I have been trying to post a devotional to the blog every Sunday. I was a little late this week in doing so, but after hearing a soloist at church sing the hymn “Fairest Lord Jesus,” I had a different sort of inspiration for a post — to illustrate the hymn’s lyrics with images in slideshow form.
You should be able to play the music video below it and follow along with the lyric slideshow.
“But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:26 NKJV
On Monday of this past week, I was carrying a puppy down my deck stairs outside. On the final step, I tripped forward, landing on concrete. I am blessed to have survived the fall without a serious injury, only some “road rash” and bruising on my right knee and leg and a little on the back side of my right hand (though this was sufficiently painful.) I fell in such a way as to protect that puppy, without putting a hand out to break my fall.
I later contemplated how the puppy handled the fall. She seemed to be unscathed, not just physically but emotionally. She never yelped or showed any fear or concern. A friend joked that puppies are made out of rubber and just bounce. That might be … metaphorically speaking, at least. I think it might also be that she felt held and safe and had complete trust in me as her caretaker that everything would be fine.
Have you ever done a trust fall, one of those exercises where you fall backwards, perhaps even blindfolded, into the arms of several others, trusting them to catch you? Do you remember your father playing with you as in the photo above tossing you into the air? Did you ever fear that Dad would drop you? I grew up with three older brothers eight, ten and twelve years older. As a child, I remember one brother actually tossing me over to a second brother who caught me. I never worried I’d be dropped.
As believers, that’s exactly how we should feel in the arms of God our Father, even when everything is turning upside-down and topsy turvy, when life circumstances seem frightening and uncertain. While Jesus was out in the boat in the middle of the storm with His disciples, He was sleeping at first. How did He react when the disciples woke Him in alarm? “Why are you fearful oh you of little faith?” and then He stopped the storm. Our level of trust should not change with the atmosphere. We are held in the arms of the Father, and He will not let us go.
Lord, we are often of little faith. Like another father in the New Testament, we say we believe but please help us with our unbelief as well. Help us to put our perfect trust in You. Amen
And just because this demonstrates little dogs having child-like trust …
And to remind us of God the Father’s love for us …
I happened to be reminded recently of this Billy Graham quote put together with art by one of my favorite popular artists, Mary Engelbreit. I thought I would tack this to the end with a “Happy Father’s Day!” to the dads out there. I think I posted more about Father’s Day this year than about Mother’s Day, and that just happened to be the writing rhythm I found myself in rather than a belief that one role is more important than the other.
Matthew 6: 28 – 30NKJV “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
I took this photo of the lilies above this past weekend. Beautiful, aren’t they? Recently, I commented on a fellow blogger’s iris photo, and I said that a fashion designer could take inspiration from it. At the time, I wasn’t really thinking about the passage in Matthew cited above, but it fits perfectly.
Here is an iris I photographed at the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.
Look at this iris. There does seem to be a parallel between it and women’s gowns, doesn’t there? It’s diaphanous, soft and ruffly. It made me think designers could take inspiration from flowers.
It made me wonder, “Has a fashion designer been inspired by the shapes and textures of flowers?” I looked up “gowns inspired by flowers” on Google, and here is some of what I found.
I also found some fashion illustrations from Grace Ciao, a fashion illustrator from Singapore, where she incorporates actual flower petals into her illustrations.
You can see how man can be inspired by God’s design in nature. God tells us in this passage that even (King) Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as well as one of these flowers of the field — which are only temporary and fade. God cares for us more than He does for the flowers, so why do we worry?
Why do we worry? For me, I think I feel a sense of responsibility for myself. Where my responsibility ends and where God’s provision begins can feel a little confusing. We do what we can, but there are circumstances (like world-wide pandemics) that aren’t really under our control.
I had been planning on this post for a while, but through some quirk of timing — God’s timing? — for the first time in a long while, I did some major clothes shopping this past weekend. I had a shortage of certain summer clothes. I had very few summer dresses or shorts that fit right. A little doggy ate up my last pair of summer sandals (true story!) I made do with what I had for a while, but it worked out that God provided, and I felt I was able to get several new things.
God does expect us to take certain actions in faith, but then we can expect God to do what we can’t do for ourselves.
“No greater love has any man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 NKJV
In 2006, during a mission in the Adhamiyah section of Baghdad, Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis was riding in a truck with four other soldiers when an insurgent dropped a grenade into the truck from above. McGinnis announced the grenade and then pinned it down with his body, although his comrades claim he had time to jump out of the truck and save himself. He sacrificed his own life and saved the lives of four others.
On Memorial Day, we acknowledge the soldiers who died sacrificially so that we could live and live in freedom. The Bible says in John 15:13, “No greater love has any man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” This is exactly what McGinnis did for his friends.
Jesus died sacrificially, but His death accomplished something different than that of a soldier’s. Through His death, we can have not only a fulfilled earthly life but an eternal life in heaven. Only a sinless, perfect lamb, the Lamb of God, could accomplish this for us.
Thank you, Lord, for our freedoms, for the sacrifice of soldiers and for Your son’s sacrifice for us. Thank you, that through Him, we can be reconciled to You, put on His righteousness and enjoy heaven with You.
Psalms 19:1 NKJV “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.”
The heavens, or the sky, can have a lot of special looks. There is the beauty of a multi-colored sunrise or sunset or the painted skies of the aurora borealis as seen in the far northern parts of the world.
Rainbows are lovely also with the full spectrum of color.
A stormy sky when lightning strikes can be impressive and majestic.
Space as seen through a telescope, such as these nebulae, is an awesome sight.
The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork,” in Psalms 19:1. It is evident from observing the heavens that they must have a Creator. No one would ever look at a spectacular work of man’s creativity such as Michelangelo’s David, a Rolex watch or a spaceship and think that these things came about as the result of chance, random processes or an explosion. We understand that they are the results of creative design. In the same way, the heavens declare the glory of God.
Dear Lord, thank You for the beauty of Your creation and for the ability to see Your glory in it. Help us to reflect on You as we observe the world around us.