Spring is coming to our neck of the woods. There are the usual signs. A powerful thought that kept popping into my head today as I took a few pictures. I purposefully wanted to see “what life grows out of an old dead stump?” And, Yes I found life. See for yourself! Keep this thought in mind as you look at these pictures.
Never underestimate the power of a seed
The last two pictures were from a wilderness trip. The rest were taken in the woods out back today. Where a seed lands, given any chance at all, it will take root and grow. If you and I are any kind of Follower of Jesus at all, we should look to sow seeds of the Good News of Jesus Christ in lives around us. Thank God the power is not in the sowing. The power of the Gospel is the Word of God. The same Word that spoke and there was light. the same Word that is sown as a seed possibly in the hardest (like a rock) life. So I’ll say it again…
Never underestimate the power of a seed!
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men .John 1:3
It was raining and raining and next day raining with low temps and occasional snowflakes. What does a person (who has been deathly ill with a level 10 cold) with a photo hobby do ? I put on a big coat and hat and went looking for art and reflections. My thoughts are at the end.
It is said that when one has a hammer, everything looks like a nail (especially if it’s my grandkids). In this case I had a camera (trying to keep it dry under a coat) and was looking for Artwork in nature. I think I found some.
Last years seed strands were still hanging. I see they are full of little drops so I get closer
I am an absolute nature lover. I have climbed mountains, wilderness camped winter and summer, my wife and I went white water rafting on our second honeymoon and the list can go on and on. There is a deep seated level of contentment looking into the fire while watching the morning fog lift off a remote lake as a pair of loons catch fish in front of camp. The beauty of a small tucked away lake with white cedars leaning over the shorelines while trout feed on an occasional bug falling off a limb is mind boggling. All I did for the above pictures was walk outside into my back yard in the rain.
I am also an avid committed follower of Jesus, the author of creation, the one spoken of in Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” I have led and co-led 64 trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (click link for pictures). There seems to be a huge myth about how much we can get to know God by being in nature. I’ll put it in big bold letters.
How well can we get to know an artist personally by studying their brush strokes?
We can’t. We can only know something about them. It is the same with God. we can sure feel good out there. We can sure enjoy his artwork and marvel at the intricate pieces, but, God is not found in the rain drop, the leaf, a most beautiful flower or on top a mountain. Yet, He is here, there, ready to meet with us should we seek him at any given place or time. Always ready, nature or not. Please consider asking Jesus Christ into your life. An immediate effect is his artwork will mean so much more when you know the artist.
Luke 11:9-10 – “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Leave your story laying around for a soon to be wiser person to discover and read. You will, in this way, add another brick to building your legacy. This is in part why I journal. I think it’s worth the write
A journal has the potential to be a timeless magic mirror of ones heart and soul. Someone may look into the reflective pool of your life generations later and see the honest sought out thoughts of eternity gained. Knowing, trusting and living out a walk with the one who didn’t stay dead is worth the read and thus worth the write.
It could be said that a journal is a vehicle of time travel to the past and influencing an outcome of the future. Yes, worth the write.
Think of how to leave a trail of bread crumbs to the cross and one of rose petals to the Risen Christ. Record the changes in your life’s actions, thoughts and insights. Write of perspectives, mountains climbed, valleys and wayside rests. Smile, sweat, laugh and mourn with your words. Color, paint, picture and bleed between the lines. All these things are worth the write
Most of all, live your life in such a way it is worth writing about. Leave your pain and your chains on a page or two and leave them with Jesus. They don’t deserve a whole journal. Jesus says HE can make your life “Worth the Write”
May our lives be someday worth the read
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come 2 Corinthians 5:17
He knocked and came in. A weary smile and hello. 12 years of caring for his wife with a declining mind. I noticed that the snow had just begun to fall. The storm was coming. Softly and gently at first with memory slipping just like the falling snow when I glanced out the window. How innocent comes a storm sometimes.
We talked for a couple hours, mostly covering smatterings of the last 12 years interspersed with memorial preparations in the making. The snow outside had the makings of a storm coming and going. She whom we were remembering had thick slices of good times at first, very thin and meager slices of connection with her husband near the end. Every good time now deemed worthy of a memory token, beautiful and now treasured beyond measure
The storm was picking up speed but acting like an old car stuttering and grinding gears with a driver new to using a clutch. Her brain was like that, often disconnected with life, stuttering, charging and stranded in the next intersection. Oh the good times were really good, but shorter and shorter like camera shots, until all that was left at the end were a couple squeezes of the hand before hugging Jesus. He seemed at peace with much weight off his whole being but his sorrow brutal. A couple as “one” who Loved Jesus and each other fiercely,now an alone “one”
The storm was harsh as he left. “Drive safe” was my warning as he disappeared with his car into the storm. His storm has changed I thought. He is in the eye of the storm seeing the peace and beauty and reliving a life well lived. As soon as he left our drive our storm outside hit a hole in the clouds for a small while. I had seen the weather radar and the hole in the storm was predicted. The wind died and the lighting was an odd beauty not seen often. I stepped outside and snapped a couple of pictures, tokens for a memory. Beauty in the pause that tipped it’s hat to a life well lived here and received there.
