Veiled Treasures of Spring

Rural East Texas and all her inhabitants seem to awaken from barren winter all at once. Small buds arise from naked branches. Green grass carpets begin to form and wildflowers start to line the winding back roads of country dwellings.

The nature lover in me starts to stir and my brain becomes filled with plans of vegetable gardens and flower beds. My husband and I make our annual trip to a local plant farm for tomato plants, pole beans, peppers, cucumbers and squash as well as floral annuals. Soon the seeds and transplants are strategically placed in the tilled and fertilized soil on our humble one acre homestead. Soon our table will host the bounty.

On Lake Palestine, where we live, drake mallards defend their mates from unwanted aggressors seeking to disrupt their nuptials. The same is true of blue birds, mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, humming birds and many more species. Most bird lovers know they are the last living examples of dinosaurs. At one time I raised five different breeds of ducks and more than a dozen chickens. I downsized last year to just one pair of mandarin ducks. I’m patiently waiting for their descendants.

It is easy to witness newborn mammals. A simple drive down our country roads gives us an awe-inspiring view of calves, foals, and baby goats. But it is not as easy to witness the eggs or fledglings of birds. I’ve lived here for 16 years, and only twice watched as a pair of cardinals built their nest and laid their eggs where they thought they were disguised. The first time a bamboo shade rolled up on our back deck became home to the nest of  expectant parents who took turns sitting on the eggs. Once they hatched it was not long before they learned to fly away. Not long ago I found another nest in one of the rose bushes that line the black chain link fence around our front yard. There were three speckled cardinal eggs. No, I don’t know if it is the same pair of parents but they were busy for quite some time tending faithfully to their duties to their soon-to-be offspring. I was rewarded last week when they both were away from the nest again. With the anticipation of finding new babies, I had my iPhone in hand and when I walked up to the bush three little mouths flew open expecting to be fed. I quickly took a picture after parting the branches and softly withdrew and walked away. Today I returned to see their progress. I was surprised to see that they were fully feathered and not in the nest but two were sitting on the brim of the nest and one on a branch just below. I was able to get a picture, obscured a bit, through the fence. It would be the last time I would see them.

Later in the day, my husband called me to look out into one of my flower beds through the bathroom window. He wanted to know what animal was there because he wasn’t able to tell. I looked and it was a cat and it was eating prey. I was suddenly very heavy-hearted. I went to check on the nest and it was empty. I still don’t know if they were his meal. But I’ve learned in this life that nature is natural. Still I cherish the moments when I’m blessed to witness the veiled treasures of spring.

Cranky April

via Daily Prompt: Cranky

The world has been patiently waiting for April the giraffe to give birth for approximately the last 45 days or perhaps longer. The normal term for a giraffe’s gestation is 15 months, but February had come and gone and one long day stretched into another in anticipation of the new baby’s arrival. Hundreds of thousands each day witnessed on You Tube the live broadcast from Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.

Local, national and international news stations began to report the progress. April was becoming perhaps the most famous giraffe in history. The Adventure Park’s Facebook page had daily morning and evening updates with pictures of her udders which show progression toward labor by the presence or absence of natural wax caps.  At one point You Tube removed the live broadcast siting nudity as the reason (believe it or not). After requests from the viewers to contact them, the broadcast was soon back online.

April’s behavior had remained mostly calm and relaxed throughout the last few months until the last few days. Then the pacing began which is a sign labor is near. Waking up at just before 7 am central time, I went immediately to my laptop and was rewarded with both front hooves of the baby protruding under April’s tail. About 2 hours later he came plopping onto the ground and into the world with over 1 million viewers. With just a little nudging from his mother, the newborn was raising his head and very long neck and observing his new world. Mother and baby were left alone with staff watching close by. Curious father, Oliver, in the pen next to theirs looked on as well.

The vet came in when he felt it was safe with treats to entice April so he could look closely at the approximately 6 foot, 150 pound infant giraffe. He had not anticipated, however, how cranky she would be with an intruder upsetting their bonding. She not only kicked him once, but twice before he could ease out the pen door.

The Animal Adventure Park has had merchandise on sale since the beginning of their broadcast. Toys R US has been advertising on the live feed for the last several days. Today they changed the logo to Babies R US. Soon the site will announce their contest to name the newest member of their giraffe family. Have any ideas? Surf on over to their Facebook page.

 

Measure of Worth

via Daily Prompt: Measure

Forest E. Witcraft, teacher and scholar, once wrote: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or what kind of car I drove…. but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

He was astutely aware that often people measure their worth by the wrong standards. We seek importance in the value of other’s opinions of us. Most of us are taught very young to be successful we need to hit a home run, make a touchdown, bring home straight A’s or make first chair in the band. We are taught to be of value we must compete with others and win. This lie undermines our self-worth.

