How Plainly It Shows

 

 

 

Standing in the field, I prayed and thanked God for allowing me to see such beauty….

The rain was approaching, but hadn’t made it to me yet.

The cloud burst on the horizon was glowing with a hot pink haze.

The dazzling brilliance of the setting sun was causing the underside of the clouds to shout with amazing color and light.

Taking photo after photo, the changing scene before me was an ever-changing display of captivating beauty.

 

How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
    How plainly it shows what He has done!

—Psalm 19:1

 

 

 

Once God is Forgotten

 

 

 

 

"Their hope is gone, once God is forgotten."

This part of the Bible passage below is so very, very sobering.

Do we have any hope without God?

When God is "forgotten"—–not considered, not acknowledged—-what is left?

God has not removed Himself from any of us.

If you have forgotten God, it is not too late to remember Him.

Won’t you consider Him, today?

 

 

 

Reeds can’t grow where there is no water;
    they are never found outside a swamp.
 If the water dries up, they are the first to wither,
    while still too small to be cut and used.
 Godless people are like those reeds;
    their hope is gone, once God is forgotten.
 They trust a thread—a spider’s web.
    If they lean on a web, will it hold them up?
    If they grab for a thread, will it help them stand?”

–Job 8:11-15

 

From Human Anger

 

 

 

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends:

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue,

and let anger straggle along in the rear.

God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.

So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.

In simple humility, let our gardener, God,

landscape you with the Word,

making a salvation-garden of your life.

  –James 1:19-21  The Message


What God Wants

 

 

 

The lake was serene at sunset.

Located only a few moments from my home, I often visit it as evening falls.

At any of those times that I visit, I could be choosing to do something else.

If I did, though, I would miss the beauty on the horizon that would only be there one time.

Tomorrow’s magnificence will be just that—tomorrow’s.

The blessing of beauty for today’s sunset is only given today.

Many people take the time to enjoy the brilliant colors.

Many people are too busy to notice.

Other things have to come first.

I understand.

But what about our mindset about our lives in general?

What things do we put first instead of God’s invitation for the moment?

If we seek God and what He wants, other things will be taken care of in due time.

 

Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. 

—Matthew 6:33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encourage

 

 

There’s just something about knowing that your friends are there for you.

There to encourage.

There to build you up.

There for support when times are hard.

There to pray.

Just…..there.

There to listen.

There to cry.

There to laugh.

How does it make you feel when you know that your friends are there for you?

How do you feel when you know that they know you are there for them?

 

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. —I Thessalonians 5:11

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey You Must Travel

 

 

I have a few friends that own boats.

Boats take you, of course, on trips.

Trips in the water.

That is, if you will actually get into the boat.

Not only that, you will either have to start the motor or bring out the paddles if you want to go somewhere other than where the boat is sitting.

One friend of mine owns a pontoon boat.

Those are nice.

Like a floating living room with lots of comfort.

Three of my friends have sailboats.

The very thought of gliding out to sea at sunset causes a subtle yearning within me.

Dolphins jumping momentarily into the horizon.

The golden ripples of water in a mesmerizing and never ending pattern around me.

Uninhibited sea birds soaring at great heights over the vast expanse of water or dipping down and flying just above the surface.

Whatever boat might be available to me, I will only enjoy the journey if I truly embark on it and if I am aware of my surroundings.

When we accept God’s forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus, we begin a journey.

A journey with Him.

Noticing His presence at every turn, sensing His guidance, acknowleging His voice as He points things out to us will be of greatest importance.

Whatever vessel we are given to travel in, we must trust in the fact that He is with us, always, on every portion of the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.

  —from I Peter 1:18  The Message

 

Stilled and Quited

 

 

Several months ago, I developed some ringing in my ears.

Like an unwelcome guest, it hasn’t gone away.

After visiting a handful of medical health professionals about this issue, another opinion has recently emerged.

It seems that stress can contribute to this annoyance quite a bit.

If I were running from a bear near my home (we DO have black bears here) it would make sense to have adrenaline pulsing through my system and a heightened awareness of hearing.

"Is he two feet behind me? Three feet?

