Bullies…Even in Birds = Brokenness, #1LinerWed

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After reading the scifihammy post this afternoon about a Fiscal Shrike bird she likes, she also made the comment of it having the reputation of being a bit of a bully. I looked on-line to see how many birds are considered mean and was shocked at how many there were. I have one in my yard that I run off when it gets on the feeder because it bullies the other birds and is known to destroy the other bird’s nest and break their eggs. My bully is the European Starling – taking survival of the fittest to the next level I guess.

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The iridescent coloring really is remarkable. But I was surprised that one of the meanest birds is a bird I have been familiar with all my life – also a beautifully marked bird, the Red Winged Blackbird, known also for its loud mouth.

I saw a story with a video of an adult killing one of its young. I didn’t watch the video. I know this world is broken and meanness is abounding but I don’t want to watch it on purpose. But I remember back to a couple of stories written on the meanness of birds, like Edgar A. Poe’s poetry or Alfred Hitchcock’s movie. Such a tiny creature in the grand scheme of things.

This is a true visual representation of just how broken this world is. We see the large animals in Africa fighting and we are kind of accepting of that but I don’t think we realize birds are just a smaller version of wildlife where the survival of the fittest reigns.

That was not God’s initial intent. Not that I have any clue as to what God really thinks but I believe in my inner most part that meanness was not on His agenda. That came from that other “being” trying to discredit all the good that was created for its beauty and enjoyment by his lies and trickery.

So I remind you even more the importance of kindness shared throughout your world, to man and beast alike. Will the beasts understand what you are doing? Not at first but in time, repeated kindness is always remembered. Will man understand your kindness without thinking you have an ulterior motive? Maybe not but be kind anyway. Kindness is a reflection of God’s love and a shimmering hope of better things to come. Be the good example of trying to show unbrokenness in a broken world and always be kind.

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Rise and Stand Tall

Life can be scary and overwhelming when those floodwaters of life seem to dump on top of your head and threaten to drown you. But I encourage you today to rise and stand tall. God has not forgotten you. Scripture tells us over and over that he is always there beside us. Deuteronomy 31:6 says ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.’Then all through Joshua, II Chronicles, Psalms, Isaiah and Hebrews, he reminds us over and over ‘I will never forsake you.’ Then there is a full page of reference notes of God saying how much he loves you- I Chronicles 17:13, ‘I will never take my love from you.’

Here in the midwest we are beginning to see the river start to go down. Second street in sections is dry and the chairs at the Le Claire Park band stand can be seen poking their backs out of the water, standing tall. I thought the picture below showed the resilience that nature shows us about their survival and if they can rise and stand tall, then we must as well. God always shows us small signs that he is with us every step, just look around.

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Rise and stand tall

These tulips are a testimony of survival as their street is still underwater and we should follow their lead, rise above the floodwaters of life and stand tall. God will be standing right next to us.

May you all have a calm and beautiful weekend. I know some parts of the nation are still having major issues of storms; my prayers for you is safety and feeling God’s peace. And in the midst of all storms, there is usually a moment when kindness will be needed. I remind you to always be kind when the helplessness of life can effect us all.

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Weeping Lilies

There is an old legend that many people don’t know about, I was one of those, but it says that for every drop of blood that fell from Jesus while he was on the cross, a lily grew. That’s a pretty remarkable legend. I was doing a research for a poem about Easter lilies and that’s how I came upon that legend.

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The lily in my living room

The whiteness of the lily represents the purity of Christ. The shape of the lily represents a trumpet as it blows to welcome in the king.

Tonight we had a church service to tell the story of Jesus last day on  earth. the horrifying cruelty in the way he was beaten, ridiculed and then crucified. The music was soft and mournful to help set the mood for this dark day. We left the sanctuary quietly to maintain the funeral like mood of death.

When I walked in the house, it was just getting good dark so I turned on the lamp by my sofa where my lily is sitting. Its fragrance has been beautiful filling my house with fresh gentleness for several days as three of four blooms have open to share their love; one new bloom beginning to open this evening. I reached over to smell the blooms and was amazed to see a water drop on the bloom and I wondered where it came from. Nothing on the ceiling, nothing close by that could have done that. So I looked at the other blooms. They all had small drops of moisture on each bloom. I am sure there is probably a scientific explanation but to me…it was weeping. Flowers weeping for Jesus’ death and Jesus’ weeping for us. We all know that creation is raging and wanting to be reconnected with Eden but can not be. So creation weeps.

