Made for Communion

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Cedar Waxwing, bird of community.

It benefits from kinship.

A passerine whose identity is communal.

See one, the flock is near.

Frugivorous, palate for fruit.

Black mask shields the eye,

Cedar Waxwings, made to live,

in concert with others.DSC_0156_1049sig

Humans live in community

in cities, suburbs, and towns.

We benefit from kinship.

We bear one another’s burdens.

Humans, see one, more are near.

Humans-made by God.

Made in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27)

Like Cedar Waxwings,

Crafted by God for communion with God.

Everlasting God, Creator of the Universe,

wants you to walk with him,

talk with him.

He loves you.DSC_0142sig

Black and White

Black and White…

Black…dark, shadowy, dim…

Light reversed.

White…snowy, bleached, hoary…

Black vanished.

Black-dark; white-light,

Opposites.

In combination, striking.

Attention arresting.DSC_0172_1056sig.jpg

Black and White

Sin filled me…flawed, error prone, easily angered

Sin less Jesus

…perfect Man, patient, loving, Savior

Sinful me? Condemned…

Jesus-condemnation remover

It’s Black and White…

Sinner forgiven…life everlasting.

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This is truth in black and white.

While Chickadees Flew Overhead

A man I respected once explained what goodness is. He said, “Goodness is when everything is just right.” When everything is just right in nature things are beautiful and serene. Experience this once and you will desire the experience again. This kind of goodness we seek.

Where does the goodness and serenity of nature come from? Try this explanation. The peace and serenity humans delight to find in nature comes from the Sovereign presence of God. Can this be the explanation for the bliss humans feel when outside? It not only can, but is the reason we delight in a sunrise or sunset. It’s why we are awed at a rainbow or the mirror images on the surface of an entirely calm lake. It is a distinct pleasure to experience the sovereignty of God.

Sovereign means supreme, absolute, matchless. God is all of this. God is infinitely endlessly more. He is the author of the serenity and peace found in nature. His infinite nature instills an endless fascination and awe in the place beyond the current building you are in. He is the final authority, no one is greater. Because He is Sovereign, his presence is everywhere; especially in nature. It inspires the awe in us. This fact often escapes ultra-busy human beings.

You want this serenity. To understand why and see the sovereign presence of God, take a child outside. The best age is under three. My 20-month granddaughter demonstrated this to me recently. There is a coulee (deep valley) in their backyard. This little girl delights in this place. We sat together on the ground near the top multiple times. She was enchanted with the chickadees flying in the trees overhead. The first time we went I said, “shh,” she became still, reverently still. While I delight in the quietness and beauty of that place, watching my granddaughter enjoy it was a greater delight. It is not an accident, this quiet stillness from a 20-month old. We did this two more times; her response was always quiet, reverent awe. She’s 20 months old! Can you imagine a 20-month old sitting still, for even 2 minutes?

Jeremiah must have sat on the edge of a coulee. He sensed “everything being just right.” He wrote, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)

 Just one more truth needs to be expressed here. Sovereign God, Creator of all life and the peace and serenity of nature loves you. Remember, nothing is too hard for Him. Sit in a place where chickadees fly overhead. If possible, take a little child. Know God’s “everything is just right” is for you.DSC_0060_785sig

Hope, Perfect, Everlasting

This week is unlike any other in my memory. It seems the world is falling apart. Appalling human behavior produces fear in our hearts, the world as we know it, appears in shambles. Though difficult to acknowledge, evil activities are daily occurrences in our world.

We search for something to give us hope. In times of trouble we are even frantic for it. Yet even in darkest times, such as this week, there is always hope. In a world that seems chaotic, and hopeless- hope is accessible. Really, hope is always near.

