Category: Nature

Does it feel like you are missing some blessings?

Sometimes water is let go from a nearby lake and the water level drops. When that happens, the most noticeable thing is there are fewer birds on the water and rocks lay exposed. At first glance the water looks shallow and scummy and the banks muddy and messy. As if the water was the blessing and it had been taken away.

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Do you feel like some of the blessings you enjoy have been removed? For a time during Covid, many of us are missing comforts we had before.

When we have the blessing of good friends and family close around us, meeting together, celebrating together, we revel in it. We immerse ourselves in God’s blessing of good times when we have them. And so often, take them for granted. It seems to lose even a little of it would not be a good thing. Like the water level dropping in the lake. This was my brief conclusion.

Ducks_'n_trashWhere the trail comes near the water’s edge, I stepped off to have a closer look. From there I could see things… the ducks and geese had gathered in this inlet to feast on algae that had grown on the underwater rocks, now exposed because of the lowered water level.  What a blessing they were enjoying!

Many bottles and cans that had stuck in the muddy bottom were also now exposed, and a couple of kids had made their way down to the rocky edge to pull them out.  So, this “clean up” effort was made possible by the lowered water level.

If these benefits were occurring when water was withdrawn from the lake, could there be benefits in our lives when we feel blessings have been withheld for a time?

Would our examined lives reveal hidden blessings we take for granted, or that we usually don’t even notice?

If we take the time to look, the answer is probably yes.

Like the algae covered rocks, can we feast on the growth of our faith in God that has grown in the depth of His blessings but is not fully exposed until the level drops?  Yes.

Trusting God in the good times is building our faith and strengthening it so that when challenges arise, our faith can handle them. It’s encouraging to learn that the trust we have in the steadfastness and faithfulness of God in the good times will carry us through the harder times.

Have we allowed things into our lives under the covering of God’s blessing, that we need to remove when we see their trashy presence in full view.  Undoubtedly, yes.

Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to every purpose under heaven.”  And if you are feeling like God’s blessing has been somewhat withdrawn in your life, don’t be discouraged.  You have a wonderful opportunity for discovery, feasting and clean up before you.

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Take a moment of quiet, and ask God to reveal a new blessing to you in the here and now.

Ask Him to reveal any attitude, behavior or relationship adjustment that needs to be “cleaned up.”

Appreciate that there is blessing in even this time.

And before long, the depths will return. my-lake

When was the last time…

When was the last time you laid in the grass looking up through the branches and leaves of a tree? Or watched puffy white clouds float across the sky?

To be honest, I didn’t set out to ponder the universe. But after making it up the street to the high school and around the newly reconditioned track encompassing the football field I was beat.

Spotting a bench in the park on my way back to the house my intention was to sit down for just a minute to catch my breath. But the grassy hillside in the shade was so inviting that just moments after I sat down, I leaned back to take in the soft coolness of the grass and gaze up between the branches and the leafy-ness.

I found my thoughts drifting…the branches in the trees with the leaves at the end look so much like the structure of our lungs.  And as a lightning strike in the distance grabbed my attention, I noticed how much it looks like a neuron – a nervous system cell.

I marveled at how much of biology is repetitious with structure and function – like the leaves of the tree help it take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, and our lungs do the same for our bodies – take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

But also how no 2 fingerprints are alike and no two snowflakes either.  So much simplicity in repetition, yet so much complexity in individuality.

Made me realize how long it’s been since I laid down under a tree and just watched the clouds go by and pondered the universe.

And how little time kids have to do just that these days…with the minutes that aren’t structured with school and teams and clubs being filled with technology and video games.

Anyway – had a little communing with God about creation and wrote a short poem – dictated into my cell phone, and then came on home.

Here’s the start of the poem I wrote – You’re invited to sit under a tree and finish it – or write your own!

Thank You, God, for the sun
For making trees
For sending the breeze
Thank You for making the mountains so tall
And the sky so blue
It all points us to You

The beauty of the world
The puffy clouds
The gorgeous flowers
The highest peaks
The tiny bee
Amazes me for hours

The complexity eludes me

The simplicity astounds
The repetitiveness amazes me
and the diversity abounds

How about you?  When was the last time you just looked around and marveled – thinking about everything…and nothing?

Get outside this week if you can. Take in God’s Creation. And listen to what it says to you. 

 

I’m a horse!

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Psalm 32:8-9 says: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

Meditating on this verse I imagined myself a horse that God was riding. At first He led me beside still waters and into green pastures, saying “Eat, drink, rest.” But I’m wanting to take Him somewhere! I tell Him I’m ready and fully expect Him to tell me where we’re going or show me a map.

