Just today…..

“In the days before his death,his Aunt Louisa asked him if he had made his peace with God.
His answer was “I did not know we had ever quarrelled, Aunt.” Attributed to Henry David Thoreau
The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Thank you God for placing me here in this world you have created. I could have been born anywhere or not at all, and I thank you that I was. Each day holds a glimpse of Your Heaven. Help me not fail to notice the small moments of wonder happening all around me. Too many days have passed when I haven’t.
Consider just one bird….the cactus wren, so busy, so industrious is this couple that they build not one nest, but two….one as a backup, or maybe a decoy to fool predators?
And when I consider the full moon hanging there just so, its own presence daring us not to believe. I wonder how anyone can deny that kind of majesty and say that it was not created…..
that….. it….. just….. happened
We are all born with a spark of Grace…..made for eternity.
No matter how bad I think things are, there is always so much to thank you for. Sometimes it helps to do just that.
So today, I pause.

Buggy thoughts……

I saw it as I wiped the cleaning rag over my bathroom counter. It was so small I almost thought it was a microscopic particle of dirt or something else, until it moved. Something made me look closer. It was so very, very small. How very large my counter top must look, as big as a whole world! I wondered how it even knew where it was going, for it certainly seemed to have a destination. There was something about the way it was just there. Any other day I may have just scrunched it up in a towel, because, after all…..it was so very small.

It moved me, watching that little bug. I could have smashed it without a second thought….sent it to a watery grave, and yet it didn’t know that. That’s what got to me, I guess. How many people are walking around just like that little bug, clueless that the God who created them has the power to stop their breath in an instant. And His great mercy keeps them going, because He loves them so much.

Loves all of us so much.

It humbled me, thinking of that little bug. So unaware of my bigness and its smallness….So unaware of what I could do. What I might have done another day. I think it was that thought alone that made me take it outside to a safe place. It was just too small to survive indoors. This morning, something in me needed to save it. At first it balked at my efforts to help it, it didn’t know what I wanted to do. I coaxed it onto a tissue and carried it outside and set it tenderly at the base of a shady plant.

Safe for one more day.

A Sparrow Story

Paul Harvey relates a modern parable about a religious skeptic who worked as a farmer:

One raw winter night the man heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.

Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in the corner. But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness, afraid.

The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them to the barn. Nothing worked. He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn’t comprehend that he actually desired to help. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window.

As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: If only I could become a bird – one of them – just for a moment. Then I wouldn’t frighten them so. I could show them the way to warmth and safety.

At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He grasped the reason Jesus was born.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

The List Can Wait…..

You can’t always get away and sit by a restful stream in the mountains……
but you can always find a moment to kick back and be like a cat.

put the list aside for later……sometimes later is okay.
Sometimes the time is right…..
A little slice in the day.
Just make room.
Sydney approved of my plan…..He said it was a very good one.
He even settled down to let me read a bit!
 Sometimes letting yourself break away for just a few precious moments, makes the day a little celebration all it’s own. Cats have mastered this……
I am learning from them.
Keeping count in my heart today, in gratitude for all these moments. I don’t want to let them just slip by unnoticed because they will never come back. I am determined to learn to live in the present.
I want to shrink the amount of time I look back unless it is to treasure a memory.
And minimize the time I look forward, unless it is with my eyes firmly fixed on God.
Who holds all the future.
Celebrating thanks today for every moment I have been given thus far……

