reflection, Scenery

Overlooking

As we prepare for another trip to Jamaica, I thought it would be good to share a photo from last summer. This photo was taken at sunrise down by the water. I’ve written about that tree before and how different it looks from below compared to from above.

Maybe because the views of the water and the sunrises are so spectacular, I don’t usually even look in the direction of the tree.

How often do we overlook the beauty around us?

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reflection

Labels

There is a funny story that goes with this photo. We were running a race out in Nebraska which was mostly on country roads. As we came up to this herd of cattle, they were all standing around the water. As we got closer, all of them ran away except for this one bull. He looked like he was ready to take us on.

This made me wonder if there is some “alpha dog” equivalent for cattle. Actually, having spent no time on farms, I know very little about cattle. Maybe you are like me and don’t even know the correct terms to use for cattle.

Cow: female that has had at least one calf

Heifer: female that has not had a calf

Bull: mature male used for breeding

Steer: male that has been castrated

And not all males have horns; some females have horns, depending on the breed.

Our minds have an amazing capacity for pattern recognition and we like to assign labels for common patterns. This obviously can be helpful. Unfortunately, we often apply labels to people. These labels can be confusing and sometimes downright hurtful. Here is a good label – children of God.

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reflection, Scenery

Patmos

This is a photo of the island of Patmos, which was one of the places I was most looking forward to seeing on our recent pilgrimage. There is a cave on Patmos believed to be the location where John received the visions recorded in the book of Revelations. We were able to visit this cave which is now enclosed within a building.

Patmos was not at all what I was expecting. It was a bigger island and much more populated than when I thought it would be. We were told that the island shuts down from November through February-March.

I never thought about the Book of Revelations as anything but a book of prophecy. However, it seems clear that it was written as words of both encouragement and warning to the early Christians suffering persecution.

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reflection

Dawn

Who shut within doors the sea,

when it burst forth from the womb,

When I made the clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling bands?

When I set limits for it

and fastened the bar of its door,

And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,

and here shall your proud waves stop?

Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning

and shown the dawn its place

For taking hold of the ends of the earth,

till the wicked are shaken from it?

Job 38:8-13

(Photo of sunrise in our neighborhood last week)

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reflection

Tilling Soil

I was out running a few weeks ago and saw what looked like grass seeds on the trail. I had a couple of thoughts. The first was that it wasn’t likely that grass was going to grow on this path! The second was about the parable of the sower and the seed. I realized that it really isn’t the purpose of a path to grow grass. Obviously, the purpose is to allow us to get from one place to another place.

The common interpretation of the parable is that the path represents those individuals whose hearts are hardened and do not receive God’s word. Just as there is a reason why the path is hardened ground, there is also a recent for a hardened heart. Some may harvest, some may sow seeds, others must till the soil.

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reflection, Scenery

Discernment

This is a view of the Corinth Gulf from the city of Delphi. Delphi was the home of the famous oracle, who was consulted by famous leaders from around the world for several hundred years. The oracle was always an older woman, chosen from the peasants of the area. She sat on a tripod over an opening (“chasm”), from which fumes would arise and put her into a trance. Her utterings were then interpreted by the temple priests and were stated almost like riddles.

Obviously, we take a different approach to discerning God’s will today!

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