Author: PamThorson

Never Underestimate Jesus

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…truly I say to youif you have faith as a mustard seed, 
you shall say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it shall move;
and nothing shall be impossible to you.”
Matthew 17:20

It was an unexpected vacation of sorts, a rare thing for us.  A weekend opened up, and we were relieved of our home and church duties just long enough to squeeze in a three-day trip to the coast.  We jumped at the chance to see the ocean again.

We had to drive four hundred and eighty miles to our destination, and we soon settled in for the long haul.  My husband set the car’s cruise control on the speed limit, and I cozied into my seat with some music and a bag of Fritos.  It had been a decade since we had driven the Columbia Gorge, but it was familiar territory, since we had family living near the coast.  The landscape had not changed much along the way.

 Only two things marred the day:  our sour attitudes starting out and the smoke from area fires that permeated everything.  The pressure of trying to get everything ready on such short notice and without much sleep had left us both cranky.  It didn’t help our moods that the first part of the trip was accompanied by dense smoke from a large wildfire.  The whole world seemed to be on fire somewhere near the Blue Mountains, although we never actually saw flames.  A stranglehold of gloom enveloped us as we drove on in irritable silence.  The air cleared a bit along the Columbia, but a haze began again as we neared Hood River.

We had forgotten about the mountain.  My husband saw it first, of course, because he had his eyes on the road.  Then I saw it, too.  Mount Hood, magnificent as always, rose up out of the haze as if it were too grand to be found wallowing in the lowlands with mortals like us. I had forgotten how impressive it is.

No matter how many times I travel that road, I always forget to look for it.  It surprises me every time.  Each time it emerges out of the valley just when I have traveled so long along the bottom land I forget it’s there.

Each time it reminds me that surprises do still happen; that God doesn’t have a jaded heart like I do; that He can place mountains where they don’t belong and give a thrill to this poor old valley-dweller.

 A few years back, I had another reminder of that.  Someone very important to us invited God into her life; someone who has been on our prayer list for many years.  We had prayed for her so many times it became a familiar road, well-traversed and worn down in places.  The choking smoke of unseen daily fires kept a dreary haze over the area and limited our vision.  Still we continued on, praying routinely, increasingly sporadically, often faithlessly, more often than not with a sour and unbelieving attitude.

 Then one day we turned a corner and came unexpectedly upon the majesty of God.  Out of the haze of our valley we were surprised by the amazing grace of the Savior.  True to His word, He took our tiny mustard seed of faith and moved a mountain for us.  Right in front of our eyes arose a splendid, lovely, breath-taking spire of faith reaching toward heaven out of the heart of a young woman.  The beauty of it caught us unawares and took our breath away.

 How could I have forgotten?  When will I ever learn?  The next time I travel the Gorge, I will be surprised by Mount Hood.  The next time God answers a prayer, I will be as amazed as if I had never seen such a thing before.  Every time I forget the power, the glory, and the faithfulness of our God.  And still for us, because of His great love, He moves the mountain.

Next week:  A very special guest blog by Samantha Thorson.  We are honored to have Samantha join us next week.  If you enjoyed “Never Underestimate Jesus,” stop by and meet the lovely young woman featured in this post.  She is now serving God in ministry and will be sharing with us.  Expect to be blessed and challenged by her devotion to Christ and her thirst for the deep things of God.

A Continual Feast

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A cheerful heart has a continual feast. –Proverbs 15:15

I love Thanksgiving. I love everything about it, the colors, the fragrant chill in the air, the idea of stopping for a moment to give thanks to the Giver of everything else.

It has been a glorious day, especially welcome after a couple of incredibly hard weeks. Today I immersed myself in the heavenly aromas of the season and let my soul take it in like a starving drifter who has been finally invited to the table.

It’s amazing what can heal a person.  After a bruising year in nursing school, I thought I would soon settle back into some semblance of normalcy. Instead, I have been swept into a swirl of heartbreak. A host of hurting family and friends have kept me busy and spent me emotionally these last months.

In the process of fighting for my faith, my friends, and my family, I realized I have been skating near to the edge of the wilderness. Like the children of Israel, I have been doing a lot of grumbling in a dry and thirsty land.

But not today.

Today I remembered my many blessings as I stirred up all our favorite Thanksgiving goodies. Tonight I sat with the people I love and laughed and stuffed myself with the treasure of God’s bounty.

The food was good, too.

It’s amazing how different the world looks through the golden glow of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I thanks my God every time I remember you!

Spring Always Comes

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Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves
so that we would not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9 NASB

At the dawn of Easter morning each year, I love to open the Bible to the Gospels and re-visit the tomb of Jesus. Every year, I find find it still empty, and Christ’s victory over death thrills me anew.

The celebration of the resurrection of Christ always comes with the first stirrings of nature out of the deadness of winter. This time of year, it is easier to believe that God can make the dead come alive, for the good news of the resurrection is preached with every living thing that bursts triumphantly from the dark winter earth.

I’ve never liked winter. Every year, it overtakes us, killing everything in its path and heartlessly freezing the life out of all it touches. In the dead of winter, we are surrounded by death. I walk through my garden in the winter, and it seems as though nothing will ever grow there again.

But I’m not worried, because I know its emptiness is temporary. Spring will come. It always does. We all know that.

It’s harder to have that same trust through the winter seasons of our lives. When we bury a parent, a child, a spouse, or a dream, we only see the finality of it all. As we face our own mortality, death seems like the ultimate reality.

But one moment in history changed all that forever. It all changed with one empty tomb.

Yes, we still live in the winter season of time. Death still reigns over the physical realm of this planet. But its days are now numbered. It’s just a season.

And God is Lord of the seasons. He is Lord of the past, the present, and the future. Because He knows the future, He is not worried. He’s been through this winter. The Master walks through His garden and knows that this is all temporary. He knows that because He’s been there. He entered the grave and came back with the keys to death and life.

He’s the One who emptied the tomb, and He’s the One who commands the spring that always comes. In the darkness of our winter night, we can rejoice in this:

Spring always comes. 

This is our hope. And hope is a powerful thing.

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