April Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


“Safe”
by Victory Worship

“I found my fortress, in You
And my soul is anchored, with You
My resting place, is in Your name
Forever safe”


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “S” Word:

❤  Shepherding Love 
He tends His flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
    He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life by Sarah Young

“From your heart’s deepest cry to life’s joyful praises, nothing is off limits to Jesus.
Knowing Jesus on a deeper, more personal level means sharing all aspects of your life with Him…every day. In Dear Jesus, Sarah Young exemplifies what it means to do this-to dialogue with the Savior. She begins each of the 120 devotionals by sharing intimate struggles and longings that weigh on the heart-being preoccupied with problems; being dissatisfied with oneself, and other spiritual issues. Jesus then responds in His loving way by giving guidance and encouragement, using Scripture as the foundation from which His words flow. Readers will be drawn into the presence of God through these spiritual letters of grace.” (Amazon Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 You Don’t Have to Understand God – “When we don’t understand something about God, some people are tempted to discredit him completely. My friend Andy Stanley said, ‘You don’t have to understand everything to believe in something.’ In John 9, Jesus met a man who was born blind and forced to beg just to get by. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know whose fault it was that the man was blind: Was it his fault? Or his parents?…”

💞 Hurt, Hope, and Making It Through Life’s Hard Times – Holley Gerth reminds us that hurt and hope are a part of every hard experience. Hurt and hope both need to be felt, not ignored.

💞 Hope Verses – Hope verses Bill from “Unshakable Hope” has put together. Suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, Bill has learned that hope is one of the things that cannot be shaken.

Nature Retreat

“In every walk with nature
one receives far more than he seeks.”
~ John Muir

More photos from my brother in Arizona. 🙂 John took a two-hour hike along a river in search of the elegant trogon he was told was in the area. He was finally rewarded. Isn’t this bird beautiful?! The other photos are of a leaf-footed cactus bug, a rattlesnake, and a wolf spider.


🐾 Kevin Barry Photography – Galleries of splendid nature photos of landscapes, insects, mammals, reptiles, birds, alligators, and more.

🐾 Kinnara Bosworth Portfolio – This photographer travels to see and photograph natural wonders from all parts of the globe to share with the rest of the world. There are fantastic photos from different countries.

🐾 HD Nature Photos: Stunning Royalty-Free Landscape Images – Breath-taking photos of landscapes and wildlife including serene pictures of trees, lakes, plants, flowers, outdoor animals, seascapes and more.

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Faith.

❤ “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie ten Boom

 “Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” – Max Lucado

 “Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

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Winter: In Nature and In Our Souls

A winter blizzard walloped us with 13+ inches of snow on the 14th. This was in addition to 12+ inches we already received this month. Then on the 18th, another 6+ inches. Will spring ever come?

I admit I’m as winter weary as this donkey…


I try to focus on the beauty in it though. Such unique patterns, both in the snow and in frost on the windows. No one but our powerful God can do that!

I’m also awed by the untrodden pureness of the snow, and sometimes it stirs up a longing desire:

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Psalm 51:7

In the freezing temperatures of this prolonged winter, God reminded me of His tender care over the birds. It’s amazing how He has equipped them. They fluff their feathers to trap heat. This slows their metabolism so they can conserve energy necessary to survive.

And just think, God counts us even more valuable than them! (Matthew 10:29-31)

On the morning after the blizzard, I was looking out our office window at all the snow. My heart sighed. Then a house finch flew in and perched on our dwarf globe evergreen. Even though he couldn’t see me through our tinted windows, it seemed he looked directly at me like he was saying, “Don’t lose heart. Spring will come.” Thank You, God, for the hope You breathed into my weary soul!

His mate perched on the nest box like she wasn’t ready to give up either. They had started building a nest in it, but it filled up with snow. That snow has melted, so hopefully they will build again.

As in the winter in nature, so also God has a purpose in the winters we experience in our spiritual lives. When one of life’s storms rips away someone or something we treasure and devastates our hearts and lives, we may feel forsaken by God.

