Tag Archives: Nature

Soaking up more summer: Thank you, God


This morning, I am sitting outside on the porch swing.  The wind is blowing; the sun is shining;

the birds are chirping; and the wind chimes are playing melodies.


My summer office is often my porch swing.  Possum, my Havanese, sits with me—sometimes Ralph the Bassadore, and today add in the 8-week-old chocolate labradoodle Sturgis in for a visit, do too.  It is a piece of heaven here on earth.


When I sit outside like this, I am in awe of this world God created for us. I have shared how I enjoy sitting outside at night, too, watching the heavens glisten, counting jets, satellites and meteors.


I sit, I read, I listen, and I feel such an integral part of God’s world. How anyone can deny such a reality baffles me.  I understand evolution.  I understand nature’s cycle of life.  I feel a relationship with my pets.  And I know I have a responsibility to care and nurture the world around me.


For years I have used a signature in my emails that places a perspective I have:  Love God.  Love life.  Love one another.


Hopefully those three statements are self-explanatory; but some might not fully grasp the all-encompassing statements.


Love God.

As the air blows my hair and refreshes my skin on this hot summer day, I sense God with me.  All the stories of creation come alive in moments like these.  I thank Him for all of creation and for me to have all the senses (sight, taste, smell, hear, and touch) so I can experience this world in which we live.


Love life.

Obviously I have already referenced loving the living world in which I life, but to love life is broader than even the living environment in which we reside.


Loving life means our human life, too.  Sometimes it is difficult to see the good in one’s life due to illness, financial stress, poor relationships and more.  But life is what God has given us and I pray that I use it to the best of my ability; to use it for the glory of God—as we have heard proclaimed in worship and in conversation.


Loving life means living life as Jesus teaches us to live.  We must respect our own selves, but also others. No one lives in solitude, so our interactions map out our life’s journey.  The journey will not be easy as potholes, steep mountains and deep valleys will dot the road map of our lives; but loving life allows one to manage the challenges .


Managing means following the example of Jesus.  Look at others and remember the Golden Rule:  Love one another as you want to be loved.  How straight forward, how simple can Jesus make it.


Love one another.

Loving our family and our friends may be easy; but truly loving others who are beyond that spectrum can be challenging.  Maybe a neighbor just rubs one the wrong way.  Maybe a driver cut you off.  Maybe the store clerk was rude.


Yet, love others unconditionally.  Behind each face, each action there is a story.  Even each of us has a story that is not perfect.  So while listening to the news, practice listening with love and asking what is the story behind the action or attitude.  Ask if God loves them, too?


Sitting out in today’s summer elements, loving God, life and others seems easy.  I pray that I am filled up and ready for the challenge of loving unconditionally at all times—with God’s help, of course.


Dear Loving Father,


Thank you for giving us this day of summer.

I hear your music in the chimes behind me.

I feel your Holy spirit brushing past me with the wind.

I smell the aroma of sunshine and flowers.

I taste the sweetness of the water that sustains us.

I see the glory of you in all that lives around me.


Guide me in all that I do to share with others

The unconditional love you have for us.

Guide me to love this life and serve as a steward

To protect, preserve and promote your creation.

Guide me to demonstrate unconditional love

To others who cross my life journey.


Praise to you for the gift of life,

for the gift of your son Jesus Christ,

and for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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Wonderfully Mysertious

given on Sunday, November 6, 2016

Scripture connection:

Psalm 145:1-4 (NLT)

I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.

Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.


1 Corinthians 2 (NLT)

2 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.[b] For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

                  6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God[c]—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”[d]

10 But[e] it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

                  13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.[f] 14 But people who aren’t spiritual[g] can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to teach him?”[h]

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.


Psalm 145:17-21 (NLT)

17 The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
20 The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.

21 I will praise the Lord,
and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
forever and ever.



Early mornings are a personal delight and this week what a gift the weather has been because it gave me an opportunity to literally sit outside and marvel at the universe as the world started waking up. As I sat watching the stars, feeling the west winds blowing, hearing the leaves rustling, and smelling fall in the air, the words came to mind—how wonderfully mysterious God is.

