Monday, November 29, 2010

Me ornery?

Psalms 32
6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we'll be on high ground, untouched.
7 God's my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
8 Let me give you some good advice;
I'm looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:
9 "Don't be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track."
10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.

Here's the rest of Psalm 32.  If we pray, keep in touch with God, we'll be on high ground when all hell breaks loose.  God is described as an Island Hideaway, keeping us safe from danger.  Then David (the writer of the Psalms), gives us a bit of advice, "Don't be ornery like a horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to stay on track."  I used to ride horses and they sure can be ornery!  I was riding a thoroughbred horse once and he got an itch on his rear.  So he decided to rub himself on a wooden fence.  He got a splinter and I became a bucking bronc rider!  He was impossible to control. I can relate to this verse.  I have said things in the past that still make me blush, and done things I can't believe I did.  We all have.  What's the solution?  Confess and affirm God.  Then believe in forgiveness.  All is made right.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Clean slate

Psalms 32
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be — you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean.
2 Count yourself lucky — God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him.
3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans.
4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.
5 Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God."
Suddenly the pressure was gone — my guilt dissolved,my sin disappeared.

I think this is one of my new favorite Psalms.  There's a lot of fun imagery and it's so down to earth.  I've only displayed the first half of the Psalm- I'll put out the other half tomorrow.  What I really loved about this is it describes how to be forgiven by God.  Confess.  It's so simple but sometimes I get so caught up in my worries, I forget to simply confess.  And trust God.  I'll rattle on and on to God with my To Do List and feel like I'm talking to the wall.  Then I realize I'm talking the Creator of the Universe.  Doh!  Simply saying, "Forgive me Father."  Brings amazing release.  Also leaving things in God's control instead of trying to convince Him I know better brings peace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I panicked!

Ps 31:19-22
19 What a stack of blessing you have piled up
for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
to escape an unkind world.
20 You hide them safely away
from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,
you silence the poisonous gossip.
21 Blessed God!
His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, 
22 I panicked.
"Out of sight, out of mind," I said.
But you heard me say it,
you heard and listened.

Something reassuring in the Bible is these guys endured things beyond our imagination.  So... here's David trapped by a siege.  He's known as the man after God's own heart.   So what does he do?  He panicked!  Wouldn't you?  I would.  He's thinking God just doesn't see this.  "Out of sight, out of mind."  Then he states how God heard it and listened.   There are some great stories of reasons to panic in the Bible like Daniel in the lion's den.  My latest panic was finding drips of water below a pipe in our bathroom.  I imagined all the pipes breaking in the house with water shooting all over and the price!  Yikes!  We're gonna die.  I prayed, "Oh Father we can't afford this.  Please help!" On closer inspection the drips are coming from the water tank on the toilet.  Looked up with a shy smile, "Thanks."

Monday, November 22, 2010

My cave

Ps 31:3-5
3 You're my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
4 Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
5 I've put my life in your hands.
You won't drop me,
you'll never let me down.

I gave my husband his own room in the house.  It's his cave.  He can decorate or do whatever he wants with it.  I promised not to complain- I simply dust and vacuum.  God is my cave.  I can read the Bible when everything seems out of control and see how others have been through the same stuff as me- only it was centuries ago.  He's my cave.  I can let go of everything and just be with Him.  He's my cliff.  Trust takes awhile to learn, He seems to draw me to greater challenges.  One of them is when things are fine and I simply need to keep moving!  He's a safe leader all His ways lead to safety, even avoiding too much alcohol is in the Bible.  A mountain guide, He knows how to:  help me through the rocky times, leap over obstacles, dodge bad things, and finish our tasks.  He won't drop me or get bored.  Do I forget to ask for help?  Think I can do it alone?  Oh yeah...  Should also mention, I have my own cave in the house too : )

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This mess...

Ps 30:1-3
I give you all the credit,
God — you got me out of that mess,
you didn't let my foes gloat.
2 God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
3 God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.

So many times I've gotten stuck.  And so many times He's pulled me out of my mess.  It's great to know He has a plan.  He loves us all so much.  We are his creation.  I remember helping in a Sunday School class of children.  They were so small and cute.  Then the comparisons started...  "Your hair's ugly.  Everyone stay away from her!"  I felt so bad; these cute little girls should have been laughing and playing.  I made them stop.  I think that's how God sees us.  All the same with a unique smile- something special He put in us.

I read this quote in The Secret of the Swamp King, Jonathan Rogers.  It's from the Wilderking trilogy, a very fun children's story.  "A bird might think he deserves to swim as well as a fish, but if he sits moping on the riverbank instead of using the wings God gave him, the fox is going to eat him." p. 221.  

We're all just trying to do our best with our lives.  It's good to know God will help us out when we get stuck. He created us after all.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Ps 29:1-2
29 Bravo, God, bravo!
Gods and all angels shout, "Encore!"
2 In awe before the glory,
in awe before God's visible power.
Stand at attention!
Dress your best to honor him!
Ps 29:10
10 Above the floodwaters is God's throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.
Ps 29:11
11 God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.


