Tag: picture

Aug 31 Fix me eyes on the eternal

boy-2208512_640O Father, what amazing pictures are created with Your very words.

I can imagine “storehouses of snow;” sparkling, frosty, frozen, piled so high they are mountains in themselves!

And I can picture You “laying the earth’s foundations”, “marking off its dimensions,” “shutting up the seas behind doors,” “fixing the limits of [the seas] and setting its doors and bars in place.”   The mighty waters obeying Your commands, stopping where You say to stop.  Remaining only where You have given them permission to be.

Only You can bind and loose the stars as You bring the constellations forth in their seasons.”  And I can see it as You “tip over the water jars of heaven” to bring such needed moisture to the earth.  You know “when each mountain goat gives birth” and see each “doe bear her fawn.”

Only You could give the ostrich her great speed, and the horse its strength with “flowing mane.”  From Your mighty words I am reminded of Your astounding strength, creativity, power and inventiveness.  And over it all, You alone have authority!

It reminds me how much I want to be with You.  Not here on earth, but enjoying the fullness of Your presence in heaven.  With Paul, I “groan, longing to be clothed with my heavenly dwelling…”   Also with Paul, I “live by faith and not by sight… and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  What a wonderful day that will be!

And yet, my time on earth is not done.  And although there are difficulties here I would rather skip over to just be with You, You have given me assurance that my light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”   So I “will not lose heart!”  I will “be renewed day by day” by Your Word, and upheld by Your promises.

Father, help me “fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  So I will live, physically, in this world, but have my heart and my attention focused on the world that is to come.  Father, show me how to do that.

Do not let me be overwhelmed or discouraged by what is temporary.  Renew me day by day as I come to You in prayer.  Help me enjoy Your amazing Creation through the eyes of the Creator.   And I will not lose heart.  Amen

Job 38:1-39:30; II Corinthians 4:13-5:10

Aug 17 Your name, Your Word is power

warfarehelmetsFather, most days I don’t feel like I’m in a battle.  I don’t see people who “seek my life,” “plot my ruin,” or who are “hiding nets” and “digging pits” for me.  Most of the time I live oblivious to the spiritual battles that go on around me.

But I believe there is a spiritual realm. 

You speak about spiritual powers: rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil, which have an effect on this world and on me.  It may be a battle to control the minds and hearts of people; or it may affect actual circumstances.

There are times I sense such calmness and peace in my spirit that does not come from my circumstances or the people around me.  And there are other times when the atmosphere seems charged with negativity, an oppressiveness that feels truly evil; spawning confusion, disunity and fear.

It’s hard to put into words.  But in those negative times, the waves of oppression are dispelled by calling on Your name: Lord Jesus Christ.

I can speak scripture and am encouraged, strengthened by the power in it; as if I’m wielding a sword, cutting through the darkness around me.  It may seem the opposition is coming from a person or circumstance.  Still, I do not pray against that person or circumstance, but against the power using or controlling them or it.

“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.  Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.”  Psalms like this one help me actually visualize what I cannot see in this battle, which takes place in the spiritual realm.

I can see You, Father, answering my cry, sending help to take up weapons against this enemy power.  You pick up Your giant shield, strap on Your belt holding Your sword.  You swing Your spear and javelin back and forth to ward off the enemy while advancing to my aid.  These picture words help me “see” the fight that is before me, taking place in a realm I cannot yet see.

May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away.”

There is a process of removing the dry, scaly outer husks of grain after it’s been harvested.  For the grain to be usable, this casing must be separated from it.  Pounding the harvested grain breaks the hull.  Then the sifter tosses the grain up into a light wind and the seed, the heavier, edible grain, falls free from the outer hull.  The breeze blows this outer piece, the chaff, aside, so the grain can be collected for food.

So now I can imagine these spiritual enemies, these powers that come against me, as the lightweight waste material, being blown away, tossed, whirled away from me, driven with the force of a powerful wind from You and Your angels.

