photo by Emily Juliuson

Heavenly Father,
Our pastor gave an excellent message on spiritual transformation today…and I couldn’t help thinking about the three caterpillars I found in my yard on my parsley plant about six weeks ago. I carefully put them in jars and gave one to three of our families to watch transform into butterflies. I wanted them to watch the miracle of transformation take place in front of their eyes. I knew they would need to be patient because it wouldn’t happen fast like the video games they are accustomed to. I have to admit I was a little nervous, hoping they would all make it, since there was only one caterpillar in each home. It seemed extra important for my family who had just lost a baby to watch the transformation that happens when the caterpillar appears to die, and then it is transformed and flies free.

I got fairly regular reports of how they each had to add more parsley when those hungry caterpillars ate everything and were about to burst. One by one, they let me know the crawly critters stopped crawling and attached themselves to something to form a chrysalis. Apparently, every day these wild little boys each watched the non-moving bag with great interest. (That’s a miracle considering the action they crave!) Finally, I began hearing of the first—then several days later, the second—and more days later, the third all had transformed into new creatures! They watched a fuzzy worm turn into an exquisite butterfly and fly away! Who but You, Lord, can do that?!!

It wasn’t an animated or computerized car transforming into a giant robot—it was a living, breathing creature. No matter how hard we try; no matter how many self-help books we read; no matter who we listen to—we can never transform ourselves from one creation to a new creature. We can only be truly transformed by dying to ourselves and letting Jesus Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I know you made the old me. You breathed life into me and knit me together in my mother’s womb and said it was good. I am incredibly grateful You didn’t stop there. I am even more grateful to be made into a new creation through Jesus Christ. You have made me brand new. You are still making me, transforming me from glory to glory! I look back to my old self and I can see how completely I’ve been changed. I can now fly free with You. Thank You, Lord, that You are continually transforming me into a new creature who glorifies You!

 

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

 

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making all things new!’” Revelation 21:5

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I need spiritual transformation?….

Heavenly Father,
Two days ago, three of my grandkids were playing in my back yard when my six-year-old grandson come running to show me a huge emergency. A tiny baby bird had fallen from its nest a little too soon. It was chirping frantically for its mom and some food. The wings were flapping but appeared to be a ways off from being strong enough to fly. My grandson was near tears, wanting to help the fragile little baby. He has an extra tender heart towards the young and suffering since he is adopted into our family and experienced a lot of trauma in his young life. I told him we needed to leave the bird alone to see if it could get strong enough on its own. My grandson’s heart spilling out of his eyes made it extra hard to do that…

The first thing we did was to pray for the little baby. I thought it best to prepare my grandson that it might not live so we put the frail little bird in Your hands, Lord. I remembered in my prayer that not even a tiny sparrow falls without Your knowledge and if You thought best to take it home to You or help it live, we would trust Your perfect care of it. We left it alone and checked on it later. Our little friend the bird was breathing hard and not making a sound. It was no longer opening its mouth. We got a flat plastic lid and put water in front of the tiny creature and dropped in a few of the tiniest bird seeds we could find. I attempted to get water on a stick and hold it to its closed mouth, but by this time I didn’t think it would make it. My grandson spent the night and the first thing he wanted to check on the next morning was our bird. I stalled him, concerned he would find a half-eaten baby. We couldn’t find it anywhere. My grandson was convinced it flew away or that his mommy came and got it. I was pretty sure a predator got it.

My grandson went home and I went out to water that next evening. There was our baby bird, looking stronger than ever, flapping his wings and half-flying/hopping to get around. I was praising You and called my grandson to let him know! We were giddy together over Your care of this tiny bird. Lord, if You care so much for that one tiny bird out of all the galaxies You’ve made, I know You care for my grandson. Who, but You, knows the ways You will work in his life and the way You will weave even a tiny baby bird into his ever-growing faith in You. I love being surprised by the ways You are forever involved in the smallest details of our lives! I love You, Lord!

 

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“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3

 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to bring even the smallest things to You in prayer…

Glorious Heavenly Father!
There has been much excitement over the fiftieth anniversary of man walking on the moon. As a young girl, we didn’t have a television but we just happened to be at a hotel on a family trip when this incredible moment in history happened. My parents, brothers and I sat mesmerized along with the rest of the world as the first step happened. However, after all the world-wide excitement of that first experience on our moon, it has been decided to not invest in another trip to walk on the moon again. Perhaps the moon didn’t seem sensational enough. It seemed almost like our earth’s desert. It didn’t seem to hold any promise of something new. It was just another big round rock in space full of rocks, sand, valleys and mountains. It appeared to have no life on its own.

