View the post for February 27 for an explanation of my Lenten Project
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
While the tree’s branches are still bare the daffodils herald the coming of spring. They remind us that winter will soon be past and the summer is coming. As we look at the difficulties facing our world right now we can look to our God who brings the joy of a field of daffodils on a clear, spring day to our hearts. Remember God’s love and care. Sit in quietness in his presence, see his beauty, and find in his unfailing love a calmness and peace that will replace all anxiety.
Calm our fears. Help us to remember your love and bring joy into our lives this day. Help us become a calming force for those around us.
View the post for February 27 for an explanation of my Lenten Project
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Standing out with its beautiful fall colors was this little tree growing between the rocks along the seashore of this sheltered cove. It can’t have been an easy place to grow with the salt water crashing on the rocks below and the tall evergreens that surround it. Yet it has endured and now it shares its beauty with all who drive by. You can’t help but notice it.
Paul wrote to the Romans to encourage them to stand and endure the hardships that they faced. He reminded them that because God’s love had been poured into their hearts their suffering would not be wasted. From their suffering would come endurance, from endurance character and from character would come hope. It wouldn’t be a surface hope easily worn away, but a deep hope based on dependence on Jesus. Today we face difficult times in our world. Only when we trust God to carry us through those times will our suffering produce endurance, endurance character, and character hope. It is this hope that runs deep in our lives that we can share with a fearful and hurting world.
Give us strength to endure the days ahead and show us ways to help those around us who are struggling in difficult times.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart
The sailboat waits at the dock for its owner to come and help it fulfill its purpose. The name, “Endurance,” made me wonder why the owner gave the boat this name. I wonder what he or she has had to endure in the past or is enduring now. When I think about endurance I think about waiting., which may be the hardest part of endurance. The sailboat cannot sail without its master so it must wait. We can endure because we wait for a Master who is faithful and true. In him we find the courage and strength to endure. When we wait for him we find our purpose.
Lord and Master
We wait for you. Show us your purpose for you this day.
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.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Recently I have been walking on the trails at the dam close to where I live every morning. Each day I walk I see the ‘regulars’; some of them I know by name and some only by seeing them everyday. We all walk different routes and at different speeds; some run; some walk slow; some walk alone; some walk with a partner; some walk in specialty running clothes; and some walk in an old T shirt and jeans. Sometimes I get discouraged when I am passed by the same person and wonder how they can walk that fast. Even in the early morning I get hot and tired and wonder if I am going to make it back to the car. There are times when I just think I am going to sleep late today; but then I get up and see the beautiful morning light and decide to make the effort to walk. There is a joy in my morning walk that I truly miss, even the 265 stairs to the top of the dam in the middle of my walk.
The writer of Hebrews wrote to encourage followers of Christ who were becoming discouraged. They were being ostracized by their community and maybe their family and some were facing persecution. To encourage them he tells them of the great cloud of witnesses that have come before. None of the heroes he described in the previous chapter were without fault. They all followed God at different speeds, some quickly, some slowly, some were important and some were unimportant, and some required signs of assurance from God. Their lives weren’t perfect like this picture I just snapped with my phone; but like my picture they saw a way marked out before them and they kept walking. They walked toward a God who loved them.
Dear friends let me encourage you to keep walking when you are hot and tired and discouraged. Your walk doesn’t have to be perfect; you won’t always have get a good picture. Some will pass you and sometimes you will walk alone. Even in the hard times, the 265 steps straight up times, you will find joy when you fix your eyes on Jesus.
Jesus, Who Endured All For Us,
Thank you for all the strong witnesses that have surrounded me in my life. Forgive the sins I sometimes cling to and keep me walking toward the light and joy of Jesus who endured all for us.
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
Fall is a season of transition; the hot days of summer give way to the beginning days of winter. You can feel the change in the crisp air and beautiful blue skies. The leaves change their color from green to reds and golds, each tree at its own pace. Just as we feel the changing of the seasons, Elisha knew that day that change was coming for his mentor, Elijah. Somehow he knew that Elijah was leaving before the prophets of Jericho told him. He knew that it would be the last time that he would see his mentor. We know that Elisha felt deep grief because he tore his clothes in two places. And after he grieved he picked up the cloak of his master and walked into his new beginning as the prophet of God. We all have transitions in our lives; some are joyful and some are sorrowful. Like Elisha sometimes we will grieve. It isn’t easy to trust God when big changes come in our lives just like it wasn’t easy for Elisha. Still he walked forward. He knew that God had been faithful to Elijah and that God had promised to walk with him. We may not have the stunning experience of a cloak falling from a fiery chariot, but still God speaks to us through his word and through the encouragement of others.
Lord of Transitions
Thank you for mentors and friends who have modeled for us what it is like to walk with you. Guide us through times of transition when we grieve over the ending of something we have loved and give us courage to walk forward to a new beginning.
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