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That’s when it hits me – I’m a horse! I can’t read a map! I remember riding horses as a girl when we lived in Arizona. I knew the direction I wanted to go on my rides and what I wanted to see, but never once did I make a map and show it to the horse!

I didn’t even tell the horse what my itinerary was. And yet I would not expect the horse to be frustrated or angry if it didn’t know the length and direction of our journey in advance. As we’d leave the stable, I would gently guide it where I wanted it to go.

God is like that with us…Even though we are created in His image, He is so far above us in wisdom and power that we could not possibly understand from His perspective, the plans He has for us.

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But we can be assured that He has a good plan for each of us. We can know without a doubt that from His perspective on high, He knows what is in our best interest, and we can trust Him.

So when God tells me to rest, eat and drink, I had better do that. He knows what is ahead and knows what I need to be doing. I can trust that He has planned our journey and is preparing me for it now.

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He doesn’t promise to tell each of us what the plan is or spell it out in terms we can understand in advance, but like our horse, He will guide us in the right direction. And we will reach the destinations along our way if we will but attend to and yield to His hands on our reins.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 assures us that He has a plan for us: a prosperous and protective plan, full of hope and with our best future at its heart. These verses also assure that He hears us when we call on Him in prayer and that He is accessible when we seek Him with all of our hearts.

 

 

Color, Beauty, Hope

Spring has finally come to Colorado!
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We have Evergreens: Spruce, Pines, Firs, and Junipers, that stay green all year round so there’s always some color. But now lately those trees that don’t stay green here are putting out leaves. It’s so beautiful to see!

The edelweiss is out and the roses are leafing.

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My first poppy has bloomed. And the lilacs are out and the iris. And even though we’re only a couple of weeks from our latest snow, the ground has finally committed to Spring!

It reminds me of renewal, rebirth, which inspires me.

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God has created this earth, this place for us to live in, with seasons that remind us of His plan and purpose to care for us. He knows so well that we need change as well as stability. We get bored when nothing changes, but we also rely on the constancy of the order of the seasons. And each one brings with it a freshness. Something new to enjoy.

For me, Spring is a season of hope. And this year, it feels like we all really need it.

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Seeing the new life in the yard, the color, the beauty, even smelling the wonderful fragrances, is so satisfying and hopeful. And gives me that sense that goodness lies ahead.

I pray it will for you too.

Will you Squat or Soar?

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It may be warming up where you are, but in Colorado, we are having what may be the snowiest March on record!

And there are still lots of birds wintering here from Canada.  They’re fun to watch as I walk around the nearby lake.

Picture a cold snowy day. There is a white, icy bed of snow on the ground; ice creeping slowly across the lake.

Your eye moves from the white of the ground, to the gray of the freezing water, to the haze of the sky, hemming in the horizon with a veil of frosty air. The sun is only a bright spot in the gray blanket of low, snow clouds tucked in around the lake. Not much is moving as you gaze out across the expanse of grayness.

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There are groups of ducks and geese, tightly tucked and asleep on the ice. Another group of nondescript white birds is clumped together near the water. But there is none of the clucking and chatter that usually accompanies their presence. Not a sound is heard. The frigid air threatens to stop any communication cold, as it freezes every breath taken.

Then, above the lake, a bird appears: silently soaring, in seemingly slow motion. Its graceful wings, stretched to its farthest reach, give it a look of majesty as it hangs upon the air. It is joined by another. They turn twice, together, and are joined by a third.

The mid-air ballet continues for several moments before they separate and go in three different directions. As one flies towards you, you can see the graceful curve of its pure white, broad wings, and the delicate black tips that reach out to capture the air that lifts it higher.

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You recognize this bird. It’s the same kind that you noticed before, squatting, clumped together with others like it in a huddle on the ground. This same little nondescript bird that blended in so plainly with the frozen background displays a Godly majesty when flying. But of course! Flying is exactly what God created it for!

Soaring, is what God created you for. What is keeping you squatting in the snow?

It’s so easy to stay on the ground with our friends, huddled against the circumstances of our lives, fearing the cold, the wind.

But the air is warmer higher up. And the wind lifts you. And God has prepared you to enjoy using the gift of soaring He has given you! And His glory and majesty that you reflect, will inspire others and honor Him.

But, the choice is yours. Will you squat? Or soar?

Take the leap!  See you up there  smiley-1635449_640