I have also been watching the photos come back from the unmanned probe they sent to Saturn, photographing its sensational rings and multiple moons! Lord, when I look into the night sky and see all the stars which probably each have their own galaxies circling around them, I can’t help but wonder how many moons there happen to be out there! I also can’t help but think I am much like an ordinary moon—not much to take a second look at on my own. Yes, I know no two moons are alike. Each one has its unique characteristics, but moons do not produce light on their own. They can soak up and reflect light just like I do from You!

There is no way I could make myself in the physical sense to begin with—no more than a moon can produce itself. I surely cannot make myself shine—nor can any moon on any galaxy. But oh!! When I realize who I am and that I need You and Your Son Jesus; when I turn to face You (the One whom all things come from and revolve around)—You cause me to shine! The glory of Your presence even uses a plain old “moon” like me to shine out bringing light into a dark world! There are times, I let other things come between us. Then I can only partially shine, depending on how much of a foothold I let another entity cast a shadow between us. Yet as soon as I turn my gaze back to You, Lord God, You light up my life fully once again. Lord, show me as soon as I let worry, fear, un-trust, or love of other things and people come between us so I can cast those things aside. Though I cannot make myself shine, I can love and worship You; then Your Son Jesus Christ shines in and through me. I want to shine with Your glory so others can find their way to You through Jesus—the Light of the world.

 

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“Through Him (Jesus) all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:3-4

 

“Praise Him, sun and moon. Praise Him, all you shining stars. Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” Psalm 148:3-4

 

Description of the eternal city to come in Revelation 21:23: “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 (Jesus) is its lamp.”

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Most Holy Father, do I acknowledge You as the center of my universe…or does my world revolve around me?…

Heavenly Father,
We don’t go fishing as much as we used to. Of course, “our” form of fishing is me sitting on a chair in the shade writing in my prayer journal or reading a book while my husband walks around fishing! He gives me a hard time because there have been several times when he really worked hard at catching something and asked me to just keep an eye on his pole while he went to get something. They seem to “bite” right at that time and I get to be the one who pulls it out!

Fishing in Oklahoma is not the same as in some parts of the country. The water is muddy. You don’t get to see where the fish are. You have to try to figure out where they might be hanging out and cast your baited hook into the clouded water. As I watched my husband out in the sun, moving around, trying different lures, I decided it takes a lot of work to go fishing. Sometimes, you get enough fish for a delicious fish fry (But that even takes a lot of effort!) Other times, like last night, you get sunburn and mosquito bites but no fish—just 2 little nibbles. Fishing takes a lot of patience and perseverance.

Jesus told a few of His disciples who happened to be experienced commercial fishermen to follow Him and He would make them “fishers of men.” Father, help me keep casting out Your good news of Jesus Christ. The waters might be muddy. I may not see how Your Spirit is already prompting others to latch on to You. It may seem like I am not doing any good at all. Help me keep at it. I may get hot, tired, come up against opposition and get bitten by pesky attacks; there may be a lot of times I see no results…but oh! The joy of seeing someone turn to You, being saved by Jesus, encouraged by You and touched by You! It is worth all the time and effort! It is a shared joy between You, the one who is finally caught by You and the one who had any kind of part in it! I love fishing with You, Lord!

 

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“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.” Matthew 418-20

 

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21:4-6

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me how to fish…

Heavenly Father,
Fifty years ago, I was one of the millions of people on earth who sat mesmerized in front of what would now be considered grainy TV. The whole world gathered around whatever television they could find to watch a rocket blast off carrying three brave men to the moon. We continued to watch in awe as two of those men stepped down a ladder from a small LEM landing vehicle onto the surface of the earth’s moon where no man had ever walked before. Since that time, I have seen up close several of the space ships that took brave explorers into space and the moon. They appear so fragile. It is almost unbelievable what was accomplished at the very beginning of the age of technology. The state-of-the-art computers that took up rooms and helped accomplish this are now historical dinosaurs. Yet that was the kick-off to the technological boom that now lets even children hold phone-sized computers in their hands.

Many people consider the moon-landing the greatest feat human-kind has ever accomplished. As impressive as that was, I know deep in my soul that the greatest feat ever accomplished was when You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to be born, live, die and be resurrected for us so we could live with You forever! We get way too caught up in our own wisdom and accomplishments and deny our need for You, our God Almighty!

Father, You are the Maker and Designer of billions of moons, stars, planets and galaxies. We could explore forever and never understand all of who You are! Your power and glory are unmatched and immeasurable! We think we are so smart that we do not need You, but Oh! How we need You! Only a few men and women have flown into space. There may not seem a bigger accomplishment than that! Yet most have reported after coming back realizing the vastness of Your glory and the smallness of who they are! How could you top walking on the moon?…Walking with You, Lord God! That is the greatest walk ever! It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, educated or uncivilized, connected or unplugged to technology…who we are, where we live, how old we are or anything else. We all need You! We cannot walk with You by anything we can do on our own except reach out and admit that we need Jesus. It is not about us being able to accomplish anything. It is accepting what You accomplished through Jesus. He is the One who You sent to lift us up out of sin and transport us to a life with You that far outshines a walk on the moon. It is an eternal glorious walk!

