Never Withers-Never Fades

 
The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)
 
Yesterday, my objective was a Woolly Bear caterpillar. Should adults be looking for small orange and black fuzzy caterpillars? In a word, yes. Woolly Bear caterpillars are good photography subjects. My search resulted in a respectable hike, but not one Woolly Bear was seen.
 
Searching places my human reason determined to be Woolly Bear habitat did not help either. Actually, it’s good my mind does not work like a Woolly Bear’s, it would be disastrous for both insect and human.
 
As the hunt for the elusive Woolly Bear continued, small areas of color caught my eye. Delicate white, royal lavender, and deep scarlet came into view as my steps carried me onward. Yesterday, fall was a week old. The few flowers remaining were a minority among the withered tan and brown leaves and stalks of the grasses. They became my subjects.DSC_0025ed
 
Today, my mind is still on the flowers and the grass. Not their diminishing beauty and number, or their withered drying stalks, but their example. Withering and fading happen in the north country each fall. The beautiful vitality of a native plant, either flower or grass gradually withers or fades. Petals and leaves fall to earth. The response of native plants to seasonal change provide us with a powerful physical example which instructs us about the Word of God.
 
Take a fall walk outside. Notice the grass and flowers. They clarify for us a truth about God’s Word. In sharp contrast, God’s Word never fades. It never declines. It does not become weak. It never wastes away. God’s Word stands forever. It endures. It survives every human attempt to destroy it. Over all human rhetoric, God’s word prevails. It is always beautiful. It endlessly, ceaselessly stands as the ultimate truth.
 
Here are two truths from the forever Word of God: We can have eternal hope. Jesus died for my sins and yours. As the flowers fade and grass withers we are reminded God’s Word is everlasting. One place the power of God is found is in His word. Find a Bible, and read.

Keeping the Covenant

 

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The time of covenant keeping has come.

 
A covenant is a significant promise.
 
The bird in the photo is a juvenile. It was hatched nearby this summer. About three days ago its parents left on their migratory journey south. This bird has a sibling. They come to the feeders together.
 
These miniature birds are no more than 3.5 inches long head to tail. To maintain their light weight and because they are so small, Hummingbirds have the fewest feathers of all birds. There are between 1,000 and 1,500 feathers on the birds in the photos.
They have a long migratory journey ahead. From the location of the hummingbird feeder in the photos to southern Mexico and Central America lies a 2,000-mile journey. These two miniscule birds have never been there. Their parents left days earlier.
 
How will they find their way? Science explains bird navigation in terms of magnetic sensing or star navigation as bird do migrate at night. Yet neither fully explains how these two beauties will find their way south.
 
Covenant explains their spectacular journey best.
 
If they migrate by magnetic sensing or stars God put these abilities in the minds of these less than one-ounce birds. If birds had human character traits it would seem they would be frantic at their parents leaving them. Yet, they continue to feed and bless my heart with their company. God will keep His significant promise; these two birds will know when to leave and which way to fly…at God’s direction.
 
This is not irrational thinking. Where did the internal navigation compass of birds come from?
 
Do you believe God only keeps a covenant with birds?
 
David, the shepherd king of the Bible wrote these words about God who always keeps His promises. “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations.” Psalm 105:8
 
Keeping His covenant with two small hummingbirds is wonderful. What is His greatest promise? Sending Jesus to be the Savior of the world.
 
Only God keeps His promises. Forever. To you. To me.
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Just the Right Time

 

DSC_0042edThe time is now. The time to see Virginia Clematis, Old Man’s Beard or Devils Darning Needles has come. Since this native climbing vine in the clematis family is rare enjoy the photos. If contrasting green and white appeal to your taste, you’ve found a new favorite.

This amazing climbing vine can dominate the area it grows in. Mine is planted on the west corner of our garage. Its vines climbed nearly to the roof covering the corner of the garage. After being cut back 3-4 times it settled for a height of 4 feet completely covering the trellis fastened behind it.

The time is now. This Virginia Clematis is covered with a tidal wave of white one-inch flowers each with 5 white petals. It emits a faint, but pleasant fragrance. This explains why there are honeybees, miniature black native bees, house flies and even ants gathering nectar and pollinating every flower they visit. This plant is a miniature world of its own. Lush, green and white and a rich food source for many pollinators, it’s one of my favorite stops on backyard walks.

The time is now to see this green and white beauty. In a few weeks the five petals on each flower will develop into showy, soft feather like plumes each with a seed attached at the bottom. It will be clear evidence of the success of the pollinators visiting now.

It is beautiful in its time of bloom and ripening seed. This is the time of year it happens.

King Solomon knew of plant seasons and human seasons. He wrote the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time…”

God is the perfect time expert. God knows our time. Our times are in his hands. “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Plants bloom at specifically ordered times. The Virginia Clematis is an impeccable example. God orders this. God is perfect in His order of our lives too. Listen, His power is at work in every human heart. One of the beautiful things He has given us is His love…”at just the right time.” He listens for your call.

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Danaus plexippus

Danaus plexippus, the milkweed butterfly.

This resident caterpillar…

from one egg of over 300 eggs; after a 3-5 day development becomes…

a summer weather caterpillar for 9-14 days with 5 stages of growth called instars.

On the 5th instar…

a pupa forms, then in 8-15 days an inexplicable wonder …

millions of late summer adults become international travelers.

Unfathomable mystery packaged by God.

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The Flying Lion

I have a new summer favorite for you.

Anax Junius, the Green Darner Dragonfly. Think of it as the lion of the insect world. If it is an insect that flies, the Green Darner will eat it. Mosquitoes, midges, flies, butterflies, moths, mayflies, stoneflies even smaller dragonflies all fuel this winged predator. Its life cycle differs from most insects. There are three stages in a Green Darner’s life: egg, nymph and adult. A dragonfly nymph has a voracious appetite. It will eat anything in the water smaller than itself. For the Green Darner nymph this includes minnows and tadpoles.

Look closely at its compound eyes. There are about 30,000 lenses in them. It can see all the way around itself. Those large wings can propel it at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

Did you know this dragonfly migrates? Biologist estimate there are 331 dragonfly species in North America. Only nine migrate seasonally. Green Darners will fly up to 60 miles a day in favorable conditions. Their compound eyes protect them from a predator which migrates with the darners. American Kestrels and small falcons time their migrations to match that of the darner. They feast on the winged buffet of green darner dragonflies.

Like the birds that eat them, Green Darners migrate to Texas, Florida, and on to Mexico and the Caribbean where those that survive mate to begin the next generation whose offspring will lay eggs in northern wetlands the next summer.

If they weren’t such amazing creatures, their beauty alone would make them on of my favorites.DSC_0114ed