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Focus

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Do you see him?

I had a hard time getting a picture of him.

When  I tried to focus on the fuzzy antlers in the background, the camera would get distracted by an ugly branch in the fore….

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Reminded me of how discouraged I’ve been lately about the long list of things I can’t eat.

Food allergies =/

My friend said, “Focus on all you can eat, not what you can’t.”

Good advice for all of life.

Focus on the CANS not the CAN’TS.

I was focusing on the ugly branch.

I should have been focusing on the antlers, instead.

prairie-dog-in-prayer-300x277

   Let’s pray… Thank you, Father, for boundaries. You are the good Shepherd and know just where to put up a fence to keep Your sheep safe.

 Today I will choose to rest in Your boundaries and trust that You know what You’re doing.  But, I am just a dumb wayward sheep, after all, Father, so like that country song says, “Help me to help my stupid self.” =] In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Do you know Jesus Christ? Not about Him, but really know Him? He has His eye on you.  Click the pic below to see how to start focusing your eye on Him:

I see you.  Stephen M. Young, photographer.

I see you. Stephen M. Young, photographer.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture” ~ Jesus (John 10:9)

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Door County, WI

Well, I’ll soon be out the door to the Door!

Door County Wisconsin, from Wikipedia Commons

Yayy!! My family’s spending only a few short days on Wisconsin’s thumb peninsula, so we’ll pack in as much in as we can —

kayaking, para-sailing, hiking, biking, and, of course, the obligatory fish boil (highly recommended by the locals)

Fish Boil! The cook throws fuel oil on the timbers under the kettle at the end. The flames cause the fish oil and water to boil over leaving behind perfectly cooked and tender whitefish. Served with potato, coleslaw, sweet onions and rye bread. Yum! Photo from "Subaru Road Trips", click pic to read more about The Door!

Tourists swarm beautiful Door County every year for it’s yummy food, beautiful lake views, and lovely lighthouses, which were built all around the peninsula to keep sailors from crashing into her rocky shores.

That’s how she got her name, in fact.  Early explorers dubbed her, “Porte de Morts”, or “the door of death”, because there were so many wrecks.

I read that La Salle, the famous french explorer, lost his ship, the Griffon, against her rocks.

La Salle cheering on the crowds at La Salle University. Hope his cheerleaders jumped ship before the Griffin met her end! click pic for source.

The Griffon has lots of company on the bottom of Lake Michigan, unfortunately.

Or fortunately, if you’re one of the many adventure seekers diving for all that lost treasure.

diving for treasure. click pic for source

All this talk of lighthouses and shipwrecks reminds me of 1 and 2 Timothy.

Those two lighthouses in the Bible were written by the Apostle Paul for young Timothy to keep him from shipwrecking his faith:

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction…so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience.

Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.”  ~~ 1 Timothy 1:18-19

What were those “instructions”?  Here’s a few:

click pic for source

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” ~ 1 Timothy 4:7

click pic for source

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” ~~ 1 Timothy 4:9-10

click pic for source

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  ~~ 2 Timothy 2:15-16, 22

Well, I’m off to fill my suitcases for The Door, and, hopefully, I’ll pack these verses away in my heart’s suitcase, so I don’t end up like the Griffon, faith-wise.

But, before I go, and speaking of doors, I’d like to invite you to open up the door of your heart to the One who’s patiently knocking.  Click the pic below, if you haven’t met Him yet, for a quick introduction…

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

**door knob photo courtesy of Teresa Leach.  It’s from the lovely Grand Anne Bed and Breakfast in Keokuk IA.

Connected?

What are you cooking up for the Lord? Don't forget to plug in!

In Mark 1, we read how Jesus was starting to get famous:

“News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” (:28)

The jews liked the way He taught:

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (:22)

And they’d just seen Jesus command a demon to leave a man.  It was violent and scary and probably totally awesome:

“Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,

‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!’

‘Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!’

The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching-and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.’ ” (:23-:27)

And, not only that, but he could heal sick people:

“Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” (:30-:31)

So everybody in town started bringing their sick moms and dads, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters to Jesus.  He was really cookin’, Jesus was, and by nightfall he was completely surrounded by needy people who wanted His attention, the whole town, in fact:

“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons … ” (:32-:34)

How was Jesus able to keep pouring himself out for these needy people?

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (:35)

He stayed plugged in to the Power Source, His Father.  It’s kinda complicated because Jesus was God in the flesh and all, but all I know is —

if Jesus needed to do it, How much more do I…

and you?!

I heard this on my local christian radio station this morning:

“Jesus knew that to minister to others He had to stay connected with His Father. Are you connecting with the Lord?” ~~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Seeking Him.

Let’s pray:

Oh, Father, You are and You reward those who earnestly seek You. (Hebrew 11:6)  I’m seeking you now, earnestly, and asking that you give me the desire to stay connected to You.

You said in John 15, “Apart from Me, You can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

And You said in Isaiah 45: “…there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.” (:5b)

You are the only God.  Whom have I in heaven but Thee?  (Psalm 73:25)  Oh, may there be none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee, like the rest of that verse says.  You know I desire many, many, many other things beside You, Father, on a general basis. (If you’ve been neglecting Your Bible and prayer, now’s the time to confess it.)

I want to be plugged into Your heart.  I want to stay connected to You.  Help me!  Help me! Help me!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Do you know the Lord? Click on the pic above to get connected. 🙂

Storm Watch…

Well, we’re under a storm watch today, here in the Midwest.