Can I hear the sound of his breathing?"

I might need this information in order to get away from danger.

But do I need this heightened awareness on a regular basis?

Since I am not a forest ranger, the answer would be……no.

Stress can cause a run-from-the-bear existance if we’re not careful.

Don’t believe me?

When was the last time you were totally beside yourself at work over an overdue report or project?

What about that day when you backed your car into the tree when it was foggy?

Was your heart beating faster than normal?

Was your blood pressure soaring?

Oh, and did your ears start ringing?

I have been giving a good amount of thought to this issue.

God doesn’t want me to be consumed with stress.

He doesn’t want me to harm my own body by worrying over circumstances.

I need to rest in Him.

I need to consciously choose to seek calm and pray when I begin to fear the imaginary "bear."

In Psalm 131:2, David wrote:

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
    like a weaned child with its mother,
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

 

 

Arise, Shine!

 

 

 

Do you happen to know what a Roman Candle is?

It is a type of firework that can discharge one or more stars or exploding shells.

They are captivating to watch as they blaze in the night sky.

I actually saw something that reminded me of a Roman Candle in complete daylight.

Driving home from a short trip, I noticed the bright sun and unusual clouds above.

The midday sun was situated in a long cloud that seemed to run up from the trees and the horizon almost directly overhead.

It’s fiery white light shown atop the cloud stream like an exploding Roman Candle in the sky.

How intense it was!

Surely, it was visible for miles to those who looked up and noticed.

The sun shines on us everyday.

God’s light shines on us, as well.

There is coming a day when no sunlight will be needed.

Only the light of God will illumine our existence.

What a glorious day that will be!

 

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
 See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
 Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60:1-3

 

 

Accept

 

 

 

The caterpillar had mulch colored skin.

He certainly blended in well with the mulch near my front door.

I wonder if he tried to hide if he would choose the mulch area just to fade in and go unnoticed.

Hmmm….

What about us?

Why do we try to hide from ourselves?

From our friends?

From God?

Is it because we feel that we will not be accepted?

If we looked ourselves straight in the heart, would we be afraid it would be too much to bear?

If our friends knew our struggles, doubts, and fears, would they still care?

If God knew everything about us, would He reject us?

We may indeed hide from ourselves and our friends.

But God?

No.

We can’t hide.

Even though we try.

He does see it all, even the areas we are not completely aware of.

Does He reject us?

No.

He accepts us.

If we ourselves are hiding, then it’s likely that others we know are hiding, as well.

What if we all accepted each other?

What would happen….. then?

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,  so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

—Romans 15:1-7

 

 

 

 

The Light of Your Face

 

 

 

When we enjoy our accomplishments, do we acknowledge God?

When things go "our way" and turn out for the best, do we see God’s hand in the matter?

When things fall into place, is it our own expertise and skill we consider?

Do we recognize the miraculous in every moment?

The light of God’s face shines upon us, for He loves us.

 

 

We have heard with our ears, O God;
    our fathers have told us
what you did in their days,
    in days long ago.
 With your hand you drove out the nations
    and planted our fathers;
you crushed the peoples
    and made our fathers flourish.
 It was not by their sword that they won the land,
    nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face, for you loved them.

—Psalm 44:1-3

 

Should I Not Be Concerned?

 

 

Who do I care about—–really?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.  Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.  But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”

“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”

 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” –Jonah 4:5-11

 

 

 

Any Unwholesome Talk

 

 

If what I said in a day’s time could be put in a bowl and sorted, I wonder what it would look like?

Let’s say that the container had certain holes where my comments could only fall through if they were just a particular kind.

Uplifting, encouraging words would fall through, but things that I had said that did not benefit others would stay in the bowl.

Would I have a lot left?

Would I be faced with a pile of useless and worthless expressions?

 

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. —Ephesians 4:29-32

 

 

Your Own Interests

 

 

The river beside my friend’s house was peacfull and calm.

Gentle, but serious, current moved the water past us with never ending regularity.

The setting sun brought a glow to the water as shadows formed on the tree lined bank.

