“In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NET)
In my travels near & far over many years, I have often found things in nature shaped like a heart. Each time I am reminded of how much God loves me & you and is always making Himself known to us.
I am also reminded that He does not give up on us. He is faithful to help us when we call out to Him.
Even when I am off in a dozen different directions, scarcely giving Him a thought. He is thinking about me. So I take a minute to focus on His heart. Our amazing God & Creator loves His creation, you and I, made in His Image…and I pause, take a deep breath…the very breath He gives me…and I praise Him! He is worthy to be praised!
Jesus tells us to abide in Him. Not just a suggestion, but a command.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”John 15:4
Abide. What does that mean.
The dictionary definitions are—1: to remain in, to stay stable or fixed 2: to continue in something, to persist, to pursue 3: to tarry, to linger
We need to be connected to the vine. As a branch, it cannot get nutrients without being attached. I remember growing cucumbers. We put up a fence for the vine to grow and as it branched out the tiny cucumbers began to grow. Some grew this way and some went that way. I went out a few days later hoping to get some for my salad.
On one side of the fence I found several yummy cucumbers, but on the other side, I saw shriveled up cucumbers, smaller than a few days earlier. There was no fruit, or vegetables in this case. What happened??
Looking closer, I discovered that one of the branches, as it went over the fence, it got caught and broke off from the vine. Without the nutrients and support from the vine, the cucumbers shriveled up and died.
When we are not attached to Jesus, the vine…we too will not bear fruit. We need to stay attached, to tarry in His Presence.
Abide can also mean to tarry. It reminds me of the song, “In the Garden”“I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known”
Oh to tarry in the Presence of Jesus, what a sweet picture.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Are you in a dark place? Feeling overwhelmed? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to do things the way God has called you to do them…and yet no results? You see no difference?
Hold on. Just as the Monarch caterpillar waits patiently within its’ chrysalis to be transformed…so are you being transformed. Being a child of God makes you a new creation. The old ways of the flesh have passed and the ways of the Spirit are emerging.
Don’t get me wrong, it takes time to change. God has a much different time table than we do. Be patient.
Just like in the picture. The beautiful Monarch butterfly seemingly hidden, cannot see the beauty of it’s wings. It is dark in there. She has to be still & wait. No wriggling & fussing like I sometimes do.
We too, must wait and TRUST our CREATOR & FATHER GOD. We must have FAITH that He knows what He is doing.
Take a closer look, the black outline of the wings are showing! Just a few more days. Breaking forth from the darkness is so close! If the Monarch would quit now, it would miss the new creation it will become. You can be so close to emerging from your dark place too!
You & I are beautiful, new creations in CHRIST. Maybe in your darkness, you cannot see your changes. I can see the beauty of your wings. Just wait. God has so much more for you!
God and His stunning creation always amazes and inspires me. I am especially fond of the Monarch butterfly and their life cycle! This Monarch recently hatched and we can already see the signature black, white & yellow strips. It is the size of a fat grain of rice today at one day old.
Check out milkweed plants on your property…hopefully you don’t mow them down! It is the ONLY source of food for the Monarch caterpillars.
Look for little circle nibble marks and it is usually a Monarch caterpillar happily munching!
We are all fighting some type of battle. Relationship issues, job issues, too many bills and not enough money, sadness, brokenness, hopelessness, and on & on it goes…
You & I have the opportunity every day to make a positive difference in those around us.
Look at our butterfly friends. Butterflies gently land on a flower, take a drink and in doing so, they help to pollinate the flower. Then they leave without causing any harm. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we could gently come along side of someone, give them a kind, encouraging word and do no harm?
God’s Word encourages us to do the same thing:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
One afternoon when I was in Aruba, I met this girl (I think she’s a girl). She was hanging out at the pizza place and when I walked by, she came over to the edge of the deck and watched me closely. I took a couple of pictures and this one makes me think she is saying, “Hey, this is my good side!”
It makes me think of how wonderful God made all things. The creativity in this iguana, all the iridescent colors, the spikes, and the scales. As I was looking at the scales, I noticed several different types on the same iguana!
Doing research I learned that Iguanas have varying types of scales covering different areas of their body, for example, there are some large round scales scattered around the neck area and they overlap. The scales on the top trunk of their body are thicker and more tightly packed than on the belly. The scales have a variety of colors that seem to glow in the sunlight. I noticed a white button sized bump under her neck area. What is that? It is a round scale known as a sub-tympanic shield or helmet scale. Some biologists speculate that it is used as a ‘bluff’ eye to ward off predators. Neat!
God created this iguana with such beauty but also equipped her to survive the Aruba heat. She finds shade under bushes or uses her razor sharp claws to quickly climb in the trees. She is far from defenseless. Part of her defense is her tail. On average over half her length is her tail. She uses it for balancing when climbing, as a wavelike propellant while swimming, and as a formidable whip-like weapon. She is also a master of disguise, using camouflage to hide from predators. So cool!
Wonderfully made and equipped to thrive in her environment. So are you and I.
We are wonderfully made. Our Father God says so.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 (ESV)
Created in His Image. God’s Image.
“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
I will praise God for all the beauty as I look around this earth He created for us! I am thankful I got to spend some time really looking at the beauty in this girl and she was happy to show me her best side!
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value that many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
My husband, Michael and I were sitting in our living room recently. We have a big picture window with bird feeders attached on and around the window. A sparrow was sitting on one of the feeders and kept looking in. It would fly up to the glass and put its feet on the window like it was trying to fly in. It did this over and over. I had to put a decal on the window so it wouldn’t hurt itself.
Michael said , “God’s eye is on the sparrow and I know He’s watching me.” I had heard that line before. I looked it up and it is a song written by Civilla Durfee Martin in 1905 and music written by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel in 1905. Part of the song goes like this…
“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.” ‘
“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
It got me to thinking about how much God loves us and thinks about us. He is watching me. He is aware of my situation. He searches the whole earth for us, for me and for you. He protects and strengthens His children. We are valued. The very hairs on our head, He has counted and He knows!
Not one thing happens in our lives that He is not aware of, that He is not in control of, or that He cannot help us with. I am full of joy to be called His child…how about you?