Maui is a wonderful place. The colors are vivid and the people are warm and friendly. It is a perfect place to escape the pressures of life and soak in something beautiful that God has made. It is a place of refreshment and renewal.. an island that seems to say ” relax, slow down, and leave your cares behind.” I was able to do that and I wanted to share a few of the sights with you!
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
He is faithful to pursue us.. even in our darkest hour. He is our rescuer. His love seeks us out.. just waiting to pour the balm of Gilead on our wounds. His presence surrounds us..pouring itself over each and every empty space in our hearts. His life grows in us despite our unbelief and doubt. Miraculously He changes us into His image as we draw near.. with all of our flaws and brokenness. Our God..the one who is faithful in all things at all times. He takes my breath away.. surprising me with His goodness!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
These pictures remind me of God.. God reaching down and touching us with His handiwork..He is an artist.. He creates a beautiful world so He can take our breath away. His creation is a place for us..a mini-retreat for us.. open the front door and take a look. The sky is so blue..the grass is so green.. the sounds of birds are everywhere. The flowers are beginning to bloom. Spring is here and He is doing His redemptive work in our lives and in this fallen world.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
By the creativity of our great God. The beauty of His perfect timing. My heart is being captured by the way He fits every piece of the puzzle together. Our small minds cannot conceive of all that He has for us.. and that is a good thing. It means we must assume that there is so much more than we think. Beauty is a constant reminder to me. When I am sitting and looking out my window at the hummingbirds, fuchsias, jasmine, and the beautiful view.. He is so present in those times. The space that is created by just sitting and being quiet is always filled with a sense of peace.
Some days there are tears.. just flowing without any answers to the unresolved issues. Other days my heart is filled with gratitude for His goodness to me. Each day is different..the one constant is His presence in all of it. We are assured that He is with us, that He understands us, that we are not forgotten. We have all these promises..we are the ones who need to make time to remember them..to allow them to go deep into all the hurting places. He is always reaching out and we are always in need of His touch.
He is capturing my heart in new ways.. meeting me in unexpected places with encouragement and comfort. Often I have to make a move and suddenly I realize He is right there..sort of like a game of chess. He waits for us to move and then He moves and it all starts making sense. He’ll always win and we will never lose.
Lord.. I pray a blessing on all those who are reading this today. My desire is to see each one receive something new from you.. that their hearts will be captured by a deeper sense of your love for them. Help us make space for you and remind us of how much we need you!
Our valley is filled with it this morning.. I can hardly see across the street. From my balcony the world is covered in a grey mist. A blue jay landed on the railing looking around.. he seemed to be wondering if he was in the right place. I can’t see all the beautiful trees, the hills, the blue skies, or the bay far off in the distance. All of these are familiar sights that I enjoy every morning. The morning is my time..I drink tea, write in my journal, and talk with God.. I love looking out at the beauty while this is happening..a great reminder of our Creator.
The fog today was a different type of reminder.. it seemed to be speaking to me about life and how it may be shrouded in darkness. Sometimes we look out toward our spiritual path and we cannot see ahead. Our steps are taken by faith without sight. The fog is surrounding us and we have to use our memories to guide us. We remember that the path is not gone..that God is not far away..that the future is going to be good. We trust that the blue skies and sunshine will return. We believe that God is in the darkness, holding our hands and guiding us.
Is there fog in your life today? Do you feel like the future is uncertain and surrounded by mystery. Join me in trusting in the goodness of God. He knows every inch of that path that you are on and He will guide you as you step forward with Him. We cannot let the darkness stop us or discourage us..it is there for a reason. Our faith will grow stronger as we exercise it and rely on Him and not our own senses. He is with us!
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” ( from the Message 1Cor 12:13)
Have you ever let yourself realize that everywhere you go He is there? We might mention that idea in passing..but what about really letting it sink in. He directs our steps and when we go into new circumstances God is right there with us. He can use us in each and every new environment. He is not limited by our doubts..worries..or fears. He has assignments for us..opportunities that are unlimited.
