My dad was holding the ladder while a friend at the top was attempting to nail a spike joining two walls together. The man swung his hammer missing the big nail endlessly. Finally after several splinters flew from the beat up wood he looked down at my dad fairly embarrassed and said “I give up”. Dad chuckled a little as he said “I had a hammer like that once”.
I marvel often at how I so easily lose focus. I remember as a teen in a (just for fun) snowball fight with my girlfriend. I threw a snowball straight up in the air and while she tipped her head back and watched it I pasted her in the face (for any teens reading this, that’s a deal breaker for any long term relationship).
Today, it was cloudy and below freezing. Frost formed everywhere. A photographers dream or possibly nightmare playing with light and focus. I have often struggled to get my camera and various lenses to focus clearly where I wanted. Cameras do their own thing sometimes if you let them decide (autofocus). Some times the lens is just a smidge off. The photo looks nice as a broad stroke but it’s not truly in focus. You be the judge as I took a bunch of pictures. Truthfully, I’m getting better. Click for slide show as the whole picture may not be seen here.
Did you see the chickadee? I’m not sure how it can hold a piece of popcorn in his claws and grasp the branch at the same time. I tried to focus on his feet.
Focus, with a camera or in life is an intentional discipline. We just have to be aware of where our focus should be. One of my younger brothers was in an intramural basketball team in college. They had a “Prevent 100” defense, meaning their goal was to prevent the other team from scoring 100 points (true story). They accomplished this goal much to the dismay of some really good teams. To answer your question forming in your mind, no, I don’t think they won any games.
We were designed like a camera with fixed focus. If our focus is not on Jesus then nothing else in the big picture is really in focus. We focus on our circumstances to make them better. We focus on ourselves and it’s all about us. We focus on our family and then the kids move out and maybe follow the Lord (from my jaded youth director days…often not). Focus on our career and all we get is a career until it’s over. We were designed and commanded to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2
When we get our focus properly on Jesus, it’s not very far down the road and we begin to see our neighbors through God’s eyes, and they need Jesus. We begin to grow weary of prayer meetings only praying for our friends and families aches, pains and life’s discomforts because people need Jesus. We intentionally begin to invest our time and resources toward areas helping people find and grow their relationship with Jesus. Perhaps they even go so far as to learn how to use a computer, find out how to navigate the internet and write a blog pushing people to fix their eyes on Jesus.
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
Don Merritt’s post on Praise (click here..great stuff Don) hit my insight bone this morning. I have often thought: “what causes the first frog to croak, or the first cricket to sound off, the first wolf to begin it’s blood curdling moan and all the others join in?
A friend of mine tells about walking out on the dock one frosty morning. The lake was evidently super cooled. The moment he stepped onto the dock the vibrations triggered the whole lake to instantly freeze over in a thin layer of ice. The sound of snap, crackle and pop of a lake freezing over in a couple of seconds will be indented in his memory forever. What causes the first molecule of water in the lake to freeze come winter to ice over the lake in a few moments?
What causes a whole congregation to lift up a raucous praise to the Lord or a moan before the throne in one accord? What causes my eyes to lift to the Lord in a burst of heartfelt praise from depths of my soul? Maybe, when the sun peeks out in my Life after a long storm? When a prayer is answered to my relief? When something works out? When…?
This morning my heart was “super cooled” in a good way. I was ready in my spirit to Praise my Lord and Savior and Don let out the first croak. May all God’s people be ready in their own hearts to join in. May the world hear our sound of unified praise. Oh, it’s not the song leader or the praise band in church (many times they get in the way). It’s God’s people whose hearts are “super cooled” and ready to break loose in praise, in loving God through a kind spontaneous act or smile or something creative. It’s something God has prepared in you because you have been walking with HIM. Daily.
That’s it isn’t it? Our walk with God in obedience. Our Hope in Christ. Our Love for one another. Our eye’s fixed on Jesus as we run this race through life. Our morning coffee time in the Word and prayer. A prepared heart set for whatever life brings each day. Please someone, step on the dock of our little lake. God has “super cooled” my heart (Thanks Don)
May we all be in the process of becoming “Super Cool” before the throne.
Today, I will pack up the rest of the house to move 5 hours away to a foreign familiar land. The place where I grew up and lived over half of my life. The last couple months of this transition I have taken to heart Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
I turned off the news, I quit reading several blogs and am terribly behind on many, I pray more and go out of my way to really connect with relational starving people. I had asked God for some type of sign that I really should move back home and begrudgingly put the house up for sale. 48 hours later it was sold. It’s hard to do 2 out of 3 on that one but I wanted another sign..”God would you go ahead of us and help us to follow?” was our household prayer.
