Nature Walk

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How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. (Psalm 104:24-25) 

This psalm makes me want to go on a nature walk! 

The psalmist is in awe of the Creator’s handiwork—from the majestic sun and moon, to the smallest of creatures, God created them and sustains them all. 

God set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.  … He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of His work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth. … The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. … The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. … 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. 

Take a walk. See God’s beauty.

Listen to the wind, the birds, the lions.

Taste the food from the soil and the trees.

Feel the coolness of the water, the warmth of the sun, the invigoration of the breeze. 

Smell the flowers, the soil, the sea air.

And then as you take all of these in, remind yourself: “If God cares for the fields, if He sees the smallest sparrow, how much more does He care for me!” 

Jesus told us much the same thing—

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? … See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you? … Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. … Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:8, 26, 28-30; 10:29-31)  

My friend, the next time you need reassurance of God’s love for you, I invite you to take a nature walk and let the beauty of the Creator fill you with confidence of His love for you and His power to care for your every need! 

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Poetry Saturday—Let All Things Now Living

Let all things now living, a song of thanksgiving,
To God the Creator triumphantly raise,
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God’s banners are o’er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night;
Till shadows have vanished, and darkness is banished,
As forward we travel from light into light.

His law He enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine,
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim Him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing
With glad adoration a song let us raise,
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving
To God in the highest, hosanna and praise. —Katherine Davis

Poetry Saturday—Joy In The Presence Of Jesus

How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers,
Have all lost their sweetness to me;

The midsummer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.

His Name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disburses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice;
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I,
My summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resign’d,
No changes of season err place
Would make any change in my mind:
While blest with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there. 

My Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song,
Say, why do I languish and pine?
And why are my winters so long?
O drive these dark clouds from my sky;
Thy soul-cheering presence restore;
Or take me to Thee up on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more. —John Newton

Poetry Saturday—Presumption

Whenever I am prone to doubt or wonder—
   I check myself, and say, “That mighty One
Who made to the solar system cannot blunder—
   And for the best all things are being done.”
Who sent the stars on their eternal courses
   Has fashioned this strange earth by some sure plan.
Bow low, bow low to those majestic forces,
   Nor dare to doubt their wisdom, puny man.

You cannot put one little star in motion,
   You cannot shape one single forest leaf,
Nor fling a mountain up, nor sink an ocean,
   Presumptuous pigmy, large with unbelief.
You cannot bring one dawn of regal splendor,
   Nor bid the day to shadowy twilight fall,
Nor send the pale moon fourth with radiance tender—
   And dare you doubt the One who has done it all?

“So much is wrong, there is such pain—such sinning.”
   Yet look again—behold how much is right!
And He who formed the world from its beginning
   Knows how to guide it upward to the light.
Your task, O man, is not to carp and cavil
   At God’s achievements, but with purpose strong
To cling to good, and turn away from evil.
   That is the way to help the world along. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Poetry Saturday—Wait, Trust, Rest

butterflyWait patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding.
Then wait, wait,
Patiently wait.
Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.
Then trust, trust,
Hopefully trust.
Rest, peacefully rest
On thy Savior’s breast;
Breathe in His ear thy sacred high ambition,
And He will bring it forth in blest fruition.
Then rest, rest,
Peacefully rest! —Mercy A. Gladwin

Poetry Saturday—The Thought Of God

clouds-and-waterThe thought of God is like the tree 
Beneath whose shade I lie, 
And watch the fleet of snowy clouds 
Sail o’er the silent sky.

‘Tis like that soft, invading light 
Which in all darkness shines, 
The thread that through life’s sombre web 
In golden pattern twines. 

It is a thought which ever makes 
Life’s sweetest smiles from tears 
It is a daybreak to our hopes 
A sunset to our fears. 

One while it bids the tears to flow, 
Then wipes them from the eyes, 
Most often fills our soul with joy, 
And always sanctifies. 

Within a thought so great, our souls 
Little and modest grow, 
And, by its vastness awed, we learn 
The art of walking slow. —Frederick William Faber

Poetry Saturday—Overheard In An Orchard

dsc_0023Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
     “I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
     Rush about and worry so.”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
     “Friend, I think that it must be
They have no Heavenly Father
     Such as cares for you and me.”
—Elizabeth Cheney

How Wolves Change Rivers

wolfThe beauty, inter-depdence and resiliency that our Creator masterfully designed into His creation is breathtaking! As I watched this video, I couldn’t help but imagining God’s smile as scientists learn what He knew all along!

 

Poetry Saturday—The Oyster

Pearl oysterThere once was an oyster, whose story I’ll tell,
Who found that some sand had gotten into his shell.
It was only a grain, but it gave him great pain,
For oysters have feelings, although they are plain.
Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him to such a deplorable state?
“No,” he said to himself, “since I cannot remove it,
I’ll lie in my shell and think how to improve it.”
They years rolled around, as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny… stew.
Now the small grain of sand that had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.
This tale has a moral, for isn’t it grand,
What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand?
Think… what could we do, if we’d only begin
With some of the things that get under our skin. —Anonymous (I heard this poem as a part of a brilliant message on dealing with life’s irritations)

Are You Irritated? Good!

Pearl oysterPastor Tom Kaastra shared a whole new way of looking at the irritations we sometimes have, by pointing us to an example in nature. God reveals Himself to us in the Bible and through nature. That’s why Francis DeSales said, “God has signed all created things. We can trace His footsteps through the natural world.”

So take a look at the oyster. God designed it with a heart, a mouth, a digestive system, a reproductive system, a nervous system, and all other things that allow it to survive. But He also gave it a way to thrive.

The oyster can be irritated by a foreign invasion. But… God has put within the oyster the power to turn an irritation into a valuable pearl!

It is the same for Christians. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us (see Romans 8:11). That power allows us to see that all things are working together for the good of those who love God (see Romans 8:28-29). As Pastor Tom said it, “God wants to Jesus-size us.”

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” So God designs irritations on purpose to develop a valuable pearl in our lives that will bring Him glory.

Look at Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt (which ranks in my book as a major irritation!). But look how Joseph saw the pearl God developed—

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not to be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. (Genesis 45:4-8, emphasis added)

So the next time you’re irritated, remind yourself, “Great! God is making a valuable pearl in my life!”

You can watch the video of Pastor Tom’s message below, and be sure to check out his website for other valuable lessons like this one.

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