May their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.”

When a path is dark, I usually move more slowly to be safe.  And if it is slippery, I go even slower to keep from falling; trying to plant every step.  So I can see the evil enemy fumbling, slipping, falling, being hurt and defeated on a dark, slippery path because Your angels are pursuing them, chasing them down.

“May the net they hid entangle them.” 

I can visualize the enemy placing a net so carefully to trap me, but then getting confused, turned around, falling into it themselves, becoming tangled in the cords and held fast.  Or running blindly to escape Your attack and falling into the very pit they have dug to entrap me.

When I picture these scenes as I pray, I join the battle.  I feel Your power and the defeat of the enemy.  Thank you for the peace You bring with Your victory!  “Who is like You?”  There is none.  I rejoice in You!  Amen

Psalm 35:1-10

Dec 7 Where there is life, there is hope

purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-napa-vineyard-45209Father, what a picture of joy and hope when You say “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert.”  Because in the desert, very little grows.  The lack of water and the intense heat plus sandy soil produce low, scrawny plant life.

But to find grapes: something juicy and good that can nourish, is a wonderful and valuable find!  When living in or crossing the desert, a find like this can be the difference between life and death.

A similar picture is seen in the next part of the verse: “when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”

fig-tree-1658686_960_720For a fig tree is different from most other fruit trees.  It will take four to seven years for a fig tree to produce its first crop of figs.  So all those years, care must be taken to keep it watered and fertilized and protected from the weather and winds, parasites and disease so it will be healthy enough to produce.

Then, when seeing the early fruit, you know it has all been worth it!  There is success!  And hope of many more harvests to come.

Both of these create an emotional response of relief, satisfaction – that the future is secure and what has been done and accomplished was worth it.

I love seeing this in projects or ministries I have been involved with.  Or when I think of lives I have impacted.  It is a good feeling that any positive influence will continue and go on.  I feel it when I think of my children.  I feel delight and hope.

But then that was all taken away when You saw what happened.  “…they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.”

Delight is erasedHopes are dashedJoy is replaced with sadness, grief and anguish over the loss of those involved and the prospect of the joyous future that had been envisioned.

Father, do You feel like this about each one of Your creations now?  Do You have delight in each one, and then anguish over their fall away from You into idolatry?  Father, I am Your child.  Keep me from turning away from You.  Show me clearly where and when there are idols I am in danger of being drawn to: pride, possessions, money, fame, popularity, whatever.  I believe You gave these words to John: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

I echo these words for my own children.  And also “pray that [they] may enjoy good health and that all may go well with [them].”   Father, help me and my children and loved ones be faithful to You.  Help us walk in a manner worthy of You, to show hospitality, not to gossip, to welcome believers, not to imitate what is evil, but to imitate what is good.

Thank You for the great things You have done for us!  Let “our mouths be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” because of the “great things You have done for us”!  Amen

Hosea 9:10; III John 1:1-4; Psalm 126:1-6

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

bible-1089930_640

O Father, what an incredible picture You paint! 

I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw. 

I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening! 

I can see it in my mind’s eye, but what a powerful movie it would make! 

Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.  

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.” 

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand.  The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before. 

Thank you that even today, You give us visions, glimpses of Your power, Your purposes, Your comfort. When I was overwhelmed with what I believed was a hopeless situation, You gave me a vision of how You had prepared me and were with me in my circumstances.  It was of a boat in a storm, and of how You would deliver me through that storm.

Your vision comforted me and stabilized me to make it. It has stayed with me and reassured me over and over again.

Thank You for speaking to us through Your Word, and also personally through visions. You who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and shown Your lavish love and abundant provision for me. 