holy experience
all pics taken with iphone

Shining Through

“I am grateful that despite everything, a lone bird singing at dawn can still move me to tears. The sight of a crescent moon in a sapphire sky can still take my breath away……”
I was feeling emotional this morning. A dear friend lost their cat early yesterday morning. She lifted her head and meowed once and then layed down as if she were asleep and that was it. It’s funny how the death of a pet can let loose all the emotions that have been stuffed down for everything else. It’s like you feel again, everyone you have ever lost before. Death is just so unnatural.
A bird sang alone as I opened the door to leave this morning at around 5:20. It brought me to tears. I have often written about how I feel that birds are little harbingers of hope given to us by God….to remind us that life is always, always worth it. So when I heard it sing this morning in light of all that has been happening, and Allie dying, and changes at work, I was reminded again. God is the glorious backdrop of everything else.
And though I feel the joy of the Lord burning inside me when I think of all the wonderful things He has done for me and continues to do, the challenge remains. How to get that joy to spring forth so that it spills over onto others. Lately I haven’t recognized the person I am at work.
How do you shed the light of Jesus when you’re at a place you are not excited about being? In general, I am very excited about being here on the earth, about what God is doing in my life. But then I get to work and I feel more like a wet blanket. I see the person I should be at work, and the person I am, and I feel the gulf between them. Too many times, I keep my light hidden at work. I feel like a firefly beating around in that bushel Jesus was talking about.
We all have bushels in life, what’s yours?
The challenge remains, how to get the light that is inside my heart out to others?
The place of prayer is the place I go when I can’t find the answers, there, and in the wisdom of the Word that brings life…..I hope something is shining through even when I can’t see it myself.
How do you let your light shine in challenging times?
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
You are missed, Allie! Thank you for the joy and comfort you brought in your six years of life…..

Pets in Heaven?

“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there” Billy Graham

I have heard people get really sideways about this topic. If you tell some people you think your cat or dog will be in heaven they start getting all puffed up and theological on you. My friend will never forget the time she mentioned how she missed her cat of 18 years and expressed the hope that he would be in heaven. She was sitting next to a Pastor and family friend. Instead of acting in love and sensitivity, he bristled and looked at her sideways with a cold look and said something to the effect of: “Pets do not go to heaven….” She will never forget it.
As a result an opportunity to act in love and reconciliation with a fellow believer was lost in that moment. A kind and otherwise compassionate person  lost sight of what God wanted him to do right then, just like we all do at times.
In every topic of theological debate there is one thing that must be perfectly clear. We must always act in love. The book of Titus says we are: “to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” 3:2 In every exchange love must be the backdrop surrounding our conversation, especially between fellow believers…..

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  

Of course we know that animals don’t have the ability to choose right from wrong, and they can’t respond to the Gospel message of salvation either accepting or rejecting Christ….Duhhh! But God loves animals and thought they were an important part of creation as well as wonderful companions to the first man and woman, just as they are to us today.

The truth is, we really don’t know all the details about heaven and what it will be like. We do know that it will be perfect, and there will be everything there that we could ever hope for. God has given us as much information as we need to know, and there are some things He has left purposefully out.

I realize in this era of goofy theology that we must stand our ground about what the Bible says and be responsible about it, and I don’t think we should ever take liberties with Scripture and add something that isn’t there. We must however, be careful about what the Bible doesn’t say. If God wants to add my cats into the new created heaven, then He has that right. If it turns out they are not there, I think I will be so overwhelmed with everything I see that it won’t matter!

“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

That’s my story and I’m stickin to it!

The ways God speaks……

….”But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” Psalm 73:28

I love this verse, because David is not speaking about God, but actually to God……God’s nearness is something we can actually experience. The book of James says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Imagine, a God we can actually have a personal experience of nearness to. The beauty of how God speaks to us is revealed in the many different ways He speaks to us as individuals.

The personal ways………

I have written before about the robin appearing at dawn on the awful day after my husband died, and the snow white dove appearing on my parents window sill as they were praying.

I have been lamenting the loss of my little cactus wren. When the cactus came down, “wrenny” flew the coop. Cactus wrens are very industrious and fun to watch. They are always busy, always working. I would see him hopping up and down the sidewalk, collecting nest material, finding food.

They have a very interesting call and I have missed seeing him perched on top of the Saquaro. Usually I wake with the mourning doves, their soft cooing has become my morning “collect.” I have grown very used to the sound of them accompanying my prayer. Yesterday I had a different visitor. He was perched right above my neighbors door and sang there non-stop for about 30 minutes. I have no idea what kind of bird he was, but he was there, singing God’s praises to me loud and clear.

I heard him this morning also, a good distance away.

But yesterday he was there for me, and so was He, in the lowly form of a little bird.

God speaks, we only need to have hearts and ears to hear.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

In your time of worship and reflection today, please take a moment to pray for the people of Japan……

Look to the animals…….