I had been invited to this place of quiet solace along with a few other friends to enjoy a weekend of rest and relationship building.

This was not an unusual occurrance.

My friend opens her home often as a place for Bible study, reflection and fellowship.

Each time she does, a different choice could be made.

Instead of having an influx of job-weary, responsibility-laden souls who can’t wait to arrive at the "river house" for a time of refreshing renewal, she could, of course, just plan to be home with only her family.

Looking beyond just her own personal needs, she reaches out to others with a blessing of time in a environment that fosters connection with God.

What can I learn from her example?

To give.

To give of what has been given to me.

To think not only about myself, but to what others may need.

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. –Philippians 2:3-4

 

There Is No Fear

 

While exploring a little in the shallow water near the shore, my husband came upon an exceptionally interesting creature–a pen shell.

Very much alive, it was quite a treasure to behold.

I’m sure if it had any sense of being picked up or removed from the water, it was probably afraid.

That is, of course, if it is capable of fear and that is a fact unknown to me.

We returned it to the water where it could live happily ever after.

That is, of course, if it is capable of happiness.

I don’t know about that, either.

One thing I do know is, it had quite an array of things stuck to its shell.

I understand that these mollusks live in their shells as God intended them to.

Still, it looks as if they are hiding inside.

Until tonight, I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as being similiar to a pen shell.

I absolutely have been, though, in the past, and sometimes, I still am.

For whatever reason, through the years I have allowed things to "stick" to me that didn’t really belong there–

Hurtful comments.

Lies.

Worry.

Doubts.

Insecurities.

Injustices.

They held on wherever I went.

They had become part of me.

Worse than that, I began to hide.

Hide inside my shell.

Come outside?

Nope.

Too risky.

Fear was a controlling factor for me.

God doesn’t want us to live in fear.

And our shell?

It shouldn’t have a lot of extra stuff stuck on it.

If it’s there, God can pry it all off.

It doesn’t have to be on you everywhere you go.

And what if you want to come outside?

God will be there.

He doesn’t want fear to control you.

Hey, I was just wondering…..do you ever feel like a pen shell?

 

 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us. –I John 4:18-19


 

 

 

Smooth Traveling

 

 

There is a train station located about ten miles from my home.

Unaware of the schedule, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the steam engine train was pulling in.

The plume of vapor was thrusting itself up as it trailed away into the air.

I would imagine the passengers were probably happy with their traveling experience.

It was a beautiful early evening, the temperature was cool and the grass around the depot was a brilliant green.

It had likely been a smooth ride for all.

No one wants to have a bumpy, uncomfortable or even dangerous mode of transportation.

Proverbs 11:5 reads, "Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
    an evil life is a hard life."
  –The Message

 

What’s an evil life like?

Bumpy.

Uncomfortable.

Dangerous.

If we want our journey to be smooth as we travel, we will need to embrace the moral character that God has so lovingly shown us in His word.

The whistle is blowing—what kind of trip do you plan to have?

 

 

 

Whoever Lives in Love

 

 

I had just finished a very successful photo session with a large family.

The oldest one there?

60’s, maybe.

The youngest member?

Four weeks old.

Love was evident as I watched their faces.

As my camera clicked, it stopped precious moments in time long enough to be recorded.

With the passing years, the memories made today will grow more and more dear to everyone in that family.

As I was leaving the lakeside park, the sunset was blazing in the sky as the cool air moved softly.

Alone, I took it all in carefully, not wanting to miss anything.

A musician at a nearby outdoor restaurant was singing Paul McCartney’s, "When I’m Sixty-four."

The melody and lyrics wafted through the breeze.

Turning, I walked onto a pier and ventured out above the water in order to take in the dazzling beauty of the radiant sky.

A sea plane was docked in front of me, patiently waiting for its next turn to fly into the clouds.

I was surrounded by resplendence, and I knew it.

Love is like that.

The Bible tells us that, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him."

When we live in God, we are surrounded by His wondrous love, and we know it.

There are times in our lives when we just need to turn "toward the dock" as we gaze on the beauty of what it means to be His child.

Why not take some time right now?

Remember—

Take it all in carefully.

