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Sabbath Sunday: When You’re the Purple Tree

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When I first saw this picture I focused on the colorful tree on the right. It looked like one of those inspirational quotes “If you can’t stand up, stand out.”

It also reminds me of a talk I had with my oldest years ago. He is a kid with a clear sense of right and wrong. He’s deeply grieved when he sees people choose wrong, especially when it is himself. He realized the name of his school had “Christian” in it, yet he wasn’t seeing the behavior in everyone. He really struggled.

I couldn’t completely remember the verse but I knew it was in 2 Timothy. I told him there’s going to be a time where he’s going to do the right thing.

And he’s going to stand alone.

All the green trees are going to follow the popular choices, the fun ones.

But him, that purple tree, is going to stand on a solid rock and proclaim truth. And even though it will feel like he’s standing alone, he won’t be.

The Lord will always be with him.

I’ve felt like that purple tree—standing out for Jesus—telling others how free it is to live for Him (not easy, free.) Guess what? I often stand alone.

I bet you’ve been there, too.

Guess what?

The Lord will always be with you.

 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 2 Timothy 4:3-5

 

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Sabbath Sunday: But, God.

Posted by Julie on October 12, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Nature, photography, Sabbath Sunday |

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When I first took this picture, I smiled thinking about the other leaves and how inferior they must feel around this big yellow leaf in the middle.

and that reminded me of a story.

About a huge giant who laughed as he slayed solider after soldier from the Israelites who dared fight him.

But, David.

Look at the tiny leaf that is at 11:00/top left in the picture. The leaf is so small you could almost dismiss it.

But, David.

David was a shepherd, not a warrior. Yet when God tapped him as the one to take down the giant, victory was assured. It wasn’t because of armor, he took it off because it was cumbersome. It wasn’t because of training, he basically stumbled out of the field.

It was because of God and David’s not just believing in Him, but believing Him.

What new door has opened for you that seems so huge you could never knock it down?

But, God.

He’s got this.

And, He’s got you.

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Sabbath Sunday: But, God.

Posted by Julie on October 5, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Nature, photography, Sabbath Sunday |

October2014leavesWhen I first took this picture, I smiled thinking about the other leaves and how inferior they must feel around this big yellow leaf in the middle.

and that reminded me of a story.

About a huge giant who laughed as he slayed solider after soldier from the Israelites who dared fight him.

But, David.

Look at the tiny leaf that is at 11:00/top left in the picture. The leaf is so small you could almost dismiss it.

But, David.

David was a shepherd, not a warrior. Yet when God tapped him as the one to take down the giant, victory was assured. It wasn’t because of armor, he took it off because it was cumbersome. It wasn’t because of training, he basically stumbled out of the field.

It was because of God and David’s not just believing in Him, but believing Him.

What new door has opened for you that seems so huge you could never knock it down?

But, God.

He’s got this.

And, He’s got you.

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Sabbath Sunday: The Bridge

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2014 in About Me |

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This isn’t the best picture, but that’s why I tell people I’m an amateur nature photographer. I take them with my phone. And this happened to be while in a car that was going over a bridge on Chautauqua Lake in Upstate NY.

As you know, each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture along with a few encouraging words about God’s love for you.

What you might not know is this spot is my favorite visual when I travel back to family. It’s a 300 mile trip one way and no matter the season, I love what I find as I look beyond the bridge. My husband knows this about me, so when he travels without me, he’ll contact me and say I’m on the bridge. (He has a hands free device.)

But this picture doesn’t look so welcoming. It almost has a haunting look that can bring on a chill. The waters are frozen. That building looks isolated.

Who would sign up for a visit to that place?

But like I said, each time I drive over that bridge, it’s never the same. Last October it was 70 and I saw a lone boat streaking through the waters. In July there are water skiers. In November the trees become bare.

Isn’t that like life? If I knew everything that was coming around the bend, I wouldn’t sign up. But here I am. Some days are like summer—full of opportunity. Then there is the vibrant harvest. I’ve enjoyed the blossoms that my spring brings. But the harsh winter days of my soul? They feel like this picture looks.

No matter what you find when you drive past the bridge, I hope you put your trust in the One who makes all your days possible. He has purpose to every single day. Not to isolate and taunt you, but to grow and transform you.

Because one day those frozen waters will melt, and people will line those buildings and waters.

And it won’t feel so alone.

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Sabbath Sunday: Chosen

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As soon as I took this picture, it hit me hard.

Because I could relate.

That leaf looked so out of place.

So last season.

And alone.

Cold and lonely wondering why it has to be this way.

Of all the Christmas stories out there growing up, I would cry watching Rudolph.

Because before I knew rejection, I sensed my life’s call as a misfit.

Then I grew and I realized there was One who knew that cold and lonely life in a way I never would.

Jesus.

That babe born in a barn.

The child who hung out in tabernacles when other kids played.

The Savior who hung while everyone mocked or disappeared.

Years ago a traveling preacher visited our church and prayed over folks at the altar.

We went forward and my husband received this encouragement:

“Those things that hurt you, you wondered if it was because of what you did or didn’t do. You wondered why. Those things were to make you more like My Son.”

To be like Him means forsaking the world and taking the narrow path.

Sticking out and looking so last season.

Feeling cold and alone.

But the reward is great.

Intimacy with the One who chose you.

Eternal life.

Love.

Now when I see something that looks alone I don’t feel sad.

I rejoice.

Because that object was chosen.

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Sabbath Sunday: I Don’t Feel so Alone

Posted by Julie on September 22, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Nature, photography, Sabbath Sunday |

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Did you know spiritual seasons mirror the natural ones?

The next natural season is fall. A time of transition. A breaking off and eventual dying of things to bring about something better.

But before that better comes a path filled with darkness and the unknown.

What happens next?

What if I fail?

How am I going to do this?

Those are some of the questions I ask in a spiritual autumn.

When I try to find the answers on my own, it’s one giant, abysmal failure. Every time.

But when I yield to the Holy Spirit, my teacher, friend, encourager and comfort through my friendship with Christ, He gives me pieces to the puzzle. I learn the route. I receive answers.  He’s abundant with provision and resources.

And even in the darkness of transition, I don’t feel so alone.

If you’re facing a change, grab hold of the hand gently calling out to you. It won’t be a yell, but a loving whisper. An invitation, not a command.

May your September be blessed!

 

Picture: Late August moon in Youngstown, Ohio by Julie Arduini



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