Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

See Christians are sorta like James Bond (the movie spy) : )  Only our hearts pump God's Word.  We love the unlovely, even when we married them and they don't smell so good.  God shows us exactly where to go and when.  I found this photo today and knew it was my post.  Then I had to pray to find the verse.  This is where I landed.  I must admit I love the drama in this verse.  It sounds like the opening to a novel doesn't it?  With God's Word pumping through us our feet are steady and sure. 

That's Frankie in the photo.  He was born and raised in a shelter before we adopted him.  He'd never had a house before and had all sorts of exploring to do.  When I saw this I just had to laugh and grab my camera.  His agility, and the way he keeps his balance is amazing.  We go through a lot as Christians, it's not a sheltered easy life.  You can see that in my blog- I could've titled it, "The Perils of Pauline" (err Karenine?).   We fall down, He picks us up.  We get shakey and He steadies us.  Personally, I prefer stepping out in faith now and then- it's much more exciting than watching TV.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Let there be light

We still don't have power. It's beginning to get a bit annoying. So I was trying to think of a verse. "Let there be light Father. You can do it!". Remembering this brought a big smile to my face : ) Our neighbor had all of us over for a barbecue today to clean out his freezer. I am blessed. Be back to post soon.

God bless!

UPDATE:  Our power just came on at 8:25pm EST!  Praise God!  Lord willing I'll draw you a nice cartoon tomorrow : )

Friday, August 26, 2011

No need to panic

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I just love it when I open the Bible and it applies to my day : )  Our 19th wedding anniversary is tomorrow.  Yesterday my husband called from work and said, "Uh honey, we probably shouldn't take that dinner cruise in New York for our anniversary."

I was disappointed, then I realized and said, "OH!  No, I guess we shouldn't be touring the harbor in a boat during a hurricane!  That's a bad bad idea."

He suggested we go out to dinner instead.  My husband likes to do the fancy stuff, where I like to do the simple.  Make my very best meal for him, bake a cake, listen to classical music, light candles.  So I told him, "We'll have a great time, no worries."  I think we balance each other out.

They are predicting a hurricane for the eastern seaboard of the US this weekend.  It looks like New Jersey is in it's path.  We had the same prediction last year and God sent a wind from the west which blew the hurricane out to sea.  I know He can do it again.  As I write this, I have peace.

Proverbs 3:21-29

Clear thinking and common sense tells me I should stock up on canned goods and water.  Maybe get some more wood for the fireplace.  We should do our grocery shopping today instead of Saturday when the stores will be packed.  We should figure out exactly where the New Jersey evacuation centers are!  If I think about ways to prepare for a calamity, and do all I can.  It's not as frightening.  Ok, so I was a Girl Scout as a little girl : )
21 Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life;
don't for a minute lose sight of them.
22 They'll keep your soul alive and well,
they'll keep you fit and attractive.
23 You'll travel safely,
you'll neither tire nor trip.

I read an e-mail story something like this.  A fisherman lived in a small village in Greece.  Every morning he got up and went out to fish.  He sold the fish at the market and came home to have lunch with his wife and take a nap.  Then he'd go out and fish some more.  A corporate person came to his small village and told him, "You have no idea what you're missing!  If you become a big business, you can combine your fish with other fishermen and charge more money and be rich."

The fisherman thought about it.  Then he asked when he would have time to have lunch with his wife and take a nap.  The corporate man said, "When you make enough money to retire.  Then you don't have to work anymore."  Sigh, that's how America is now.  The fisherman had clear thinking and common sense.
24 You'll take afternoon naps without a worry,
you'll enjoy a good night's sleep.

Whatever happens with the hurricane, God will be with me and my husband.  Our souls will be safe and sound. 
25 No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
or predictions that doomsday's just around the corner,
26 Because God will be right there with you;
he'll keep you safe and sound.

I remember a song that said, "We are His hands, we are His feet..."  It's so amazing that God would use my hands for His work, then He gives me such love and compassion.   I share my ministry stories in hope that maybe it will help someone else give it a try.  It's awesome stuff!
27 Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God's hand for that person.
28 Don't tell your neighbor, "Maybe some other time,"
or, "Try me tomorrow,"
when the money's right there in your pocket.
29 Don't figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he's sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.

