Parables and Flags

Photo credit: Debra Scowden 2015

 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”  Matthew 13: 10-11

     Recently we took a family trip to central Oregon.  Loaded our RV along with two of our daughters friends.  We spent a beautiful weekend at an RV resort, equipped with several swimming pools heated from a hot spring.  The days were warm and each of us were kissed by the warm sun.  A much needed get-a-way for all of us.

     On the 3rd day of our four day escape the weather cooled off drastically.  So we decided to head to a town about an hour away.  Browse some shops, have some lunch with friends, and take in some of the local color.  That is where the flags in the photo come from.  The wind was blowing pretty hard as I steadied myself to take some shots.  It wasn’t until after we returned to the RV that I looked through the photos.  This particular photo caught my eye because I likened it to Jesus’ use of parables.

     I am sure you are wondering how, aren’t you?  Well, let me tell you.

First, do you see the clouds in the sky?  We all know that behind them is a blue sky.  Yet, in reading scripture some of us only see the clouds.  The words, at times, don’t make sense to us.  We assume that they aren’t meant for us, but for the theologians and Bible scholars and pastors.  Oh friend, they are not.  God’s words are for you and me.  He speaks to us, in the quietness of our hearts, loving us and leading us to Him.  He wants us to have more, to have an abundance of Him.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.” (Matthew 13:12)

Second, we see the flags of orange and blue.  Could it be that God’s words are meant to get our attention?  That He who made you and me in His image, wants to flag you down?  Yes, He most certainly does, my friend.  So, let us open our eyes and ears to His words, that He is gently speaking to us.

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.  For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”  Matt 13:16-17

I pray that each of us would see beyond the clouds, that we would open our minds and ears to His flagging us down with His words.  May God bless each of you.

Thank you for being a part of my blogging journey.

Serving Him,


Debra Scowden Copyright 2015

Each day, each week, month and year,
Hearts grows stronger, Lord Jesus is near.
Though there’s much sorrow and great pain,
In His loving arms we are always sustained.

The journey we’re on, the end is clear,
For those who know that Jesus will appear,
And take us home-so beautiful,
To heaven with Him, faith unmovable.

His seeds are scattered over the earth,
In soil as varied as each persons birth.
The choice is yours-will your life bear fruit?
I pray in Jesus’ name it will take root.

Jesus is the way you see, the truth and the life,
With Him, through Him, no need for strife.
We are His treasure, a pearl of great worth,
And He gave His all for our sweet rebirth.

Cultivate this seed, treasure His word in your heart.
Let no one or no thing tear this gift apart,
From the truth of His unfailing love for you,
Dear friend Jesus died on a cross to make you anew.

So be like good soil, letting His word grow,
Clearing away the weeds, let water flow.
Soon you will know without any doubt
For the seeds will bear fruit, it’s what Jesus is about.


Thoughts on the 23rd Psalm

Photo credit: Debra Scowden © 2017

Last October I wrote a blog post on Psalm 24.  I was in a difficult and challenging season.  I reflected on my life and was reminded that God is in control, not me.

A year and some months later I sit to write once again.  But this time on Psalm 23. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (verse 1)  I want to read this verse over and over again.  To have it sink deep into my heart and mind.  I hope as you read God’s words, and mine, you will know how precious you are to God, and how powerful you are with God as you Shepherd.

* * * *

Since the beginning of July I have been on an uncomfortable and arduous journey.  I have spent much of this time in a dark and lonely valley.  Struggling to find some hope and light.  Then I found hope in a Bible study that focuses on healing and understanding by using the 23rd Psalm.