His storm will start again when he is alone. he has a standard offer to call or drive over any time. Just come. It’s what Jesus does for all of us. Just come. Come in the storm or in the pause. Just come.
The storm quickly came again and would last into the middle of the night. I put on some layers, stepped out onto the deck and took a picture of the storm. a memory token of another kind. A token of his storm, my storm and yours. The token of the cross, a slain perfect lamb for a forever pause, forever beauty, forever connected to our creator after grinding gears in our storms here. Jesus says “Come, as you are, anytime”
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Looking through the bars of life his whisper came “I KNOW” All the things I’ve covered up and yet I hear “I KNOW” I’ve bested life, I’m gaming strife, burned memories of “I KNOW” Perhaps the times, could be my rhymes, I really think I know.
Again I heard, unsettled word, A dream I knew “I KNOW” I still have pawns, I move my king, position beats “I KNOW” I’m still ahead, remorse is dead, fend off the great “I KNOW” I heard it said I’ll join the grave, once dead that’s all, I know
It ambushed me, warm child’s voice that called aloud “I KNOW” Filled with rage, a stumbled sage, dethroned yet heard “I KNOW” Mocked my life in cancers sneer, I understood “I KNOW” Beneath the cross in rubbles gown, submit to this “I KNOW”
BY GARY FULTZ
Remembering my uncle who built an empire all his life. He had it all. Played professional sports, became a lawyer for a fortune 500 company, hobnobbed with the elite in Washington DC and retired wealthy. Cancer and bitterness set in and no one could point him past his anger toward God. No one until a little niece, whom he loved, had an older brother dial the phone (yes, very young) and call him. She simply said ” I just wanted to ask you one question. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? Jesus loves you!”
Uncle went into a rage demanding who would make a child play a dirty trick on him like that! His niece then convinced her parents to drive 24+ hours to see him before he died. She convinced uncle that no one had put her up to it and he needed to know Jesus loved him very much. Uncle was led by a small child to a last minute relationship with Jesus before he died.
“I KNOW” haunted me when I was young. I did something wrong “I KNOW” I hid my wrongs “I KNOW” I pushed that voice beyond memory only to surface in dreams I KNOW” I confessed my sins “I KNOW” When I was afraid and I clung to my savior in hard times. He answered “I KNOW”
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12
It’s still autumn. How dare winter pay a visit so early. It’s a bit like the bank assessing your property a few weeks early before they auction off your farm. It’s 25 degrees Fahrenheit today for a high and the garden hose hooked to the house is now ice (and a hundred other things now under snow). I’m not ready. Foul, I cry. “Ha”, says winter “I’m gonna win”, and it will. Maybe fall will make a comeback but winter will win, then spring, then summer, then autumn will get a turn again, then winter will wreck another garden hose.
I can almost hear Jesus saying “ready or not, here I come” Then it will be the season of the Lord’s final victory. It makes me wonder how many of life’s garden hoses (trivial and the urgent overshadowing the important) are still keeping me too busy. How many apples (neighbors) are neglected and lonely? How warm is my heart under this rough exterior to melt the cold storms of life?
I know, I know. I’m all over the place on symbolism and illustration but so was (is) the snow!! Sadly, I have a lot of putting away of our things to prepare for the oncoming snows and really cold weather. I know of two neighbors that are not able to put up firewood for the winter. I should be in shape here so I can be fruitful there. That is the real lesson I should be learning here. The need is real and very large out there and God’s issue with my un-readiness is way beyond the scope of a garden hose
After some hints, pushing, prodding and blatantly outright suggestions (yes, I exaggerate) I have taken Ted Martins advice from several comments on my comments section and put some of my photos on a free share website. Yes, they are free and you can use them for your blogs or thankyou cards or whatever, however and whenever you use pictures. Thanks Ted for the push. View Teds site here https://rhetoricandhomiletics.org/
I don’t know what process you use for giving away free stuff but I’m willing to think you like to receive free stuff. I just hope my pictures are useful to someone besides me.
I noticed that many bloggers that I read use Unsplash for downloading free pictures and chose that site to set up an account and share. As I type this my 16 pictures have 9,528 views and 137 downloads in October. You can look at my very limited selection of free photos and then go on to search from the thousands of great photos at https://unsplash.com/@garyfultz
I’ll download more as Unsplash begins to trust me with downloads according to their specs. I sometimes ask and am asked “why give?”
