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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Inspired by . . . what to wear



Ah, a Royal Wedding! What little girl hasn't dreamed of being a princess? Although I'm fairly certain that real-life princess-ship is a far cry from the Disney version, I wish the royal couple the very best.

Princess Meghan looked beautiful in her wedding dress, of course, but what I noticed most in the royal pictures were the hats! Oh, my! The British milliners have certainly been busy, haven't they? 

It's fun to dress up. Even if it's just for the occasional dinner out. Some people "dress-up" every day for work. And some of us who work from home may never change out of our pajamas and bunny slippers. Well, that's a fun thought anyway! The truth is, most of us put on a new set of clothes every morning. Royalty or not, we all put our pants on one leg at a time!

Perhaps that is why the Apostle Paul used something as common as clothing to describe the very uncommon change that occurs when we become a Christian.

Where we were once dead in our sins, we have now been brought alive in Christ. (Col 2:13)  In 2 Cor 5:17 Paul tells us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
In his letter to the Colossians, he goes on to explain how we are to take off (put to death) our sinful nature; lies, rage, bad temper, etc., and in verse 12 to:
Put on, then, garments that suit God's chosen and beloved people:
Just as those who attended the Royal Wedding put on clothing appropriate for the occasion, Christians should be clothed in:
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience.
Being tolerant and forgiving, as the Lord has forgiven us. 

It's easy, and fun, to dress up for a handful of special occasions over the course of our lifetimes. It is much harder to put on the garments of compassion and kindness every morning.

The secret to success is found in Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
It is only when we allow Christ full rein (and reign!) in our lives, working His way and His will, that we can be successful to: let every word and action, everything you do, be in the name of the Lord Jesus, and give thanks through Him to God the Father. (Col 3:17)

People will be talking about Meghan's dress and who wore what to the wedding for weeks to come. Think how wonderful it would be if people spoke about us and Christians in general, in terms of our compassion and kindness.


Blessings,






Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 20:52

This past week was for the birds, in more ways than one. Even though things are a bit busy for me right now, I still find time to sit in wonder of all He has made.

Here's what I've been seeing . . .

The sweet Phoebe pair wakes me every morning. They have a nest somewhere behind the house.


Eastern Phoebe

I was glad to see this flycatcher back this year. He is a bit tricky to ID but his song gives him away!


Great-crested Flycatcher

Now that the lizards and snakes are more active I'm seeing more of this guy. They are so fun to watch!


Greater Roadrunner

The mockingbirds are just crazy this time of year! They seem to nest later than the other birds. Lots of showmanship going on right now!


Northern Mockingbird

We have a pair of scissor-tailed flycatchers back this year. They prefer a copse of trees down in the field but they often come up to the cottage to visit me.


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

 I spotted two females before this guy arrived for a bath!


Summer Tanager

One of the most breathtaking birds, this little guy never fails to delight. 

All four of the flycatchers pictured here are part of the Tyrannidae family called the Tyrant Flycatchers. It's so thrilling to have them all here! 


Vermilion Flycatcher

Next week I'll show you what's blooming in my garden. And some other friends that came to visit!

What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Have a wonder-filled week, friends!

PS Click on the bird's name to find more pictures and listen to their song!


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Friday, May 11, 2018

Inspired by . . . that the world may know



Have you ever done something you didn't want to do out of love for another person? I'm going to bet that you have. And when you did, it was a beautiful witness of sacrificial love.

Scripture tells us that Jesus laid aside His glory and power (Phil 2:7) when He became a man. He did this willingly, knowing the purpose of His earthly time from the drawing of His first breath.

He knew it when satan tempted Him in the desert, offering Him the Kingdom without the pain of the cross. (Matt 4:8) And He knew it that night in the garden when He asked the Father to spare Him. (Mar 14:36)


More than the manger, the garden shows me the fullness of Christ's manhood. No sane person would submit to the torture of the cross without first determining that there was no other way. Gethsemane shows me the sanity of my Savior. [click to tweet]

Before Jesus went to the garden the night of His arrest He told His disciples: "I shall not talk much longer with you, for the prince of this world approaches. He has no rights over Me, but the world must be shown that I love the Father and am doing what He commands;" (John 14:30-31)

There is no question that Jesus went willingly to the cross. His sacrifice is proof of His great love for us. But the cross is not just about us. One of the last statements Jesus makes is, "the world must be shown that I love the Father."

The cross is not only evidence of Christ's love for us, it is an affirmation of His great love for the Father. [click to tweet] One of the primary lessons of the cross is Jesus' love for God. We are often so focused on His love for us that we overlook the testimony of His love for the Father.

The enemy has degenerated love into many shades. But love is only pure when given freely. Perfect love cannot be coerced, faulted, or oppressed. 

Love is a choice and when love is chosen, it is true. [click to tweet]

God gave us free will, even knowing the evil that would come of it because He could do nothing else. God is love and love is God. Love does not exist without God.

What God asked of Jesus He asks of us. Sacrifice born of love.