I know my valley journey is not yet over. I will have more dark days.  However, God’s words in this Psalm bring me such wonderful hope.  So friends whatever you may be going through today, have gone through in the past, or may go through in the future, my prayer for you is that you would find hope and peace in God’s Holy Word.  That the Lord’s joy, which has nothing to do with our feelings, but with our faith and trust in Him, be found in you, and that the world would see His bright light shining within you.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

The first and foremost step in my healing has been acknowledging and knowing, without a doubt, that the Lord is MY shepherd.  God created me, and knows every single day of my life.  He knows the decisions I’ve made and will make without praying about it first.  And still He’s with me.  With this knowledge I truly have everything I would ever want.  Jesus loves me with an everlasting love.  Unlike man, who loves with a limited capacity, Jesus loves me, with all my sins, imperfections and faults.  Jesus loves me because He created me.  So I can move forward because I know I am deeply loved by my Shepherd.  God knows exactly what I need, and when I need it.  My part is to fully trust in Him.  I can tell you this is not always easy.  But in faith I will let Him lead me.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2

The word picture in verse two is God’s desire for me to find rest.  Green pastures, beside still waters, is a picture of the peace I have available to me with Jesus.  It makes me think of taking a hike somewhere.  I would have climbed up some pretty steep mountains.  My body is sore and tired.  I feel as if I couldn’t take another step.  Then through a clearing I see a green pasture. It welcomes me like a cozy bed.  I lie down, exhausted from the hike.  As my head rests on the grass I begin to feel the aching and soreness dissipate.  My mind begins to clear, and I am beginning to feel rested.  Peace washes over me.

I sit up to find I am also lying beside still waters.  This hiking area would lead me to think I’d find a raging river.  Yet, I am not.  The still waters begin to calm me in a way I’ve never experienced before.  God is with me, peace fills my mind and heart.  He has provided all that I needed at the moment I needed it.  God’s amazing grace, how sweet the sound, found in a quiet meadow beside still waters.

“He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:3

This time on the green pastures and by the still waters has restored my soul.  Actually, my soul feels renewed.  I am a new creation.  The old is gone.

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

No matter my circumstance, when I put my trust in the Lord, He will lead me.  The paths God wants me to travel will be narrow.  Not many others are on this path, but this path is where my Shepherd will direct me in righteousness for his name’s sake.  It is a path less travelled, to be sure.  But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;” Psalm 23:4

This journey I am on is in the valley of the shadow of death.  It is the death of a dream, of a marriage, and of so much more.  This valley has caused me to cry many tears these past months.  But instead of lying on the floor crying, I have decided to look up and take God’s outstretched hand.  He gently tells me, “I have you.  Trust more, fear less, because you are with Me.”  So I get up and begin to trust Him more and fear less.

“your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4

A shepherd uses a rod and staff to manage his flock.  Keeping them from danger, and insuring they arrive safely to their destination (home).  The Lord is my shepherd, he lovingly prods me to stay on that safe and narrow path.  God’s heart is for his entire flock, all of mankind, to make it safely home to heaven.  We only have to put our trust in Jesus, our Shepherd.  He will comfort us, love us and cares for us, and bring us safely home. “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” Psalm 23:5

I like the picture of a table being set before me.  As we are in the Christmas season, setting a fancy table is something I enjoy doing.  I can imagine how magnificent the Lord’s table setting must be.  The best of everything, no expense spared, no detail too small.  And to think He does that for you and me, right in front of our enemies.  You and I are that important to the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

In old testament days the anointing of oil on the head was a mark of respect sometimes paid by a host to his guests.  Just imagine…here you and I sit at God’s beautifully set banquet table, and He is anointing us.  This means He is showing us respect.  God Almighty is serving you and me.  Its unbelievable to think that One so great and powerful would do this.  This word picture truly makes my cup overflow.  I could not want anything more.  I struggle with believing I am worthy of such respect.  And yet He doesn’t hesitate in anointing my head.  These words tell me that I am respected, I am worthy, I am valued, I am loved.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

God’s gives us goodness and mercy, and says they will always be in our lives.  We simply need to make the decision to follow Jesus, and then this beautiful promise is ours.  If thats not enough he adds that we will dwell, live with, be in the presence of the Lord, Jesus Christ, forever and ever, in His magnificent house.

There is nothing more comforting or encouraging than knowing that God delights in us, and holds us in the highest esteem. 3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  God takes great joy in knowing we are walking in His truth.

