Our Powerful and Faithful God Breathes Hope Through His Creation

Opening our ears to the sweet symphony of nature, our eyes to its calming palette of color, and our understanding to our Creator’s faithful care cannot but give us hope in times of uncertainty. Its steady rhythm reminds us that some aspects of our lives are not affected by the chaos and destruction of the coronavirus.

God’s Almighty power created the heavens and the earth, and it is so evident He is still in control. He faithfully brings the change of seasons, no matter what is happening in this world.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Genesis 8:22

Every moment He faithfully watches over and cares for His creatures. Every morning the birds start an early chorus of praise to God. Unfettered by the cares of this world, it’s like their focus is fixed on their Creator alone.

“Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away
in barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more
valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying
add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew 6:26-27

No, we can’t add a single hour to our lives or others’ lives by worrying, but I see and hear worry everywhere these days. In my own heart. In the eyes and voices of so many. Behind the tough exteriors of those who try so hard to be strong. In the text of our young grandson when he heard I was sick again and was being tested for Covid, how he expressed his worries of me as high risk and how they were praying. When he found out the test was negative, his words soothed my soul, “God has a plan for you and it doesn’t stop now.”

Yes, God has a plan for us. Even in the midst of uncertainty, sickness, and loss. We may rebel and think our plan would be better, but it’s not. There is going to be suffering and dying, cold and hunger, and loss of all kinds in this world. Do we always understand it? No. Can we make sense out of it? No. Can we run our lives better? No. From our side things look like a mess, like the threads on the underside of a weaving, but what God sees is the total picture of His plan, beautiful and glorious beyond compare. And we are included in that plan and never forgotten. We are the ones He calls much more valuable than the birds of the air He faithfully cares for.

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

When you allow your senses to soak in God’s creation, whether outdoors or from your window or doorway ( or even from photos), does it breathe hope into your soul? What does it say to you about God’s faithful character?

All of the bird photos were taken through my tinted office windows.

My view from my office window. A house finch pair built a nest! The little ones have now hatched and are being fed.
Here is Papa!
“Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.”
Song of Solomon 2:12

The sun feels much warmer than the snow!
On the same day, this robin was also trying to keep warm.
This same robin devours seeds like he’s starving. He throws out the safflower seeds and seeks for the sunflower chips. Maybe when it’s warmer, he’ll check out the worms and bugs?
A chipping sparrow has been visiting.
The goldfinches left for a while after the big snow we had on Easter, but now they’re back. Hooray!

Maker of the Stars
by Demetrios Leiloglou

“I sat and watched the evening sky as it turned shades of red
One by one the stars came out like diamonds in a sea of black
And as I started to count them all I realized they had no end
That’s the way it must be with God’s love… the Maker of the Stars…”

God Is Greater Than Whatever We Face in 2018

Are you discouraged or afraid of what awaits us in this new year? Perhaps while others are singing “Happy New Year,” you are entering this year with worry about what’s around the corner for us in this journey of life.

I think being a worrywart is my life’s default mode. It can weigh my heart down so much that I have trouble remembering how strong God is to overcome the giants blocking the way. I compare myself with the giants instead of comparing the giants with God.

I’m learning step by step to trust God and His all-sufficient grace more than the giants. And more than my feelings. My feelings can sway with the wind and can be misleading. They can cause me to cower and curl up in a ball of defeat when the giants overshadow me. They tell me that God has forgotten to be merciful in this world.

Not true! God’s Almighty power, love, and faithfulness never sway or change. God is loyal, constant, and steadfast. He was faithful in the past, He will be faithful today, and He will remain faithful in our future. He still has this whole world and every single heart in His hands.

So does He condemn us when we do worry? Never! There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Others may tell us worry is a sin and we should “just have faith,” making our burdens even greater. But God knows how weak and frail we humans can be. He understands us more than anyone. His patience with us is bottomless. His love for us never lessens when we slip into worry or distrust of His plans.

Isn’t His love amazing?! No matter what we do or don’t do, He just keeps on drawing us into His love and inviting us to surrender our anxiety and burdens into His Almighty Hands and His all-sufficient grace.

“Come to Me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

We cannot know what will happen this year, and it’s a good thing we don’t. But God always knows. He has plans for each and every one of us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us a hope and a future.