 

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“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars…And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:14-16,18

 

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Praise Him, all His angels, Praise Him, all His heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars!” Psalm 148:1-3

 

“The city (the new city to come) does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb its lamp.” Revelation 21:23

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, do I truly realize I need You and Your Son Jesus?….Do I want a walk with You?…

Heavenly Father,

The other day I helped my adult daughter cut a 4-foot-tall hedge down to about 18 inches tall. The tall row of “Dwarf” Yaupon Holly bushes was lush and green and thriving, but it was not serving the purpose it was needed for. It completely blocked her front porch and had grown out over the front sidewalk to cover over half of it—making the walkway to the front door almost unusable. She talked to me about taking the huge shrubs out, but that was going to be a back-breaking job, so I suggested cutting the shrubs way back. I told her it may look a little ugly at first, but it would send out beautiful new growth quickly and she could keep it trimmed down low from now on.

We went to work cutting off big limbs and branches. For the passer-by, it probably looked like we were killing these beautiful shrubs. It took a lot of whacking, cutting and sweating to do away with years of growth. The pile of bulky branches covered in lush green leaves grew higher and wider while the row of cut down stubs grew smaller, and revealed a wonderful view from the bench on the front porch. There were already enough green leaves sprouting out of the short stubs to make it appear alive and growing. It will give a much more welcome entrance to their home. They can now use their front walkway and see the front of their house! What a transformation that came out of all that cutting!

Father, I think of all the times in my life that I have felt like I had finally grown to fulfill my purpose. My life seemed like it was set and doing well, when You come along and do some heavy-duty cutting away of what might appear to be healthy growth. Maybe You have a new purpose for me. Perhaps You are preparing to transplant me to a new place. You know that as long as I am rooted in You I live and thrive no matter how much pruning You allow me to go through. The branches that are cut away may look good for a while but without roots, they will wither up and die.
Lord, as Long as I stay rooted in You, Your Spirit flows in and through me causing life and new growth to come out of me. No matter how hard I try, I can never produce that life on my own. I might as well be like those big branches of lush growth we cut off. They may look good for a little while, but they will wither up without roots. Lord, I come to You—putting my roots down deep into You. Let me soak up Your Life-giving Spirit so You can produce new life in me and fulfill whatever purpose You have for me.

 

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Jesus tells us in John 15:1-6: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers…”

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I rooted in You, letting Your Life and love flow through me?

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Many people are enduring multiple storms right now. There seems to be a path that just keeps pounding the same areas over and over with tornados, hail and flooding. The pictures and videos of entire Oklahoma towns and farms under water along with homes destroyed by tornados are difficult to see. I am so grateful that most of the tornados are small and do not stay on the ground for long. There is more severe weather predicted today. These series of storms remind me of all the storms I have endured in my life.

When I was a young mom, we moved into a single-wide mobile home out in the middle of a pasture with no trees to block the wind. About a week after we had moved in, everyone was sound asleep when I was wakened by a powerful gust front that was blowing our little home with such force that I knew the next gust would literally blow it apart. I didn’t have time to wake my husband lying next to me or my two small children at the far end of our vulnerable home. All I could do was cry, “Jesus!” You immediately calmed the wind so there was not even a breath of it blowing. It was a calm beyond any calm I had ever known. I will never forget You calmed the wind for me! Everyone else slept through it.

I have been through hundreds of raging storms since that time long ago—some weather-related; others were financial, fire, suicide, health, life and death, relationship-related… As amazing as the time You calmed that dangerous wind for me long ago, it has been even more amazing how You have given me Your incredible peace through the midst of short outbursts or long-enduring turbulent storms which seem to never end.

It is a peace that comes from knowing You are with me—no matter what—through beautiful calm days and every kind of storm. Lord, I pray those in the storms see that You are with them.

 

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“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was in danger of being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him (Jesus) up, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’” Luke 8:23-25

 

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 127:28-30

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to call to You in this storm I’m facing…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday was another one of those days every Oklahoman experienced an advanced crash course in meteorology with a week’s worth of warning that everything was lining up to the highest risk of violent tornado possibilities. It was only three years ago on this same date that disaster struck a local school killing students and teachers. Most schools were closed. Businesses closed early. Everyone was glued to a day of watching the storms develop. Yesterday morning, I was getting my work done early before the time everything was predicted to fire up. Ironically, my job entailed writing about tornados and storm shelters. What an eerie mixture of feelings.