The acts will vary but the results are the same:

That the world will see our love for the Father.


By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, 
if ye have love one to another. (Joh 13:35)

Shalom,




Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 18:52


Four cheery yellow breasts 
clinging to a sock full of seed, 
red cap above a speckled back, 
bird-song and Pheee-be calling, 
Lady-girl dozing in the shade.

This is Saturday to me. 

Choosing stillness over stirring
watching rainbows on the wing
gazing heavenward
puffy whites floating 
on a sea of blue.
Eating manna
sipping wine.

This is Sabbath to me.

Don't worry, I'm not turning poet on you. I'll leave that to those of you who have the gift. These are just some words arranged in lines. Snapshots of my world. Here are a few more. 








What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled day, friends!

Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Inspired by . . . the path of the just



The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. Prov 4:18 NKJV
I love this verse. It is like the warmth of the sun to me. Whenever I read it I think of the sun shining on the water. The path of its light will always come to you. No matter where you roam, up or down the shore, the path of light will follow.

It is a beautiful reminder that God is always with us. We cannot escape His presence. We can travel to the limits of the east or the bounds of the western sea and still His hand will guide us.
Where can I escape from Your spirit, where flee from Your presence?If I climb up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.If I travel to the limits of the east or dwell at the bounds of the western sea, even there Your hand will be guiding me, Your right hand holding me fast. Psalm 139:7-10 REV
It is a reminder, too, that the path of the righteous is through His Son. As we walk in the light as He is in the light we become more like Him. Closer and closer to that perfect day when we will see Him clearly and in an instant all be changed.

I'm so glad that God is not like us, aren't you? He is slow to anger and abounding in love. Even in His anger, He does not sin. His anger is always based on justice. Unlike our anger, His is never prideful or cruel. He is never impatient or arrogant. Never bitter yet often sorrowful.

Through all our faithlessness, He is faithful. He will never abandon us. That work which He began when the spark of His love first ignited in our hearts will be completed on the day of Christ. That perfect day.


Blessings,

References:




Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 16:52

Hello, friends!

It's been a busy week but I did manage to capture a few delights to share with you! I know many of you are still under snow and ice. Perhaps a bit of spring gardening will encourage you!


The knockout roses are doing wonderful this year. All my lantana came back and most of my milkweed has sprouted. The Mexican Bush Sage which bloomed through the snow we had in December hasn't shown any signs of green yet and I'm afraid I might have lost it.
     

Ready to plant is more Mexican Bush Sage, butterfly weed and two "pow-pow" coneflower plants - excited for these to bloom! I also planted a few pentas for instant color.


The creeping jenny I planted a couple of weeks ago is doing well despite the high winds we've been having. With gusts up to 30mph here lately, you've got to wonder if the experience inside the birdhouse is a bit wilder than being out on a limb!

Carolina Wren

This Woodhouse's Scrub Jay posed nicely for me the other day.  


I haven't spotted any ruby-throated hummingbirds yet. I wonder if they got a memo about the weather y'all have been having up north?  I'll close with this week's shots of the current Yard Boss.




It's easy to see why they call them black-chinned hummingbirdsOne of these days I'll catch him with the sun on his chin and you'll see his pretty purple throat. 

What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Blessings,

Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Saturday, April 14, 2018



1 My times are in thy hand;
my God, I wish them there;
my life, my friends, my soul, I leave
entirely to thy care.


2 My times are in thy hand,
whatever they may be;
pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
as best may seem to thee.


3 My times are in thy hand;
why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause
his child a needless tear.


4 My times are in thy hand,
Jesus the Crucified;
those hands my cruel sins had pierced
are now my guard and guide.

***

I don't know when it was, the last time I sang or heard these words from the 19th century hymn writer, William Freeman Lloyd but it is no surprise that the refrain has been playing itself in my mind these last few days.

In the midst of the current political and world climate, it is easy to become fearful, even afraid of what the future may hold.

Lately, I've been finding great comfort in the life of Daniel.

As a young man, Daniel was taken from his life in Jerusalem and carted off to Babylon to serve in the King's household. The book of Daniel, in the Old Testament, spans the next 60 or so years. Daniel was exiled, away from all that he held dear for the rest of his life.

Daniel saw many atrocities against man and endured countless attacks on his faith during his lifetime. He faced death many times, including one night in the lion's den.

Interestingly enough, the only time Daniel expresses fear is when he is in the presence of angelic beings. Daniel 10:7 is one example:
And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. (Dan 10:7-8)
So what does Daniel's life in Babylon have to do with us today?

Daniel was able to live his life in exile, not only live but thrive (Daniel 2 tells us that the King promoted Daniel to a high position and bestowed on him many rich gifts) because he believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is sovereign over all things.

Daniel's ability to face his accusers, to be compassionate to an evil king, and to write the book of Daniel as an encouragement to the Israelites was only possible because of his humble response to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

Daniel had peace because he understood that nothing happens outside of God's ultimate control. This Truth can be difficult to grasp. Firmly believing it, even when we don't understand, comes down to faith.