Other social values are equally damaging. Think of the teenage girl standing in front of a full length mirror. What is she thinking? She is probably comparing herself to the Queen of the Prom, or her favorite female movie star or singer. Perhaps she thinks no one could love her because she carries too much weight in her hips; her hair is too frizzy or too straight; her complexion is flawed; or her eyes are not blue. The list of imperfections can be infinite. The same can be said of boys. They worry they are too short, too fat, too tall, too skinny. Perhaps they struggle with studies and have no athletic ability. Perhaps there is no father at home or the one they have is an alcoholic or simply neglectful of his duties as a father. In many cases, too many, children are abused at home. Who will teach them how to measure their own worth?

If a child doesn’t have a good spiritual foundation they most surely will feel lost, a misfit, or not good enough. On the other hand, if someone shares with them that they are a child of the Lord and He doesn’t make any junk, they can perceive themselves in a different light. The demands of this world can be crushing. Giving a child the gift of knowing throughout their life there is One who will never fail them, is the greatest gift of all. Telling them the Lord loved them so much He gave his only begotten Son for them(John 3:16) is the Truth which can carry them through all things. Knowing “with God all things are possible” can elevate not only their self-worth but their future.

 

 

 

King of Kings

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. I decided to spend a few hours studying Jesus Christ as King since Palm Sunday is all about Jesus entering Jerusalem as King. I see and understand things in “the whole picture.” In other words: When I want to learn a particular subject, I want to know the origin, the facts that support the origin, and the development and conclusion of that subject. So, I followed both Old and New Testament studies that I’ve learned and added new resources I’ve uncovered.

One of my favorite teachers of the Word is Dr. Bill Creasey. He has his entire bible teachings book by book on Audible as well as available on his website. He makes learning interesting and entertaining at the same time. A few years ago, I downloaded his “One Year Bible.” It was so intriguing I finished it in about 4 months. For a more detailed and in-depth study, I then downloaded each book individually one at a time.

Currently in my daily studies, I’m listening to Dr. Creasey’s teachings of the book of Matthew for the second time. In his introduction he makes the distinction between the written languages of both the Old and New Testaments. He explains, ” The bible from Genesis to Malachi was all written in Hebrew except for some very brief portions written in Aramaic.  In the Jewish bible the 39 books are in a different order. There is the Law; the Prophets; and the Writings. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek. Why Greek? In this historical area most people speak a minimum of 3 languages for trade. Greek was the predominate language.” He explains the history by telling the story of Alexander the Great and how he conquered the entire Mediterranean in 331 BC therefore monopolizing trade and thus the rise of the Koine Greek language.  He states, ” Literacy in the New Testament era was universal. All males knew how to read and write, and most females did as well.”

The New Testament was written in the AD 60’s when the authors were getting into their latter years. Matthew was an Apostle (he knew Jesus personally). He taught a predominately Jewish audience. He starts with the genealogy of Jesus.

All Jews at the time understood the royal line of the kings descended from David (MT:1:1-17) NIV. They expected the Messiah to come from David’s line. This is his first mention of Jesus as King. The following scriptures in Matthew also proclaim Jesus as King:

Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)–1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jeruselem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:3-6 (NIV) — 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people of Israel.” * This passage corresponds with Micah 5:2 (NIV)– 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Matthew 4:8-10 (NIV) — 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”

Matthew 9:27 (NIV) –27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Matthew 12:23 (NIV)–23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”)

Matthew 15:22 (NIV)–22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Matthew 21:1-9 (NIV)–1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5″Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you,, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ‘ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey ad the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! ” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Matthew 27:11 (NIV)–11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Matthew 27:27-30–27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of his soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

 

The Unraveling of Freedom

via Daily Prompt: Unravel

There was a time in America when freedom of thought and expression was not only tolerated but promoted. Differences of opinion were discussed civilly and public discourse was interesting. At some point we gradually turned debate into assault, slander, and malicious intent to destroy any person who seeks to think autonomously.

Politically there are still those who don’t identify completely with either party. Their stance is central, being somewhere between the two. They are the ones who had the luxury of education that enhanced individual initiative. Following the masses like lemmings seems to be the course plan in today’s institutions. Students are actually reviled for expressing competing views from their professor’s unmovable, unshakable love for his or her own intellectual prowess. Many give up all research into opposing outlooks. Academia has not only sought to brainwash students to follow only a strict course curriculum to limit individual thinking but it has ostracized faculty which encourage it.

