Eternity · Refreshment

Beautiful Things

With so much hardship and struggles in life, it’s easy to overlook the beauty that is all around us. As I took a look back on my week of photos, I found five pictures that reminded me of some beautiful things the Lord allowed me to see this week.

Roses – How gorgeous are the roses above? I purchased them at Kroger and took them to my mom when I visited her and my dad for a few days this week. I cut the greenery in their yard. I love the pink on the edges of the leaves; it just brings out the pink of the roses!

My dad’s love for my mom – After church we went to Applebee’s for dinner and I snapped this picture of him rubbing her back – one of many loving gestures I saw him do for her while I was there. Sixty-six years and counting!

Golden Hour – This stained glass piece at my parent’s is beautiful – especially when the sun is shining through it at sunset.

Morning light – The last morning I was in Kentucky, I looked out my window and the sun was hitting this tree just right. How gorgeous a new day is! How blessed to see the sunrise and watch the light creep into the yard like a little child slipping from their bed and rising to greet their parents.

This is not my obviously not my photo; it belongs to Tara Leigh Cobble, who is leading a tour of Israel. I took a screen shot of her Instagram photo. Since I’ve had the blessing of going to Israel myself, when I saw this picture, I knew immediately that they were on the Sea of Galilee. That boat ride was the highlight of my time in Israel. Its’ beautiful, but it’s also amazing to be on that water and think about Jesus walking on THAT water!

Jesus is the reason for any joy I can experience in this world. Because I have peace with God through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, I can have true joy, even if the day seems bleak and there is no visible beauty. The fact that I am His and He is mine reminds me that this is not all there is. One Day I will live with Him and reign with Him forever. I pray you have that assurance and that joy in your life as well.

Refresh your day by seeing the beauty around you, given by the hands that died for you.

Easter · Eternity

Jesus’ Final Words To You

This week my husband pulled out a journal that he wrote in when his father was dying of cancer. On his death bed, my father-in-law spoke to each of us. With ears leaned down, straining and attentive, we wanted to hear every word he said to his family before he died. His words were precious. They were written down so we would not forget.

In John 17, we have Jesus’ final words to His disciples. This was His prayer for them as He was now facing the cross. But He didn’t just pray for those that followed Him during His time on earth, He also mentioned me and every other person who would trust Him and follow Him as their Savior! How amazing is that?!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Could we miss hearing His precious words? Would we turn away and not lean in to hear what He wanted to tell us before He died? Here’s what He prayed for us in His final hour:

  1. He wanted us to have unity as modeled by the Godhead. The Father and the Son were one. Unity among the Body of Christ is so important. Has the cross helped me to love others, or am I divisive in my spirit? Our love for others proves our love for God.
  2. He wanted us to be one in Christ. This is our position once we are saved – in Christ. We’re not one through church membership, good deeds, or our pastor, but in Christ. Is the cross work of Christ and my identification in Him my only hope of salvation? Nothing else will save me.
  3. He wanted us to be marked by glory. Jesus gave His glory to us through His presence, His Word, and His Spirit. It’s the manifestation of His presence. Can the world tell that I’ve been with the resurrected Christ?
  4. He is anxious to be with us! Jesus greatly desired for His people to be gathered to Him in heaven and to see His glory. Jesus longed for heaven’s completion of all things. Am I longing for heaven where I will be with my resurrected Savior and view His glory face-to-face?
  5. He wanted us to know the indwelling presence of Himself.I in them.” Am I abiding in Christ today?

One of the things my father-in-law said on his deathbed was, “I’m going to miss my family, but I get to see the Man I’ve been preaching about all my life!” It’s normal for us to think about our family members longing to see us, but to think that the Lord Jesus is anxious to see us in heaven is amazing, isn’t it?

Because of Easter, the celebration of our resurrected Savior – we can have the assurance that we can have Christ living in us now simply by putting our trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Then, we have the solid assurance that we will see Him in all His glory one day when He brings us home, and we can see His glory by abiding in Him now.

If you’ve never read Jesus’ last words to His followers, or if it’s been a while, you can find them right here. Open your “journal” and be overwhelmed by what He wanted you to know before He died in your place!

Rejoice in His love letter to you,

Eternity

Are You Prepared For What’s Coming?

While I worked in my craft room doing alterations on some pieces of clothing, I turned my computer on and watched “A life in the day” of a popular vlogger. She’s beautiful, accomplished and poised…this would be interesting.

But what I felt at the end of her video was not an admiration for her life, rather, I felt a sadness for her. That may sound strange, especially if you had seen her lovely home, complete with huge rooms, expensive furniture, and a backyard that beckons you to the built-in swimming pool. But from the beginning of her day through the hurry and scurry of her job and family activities there was no mention of her relationship with the Lord, whom she professes. There was no time in His Word, no talk of Him when she related to her husband, children or coworkers. There was no prayer, no indication of dependence on a God Who could strengthen a weak heart or guide daily decisions. It seemed that this was her day.

At the end of the video, she snapped off the light, wishing a good night to those that had watched, and I also saw darkness in her tomorrow that will repeat this whole scenario all over again. Everything seemed so futile.

The next morning I read a truth in Proverbs 30 that seemed just the opposite of this dear woman’s life…

There are four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise;
the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.

In wisdom, the ant the ants prepare their winter food in the summer. They work in a time when work can be done and aren’t lazy or procrastinators.

These little insects teach us a lesson about preparing for the coming winter, about what must be the thoughtfulness of one who is making provision for the coming eternity. We can each (myself included) scurry and hurry about, from one task to the next with little or no thought of the life after this one, of the God Who has a plan for this day and eternity, which is always before us.