Lord, I just want to thank You for calming the storms along the dangerous line where super cells were predicted to spawn huge killer tornados. The storms were indeed spectacular with multiple wall clouds and tornados…but the dangerous vortexes all stayed small and didn’t stay on the ground long—though the entire state was covered with spinning powerful super cells. Now we are dealing with the record flooding which was predicted. Our drought-prone state is not used to dealing with flooding rescues but they are happening all over. One girl was found safe and is now at home after being caught in raging flood waters for nine hours over night!

Father, what a mighty display of Your power held back. Sometimes we need a reminder of who You are…and our dependence upon You. We get so occupied with our earthly lives that we forget, this is not our real life. We were created to live forever with You. This life and all the material things we hold so tightly to can be gone in an instant. Cars are a loss. Homes are flooded or destroyed. Livestock, crops and barns stand underwater. Roads are washed out.

Father, sometimes it takes a brush with danger or even death before we fully realize You are the giver of life—that this life could end in the blink of an eye—that our real lives are hidden with You—that we depend on You alone… Thank You that a set of my precious little grandkids, who without prompting yesterday, woke up singing “My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do!” They repeated it over and over and brought a miraculous calm to their mom who has always been terrified of storms.
Father, thank You for Your peace that goes before and after the storm but even carries us through the storm.

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“Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said, ‘Who is this who darkens My counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell Me if you understand…What is the way to the place where the lightening is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a dessert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?…Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightening bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?” Job 38:1-4,24-27, 33-36 (Read all of chapters 38-41 for God’s longest recorded statement which will blow you away!)

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Prayer Prompt-
Lord, let me meditate on Your power and dominion and realize my great need for You…

Heavenly Father,
As I sit during my quiet time with You, we are getting more rain this morning. Yesterday, I tried to hurry up and plant a few more plants in between rains. As I look out the window at my extra lush green lawn and thriving flowers and landscape, I see once again how everything depends upon You and Your life-giving Spirit.
I could plant things all I want, but if there was no rain and sunlight from You, they would shrivel up and eventually die—even with my meager attempts to water. (Besides that, where would the plants and water and sunshine come from in the first place. Even more, there would be no me without You!)
You, in all Your life-giving glory, pour out Your love to create me and everyone else. You place us in this spectacular garden called earth and pour down all we need to flourish. The hard seasons simply cause new life to develop and grow. We could not live without Your rain pouring down on us. Bringing us back to life. Restore and refresh us.
That’s why I love to be still in Your presence. I love to let Your Spirit rain down and renew me. I love to know it is Your life that I soak up and causes my roots to grow deep in You. I know that my feeble and insane attempts to produce new growth will not last. They are like cut flowers that might look good for a bit, but will not grow and produce everlasting fruit.
Father, rain down in me in my quiet times with You. Forgive me when I try to tell You what my flowers and fruit should look like. Let me just look to You and soak You up so Your life will flow through me and I will produce what You create in me. Let me sing to You in the rain because You reign!

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“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me,’ It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.’” Revelation 21:5-6

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty. Let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’” John 7:37-38

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, let me be still and soak up Your presence…

Heavenly Father,
I was listening to the news and was a little overwhelmed by images and memories of the trials, horrors and tragedies in this world- deadly severe weather, Holocaust Remembrance Day, mass murders, drug addiction, children lured into or sold into sex slavery, growing immorality, terminal illness… My soul was heavy and it was tempting to give in to despair. Then I took a quiet walk outside in my garden…with You.
Within a few moments, my spirit was lifted just by being still with You, Lord. As I gazed at a plant that had been left for frozen, I saw a new beauty developing and flourishing that never would have made it if it hadn’t rescued it from the rack headed for the trash. I noticed a huge hanging basket of Airplane plant that I have wintered over for years in my family’s greenhouse. I can’t even begin to count how many baby plants have been given away from that old plant to family members, co-workers, preschoolers, neighbors. It was severely knocked back by a freeze and has no babies now, but it will! I walked past a 5 ft tall Norfolk Pine I grew from a 3-inch-tall starter. It also was in the greenhouse where things were frozen. It is still alive and the new growth is beautiful. It will completely change its shape but I am certain it will be renewed and refashioned by its circumstances… and You.
I always learn so much just walking in the garden with You. Yet, I make that trek every day—not so much for what I will learn but because I savor Your presence. My soul is refreshed and remade. The world can seem cold, harsh and mean, but if I take my walk with You in the garden, new life springs forth. I can take You out into that dark world and brighten it with Your Spirit which flows from You into me and through me. I may not even be aware, but Your life springs up and brings out the beauty and loveliness that can only come from You. This world begins to change from the dark hopelessness to a lovely garden where I am simply one little tiny plant with Your love flowing through me to brighten the world. I wish I could take others for a walk with You in the garden…

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“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. (Sin happened) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 2:8 (Sin happened) 3:8

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. they will walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Your Prayer Peek-
Lord, help me meet You in the garden…