On one of my moving expeditions with a huge trailor, a rainbow double was beside the truck for an hour. I stopped at a side road and took this picture. Iroically, when we had moved with the company I worked for almost 7 years ago, a rainbow was arched over the building I would call my work place. I guess we have had several rainbows (literally) in our decision making life (God to angels” if you want Gary to make up his mind. Put out a rainbow).
“Ok Lord, you got this..um, why isn’t the road paved??” (God to angels “you should not have had that old road graded…it’s too nice).
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).
I saw it coming out of the wind and rain. A sign. An opening in the clouds appeared.
A ray. Slim, tentative, gathering other rays. to speak through the opening. Speak to me?
Just a wordfor the dark, rainy, windy, angry day. Just a word for the good, bad, sometimes great, beautiful, gloomy, nearing the end game of life.
Just a word gathering past the finale coming from the sun. Just a word coming from the Son. God cares. He really does you know. When you notice, you can feel it inside. It’s bone deep and heart felt.
Big storm, small Rays, big sun (Son)
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 2Corinthians 4:7-9
Sometimes we need the storm to notice the Son. May your clouds part, if only for a small a ray of hope. Remember where those rays come from!
Spring came, and went, came again, April fooled the birds with rain, snow, melting, and now it’s winter again. All four seasons in a few days. Click on the slide show to see The Faces of spring in our own back yard.
The Faces of Life
Change, the constant of life. Sudden change, the story of our lives. The birds seem to roll with change. Flocks of robins were on the green grass this morning but now the snow is beak high if they stand on each others backs. Now they are eating last years sumac berries out of the trees. They are singing in the blowing snow storm.
It’s fitting in our times that spring was interrupted by a massive storm. So much of our lives have been interrupted by the Covid storm. We can sing in our house.
One thing not interrupted or changed was Easter (I mean what Easter really is). Jesus Christ didn’t stay dead. He is alive. His resurrection power lives in those who trust and follow Him every day. I find myself a little stunned at changes but not afraid.
Today this little woodpecker hit one of our windows while I was taking pictures out the window. He would have died in this prickly bush. Totally captured. His worst nightmare, a human, grabbed him, held him and thought of how much more Christ did for me as I set him free to recover (he did after a couple hours)
I hope you know how to rest in Christ and are willing , ready and able to help rescue those caught in the turmoil of our times. Hey we are alive, because He lives. A lot can happen in three days!!! ironically springs melting face will come in about three days again….Don’t be as fickle as spring with Jesus…OK?
Did you notice how many ways the wind blows in the one sunset picture? ya, don’t be like that!
A small acquainting with "what's it about" description of the Mystery Blogger Award:
"The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award also is for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with much love and passion. – Creator- Okoto Enigma"
I’m also going to use this as a time to post links to some other bloggers that I appreciate for a myriad of reasons (instead of nominating you to do the same). Mostly that they connect with me. For whatever reason, there is a connection. I’m not going to keep the mystery blogger thread going on my part but I will answer the questions given me. First the question and answer time, then some blogger links that you should visit as they are worth the read.
1.What is your favorite pastime ? Me: Fishing (Ice fishing now)
2. What is your favorite book to read ? Why ? Me: The Bible, as it’s the whole story of mankinds redemption and my daily guide to an intimate relationship with My Lord jesus Christ (Who didn’t stay dead after the cross by the way). 2nd would be a good mystery novel.
3. Who do you think will out smart the other the Road Runner or Daffy Duck ? Me: Road Runner
4. What would you be doing on a rainy day ? Me: fishing with my rain gear on and watching for lightening. otherwise I’de be playing keyboard, writing a song or photographing raindrops off the local flora.
5. What is your favorite type of music to listen to ? Me: I like it all except Rap. I do need decent words and a story or message behind it. Deeply felt music is the best.
I will peek through the fence of time (as of right now) and post some bloggers that I have felt connected with in some fashion, all for different reasons. All these bloggers post things that make me want to grow in my walk with the Lord as I age.
I could go one for another 20 bloggers who are special to me as well. Thanks people for putting yourself and your time into posting good material. Meanwhile I will keep learning how to write, take pictures and reading your blogs.