When C.S. Lewis lost his wife, he slipped into depression. He wondered where God was in his suffering and grief. In one of his publications, A Grief Observed, he described what it was like. “But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.”

That can be what it feels like, can’t it? But God taught him a valuable lesson because of this winter of the soul. “My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?”

We so easily trust in our own strength, and our perceptions about God can be far less than who He really is. When He does His work in us to bring us to the right place, it truly is a mark of His loving presence, even if we can’t “feel” it.

The winters of the soul strengthen our relationship with God. In nature, trees are dormant. They appear dead, but below the frozen ground, their roots are stretching and strengthening, actually fortifying the well-being of the tree. In the same way, we need to be rooted more firmly in Jesus. Our souls may feel dead and barren, but God is growing our roots stronger.

I have to admit after I wrote this, I feel better about winter. 🙂 But I still long for spring and all its new life! It’s coming!

“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.

Isaiah 55:10-11
If I go east, He is not there,
and if I go west, I cannot perceive Him.
When He is at work to the north, I cannot see Him;
when He turns south, I cannot find Him.
Yet He knows the way I have taken;
when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.

Job 23:8-10
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,
you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him,
and let your lives be built on him.
Then your faith will grow strong
in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:6-7

“Seasons”
by Hillsong Worship

“Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all
Oh how nature acquaints us
With the nature of patience
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow
For Your promise is loyal
From seed to sequoia…”

 

God Sees and Hears the Pain We Hide From Others

“We know nothing of the trials, sorrows and temptations of those around us,
of pillows wet with sobs, of the life-tragedy that may be hidden behind a smile,
of the secret cares, struggles, and worries that shorten life
and leave their mark in hair prematurely whitened,
and a character changed and almost recreated in a few days.
Let us not dare to add to the burden of another the pain of our judgment.”
~ William George Jordan

Do you ever wonder what the story behind a person’s outward appearance is? Some paste on smiles, myself included, to hide heartaches. Some display a tough attitude to hide the crumbling inside of them that they can’t seem to stop. Even sad faces don’t really tell us the depth of the pain they are suffering.

Last summer my husband and I walked on the bike trail beside the river above the Sioux Falls.

Doesn’t this duckling look perfectly content? Like he is happily taking a rest on this branch? Like he doesn’t have a care in the world?

It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Yes, a picture can say more than a lot of words can in some instances, but often it doesn’t tell the hidden painful story behind the scenes.

As we leaned on a stone wall, I zoomed him in, so he looks closer than he really is. He is actually unreachable in an overflow of the river. What you don’t see in this photo is what we heard. He had peeped so long and so hard that his little voice was hoarse. He was stranded, abandoned, and alone.

Farther below us and downstream was a gathering of ducks. Didn’t anyone hear him? Where was his mother?

Then I saw her and his siblings downstream on the shore. She was too far away to hear and she didn’t even seem to notice one of her ducklings was missing. Between him and them was a rushing stream.

Outward appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? A person can appear to look happy or put on such a strong front, but inside there is so much hidden pain.

Are you one of these broken ones hiding behind a smile or a tough attitude?

God sees and hears our broken hearts. Not one tear is hidden from Him. He knows how hard it is for us, and He understands us when no one else does.

I wish I could tell you the duckling’s story ended happily. My heart ached so for him. I wish my arms would have been long enough to reach him and help him. I often wonder what happened to the little fella. 😦

What I can tell you with assurance is that there is One whose arms are always long enough to reach us. He has the willingness and the power to rescue us, however impossible it seems from our side.

Our stories may be heartbreaking, but He will give us a happy ending someday. We may have to wait a while, and that certainly isn’t easy, but His story of love for us will always give us sufficient grace until that time comes.

“Then call on Me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give Me glory.”
He replied,
“What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
Luke 18:27
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”
Revelations 21:4
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing
compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”
Romans 8:18

“God Loves You”
by Jaci Velasquez