Two words, wonderfully mysterious, seems to capture the understanding of God’s relationship with creation. Even putting it into these words really cannot define this unique relationship, but our words are simply part of this wonderfully mysterious relationship.

Sitting in the early morning well before sunrise, I feasted on the stars. There are three stars in a row that Mom called “The Three Sisters.” Gazing on them in the southern sky directly above the deck, I feel a closeness with Mom, but also with the story that gave these stars my family connection.

Mom was only two and a half when her mother called her into the kitchen with her sisters surrounding her. She asked mom which one she would like to live with if something happened to her: Aunt Onie, Aunt Dora, and Aunt Millie. Only 2.5 years old, yet Mom remembered that conversation. Sadly, her mother did die about a month after that kitchen conversation; and no, Mom did not go to live with one of the sisters because she stayed with her dad.

Such stories probably fill the journals of families everywhere, but watching those stars this week the story surfaced in my memory again. And those three stars, “The Three Sisters,” twinkled in the morning sky connecting me to generations already gone. Wonderfully mysterious started singing in my mind.

This week marched us ahead through the season as October closed and November opened. The harvest in our area is nearing completion and some fields are being prepared for the spring as the stubble is plowed and fertilizer applied. The rhythm of life continues and the wonderful mystery blesses us with all that we need to feed the multitudes.

The pre-dawn world wakes up slowly. The owls still call to each other as the rooster belts out its cock-a-doodle-do. The coyotes begin to quiet as the dogs wake up and bark at who knows what. The cats decide to eat before curling up for the day, and the quiet birds begin to flitter about in the trees and bushes surrounding the yard. Nature is wonderfully mysterious.

November is not a favorite month for me. In fact if I dwell on it too long, it can squash my optimism. This is when the color in our world disappears. In my family’s history, this month seemed to be marked with tragedy and losses. At times, November seems to last forever and because of all these personal experiences, I struggle to see the value of the month. Yet, the mere symbolic relationship of November to the cycle of life again fits the descriptor “wonderfully mysterious.”

God created what we know as our world, but the calendar is a tool humanity devised to create order in our lives. God did not design the world around the calendar. God created the world to sustain itself and tasked us to take care of it. Are we?

Tuesday is our American election day; are we prepared to vote knowing that each vote we make is part of the responsibility we have to be stewards of God’s world. The outcome may not be a personal favorite, but taking part in the election and accepting the final decisions is simply one tiny part of the complex structure humans created—and it is certainly not perfect. Only God is perfect and we are blessed to know him and place our trust in him.

The wonderfully mysterious relationship we have with God is established through the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of his son Jesus Christ. The practice of sharing in the Eucharist (more commonly referred to as communion in our church) reconnects us to God. Each time we share in the bread and the cup and review our beliefs through the liturgy of the sacrament, we are brought into relationship with God. Even communion is wonderfully mysterious in that it reconnects us with God, the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.

Reading scripture, praying continually, and being in Christian fellowship sustains our relationship with God. These practices keep us centered on God and his connection to us right here, right now. The Holy Spirit is wonderfully mysterious and a constant presence in our lives when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior.

Accepting the reality of God’s personal sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ places us in a wonderfully mysterious relationship with God. Once in that relationship, we are in union with all that is God—the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Each person is gifted with certain skills and God asks us to use them to be stewards of his creation. That work wonderfully, mysteriously keeps us in relationship with God.

November is filled with opportunities to witness to the wonderful mystery of God in our lives. We take the bread and the cup to symbolize the relationship, but the Holy Spirit is present and will guide us to fully participate as God’s agents in this world.

Step up to the communion table, but remember that God is in communion with us at these times. He is alive. He acts through us. He reaches out to others through us. He sustains us through our work in the fields and in the kitchens. He comforts us as we reach out to those in pain and in sorrow. He blesses us with the joy of family and friends. He welcomes us to life eternal as we join him in death. Wonderfully mysterious is our relationship with God.

Closing prayer:

Dear wonderfully mysterious God,


Our lives overflow with the blessings you provide.

Our lives are vehicles to serve as stewards of this world.

Our lives are witnesses to the power of love in the face of turmoil.

