My first time visitor from across the lake wanted to see the little saw mill operation. He was a bored brother-in-law visiting the neighbor and got my number somehow and found our place after assuring me he wasn’t a telemarketer on the 3rd call. “So, what made you decide to build a little cabin?” “Well (I scratch my head through the sweaty cap and stroke a short beard) I had 3 windows and some lumber left over from a project and felt it was a good fit”. He paused to slap at a gaggle of mosquitoes on his arm “why in the woods?” I squelched a small chuckle in half and said “Where would you put the in-laws? (Now you guys know this is in good fun right?). He pressed on. “How soon will you have it done?” I shrugged my shoulders and grinned, “when the fish quit biting and probably after I help some brothers on two other building projects here and there.” His sigh was audible. It made me feel like a country hick. Felt good!!
I dropped the act a bit and shared the real reason for a little rustic off-grid cabin in the woods by our house. Guests are a gift and often need a gift. A writers cabin. A nature photographers cabin. A fishing buddy cabin. Grandkids and scary story cabin. A personal retreat cabin. I could go on, but I will share some of the things I pause for in my life. Things which make me realize how much nature often upstages my level of wonder, awe and worship of our creator. We all need a big rock on the lawn with an inscription “If You Don’t I Will” (He says in Luke 19:40, “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”)
In This Case…Flowers, seeds and garnish
Several bear have helped themselves to the yard and back deck. some day I will take a clear picture while I’m not chasing them away.
What great lengths are you willing to take to live the life for which you were created?
Cut a hole in the wall, frame openings and put windows in your life. Get a big window, not a peep hole. Know what’s happening outside your space.Next: open the window and throw any insulting parrot voices out and close the window (Not your spouse or kids, but perhaps your television).
Build a deck to sit on and watch the world in it’s context, go by. Meditate on the words of Jesus because they have the substance of life. The words of God give us the context wherein (and within) we were created to live, wherever we happen to reside, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
Take walks in nature. It’s as close to God’s garden as we can get, understanding that nature is not God but it’s a great place to meet and talk with him. There are overt hints of God’s character, creativity and lessonsof life and insight to gain from God’s creation. Take a peek at some of my nature and deck views this autumn. This is often my physical context. Sometimes God’s context for me is seen through the camera window framed.
All nature is in context with God’s word
Click on any picture for a slide show and to enlarge smaller pictures. I tried some catchy captions which will appear at the bottom of each picture. You might come up with better ones.
These were my thoughts as I spotted a deer peeking at me through a hole in the woods (header picture). All of nature is in the moment. No matter the season or food source or conditions, life is moment by moment. As the leaves fall outside, I am reminded that my life is like a vapor that appears and then disappears (the big context James 4:14). In the moment I want to be in context of God’s words to me through Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
I want to live in God’s context.On the deck, at home, driving down the road, in the grocery store, talking with the neighbors and in anything I may post or read online.The life and words of Christ in me is the context which begs me to cut a hole in the wall.His love within me compels me to view the world as needing his love.
ps: I posted some pictures for free download on my unsplash site here
10 portages deep into the Boundary water Canoe Area Wilderness, we made camp. Designated campsites have a fire grate (usually with a view of the lake) and a latrine back in the woods. Rules of the wilderness allow gathering only dead and downed wood can be gathered for the fire. Many people bring a small portable single burner stove and fuel for ease and in case it’s raining or too dry so a fire ban is in place. We gather firewood and cook over the fire grate or over a little bug fire wood stove Lots of heat for a fifth of the wood or less.
On the edge of this particular campsite was a very rotten cedar log. I have no idea how long it had been there but cedar doesn’t rot real fast. Out of possibly hundreds of campers on this very desirable site over the years, no one bothered to give this log a second look in their wood gathering. Nobody saw any value in the old rotten log.
Experienced campers knowing the ways of wood and the woods have already spotted it. A priceless Knot.
I don’t know all that causes a branch to begin growing out of the main stem of a tree, but the base of the branch tied all the way to the center of the tree begins to build immense strength and structure as the knot may end up holding a huge branch a long ways out from the trunk for a hundred years. It must survive heavy winds and is the only supply line of water and nutrition. The branch must be tied in extremely well to the tree or it will die. This is the priceless knot area. The place where the tree interacts with the branch. The knot is the anchor area of the branch. A priceless area.
Knots don’t rot. Eventually yes but this log was full of extremely hard, loaded with pitch knots. I walked down the rotten log and kicked them out easily. To one who wants fire, priceless!
A pitch filled knot will burn a long time and put out a lot of heat. They burn like a torch and the pitch inside boils out before the wood burns up. I found five logs nearby full of pitchy knots I could pull out of the rotten logs. The hardened knots went to the center of the log, formed from the center out, always connected to the flow of sap from the core of the tree out to the greenery on the branches. Even in death they held a reservoir of sap now dry and hardened.
A burning knot will stay burning in a rain. A knot will hold it’s fire and coals long after the rest of the wood is gone. knots can be used as a spare tent stake. Knot ridges are so sharp they can cut a tent cord. A knot could be a dangerous weapon, although I’ve never herd of anything dying by knot (That’s a murder mystery book idea for someone).
Long after I am gone, my hope is in the knot area of my life. The knot that anchored my life’s branch. The knot that embedded deep into the tree of life I was grafted into. The knot that developed and grew with the strength given by the trunk. anchored securely, drinking deeply, and supplying life.
Just as we can see a tree growing out of a rock and say “behold, the power of a seed”, I believe God leaves pictures and analogies of truth lying in a rotted log on a wilderness forest floor. As I pitched a few knots into a pile some one said “what’s that?” I replied “knot…priceless’
Jesus said in John 15:5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The analogy of the knot as an anchor point connecting sustenance and nutrition to our lives in Christ here and for eternity as the knot does for the tree and it’s branches. works for me. The strength of our knots anchor lies in how much time we spend connecting with the savior. This is why we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing” 1Thessalonians 5:17. Never sever our connection to Jesus (That wood rot and lead to “not…priceless).
To see BWCAAdventure Expectations and this last trips pictures go to my other blog (click here)
Be it marriage, kids, church, politics, social media or any kind of relationship, you could probably write a hundred different captions on the picture below. Sometimes birds act like humans.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Colossians 3:12-13
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.”
A few moments ago a delivery driver, with an attitude, handed me a package while making an off hand statement about the unstable shape of our world. “I’m sorry, I’m feeling political today” he said.
I took a sip of my coffee and answered “This morning the sun came up, the tips of the oak, the pine cones in the white pine and the whole woods was lit up while the moon was setting. I took pictures of this absolutely beautiful morning. The sun will come up again for all our tomorrows”.
He paused, looked at the trees and the woods for quite a long moment while he seemed to resetand relax while answering… “and there is only one God and he’s in charge”. I said “always. you have a great day”
I want to encourage you to reset if you need to. Above all, be in a place with the Lord Jesus to share his light while engaging those you meet in our turbulent times. Sometimes it just takes a small nudge to help those around us to reset.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Photo’s by Gary this morning after a meeting time with the Lord