Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
The thing about sunrises is that they always come but never in the same way. Sometimes their colors are muted by the clouds and sometimes it is the clouds that make them filled with spectacular color. When times are darkest I remember the sunrise and let the love of God break into my heart, sometimes with great color and sometimes with a quietness and peace - but always, always he breaks through for even on the cloudiest days there is still light.
Break into our lives with your light in the way we need whether that be with spectacular color or quietness and peace for troubled hearts. Remind us of the promise of your unfailing love and presence and show us the way to go.
And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
When I first started using a camera to do more than make a snapshot of a memory, I had no idea what aperture was or how it impacted a photograph. I was content to just put the controls on automatic and let the camera make the decisions. While this can make a good image, it takes away your freedom to create something that communicates what you feel. As I have spent lots of time taking pictures I have learned, along with other things, what an aperture is and have developed a confidence in my knowledge of the camera and photography editing software. This knowledge has allowed me to become freer when I take an image. Before I learned to use a camera I would have never even thought about taking an image on a rainy, dreary day like this one. But on this day, I saw this bright colored boat and I had the confidence to try to capture the feeling of seeing the boat; the juxtaposition of the dreary day and the single boat named “Morning Sun.” I hope my image makes you think about that for a while like it did me.
Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy while in prison, reflecting on his life as a way of encouraging Timothy to keep going. His words of encouragement explain why, even though he was in prison and probably facing his death very soon, he was able to offer those words. Over his life journey with Christ he had come to know him and was confident that Jesus would always guard him until he was safely with him, whenever that day was. His confidence gave him a freedom that transcended the bars of his prison cell - a freedom from fear and anxiety, a freedom to write these beautiful, encouraging words to Timothy. The more we know whom we have believed in, the more we develop a confidence that leads to freedom. Just like with Paul, it doesn’t happen instantly but instead over much time. The more we know him, like the more I know my camera, the more we can create lives that communicate the love of Christ.
Walk with us today. Increase our confidence in You and make us free to share your love.
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
New England is famous for its covered bridges; most built in the early 1800’s out of wooden trusses. Bridges were built to overcome the obstacle of crossing a river, connecting one side to the other. They were covered to protect the wooden trusses from the decay that comes from harsh weather. The covered bridges of New England were hard to build but once built they provided an easy way to face the obstacle of river crossing.
While river crossing is no longer an obstacle for most of us, we all face obstacles of different kinds. God’s word is the best way to face our obstacles. Like bridge building, understanding God’s word takes time and effort. The more we study it the more connections we will make not only between different passages but between God’s word and our lives. It becomes a part of us, of who we are. God’s word becomes a covering for us; protecting us from making poor decisions and giving us wisdom to face obstacles.
Give us insight from Your word. Help us make it a part of everything we do, of every connection that we make. Bring to mind the part of your word that we need to face the obstacles before us today.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
One of the places that I wanted to see on our visit to Acadia National Park was the Duck Brook Bridge on one of the carriage roads. The only way to see the carriage roads is to walk, ride a bike, or ride a horse. Luckily I read about a way to get to this bridge by going down a dead end road where there were a few places to park on the side. On the first day we went to see the bridge it was cloudy and gray. The bridge was still pretty and I hardly noticed the marsh on the side of the road where we parked. Since I really wanted to see the bridge and the brook below in good light we went back a couple of days later when we had a blue sky. I was amazed, not at the bridge, but at the marsh on the side of the road alive with color. It was the light that brought the colors of the marsh alive and made them vivid almost beyond belief.
Sometimes our lives are more like that cloudy day at the bridge. We know that there is sun but the skies are gray. Maybe they are gray because of difficult times or maybe they are gray because of our choice to walk on our own that day, away from God’s light. God, like the sun is always there, even when we don't see him clearly. The scriptures tell us that there will be a day when we will always walk with God. The color will always be vivid and there will be no more gray days. There will be no need of the sun for the glory of God will be the light. There will be a new heaven and a new earth; a city where God will reign and his glory will fill our days with vivid, beautiful color.
Lord God Almighty
Make the vivid colors of fall on a clear day fill our eyes with your beauty and remind us of the day when we will live with you and see beauty in your perfect light.
What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
When I was planning our fall trip to New England I had images of red and golden leaves against clear, blue skies. When we got there, that is not what I saw. Instead of clear skies we had days of mostly just plain, white, cloudy skies. It didn’t rain very much, just skies full of clouds. Images of colorful autumn trees against white skies were not the images that I wanted to take. What I did see when I looked away from the sky were cinnamon ferns. These ferns are not like the ferns I see in my mountains. They are taller, waist high, and turn this beautiful golden color in fall. They weren’t what I expected to see but I am so glad that I got to see them in the fall.
The Pharisees had a vision of the Messiah. They expected to see an earthly king who would conquer their foes and set up Jerusalem as a great city. Jesus did not fit their expectations of Messiah and so they missed seeing the Messiah they had hoped for. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees and miss Jesus by replacing my expectations of what I want in a Messiah with who Jesus is. I don’t want to miss seeing beautiful things because I am looking only for what I expected. I want to see the images that Jesus has for me to see and they will be so much more beautiful than anything I expected.
Replace our expectations with yours. Open our eyes to see the beautiful things you want to show us.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
If you listen to landscape photographers long enough you will eventually hear them say something like this, “I was looking for a composition.” What I have learned about making a beautiful photo is that is how the image is located or composed inside the viewfinder of the camera that makes an image that communicates. You go to a beautiful place and there is so much to see. You have to decide what you want to communicate and what needs to go into the frame. It takes time and effort. It is easy to get discouraged. On a recent trip to New England I had visited lots of waterfalls and taken lots of images and had just about given up on ever finding a good composition. Finally I got this image, the light was right, the vantage point was right, I remembered what I needed to do to the camera to get the settings to capture the photo.
Following Christ is like this. You have to work out your salvation. It takes time and effort. There are days when you feel so far away from following him, but he is always there. He will show you how you need to compose your life to communicate what he means to you and to share his love with those you meet.
Great Composer God
Give us your vision for today. Give us insight as we continue to work out our salvation. Work in us to compose your purpose.
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