Of course we have jobs to attend to. Yes, there are children to be picked up from school and packages to be sent, mail to be opened, and appointments to meet, but does that mean there is no time for God in the midst of all our busyness? Do we only relegate God for the hour on Sunday when we will “attend church?” The answer from a heart of anyone who loves God must be a resounding,

NO!!

I’m in no way saying that each moment must be spent with the Bible open, our hands folded in prayer, with no thought to the responsibilities before us. What I am saying is that it is too easy for each of us to plod through our days with little or no thought of God. Some never want to think of where they will spend eternity.

God told the rich man that temporal kind of thinking is foolish because,

Thou fool; this night thy soul shall be required of thee,
then whose shall these things be,
which thou hast provided? Luke 12:20

Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. Psalm 39:6

Instead we must heed II Corinthians 6:2

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Then after salvation, we have purpose for living that goes beyond work, wealth and weariness. With an eye on my present responsibilities but a heart for heaven and eternity, I go through my day, like that little ant. As I put my feet on the floor, I go to that first “ant hill” and thank God for this new day. I move on through the morning and with coffee cup in my hand I move towards the next “ant hill” and open His Word to get my directions for the day. I lay my burdens at His feet.

As I get dressed, I listen to a podcast that will be bread crumbs I can feast on through the day. I can scurry to the next “ant hill” driving to my appointment with a verse card set up on the dashboard, giving me another crumb to nourish my soul. At the appointment, I seek to encourage someone as I share with my hair dresser how faithful God was in a recent difficult situation and I remind her of God’s care for her.

All through the day we must picture ourselves like the little ant, looking for morsels to feed on or for those to tuck away. We could be “sluggards” as Solomon says in Proverbs 30, or we can be wise like the little ant.


What will I choose today? I want to be wise and prepare now for what is coming, which is eternity. How about you? Are you preparing?

You can listen to a podcast where I spoke about this subject in a series called, Remember Lot’s Wife. Go here and scroll down to April 18, Part 3 to hear the recording. I trust it will further refresh your thoughts about how we live out our days on this earth.

Consider the ant,

death · Eternity

Death Is Not the End

Another birthday is approaching. Hmmmm, another year older. I’m pushing closer to the day when this life will be over. I could let myself get down about that, but then I let my mind remember that death is not the end for me! Let me share an illustration regarding this that the Lord recently made clear to me.

One of my daily summer tasks is to water the flower boxes in my upstairs windows. If I fail to get this chore done, it’s very obvious! When I look out the window, the poor impatiens are so withered it seems they will never revive. But I pour the cool water over their droopy heads with hopes they’ll perk back up. A few hours later when I take a peek at them, no longer are they parched! They’re plumped back up and showing off their glorious colors!

I love how God uses nature to remind us of Truth. I Peter 1, His Word says,

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

When I look at those droopy blooms, I remember that flesh (people) are like the grass, which refers to all grass, flowers and herbs – they wither, meaning we will die. Each birthday reminds us that not only are we a year older, but we’re a year weaker, a year closer to death. The “glory of man” is the things that we might boast in – our strength, our wealth, our wisdom, our position. It might look great at the moment, but that glory will also fall away at some point. But there is good news that follows this truth!

But the Word of the Lord endures forever! Peter reminds us that this is the Word by which we heard the Gospel! It came through the eternal Scriptures, the Words that will be true forever. This is a beautiful reminder that this also means our salvation that came through the Gospel will also be eternal. There’s no need to worry and wonder if I’m saved forever. We literally have God’s Word on it!

Let’s get a mental picture using my flower boxes again. When I water them, they “come back to life” so to speak. When you and I trust Christ as our Savior because we’ve heard the Gospel (that Jesus came, died for us and rose again, and we receive His gift of eternal life), though our flesh may die, we will live forever. Picture that water (the Gospel of the Word of God) being poured over us, reviving our dead bodies and translating us to heaven! We’ll be more alive there than we ever were here!

When you water your droopy flowers, I trust you’ll be able to rejoice in the fact that if you have received Christ, you will fade from this life, but you’ll live gloriously forever because of the eternal Word that gave you the Gospel!

If you don’t have this solid hope, I’d love for you to read this post or this one that tells you how you can be saved. If you are a believer, who could you “water” with this Truth today? There are people all around us who are dying that need this hope!

Easter · Eternity · Jesus Changed My Life

When Everything Else Is Stripped Away At Easter

Easter plans have changed this year.

Easter services are different than we would ever have imagined.

Easter traditions have been put aside.

But when everything else is stripped away, there is one thing that remains securely in tact and that is the reason why we celebrate Easter. 

It’s Jesus.  It’s His resurrection from the dead; the fact that He lives!

For me personally, you can hear in this video what I still have today on this Easter, even though everything else has been stripped away.

Thank you for listening to my story.  It’s the truth that makes me put my feet on the floor each morning.  It’s what gives me hope when everything around me seems hopeless.  It’s what energizes my speech and motivates my life.

If you have never received Jesus and seen what a change He can make, I am extending His invitation to you to come to Him today.  Don’t delay.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

There’s nothing you need to do first. He will fix the broken parts of you after He is your Savior. You don’t need to be better or try harder because Jesus did all the work for your salvation on the cross.

We won’t have beautiful church services, egg hunts, or family gatherings this year, but we still have Jesus, and He is all we need.

Happy Easter, my friends!

denise a