, but if you fell into one of these plants you would fully comprehend the severity of its danger.

This reminds me a lot of what we face daily. Sin is just like these cactus plants. It is beautiful to behold, tempting to touch and comes in all forms, but once you fall into it you discover the pain and damage that occurs as a result.

How do you and I protect ourselves from these landmines that will harm us? Well, it's certainly not by intentionally setting out to experience all the world has to offer. No, Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi to do just the opposite -- immerse your thoughts on all that is pure, true, honorable, etc. When your heart's desires are for the excellence of godly things that lead to abundant life then there will be no want for those worldly "temptations" that lead to a very prickly situation.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, what…

Seasons of Life

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Just as the weather changes and we transition from one season to another, we find there are seasons in our life that begin, flourish, and then come to an end... just to begin a new period in our life. It could be the addition of a new family member or even the loss of a loved one. It could be a brand new job or the loss of one you've had for as long as you can remember. Good health turns to bad; children grow up to be adults; bankruptcy turns to prosperity or vice versa... the list goes on.

Solomon, gifted with an extra measure of wisdom from God, wrote the following of life (and you might remember them sung by the American folk rock group the Byrds in the 1960's)...

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dan…

Equipped for the Field

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This star wheel hay rake may look more like a medieval torture device than a piece of farm instrument but it is highly effective at doing its job. When hay is ready to be harvested, it is first cut at ground level, then these rakes make windrows (or rows of piled hay) where it can later be bailed once dry. Of course, this equipment is far more effective when placed into position along the ground where the circular rakes spin as they are being pulled/guided by a tractor.

People are like a field. Jesus pointed this out to His followers as He journeyed through the countryside. Matthew 9:35-38 reads...

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, the…

Are You Drawing from the Right Well?

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Now [Jesus] had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will b…

My Hiding Place

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With the exception of storm chasers, there are not too many people I know who are looking for a catastrophic storm in their life. Yet, they come... You can hunker down and cover your head, doing all you known how to do intellectually, emotionally and physically to protect yourself (and this is wise). But there is One who stands with you and beside you who desires you to call out to Him, not only in moments of distress but in times of prosperity and wellness too.

The Psalmist wrote, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." ~Psalm 32:7

The one who penned this did not imply he would never go through troubling times, but he knew where to hunker down when those times came, knowing that his deliverance and protection were in God's hands.

Note: No fields were harmed in the making of this photo (sky added using photo editing tools).

Breathless Path

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The gradual climb up this path on one of Rocky Mountain's peaks looked easy enough, but I didn't take into consideration the altitude's effect on my health and endurance. The view from on top at 11,000+ feet was amazing, but I was dizzy and nearly breathless at the time so I could not appreciate it like I could have if it had been only a mile high, for instance.

I chose this path. I did not have to take it. I assumed the reward would outweigh the cost. But isn't this just like so many other choices we make in life? One of the most important choices each of us has to make is who we will serve. The answer is pretty simple -- yourself, other people, other gods (literally and figuratively) or God Almighty.

In the Bible, Joshua made the following statement to the people of Israel: "If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:15

If I am going to …

Green Fields and Dark Skies

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There is a reason that this south Georgia crop is green and healthy -- frequent showers and thunderstorms. Yes, our state and others in the southeast part of the country have experience an (over) abundance of "blessings" from the sky this past year.

Some people are not particularly fond of the occasional sky to ground lightning, high winds and flooding that can occur along with the rain... and rightfully so, but if all we every saw was sunshine then this beautiful field would be dried up and dead.

Jesus said, "[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45) We (all humans) receive blessings and storms in our life. They come to those who are evil as well as those who are good. How you respond to them tells the world a lot about you.

The Bible says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:1…

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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The higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park experience spring long after most places in the United States. These beautiful lupines wait patiently for the "warmer" weather to arrive in June so they can bloom profusely, even as winter's snow continues to melt around them.

