Wander into Winter Wonder

TR Driveway eml

The snow quit. Winds died. Morning came after freezing fog. All was frosted. Highlights rolled in with the coming sun. Skating to work on the roads might be the best option in freezing temperatures. Look at this mornings artwork from God’s perspective. life’s deadliest winter storms will end. Only God can make beauty of it.

snow on limbs eml
 

The cold snows of life, a prelude to beauty

 

snow stuck on trees eml

Our vision is limited. All we can see is snow

Frosty sunrise eml

The sun is coming, the son is coming

Frosty Tree back lit cp eml

We may be frozen solid but God begins to warm our hearts

Sun rise through the woods eml

Only God can warm our cold hearts and make beauty of life’s winters.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
 Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2)

Gary

Pictures taken this Monday morning after the storm  

 

From The Woods

morning sun eml

I’ve been in the woods and quite absent from the internet. I’m noticeably different (self diagnosis). Seemingly random thoughts tug on my mind while winters crystals defy the sun. The winter sun’s angle allows the snow to direct any radiant heat back into outer space. The sun has gone south for the winter. It’s below freezing.

I wonder about the winter seasons in my life, when the Son seems ineffective in my life. My life’s edges are frosty and cold to those around me. I am indifferent. Maybe I should get closer to the Son??

frozen pond cpeml

A beautiful little pond, frozen in the woods. I’m sorry for all the brush in the way, it just grows up and multiplies. Before you know it the brush gets mighty thick, thorny and impassable in ones soul. Life is like that you know. Sometimes our beauty is hidden or terribly neglected. Cute little sprouts take over one’s life. Sometimes our prayer should be “Lord please brush out my life, I place it in your care”. It may hurt.

leaf and buds emlSomehow, when we think we are just a branch with one ole dried up leaf hanging on in the cold, God brings forth buds. They are there. It may be dormant in the cold but packed with nutrition for lives looking for browse. I’ve watched deer and grouse eat these like candy.  Like the pain of thawing out one’s frozen fingers, Thawing a heart is really tough. I know.

So I let go of the last dried up frozen leaf. Let my trophies go. It hurts.

  I Let the new creation bud. I Let those who may browse. I Let go and face the Son.

Sparkling woods eml

I Face the Sun and the woods glows in it’s light. Every frozen crystal reflects it’s Glory.

I encourage you to let the Son come into your life and take complete control. Even in your seasons of coldest winter you can glow in His radiance. I know. I’m quite different (God’s diagnosis).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

night sky eml

I shall meet again with my God in the morning as I do every morning. Winter in one’s soul is just a season. Sometimes in life’s coldest moments God lays his hand on our heart. I know.

Gary

 

Another Language

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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. Romans 12:1-2

Jacob Ba Humbug christmas eml

Don’t worry, We do not have our lights up yet, and will not until December sometime.. I chose last years picture of a grandson communicating without words.

When Christ says “Learn of me”, I often think we who call ourselves “Followers of Jesus” honestly think Christ meant believe the right information and be good people.

I think my grandson in the picture above is going to say “sorry” for something he did. Does anyone here believe he is sorry?

It takes time to learn another language. My second language teacher was really excited when I told her I had a dream in Spanish. She figured The language had finally become me. I didn’t tell her it was more like a nightmare where I didn’t really understand what was being said, and it was all about me…in Spanish.

When we resemble the meek and lowly. When we use our hands, feet, mouth and resources for others that would normally go to taking care of…well us, is that not a part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices?

I don’t have to go far for an example. Marriage, raising a family, neighbors and the work place all saw the language of Jesus in my mom and dad.

Everyone wants what mom and dad had. It was not so much that they had Jesus. Jesus was just the start. Actually Jesus had them and they put each other first. I have stories too numerous to count of people who wanted what they had. I witnessed radical changed lives from these two salt and light people. Neighbors, friends and strangers were attracted to them. This picture says a lot and that’s who they were.

Dad and Mom 62 years e-mail

Do you want what they had? You need Jesus to have you, and He will teach you His language. It’s different, out of this world, counter intuitive, powerful and most of all so attractive people around you will want what you have when you speak without words Christ’s language. Don’t worry, you get to talk when you earn the right to be heard.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

Gary

Sorry, I forgot to mention that there will be trolls, hurtful people and those who hate Christ’s language. It will be worth it though.

please add your helpful comments below.

Shaky Faith

It’s raining said the farmer as he spit into the wind…(An old saying on the farm). Yes, it’s a perception saying.

I took the above picture in the wind on my regular camera settings for still shots. Not very clear is it? In fact I spent part of the afternoon taking high speed pictures and captured some excellent mediocre shots. My subject matter was all over the place, often in the same picture.

black eyed susan eml
I think they all moved slightly

This brings me to some questions we must all ask ourselves if we claim to be people of faith. “Does the subject of your faith change? When you feel like your faith is on shaky ground is it because your faith is really on your circumstances? recent events? other people? your faith community? The cataclysmic event that just happened in your life?Rocks Cry eml I took a picture of a rock in our yard. It doesn’t move in the wind. Awhile back I wrote on it but that’s another time (The rocks cry out one of my first blogs way back).