All we need to do is take that next step. My nature is to want stability and to stay where I am planted. God sees it differently..He is asking us to be flexible to follow Him wherever He decides to take us and only stay as long as He wants us to. If we are truly following Him He will take us to the very location where He can use our gifts to encourage others. Every adventure with Him is a season and we have to be ready to move on to the next chapter. I struggle with that..but as I put my hope in Him and not in my circumstances..it is easier.
Your journey and mine are filled with twists and turns. He leads us into unknown places..out of our comfort zone. He takes us down dark alleys without a glimpse of light. He removes the barriers that prevent us from staying close to Him as we trust in His leading. Our God is faithful to take us to every new destination at just the right time. It is an exciting life..filled with surprises and gifts from the heart of our true Father.
I love them. The colors..the surprise every time one shoots up in the air an..that moment when as you wait for it to explode. If you are in a crowd..you can hear the sighs and feel the wonder all around you. Fireworks help us celebrate..prompt us to look up..take our breath away..renew our weary spirits.
God does all these things too..and not just on the 4th of July. He loves celebrations.. He rejoices with us when we find ways to enjoy life. When we lift our eyes waiting expectantly for Him to show up.. He is delighted with us. Every night the sky is flooded with stars that He made. Some evenings we can catch a glimpse of the beauty of the full moon. Nature is His handiwork. The coast of our beautiful state is one breathtaking view after another. The wildflowers are a sea of incredible shapes and colors. What a creative genius He is!
Yes I love fireworks..but even without them there are surprises and beauty everywhere. Find a way to enjoy this day..let Him renew your spirit and lift you above your circumstances..you deserve it!
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I have been having some of these over the last week. They are regular moments that could go by unnoticed..but something makes them incredible. I told my husband that I was having an “Enchanted April” moment on Sunday. That is a reference to a wonderful movie that my daughter and I both love. I used that term because I felt like I had stepped out of my life into a place where everything was perfect. In reality I was in my dining area standing at the window watching my husband barbecue chicken. Suddenly I realized that my life was amazing..that I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth in a condo with views that take my breath away. I was filled with awe at the goodness of God.
The same thing happened today while I was walking in our valley. The trees were so green and the sky so blue..the flowers were popping out in yellow, red, lavender, pink, and white. The stream that runs through the valley was rushing along and I could hear the sound of doves as they cooed and flapped their wings. A perfect day.. at least a perfect moment. Walking up my hill I stopped to pet a dog and he suddenly started barking and growling at me for no reason. The lady who was with him said that he was a good dog.. I didn’t concur. The end of the perfect moment.
We have those moments as reminders of the perfect place that our souls long for. The place where the colors are always vibrant..where the sky is bluer than we have ever seen it. The place where the creek is always full and there are more types of birds than we could ever count. The place where there are no dysfunctional dogs or people.. the place where there is no more pain or disappointment. The perfect place that awaits us after our journey here is over.
In the meantime.. enjoy those glimpses that He gives you. Stay with them as long as possible. Soak in the beauty that surrounds you..and cross the street when you see a dog you don’t know 🙂
” Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”
My granddaughter was the one who reminded me that it was the first day of Spring last Sunday. I almost missed it..pretty strange for someone who can’t wait for winter to end. Today is the fifth day of this new season and we are still experiencing storms and unpredictable weather. New seasons start without fanfare..they begin and we don’t know it. It is only later that we can look back and realize that something changed. The clouds are gone..the sky is clear and the sun is shining.
Some winter seasons drag on too long..wearing us out..draining us. We are ready for a change. Our hearts long for those fragrant blossoms that poke their heads up a this time of the year. Every daffodil is a sign that we are getting closer to the day when we can shed all these jackets, scarves, and hats and run freely into the sunshine. Help us Lord to believe that Spring is coming..that this too shall pass. Our hearts need an infusion of faith..our minds need renewal..our spirits need to be filled with hope.
Yes.. Spring is here..we can’t see it or feel it..but like our God it never fails to show up and surprise us. Next time you are outside.. notice the new growth on everything..the lushness of the hillsides..the blooming trees..the singing birds. He is giving us hope. He is reminding us of His faithfulness. Don’t give up..keep trusting..keep asking..keep believing.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”