One Without the Other


You can’t have one without the other. This thought began today when my camera strap went around my neck. The air temperature was 68 F. That is important when your subject is invertebrates. Rain had fallen earlier, so insects were moving slowly.

After a few moments of observation, my subjects became the soldier beetle and showy goldenrod.

After taking their photos, my goal was to share them with you. Reading about them soon led me to the idea that, you can’t have one without the other. Without the pollinating work of the soldier beetles, there would be no showy goldenrod. Yet, without the showy goldenrod, there would be no soldier beetles.

Soldier beetles, like most insects, overwinter in the larval stage. Overwinter in some latitudes within beetle range means surviving average daytime temperatures of teens above zero and nighttime temperatures of 5 to -10 degrees F. (a range of -3 C to -22 C) Adult soldier beetles emerge from the pupa stage in later July to begin their life with pollen. Pollen of the goldenrod and other flowers blooming at this stage of summer is their food. If a flower blooms from mid-July till freeze up, it is likely a soldier beetle will visit it for a pollen dinner. Native plants have a symbiotic relationship with this common beetle. Both plant and insect benefit.

Showy goldenrod is beautiful. My favorite yellow is goldenrod yellow. This yellow is appealing to more than only my eyes. Many call this goldenrod the most attractive. This essential native plant grows throughout all of eastern and mid-western United States and in Manitoba and Ontario. It is a beneficial food source for butterflies. But, there is another one without the other showy goldenrod relationship. This is the most important one. It’s about when showy goldenrod blooms.


It is not chance that brings showy goldenrod into bloom when the soldier beetles hatch from the pupa they were in during early summer. These two natural events occur almost simultaneously with symbiosis the goal.

Yes, there are many more “one without the other” relationships.  A few that may come to mind are:

  1. Loyalty and trust
  2. Experience and wisdom
  3. Success and sacrifice
  4. Happiness and peace of mind
  5. A beginning an end
  6. A healthy environment without predators
  7. Healthy forests or prairies and fire
  8. Flowers and pollinators
  9. Rivers, lakes or oceans and water
  10. Life and death
  11. Forgiveness of sin and Jesus

One without the other relationships are part of all human existence. But, number 11 is the only eternal one without the other relationship. We may ignore our conscious. When we do, we can ignore the fact that we sin. Yet, we fall short of God’s standards for humans every time. Sometimes ignoring our sin is less painful. But ignoring our sin is just a Band aid. Ignoring may cover-it up, but our sin is still there. Jesus came to earth to take away our sin. We cannot have our sin forever removed without Jesus. This is the one without the other relationship that matters for eternity. Everything else is trivia in comparison. One that has power to make the showy goldenrod and soldier beetle emerge at the same time of year has power to forgive your sins. We can’t have one without the other. The most important “one without the other?” It is forgiveness of sins and Jesus.

 “Brothers (and sisters), listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Acts 13:38  


The Source of Power

Focus your thoughts on power, as in strength, might and intense energy. It is not about a power that can move massive objects. Still, this is about real power. Power as found in a bird. Weighing between 2 and 6 grams (or about 2-6 raisins), this is one of the smallest of the earth’s birds. Its wingspan is between 3 and a bit more than 4 inches.

DSC_0017_503sigIt is not difficult to justify its power. The Ruby Throated Humming Bird is a medium to long distance migrant. Plainly spoken, this means that Ruby Throats migrate considerable distances. Gradually moving southward as summer wanes, some ravel more than 2,500 miles. They do so on 4-inch wings. With its wings outspread a Ruby Throated Hummingbird would fit in the palm of most adult hands. Then, for added amazement, those wings beat at a rate of 50-55 times-per second and that makes 3,300 times per minute! How might we explain this? Power.

On 4-inch wings Ruby Throated Hummingbirds fly about 25 mph. During spring and fall migrations many fly across the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is 500 miles across north to south this is the shortest distance. It takes the average (if this bird can ever be called average) Hummingbird 18 to 20 hours to fly this distance. This is a truly a supreme marathon. Have you considered how many wing beats that would be?

How does this tiny bird sustain the energy needed for the 500-mile trip? No animal on earth has a faster metabolism than a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. They often eat 1 ½  to 3 times their weight each day. Before migration in the fall Ruby Throats must double their weight. Could a human move with a doubled weight in the same time a hummingbird does? Unlikely. They fly: 3,300 wing beats per minute, with weight doubled-on 4-inch wings. Some spend winter in Panama. Can you feel the power?

Where does this power come from? No, my question asks you to pull on the power cable all the way to the source. Is it the sun? Go further…the Source is God eternal. A little bird weighing less than 7 raisins flying over 2,000 miles in wind and rain evidences real power. Jeremiah said this about power and its source, “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom…for he is the one who formed all things. Jeremiah 15:15, 19 Does a hummingbird give evidence of God and His power? Contemplate the facts.

More Than All

Can you make Stiff Goldenrod Yellow or Blazing Star purple? Maybe. Then, make them bloom, pollinate, seed and produce the next generation. Can you make them drought and fire resistant? Maybe beautiful? Neither can I. There is One who can do “more than all” of these.
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 gloryEphesians 3:20-21DSC_0096_491sig

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


sun eclipse

Eclipse means to hide, to conceal, cover or darken. It also denotes casting a shadow upon something. In the ancient Greek language, eclipse meant “to abandon.” This month, the earth’s moon will cover, conceal, and totally darken the sun in places on earth. In the United States, a total eclipse of the sun will occur on a path from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.

A total eclipse of the sun which occurs close enough for our eyes to see is rare. This is because the moon is vastly smaller than the sun it covers in an eclipse. This means that a narrow band of the earth is the place where a total eclipse can be seen. Eclipses occur regularly on the earth. Three partial eclipses will occur in different parts of the world next year: February 15, July 13, and August 11.

The soon to arrive eclipse across North America has created significant activity in national media. An eclipse has always caused human excitement. Babylonian records recorded an eclipse 1600-1700 years before Jesus walked on earth, and scientists have used eclipses of the sun to learn about the relationship of the earth and sun in our solar system.

An eclipse is also beautiful and dangerous at once. Without safety protection for our eyes the concentrated solar radiation can burn the cells of our retina. Rather than taking the risk, there are many photographed images which can be safely viewed. These will do no harm to the eye. There is no hazard with a photo.

A total solar eclipse does not last long either. Sorry to rain on your picnic, but most  take a brief 7 minutes 31 seconds.

But, there is an infinitely greater reason to be excited about an eclipse of the sun. Do you remember the Greek word for eclipse means abandonment? Perhaps they exclaimed, “The sun has abandoned us!” It is possible to imagine the fear that could occur if it was thought the sun had ceased to shine on the earth. Life would cease. We all fear change, especially with things we do not control.

The Bible tells us that one day in the future, the current sun will cease to shine. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Both the old testament and new testament speak of this. There are two words we pronounce the same: sun and son. The first sun will eclipse, it will someday be darkened. Read Joel 3:15. The second Son has walked as a man upon the earth. He was crucified on a cross on this earth. That day the sun was darkened for 3 hours not 7 minutes. Looking at Jesus will never harm you. Jesus died that all who believe in Him will not perish but have life everlasting! He made the sun. He directs the eclipse that is soon to come, and He does not abandon us. He will never leave us or desert us. There is no eclipse with Jesus! Enjoy the eclipse of the sun if you wish. Be safe, and be reminded the Son of God came so we would not be abandoned in our sin. Fix your eyes on the Son who is able to save and who does not blind you.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon…

Luke 23:44

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