You won’t want to miss a thing….

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” —I John 4:16

 

 

 

 

 

Being One

 

I have some very close friends who are Christians.

They are from very different walks of life with many types of careers and responsibilities in place.

We all share a common bond in the Lord, however.

And since we have this bond, we could ask ourselves—

Are we like-minded?

Do we share the same love given by God that dwells within us?

Are we one in spirit?

Are we one in purpose?

In Christ, we should be.

How about you and your friends?

 

 

 

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.—Philippians 2:1-2

 

Under Whose Wings

 

 

 

It was such a tranquil time.

The water seemed still, except for the occasional movement of a turtle on a log.

The Little Blue Heron was the focus of much of my attention.

In a photo I took of him, his wing almost looked like a feathered canopy, outstretched from his side.

There is an account in the Old Testament of a young girl named Ruth whose husband had died.

Her husband’s father had also died, leaving her mother-in-law a widow.

Ruth made the choice to stay with her mother-in-law, wherever she might go, instead of returning home to her own country to begin a new life.

They both made the journey to Bethlehem, where Ruth married a man named Boaz.

Some time before they were married, Ruth asked Boaz why she had found favor in his eyes, since she was a foreigner.

Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.  May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

–Ruth 2:11:12

Ruth had chosen to stay with her mother-in-law, showing her dedication and love.

This had not gone unnoticed.

She had also come into a land where God was reverenced and served.

She had come into a place where truth was abiding.

The God of Israel would be her refuge.

She had come under "His wings."

We have many choices to make in life.

Go?

Stay?

Love?

Ruth made the best decision possible when things seemed overwhelmingly difficult.

Have you chosen to take refuge under the wings of God?

 

 

Rejoice!

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord always.

I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:4-7

 

Swept Clean and In Order

 

 

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” –Luke 11:24-26

 

I think I understand what Jesus was talking about in this passage.

If someone is finally freed from a demon, their lives should then be filled with the things of God.

Considering verse 25, though, I am thinking specifically about what a "house swept clean and put in order" is like.

If each of us could have our inner lives portrayed as a picture of the inside of a house, I wonder what they would look like?

Thinking about myself, what kind of picture would I have?

Let’s see…

Insecurities–would that look like an overturned chair in the corner?

Dashed hopes and dreams–an unfinished painting on the wall?

Fatigue–a ragged and torn couch?

Wrong thoughts and attitudes–trash littering the floor?

Poor time management–clutter on tables and counters?

And finally………

Fears–that would probably be a thick layer of dust; after all, that covers everything.

If this was my picture, it would definitely not look like it was in order.

The thing is, God can put it in order.

He can pick up the chair in the corner.

He can finish the painting on the wall, recover the couch and throw out the trash.

He can clean off the tables and the counters and dust the entire house.

Are you willing to let Him put your house in order?

Am I?

 

 

 


 

The Way He Should Go

 

 

As I walked along, I saw a trellis with a climbing plant intertwined on it.

A large bloom was near the top, adorning the upper half of the framework.

How would it have grown without the trellis?

Would it have meandered along the ground?

Without the essential support of this wooden structure, what path would it have taken?

When we are blessed with children, we are to teach them about God and what it means to have faith.

We should make certain that they understand Biblical principles that our lives should be built upon.

Giving them the essential structure that they need in order to grow and thrive spiritually is of great importance.

If we don’t teach our children about God, will they just meander through life, aimlessly choosing any random direction?

The Bible encourages us in this way:

 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

–Proverbs 22:6

 

 

 

How Much Rain

 

 

 

While at the park this evening, the clouds began to darken as the rain approached.

Much time and effort is spent forecasting the weather, looking at cloud formations and predicting when rain will come and when it will be absent.

God, however, is in charge of the rain, the lightning, the thunder and the wind.

They are His creation.

As they herald His power above us, we can be reminded that our God is great and awesome in all He does.

 

God alone understands the way to wisdom;
    he knows where it can be found,
 for he looks throughout the whole earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
 He decided how hard the winds should blow
    and how much rain should fall.