And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.  My Father.  My Creator.  My Savior.  Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Aug 17 Your name, Your Word is power

warfarehelmets

Father, most days I don’t feel like I’m in a battle.  I don’t see people who “seek my life,” “plot my ruin,” or who are “hiding nets” and “digging pits” for me.  Most of the time I live oblivious to the spiritual battles that go on around me.

But I believe there is a spiritual realm.

You speak about spiritual powers: rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil, which have an effect on this world and on me.  It may be a battle to control the minds and hearts of people; or it may affect actual circumstances.

There are times I sense such calmness and peace in my spirit that does not come from my circumstances or the people around me.  And there are other times when the atmosphere seems charged with negativity, an oppressiveness that feels truly evil; spawning confusion, disunity and fear.

It’s hard to put into words.  But in those negative times, the waves of oppression are dispelled by calling on Your name: Lord Jesus Christ.

I can speak scripture and am encouraged, strengthened by the power in it; as if I’m wielding a sword, cutting through the darkness around me.  It may seem the opposition is coming from a person or circumstance.  Still, I do not pray against that person or circumstance, but against the power using or controlling them or it.

“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.  Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.”  Psalms like this one help me actually visualize what I cannot see in this battle, which takes place in the spiritual realm.

I can see You, Father, answering my cry, sending help to take up weapons against this enemy power.  You pick up Your giant shield, strap on Your belt holding Your sword.  You swing Your spear and javelin back and forth to ward off the enemy while advancing to my aid.  These picture words help me “see” the fight that is before me, taking place in a realm I cannot yet see.

“May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away.”

There is a process of removing the dry, scaly outer husks of grain after it’s been harvested.  For the grain to be usable, this casing must be separated from it.  Pounding the harvested grain breaks the hull.  Then the sifter tosses the grain up into a light wind and the seed, the heavier, edible grain, falls free from the outer hull.  The breeze blows this outer piece, the chaff, aside, so the grain can be collected for food.

So now I can imagine these spiritual enemies, these powers that come against me, as the lightweight waste material, being blown away, tossed, whirled away from me, driven with the force of a powerful wind from You and Your angels.

“May their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.”

When a path is dark, I usually move more slowly to be safe.  And if it is slippery, I go even slower to keep from falling; trying to plant every step.  So I can see the evil enemy fumbling, slipping, falling, being hurt and defeated on a dark, slippery path because Your angels are pursuing them, chasing them down.

“May the net they hid entangle them.”

I can visualize the enemy placing a net so carefully to trap me, but then getting confused, turned around, falling into it themselves, becoming tangled in the cords and held fast.  Or running blindly to escape Your attack and falling into the very pit they have dug to entrap me.

When I picture these scenes as I pray, I join the battle.  I feel Your power and the defeat of the enemy.  Thank you for the peace You bring with Your victory!  “Who is like You?”  There is none.  I rejoice in You!  Amen

Psalm 35:1-10

Nov 1 Your Word Paints a Picture

O Father, what an incredible picture You paint!

bible-1089930_640I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening!

I can see it in my mind’s eye, but what a powerful movie it would make!  Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.”

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand.  The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

Thank you that even today, You give us visions, glimpses of Your power, Your purposes, Your comfort. When I was overwhelmed with what I believed was a hopeless situation, You gave me a vision of how You had prepared me and were with me in my circumstances.  It was of a boat in a storm, and of how You would deliver me through that storm.

Your vision comforted me and stabilized me to make it. It has stayed with me and reassured me over and over again.

Thank You for speaking to us through Your Word, and also personally through visions. You who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and shown Your lavish love and abundant provision for me.

And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.  My Father.  My Creator.  My Savior.  Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

bible-1089930_640O Father, what an incredible picture You paint!

I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw.

I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening!

I can see it in my mind’s eye, like a powerful scene from a movie!  Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.   But it was Ezekiel’s vision.

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.”

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand.  The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

Thank You that even today, You give us visions, glimpses of Your power, Your purposes, Your comfort. When I was overwhelmed with what I believed was a hopeless situation, You gave me a vision of how You had prepared me and were with me in my circumstances.  And of how You would deliver me through the storm.