Guess you knew a prayer would be coming : ) Please feel free to pray with me about the hurricane.

Dear Heavenly Father I pray You will protect us from this terrible storm.  Please be with those in the Carolinas, Bahamas, and all in the storm's path.  Keep us all safe and strong.  I pray You will have mercy and reduce the power of these winds to a gentle sea breeze.  Bring hope and healing to our nation Father.  You control the earth, the weather.  Sometimes I look forward to seeing how You will work things out, we are so unprepared.  You are so amazing.  Nothing is impossible for You!
In Jesus Name, Amen.

This verse always makes me see a cartoon of God's two giant feet, running across the sky, kicking up clouds.
Nahum 1:3
3 ...His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Sometimes I get so caught up thinking about the future, I forget to use all those pretty pens on my drafting table : )  It's hard isn't it?  The Lord is timeless; He only gave us one day to think about.  Guess He knew that's all we could really handle.  Just today.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow.  Today.  I put the verse above, in my calendar to read everyday.

Isaiah 43:18-19
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
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Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Monday, August 22, 2011


So, I read this part of the Proverbs and thought, "This is an easy one."  But then I started to realize how I'm not always wise.  And also how I may not understand the exact meaning.  How Jesus described those who claim to be wise.  This is what came to mind.

Proverbs 3:13-20

Wisdom brings understanding.  It's more profitable than silver, gold and rubies.  With all the stock market stuff happening.  It's easy to see this is true!  I just can't trust in money.  I need to trust in God.
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

It reminds me of this verse:
Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
In this Proverb we are taught the results of being wise.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Jesus turned things upside down and backwards.  It's actually not the wealthy who are counted wise but the foolish.  The weak will shame the strong.  
1 Corinthians 1:27-31
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Now that describes me: foolish, weak, lowly, with faith and every once in awhile wisdom.  Jesus has become my wisdom.  I can do anything through His strength!  In the Old Testament, there are many rules.  But, man just can't follow through.  Man even added to them making things more difficult.  I talked to a friend who's a Jew, and she said that now they've added so many rules to the Old Testament no one knows what to do!  But that's not really wisdom.  True wisdom comes from God.  It brings understanding.  Jesus fulfilled the law.

I love this story, it's one of my favorites.  We probably wouldn't notice him.  Unless maybe to run and hide- because he was a tax collector.  He was short and wealthy.  Zacchaeus had to climb into a tree to see Jesus.  If his wife was with him, she'd say, "Zacc!  Get down from there this minute."  Jesus was very pleased.  Throughout the New Testament there are many people like this that Jesus saw.  He looked for real people, not fakes.  Of course, the people muttered.  Maybe being wise is not worrying about what other people think and doing what we know is right.
Luke 19:1-10
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
This is amazing.  God created the heavens and the earth.   The earth was created out of wisdom.  He is timeless so He knew what we would need to survive on our planet.  And He created the heavens in understanding.  I was so excited to hear that lightening carries chemicals which actually brings nutrients into the soil.  The only "know it all" is definitely God.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

So, what is wisdom?  Zacchaeus was wise- he sought Jesus even though he looked foolish.   He called Him, "Lord."  The widow was wise, she gave Jesus all of her money.  In the dictionary it says wisdom is, "accumulated knowledge, good judgement, attitude, or course of action."  Hmmm... following Jesus is the wisest decision I ever made!  I see wisdom as applying knowledge from the Bible to the realities of our lives. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Live well & have some fun

This Proverb has lots of great advice, and one of my very favorite verses that's helped me out quite a bit.  Hope you can find some peace in it too. 

Proverbs 3:1-12

I love the way this proverb opens, "Good friend."  That's how I see this blog, one blind man (err woman) showing another blind man where to find bread.  Friends looking at the Bible together.  I'm no expert.  As I've read the Bible over the years, I am always astounded at the simple wisdom in it.  The teachings of Jesus just plain make sense.  They will help us live well and long.
1 Good friend, don't forget all I've taught you;
take to heart my commands.
2 They'll help you live a long, long time,
a long life lived full and well.

