We’ve been extra blessed this spring with feathered creatures bursting forth from their eggs. Just recently I wrote about Mama Quail and her patience in sitting on the eggs, waiting in trust for them to hatch. After 12 days from when we spotted the eggs with our friends, these downy heads were pushing up from under Mama Quail’s belly.
Of course I grabbed my camera and returned to the warm, homey scene. Remembering how steadfast Mama was the last time I appeared with the big black box in my hand, I assumed she would continue her protective stance. But in moments, she squawked at me in squalls, flapping her wings and hopping off the flower pot. I was frightened for her fledgling fluffs. Although I had read they could survive out of the nest within hours of hatching, my anxiety rose as I watched the mother scurry away with no seeming intention of returning.
Through my worry I kept snapping photos. One by one the fledglings were hopping out of the nest and running faster than I could press the shutter. “Where would they go?” my mind whirred. “Where did that crazy Mama Quail run off to? Doesn’t she know her babies need her?” More downy fluffs appeared, seeming to emerge from the dirt. “How was I going to keep them in the pot until she returned?” Some scooted across the threshold of our front door while others found shelter under stucco ledges. After having nursed a baby bird to health a month earlier, I began to feel that I had just destroyed this fine feathered family. “I should have waited longer,” I chastised myself. Then I glanced across the yard to our neighbor’s bushes. There was Mama Quail, strutting toward the bushes. And trailing behind her in single soldier file were here charges. “Phew. What a relief,” I thought. “I should have trusted in what I read and Mama Quail’s innate ability that had been placed in her by God.” She knew what she was doing. And so did God. I was the only one confused.
Still there was a handful of babies left in the flower pot. I prayed their Mama would return or they would hop out and find her. Some were just as bewildered as I was, so Hubby gently lifted them back into the flower pot-a place they–and Mama–knew as home. Eventually, all downy fluffs were gone. With all the quails around our home, I trusted one of them had been adopted.
“And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:20 & 21 NIV
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures….These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” Psalm 104:24, 27&28 NIV
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From sea to shining sea, God has poured out His blessings on America. Waves crash white droplets against the bluffs and cliffs of the Pacific Coastline. Redwood forests rise and fall on a journey to the sea while soft white sand dunes create a pristine carpet hugging the Oregon coast. Warm waters squish between wiggling toes along the Atlantic seaboard. Sparkling white sand beaches dance with lush marshlands and flow between sandy barge islands as the Atlantic Ocean winds southward. See God’s gracious, artistic hand carving the Grand Canyon, creating molten sulfur pots amidst the meadowlands of Yellowstone, forming glaciers and lakes and wildflowers across the northern most reaches of the USA where it brushes against Canada. Rolling plains and wheat fields, thundering waterfalls pounding the floor of Yosemite and Niagara Falls arching powerfully between the USA and Canada. I could continue the list of natural beauty God has endowed on our country. But the greatest gift of all that He has given us is Freedom. He guided our Founding Fathers to draft a legal document saying that our Creator has given each person the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. Yet the price of Freedom often requires the sacrifice of lives. To protect our Freedom, to keep our country Safe, to push the threat of Evil Away, lives have been given willing by men and women serving in our armed services. This day we salute you, we honor you, we remember those who have gone before, we thank you for our lives.
May God Bless America with a return to the morals and principles of the truth upon which she was founded.
“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?…
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:7 & 9 NIV
Thanking God for the blessings in our country: 601) the freedom to worship our God 602) the opportunity to help others in need like our brothers and sisters in Joplin 603) the freedom to vote and elect our leaders 604) the freedom to move from one town or one state to another without scrutiny 605) the right to a trial by jurors of our peers, even though the process may be flawed or skewed by a representative’s selfish motives 606) the privilege to educate our children either through homeschooling, a Christian school, or a publically funded facility 607) the opportunity to own property or a home 608) the protection of uniformed officers and firefighters who serve to keep us safe 609) God’s majestic creation to explore freely
610) the freedom for those who choose to serve our country to be able to do so on a voluntary basis
May you discover a myriad of wondrous reasons to praise God for our country and those who serve us.
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The bright yellow lantana plant blossoming in the desert springtime sun was not yet parched. Had not yet felt the unyielding intensity of summer’s rays piercing its tender shoots. Next to this lantana stood a medium-sized bush covered in winter’s shriveled leaves. Though this bush looked dead, it cast a gentle shadow over the yellow pom poms, enduring the heat for this graceful plant. This week, though, the bush was pruned back to the ground, exposing the yellow blossoms to a blast of heat from the desert sun. The flowers are shriveling from the merciless sun’s rays and the leaves are beginning to curl. Although the lantana is usually hardy and does grow in full sun, it has been protected for years. It has enjoyed the company of its surrounding landscape. How will it survive the change?
Much like this lantana plant, I have enjoyed years of springtimes of protection and joy surrounded by those I loved. Many blessings and relationships have cast their gentle shade upon me. However, on the threshold of this summer, the season has poured an intensity of struggles into my life. My blossoms are fading, not full of the vigorous joy that supplied their life. The leaves curl in on themselves to protect from the pain brought by the changing seasons. I wonder, much like the plant, how will I survive? I am not naturally hardy nor do I tolerate full sun. From where will the shade come to protect me through this blistering heat?
His answer comes:
“The Lord watches over you–the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
“The Lord will keep you from all –he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7,8 NIV
“Are you looking for shade in the midst of your struggles?
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I’m surrounded by friends who have been ministering for the Lord for years. Teaching Bible Studies, hosting home groups, holding Christian financial series in their home, mentoring young women, working with pregnancy centers, or serving across the seas in Uganda or Europe on short-term mission trips. However, my life has not been that full of defined consistent ministry. Oh, I’ve taught some Sunday school classes, had a neighborhood Bible Study meet in our dining room for a short while, and even considered my assistant teaching position at a Christian school, years ago, a form of ministry. I also wrote and edited a newsletter for our Christian community some 20 years ago. However, in the last 10 years, I cannot see where defined Christian ministry has been an active part of my life. Being a wife and mother and working outside of the home has occupied the majority of my time. Yes, serving as a wife and mother qualify as ministries but my heart did not grasp it to the degree required of the task. So, I was bothered when I read a devotional on Psalm 92. It said that we will keep producing fruit in our old age. But what if I haven’t been producing it thus far–or at least not in the way and to the extent that I thought would qualify? It seemed like I had missed the boat and time had run out for me. Then I looked more closely at Psalm 92 and found encouragement for this time in my life even though I am feeling old and decrepit at times. Our young men are moving on with their lives and I am working in a job that provides a nice summer break along with short seasonal breaks. This could provide the ideal time for Hubby and me to move into more active ministry and see the fulfillment of Psalm 92 in our lives.
For those of you who may be in the same boat as I am, I pray you find these words encouraging:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.’” Psalm 92:12-15 NIV
Wherever you are in life, are you finding a ministry that is producing fresh fruit?
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|Carmel, CA 2010|
“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; renew my life according to
your word.” Psalm 119:36-37 NIV
In His light, we see light; in His love, we are saved; in seeking Him, we are restored. He sends wisdom on the lips of His godly counselors.
With gratefulness for His love and mercies that are new every morning and for those who bring His wisdom.
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