Your vision comforted me and stabilized me to make it.  It has stayed with me and reassured me over and over again.

Thank You for speaking to us through Your Word, and also personally through visions. You who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and shown Your lavish love and abundant provision for me.

And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.   My Father.   My Creator.   My Savior.  Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28

Mar 25 Help me see

eyeglasses-2003188_640

 

Lord thank You for these pictures in scripture about the ability to see truth for what it is and to understand the meaning behind being a follower of Christ.

 

Your first picture reminds me that although a blind person who cannot see can help another blind person, there are blocks they will both stumble over due to their lack of vision. Yet, how many times have I relied on the advice and guidance of another person, who is ‘in the dark’ as much as I am when it comes to seeing things from Your perspective? Rather than coming to You, I seek help from another ‘blind’ person who is in no better spiritual position than I am.

Interesting that Your next ‘illustration’ has to do with vision too. Contrasting when I go to another for help, this next one shows that when I try and ‘help’ someone else by fixing a problem I see in their life. There’s a good chance I have bigger problems in my own life that should be a priority for my attention. Only after my own bigger problems are dealt with can I see well enough to be of help to anyone else, should they ask.

In both these examples, my own lack of vision blinds me to the truth. I need to remember to look to You for guidance, answers and perspective on issues in my life. And before I look too closely at a friend’s life and shortcomings, I need to examine myself. And then, again, seek Your help in correcting the issues I find there.

Another example You give has to do with how I act on what You tell me when I turn to You for the ‘vision’ I lack. It is not enough to simply call on You for guidance. It is also imperative that I listen for Your response and do what You say! Otherwise, all I do is based on my own, unreliable, limited understanding and will fold in on me like a house built with no foundation.

Father, I desire to obey You so my efforts won’t be wasted; so what I do has a firm foundation, and will stand solid against any difficulty or challenge that comes. And the challenges will come. You are the solid foundation I can put my trust in and gain confidence from. Open my eyes of understanding. Do not let me turn to other blind people, but to the One who made my eyes and gives me sight.

And I will be glad and rejoice with You; happy and joyful! Amen

Luke 6:39-49

Nov 1 Your Word paints a picture

bible-1089930_640O Father, what an incredible picture You paint! I cannot even imagine seeing what Ezekiel saw! I don’t know if I would fall facedown like Ezekiel, cower in fear or simply stand, transfixed, unable to move by the sight of something so magnificently awesome and frightening!

I can see it in my mind’s eye, but what a powerful movie it would make! Every time I read the description of the four living creatures I find something new, and have tried to draw what You describe to increase my understanding.   When drawing, one has to pay very close attention to get all the details right.

Your Word says Ezekiel was so awed by what he had seen and heard, that he “sat among them [Israelite exiles] for seven days – overwhelmed.”

Thank You that Ezekiel could explain what he saw in terms I can understand. The words “immense fire…flashing lightening…glowing metal…burning coals of fire…appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day” are very descriptive, even though I feel sure that what he saw was beyond anything he had ever seen before.

The author of Psalm 104 also helps me see, visualize You creating the heavens and the earth, with words that paint a picture. I can see You “wrapped…in light as with a garment” as You “set the earth on its foundations” and “cover it with the deep as with a garment”. I can imagine the waters fleeing at Your rebuke, “flowing over the mountains”, going “down into the valleys, to the place You assigned them”.

Thank You again, for using words I can understand and envision. You, who have the imagination and power to create things I cannot even fathom, have leaned down from Your position of sovereignty on high, taken my face in Your hands, and whispered wonderful Words into my ear to show me Your lavish love and abundant provision for me. And I am forever amazed by You and am eternally in Your debt.   My Father.   My Creator.   My Savior. Amen

Ezekiel 1:1-28; Psalm 104:1-23