The leaves of the oak tree noisily applaud the arrival of spring. The pointy touch of pine needles reminds me that You are a God who feels and cares. Splotches of shade splash the sun-drenched pathway. What a God You are! We feel wind and waves, see rocks and wildflowers. Near and far, hills and valleys, woods and fields litter the landscape. So many birds, both glorious and plain! Such vast numbers, yet not a sparrow falls without Your notice. With fruit and vegetables, herbs and tree bark You provide Food and medicine in this beautiful, though broken world. Beyond all this, You give us the gift of laughter to brighten our faces When we’re tempted to gloom. You spoke forth all creation as the morning stars sang together, And You hold them all together by the power of Your Word. Indeed, what a God You Are!
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3 New International Version) “What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:6-7 New Living Translation) “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” (Matthew 10:29 New Living Translation)
At this time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I remember the Easter hymns we sang in church as I grew up. I loved “Christ Arose” partly because of the building excitement in the chorus:
“Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” * (Words and music by Rev. Robert Lowry, 1826-1899.)
Now that I’m older, I value more and more the truth of the song. Jesus Christ conquered death, and He offers true eternal life to those who choose to receive and follow Him.
Christ is risen! Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 NIV)
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)
*Several performances of this song are available on YouTube. I liked this one by the Klondike Baptist Church Praise Team: https://youtu.be/UYcEH6vzVas
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV)
Thank You Jesus, for going to the cross where my name was engraved on Your hands, maybe not on the palms–-with crucifixion, the Romans pounded spikes through the base of the hand where it is joined to the wrist. But You suffered and died for my sin there.
That reminds me of the hymn, “Nailed to the Cross,” which I learned as a young person:
They are nailed to the cross; they are nailed to the cross.
Oh how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss, Jesus went to the cross,
And He carried my sin with Him there.*
Thank You, God, for forgiving all our sins and for never forgetting us.
“…He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) “……God has said,’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) (Both NIV)
*Hymn author: Carrie Ellis Breck (1899) Music and lyrics at:
In Jacob’s dream, the Lord stood at the top of a stairway and said, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15).
When I read this verse one morning, I believe God said to me, “My child, Today I am with you. Quit wishing you had believed that back when you were in college, or 20 years ago or whatever past date comes to mind. Believe it today!
Today, when you hear My voice, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7). Your mind knows you can’t go back in time even one minute, but sometimes your heart rebels against that fact. So choose today to forget the past and press on day by day remembering My presence with you (Philippians 3:12-14).
[“Not that I have already …been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. …But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal….” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)]
“For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit ofliving their ownway….” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)
The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?
Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)
Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23 NIV)
Thank You, Lord, that You always hold me by my right hand as I walk through each day. When what I do seems just routine, You are with me. You know everything I think and do. May I bring honor to You even in the everyday things. If I stumble, You pick me up and steady me. When I face challenges, I’m encouraged by Your firm grip of my hand. And as Psalm 23:4 says, I will fear no evil because You are with me.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge….”Psalm 73:28 NIV)
I praise and thank You, Lord, that although You are sovereign over all the earth and heavens, You have made the way for me to draw near to You in Christ. Indeed, how good it is to be near You! Amen.
Psalm 138:6: “Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble….” (New Living Translation)
You are my help. You, the Maker of heaven and earth, are here—always and everywhere, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 121). I love You, Lord, for Your greatness which is great enough to care for even me.
“The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you….” (Deuteronomy 31:3 NIV)
Lord God, I struggle to obey your command to be strong and courageous. Yet, You have promised that wherever I go, You go before me. You “cross over” ahead of me, whatever Jordan I cross over. You prepare the way.
You have told us not to be afraid or terrified because You, the Lord our God, go with us. You will never fail us in any way or for any reason. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted to fear, please prompt me to remember these truths. I can choose strength and courage because You fill me with Your power, love, and a sound mind. Thank You, Lord.
Let me forget my failures from the past, though they are many; but let me remember Your love, Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
I trek the trail descending to the lower falls And see cool water hurrying to the cliff edge Where it tumbles over and crashes in the pool below. A family plays there–young boys moving rocks to dam the rivulet at their feet.
The brook babbles on within its mountain bed, Rambling to places yet unknown and far ahead And ascending, I return to the start, Climbing on the rocky path between towering trees Which grasp for sunlight high above.
Thank You, God, for making all of this for us mere humans to enjoy! How kind and loving You are! Amazing! Creator! God!
Path to Diamond Point
On the moss-bordered pathway, I step over humpbacked tree roots. The wind huffs and sighs, muscling leaves into motion And casting scattered raindrops here and there.
Look at the tiny shelves of fungi Climbing a tree at the side of the path! Rowdy rhododendron completes the wild surround.
Thank You, God, for providing this bit of delight Tucked away in the woods. How good You are, Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth!
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” –1 Timothy 6:17 NASU
Lord God Almighty, the invisible God, You have made Yourself visible in Jesus Christ Your Son. Hallelujah!
Jesus, Son of God, You existed before anything was created since You are the Word who was with God and was God. Nothing was created except through You. I lift praises to You!
Jesus, You hold everything together and sustain everything by Your powerful Word. You are before all things—Number 1 first, before time, before creation. I praise You, Lord!
All the fullness of God dwells in You, Jesus. When I see You, I see the Father. Holy Spirit, please help me see Jesus better.
All thanks and praise to You God! I used to be alienated from You, but now You have reconciled me to Yourself through Christ’s death on the cross. So I am holy in Your sight without blemish and free from accusation because I am in Christ Jesus.
Praise You, God–Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit!
(See Colossians 1:15-23, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:3 and Romans 8:1.)
I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:
“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.
“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals. “And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)
Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.
Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.
Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.
O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)