I love the imagery in these verses.  I can imagine the angels celebrating God's power.  His throne is above the floodwaters.  He is high and lifted up.  Yet He takes time to make us strong and give us peace.  Besides my new career, my family is going through some hard times.  My Mother is 76 and has recently been taken from an Assisted Living facility to the hospital for blood clots.  We have also recently learned my brother has cancer in his liver.  We are waiting news of whether he can have a transplant.  These things weigh on our hearts.  These verses remind me that God is still in control.  We will celebrate with Him one day, with the angels.  The troubles we know now will be gone forever- for now, we wait, pray and hope.  We are like children not understanding.

Ps 27:13-14
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

He heard me

Ps 28:6-9
6 Blessed be God —
he heard me praying.
7 He proved he's on my side;
I've thrown my lot in with him.
Now I'm jumping for joy,
and shouting and singing my thanks to him
8 God is all strength for his people,
ample refuge for his chosen leader;
9 Save your people
and bless your heritage.
Care for them;
carry them like a good shepherd.

God does hear my prayers.  Amazingly true!  I'm on a prayer team and it's so great when people come back and thank us for our prayers- sharing how God fixed things.  He has 3 answers when I pray. 
1.  Yes!  
2.  Wait... this means it'll happen but at the right time.
3.  No.  This is proof we can't control the Almighty.  He has perfect timing and what I do affects another and so on...  It could also be that it's just not something that's a good idea.  I have to thank God for some of my unanswered prayers.  Now I'm waiting to see what He does with my career.  I can count on the good shepherd.  And I better keep working!  Gotta be ready when His timing arrives.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Those who try and pull me down

Ps 27:6
6 God holds me head and shoulders
above all who try to pull me down.

I'm headed for his place to offer anthems
that will raise the roof!

Already I'm singing God-songs;
I'm making music to God.
Ps 27:11
11 Point me down your highway, God;
direct me along a well-lighted street;

show my enemies whose side you're on.
Ps 27:13-14
13 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness
in the exuberant earth.
14 Stay with God!
Take heart. Don't quit.

I'll say it again:
Stay with God.

I found a whole bunch of verses that stood out in Psalm 27.  There was a time when I was younger that I realized if I hung out with people who constantly discourage me or cut me down, I felt depressed.  "God holds me head and shoulders above all who try and pull me down."  The Bible can be hard to read in places but when I keep reading I find such encouragement.  I want to offer anthems that raise the roof!  And here's another verse that describes following His road.  With all this direction how can I lose my way?  "Stay with God!  Take heart. Don't quit."  I'll keep snapping those photos of His "exuberant earth."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ready for my exam

Ps 26:2-3
2 Examine me, God, from head to foot,
order your battery of tests.
Make sure I'm fit
inside and out

3 So I never lose
sight of your love
But keep in step with you,
never missing a beat.

Ps 26:6-7
6 I scrub my hands with purest soap,
then join hands with the others in the great circle,
dancing around your altar, God,
7 Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs,
telling God-stories.


When I first became a Christian I tried to hide all my sins from God.  "Who me?  I didn't do that..."  But I still felt the guilt and shame.  Kinda like Adam and Eve.  At this point I'm willing to say, "Examine me, God, from head to foot.."  It takes courage for sure.  But I'd much rather know His peace than my guilt.  I want to know His love.  And what I know so far is pretty awesome.  "I scrub my hands" means simply confessing and stopping.  I really love the part about "dancing around your altar"... "Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs, telling God-stories."  I confess, at Church and in the car, I love to sing at the top of my lungs : )  It feels like I'm standing in front of His throne, when I focus on Him.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Charted directions

Ps 25:8-10
8 God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.

9 He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.

10 From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.

Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions.

This is such a comfort.  "He corrects the misdirected, sends them in the right direction."  So many times I get misdirected overwhelming myself with my own plans.  Then I get critical of myself and impatient with others.  God isn't impressed by "perfect" people.  "He gives the rejects his hand, and leads them step-by-step."  He loves the simple ones.  Just regular people like me, people who know rejection.  How cool is that?  I can find the charted directions in the Bible.  It all leads to God in the end; I'm so grateful He wants to be with us now.  I think I'll print these verses out and read them today.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Photographing His artwork

Ps 24:1-2
24 The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.

