Joy of the Lord

Joy of the Lord

 

24227811643_d0aae13129_bNehemiah 8:10–Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

How refreshing to think I don’t have to fight to be strong. It’s the joy of the Lord that gives me strength. Of course, being an overachiever, I worked for years to make myself be joyful in the Lord in order to make myself strong. Sigh.

While it is true that being joyful in the Lord, meaning we’re joyful because He has saved us, gives us strength, what if there’s another way of looking at this verse? What if we don’t have to be joyful right now, in this season, in order to be strong? What if we can be strong by resting in the knowledge that even now, when everything seems to be a swirl of angst, bad attitudes, grief and pain, He is joyful? What if what’s happening around me hasn’t totally ruined God’s day? If He is still on the throne, in control, working things out to the best possible end? Maybe that’s where true strength lies. Not in my ability to be strong enough or happy enough. In His joy. In His ability to not be blown about by circumstances, thrown into despair or depression. It doesn’t depend on me; it depends on Him continuing to be, well, Him. He is joyful enough, strong enough, faithful enough. If I can remember that, I can be strong.

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Beauty

Beauty

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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.- Philippians 4:8

Beauty is fascinating.
It is everywhere, yet elusive.
In the midst of people behaving badly, where chaos presses in on every side, beauty can be hard to find.

This is part of what drives my artistic decisions.
The need to find peace.
The need for a happy place to dwell.

Today I’m grateful that beauty always exists.
That it is there, waiting. Waiting to be that reminder that God is still in charge and has an amazing plan. It drives me to my camera to find the still small place where beauty exists. Where the promises of God still shine. And in that place, as I encounter who He is, the Great Artist and Creator, I remember who I am.

Wings Like an Eagle

Wings Like an Eagle

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But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 

Eagles know how to git ‘er done. They migrate along specific mountain ridges because of thermals, air currents that rise due to warmer air at the base of the mountains. These natural air currents give the birds extra lift, allowing the birds to fly with less effort and making their long distance trips possible. I want to be like that. I want to allow myself the freedom to rest in the presence of the Lord (wait on Him) so that this race I am running is made easier. I want to be caught up in the flow that is God instead of fighting gravity on my own in the lowlands. It’s beautiful and amazing that He offers us this.

Dwelling Place

Dwelling Place

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Corey Russell, a Bible teacher, said this week, “Christ has made you His dwelling place-the question this week is-will you make Him YOUR dwelling place?” I’d like to say yes, but in all honesty, I’m still working on it. It would be easy to say yes because I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years, but reality is reality. So far my answer can only be “I’m trying.” What a blessing to know that in God’s book, that counts. He doesn’t call us to perfection, but to try. We do our best, and it counts. He doesn’t require of us perfection, even though I tried my hardest to attain it.

Today, as everything I touch seems to implode on impact, I’m glad to know that my weak attempt at faithfulness, because it’s the best I can do right now, is enough.

Tidings of Great Joy

Tidings of Great Joy

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Luke 2:10-11-Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” 

“Good tidings of great joy”… What a beautiful phrase. And its a phrase with a promise. A promise that something is about to happen that will change everything. Suffering and pain will be washed away and replaced with great joy. In spite of the pain, loss, grief, abuse, and chaos the world throws at us, the day is coming where we will experience this Great Joy that was released into the universe when Christ was born. Sure, sometimes the waiting is agonizing, but in the end, we will say it was worth it. He is worth it.

Merry Christmas, dear reader.

Choosing Light

Choosing Light

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John 12:46 “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”

“Should not abide in darkness”. What a beautiful promise. Whatever else is going on around me, I have a fully notarized invitation to live in the light, where peace and beauty are the rule and not the exception. I have been given the dignity of getting to choose whether to stumble through the darkness and chaos of the world or to put my faith in Jesus and walk in his light. Today, I choose his light. I’m so grateful it’s really that simple!

The Light Shines

The Light Shines

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John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

As the world swirls further into chaos and darkness, how refreshing to remember that light came into the world in the person of Jesus. Though darkness abounds and seems to rule, the reality is that Jesus rules. Selah. (Ancient Hebrew for “dude…”) He’s still in charge, and in the end he wins. Today I choose to hold onto him and remember that he is the light. He brought light. He walks in light. Darkness cannot overtake him. Today I choose peace.

Light of the World

Light of the World

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John 8:12- Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

I love this promise. Yes, the world can be dark, but guess what? There is a Great Light. It brings life, and joy, and hope. And he wants us to walk with him. How amazing is that? He is the great I AM. The Alpha and Omega, and he wants us to walk in his light. In him. What is so dark that the light of God cannot overtake it? Nothing. Not one. Single. Thing.

The Secret Place

The Secret Place

For today, this is what I choose…

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”  Psalm 91:1-4

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Drop Universe

Drop Universe

My favorite thing about this photo is what you can see inside the water drop. If you look closely you can see the daisies that were surrounding the bud as well as the roof of the conservatory where I found this beauty. I think people are like this little drop. What we are surrounded by is what can be seen deep inside us. While we can’t always control the field we’re growing in, we can control what we gather around ourselves. Today I choose to surround myself with beauty and with thoughts of God and his Kingdom. When you peer inside of me, I hope that’s what you see.

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