Your skeptical human nature says, “no chance…have you seen what is happening in this world?” Since you are already dubious, here is one more statement to question. The moon, full this week, provides us with concrete evidence that hope is always near. The moon? You are thinking, “this is a reach?!!” Yes, the moon is consistent evidence there is a God, and God’s existence is reason for great hope. The writer of Psalm 89 called the moon a “faithful witness” in describing the authenticity of blessings from God to King David. God’s blessing to David would be as dependable as His faithful witness, the moon.DSC_0012_744sig

The earth’s moon has consistent, predictable phases. They are certain. When the moon is full each month, the human eye cannot miss this lunar witness. Even when the moon wanes and becomes a thin crescent above earth it silently points our hearts to God’s nearness. Imagine, 283,000 miles away from earth, this satellite is a constant reminder that God is present and faithful. Sometimes full, sometimes a curved white splinter.

Do you know one thing seeing the moon could do for you? Provide you with hope, comfort and peace for your fear filled heart. God never fails to keep His promises. He placed a large, daily reminder for all who will look that he never ceases to love and protect…even in great tragedy.

You could shake your fist at God, some do. You could claim He is no God to let such pain and suffering happen or earth. But we do not know the mind of God. He allows evil on earth-for a season. There is another response- you could bow your head and say, “God I will obey you before I understand.”

While you think about that, know this, there are at least two things hope in God will not be. First, hope in God will not be limited. It never runs out, there is no time of day when it is not available. God’s refuge of protection never ceases. Second, putting hope in God will not be limited to certain people. God offers His refuge of love and mercy for everyone-no matter who you are, or what you have done. Jesus even forgave the thief on the cross next to him.

In the book of Romans (15:13) Paul described God as the God of all hope. In this verse Paul also said hope in God will fill us with joy and peace.

Look at the moon, even when it is a crescent. As you gaze remind yourself that God made this beautiful earth satellite and prescribed in advance its precise orbit. Gaze at the moon and in this world filled with evil  be reminded-there is hope for humans in the God of all hope. The Maker of the moon loves you.DSC_0041_746sig

Toxic Caterpillar a Silent Witness

 

DSC_0007_530sigIntroducing the Tussock Moth the carrier of cardiac glycosides.  It feasts on milkweed and dogbane. This little invertebrate is filled with silent witness examples of a Creator. First, because of the glycosides, predators find this fuzzy caterpillar highly distasteful. Not only foul tasting, cardiac glycosides toxins can disrupt human heart activity.  Besides being toxic the tussock moth caterpillar is able to make warning clicks with tymbal organs. Last, the orange and black colors also warn predators that this is a foul-tasting mouthful.  They may taste horrible, but they are beautiful with symmetry of color and design.

We may admire its beauty. We may find its fuzzy tufts astonishing, but this little invertebrate leads us to One greater, much greater.

How does this caterpillar eat poison and live? Gradual development of tolerance to cardiac glycoside is not possible-it is poison. If it could not consume the toxins found in its host plant from the beginning, it would die-no more tussock moths. But an Almighty Creator would have no difficulty in creating a moth larva that eats toxic milkweed.

Do you need hard evidence of God? This little caterpillar is. It is a living witness to God, infinite, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present God. Read Romans 1:20.

This caterpillar gives witness to God. He exists. This calls for a significant question. How is your relationship to God? Non-existent? Do you want a little of God when you are in trouble? God designed the tussock moth perfectly, and all of creation with it-including me and you. Now to the biggest question: are you satisfied with no God; a little God? Perhaps you want a bit of God like poet Wilbur Rees:

 Three Dollars Worth of God.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,

but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk

or a snooze in the sunshine.

I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man

or pick beets with a migrant.

I want ecstasy, not transformation.

I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.

I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

God, infinitely wise Creator of the tussock moth, wants an all-in relationship with you and I. You can know Him.

Do we settle for 3 dollars’ worth?  Only 3 bucks of an interminably endless, boundless in power God? Look at it this way, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all you heart. God is all set to love you as only he can; since before you were born.  Think about all the good things in life-realize none compares to the eternal goodness of a life lived all for God. Nothing is lost- eternity is gained. Why settle for 3 dollars’ worth? God has given us his all. What would your life be like? God is a perfect Creator, his specialty is humans.

