The Divine Lookout

Are you on the lookout for a certain item at all times? Some of us are always quick to notice a good recipe while others gravitate toward a great coupon, a super bargain, or maybe a giveaway or an e-book temporarily offered for free.

Some of us also stay alert for less tangible things like a recommendation for an amazing book or tips on a particular area of interest. Since I’ve started blogging, I’m always on the lookout for new material for blog posts. In fact, my family and friends now live with the reality that some of their interactions with me might just make their way to the blog!

But we’re not the only ones on the lookout. God is on the lookout, too. He’s on the lookout for people. He is our Divine Lookout.

Consider these scriptures to see who God searches for:

“‘. . . who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 30:21b

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” Isaiah 6:8a

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

And we must not forget the parables in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son—all of which illustrate God’s continual efforts to go after and save the lost or to scan the horizon, waiting with open arms to welcome a returning child.

Where do each of us fall in the sights of the Divine Lookout? Are we among those who are lost, who have never given our hearts to him in faith, or is he watching for us because we have strayed away? Maybe he’s seen that we are fully committed to him, and he stands ready to imbue us with his strength. Or possibly we’re the ones who will answer his call for devotion or go in his name to the place where he sends us.

Let’s never hide from the Divine Lookout. Let’s always be ready to be found or answer his call. There’s no better place to be than with him.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

*I hope you were blessed by this encore post from Sept. 2011!

*Flickr photo by Dave Morrow’s Custom CreationsCreative Commons License

Obscured Vision

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Is anything obscuring your vision today? Anything interfering with seeing something clearly? Perhaps foggy conditions or unwanted objects marring the perfection of your view? I can relate. I’ve had a couple of view-related nuisances to deal with lately, too.

I love to take photos, and a couple of years ago something started marring many of the images I shot. First I noticed a dark spot in several of my photos as I looked at my camera’s display screen, and of course those spots showed up in the actual prints as well. This frustrated me to no end. I didn’t want any dark spots ruining my photos.

When I finally got a chance to take the camera into a camera shop, they told me a fiber had become lodged in the lens. It would be quite expensive to fix so I decided to live with it until I’m ready to get a new camera.

Since then the fiber has changed positions from time to time, but it really only presents a problem if it happens to be on a light-colored area of any particular shot taken from a particular angle. And so, I adjust to it. I shoot from a different angle, focus on a different area, or accept the fact that I won’t be able to get the shot I want. I don’t like the sometimes obscured vision I have to contend with because of this photographic intruder, but I deal with it.

Believe it or not, around the same time my camera started giving me fits, a floater started interfering with my eyesight as well. I’ve had to wear glasses since I was in third grade so I’m used to my vision being obscured when I’m not wearing the fix. But this was something new. Something the glasses couldn’t fix. Something I didn’t like. But as with my camera’s lens, I’ve learned to live with it.

Obscured views aren’t limited to physical vision, however. The eyes of our hearts can also experience obscured vision. Unwanted objects and conditions can get in the way of seeing what the Lord wants us to see or can keep us from seeing things clearly. Our view is hampered. Our mental, emotional, or spiritual vision is marred.

So what kinds of things might interfere with the vision of our hearts? Perhaps unwanted fears and worries, perhaps grief or pain or illness. Pride or unforgiveness might be the culprit or possibly even feelings of guilt or low self-esteem. Stubbornness or sin can play a role. Bottom line, Satan will use any number of tactics to keep us from experiencing all that the Lord desires for us. Yes, our enemy will rob us of abundant life every chance he gets.

The good news is that with God’s help, we can make changes and adjustments to fix or improve our mental, emotional, and spiritual vision. We can ask God to help us remove or see around the hindrances to the view of life he wants us to have.

If the cause of our hampered view is rooted in a physical problem, we can see a doctor and get the physical help we need to start seeing life clearly again. If our heart vision is being marred by mental, emotional, or spiritual factors, we can deal with them by putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), which includes, among other things, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, and the Word of God. We can also seek out wise counsel and the prayer support of friends.

Yes, friends, we can take a stand—and gain the victory—against obscured vision, against the evil one who seeks to discourage and deceive us by distorting and obstructing the clear vision God wants us to have. Our God can handle any roadblock the devil throws at us. And our God stands ready to help.

