Perishable to Imperishable Seeds

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Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Blankets…so vivid and lush in the Texas Hill Country this past week.  The peak of wildflower season here…we decided to venture there for a few days.  It was beautiful.

God’s Glory shone all around us wherever we drove.  Winding Farm-to-Market roads, County Roads, and two-lane Texas Highways.  Flowers everywhere.  BUT…photographs of these flowers do not give the real carpet-effect on this screen.  Each stem stands about 6-8 inches high…some clumped together…some spread apart.  The colors are so much brighter in person.  You know what I am saying!

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A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:6-8

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Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

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As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,

and His righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep His covenant

and remember to do His commandments.

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,

and His kingdom rules over all.  Psalm 103:13-19

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YES…these beautiful flowers were at their peak while we were there, but they will fade.  The season is now to see them at their best.  The beauty…clearly there.  God created these amazing flowers.  He created us…you and me.  We, too, will fade in these physical bodies, but if we are born again in Christ Jesus, we are of imperishable seed .  We will meet the Lord in Heaven one day.  These Scriptures tell us that God’s Word does not fade, nor does His love.

Father God, You are my All.  You are my Creator and the Love of my life.  You made these beautiful flowers for my eyes to behold.  The colors and the fragrances remind me that You are near.  Father, thank You for allowing us to get away for a few days in order to see the splendor of Your natural world.  We enjoyed it so.  You show us Yourself as we journeyed along the winding roadways of the Hill Country.  Oh, Father, You are truly Glorious.  You remind me that I am dust and am fading as I age, but You sent Your Son Who took my sins away.  I have been reborn with imperishable seed and will live in eternity with You.  Oh, Father, what a gift!  These little flowers remind me of the awesome sacrifice You made for me.  Truly, I pray, in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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For a brief history of Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification desires for the nation as well as Texas:

“Decades ago, Mrs. (Lady Bird) Johnson recognized that our country was losing its natural landscapes and its natural beauty. As much as 30 percent of the world’s native flora is at risk of extinction.”

Getting on the subject of beautification is like picking up a tangled skein of wool,” she wrote in her diary on January 27, 1965. “All the threads are interwoven — recreation and pollution and mental health, and the crime rate, and rapid transit, and highway beautification, and the war on poverty, and parks — national, state and local.  It is hard to hitch the conversation into one straight line, because everything leads to something else.”

Mrs. Johnson wanted to beautify the nation’s capital during her time as First Lady.  She and others did so much to make Washington, D.C., a capital city to be proud of as they filled the Mall, parks, and streets with flowers and new landscaping, refurbished run-down neighborhoods, and so much more.   She told the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital, “Over the past three years, the people in this room have produced nearly two and a half million dollars to take steps toward making this nation’s capital more livable and more beautiful. Not only is your handiwork enjoyed by the three million people who live and work in this city, it can be seen also by seventeen million visitors who come here each year, and our work has inspired other cities across the country.” 

She played a large part in getting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 into and through Congress, although she would have liked it better if it had passed without so many amendments.  It called for control of outdoor advertising along the nation’s Interstate Highway System and other federal primary highway systems. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

From the time Mrs. Johnson left the White House until she died in 2007, Mrs. Johnson never stopped desiring to beautify this country.  Mrs. Johnson and “actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes.  First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants.”  

Mrs. Johnson (and the Wildflower Center) encouraged the planting of seeds along roadways.  Many Texas highways and byways share the fruit of this labor in bright and brilliant color each Spring!

Birding Teaches Me about God

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I am a birder at heart although I must look in my bird book for the species-type more often than I actually know the bird I am looking at.  I love to see the winter migratory birds come through here each September-October and on their return flight in April-May.  Here in South Texas, we often see huge flocks of White Pelicans circling above so silently.  The Sandhill Cranes, the Whooping Cranes, Baltimore Orioles, Warblers, Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers and Hummingbirds of all types make this route fun for us.

About two years ago, I discovered Cornell University’s bird cameras.  They have a number of bird cams set up around the country and in Canada enabling us to look upon the feeding habits of many birds at a feeder near a pond and in backyards.  They also have cameras on nesting birds such as owls in Indiana, Texas and Georgia, Albatross in Kauai, and Red-Tailed Hawks in New York.  (I have a sister who lives in Kauai so I first found this site due to the Albatross camera.  What a unique bird that is!! and so fun to watch.  Plus I know what kind of weather my sister is having!!)  It is quite wonderful to see the babies grow up right before my (camera-) eyes!  These cameras can be found through the Cornell University AllAboutBirds.