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10
In my devotional today I read of the remarkable characteristics of the bombadier beetle. This African insect shoots two common materials, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone from two storage tanks in it’s back. Apart, these substances are harmless, but together they are lethal. One shot of this toxic blend blinds the predator of this insect. A special nozzle inside the beetle mixes the chemicals, enabling it to bombard its foe at amazing speeds.
When I think of the creatures that surround me in this desert, I am equally amazed. I took the above shot on a morning walk. This female dove sitting on her nest, totally protected by the thorns on this Saquaro cactus. She stared at me from her safe vantage point as to rest in the knowledge of her protection….
I am totally convinced that if a person really studies just one aspect of creation, one aspect of our own bodies, we would throw away all thoughts of evolution forever. Instead this theory, this lie, is taught as fact in just about every classroom. How does this happen? It takes much more faith to believe in evolution than God in my opinion. The evidence of a loving Creator is overwhelming to me when I study nature.
I remember being taught evolution back in the sixties but I didn’t pay much attention to it, I chose to believe what I was taught in church and the Bible, and my parents. To me it made much more sense.
What do you think? Is belief in evolution compatible with Scripture? I know some Christians believe that God used evolution as His method of creation. Does it matter how it came about anyway?
Information on the bombadier beetle was supplied by Dave Egner, Our Daily Bread devotional
koala photo from Google images

Say what???

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

It has never been hard for me to accept the Genesis account of the fall of man. I guess because I can easily see that as good and beautiful this world is, what we had before was much, much better. Why would God make something as wonderful as bearing children so very painful, if not for the fall. I have tried to grow things and I can attest to the fact that it is toil. The Bible teaches creation itself to be under a curse. This is very easy for me to believe as well. All I have to do is look around.

I can imagine that it was so much better than this, yes. Even as good as it is. I can imagine being unhindered by time and space, by death. I can imagine colors we have never dreamed of, walking through walls, and time travel.

I have always assumed that Eve was tempted by Satan but the Bible says that it was a serpent. Well, Satan working throught the serpent. It also says that he only slithered on the ground after the fall. I think he was probably a very captivating and stunning creature, and of course extremely crafty and intelligent.

What amazes me though was that Eve didn’t seem surprised that this creature talked. Can someone correct my theology here? Even if it was Satan talking through the beast, don’t you think Eve would have been just a little surprised? What if your dog or cat started talking all of a sudden? Whoa……

No, if I had been Eve, I think the conversation would have been different.

The Serpent: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve: Dumbfounded that the serpent was actually talking, she ran to get Adam. “Come quick, you gotta hear this.”

So was the serpent talking all along? Did all the animals talk? Was C.S. Lewis onto something?

When I think of how it must have been in Eden, my head spins. If Hollywood can create wonderful, magical worlds like Oz, Narnia, Middle-earth, and Pandora, just think what God could do. And by the way, the Bible never said it was an apple either. I think it was probably one of the most beautiful sparkling luscious things we could ever see. I think it caught the light and danced on the limbs like prisms….

photo credit: google images

Bought another goat!

I bought another goat this year through World Vision. This is a wonderful gift. You have heard it takes a village to raise a child, well these goats can raise a small village. Well, okay a family anyway. They use the milk to make cheese and they also use the manure to fertilize their crops. The goats can also provide income for the family by being able to sell extra dairy products and produce at market. You can donate in someone else’s name and they will get a card in the mail notifying them of the gift, which is pretty cool!

I have donated to World Vision for many years…..there are other wonderful organizations out there who are doing great work also, Compassion International and also Heifer International are some others you can check out who also participate in the animal donation program.

Of course the skeptic in me rises up and wonders if my goat really gets there, or if there is a goat at all, or if my money actually goes where it says it goes. I see the cute little picture of a smiling child with an adorable baby goat and I hope and pray that a few seconds after the photo, the goat is snatched away and…..well, never mind……You can ease your mind by checking out the accreditation’s on all the websites and you can also view all of your donations online. I encourage you to do your own research.

I always feel that if you donate your money to a reputable organization, the blessing will come back to you.

So where’s my goat? I did an online search and found someone else who was asking the same question. He actually did a documentary that chronicles his journey to Zambia to track down his charitable goat. See the website here.

I have a warm fuzzy about buying this goat and I pray it is a blessing wherever it goes.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38