God Glimpses #56 ~ Reflections

debbie-richardson-reflection

God Glimpses #56 ~ Reflections

This is a guest post from my friend, Debbie Richardson.

debbie-richardsonDebbie is an avid photographer and often accompanies her photos with her thoughts of the moment. More often than not, it seems these thoughts of the moment are true God Glimpses. Thank you Debbie, for your continued inspiration!
~

At first, I was really disappointed in my inability to capture the whole picture in this shot… I got the reflection but not what is being reflected. Then an idea came to me… What if in life, some people can’t handle the whole picture of God but if they can see His reflection in us, then they can see a glimpse of His beauty? Maybe just enough to wrap their minds and hearts around until they can lift their heads and see it all? I’ve been there myself… Sometimes you need just enough of a peek to get the courage to see what else might be there. Thoughts? Is part of the picture enough to draw us in sometimes? Or maybe all we can handle? Just my ramblings on a lazy Saturday morning in a beautiful place I call home.
~

May we all strive to reflect Him undistorted. And may we all have the courage to really see Him and the amazing life we can have if we truly trust.


God Glimpses #55 ~ Tangled Motivation

tangled-motivationGod Glimpses #55 ~ Tangled Motivation

I was talking to a writer the other day who said this, “I’ll have to see if I can find some motivation.”

I wanted to scream. I have news for those who are still in the dream world of “finding motivation.”

Motivation can’t be found. Unlike lost keys, or even the coin of great worth, motivation can’t be found. It’s not lost. Motivation is made.

It’s not made from feelings, or emotions, or delivered by a muse, or even from on high. Motivation can only be formed by rational, deliberate, intentional decisions.

God Himself can’t and won’t motivate you. Not that He’s not all-powerful, but because His first priority is to give us the complete freedom of CHOICE. He made a plan before time began. Every nuance of history and the future was woven before the first man was formed. There are no tangled threads in God’s tapestry.

We, however, are overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. Therein lies the problem. We let the overwhelmingness of our days keep us from being intentional. We take the easy and lazy way out. We deceive ourselves into believing that it’s all too much. But it’s not too much. God doesn’t leave us hopeless and helpless. He put within every believer His Spirit to guide us into all wisdom.

We make thousands of decisions every single day. What percentage of them do we make after asking for His help? “Pray without ceasing” takes on a whole new light, doesn’t it?

Do you want to get things accomplished? Reach your goals? Work on the real priorities, instead of being sabotaged by the subterfuge of instant gratification?

Make some real decisions! Motivation will follow.


God Glimpses #54 ~ Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley horz crop

God Glimpses #54 ~ Lily of the Valley

What can words say that these wonders of creation can’t?

Sometimes seeing a glimpse of God only requires one tiny blossom.

 


God Glimpses #53 ~ You WILL

 

grapevine

God Glimpses #53 ~ You WILL

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

I was looking out my back window at my pathetic espallied fruit trees today and once again contemplating whether I should give up and cut them down and use the upright poles between them to support a grape vine. (I should have looked up apple tree diseases before purchasing apple trees prone to Apple Cedar Rust Disease for a house on Cedar Road.)

The thought of grape vines always brings this verse to mind. Then my devotion today had the same verse. For some reason the word “WILL” jumped out for the first time in a long time. Almost every passage in the Bible is conditional in one way or another and this verse is blatant. IF you do this, this will happen. “If you remain in me, and I in you . . .”

I’m in a season of feeling pretty useless, what with my body being in rebellion mode. The more my body rebels, the less I accomplish, the more I’m forced to analyse the importance of my activities, physical, mental and spiritual.

I’m not happy about my rebellious body, but I’m grateful. I want to be fruitful. I don’t have what it takes physically, but guess what? That isn’t a condition! All I have to do is stick even closer to my maker, and draw the strength to produce fruit from him.

Not a bad trade off for a younger body and distracted lifestyle.


God Glimpses # 52 ~ Grow where you’re Planted

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God Glimpses # 52 ~ Grow where you’re Planted

Seeing this Wild Ginger coming up in the broken pathway reminded me of this phrase.

There are times in life when we wonder how we got where we are. Most times it’s the end result of our own actions. Occasionally, we are clueless.

Either way, the only way to improve our situation is to make the best of where we are until we earn our way out, or until God allows us out.

The way out is always the result of praise and gratitude. With gratitude comes a positive attitude. But praise comes first, not as a result. When we praise in faith, then our circumstances can improve, or our hearts will learn to accept that they won’t.

The result will be praise that is felt from the heart.

We may or may not leave the pavement crack for the company of a flower bed, but either way, with gratitude we will flourish.


God Glimpses # 51 ~ What are your Chances?

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God Glimpses # 51 ~ What are your Chances?

You’ve all tried these machines ~ or worse yet, had the lovely experience of watching your child come to grips with the odds of winning a prize out of these rigged monsters of greed.

Relying on God’s promises isn’t a crap-shoot ~ it’s faith.

There is no risk involved in faith. It feels that way ~ it’s a scary thing letting go of our own self-reliance and trusting God. “Stepping out in faith” feels like it carries the same odds as playing one of these games (invented by the devil himself, I’m quite sure.)

Here’s what’s at the heart of faith ~ faith is the opposite of trusting in ourselves. The reason the world at large has such a huge problem with faith is that faith is the crucial issue of our existence. Are we going to trust in a being we can’t see to have all the answers to the problems that are bigger than we? There is too much we can’t solve, too many unanswered questions, too much everything.