 

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Earth Engineer

Web maker

An engineering genius.

Its web making family more than 40,000 species of engineer designers.

Astonishing silk makers,

five times stronger than the same diameter of steel.DSC_0120_500sig

Every web distinctive,

Every orb with different radii and lengths of silk.

Insect consumer extraordinaire.

The weight of insects consumed annually by the world’s spiders exceeds the weight of humans on earth!

All perfectly trained in the Eternal University of the Creator.DSC_0094_489sig

More Than All

Socrates is considered a wise man. Perhaps he is best known for his gifted ability to question everything and everyone. Today we know it as the Socratic method.  The Socratic method of teaching is to ask question after question until students or readers arrive at their own understanding.

The method of Socrates can lead us to truth. Here are the questions:

  1. How much is abundantly more than all?
  2. If all is done what more can be done?
  3. Is there a limit to more than all?
  4. Do you know any human who can actually do abundantly more than all?
  5. Is “more than all” even possible?

Nature provides us with a specific example which can enable us to understand the truth, the answers to these questions. The natural world exists to point us to truth.DSC_0007_462_483sig(Beaded water on Indian-Grass)

Our example is the grasshopper. Specifically, Melanoplus bivittatus, or the Two Striped Grasshopper. The two-striped grasshopper is one species of more than 20,000 species world-wide. The two striped is the grasshopper with, as expected, two yellow stripes which run from their head to mid-wing forming a triangle. The ultimate habitat for the two-striped grasshopper is prairie. The two-striped is a herbivore, a plant eater. It eats flowers and grass. Flowers like Stiff Goldenrod and Monarda, and grasses like Indian grass and Big Bluestem find their way into the stomach of the two-striped. This grasshopper lives in a beautiful world. DSC_0020_464sig(Stiff Goldenrod)

DSC_0023_465sig(Soldier Beetle on  Gray headed coneflower)

DSC_0068_478sig(Ripening Indian Grass Seed)

In a prairie, there is always a harmonious balance. The eaters seldom overcome the plants. Plants dominate. But grasshoppers and their kind can and have overpowered everything. The over-abundance of grasshoppers and locusts is common in world history. Consider two. The first occurred in the United States. It is recorded in history as the grasshopper plague of 1874. In July of that year millions of Rocky Mountain locusts flew into the prairies of the Dakotas and all the way to Texas. By 1874 much of what had been prairie had been repurposed to become farmland growing wheat. This plague of locusts destroyed everything-even wooden tool handles!

The second plague occurred much earlier in human history. The setting was ancient Egypt. It is recorded in the Bible in the book of Exodus chapter 10. In this chapter, it is recorded that the locusts covered the entire country of Egypt and “darkened” the land, and after they were done eating, “not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants.”

Now, return with me to the first question: How much is abundantly more than all?

Few of us have ever seen a plague of locusts like that described in these two accounts. We realize that it must have been a natural disaster of the greatest magnitude, yet since we have never seen such a swarm of locusts, we cannot fully understand. But these plagues bring within sight of the truth. While these plagues contained millions of grasshoppers-neither were more than all. We can see the truth standing on the history of these locust accounts. No human could create the vast swarms contained in these plagues. No human could even make 1 grasshopper.DSC_0044_471sig(The Two-striped Grasshopper

God is our More Than All. He is able to do abundantly more than all. There is no limit to God. It is God who does “abundantly more than all.” This brings us to one of the greatest truths the human mind can consider. Since God is able to do abundantly more than all, like creating swarms of locusts and grasshoppers. Can God be abundantly more than all for you? What are your needs? What benefit would there be for you and I to trust ONE who is able to do abundantly more than all?  Does it help to know that this ONE who is able to do abundantly more than all so loves the world? The not so lowly grasshopper is just one evidence of the infinite powers of More Than All.

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21