Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I found these bucket orchids in different stages of maturity throughout the conservatory housing the Butterflies in the Garden. I could see by their 'posture' that they were in position to receive food and drink. Their faces were turned upwards in anticipation of being filled. I think we could learn much from these tropical beauties!
We are buckets in many ways. Sometimes we have holes in our buckets that leak, and we are never satisfied. We may try to fill the holes with possessions, food, games, drugs or alcohol, or works of a million choices. What gives us peace? I have found the only lasting peace comes from being willing to have my bucket filled with the Holy Spirit. He guides me, intercedes for me, leads me throughout my journey here in this earthly tent. I am so grateful that my filling is something I can't demand or earn, but is freely given by faith through grace.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.
Monday, March 29, 2010
One of the sights that can bring me to my knees is seeing rays of light fan out through a sunrise or sunset sky. Equally as stunning are the rays streaming through a forest. The God rays make me stop what I am doing and just rest in God's presence. I can go forth reminded that He calls me to be salt and light. He gives me His righteousness and the desire to shine ever brighter till the perfect day when He calls me to Himself.
Do not think that I am boasting of my own righteousness. I am, instead, boasting of the true light of which we have been given the right to reflect as His children. We are rays sent out unto our days to be beacons that point towards our wonderful, awesome author of Light.
The light of the righteous shines brightly...
One of my recent visits to the Butterflies in the Garden affored an opportunity to photograph these mating butterflies. These pairs will only live a short time, and the eggs will probably not hatch before the end of the event. Their lives are incredibly short, and ours are not much longer in the grand scheme of time. We are but a vapor.
God has made in us desires to create; to leave something of ourselves when we die. Sometimes that is offspring, but also the work of our hands and minds. My mind goes to what kinds of memories my family will have through many of the stories, pictures, and songs I have produced. I hope, in those venues and many more ways, that I will be able to leave them a loving heritage. I envision them looking through those pieces of my creation while on earth and knowing that I love them.
Scripture tells us that nothing, even death, can separate us from His love:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
After one of the recent snow storms in Texas I came upon this draped icy road. It was beautiful, but possibly very treacherous. So is life at times in the numbers of our days. But we can be confident that our Savior never leaves us. If we are in the midst of disease He is with us. If we are in the valley of the shadow of death He is with us. If we are high above the Earth or in deep waters He has been there. He goes before us. He begins and finishes every race with us. He is the Finisher. So let us run the race set before us knowing that we are not abandoned.
Therefore seeing we also are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race set before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I was trying to find the Easter decorations and began thinking about coloring hard-boiled eggs. Before I found the bin with the Easter things I found myself detouring to the kitchen to assemble the ingredients for some bacon and egg macaroni and cheese. May sound odd to you, but it is outrageously good! Bacon on salad, bacon on sandwich, bacon wrapped around tiny sausages or asparagus; I love bacon. I had this craving come over me and was just home from the grocery store with some gluten-free four cheese Alfredo sauce. I cooked the gluten-free pasta, drained it, added chunks of Velveeta cheese and the jar of sauce, and microwaved it until the yellow cheese was melted. I scooped myself some into a nice big bowl and topped it with chopped hard-boiled egg and some thick and crisp chewy Wright's bacon. It was heavenly! Try this if you need a way to use up those hard-boiled Easter eggs.
I wonder what the manna from heaven tasted like as it fell down for daily sustenance to God's people? I wonder if we will have food in heaven or even need it with our new bodies. I wonder if we will eat animal flesh or veggies or just be able to breathe God and be sufficiently fed by tasting the Lord and knowing He is good. I wonder if there will be gardens to harvest or if we will have jobs. I wonder if we will be able to sing or play instruments that we cannot now. I wonder why bacon and eggs chopped up on top of macaroni and cheese makes me ask so many questions. There is just something about bacon...(c;
Thursday, March 25, 2010
My husband's college roommate reminded me about my birthday last week that every moment really is a birthday. We are not the same as what we were, nor what we will become. I look a lot more gray and wrinkled than I did 40 years ago when I graduated from high school or five years later when I graduated from college. But I know that God is transforming me into beauty from ashes.
This Blue Morpho is quite ordinary and commands little attention when it is closed up. But until it closes there is a gleeful throng of children at heart trying to get a peek at the gorgeous blue wings fluttering magically through the tropical mist. Each seeker hopes it will land soon, just for a second, with wings open. The rare moments when I have found one open are taken as wonderful gifts of divine appointment.