And yet, we all, believers and unbelievers, innately turn first to self-reliance. While all along there are answers and promises and instructions for all aspects of life the second we let go of self-reliance and simply refuse to play the losing game.


God Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood

hydrangea 1st leavesGod Glimpses # 50 ~ Dead Wood
It’s easy to look at the mess we’ve made as dead wood. Every year I have to cut the dead wood out of my Hydrangea. Every year there’s more. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of many woody shrubs and all trees. A certain percentage of the limbs and branches die off, and more grow in their place. Think of them as the equivalent of human hair. It doesn’t mean there is rot or disease, it’s just part of the process.
Now take that thought and apply it to the mess you’ve made of your attempts. Is your life (and possibly your home and office) filled with the clutter and refuse of attempts that went awry or projects that didn’t make it past the planning stage? Don’t beat yourself up! This is a normal part of the process of growth.
Rather than agonize over the failures, look at your mess as proof that you’re alive, trying new things, attempting to be and do more. Then get out the pruning shears and get rid of those things holding you back, reminding you of failure, and taking up valuable space in your life. Learn from God’s natural process. If you don’t cut out the dead wood, then the new can’t grow. There is no space, or light or air.
Breathe in those wonderful life-affirming verses that you love, and then tackle just one pruning job today. Nothing brings hope for the future like new spring green growth. Make room for it in your life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB
“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.
I’ve come that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ISV

God Glimpses # 49 ~ New Beginnings

 

Crocuses

God Glimpses # 49 ~ New Beginnings

In preparing for our upcoming art show, “New Beginnings” the thought occurred to me that I might have other artwork lying around that could be used besides the paintings I’m preparing just for this exhibit. So I took a little tour around the house and came across this early painting. The subject was perfect ~ what says new beginning like the first adorable flowers of spring? Unfortunately, the paper was covered in foxing ~ those little or not-so-little rust colored specks that go right through the paper. It was polka-dotted with the ugly things.

I got on the internet and looked up foxing and what to do to get it out of the paper. It all looked so complicated, and the only thing I had on hand was the bleach which was only one step in the process. Would just that first step do it? How much of the watercolor would fade? Was I willing to risk it for this one show? I certainly didn’t have time to get it back from a conservator before Friday. It was one of only two early watercolors I have left, and I’ve always been fond of it ~ it would grieve me to lose it.

After the agony of deliberation, I decided to give it a try. After all, it was ruined as it was, and by the time I got it to a conservator, it might be too late to save it anyway. The foxing was already all the way through the paper.

So I did it ~ I took the plunge. I prepared a pan of water with a small amount of bleach and submersed my darling little painting. After soaking for almost two hours, the stains were still there, so I left the studio for lunch, telling myself not to stay too long. At that point the colors were still strong.

Of course you know I got involved in a book and forgot all about my little painting sitting in the tub of bleach solution. When I got back to the studio, the first thing that I saw were my little crocuses, just starting to bleed out purple. I rushed the painting to the sink and dumped the water from the pan, rinsing it while holding the painting, worrying about the bleeding watercolor. It was only a tiny amount, but it was clearly starting to run. I filled the pan with rinse water and gently floated the painting, flipping it over. I did it twice more with fresh pans of water. At that point the bleeding had rinsed away. How much of the color would remain once the painting dried? The drying process was accomplished with less stress, thankfully.

You can see the result. The colors are once again as bright as when it was freshly painted, and the paper is truly white. There is no purple even though that’s how the photo appears. I’m not sure the camera knew what to do with those intensely purple flowers.

I think you’ll agree that this painting has experienced its own New Beginning.

One day we’ll be wearing white, and our true colors will shine. Until then, we take it by faith that our stains have been washed away. We have value and beauty and serve a purpose ~ each of us designed by the hands of the one who created us for his good pleasure.

 


God Glimpses #48 ~ Rooted in Love

uprooted tree - Debbie Richardson

God Glimpses #48 ~ Rooted in Love

By my friend, Debbie Richardson

Yesterday when I was reeling in the initial shock of things I went to the beach to feel God’s grace wash over me. He showed me the roots on these trees.

See them? All dug up and exposed?

Then I looked up to see wide beautiful branches heavy with new growth and greenery. God showed me that a tree can still thrive in conditions that pound the soil away from the roots. Exposed roots, while a little ugly, still function.

I’m going to thrive with my gnarly old roots because they are working just fine. It may not be pretty, but the tree holds fast and continues to flourish.

How’s that for a little lesson at the beach? God always meets me where I am…

~ I do believe my friend Debbie has learned one valuable lesson; that regardless of what others may think, she truly is on her way to perfection.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18


God Glimpses #47 ~ I was THIS Close!

Alligator

God Glimpses #47 ~ I was This Close!

I was. I was this close to this alligator. Oh, I realize he wasn’t a really big alligator, but I was still this close. I took this picture with my iPhone, no telephoto lens involved.

He could’ve reached out and chomped off my arm in a heartbeat. But he didn’t.
In fact, he didn’t even flinch. He blinked a few times, but he kept staring at me with those reptilian eyes. Maybe it had something to do with the thick glass between us at the aquarium.

Yeah, I’m sure that was it. Because he did look like he would like to chomp off my arm.

Don’t we sometimes tempt temptation like we had aquarium glass between us and it? Na-na-na-na-na! You can’t get me!

He’s waiting to get you.

Don’t give in. Put out your hand and feel the glass. God’s got you.