Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

 

Pool, Fountain Lights (23)As the sun goes down of an evening, the floating fountain fills the pool with a glow of colors. It is hard to escape being mesmerized by the changing scene as it rotates through the reds, yellows, blues, and greens.

Today I am publishing from WordCamp Birmingham! It’s exciting to be here, and I’m learning so much my head is about to explode. (That’s a good thing that has nothing to do with migraines. No migraines here today.)

 

 

There was a man in the Bible whose face quite literally glowed after he had spent time with God. His name was Moses. He had been up on Mount Sinai, receiving the Law directly from God while Joshua waited a little further down the mountain, and all the rest of the Israelites were camped in the valley below. When he came down, the Bible says that he did not know that his face shone.

Exodus 34:29-30 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

Out of consideration for the people, Moses wore a veil when he spoke with them, but he took it off whenever he went back up onto the mountain to speak with God. Moses had an incredibly close relationship with God. In fact,  Exodus 33:11 says, “And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”

Moses was not more special than you or me. He was also a sinner saved by grace. You and I can have a close friend-to-friend relationship with God just like Moses did. Isn’t that wonderful! Consider this blessing:

Numbers 6:24-26 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

God told Moses to confer this blessing upon Aaron and his sons. Aaron! While Moses was upon on the mountain communing with God, Aaron was leading the Israelites in idol worship, telling them that a golden calf, a creation of their own hands had led them out of Egypt! What a failure, right? But aren’t we all failures? Even Moses failed. When God told him to speak to the rock, he struck it in anger. Yes, we all fail. But that’s what makes this blessing so much the more precious. God is the God of second chances.

Tell me. When people look at you, can they tell that you have spent time with God?

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Lifted Up ~ Psalm 30

 

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I will extol Thee, O LORD; for Thou hast lifted me up,
and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried unto Thee,
and Thou hast healed me.
O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave:
Thou hast kept me alive,
that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
LORD, by Thy favor Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to Thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise Thee? Shall it declare Thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me:
LORD, be Thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

stone-mountain-north-carolinaYou may have seen this photo before on my page. I’ve used it on other posts, and it keep coming back to it because it’s one of my favorites. But to be honest, when I saw that this week’s photo challenge was scale, this was the first photo that came to mind. The children look tiny by comparison to the mountain to which they are headed.

It also reminds me of the greatness of God.

Isaiah 40:12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

This, of course, is a rhetorical question. Our God is a great big God. Consider the size of that mountain. He made the mountain! Consider the size of the universe. He made the universe! He made everything that exists, and He holds it all in the palm of His hand. The only reason the theory of evolution exists at all is because man does not want to accept the existence of God, for then he must accept the fact that one day he will answer to God and give an account for his actions. But God most definitely does exist, and we most definitely will give an account to Him one day. He is to be feared, yes, but this is a reverential fear, not the fear of someone who cares nothing for your well-being. God created everything, He keeps it all working, and He protects each part—each person—even you and me. Why? Because He cares. When you have made something by hand, you take special pride in it too, don’t you? God made us in His image, and He is like that too. He created us. We are hand-made, each and every one of us, and He cares for us. That is why we all can say with the psalmist…

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Wow! Did you get all that? With God protecting us, what do we need to fear? Over and over again throughout the Bible we are told that the Lord is our rock. He can be trusted. Men will fail us, but God can never fail.

 

 2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.

A buckler was a form of shield that covered the entire body. So in other words, God will protect you completely, in every area of your life. Nothing can get past His perfect will for you.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

The longer I serve God, the more I learn that I can trust Him at all times for all things. I have failed Him many times, but He has never failed me once, and He never will.

 

The Voice of the Lord ~ Psalm 29

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Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness;
the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve,
and discovereth the forests:
and in His temple doth everyone speak of His glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood;
yea, the LORD sitteth King forever.

The LORD will give strength unto His people;
the LORD will bless His people with peace.

Here in Florida we get a lot of thunderstorms. In fact, I heard the rumble of thunder every day last week, even though I did not necessarily always see the rain. And I hear the distant rumble of thunder even now as I write this.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Pedestrian

Today I learned a new word—or rather, a new use for an old word—pedestrian. This just happens to be the current photo prompt of the week, and so it has captured my attention for a moment. Prior to inquiring about the prompt, I only knew pedestrian as a noun, “a person who moves about on foot.” But when used as an adjective, this same word means “lacking inspiration or excitement; dull.” Imagine that! Synonyms for pedestrian as an adjective are boring, tedious, monotonous, unremarkable, commonplace, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, plain-vanilla. As you can see, I’m having fun with this. But now it’s time to add some photos.

James River Foot Bridge

James River Foot Bridge, Virginia, 2008

This was this photo that immediately came to mind when I saw the prompt. Back in 2008, my children and I spent four days traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, staying in primitive campgrounds, hiking trails, stopping at overlooks, and observing God’s creatures big and small. There were certain specific destinations that I had in mind, and the James River Foot Bridge was one of them. This bridge, located in Snowden, Virginia, is a part of the Appalachian Trail, and allows trekkers to cross the James River while avoiding the traffic of US 501. It was built on abandoned train tresses when the train track was rerouted and opened for hikers in 2000. While it is designed for pedestrians, the bridge is actually named after the man who spearheaded its conversion, Appalachian Trail enthusiast Bill Foot. This bridge, and the story behind it, are anything but pedestrian!

