As The Deer

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He was not at the water.

Instead, he was standing at a large stone where a few spindly branches with bright green leaves were growing.

Leaves are good food and they do have moisture inside, but leaves are not water.

Not an endless, flowing stream.

Although I didn’t see it, I am sure he looked for water when he was thirsty and found it.

Deep within us is a longing to connect with God, our Father.

We are thirsty for that connection as a deer is thirsty for water.

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As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.

—Psalm 42:1

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deer pants

On Wings Like Eagles

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Do you feel weary today?

Are you weak?

Are you tired?

Are you stumbling, feeling like you’ve fallen too far to get back up?

There is hope for you, for me and for all of us.

That hope is in the Lord.

I photographed an eagle yesterday.

The wingspan was wide and powerful looking.

If we hope in the Lord, the Bible tells us we will renew our strength and we will soar on wings like eagles.

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Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

—Isaiah 40:28-31

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eagles frame

To Prepare a Place

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My mother died when I was only 28 years old.

Many memories of her live on in my heart.

She tried to make sure she read the Bible every single day.

Most of the time, when I was a child, she would read it out loud to me.

When she came to a passage that she didn’t understand, she would just say so.

Sometimes, my mother displayed a lot of understanding.

One memory I have is of a story she used to tell.

At a time before I was born, she was talking with one of my cousins, who was a child.

He wanted to talk to her about Heaven.

He asked her if he could have a pony in Heaven.

Her answer seems wise to me, even today.

She told him that if having a pony was what it would take to make him happy, then God would give him a pony in Heaven.

Going further with this thought, I personally believe that there will not be anyone in Heaven who is unhappy.

After all, we will be with Jesus who died to purchase our place there.

Our loved ones who followed Jesus on Earth will be with us.

With overflowing hearts, we will be filled with gratitude and praise in His presence.

Jesus also tells us in John 14:2 that,

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Jesus is preparing a place for us!

For you.

For me.

But what if we would really like to have a pony for eternity?

If that would bring great joy to our hearts, I think God might just give us one…..

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mansions

Poised to Pounce

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Does the tiger in the photo seem like he is poised to pounce on some unsuspecting victim?

I think tigers are beautiful and majestic animals.

Photographing them is especially enjoyable to me.

One thing I know—-never, ever get too close to them.

Why?

Because I know they could attack at any moment.

I have only photographed tigers in captive settings.

If I were in an area where they were free in the wild, I would certainly have to be alert and ready at any time for a possible attack.

As Christians, we need to be alert to the workings of the devil.

Temptations.

Lures toward things that would harm us.

Consider this passage from The Message:

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

—1 Peter 5:8-11

We need to keep our guard up every day, choosing paths that lead us away from the wiles of the devil.

God has great plans for us.

I want to see those plans realized, don’t you?

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poised

Be Still

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Friday night, some of my friends wanted to go out to see a movie.

I didn’t want to go.

There was this compelling idea of staying home and being less busy.

Maybe even quiet.

Yesterday and today, there was a nearby nature festival with a lot of photo opportunities and things to learn.

A friend invited me.

I decided not to go.

Instead, I quietly trimmed limbs from the trees in my yard.

Not talking to anyone.

Sometimes praying.

Sometimes singing.

Trying to listen for what God might be telling me.

After church this morning, I looked forward to coming home with more time to be quiet and thoughtful.

Sitting in a chair, writing some things down as I pondered, I saw a butterfly through the window fluttering around a blooming bush outside.

I am thankful for the past two days.

Intentionally slower days.

Decidedly quieter days.

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be still

He is a Christian

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I love frogs.

To me, they are delightful creatures, full of color and full of voice.

And, of course, they hop.

Really well.

All frogs are not the same, however.

I’ll admit that while there are certain frogs you could safely hold in your hand, there are others that could kill you.

I guess that’s why I know some people who are terribly afraid of all frogs.

It would be good, especially for those folks, to be able to distinguish one frog from another.

Last night, I noticed a tree frog on the wall of the front entryway of my home.

Pleased at his presence and the photo opportunity, I got my camera and snapped a couple of shots.

Not being quite sure exactly what kind of tree frog he was, I did some internet research.

I found a diagram comparing the toes of two species in my area.

I also found a photo completely matching the frog on my wall.

What was he?

A squirrel tree frog.

More properly, Hyla squirella.

He had the same eyes as the internet photo.

His  green color was the same on his back.

His hind legs had a matching tan color.

He was sitting the same way.

The shape of his toes matched, as well.

There was no mistaking it—he was a squirrel tree frog.

 

It’s not that easy to identify types of people, at least by sight.

Who looks kind and good?

Who looks honest?

Who looks loving?

Looks can be deceiving, because it is the heart that tells just who a person is.

Who looks like a Christian?

We can’t tell by the color of skin, hair or eyes.

We can’t tell by the measurement of height or weight.

1 John 2:6 says,

“Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did.”
If our lives—how we talk and the things we do—could be placed for comparison beside how Jesus talked and what He did, would anyone consider it a match?

 

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should live