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Same bloom as bloom above three days later.
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Bloom on opposite side

So understand what all of nature knows, that Jesus loves you and weeps for you and has compassion for wherever you are or whatever you are going through. Feel His love and share his love with kindness.

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Dark Day of Mourning

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Today we mourn the pain and sorrow of ourselves and what Jesus did for us on the cross. His love for us is so strong; stronger than a parents love for a child as we are His children.

Jeremiah 13:3 tells us – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

He loves you regardless of how well you think you are doing to be worthy of His love. As Jeremiah says I love you with an everlasting love, a love that flows from eternity with out limits or conditions.

Today’s devotion from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young remind us that on this day he showed us just how much he loved us. He died for us so that we may live. So on this day of sadness and reflective mourning, know that you are loved more than you can imagine and His love will always remain.

Even though this is a day of mourning, lets us feel His love warm us and let us share in  His loving-kindness for others to feel His astounding love.

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Horrifying to Amazing, Worship

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Even with the roof debris scattered on the floor, the cross remains…and seems to be glowing.

So many feelings have run through us over the tragedy at Notre Dame. Watching it blaze, knowing what the building stood for over the centuries. The history that took place in that building. The love the people of Paris, France and around the world people had for this building. The art it contained. Such a loss, and yet, now as the dust is settling, we are amazed at what was not lost. The millions of people who visit this place daily were not there. The most sacred artifacts were saved. A lot of the artwork was saved. Some of the beautiful stained glass windows as in the beautiful rose window was saved. The fireman did an amazing job saving as much of the structure as they did from the over 200 foot high flames that rose about this structure with an intense heat that I could never imagine.

The unity of the people on the streets as they sang hymns in loving memory of what it used to be but I think the comment I heard says a lot about this tragedy and the fact it is Holy week. As Christ died this week, he arose to bring new life. This building will again rise to bring new life. My hope is that the love and passion felt in the streets as it seemed the building would die, would remain and go forward in the Godly love that is to come out of any building of worship of our Father.  However, Acts 7:48 reminds us that ‘The Most high does not live in houses made by man.’ We must never worship the building or anything in the building. And we must also remember that we who follow Christ have Christ living in us and we together are the church. We go to worship in a specified building to honor him for what he did for us on the cross. This is Holy week and that must be our focus, whether we are a fine church or a tent meeting, needs to be Christ and what He did for us.

Jansen-photo challenged us for today’s Tuesday Photo Challenge on Worship in  honor of the tragedy of Notre Dame.

I am enclosing pictures of my church as it is nearly 200 years old and has many beautiful stained glass windows. It would be tragic for us if we lost it but we know we would continue onward. In 1955 a tornado took off the tall spire of this church and it was not replaced when repairs were done.

Below are the 3 large windows that I thought you might enjoy. All of the windows in the sanctuary and parlor are beautiful stain glass that reflect color all through the room when the sun is shining.

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My favorite. Jesus carrying us, His beloved lambs.
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Baptism by John
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Jesus in His youth

As we focus on the meaning of this week, Holy Week, let us remember to share the love God shared so richly with us. You never know what tragedy someone may be going through in their own life so always remember to be kind. Kindness is a reflection of God’s love.

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Undying Love

Again I have been inspired by a photograph from  Heaven’s Sunshine. Irene Tron takes wonderful pictures of nature which I have used several times to write about. Her photo called Holding On amazed me as the petals of one flower seem to wrap themselves around a fellow flower as it died. It spoke of the fellowship we should all have in taking care of each other as we go through the trials of life. If you have not visited Irene’s blog, I suggest it. It is a good read and has wonderful photography.

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MY DEAREST, MY DARLING

My dearest, my darling, I will always love thee

When remembering the beauty we both loved to see.

The swaying of the wind as it moved through our lives

Through good times and bad, we managed to survive.

I wrap my fingers tightly around your growing limp hand

In hopes to keep you from falling down to cold hard sand.

I reach back in memory of all that we had and share

Thinking those who don’t know us may not even care.

Remember this my darling as you are taken away from me

You are my dearest my darling, I will always love thee.

                                    -Anita Neal-

 

And as always I close in reminders to always show your kind side. The kindness you share may be the only kindness felt by the one recipient.

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