“This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take require in him.” Psalm 18:30

In life we travel many a road,
Each one brings us someplace new.
Every day give Jesus your full load,
He’ll faithfully carry you through.

Take hold of His mighty hand,
Through the valley filled with fear.
Trust in His strength, and stand
Firm in the truth, and evil will disappear.

He’s set us a place at a banquet,
Before all our enemies.
His loving-kindness like a blanket,
Protects us through centuries.

His word is filled with promises.
God’s goodness and mercy’s with me.
This news is so very positive,
Let’s share, so the world will see.

In faith and trust let us believe,
The truth, Jesus is God’s precious Son.
His scarlet thread has been weaved,
And its power cannot be undone.

On the roads that this life may lead,
May we take hold of God’s holy word.
Let it choke out the enemies weeds,
And heavenly hope is deeply stirred.

Walking In Victory


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I’m seeing something new and different in my life. My perspective is changing. My circumstances would warrant a brokenness and defeat. Yet, I awoke the other morning before my alarm went off. I heard the chirping of birds, a reminder of spring, of rebirth. How is this even possible? My husband is still in the hospital from the affects of two grand mal seizures. The road before me is unclear, and likely long. All reasons for me to feel overwhelmed, lost, forgotten, defeated. But I don’t feel any of those things. I have this incredible sense of peace and victory.

Beautiful, glorious victory. First Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  A new day is dawning. A day with the promise of victory over the circumstances of life. I’ve said so many times that I could not imagine going through this without Jesus. And I absolutely know that He’s my navigator, my compass, my North Star. However there are times that I have attempted to control the outcome of something. Forcing my way, my will. It never ends well. But then I remember that I have victory though Jesus Christ.

My ah ha moment…let go and let God have His way. That’s how I can truly walk in victory. Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”” Deuteronomy‬ ‭20:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬. It’s not a new thought, but today, today is different. Today I see God before me, slaying my enemies right before my eyes.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10

God is mighty to save. After all, He saved me, a wretched sinner, from eternal damnation.

So, today is a new day. I am armed with God’s Word and a new perspective. Today is a gift, today is a promise. This means that even if God doesn’t answer my prayers, I will still, and always, put my faith and trust in Him. The miracle in all of this is having my heart renewed, having victory over my enemies, my sins and my circumstances. Today I am defined not by those things, but am wholly defined by Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

By Debra Scowden

In the middle of a vicious storm,
Caught in the waves and raging seas.
When many feel lost and forlorn,
I’ll stand firm against the strong breeze.

For nothing in this world I live,
Can separate Jesus Christ from me.
His grace, love, peace- He freely gives,
I need only trust in good times and calamity.

The power of a torrential rain,
Can drown a weary soul.
No matter what, with God I’ll remain,
For its Him alone, all storms He controls.

The storms that surround us my friend,
Jesus, our savior is always by our side.
He’ll give us peace, we can depend,
And through the torrents he’ll safely guide.
To have this peace beyond our knowing,
Comes not by works, but deep abiding faith.
So great is His love, our faith keeps growing,
One day we’ll hear, “Well done, dear one.” He’ll saith.

With a new perspective, this gift and promise,
Look up to him all you who believe.
The waves of trouble by His word are made calmest
Because with Christ we wholly cleave.IMG_1233


By Debra Scowden, 2017

Blessed is the one who walks in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the way of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

This journey called life can somedays be delightful, and other days be brutally painful. Days when we are mostly carefree. To days when it seems the weight of the entire world rests upon our shoulders. Broken, beaten-down, lost and feeling very alone. A family of four, yet so many days I feel alone. O people; pour out your heart before him.

