The Nearness of God (Sunday Quote)

Some time ago, early in the morning, I read in my devotional “A Diary of Private Prayer” by John Baillie. As the sun slowly rose the beams of light shone through my kitchen window. The rays broke through some stained glass and hit the pages of my book while I was praying.

It was a gentle glimpse of my Father’s heart through creation.

Here is what I was reading,

“O LORD and Maker of all things, whose creative power made the first ray of light, and who looked on the world’s first morning and saw that it was good. I praise you for this light that now streams through my window to waken me to the life of another day.” 

Psalm 73:28

But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
(Photo Heidi Viars, 2019)

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Sunday Quote


“In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it.”

Paul E. Miller (A Praying Life, p.9)


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An Instrument of God

Last night the kids and I stopped by the lake to see an amazing sunset. In all my years of taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets I have never seen anything like it. It didn’t take long and people pulled up to take shots of this amazing sight. However beautiful this sunset was, it cannot compare to the beauty of mankind.

The following poem stirred in my heart this weekend after learning more about and listening to Martin Schleske. This luthier (violin maker) from Germany has touched many lives, not only with his craft of making violins, but through his book, which he wrote from notes taken during the process of building his violins.

Skilled is Your craftsmanship – Your art
With which You hone each part of man
As instruments we’re set apart
Play songs that through the ages span.

Your hand holds tight while chisel cuts
The flaws the world has left within;
You carve Your thoughts in those who trust
The Carpenter to take their sin.

With gentle bow-stroke You can hear
The sound of each vibrating string;
You bend and press Your holy ear
Into the heart and hear it sing.

In ways that I will never know
You craft this instrument of man;
With care design his song to grow
Into Your tune – Your sovereign plan.



Psalm 139:13-18
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
(Photos and poem by Heidi Viars, 2019)

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Sunday Quote

„Eine Religion, in der Erfolg und Segen deckungsgleiche Größen sind, hat der Welt nichts zu sagen, denn was solch eine Religion sagen könnte, sagt die Welt sich bereits selbst.“
Martin Schleske (Der Klang, S 59)

“A religion, in which success and blessing cover the same space, has nothing to say to the world, because what such a religion could say, the world is telling itself already.”

Martin Schleske is a German violin maker. His book “The Sound of Life’s Unspeakable Beauty” (Der Klang) will be released in English in April 2020  

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Look UP

I was taken aback by my physical and emotional reaction to what I saw. I had known all along it was coming, but when the day arrived, I got sick to my stomach and felt teary. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I stepped out of the house last week early Monday morning and looked up to see what the building crew had done. Part of my house was missing. (You can read here about how last year’s ice and snow caused our roof to partially collapse.)

What followed was a week of controlled chaos. A team of amazing builders worked quickly and precisely to beat a predicted rainstorm later in the week. The men worked hard, tore off old rafters, set new trusses, and cleaned up debris – always making sure that by the end of the day the section of the roof they had worked on was sealed.

I have never had to face the loss of a home or experience substantial damage to it, and I must admit that I have taken the roof over my head for granted. When I saw it partially gone I suddenly realized how dependent I have been on my comfort. I started to pray and asked the Lord to make my anxiety go away. I suddenly remembered the story in Mark 4:36-41 where Jesus calms the storm.

Jesus had been teaching His disciples through many parables during the day. Then, as evening set in, He invited them on a journey to learn one more lesson. I wonder if they felt a windstorm coming. I wonder if the trees were bending already and the leaves were rustling as Jesus asked His disciples to take Him across the lake. I wonder if the disciples looked at the sky and then looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders and then still pressed past the crowds into the boat. The story tells us that some time later, while they were on the lake, a great windstorm aroseand the waves crashed into the boat. The disciples became afraid and looked for their Master. They found Him asleep in the stern on a cushion.

In my prayer, I told the Lord about the impending storm at the end of the week and my worries about what a mess it would be if water got into the house. I imagined myself in the boat trying to wake Jesus up. I could almost feel my knees getting wet from kneeling in the wooden vessel in some fishy smelling water. I imagined myself rousing the Lord, trying to shake His holy feet and shoulders. “Can’t you see? Don’t you care?” My prayers felt like helpless questions rather than a naming and claiming session. I heard Him speak to his disciples,

“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 

The problem with my faith is that I confuse it with my feelings. I get scared, worried, confused, depressed, anxious, and impatient when I focus on what could happen. The enemy swoops in and feeds the fire of my emotions. But when I go to Jesus my feelings calm, and I become confident in who He is. I wonder if at the root of Jesus’ question was the fact that the disciples were focused on what they were feeling, “Why are you so afraid?” Maybe He was reminding them of what He had been explaining to them all day.

“Put your faith in Me!”

While construction is still in full force, while water still got in this week, while parts of our ceilings didn’t hold up, and while we are still taking care of our family in the middle of the chaos, Jesus remains Who He said He is. While my faith still is under construction, being tested and worked out, the Lord asks me to confidently trust Him. I do well to remind myself and my feelings about the things He said about Himself. Faith is an “assurance and a conviction of things I can not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). When I remember the the God of my faith, my feelings usually don’t lag too far behind.

“Lord, I get it wrong so many times. Please help me to look up, toward You, and and not down toward my feelings. You are the One Who Calms the Storm and knows what I need. You always will provide for the things I need. Thank You for being so patient with me.”

Psalm 121

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

(Pictures and devotional, Heidi Viars, 2019)

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Man – The Dwelling Place of God (Sunday Quote)

“From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with mortal and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribable wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ; and He will only enter by invitation of faith.”
A.W. Tozer
(Man: The Dwelling Place of God)

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What I Can’t Do

What I can’t do, LORD, do for me
When weakness is my only strength
In faintness be my Energy
In battle, LORD, be my defense.

What I don’t know, teach through Your Word
Keep me from earthly wisdom’s bait
Help me trust Scriptures where You’re heard
Lean on Your Spirit while I wait.

What I can’t see, through plank-filled eyes
Illuminate for me today
See others’ specks through grace not pride
Remove my blinders in the way.

What I can’t be, LORD, be in me.
Transform my heart, my soul, my mind
Burn dross and my impurity
Until my silver is refined.

What I owe You, I cannot pay
Can’t be nor do the things I should
In Christ You made for me a way:
He paid for what I never could.

Hebrews 10:14
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those
who are being sanctified.”

(Pictures and Poetry, Heidi Viars, 2019)

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