There can be no explanation for this behavior of higher learning restrictive dictatorship other than a plan to control not only the thoughts of future productive citizens, but to control the future itself and to unravel freedom entirely. These people believe themselves to be progressive when their agenda is suppressive. I encourage parents to beware of mainstream academia and carefully seek out the rare campuses which elevate individual advancement.

Learning about and then knowing Christ

When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I remember sitting with my family and listening to our preacher, Bro. Riley, preaching the Easter sermon. He went into great detail of how the Son of God was crucified on the cross. I remember a great pain in my heart and overwhelming sadness really hearing the story for the first time. I heard the words: “He died for our sins.” I thought of all my childhood sins. I would try to do better.

My father and mother were wonderful examples of how to live in the service of others. My dad was prominent as a councilman for the city of South Houston, Texas. He was elected mayor and paved the streets while conserving taxpayers money. His term was cut short however, because he had a massive heart attack on November 26, 1960 (my youngest brother’s birthday) and died on my birthday three days later, November 29, 1960. He and my mother had walked in faith and taught us to praise and to rely on the Lord through prayers. After his death our church attendance dramatically dropped.

The day he died was suppose to be a day of joy, my birthday. Instead my brother and I spent most of the day in bed with our mother as she attempted to comfort us, but instead could not control the overwhelming grief of her own. As I lay there, I came to believe that it was my sin that caused my father’s death and my mother’s pain. Why else would God take him from us on my birthday? It was a message to me. One of the terrible sins I remembered that Easter Sunday a few years earlier I would learn was simple childhood curiosity between myself and the boy next door when we agreed to show the differences to each other of our sexes. It would be many years later before I realized the logic of a 9- yr-old of the heavy responsibility of her father’s death was unfounded to say the least. But I kept the secret in my heart for years to come. Through counseling deep into my adulthood I learned I developed the fear of joy. I was unable to experience joy for the fear that tragedy would happen. I was unloved by God. I hadn’t learned in that sermon God loved me so much He gave his only begotten Son for me.

Several traumatic events would deepen my feelings of worthlessness during my eleventh and twelfth years. It was in my 13th year God sent me a messenger. His name was Billy Graham and he was preaching at the Astrodome. I was invited and attended with friends. I heard his words clearly. He was speaking to me. I felt the deliverance from the pain I had felt for so long. I joined thousands of others to receive Christ as my Savior.

Over the years since, I have lost faith more than once. When times seemed unbearable I would drift away from the very source which could carry me through. Most of those times were in my very young Christian life, but the death of my own son made me angry with God. I spent 18 months after my 49th year lost in the wilderness. But Jesus pursued me.  I was a traveling nurse in East Texas at the time and I got a long term contract with a hospital in Lufkin, Tx. which is about an hour and a half drive each way to a 12 hour shift. When I arrived the first night I was to work, I met my fellow nurses on the Ortho-Neuro unit. One was a preacher’s wife and the other a very devout Christian as well. They could see and hear my pain at losing my son. They began to help me through prayer and understanding the bible more deeply than I had ever before.

Ten years later my husband sustained a critical brain injury. The doctor’s had no hope for his recovery. I was told he would be a vegetable. However, they did not know the power of the people at church and on social media, friends and neighbors, family and all their friends and family. I don’t know the number of the people who prayed, but my husband not only lived he learned to walk and talk again normally. He lives a happy life for the most part. He only gets frustrated when he realizes he is limited with some of the things he used to do that he can’t anymore. But his faith is strong and mine stronger than ever because everyday I depend on my Lord.

This blog is an introduction to blogs to come. Today is Palm Sunday. It is an appropriate day to start to share the love of Christ through his teachings. If only one person finds value to their lives from my sharing the greatest love in mine, it will be worth the journey. I hope you join me in my next blog sharing the life, death and resurrection of the King of Kings.

I am not a preacher or teacher. I’m a student who desires to know the word and history of the bible. As a student I research many articles, commentaries, sermons, passage guides and use tools for easy access to history and facts available for all denominations. A great wealth of information I gain from Logos Bible Software 7 by Faithlife. My intention is to give credit to each source I draw from. I align my faith as Methodist which is the foundation given to me by my parents, but I’ve learned through all denominations and all Christian and Jewish text. I maintain that I have no bias and will not attempt to persuade or recruit anyone to believe exactly as I believe. Some religions outside Christianity and Christian denominations I’ve found attempt to insist that their view and beliefs are the only way to understand the word of God. I believe we are each individuals with the ability to listen, read, research and understand through using our own intelligence ( and hopefully guidance from the Holy Spirit). I simply want to share the word as I understand it and hope I would stimulate you to share your experiences with me.