I may not have much from a worldly point of view, but I am very wealthy and gaining daily. When I die I stand to inherit a whole lot of free stuff given freely by my Father, but, that means nothing if it does not show up, in some way, shape or form as a voice to the little corner of the present world I touch.
I see an inaudible voice in sharing photo’s. I watch inaudible parent child language. I see inaudible marriage interchange. I even see inaudible messages in blogs between the lines and so do you. Let’s face it, our inaudible messages through all the mediums at our disposal speak so loud no one can hear what we are saying.
All this to pray “May my photos speak inaudibly Gods voice to the world.”
A note of encouragement: Only God can manage our loud inaudible voice to the world around us, if we let Him. However, Speaking of Gods inaudibles like nature and his workings in us, God’s audible Word changes us. Where God uses the inaudibles of people, life and nature to get our attention, He uses his audible, eternal and perfect WORD to change inaudible us.
” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1-5
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
It’s so human to buy a lot of ego stock for the short term and hold, sometimes into eternity, as if we can control the dividends
Instead, Invest here: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
Think of the solid foundation from which we speak. If you believe and know Jesus, you have been forgiven, made whole, and have been made absolutely perfect (way more than a dew drop) before God. “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” 2corinthians 5:21
I got run over by a 800 lb steer this Monday (it’s true). Not as glamorous a story as Grandma and the reindeer but this steer was 5 times as big as any reindeer. I’m quite sure no song will come of it either. I’m OK, thanks for asking. The hooves missed me after a good head butt to knock me down.
I had agreed to drive two hours to bring a steer to market for a brother. Just drive the rig, back up the trailer and let the steer out into the chute. Two experienced professionals took it from there. I was an innocent bystander at the end of the closed gate until the big steer with quite an attitude (yes, I distinctly remember smoke coming out his nostrils) charged at one of the attendants, hit the side of the chute and made an opening at the end of the gate (of course). The steer saw the opening, lowered his head and charged through the opening, tossing me forward into a half gainer, akin to a belly flop off the diving board onto the driveway. Then he ran over me.. Thankfully no hooves mashed me. I’m f.f.f.fine.
My body is sore in places where I didn’t even know I had them places. Some odd memories are coming to me that may have been a nano-second long but the telling may take a few minutes longer. One memory was very strange as I was flying through the air and yet the beast was upon me-pushing me down to the ground with it’s chest. The thought racing inside my skull in circles over and over was “I’m never traveling to Pamplona to run with the bulls”.
I’m ashamed. I should have been praying or something. I could have been asking God to watch over my wife and kids after my trampling, but nooo…I’m judging a certain class of risk-takers to be blooming idiots while it’s me landing on my head. Yes, it’s me, landing on my ego and that was trampled.
Some changes have taken place. mostly in my heart and mind. living, dying, accidents or just an odd happening can happen instantly. The last couple of days I’ve been shying away from parts of my morning prayer, mostly where I pray “well Lord, what do you have for me today?” I am very open to praying differently if you have other ideas.
I’ve also tackled a couple of difficult conversations that were overdue. Why wait? What’s the worst that could happen? Okay, I’m not ready to answer that till I gear up (you know…helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit etc)
(Added this morning): thanks Homer for your prayer idea in the comments section.
I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to take spring pictures, knowing the best time is when I can. When I will. When I do. Like all important things.
You never have that problem I’m sure. It’s just me??
This morning I walked out the front door with the camera and started taking pictures of whatever seems to tickle my fancy and seems poised for the occasion.
I was reminded how absolutely amazing life is. The beauty of living things has such a stark contrast to what is dead.
Take a preview by clicking on any picture, all taken within 100 feet of our house. Most were in the lawn which my wife mows. Kind of. She mows between all the flower patches as she can’t seem to just mow the whole lawn…Yes, your imagination of lawn mower trails through the tall grass are somewhat correct.
From the Chickadee gathering nest material, the blades of grass moving with a breeze, to the flowers I didn’t identify, the yard was alive. Amazing how I just take this all for granted and it’s right outside the house.
Did you notice all the dead stuff? I didn’t either.
This is an illustration of eternity you know. When someone or something dies they are gone and the signs they ever lived begin to fade away.
I found a very symbolic picture of death, old growth and new growth. It’s always challenging to me when I see the new growth on the ends of trees especially. It makes me ask “am I growing?” Mentally, physically, socially and spiritually, “am I growing?”
Consider what Jesus said about life and death:And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12
This is why it’s important to know Jesus. Don’t wait for the best time to believe and be a follower of Jesus. To be alive and not dead is everything. I took all these pictures today and I am amazed. Again.
By the way, my wife will let me mow the grass in a month or so and it will look like a well manicured lawn again…The flowers will grow back (that’s what I tell her).