2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

As a photographer, I will let you in on a secret.  I hope it's not considered cheating... Ok, when I go out to shoot, I ask God to show me where the good shots are.  There. It's out in the open. Shew!  It makes sense to me, He created the Heavens and the earth. I know He likes us to notice His work, like I do.  I can tell He loves color; me too.  And the animals- he's got a great sense of humor.  I sometimes wonder what He thinks of all our ideas for managing the universe.  I wonder if we ever make Him laugh.  I hope so.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Shepherd

Ps 23
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Some of us come from rough childhoods and thinking about God as a Father isn't so great.  He's also known as the Shepherd.  Somehow a man who takes care of sheep and protects them from wolves seems pretty wonderful.  This is my favorite Psalm.  I had a really terrible job a year ago.  I memorized this Psalm and thought of it every night, before I went to sleep.  It's so visual I could imagine the sheep, and the green pastures.  The valley of the shadow of death was my 3 hour commute through heavy traffic.   I also appreciated the rod and staff verse. It used to make me cringe, but I really needed to keep my mouth shut and watch what I said at work.  So I'd pray, "let your rod and staff comfort me and keep me from saying things that will make things worse."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where to start?

Ps 22:27-28
27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord's,
And He rules over the nations.

Sometimes the world seems so out of control.  Nations rise up and nations fall but God is still the Creator of the world.  He is still in control.  Although I can't see or hear what He's thinking "the kingdom is the Lord's, And He rules over nations."  When I pray and tell God how to fix things I ramble on and on, get frustrated, then finally acknowledge He knows what He's doing.  My ideas may be partly right but He's the Almighty.  So I pray for the problem and leave it in His hands.  Then smile.  There's certain things we just don't need to worry about.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are we there yet?

Ps 18:30
What a God! His road
stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.

His road does stretch straight and true.  But, somehow I sometimes meander...  I can usually tell when I'm wandering I get this annoying feeling thinking, "It'll never work."  "It" can be lots of things: my new business, all the things I have to do, the times I bump heads with people, all the miles involved in following God.  I'm the kind of Christian who says, "Are we there yet?" a lot to God.  It's a good thing He's patient and loving or I, like a lot of others, would be toast.  The truth is it's in the journey each day.  One foot in front of the other.  There's a lot of people to help along the way and things to photograph.  I think He gets a big smile when we make it a few more yards.  One day at a time, it's about seeing and being thankful for the good things and praying about the bad.  When I run toward Him I make it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Polished chariots and groomed horses

Ps 20:7-8
7 See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we're making garlands for God our God.
8 The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame —
and we'll be on our feet, standing tall.

These verses have always stood out to me.  It seems so strange to be obsessed with polishing chariots.  It always gives me a chuckle; I realize what the verses are really about.  Today we have this same strange obsession with stuff.  I have so much stuff!  The verse might read "polishing our cars" and "grooming ourselves."  It's hard to imagine what it would be like to live without worrying about stuff or how I look.  Imagine being able to focus on God with gratitude and thankfulness at how He provides our needs, "we'll be on our feet, standing tall."  Contentment is a great thing.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

God's Word

Ps 19:11-13
11 ... God's Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
12 Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
13 Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

The best part of my day is in the morning when I spend some time reading a chapter in the Bible.  Lately I've been reading in Psalms.  Through the chaos of politics, my mistakes, disappointments and great moments the Bible is solid.  It's definitely the road map through this crazy life.  It even shows us the blessings we truly have- the "hidden treasure," in verse 11.  The Message is a great version, easy to read and understand. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

You make me strong!

Ps 18:1-3
1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

In Washington state, I went with my college group years ago to a fortress that was built on a cliff overlooking Puget Sound.  It was built to protect the USA in World War II.  It was solid cement with small holes built in to take down enemies with canons. It was high on a rocky cliff with shear drops to the ocean.  I remember thinking how this is how God protects us.
When everything seems confusing, the possibilities endless, and the direction unclear the Lord is my rock. If I focus on all the things that might work and all the things that can go wrong I get stuck.  These are my enemies.  But when I focus on one thing at a time, like the holes carved into the fortress for the canons- I get unstuck. Imagine trying to run from canon to canon inside a fortress?  Yikes!  One foot in front of the other, one thing at a time. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where is this trail going?

Ps 17:4-5
4 I'm not trying to get my way
in the world's way.
I'm trying to get your way,
your Word's way.
5 I'm staying on your trail;
I'm putting one foot
In front of the other.
I'm not giving up.

Last year I left IT to work at home as a freelancer.  God's blessed me with so many gifts and talents.  But, sometimes it feels like I'm working hard and not getting anywhere.  It's like I'm running on a treadmill.  God's given me plenty of hours in each day.  But where on earth do they go?  A few things He reminds me of:  priorities, discipline, and health.  I have to ask myself if I'm focusing on the priorities of the day?  Am I spending my time doing things that I should or surfing the web?  One person said the web is like TV.  Turn it off if you have work to do.  I have my To-Do List on my drafting table.  But sometimes I forget to prioritize what's really important.  I need to watch my health.  If I don't get enough sleep at night I'm groggy and need a nap.  When I don't exercise- I get sleepy too.  And if I don't eat right... the same.  In other words, I need to take care of myself so I can stay on God's trail.  And also have faith, His trails will lead me where I need to go.