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19a

*When has God helped you regain the clear vision he wanted you to have?

*My photo (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

In Spite of the Fog

2057431392_f8278c42fbWhat’s the first window you look out of each morning? With the blinds still closed in my bedroom and no windows in the adjoining bath, I usually head over to the next room (my office) before glancing out at the new day. I love to lift the blinds there first to get an early morning view of the birdfeeder. The other morning, however, I had to do a double-take.

Instead of clear skies and the soft morning light I expected to see, thick fog met my early morning check of the day. What’s up with this? The weatherman hadn’t mentioned fog on the late news the night before. But then again, Mother Nature outwitted the forecast last week as well.

I left the fog in all its ghostly glory for a short time to attend to a few little tasks before heading to the kitchen. Since it was still cold outside, I poked my head only out the door to bask in some early morning moments with the world around me — and with the Creator of it all.

The fog certainly obscured my vision, cutting short the distance I could survey, but I couldn’t help but notice that this unexpected weather phenomenon had a beauty all its own. The pure white of the cloudy visitor felt soft and gentle and welcomed me to relish it in a new way. With not being able to see the vibrant images I’m accustomed to, the sounds around me seemed to ring out more clearly. The melodies of the birds quickly captured my attention. As ever, their songs lifted my spirit and made me smile.

And then it dawned on me. In spite of the fog, in spite of obscured vision and the uncertainty of the beyond, the birds still sang. Their voices rang out strong and unhindered. They didn’t let the fog stop them from singing.

How much more should I continue singing the praises of my Creator, the praises of my Savior, when the fogs of life’s situations envelop me? Oh, that my voice will ring out in praise and thanksgiving even when I can’t see clearly, even when I’m confused or uncertain. And maybe, just maybe, my song will lift the spirit of someone else. Let it be so, my Lord!

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1

*When have you sung praises to God in spite of fog in your life?

*I hope this revised encore post from March 2009 was a blessing to you today!

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by mysza831, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: A Prayer for Our New Year

8611976301_ee8de83e72_zHere is the prayer of my heart for each of us in this New Year. Won’t you join me in lifting these requests to the Father?

Lord, with each unfolding day of this glorious new year you’re allowing us to live, may we stay ever close to you. May we start each day with words of worship on our lips and end each day with thanks in our hearts.

Help us remember that you long to be our companion and friend for each step of our daily journeys. May we look to you for all that we need, whether protection and provision, forgiveness and love, wisdom and guidance, courage and strength, or inspiration and encouragement. May we always remember that you are the source of all things good.

Father, whatever this year may bring, whether good times or bad, may we trust you completely and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of you. May you shine through us in such a way that we provide a winsome witness to those who don’t know you and a source of encouragement to those who do.

Father, we humbly ask for your blessings this year. Please show us your love in amazing ways, especially when we’re hurting, and be our strong support and supply for each task you have for us to do.

Help us, O Lord, to seek you and follow you and always give you the glory for any accomplishment or good thing that comes our way. May our lives ever glorify you!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*Do you have a specific prayer request for this year? I’d love to join you in prayer!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by evanforester, Creative Commons License

Miracles All Around

IMG_3145Some things just beg to be expressed through poetry. Miracles are among those things. Be blessed today, friends, through the poetic. Be blessed through the miraculous!

Miracles All Around

Some people say we don’t see
many miracles anymore.
But I see them every day
and all around
when I take the time
to turn a glance into a gaze
or bring a fleeting thought into focus.

I see miracles in perfect tiny infant lips,
in precious fingers and toes,
in pink ribbons across the evening sky
and petals dotted with morning dew.
The miraculous unfolds before my eyes
as leaves turn from green to gold,
as snowflakes waltz to winter’s song,
as the call of a cardinal captures attention.

Miracles greet me in a friend’s hearty laugh
and surprise me in the written word,
they meet me in a chance encounter
they show up in answers to prayer.
The miraculous happens when forgiveness is given
when a kind deed changes a day,
miracles shine when the lost are found
when hearts are forever changed.

Yes, I see miracles all around
I see God’s handiwork every day.

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2

*What miracles have you seen recently?

*My photo