Faith is born when we bow our heads to Jesus as Lord but it takes flight when we begin believing God's word as Truth. [click to tweet]
The holy God of Israel, the LORD Who saves you, says: "I am the LORD your God, the One who wants to teach you for your own good and direct you in the way you should go. (Isa 48:17)
Spending time with Him and in His word will give us the assurance and peace we need to overcome the fears cultivated by a God-less view of world circumstances. [click to tweet]

Daniel believed having only visions of a victorious end. How much more should we, having experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit given by the risen Savior, believe in the hope that is set before us!

What will it take in your life for you to know that God reigns?

Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 15:52

Time keeps marching on. Spring has tarried long this year for many of you. I wonder, do you wake up and feel like you've tumbled backward through a wardrobe into Narnia?

Fear not. Aslan IS come and spring will, too.

I'm excited to report that I've seen more monarchs already this year than all of last year put together!




This antelope horn milkweed hadn't even opened yet but this guy was doing his best!



There are more wildflowers blooming every day and the butterflies are everywhere!


American Lady and Gray Hairstreak on wild garlic
We had another new visitor to the front yard this week!



The Spotted Towhee!  My pictures are a little fuzzy as he was quite a distance away, hiding in the grass!



I was watching the Cardinals when I spotted his black head and said, "What's that!"



They are native to our area but are not usually seen at the feeders. I suspect this guy was just looking for something different for dinner!

There has been a lot of singing and chasing going on, which is typical for this time of year.



I have more than one pair of Cardinals. Although it is difficult to distinguish at times, the older male has more black feathers on his face. I'm trying to get good pics of all of them so I can get a real count. Is it two or three pair? I'm not sure.




While I was taking pictures of the monarch butterfly (above) the Eastern Bluebird swooped in to say hello. A little while later, a flock of cedar waxwings flew in, hiding in behind the new leaves of the tallow tree. They were gone before I could get a decent photo.

Never a dull moment!

The oak tree blossoms make for an interesting backdrop for our little "yard boss."




What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled week, friends!


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Friday, April 6, 2018

Inspired by . . . Winter's Blessing

The long wait of winter. The patience of spring.

Why endure? and not just endure but find JOY and contentment in the waiting?

What is the blessing of winter? Of any dark, long season of waiting?



New Life.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor 5:17 NKJV)
*** 
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3 NKJV)
Just as when we are born from our mother's womb, we continue to grow and mature after our spiritual birth as well.

Saved. Redeemed. Sanctified. Justified. Love. Faith.

These are all active verbs, working in the life of a believer.

God does not save us and then leave us alone. Beyond the amazing and incomprehensible saving grace of Christ's redemption is a relationship with the God of all creation. [click to tweet] A relationship that deepens as we pursue Him, even as He is pursuing us.

These seasons of waiting on God, often without understanding and sometimes with much pruning, are typically viewed as unfavorable trials.

Our culture has taught us that restfulness and waiting are negative and unproductive activities.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,So are My ways higher than your ways,And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
However, in God's economy, rest is actually a command and waiting increases our faith and reaps a blessing.

While it's true that this world is not our home, God has so much more for us than just stoic endurance here on earth. [click to tweet]

Faith is forged in the silence of our spiritually dry seasons. When we walk as those who are blind and cling fiercely to the hand of the only One Who knows the way.

Our dependence on Him is no crutch. Rather, like the lost puzzle piece, it completes that part of our souls that hunger and yearn for something more.

And in His perfect timing, we emerge like diamonds reflecting His love in the summer sun.




Blessings,


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, #HeartEncouragement,
Thoughtful Thursdays#w2wwordfilledwednesday,
Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments,
#DanceWithJesus; Imparting Grace

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Inspired by . . .  Life thru My Lens 14:52

I hope you all had a wonderful, holy week last week. I was blessed to follow Christ's footsteps through His week. If you're interested in reading my thoughts you can find a link to each day's post on the right side-bar.

My front yard has been as entertaining as ever this week! 

For some reason, the Cardinals prefer our dog's water bowl over my beautiful new fountain. Once the repairs on my ancient birdbath are finished I will have a better option for them.





The hummer count is increasing daily! Once the ruby-throats start passing through things will get really interesting. 



Current "yard-boss"



This time of year, you never know what might be passing through. I spotted an unusual bird last week and was able to get enough pictures to make an ID.



It can be a bit challenging this time of year since so many birds are first-year or immature males.


I'm pretty sure this beauty is an immature yellow-rumped warbler (Audobon's).



The map shows them as a winter visitor. So this guy is likely heading north to the breeding grounds in Canada - maybe even as far north as Alaska! 

It's always fun to see a new bird! Think of all the fun I miss when I'm inside working at my desk!

My perennials are coming along nicely in the garden. And I finally got some annuals planted in the porch pots. Geraniums were my dad's favorite, so I always like to have some around. 




This year, I added creeping jenny to the pots on the railing.




What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled week, friends!




Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday