Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I chose some of the smallest blooms I saw in Idaho to illustrate the point from Psalm 103:
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
BUT from EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING
the LORD'S love is with those who fear Him.
According to that scripture, our days are not, in the grand scheme of things, much longer than the short season of a flower. Our days are not numbered as much more than a bloom or a fleeting vapor. What is man that God would even notice? Well, He knows each one of us by name, the number of our days, and the number of hairs on our head!
Even if no one remembers us generations after our season on earth,
we can take comfort in knowing God says,
"I have written your name on my hand."
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
I had to laugh when I came across this scripture today. You see, my granddaughter has just learned how to swim this past couple of weeks. I'm not talking about dog paddling, and making frantic progress while keeping one's head above water. I am talking about the gut-wrenching big breath before plunging your head under water with your hands stretched out in front of you, letting the "letting go" streamline your body and shoot you through the water to the waiting arms of your parent a few yards away.
Likewise, we make the most progress in trusting our Father when we take a breath, put our heads under water without being able to see; but trust that we are following His directions, following His voice, into His loving arms. The surrender, in the end, is what saves us. Paddling under our own steam with our heads above water just wears us out. It may seem safe, but it steals from us the best. Dive in and follow His voice! The fear that stops us from diving in steals the greatest adventures and desires of our hearts.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I am at a stage of cleaning out my closet again. It happens often after a vacation that reminds me too much stuff, too much busyness, too much television, too much negativity draws the attention away from the joy and peace of the Father. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite photos that especially covered me in joy and peace, as I enjoyed some of the Father's gardens.
I found this lovely quote in a book this morning and want to share it with you:
Let go of the people who cause constant pain; let go of the negativity that colors a room more darkly than any coat of paint. Keep close the people you love, the ones who stay engaged and open to life, who bring joy and peace to the house and garden.
A cheereful heart is good medicine.,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Here are a few reflections of mountains in lakes of Idaho. It is interesting to me that the reflection on the water is often clearer than the mountain through the atmosphere. The water reflects the true nature of the mountain, not seen as clearly through all the distortions of light and atmospheric conditions of the world's air.
I ask in the morning and thank God at night for opportunities to reflect Him. Believe me, I miss many chances. The effort is not about trying to be good or work at getting better; it is about obedience, and listening to what the Father would have me do or say. But every once in awhile I know that a simple touch or a smile shared with a store employee or a stranger in the parking lot has hit its mark. You can tell that somewhere out of you came something of the Spirit that ministered to the person who thought no one saw their pain, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and poverty. I want to be like Jesus, and reflect the Father. He was a perfect reflection. I drink the cup of confidence stirred with great humility that the Holy Spirit is transforming my image to look like Christ. No brag...just boasting in the Lord that I know He is changing my reflection. He reveals bits of his plans and purposes and gives us the power and desire to walk them out.
They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said,
"When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be, and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."
Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
At the base of the Shoshone and Twin Falls I was able to capture a little rainbow in the mist. The rainbow has always been a symbol of promise and rescue to me. The elusiveness of the color in the mist was in stark contrast to the pounding tons of water. Sometimes our circumstances seem to beat down on us like the unending great fall of tons of water on our heads. Yet, our rescuer is in the midst, though He may seem elusive.
Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Generally speaking, I like to find the roads less traveled on vacations. I trust that God is directing my path, and will get me in front of what He wants me to photograph for His glory. A few times I have started down a path on foot, and got a resounding warning to not continue. There was no apparent danger, but the hair stood up on my arms, and my neck got a weird feeling like something predatory was watching me. I turned around and didn't question, but just obeyed.
Above are a few paths we found on the byways and highways of Idaho...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The trails were posted as possibly opening at the end of June in northern Idaho, so we didn't know where we would be able to hike in the areas close to the Canadian border. The wildflowers, however, were everywhere, even with the snow still on the mountains.
Here are a few more to delight you flower lovers...
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come...
Song of Songs 2:12
We saw this magnificent hillside along the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway on Hwy 30 from Twin Falls. It seemed like the rocks were weeping. My buddies suggested they were tears of joy, and that the second picture even appeared to be a mouth praising God. It was such a visual and spiritual manifestation of Living Water to receive the blessing of watching them all tumble down the hillside.
When I went looking for scriptures, I was quite startled at what I found that fit the scene so perfectly.