Then there is the camera in Washington, D.C. where we are watching two Bald Eaglets in a high nest in a Tulip Poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum, operated by the United States Department of Agriculture.  We can watch the parents, named “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” feeding, protecting and watching over them.  The babies were born March 18th and the 20th so they are quite young yet, but developing rapidly!  One parent goes out to fish while the other watches over the young.  Then a fish is brought in for feeding, and often, both parents will feed both babies.  They are both thriving at this time.  The parents are diligent to keep these two fed and protected.  This couple came to this spot to nest in 2014.  It was the first time since 1947 that Bald Eagles have nested here.  This family of Bald Eagles can be found at eagles.org…. 24/7…yes, even at night.  They have infrared cameras on them.

The care by various birds is a mirror-image of how our God cares for us.  He created us. He cares for us.  He protects us.  He loves us.  He is patient and kind.  He is our Shelter, our Refuge, our Guide, our Deliverer, our Life, our Provider.

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He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions,

and under His wings you will find refuge;

His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.  Psalm 91:1-6

…but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

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Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that flutters over its young,

spreading out its wings, catching them,

bearing them on its pinions,

the Lord alone guided him,

no foreign god was with him.  Deuteronomy 32:11-12

As birds flying, so will the LORD of Hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it.  Isaiah 31:5

“The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”  Ruth 2:12

…for You have been my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.  
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“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”  Psalm 50:10-1

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.  Matthew 8:20

Father God, You are everything to me.  I am like these young birds who need to be brought up safely and with care.  You are my All in all.  I am so very thankful that You have always loved me so that I have not been left to go life alone (unless I chose that path…which I did).  But no more, Father.  I want to stay near and follow Your path for my life.  I want to be obedient to Your call.  The Albatross fledgling will learn to fly on its own as the parents have gone to sea by the time they need to learn to fly.  But You have given them an innate ability to fly.  I watched one go off the cliff, down, ending up walking back up the cliff to try again.  He made a few practice runs and then soared off the cliff and out to sea.  You have created all, Father.  I love watching these birds because they are Yours.  They show me the lovingkindness You have for me.  They show me that things are not always easy either.  Things do not always work out as we would like them, but Your ways are not mine nor are Your thoughts mine.  But I am in Your thoughts and I know You love me as I journey.  I thank You, Father.  In the Strong Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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For All…

O God, we have heard with our ears,

our fathers have told us,

what deeds You performed in their days,

in the days of old:

You with Your own hand drove out the nations,

but them You planted;

You afflicted the peoples,

but them You set free;

for not by their own sword did they win the land,

nor did their own arm save them,

but Your right hand and Your arm,

and the light of Your face,

for You delighted in them.  Psalm 44:1-3

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Remembering…

Pausing…

You did it all, Father.  Times past, and times today.

Knowing Who…

Praising God…

Yet God my King is from of old,

working salvation in the midst of the earth.  Psalm 74:12

Bowing with a humble and gracious heart… 

The living, the living, he thanks You,

as I do this day;

the father makes known to the children

your faithfulness.  Isaiah 38:19

Telling our children about our Father God…

Reminding generations of Whom they came from…

What He did for us, for all and everything…

One generation shall commend your works to another,

and shall declare your mighty acts.  Psalm 145:4

Today and yesterday…

God’s power and strength in the midst of our weakness…

God’s wisdom when we know not…

God’s might when the enemies surround…

Joy and praise to the Holy One of Israel

…to the God Who delights in all creation

…to the God Who lights this world and takes away the darkness

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In singing this psalm we ought to give God the praise of what he has formerly done for his people, to represent our own grievances, or sympathize with those parts of the church that are in distress, to engage ourselves, whatever happens, to cleave to God and duty, and then cheerfully to wait the event.   Matthew Henry (from his Commentary)

Father God, You are worthy of my praises.  I am on my knees in quiet as I thank You for everything You have ever done for me, with me, in me, over me.  You have graced me with Your Love and Your Salvation.  You have protected me with You right hand.  You comfort me in times of need.  You show me Your righteousness through Jesus, Your Son, and a glimpse of Your righteousness through the lives of godly people here on earth.  Praise You, Father, for all goodness and kindness that You shower upon me.  You are Holy, LORD.  You are Grace and Love and Might and Power and Peace.  You are my All in all.  I love You, LORD.  I am praying in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.    

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photo:  ipad wallpapers with Scripture added