This is a great example for us to "bloom" where planted. We might not always have a choice WHERE we live, but we do have a choice HOW we live. Be a generous person. Look for opportunities to be a blessing to others. You may be the instrument of refreshment and revitalization that God will use to encourage a cold, bankrupt and thirsty soul.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

These lupine wildflowers would bloom even if no one noticed but God. You should seek to be a blessing to others whether you ever get a thank you or not, for you will be richly rewarded by God through your generosity and your heart will be refreshed in doing good…

More Questions Than Answers

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If you cut a slice through a tree you can measure its rings and know specifically how old it is and you may even be able to tell a little about the years past by the size of the growth patterns.

When the earth erodes away and the layers of sediment are revealed, it is much more difficult to know the age but you can certainly see the centuries or millennia of changes in the earth's surface.

According to the National Park Service, this layer upon layer sequence of sedimentary rock records nearly 200 million years of geologic history. Rock layers in Capitol Reef reveal ancient environments as varied as rivers and swamps (Chinle Formation), Sahara-like deserts (Navajo Sandstone), and shallow oceans (Mancos Shale). (https://www.nps.gov/care/learn/nature/geology.htm)

Genesis tells us of a six day creation and, according to those who align with a young earth belief, many of the compact materials, fossils and chiseled cliffs can be explained by the Great Flood during Noah's time and the …

When Lightning Strikes

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All is peaceful in your world then BOOM!... lightning strikes and thunder resonates throughout every part of your life. A peaceful, sunny day in the valley turns into a monsoon of unexpected storms. How do you manage? Where do you go for help?

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you will not slumber.

Psalm 121:1-3
I personally take great comfort in knowing that God is my ever-present help when lightning strikes. As Maker of heaven and earth there is nothing He cannot do. I rejoice that He watches over me... and He is watching over you too.


The Boneyard

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The desert is a harsh place for plant, animal or mineral. But even amidst the "boneyard" of dead trees, there is life... some which you will only see after the rain nourishes the parched land.

Imagine if you were to go for a long period of time without life-sustaining water in this environment. Your body would ache and you would crave that sweet liquid like nothing else in your life. That is how we ought to approach our need and desire for the Lord.

The Psalmist wrote, "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1)

Is God a water fountain of convenience for you or is your relationship with Him one of a daily, desperate, desiring need?

[Arches National Park]

Bear with Each Other

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Early in biblical history, God told His people: "Do not seek revenge or BEAR a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:18)

Bear (definition 1): carry or support

Grudge (definition): a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.


Bearing a grudge does you way more harm than it does the person with whom you have feelings of resentment. Left to fester and boil, you can become eaten up on the inside with resentment, bitterness, bad feelings, ill will and hatred.

The Bible says, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Forgiveness is not easy, especially when you've been really hurt or violated. I believe only God has the capacity to forget, but He gives each of us the capacity to forgive.…

The Times They Are A-Changing

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In the Bible we read that "[God] made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down." (Psalm 104:19)

Living in northeast Georgia allows me to experience four very distinct seasons, albeit summer is one of the longest. And while the days vary in length based on those seasons, I can be generally certain that the sun will rise and the sun will set daily (even on those days when I don't see it).

Pictured here is the Atlanta, GA skyline at sunset as viewed from the Jackson Street bridge. Just as a sunrise reminds me of God's promise of a new day, sunset prompts a heart of gratefulness in me for His grace, blessing and provision. As surely as the sun rises and falls, I am certain of God's presence and faithfulness.

Jesus said, "I am with you always." (Matthew 28:20) So, wherever you are or whatever you're going through, Jesus is there too. He is faithful to watch over those who are His. The writer of Hebrews said, "But Christ is faithf…

One Way

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Have you ever accidentally found yourself traveling the wrong way on a one way street? It can be a frightening experience. The truth is that many people ARE traveling the road of life in the wrong direction and may not even realize it because the crowd appears to be heading in the same direction.

Jesus warns that the crowd may not be right.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

There is a right way... the one and only way to eternal life with God the Father, and that's Jesus. In this inclusive society, the gospel message is still one of exclusivity. Dr. Steven J. Lawson put it this way...

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone—period, end of paragraph, end of discussion. To this truth, the Bible has a “zero tolerance” policy for any equivocation outside of its …