Love and loyalty, I like those words.  I shouldn't be afraid to love, to be loyal.
3 Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck;
carve their initials on your heart.
4 Earn a reputation for living well
in God's eyes and the eyes of the people.
God wants us to live well cool huh?  Live well, not with a drugged mind, or so many worries we don't leave home.  He doesn't want us to be what other people tell us to be- but what He created us to be.  He wants us to be free and not bound up in our hearts.  Let the world see what joy is.  Here's a quote by Mark Twain that reminds me of God's heart:
Dance as though no one is watching you,
Love as though you have never been hurt before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though Heaven is on earth.
Boy I can see myself here... I think too much.  Sometimes it gets in the way of my dreams.  My Grandma used to say, "Don't think about it.  Do it!"  She could've worked for Nike.  This is one of my favorite verses.
5 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
6 Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Here it is in the NIV-
Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
To me this describes being humble.  Don't be a "know it all."  Only God is.  It's ok to admit we don't know something.  It's ok to use a dictionary, or handbook.  It's great to ask God.
7 Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
8 Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!

This is a challenging concept.  But it's true.  When I was single I gave 10% of all my paychecks to God through tithing.  I was able to pay off my school loans and car early. : )  When I got married I handed it over to my husband.  I've enjoyed watching him grow.
9 Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
10 Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.

I love this part- He corrects the ones He loves.  So... some of our lessons are love lessons made specifically for us, shaping us into His people.
11 But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
don't sulk under his loving correction.
12 It's the child he loves that God corrects;
a father's delight is behind all this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Sometimes things get so chaotic!  It seems like everyone has issues and problems, all the things I need to do stack up.  Still need to scrub those bathrooms...  But, God is not a God of disorder, He's a God of peace.  Someone once told me, "You can tell when you are right with the Lord, because you have peace.  When your house is messy literally, your heart is also messy."  This is true.  When I find peace in my quiet times, priorities fall into place.  The housework isn't an overwhelming monster, it's taking one step at a time to get it clean.  I've seen this in myself and my husband.  When he's at peace, the first thing he does is clean his office.  It's his man cave so I let him do what he wants with it... I go in to dust and vacuum.

This is another promise we can claim and pray for peace in our hearts and homes.  It's also a good measuring stick as to whether something is really from God or if I'm trying to be superwoman.

Matthew 11:30
"...For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trails or tumbleweeds?

As I read the Proverbs this time, I notice how God's wisdom applies to my whole life.  Where man's wisdom doesn't.  I remember these sayings, "A penny saved is a penny earned."  This really applies to money.  "Look both ways before crossing the street," another very wise saying but it applies to traffic.  The wisdom of God applies to everything from dating and marriage to work. 

Proverbs 2:9-15

By learning about God's wisdom I can tell the difference between what's true and what's fair.  I can check out what the risk is in a decision and avoid some disasters.  Lady Wisdom and Brother Knowledge are great companions.  God wants me to use my head and not just run down trails absent mindedly. : )  Wisdom and knowledge bring good sense and insight that can keep us from some big mistakes.
9 So now you can pick out what's true and fair,
find all the good trails!
10 Lady Wisdom will be your close friend,
and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion.

I think things would go much smoother if I thought about how some of my words can be interpreted, before I say them to my husband. : )  My Pastor calls this, "intense fellowship."  If I know a field isn't doing well in the business world, I'd be wise to avoid it.

11 Good Sense will scout ahead for danger,
Insight will keep an eye out for you.
12 They'll keep you from making wrong turns,
or following the bad directions

Many of the things we try and avoid as Christians like drunkenness, or proving how perfect we are, go nowhere.  They are tumbleweeds that roll around in the desert, alone, dry and empty.  I love this description "can't tell a trail from a tumbleweed."  I've certainly had days like that.
13 Of those who are lost themselves
and can't tell a trail from a tumbleweed,
14 These losers who make a game of evil
and throw parties to celebrate perversity,
15 Traveling paths that go nowhere,
wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.