Here is the deal. When others see us, watch us and take a look at our faith. what people see is a blurred confusing image if the subject of our faith is not Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our salvation. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and put to the side everything that gets in the way Hebrews 12:2 

When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through our storm. 

I put together some pictures taken in high winds from this afternoon. They may not be perfect but each one was in a protected niche from most of the wind. God is our shelter, rock, provide, protector,and I could go on…You get the picture. (Click for slide show)

 

I imagine God shelters us in ways we do not even see or understand. Consider a few lines from the old hymn “He hideth My Soul”

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
A wonderful Saviour to me
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
Where rivers of pleasure I see
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand (repeat)
 
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
He taketh my burden a-way
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved
He giveth me strength as my day 
One more thought: I put my camera on a tripod for getting clear pictures whenever I can. People who watch our lives to see if Jesus is real (and they do) often have enough things shaking their world as it is. Hey, who among us sees clearly? Let’s not present a moving target of faith for shaky people trying to get the picture.
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through their storm. 

Gary

Check out the video of the haven of rest quartet G.W posted in the comments section. “He Hideth My Soul”

Reaching For Good Enough

As a person I’m probably smarter than you may think I am, and, quite a bit less smart than I think I am. I prove the last part of that statement daily and a couple times a year the first part seems proven (to me). OK so I got the first part wrong, moving on…

Take today for example, I refinished an ash table top that we use for a picnic table on the screen porch. The table sits outside all year. Grand kids use that table to play on with toys and sometimes my tools they think are toys. It was really beat up and looked like it was sulking and looking forlorn out there. Here is where I step it up and refinish right? Happy Table right??Black Ash Table eml

I stripped off the old finish, sanded and sanded this table. Sawdust everywhere. I set sanding and finishing records for an old black ash table top. I made it look nice, and it does from a distance. I got the old scars out and put in my own. Argh!..not again! Everywhere. Take a lookBlack Ash Table scars eml

Sander marks from using too course of sandpaper (rookie mistake) and then being in a hurry to put some finish on. Hey, it’s only a picnic table that sits outside so it’s good enough right?

Aren’t you glad God does not treat us this way? Yet some think He does. Do you think Gods version of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) is to reach for “Good Enough?”

Oh He lets us experience all of life’s poundings and we have the scars to prove it. However, God does not abandon us, give us a rough clean up and only make us look nice from a distance. God goes for the heart of the matter. Clean inside first. Our outside might look tough until the inside is so changed it starts showing through (2 Corinthians 4:16)

God is not finished with us yet so let Him do His work. When he is done, eternity will know it. For now the world will be satisfied with seeing a “Love” construction zone in us.

We should be allowing God to produce in us what the whole world wants. 

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Finally: If God can put a flower garden and the horizon into a dew droplet (see header picture) He can put Love in your heart and a bunch of other good things!  

Gary

PS: My wife says “I like it”  This is why we have a good marriage, but that’s another topic (or is it?)

Wandering Into Highlight

Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights.  When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.

fire Haze sunset
Wild fires hazed the sky, colored and magnified the setting sun view from our front lawn.

16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!”  A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)

Times are a changing are they not?

 

CP Sunn eml
A hot summer evening watching colors and rays appear, change and disappear.

I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys  in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!

 

Sun Tonight 9 10 18eml
Another Sunset from our yard. Every night is different, every sunset unique

Just a thought:  Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.

   My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.

 Gary

 

 

 

Nature: Gods Living Room

BWCA camping eml

I grew up hunting and fishing the wilderness places where a very small percentage of people venture. Nature in the raw is truely ruggedly beautiful. One can sit on a rock and drink in the exquisite interlocking co-existing life forms  Let me snicker a bit here because I would wager there are a million mosquitoes in this picture waiting for some poor soul to try their hand at communing with the almighty. I know about that as well.House rock eml

Nature truely could be called the living room of God but one will not experience the almighty by simply going there. I sense many think so because God’s handiwork is so awesome and overwhelming that how could we not experience God by experiencing  nature?

I must admit, there are a lot of clues in the wild. One can experience peace in the gurgling brook and the morning sunrise. One’s smallness is real also in the mysterious aura felt around the evening fire as the wolves moan, the frogs croak and a large animal walks in the water. Look at the zillion stars out there from ones tent site; that’s a big clue.

Another Clue: Natures sense of peace is between the storms. God’s peace is in the midst of the storm. 

forest fire damage eml
This forest fire died here. It was a big one.

Visit the wilderness enough and one will experience all that happens in nature. A beautiful sunrise in the east may lure you into the middle of a big lake while the western skies may prepare the storm of the century (I was there). That’s a link worth clicking on. I have a hundred stories where “mother” nature does not care about us. But, God cares.

 Nature is not tame and from all indications neither is God. Evening in the BWCA email

If you want to meet God in nature, just ask. Not to dissappoint anyone but God will meet us anywhere. He is God and calls the shots. Consider what He has promised in scripture.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

There’s so much more if you care to look it up!