–Job 28:23-25

 

 

 

On A Firm Footing

 

 

Just days ago, I read a news article about a recent earthquake.

Someone who was walking on a beach when the quake happened talked to a reporter.

They recounted how they could not stay standing, with their feet giving out under them.

That must have been a very frightening thing.

We are accustomed to being in a certain amount of control.

When we want to walk, we want to walk.

When we want to stand, we expect to stand.

When something as major as an earthquake happens or even if we slip on loose rocks while hiking on a steep incline, we don’t want to fall.

There are some negative phrases that have been around for quite awhile that speak to this attitude–

We "fall" off the wagon.

We "fall" into debt.

We "fall" into sin.

Even though we may try to be careful, we know that obstacles will present themselves.

We will need God’s counsel and direction to stay sure footed.

If you haven’t been asking Him to lead you, why not start today—

before you take the next step.

 

 

 

 

Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
    on a firm footing.

–Psalm 143:10

 

Be Renewed

 

 

Rest.

Why can’t we just decide to rest when we need to?

So much pulls at our time.

The hours are filled with one choice and another until rest time is diminished.

In the twenty-third chapter of Exodus, God even commands that the soil have a time of rest:

Plant and harvest your crops for six years, but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.  –verses 10,11

If the land should rest from its production, shouldn’t we?

 

I Would Give You Living Water

 

 

 

Recently, we purchased a case of bottled water for our home.

Severe weather in the forecast was a very real possibility and loss of power could mean a lack of running water.

I admit, I take it for granted.

When I want water for any reason, I walk to one of three sinks in my home and turn the faucet on.

If I want to take a bath, I have a faucet above a tub in a bathroom.

If I want to take a shower, I can use the shower faucet above that.

My clothes washer is connected to a faucet.

If I want to wash my car, I have an outdoor faucet.

My refrigerator even dispenses water!

But, if a severe storm brings damage, everything could change.

Water is not guaranteed.

Jesus once spoke to a woman who was coming to draw water from a well.

As He was returning to Galilee from Judea—–

He had to go through Samaria on the way.  Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.  Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”  He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” —John 4:4-10

The living water that Jesus gives is guaranteed.

Storms may come.

Big ones.

The living water will not cease to flow.

There is no need to find another source.

It is unaffected through trials and hardships.

The living water Jesus gives is eternal.


Shaped Like Water Lilies

 

 

 

The pond was peaceful as I walked by.

A small spider sat in a web, backlit by the afternoon sun.

A young couple with a baby in a stroller paused to take in the scenic beauty of the moment.

Outstretched on top of the water, a display of color and form spoke silent words of elegant magnificence.

Variegated pads of maroon and green floated effortlessly.

Flowers in full bloom mixed with those only starting to unfold.

Mirrored reflections multiplied the inspiring view with opulent hues of emerald and lavendar.

The Bible tells us that King Solomoon had a temple built for the LORD.

It took seven years to complete.

How beautiful it must have been!

Every detail was crafted with care.

One plant image that was used in the decoration of the temple was the water lily.

After having begun the building of the temple—

King Solomon then asked for a man named Huram to come from Tyre.  He was half Israelite, since his mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a craftsman in bronze from Tyre. Huram was extremely skillful and talented in any work in bronze, and he came to do all the metal work for King Solomon.

 Huram cast two bronze pillars, each 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference.  For the tops of the pillars he cast bronze capitals, each 7 1⁄2 feet tall.  Each capital was decorated with seven sets of latticework and interwoven chains. He also encircled the latticework with two rows of pomegranates to decorate the capitals over the pillars.  The capitals on the columns inside the entry room were shaped like water lilies, and they were six feet tall. —I Kings 7:13-19

 

Just imagine the likeness of water lilies six feet tall.

Solomon surely wanted the temple to be of unrivaled splendor.

When we reach Heaven someday, the splendor revealed to us in a place illuminated only by the glory of God will be more than we could ever envision.

Eternal grandeur…… filled with God’s holiness and love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone With Ears

 

 

 

Dolphins are interesting creatures.

I have read that they have the ability to hear more than ten times above the upper limit of what a person can hear.