Does this mean there won’t be struggles, losses, or pain in our lives? Definitely not. Here we will have trouble. But the wonder is that even when it “feels” like God’s designs are against us, the absolute truth is that He is still working out everything towards our good.

The hope and future He plans to give us may seem a long time coming. But it will come, because He is a faithful Promise-Keeper. Someday our journeys here will end in a most glorious conclusion.

Meanwhile, may we take His hand and follow Him wherever He may lead us in this year, remembering that He has promised to be our refuge through all the storms in life and our Almighty strength in all our weakness. We are safe in His hands. He has proved that in the past, and He will continue to be our help today and in the future.

“God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 AMP

“You Raise Me Up”
by Josh Groban

“When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until You come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on Your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be…”


New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

whatsnewcutecolorsplantline1

GOD HEARS
by Newsong

“But there is hope, my friend
You will sing again

‘Cause God hears when there are no words to speak
God hears when your sorrow runs deep
And it feels like all your faith has disappeared
God hears, God hears…”

cutecolorsbutterflyline

ccjesusloves

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 “A” Word:

❤︎ Abiding Love ❤︎
“We have come to know
[by personal observation and experience],
and have believed [with deep, consistent faith]
the love which God has for us. God is love,
and the one who abides in love abides in God,
and God abides continually in him.

1 John 4:16 AMP

bearreadingbook

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. 🙂

Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray

“A unique 40-day devotional detox that will guide you to a place of intimate rest. Be the beloved.”

If you have not yet read my review, you can find it here.

cutecolorsj7

Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up His permanent post as High Priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

💞  Unshakable Hope  – Read Bill’s amazing testimony of the grace of God and how God is using him to minister hope to others in the midst of the heavy trial of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill says, “This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace and joy in the midst of a trial is to view our life and situation through God’s eyes.” I am linking to a particular blog post as it has a link to the interview he and his wife, Mary, had with Moody Radio.

💞  31 Days of Hope for Moms – “In 31 Days of Hope for Moms, we will be taking a look at some of the common challenges of mothering younger children (disorganization, frustration, depression, behavioral issues, the marriage relationship and more). We will be seeing what the Bible says about these situations as well as talking about many practical helps for pressing on with joy during this beautiful season of life!”

💞  How to Find Hope in the Midst of Suffering – “We often will not know what our hurt is accomplishing, but Christ’s death is our guarantee that God won’t waste a tear. Our tenacious belief in a relational God who is good is our only hope through and in our hurt. But this tenacity doesn’t come from us, for we are extremely weak. Tenacity is achieved by very real nails driven through very real wrists on a very real cross. And today Jesus prays for us without ceasing before his Father and we are filled with the Holy Spirit to suffer as well.”

Nature Retreat

“Nature is not a place to visit.
It is home.”

~ Gary Snyder

The top four are recent photos from my brother, John, in Arizona. The bottom three are photos taken when one of my sons, Glen, and his wife went to Cancun, Mexico.

American Coots

An American Kestrel with a Zebra-Tailed Lizard

Tarantula Hawk Wasp
You certainly don’t want to get stung by one of these! They have the worst insect sting in North America and the 2nd worst in the world. They also paralyze tarantulas and lay an egg on them for the larva to eat and grow.

Quatu

My son said these quatus ran around looking for food. They would line up at a garbage can and would take turns climbing in, one at a time, to find something to feast on.

A Sunrise in Cancun

🐾  10,000 Birds – “Welcome to 10,000 birds, just the place for people who love birds, pictures of birds, and people who write about birds, birding, conservation, and much more.”

🐾  Animal Expressions – I love this! Not all the photos are wild animals, but I’m certain they will bring some smiles into your day! “A look at the interesting faces of all kinds of creatures and different forms of communication among the species.”

🐾  8 Animals You Won’t Believe Actually Exist – Very interesting! This is a 6-minute video of rare animals many don’t know exist.

cutecolorsplant1c

Quotes

❤︎ “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment. ~ Napolean Bonaparte

❤︎ “I place no hope in my strength, nor in my works: but all my confidence is in God my protector, who never abandons those who have put all their hope and thought in Him. ~ Francois Rabelais

❤︎ “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

cutecolorsbutterflyline

signature3cutecolorsplantline1