I love getting into nature. I still see it as God’s living room (my thing I guess) and I meet him there but only because I have a relationship with my creator. It’s my most important relationship. We talk and I listen as well. There is much to hear and I pray to see and hear and understand. Peace comes from God and not nature, but what a great back drop for allowing God to work on this scruffy specimen of a follower of Jesus. What a great place to fellowship and dine, in God’s living room.

BWCA by the fire eml

Gary

When We See. Really See

 

Let me ramble a bit about some wilderness wanderings with my family last week. The sites and sounds were awesome! So much of our trip is a parallel to a life with God, pictures and all. Let’s talk about what we see. really see.

Most of us have our wilderness wanderings of the soul as well. One is in the seeing beyond ourselves.

otter 3
3 otter swam by in the wee hours of daylight. It seems they were created to fish and play

Let’s face it. Most of our seeing is positioning ourselves to see. Awareness is another ingredient to seeing. Capturing a photo is another step in seeing. Framing that photo is then important to explain what we saw. Maybe, God shows off sometimes. Just for us?? He loves us you know. Maybe we see (really see) that and know that He is God, Creator of all things. He has framed our world, all the molecules in the universe and beyond. He has framed you.

BWCA sunset Camp cp eml
The rain stopped, the sun came out and set as night came. See the wolf? The sun prevails.
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Our Grand daughters senior dream vacation (A wilderness canoe trip). She will outfish most.  

It’s entirely possible to have a dream vacation and only have an adventure, see a nice sunset, catch some fish, do some exploring and that’s about it if it works out.

There’s a better way. What if we position ourselves to see God’s handiwork in marvelous ways? What if we don’t? What if we spend some alone time with God expressing our wonder at the sights and sounds?

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Early one morning I waited until I could see through the fog. kind of.

What do you see? Is life just rambling in the fog between storms? Are you positioned to see God’s handiwork all around? How about in your life? God is in the business of opening our eyes you know. I only know about this because He has done it in my life and coutless others throughout time. Like the man born blind and healed by Jesus in the Bible, he knows. He sees John 9:25
He answered, “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. There is one thing I do know: I was blind, but now I see!”

I strongly reccomend some wilderness wanderings. Find someplace to have a long chat with your creator. Check out going to the BWCAW sometime. Watch out for bear! (really).

Gary

 

Mom

veggies-eml.jpgI know you are gone, along with so many others. Bye for now our parting words. I understand I’ll see you at the gate when time is over. Meanwhile, the moms who are here…We are celebrating life and doing something special today for all moms out there. I am also doing something special for the women of my life…Here is to you dear. Our kids even turned out exceptionally well. kabobs em

Just a little something I cooked up if that’s ok. Thank you Lord for the women you put into my life. Help her (my wife) recover from losing her mom this spring. We miss her..Amen

Gary. 

 

Being Intentional

Born with Spina-Bifida. 37 years, 35 surgeries and thousands of stares and comments. Life and significance can feel like a lone tiny battered island. 

In my quiet time with God I recently (intentionally) asked the Lord for wisdom and a way to show our handicapped daughter how much God loves her and how much her first father loves her. Later in the day I came across this very special blog by a very special lady. please visit and read.    https://writenow.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/beauty-from-slag/

Go back, click on the link first before continuing please!!  

I was able to show our daughter the picture from Shirley’s blog of what some consider to be trash (slag) but mixed with glass in liquid form creates immense beauty. We had some small talk about how it was made and how beautiful it was. I also read the short blog to her. I then said to my daughter “This is you dear daughter. You have often seen yourself as slag, trash, and people have said and done mean things to you; but God has created an immensely beautiful person in you no matter what has happened to your body. 

Realization of this truth was like slowly filling a clear glass picture of water but not shutting the tap off. First there were tears, then sobs and a heaving chest full of sobs came as her picture overflowed. A new radiance of spirit that most of us will never experience quietly came as the tap slowed and stopped. Dad & Tania CP eml

Before showing and reading to my daughter as she rested in bed, I intentionally thanked God for his answer to prayer and intentionally asked for wisdom in presenting this spectacular picture of slag mixed with glass on Shirley’s blog. I see her this way. I know and see the beauty that others may miss. See picture here

slag glass cross section
the beautiful colors of slag glass are endless

I wonder how many people I walk by every day who do not know that God can take the slag of their life, melt it down and mix with His ineffable power.  Only God can do such grandiose kind of work words cannot express in each of us. Thanks G.W for that great read.  https://collinsgw.combecoming/2019/03/06/ineffable-power/

My daughter and I talked about the word “ineffable” in her life. Joyous tears again.

The kind of intentionality it takes to turn the trash slag into beautiful glass slag in people’s lives is huge, costly and time consuming on our part. Ask my daughter, it’s worth it. Ask God, it’s worth it. Ask Me and I will tell you that watching someone slowly realize the ineffable power of God masked by a broken body has more grandeur than any wonder the world could contain. 

Please comment, thanks for reading.

Gary

The two links posted are pure gold. Thanks Shirley and G.W for your intentionality in making them so worthwhile.