This is one of those times. Feeling very alone. I struggle with self-doubt, poor self-esteem, low self-worth. It feels as though the people who know my situation most, avoid me. I feel like a leper. I started the other evening feeling blessed, strong in the Lord. Then I felt like I was being looked at with pity. “Oh, poor Debra, she has such a hard life.” Feeling like a leach to those in my life. Sucking life out of them, so much so that they don’t want to be around me. Feeling, feels, felt…the Bible says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

It also says,

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26

Those feelings are, of course, lies. The enemy seeks out our weaknesses and takes hold of them doing his very best to squeeze the Lord completely out of our lives. But, God Almighty, El-Roi…The God who sees me and you, the One we are held by, is here to remind us of what He’s freely given. Forgiveness. Life eternal. Blessed. Love.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 2:3

So how do we combat the lies, self-doubt, poor self-esteem and low self-worth? The way may not be easy. I know for a fact it’s not. I do know, however, that when we put our trust in Jesus, He will make the way easier.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

The one who is in the world, Satan, is the prince of this world. He’s cunning, sneaky, and works very hard to feed our self-doubt, poor self-esteem and low self-worth. Clever one. Yet, he is NO match for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬. ‬‬‬‬

These verses are exactly what my weary, broken, beaten-down, lost and lonely soul needs to hear, be reminded of, read and re-read. ‬‬‬‬Proverbs 7:1-3 also reminds me…

”My son keep my words and treasure up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Another great reminder…

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Whatever your fiery trials may be, remember to call upon Jesus, and you will, in the midst of the fire, know a peace that passes human understanding. You may still be surrounded by the flames, the temptation to give in the enemy. But, my friends, don’t. Instead,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 ESV

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. Psalms‬ ‭62:1-2, 7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Wait quietly before God,
Your victory will come.
His promises are timeless and true.
Freedom assured from Satan’s thumb.
All your days the Lord Jesus foreknew.

Peace beyond our worldly comprehension,
A safe place to run, a fortress, our refuge.
Let your heart and your mind trust, rest,
As God’s living water o’er you deluge.
With Him you’ve conquered, no longer opprest.

All victory and honor come from God alone
His protection and strength none can fathom.
Wait quietly before God, he’ll light the way
His great power’ll save you from the chasm.
Far away from you, Satan will fearfully stay.

O dear God in Heaven, creator of all,
Let our hearts be forever grateful.
For no one or nothing from You can separate
When we trust upon You, and are ever praiseful.
And we quietly, faithfully, in victory, wait.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters.” Psalm 23:2 NIV

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” Psalm 130:5 ESV

As I was finishing the writing of this post this morning, this song came on.  Trust.  The exact thing I need to remember to do.

May God richly bless you, may you always call on the name of Jesus, and may you always hear his still small voice.

In Christ’s love,


I’m Glad I Have A Savior



I’m glad I have a Savior who will never leave my side,
No matter what is happening, in Him I’ll safely abide.
It hurts, I’m frightened, the future’s unknown,
Yet, in confidence I’ll follow Jesus, grace He’s only shown.

I’m a wretch and I’m a sinner, I am broken yet not lost,
For my Jesus, precious Jesus, in death paid the ultimate cost.
When I cannot even fathom, nor see my human worth,
I need only look to Jesus and His precious virgin birth.

It is there in His story, a glorious life, sinless, He led,
That reveals to me a picture… His body, my sacrificial bread.
Jesus will be with me in the good times and in the bad,
In His word I am promised, in faith, my heart one day be glad.

My life’s story is not over, in some ways it’s just begun,
As I read God’s sweet love letter, to Him I faithfully run.
Be hope-filled, His word does tell me, with every page I turn,
It’s His freedom, and eternity, that my heart does only yearn.

So, if you my friend are weary, lost, and feel all alone,
May I lovingly encourage you-find Jesus and be known.
He will hold and tenderly comfort you, give you pure abiding love,
There is no one, no place or nothing that will fit you like this glove.

He’ll be patient, kind, not boastful, nor will He envy you,
His love’s not arrogant or rude, nor will He push you to do
Anything, ever; Free will God gives to move as you please,
His only requirement, faithfully believing, on bended knees.