I just recently saw Alice in Wonderland. Several times Alice was told she was not the Alice that was there previously, and she was not the Alice that could face the coming dangers. However, she was BECOMING that person. She was being grown and transformed to be able to accomplish tasks, fight battles, and make mature decisions.
Isn't it comforting and exciting to know that we are being transformed from glory to glory?
Isn't it nice to know we are works in progress in the hands of the potter?
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God~~this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.~~his good, pleasing and perfect will.
One of the things I look forward to most in spring is seeing the cardinals in the as yet empty limbs of trees. They are easier to spot without the leaves, but flighty none-the-less when they know they have been discovered. They fly off just as the camera is getting focused.
This past week I took myself out to a park where I have had some success at mimicking the cardinal song and getting them to stay closer for photographs. I was able to track four different cardinals fairly closely. They seemed intrigued that they heard their song being sung. Their curiosity and my persistence paid off. I was delighted to see and hear these beauties.
I have been thinking about the word, persistence. I have been 'seeing red' because of an unwanted persistence. I forgot some important lessons about persistence. Living well and being happy is the best revenge. It does not do me any harm mentally when I refocus to go 'see the red' of the cardinal instead. I take the thoughts hostage and think about something that is healthy to my mind and body. I ask God to help me not revisit things that harm me. I have been taught to lay things down and allow the renewal of my mind. What I give free reign in my mind is either life-giving or life-stealing. Sometimes I forget the lesson that scripture has given about thinking.
I am recommitted to turn my thinking to those things of Phil. 4:8. I love these words because they don't tell you what NOT to think about, but what TO think about. It is like when someone suggests "Don't think about the color BLUE", that is exactly what you see in your mind. Instead, if someone says "THINK about the color RED", you see RED. It is the true path to mental and physical health and praising God with my mind and body: submit my thinking by following the directions of what TO think about! Your quality of life, no matter the circumstances, will improve.
Let this mind be in you
which was also in Christ Jesus.
Whatever is true...noble...right...
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy~
think about such things.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
When I was adding walnuts to my cereal this morning I noticed how much a half walnut resembles a butterfly. There is mimicry all through nature of such similarities. Sometimes flowers will look like birds or animals/plants will take on colors to camouflage themselves or appear to be a poisonous specimen.
I am so captivated by butterflies and the transformation they go through in their cocoons to become something so beautiful. The analogy has been made probably millions of times, but applies to how we are transformed into beauty from ashes, from failures, from death of old self, to what God would have us be. That birthing process is most often painful. It involves submission. Most human beings do not find that a pleasant experience. Especially since it seems we face it over and over again. Willingness to die to old ideas, old self, is the key to being clay to the Master. I want to look like Jesus, so I continue to press in to turning my will and my life over to His care; to do with me as He wills.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Butterflies in the Garden has again come to the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden. It is one of my favorite places, even though the fee has doubled since its last visit. I went the second day, in spite of overcast and cold weather, thinking that there might not be as many people. I was right; there were only a few people there with me.
With camera in hand I entered into the misty, warm conservatory. I didn't see a butterfly in sight. I had expected that they would be all less active because of the overcast cool day. But after having given my camera a chance to defog, I began seeing some activity. The most incredible huge blue butterflies were flying around like some made up creatures in a kids' movie. They were often flying around in pairs, so close yet just out of reach. Eyes of everyone around followed to see where they might land and provide a photo op. One continued to land on one of the volunteer's bright yellow sweater. But the beautiful blue was not to be captured there against that sunny color.
The thing about the Blue Morpho is that it immediately closes its wings shut upon landing. It is much protected by the drab colors of the underwing providing camouflage to anything that might be dangerous. It is usually impossible to photograph these beauties with their 8-10 inch wingspan open no more than a second or two after landing. Many volunteers told me as much. But I had gotten the impossible photo before, and was confident that I would get the opportunity again. I turned the corner to see a Morpho fully open on a leaf and slowly raised my camera. What a prize!
I started thinking about how our outsides and insides look different. I like to be around people who I am comfortable enough with that I am the same outside and inside. Sometimes discernment keeps me from revealing too much of myself. That is not a bad thing. There is a time to be open and a time to be closed off.
However, there is the inner being, through God's spirit, that is like that stunning blue of the Blue Morpho. That beauty is strengthened, rooted, and powered by love. We may look a little funny and uninteresting on the outside, but we are GLORIOUS creatures on the inside; especially if we know that we are established by and for God.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power, through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpassed knowledge~~that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!