Here's what Jesus said,
John 16:33
...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hidden treasure

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Ok, so I thought I'd just pull out the verses that stand out in Proverbs.  Problem is, they all stand out!  So I'll break it down into chunks instead. : )  The part that really stood out to me was in verse 4.  Seek understanding as you would look for silver or hidden treasure.  The Bible has so much hidden treasure.  It takes some time but there's always treasure.  I've found so much courage, hope and strength in God's Word.  That's why I originally started this blog.  I wanted to share how awesome the Bible really is, God is.  There are some hard places in the Bible, but the treasure is well worth it.

Proverbs 2:1-8

So many action words here: accept, store up, listen, apply, call out, cry, look for it, search.  Like any relationship, I get out what I put into my relationship with God (actually more).  I think understanding is key in all our relationships. 
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Here's a beautiful promise.  Proverbs has some of my favorite verses.  Part of seeing His blessing, is understanding what success really is.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Here's another of my favorite verses. If we seek Him we will find Him, any day, any hour.
Deuteronomy 4:29
29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beginning of wisdom

I'm not sure why but everytime I finish Psalms, I read Proverbs.  Where the Psalms are full of emotion and beauty (sometimes a roller coaster), the Proverbs are down to earth, truths.  It's a book of wisdom.  God conveniently put 31 chapters in Proverbs so we can have one each day for a month.  The majority of them were written by Solomon, David's son.  When he was made king, God asked Solomon what he wanted above all else.  Solomon asked for wisdom so he could rule the people justly (1 Kings 4:29-34). 

There are four building blocks in Proverbs.
1.  Fear the Lord
2.  Gain Knowledge
3.  Understand Wisdom
4.  Discipline (that's the hard part for me!)
They apply to almost every area of our lives.  When I got my first digital camera, I was afraid of it.  I didn't know what would happen when I pushed the buttons or changed the settings.  What if I broke it?  So, I had to gain knowledge by studying books and a DVD on it.  I knew how to operate it, but everytime I went to shoot I thought more about the camera than the shot.  I hate cutting off feet and black photos!  I had to understand the camera so well I could choose the right settings wisely, even get creative.  And... discipline.  Taking lots of photos to master the camera, takes discipline as does understanding and applying the Bible to our lives.  I so remember the days when I thought more about myself and how I looked at Church, than God.  If I sneezed I felt all eyes on me...  Focusing on God is much better.  With my camera, I now struggle with getting so caught up in the subject I mess up the settings...  need to pay attention to what I'm doing as a photographer and Christian.  Don't want to miss the needs around me. 

Proverbs 1

These are the verses that stood out to me.  But, feel free to read the whole Proverb in your Bible.
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent (careful and sensible) behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

In order to fear God, I had to realize He's real.  Then I had to understand His anger, power, and accept His amazing love.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Listening to advice is important.  It's like I tell my husband, don't ask a pharmacist about building a car, ask a truck driver.  Don't ask a truck driver how to get the best loan, ask a scientist (we had 8 parents when we got married- lots of wisdom for us...). I listen but try and think about who I'm listening to.  Is it wise?  The best source of wisdom is the Bible, asking God Himself.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.

15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.

There are still so many scams out there.  It's crazy.  A million ways to work for free.  Key words I look for are:  "take this course and you will be able to get a job in..."  "For just $25 you can get..."  Yet people still buy.  God's not amused.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

If we don't listen to God, He will turn His back on us.  When we pretend He's not real He can't help us.   But He always lets us come back.  I think everyone feels bad when they get taken.  I know I do.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
God has a way of bringing me to safety.  It seems impossible sometimes.  But He always works things out.
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.

I have a praise to share.  I'm not sure if you remember my mentioning I'd submitted a photo to a newspaper and the editor liked it.  It turned out the "next edition" was this week, and not last.  My photo is on half the page : )  I'm a published photographer!  Yay!  I must praise God, when I shoot I ask Him to show me where the good shots are, and He does.  And, He's the one who created the good stuff in the beginning.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Word-filled Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved

Sometimes I feel like I need some direction!  Should I do this? that? or the other?   Even my To-Do lists don't provide the exact location I need : )  This verse in Isaiah promises God's still small voice will guide us- when we ask for help.  He does too.  The other day I lost my reading glasses and prayed that He would help me find them.  He sees and knows everything.  I sat down to watch TV, and about 20 minutes later noticed they were lying under the end table.  Helping us figure out what to do, where things are, and where to go is not a problem for the Lord.