A  warm front from the south will be smacked down by a nasty cold front from the north, right over our heads, creating perfect weather conditions, the weatherman said, for strong winds, heavy rain, and maybe even a tornado or two.

Well, the cooler temps and rain predicted for the rest of the week, have my family packing our bikes back into the garage.

Cold fronts can be real party-poopers for us fair-weather-bikers. 😦

Sigh…

And we certainly don’t want cold fronts building up in our hearts, Christian.  Cold winds of doubt can smack down our faith and blow away any chances of happiness and peace.

Fortunately, we can control our heart conditions by… (drum roll, please)

READING OUR BIBLES! Say it with me —   THE BIBLE IS MY FRIEND!  The B-i-b-l-e, that’s the book for you.  It’s true!

Regular Bible reading (and doing) will keep our hearts warm.

Below is a diagram, from the Navigators ministry, showing how to get a HAND-le on the Bible:

“The Word Hand”.  “Meditate, Memorize, Study, Read, Hear.”

Memorizing the verses on each finger of that hand above might be just the thing to improve your internal weather pattern.  You could trace your hand into your journal to make your own HAND-y diagram. (can you tell I’ve taught a lot of Sunday School?)

(Click on the WORD HAND for a more thorough explanation of the verses from Navigators.org, if you’re interested)

Another cold front stopper and heart warmer is to PRAY.

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

Stop! Drop! and Pray!

We don’t have to weather our storms alone!

My pastor said, “The storm your going through isn’t the issue.  It’s Who’s going through it with you that matters.” ~Cal Rychener

So, Who’s your storm-buddy? You gotta be prepared…

“When I think I’m goin’ under, part the waters, Lord.

When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea.

When I cry for help, O, hear me, Lord, and hold out your hand!

Touch my life!

Still the raging storm in me.”

I need you every hour...

“The Cold Front Prayer:

“Oh, Father, thank you for loving me.  I need you every hour, every minute, every second.

Thank you for touching my life when I call to you, like the song said above, and stilling the raging storms in me.

Please help me to love Your Word, the Bible.  The B-I-B-L-E — may it be the book for me.

And, Lord, I know there’s so much time wasted I”ve wasted because I didn’t pray, and so many storms in my life that could have been avoided if I’d relied on You in the midst of them.

I am so weak.  Strengthen me inside with power through Your Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

You got a storm buddy?  Click on the pic below to meet mine:

Stop, Drop, and Pray II

Feeling stressed?!  We all face it in no matter what our jobs or titles.  Do you see yourself in the lines below?:


“Your alarm interrupted a sweet dream.  You just want to stay where you lay.  WHAT DO YOU DO?!…  Stop, drop, and pray! 

 

Your sinks overflowing with dishes.  The baby’s been crying all day. WHAT DO YOU DO?!… Stop, drop and pray!

Your inbox is full and growing, yet the boss throws more work your way.  WHAT DO YOU DO?!… Stop, drop and pray!

 A paper’s due this morning, and a test is just hours away!  WHAT DO YOU DO?! … Stop, drop and pray!

No matter what stresses your facing, the solution is always the same.  Whenever you feel like screaming…. Stop! Drop! and Pray! ” ~Gloris Young

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Do you know Christ Jesus?  Click on the alarm clock above for a brief introducion. It’s about time you did!

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God…

The heavens declare the glory of God. 

The skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech. 

Night after night displays knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”

Psalm 19

I love that Psalm.  Psalm means “song of praise” in Hebrew.  Oh, may the Lord put a new song in your heart, in my heart.  So much trouble under the heavens these days.  War, crime, poverty, Swine flu scares.  Easy to get bogged down with it all.  So, look up!  The skies remind us that God loves us, that He is powerful, that He is beautiful. 

As the sun faithfully rises every morning

 and sets again every evening,

He is faithful. 

And so generous, He give us these beautiful skies for free!  “…for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45b

 God IS good.  God IS powerful.  We CAN trust Him. 

Do you know Him?  Click on this leaf He made for a quick introduction:

Special thanks to these photographers: David B. Vernon (moon over bridge), Mulia Nurhasan (Aurora Borealis), Sarah Mack (hand under sunset, Kenya sunset, Kenya children),

Writer’s Block

For God...made his light shine in our hearts..." 2 Corintihians 4:6

Been having “writer’s block”  lately.  Wish I could take two aspirin and start writing in the morning.  Aren’t we lucky that God didn’t have writer’s block?   I mean, the “Word” filled His Word with lots of great stories, poetry, hope, warnings, and encouragement.  

Robin Watercolor, Gloris Young

"Open wide thy mouth and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10

Have you heard?  

 He counts every bird 

 and the hairs on your head.

  In the Word I have read

 He holds the oceans in His hand  

 The moon shines at His command.

  Have you heard?  

It’s all in God’s Word…    … the Biblelos Biblio (Spanish), Diyin God Bizaad (Navajo for “God’s Word), die Bibel (German), Би́блия (Russian).  

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  John 1:1,3NASB

  Pray with me (click on highlighted words/phrases for scripture references):

“Thank you, Father, for the Word, your Bible.  It’s so beautiful and rich and full of truth and love.  You are love.  Help me to treasure Your words in my heart, and to follow Your lead.  In Jesus’ name, amen!”

  There’s someone Who’d like to have word with you. Click on the door knob to let Him in.Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast, Keokuk