In fact, I’ve been hard pressed to think of anything I’ve already photographed that fits the description of dull, boring, and tedious. Perhaps that’s because I’m so easily impressed. I tend to be fascinated by little things and often want to stop the car to take a picture of this, that, or the other thing. So I think I’ll just stick with the noun form of the word pedestrian and show you a few more foot bridges that I’ve seen over the years.

Massanutten Storybook Trail Bridge 1

Massanutten Storybook Trail Bridge, Virginia, 2014

Waller Mill Park (2)

Waller Mill Park Bridge, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2014

Waller Mill Park (3)

Waller Mill Park Bridge, another view, 2014

A bridge is a passage from one side to another, crossing a body of water or some other substance that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to cross. Sometimes there are other ways. You could swim, take a boat, or fly. But none of those options are as convenient as walking across a bridge.

There is another bridge across another chasm. This one is the ONLY way across. I’m talking about the way to heaven, and the bridge is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said,

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6).

If there were any other way to come to God, then He would not have made His Son suffer the shame of the cross. But He did suffer that shame. He came to this earth, lived with us for thirty-three years, then paid the debt of our sins, though He Himself never committed any sin. And three days later He did what no one else ever did—He rose up from the dead of His own power. He is the victor over sin and death. That is how He can offer eternal life to you and me, because He already claimed it!

Then once you have come to the cross and your sins have been forgiven, then God shows you the way that you should go.

I am a pedestrian, slowly traveling through this world on my way to the next, and God directs every step.

Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; for in You do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto You.

Jeremiah 6:16 Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

Sometimes Life Happens

It’s time for my weekly study about Women in the Bible, and I’m not ready because life got in the way. I am a home school mom of a young lady who wants to graduate this year but hasn’t quite finish all her eleventh grade studies, and I’m trying hard to see if we can make it happen. I can do the planning, but most of the execution is going to be on her. On the bright side, if she can keep up with the pace, she’ll be all the more prepared for college come September 2018. Wow! Did I just say that? It’s hard to believe that I’m almost finished home schooling. This last year, with only one student, is definitely proving to be the hardest.

So while you wait for my study on Rebekah to be ready, I thought I’d share a memory from exactly three years ago today. My number 2 son, Bobby, was off to a rough start for the new school year, and he clearly needed a break for a couple days. Part of the beauty of home schooling is spontaneity. So he and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Shenandoah mountains, just a 3-hour drive from our house, for a long-weekend getaway. Actually, it did us both a world of good.

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Wait on the Lord ~ Psalm 27

This psalm is so rich! It is one of the most comforting of all the psalms to my heart!
Here are the highlights…

 

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Verse 1: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Just saying the words causes comfort to wash over me like the tide washes gently over the sand. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He is my light. Indeed, He is our light. We need not stumble in darkness. Darkness brings fear; light dispels fear. The Lord is my salvation. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they have it more abundantly.” Wow! Abundant life! Not just existing, not just getting by from one day to the next, but living abundantly. That is what Jesus gave me. And not just in this life, but in the life to come, eternal life. Again, He said, “That whosoever believeth on me shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The Lord is the strength of my life. Several verses come to mind. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” “Without Me, you can do nothing.” “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I can’t even get out of bed in the morning without the strength that God gives me.

Verse 4: One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. Even before I had a personal relationship with Christ, when I had only head knowledge of what He had done for me, I wanted to serve Him. From my youth I have desired only to be in the service of the Lord, regardless of what He might ask me to do. He has allowed me to serve Him as a missionary, teacher, and musician. Now my ministry includes writing. I praise Him for desiring to use me, a broken vessel, for His glory.

Verse 5: For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock. One thing we can all be sure of in this life is that trouble will come. But I have the confidence of knowing that the Lord will not feed me to the wolves. He will hide me and protect me. The last phrase seems like a contradiction. “He shall set me up upon a rock.” How can anything on a rock be hidden? The image I see here is a lighthouse standing tall on a rock, so high that the fiercest storm cannot knock it down, and I am safe inside the lighthouse. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “He is the Rock. His work is perfect, for all His ways are righteous. A God of truth and without iniquity. Just and right is He.” He is the light, the pavilion (i.e. lighthouse), and the rock. The storm rages all around me, but it cannot touch me, for I am sheltered safely inside.

Verse 8: When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said unto You, “Your face, LORD, will I seek.” God desires that I would seek His face continually. That is the reason I have so many problems, both big and small. If my life were always easy, I would have no need for God. Sure, I’d give Him thanks, but even my thanks would become trite right quickly. I find that I am much more thankful for His provisions after a period of doing without.

Verse 10: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. And not just my father and mother. But when my spouse, child, and friend forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. In fact, He has said that He will never leave me or forsake me. Others might. Correction: Others will. We are all human, and when the going gets tough, all too often we get going—to higher ground, leaving others behind if necessary. We are limited, but God is infinite. We are fickle, but God is constant. We are selfish, but God loves us with an everlasting, unconditional love.

Verse 11: Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies. I want to follow Christ, but distractions so often get in the way. These “enemies” of my soul may be wolves in sheep’s clothing. They may even be well-meaning people who simply do not understand God’s will for my life, though they think they do. There is safety in the multitude of counselors, but our ultimate counsel must come from God alone. He alone knows me inside and out. And He alone knows the plans He has for me. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

And finally, verse 14: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, but it does get easier with time. I am not nearly so impatient as I used to be, though I won’t say that I’ve mastered the grace of patience by any means. In some areas it is easier than others. Do you want to know the secret? Waiting is easier when you allow God to be God and learn to trust Him fully. And as for the areas of my life where I still lack patience, I remind myself once again to “wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

Photo taken near Luray, Virginia, 2009