Next, I'll be asking Him to help me remember things... sigh.

Challenge sponsored by Internet Cafe Devotions.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography

Monday, August 8, 2011

Praise Him in His holy house of worship

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved
Praise Him!  What a grand finale for the Book of Psalms.  This is the last Psalm.  I'll be reading Proverbs next.  But today, this is a very uplifting Psalm.  There's a few descriptions that I really love:  "holy house of worship," "his acts of power," "his magnificent greatness."  These descriptions seem like they would only apply to our amazing, loving God!  And, from earth, we haven't seen or felt anything yet!  There's so much more to discover as we grow in Christ and eventually dwell with Him.

Psalm 150

1 Hallelujah!

Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
2 Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
3 Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
4 Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
5 Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
6 Let every living, breathing creature praise God!

To the praise of His glorious grace!  Amen.  Thank You Father for the Psalms : )

About the doodle:  This drawing may seem a bit abstract.  I wanted to illustrate how I feel when I worship by singing at Church.  The trees are used to describe people who trust God throughout the Bible, drawing their strength from Him.  They symbolize people who fight the good fight, who pray for the faith and trust they need- their roots grow firm in the soil.  All the nations are part of His Church, so I used several colors on the little people.  Jesus is the head of the Church, the body of believers.  So I put a little sketch of Him on top.  White (not the skin tone, the color white) symbolizes purity of soul, innocence and holiness in early Christian art.  Yellow-gold symbolizes divine radiance.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sing, dance, praise

Here's another beautiful Psalm.  In this one, we're told to sing, dance, to praise Him!  Personally, I can only dance in private : )  I'm not so good at it.  But, for 51, I'm pretty good at exercising!  I do love to sing though.  Again, we are being asked to sing a new song.  There are times in Church when we all just sing the words.  No heart, no soul, just singing because everyone else is.  But when I sing from my heart I can sense the Holy Spirit.  Huge difference.  I think when we sing from our hearts the Lord loves our song as if it's a new song everyday.

Psalm 149

1 Hallelujah!
Sing to God a brand-new song,
praise him in the company of all who love him.
2 Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
Zion's children exult in their King.
3 Let them praise his name in dance;
strike up the band and make great music!
4 And why? Because God delights in his people,
festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!
I'm not sure what "salvation garlands" look like.  But I bet they're amazing!  I love the part in verse 1 about "in the company of all who love him."   There's something very special about being with believers.

5 Let true lovers break out in praise,

sing out from wherever they're sitting,
6 Shout the high praises of God,

Judgment will come.  There are many things happening that may point to the return of Jesus for His bride- the Church.  But no one knows the day or the hour.  We need to continue to worship Him, and share His good news.  Keep busy loving people, being friends and neighbors.  Vengeance is His, He wants us to let Him be the Judge.
brandish their swords in the wild sword-dance — 
7 A portent of vengeance on the God-defying nations,
a signal that punishment's coming,
8 Their kings chained and hauled off to jail,
their leaders behind bars for good,
9 The judgment on them carried out to the letter
— and all who love God in the seat of honor!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Praise Him!

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Sorry to be late!  I had too much fun drawing today...  Even my cats are pacing around me.  They are afraid they'll starve.  Anyway, this is another happy Psalm.   I fell in love with it and got inspired to draw.  The Bible will do that for sure.  In this Psalm, the word, "praise" is mentioned 14 times.  And, that means it's important. 

God is timeless.  He knew what we would become before we were born.  He knew who would choose to follow Him and who wouldn't.  Jesus came to be our sacrifice, so we could follow Him.  God still uses us today, to help each other out and share His great message.  Paul wrote a description of God's love: 
Ephesians 1:4-7
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
"to the praise of His glorious grace"  it's so lovely, and true. Grace means a gift we don't deserve, like having the bank erase your debt out of love.  And we know God is much more compassionate than a bank : ) even though we owe Him much more, because of our sin.  Here's an acronym- (God's Riches At Christ's Expense).  Praise changes my attitude, and helps me find hope.  As you read the Psalm, I'm sure you can understand why my imagination went crazy drawing!  It's an artist's dream.