He brought streams out of a rocky craig
and made water flow down like rivers.
Friday, July 11, 2008
When I saw my first oprey on the Idaho vacation I thought it was an eagle. Then, when close enough to see its white breast, I knew I was mistaken. On a later information board we saw pictures of osprey and knew that is what we were seeing. So, when I got these two high up looking over Round Lake, I assumed they were osprey. I didn't realize until I got home and downloaded the pictures that these two were eagles.
These scriptures from Exodus including a section about eagles' wings are so beautiful to me, full of promise:
Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, AND HOW I CARRIED YOU ON EAGLES' WINGS AND BROUGHT YOU TO MYSELF. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' "
Of course, not one of us can keep the covenant perfectly. With Christ's sacrifice, the new covenant is not about works, but faith and believing Who He is. We can never be good enough or do enough good works to ensure heaven...our 'forever' is a gift of grace.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
We saw some beautiful farmland in Idaho nestled between the mountains, hills, and canyons. The sweeping lines, dividing colors, sprays of irrigation, all lent themselves to a quilt of furrows and crops. We kept asking ourselves, "Where are the potatoes?" We think the green in the last photo might actually be spuds!
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Round Lake, north of Coeur d'Alene, was one of my favorite places in Idaho. It was small enough for us to hike around it, and was a haven for a wide range of birds. There were only a few other people there, and the lake was breathtaking. I got pictures of this blue heron, eagles, and a seagull there.
The heron was standing proudly on the pier when we arrived. Then I got him a couple of times in flight as he headed to the far right side of the lake. Then I got him again with wings puffed up as he landed on the water lilies. Later, when we finished our two-mile nature hike around the lake, he was standing out on the lily pads again. I didn't lose sight of him for most of the time I was there. Most of the time, but not every second. But God never loses sight of even one of us. There is no place too high, too low, or too far across the sea that God is not there.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from our presence?
If I go up to the heavens,
you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,
you are there.
If I rise on the wings
of the dawn,
if I settle on
the far side of the sea,
even there your hand
will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Just outside of Bonner's Ferry, close to the yellow canola field, we saw this osprey up in her nest. Then we caught sight of another circling above us. Soon it was obvious that the male was swooping over us and trying to distract us from interest in the nest. Every time he would near the nest the female would have a fit and ward him away. We were causing distress, so left them to their family after getting the great opportunity to photograph them.
The osprey is protected in Idaho. The first few we saw at a distance we mistook for eagles. But when they took flight we could see the white underbody. We had seen the flat beds erected on tall poles along other highways as a safe, high place for them to nest. I could not help but connect this scripture to what we had seen play out with this osprey family.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
On our last morning in Idaho we were driving south from Kuna to see the Birds of Prey Natural Area. Seemed like there was lots of flat land and nary a tree in sight for a bird to even build a nest. Surely this was some kind of misprint or joke. We were wondering, after several miles of "nothing" what on earth God had sent us to see. We did actually end up at a beautiful canyon at the end of the road. But along the way the sun behind the clouds began to bring forth a beautiful sky full of rays.
If God can make man out of dust, it follows that He could stir up something marvelous out of "nothing." Bored, kids? Watch me change the sky. GOOD MORNING! P.S. I LOVE YOU....GOD!
Where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
This site of the Nez Perce National Historical Park was one of my favorite places in Idaho. The sprawling hills near Spalding, seen from the overlook, reminded me of a Monet painting because of the blue/lavender/green mix of hues on the hills. The photos cannot begin to convey the immenseness and depth of color of the folds of earth painted with the Master's Hand.
The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
Monday, July 7, 2008
We crossed over into Montana and took a route south of Troy to get down to Salmon and Stanley. We saw a small sign pointing to the right inviting an off the main road adventure. Why not? Ross Creek Cedars, here we come!
When we got to the trail head there was a mile-long hike ahead. That sounded like a nice bit of exercise and a break from the car. In a short distance on the trail we entered an enchanted mysterious forest of giant cedars that could have been in a number of movies that come to mind. Hollowed out bases provided opportunities to stand inside several of the trees. The moss and ferns gave way to a feeling of stepping into a prehistoric woodland. Again, like the deep canyons, I felt very small next to these representations of God's majesty in nature.
The trees of the Lord
are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.