God gave them their hearing for a reason, although that is hidden from us.

Swimming about in the ocean, catching fish and jumping out of the water are all done while hearing and perceiving sound beyond what we know.

Humans aren’t left without exceptional hearing, however.

We have a wide range of perception that serves us well.

But what do we do with what we hear?

Jesus told a parable about a lamp:

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.  For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” —Mark 4:21-23

 

Anyone with ears…..that would include everyone, wouldn’t it?

When we hear God, do we listen?

Do we understand?

What are you hearing today?

 


 

 

Keep On

 

 

 

If you are reading this today, is your arm weak from knocking?

Are you tired of seeking?

Have you grown weary from asking?

Luke records this teaching of Jesus:

 

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,  ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’  And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’  But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

–Luke 11:5-10

 

 

 

They Will Be Filled

 

 

 

 Looking out a back window, I could see butterflies flitting about a Lantana bush.

Deciding to seize the moment, I ventured out into the extremely sunny afternoon to photograph them.

A large yellow butterfly came quickly and left in the same way.

There were two Gulf Fertillary butterflies that didn’t seem to mind my presence as long as they could change flower top dinner plates every few seconds to avoid me. They decided to stay.

What a feast the orange and yellow flowers must have been for them!

Flowers, flowers, everywhere with plenty, plenty left to share!

God places the desire within them to take nourishment from the flowers.

They seek them out and they are filled with the treasure they discover.

What is it that we need?

What nourishes our souls?

What should we seek out?

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled."

 

 

 

 

Allowed to Grow

 

 

 

I have a Sago Palm near our front walkway.

Some time ago, I noticed some white particles of something on the fronds.

After doing some reading about what it could be, I trimmed off the branches that seemed to be the most affected by this "white stuff."

Sago Palms will grow a completely new set of fronds all at the same time.

When the precious, new fronds are visible, they are curly and small.

The grow longer and finally toughen up and branch out into a fan of green.

Just before that happens, it is quite desirable to trim off ALL of the older fronds, allowing the plant to consist of only new ones.

Most recently, taking large clippers, I had trimmed all of the older fronds away—those with white specks and those without—leaving only the newly emerging ones to take their place.

It has come to my attention that these new fronds have become infected with the same snowy infirmity.

This morning, I decided to research this issue again.

What has attacked my palm is a tiny insect called the Cycad Scale.

I read that it was actually brought into this country on accident through a port city about a six hour drive from my home.

It has been spreading ever since.

It seems that it is very difficult to get rid of all of them and to keep them away on a permanent basis.

Why?

The insects first inhabit the lower portion of the fronds.

This is not readily seen.

Next, it moves to the visible top of the fronds, the stems, trunk, and finally, the root of the plant.

A foreboding statement in the article was printed in large, bolded letters: "If not controlled, this little insect will kill your plant."

Oh.

So, it’s up to me, then.

The problem is actually a deadly one, although it doesn’t appear at first glance to be that serious.

Humans aren’t personally at risk from Cycad Scale insects.

We don’t see people walking around with little white bugs stuck to their arms.

There is a threat that is far worse than that, though.

I don’t hear the word sin much, but the Bible warns of its presence.

Like Cycad Scale, it often shows up in places that aren’t seen readily.

Maybe we could just call it, hidden sin.

Next, other sins make their way into areas of our lives that are more apparent.

Finding a good place to multiply, sin can begin to permeate deeper places, finally taking hold of the root of our very being.

It might be appropriate to type large, bolded letters for this next statement:

"If not controlled, sin will kill you."

The article I read about Cycad Scale gave instructions on how to get rid of the insects on the plant.

It was a continuous treatment, not a one-time fix.

So, how do we control sin?

First of all, the things that displease God (sin) must be repented of, and in so doing, God is faithful to forgive us.

When they are forgiven, they are wiped off and removed.

If others crawl up and take their place, the same remedy is needed: repentance and forgiveness.

Sin was not brought into the human race by accident, but by choice in the Garden of Eden.

It has, however, spread to every person born since that moment.

So, it’s up to me, then.

It’s also up to you.

What will we do about sin?