Psalms 148

1 Hallelujah!
Praise God from heaven,

I am going to love seeing the angels praising Him.  It must be so beautiful- light, sparkles, angels...  Let all creation praise Him.  That includes us...
praise him from the mountaintops;
2 Praise him, all you his angels,
praise him, all you his warriors,
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, you morning stars;
4 Praise him, high heaven,
praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
5 Praise, oh let them praise the name of God
he spoke the word, and there they were!

He put the moon and stars in place.  Created bunnies, cats, and people.
6 He set them in place
from all time to eternity;
He gave his orders,
and that's it!

7 Praise God from earth,
you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and ice,
hurricanes obeying his orders;
9 Mountains and all hills,
apple orchards and cedar forests;
10 Wild beasts and herds of cattle,
snakes, and birds in flight;

All the world's leaders, all the races praise God!
11 Earth's kings and all races,
leaders and important people,
12 Robust men and women in their prime,
and yes, graybeards and little children.

His name is really the only one worth praising.  We fail, we get lost, we worry, and get sick.  Our Creator is worthy.  He doesn't make mistakes, He's not worried.  God never gets lost.  He's eternal.  His radiance must be so amazing!!!
13 Let them praise the name of God
it's the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
14 he's built a monument — his very own people!
Praise from all who love God!
Israel's children, intimate friends of God.

Hmmm I think He wants us to praise Him...  We only have 2 more Psalms to read.  I think I'll read Proverbs next.  Don't know why, but I always do.  It's a fun book of wisdom.  The next two Psalms are about praise too.  When we finish this, we should be praise experts!  Have a great day or evening wherever you are.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

This verse is so timely to me today.  I sent a few photos to an editor earlier this week.  He replied!  In the arts that's huge (if it's bad you get ignored... crickets).  He asked for permission to use it and credit me, for my portfolio, without pay.  He said he might be able to use it in the next edition.  I was so happy and gave him permission, also told him to let me know if he needed a photographer.  But... the paper came today and my photo wasn't in it.  I was disappointed.  However, what I did get was the eyes of a professional editor approving my photo.  That means I can try a paying national service next time.  I mustn't forget the good, this encouragement from the Lord.

What a great step forward : )  I haven't failed.  I'm not done yet.  And, neither is He.  My efforts will bear fruit if I have confidence and trust in Him.  I'm also grateful for my husband's kind response and encouragement.  I'll try again.

Challenge sponsored by Katie Lloyd Photography

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our strength & His love

There's so much hope in the Bible.  I think of the many ways we can see God's character, what He thinks about us.  It always gives me strength.

Psalm 147

There's so much to praise God for!  I praise Him that I haven't had a migraine in a year. : )  I praise Him for the baby bunnies and squirrels I saw playing out back this morning.  I praise Him for His Word.  I could go on for sure...
1 Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

This is a prophecy of the New Jerusalem described in Revelation, chapter 21.  He will rebuild Jerusalem and gather the exiles, we get to go too.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.

God heals our hearts when our hopes are dashed.  When we are broken and bruised.  So many times, He has done this for me.  I tend to run full blast into new ideas and, well, sometimes it's not the right direction : )
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.

Humility is important to God.  I guess none of us like to be around arrogant, know it alls.  As God, He must find this particularly annoying. 
6 The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
It reminds me of the widow that put in 2 cents in the Temple treasury.  Jesus applauded her actions.  It's one of my favorite stories.  I think it's because, He knows when we've given everything.  He sees, and cheers.  God knows when we're lagging behind too, and He still cheers.  I'll never forget trying to run around the bases with the other kids in school.  I could never keep up.  I've never been very coordinated or very athletic.  The other kids ran off to play, while I was still trying to run.  But, my teacher stayed behind cheering me on.  God's like that only He's always there. 
Mark 12:42-44
42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Singing to the Lord in praise is like cheering Him on!  I don't know if He ever gets discouraged, but I know He never gives up.
7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.

Remember this verse.  It's one of my favorites:
Zechariah 4:6
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wooland scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Then later He sent Jesus to be our sacrifice.  And invited anyone who would believe, including us.
19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
they do not know his laws.
Praise the Lord.
New International Version®. NIV®.