You’ll be glad you have a Savior who will never leave your side,
No matter what is happening, in Him you’ll gladly abide.
When life hurts, or when you’re frightened; the future’s unknown,
In great confidence follow Jesus, grace He will always show.

As White As Snow

As White As Snow


I have a love hate relationship with snow.  I love how it makes everything looks so beautiful and serene.  I love how quiet everything is.  Such amazing silence.  I hate the affect the snow has on our day to day life.  Appointments canceled, unable to attend our church surface and Wednesday night Bible Study (thankfully we can stream it.)


But the other day as I sat watching the snow fall from my living room chair, I also thought of my sin and my salvation.  “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 (NIV) 

To be washed and made whiter than snow.  How is that even possible?  Well, you see, Jesus is how.  The Son of God, born or a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a dreadfully bloody death on the cross for my sins, and three days later rose from the grave.  His death, once I accepted and believed in Him, made me white as snow.  My sins are as far as the east is to the west.(Psalm 103:12 paraphrased.)

I love how He reminds me of His power and majesty in something as simple as a snow storm.  I hope that you can see, even in the midst of a storm, how great and deep the Father’s love is for you.

I watch the snow fall to the ground,
It covers the world in white.
The big snowflakes make not a sound,
It’s beauty and grace, quiet a sight.

The world outside seems so pure,
Everything looks so fresh and clean.
It makes me feel so self-assured;
All life is simple as never been.

Yet in this beautiful, magical scene,
The Lord’s words do over shadow.
“Though your sins are scarlet (red),” unseen,
 In Me, with Me, they’ll be white as snow.

Wait quietly, my friend, before God,
Like the silent falling snow.
And soon you’ll stand, in Him be awed,
In His beautiful presence, you will glow.

So watch the snow,
In your heart you’ll know,
Jesus’ perfect plan for you
To make you pure, afresh, anew. 

The Son of Man will light the way,
Have faith and trust in His great plan.
And in the silence kneel and pray,
His perfect love is like a cozy afghan.

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”




My Many Faces


img_2276Who am I today?

What face will I show others?

Will it be my happy face? 😁

Or perhaps my pity face? 😔

Maybe I’ll wake up and show my “I’m just fine” face. 🤗

As I reflect on these questions I realize how often I “put on” a face that I want others to see. But not always one that’s honest. Sometimes the face I show may not be real, or truthful. So why do I pretend?

The putting on is where I go wrong. You see, I’m putting on from me, from my very limited perspective, tiny world view, instead of from the Source, the true covering – Jesus Christ.

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

To put on Jesus Christ means even before I get out of bed, I need to give Him all that I am. The good, the bad and the ugly. Yet, so often I wake up and lie to myself and others. “Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” Psalm 120:2  I don’t have to be perfect Polly, or sad Susie.  I am called to be…a woman who lives and breathes and has her being with Jesus.  I’m so thankful that even on my worst days I can be myself in His presence.

He (Jesus) is the vine, I am a branch,
I submit to Him my everything.
Let it all go like a huge avalanche;
In return He’ll rejoice, as I worship and sing.

Today’s worry’s He wants from me,
Tomorrow’s have not yet come.
So from vexation I am free;
Then I hear the musics thrum.

I’ll stay close to Jesus today,
He comforts the weak and weary.
I close my eyes, see His glory displayed,
His hope, I know is no theory.

In truth, with hope and great faith,
I lean on Jesus’ strength and power.
And attentively listen as God saith,
“Wait my precious, ‘tis not yet the hour.”

The face you see in me,
I pray shines Jesus greatly.
And with the angels  we all agree,
Jesus Christ is the most stately.

Above the noise that’s all around,
I pray you’ll hear Him, too.
Your acknowledgement abound,
And your life is made anew.

So, who am I today? Today I chose to show and reflect Jesus. No matter what is happening in and around me. Inside I may feel frosty or perhaps a bit flat and out of sorts. Maybe inside I feel trapped. No matter those feelings – today I will chose to become less so that Jesus may become greater. (John 3:30 paraphrased.)