Ahead of the crowd

“He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” Like 19:3-4*

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Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus but he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. That didn’t stop him; he found a work around. He ran ahead of the crowd, climbed a sycamore tree and waited for Jesus to pass by. He intentionally put himself in a spot to see Jesus.

What stands in our way of seeing Jesus? For Zaccheus it was the crowd. Is it being too busy? Too tired? Work conflicts? Family opposition?

Like Zaccheus, we have to look for a way to get ahead of the crowd. Maybe it’s getting up 15 minutes earlier to read the Bible, finding a church service time that works, joining a Bible study or making time to pray. Maybe it’s leaving a crowd that blocks the view.

Be proactive. Get ahead of the towering crowd and find a place to see Jesus. And He’ll see you as he passes by…

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.'” Luke 19:5*

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All I wanted

was to see Jesus pass by.

But the crowd

towered too high.

Running ahead

I climbed a sycamore tree.

I saw Jesus,

and He saw me!

Now He’s coming

to my house today,

not simply passing by

He’s here to stay.

…..

photo and poem by Patty Perkins

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*The One Year Bible, April 18, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois

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A good place to be

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'” Luke 18:13*

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Awareness of sin can feel like defeat. Again. It can feel frustrating. Again. But if that awareness causes us to call out to God, to plead for his mercy because we realize just how much we really need him—it can become a good place to be.

To know our own sinfulness—to see who we are in the flesh before a perfect, holy God—is not a bad place to be. That awareness can be a knotted rope swinging by to grab hold of, to lift you out of the pit, to a restored relationship with God.

Like the tax collector, let the defeat cause you to plead for God’s mercy. Grab the knotted rope swinging by and land at the feet of Jesus. That’s a very good place to be.

*The One Year Bible, April 16, NIV, Copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.

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Doorkeeper

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I  would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10*

“…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11*

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Better to be small here and right with God, than to be big here and miss out on God’s forever good. The smallest tasks he calls us to are great in the kingdom of God. What matters is his calling to the task and our willingness to do it—then doing it. Being right with God is worth whatever we have to let go.

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I’d rather be right with God—

Know deep peace of soul,

Than have temporary happy here

And miss the good He must withhold.

…..

For one blessed day with my Lord—

Though just a doorkeeper to man,

Is better than a thousand elsewhere

When heaven’s keys are in hand.

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photo and poem by Patty Perkins

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*The One Year Bible, April 15, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.

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From awe to art

“…Consider and realize how…bitter it is for you when you forsake The Lord your God and have no awe of me…” Jeremiah 2:19 * image

Like raindrops

trickling down a window

creating paths of change

…..

Like stars

sparkling in a night sky

bringing light to dark

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Like leaves

filling an empty yard

laying an autumn crunch

…..

May awe of God

refreshing the morn

establish living art.

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photo and poem by Patty Perkins

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May my life flow from an established awe of God.

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*The One Year Bible, October 3, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.

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When there are no answers

Isaiah 50:10 “…Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of The Lord and rely on his God.”*

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When the hallway is dark, but that’s where He’s led, it’s better to be there. Better to follow His word one step at a time. To trust that His way will lead to a lighter room.

Gently, He’ll nudge the way to go. Step here. Now there. To the left. To the right. Straight ahead, and now…still.

His presence is our guide and better to be in the dark with God than living by the light of self-lit torches.

When there are no answers in the middle of frustrating circumstances, when the hallway is dark — it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong place. A hall is just a passageway to the next room.

So then, wait. Listen for the Lord’s guidance. And though you don’t see the outcome — the important thing while walking in the dark is to stick with God.

Better to walk in the dark with the presence of The Lord, than to light your own torch and be singed by it’s flame.

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Related reading: Isaiah 30:20-21, Isaiah 50:11

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*The One Year Bible, September 26, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.

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This cracked pot

“…Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20*

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Unleash your creative power

Think a new thought through me

Extend your arms of love

Reaching out to those in need.

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You who speckle the sky with stars

And lighten the dark with the moon

Who brightens the day with the sun

Giving flowers to bud and bloom

……….

What would you do through me

Yielded to be your home?

Carry bread to a hungry world

Living water to thirsty souls.

……….

poem and photo by Patty Perkins

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Christ lives in me. The magnitude of that statement is mind boggling. Christ in me. Imagine…the Creator dwelling in this cracked pot of a temple and calling it home!

What would He do with a life given over to Him? What thoughts would seep? What acts of mercy extend? What lives would be changed simply because Christ was near?

My hope is to live every day — every moment — believing Christ lives in me.

*The One Year Bible, September 16, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.

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Angel wings

Psalm 57:1 “…I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

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But I am kept

under angel wings

covered in shadows

where mercy sings.

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A place to stay

where else would I go

healing balm drips

on anxious soul.

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Jesus keep me

clasped to your side

your cadence my step

my step your stride.

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photo and poem by Patty Perkins

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The One Year Bible, September 13, NIV, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois.


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