Our lives are given to you to be all that we can for all the needs we can.


Thank you for the glory of your creation;

For the stars we watch in the dark,

For the harvests that feed the hungry,

For the warmth of the sunshine and the shade of the clouds,

For the thirst quenching rains in times of drought, and

For the fellowship of believers willing to serve one and another.


Guide us through the Holy Spirit

To read, study, pray, and worship together.

Guide us through the Holy Spirit

To hear you speak and to speak for you.

Guide us through the Holy Spirit

To do as you want us to do as stewards of your creation.


May our work be your work,

May our words be your words.

May our lives be blessed

by the bread and the cup

we share today

in the name of you,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. –Amen


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Know what you believe: What does your God look like? (theology)

given on Sunday, September 18, 2016

Scripture connections:

  • Genesis 1-2:4
  • John 1:1-5
  • Revelation 1:4-8


This week the moon reached its full glory: The Harvest Moon according to the calendar. Stepping out at 2:08 in the morning, I witnessed the Harvest Moon in a unique setting.

Fog was moving in on the ridge and I could literally hear it. I could not see any stars but the moon was shining so much that the fog acted like it was trying to sneak around.

Looking around the back yard, I could hear little sounds as though it was trying to rain, but it wasn’t. I watched the fog creep in. With it came the tiny little clicks, yet there were no drops of rain and the moon lit up the yard so clearly that I began to see the fog moving in closer.

These moments in nature bring me closer to God than any other time. I can sense the presence and witness the awe of creation, knowing God is with me. As I stood watching and listening, the eeriness of the scene might frighten one, but I was frozen in fascination. God created all of this and I am blessed to be part of it.

God is life. God is love. God is the beginning and the end not to mention all that is in between. God identified himself as I Am. God is The Word. God is the Alpha and the Omega. God is Jesus Christ. God is the Holy Spirit. And I am part of it all.

The full moon at 2:08 in the morning shown at 4:08 in the morning just as brilliantly as it did earlier, but this time no fog. This time it shone through the closed blind in the dining room enough that I could put out the pet food with no other light. God is always present much like the full moon during the night.

At times like this, I know I need to sleep but the world is so alive and so private to me. The early morning hours are fresh; the mind has slept enough to be crisp, too. And in the quiet of our busy world, I am in the presence of God. How can anyone question the omnipotence of God the creator?

Knowing what one believes releases that person to be fully part of God’s world. Witnessing God in the manner that best matches any one of us independently is God’s presence in our lives. For me, the early mornings before the world wakes up is holy.

Yes, my body needs sleep and I am cranky when it seems the pets are demanding more than I want to give at that very moment. Yes, I wish I could sleep another uninterrupted hour or so. Yes, I fuss because I am up and ready for the day to begin even though no one else is. But, when I am honest, these early, early morning hours are my best moments with God.

Do you know what you believe? Do you know when and where you are truly with God? Do you let God speak to you?

Turning to scripture, I often struggle to find clarity in the words. Yet each time I tackle a reading, I find wisdom. I read the study notes and discover new ways of thinking about the verses. After witnessing the moon and the fog, I woke up later with words dancing in my mind: I Am. The Alpha and the Omega. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

And, then I saw the light of the moon shining even more brightly because the fog was gone. God is with me. God speaks to me even as I feed the pets, turn on the lights, and open the door to listen more closely.

Theology is a word scholars use to categorize the study of God. Yet theology is not simply a study, it is a format for any of us trying to learn more about God. Theology can be God in our lives. In fact, one source defines theology as how God works through Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

Consider this quote:


If faith is the direct response to the hearing of God’s word of grace and judgment, theology is the subsequent but necessary reflection of the church on its language and practice of faith. (Migliore, p2)


With that definition of theology, each one of us is a theologian. We are all responding to God in a way that makes sense to each one of us. The key to following God is how we use God’s direction in our lives right here, right now.

God is. God creates. God loves. God gives us grace. Whether or not we can explain our personal theology, we live it. We are God’s creation even though we altar our own world in so many different ways, and we tend to make mistakes. God’s grace is ever present, also.      Whether we recognize our errors or not determines the closeness we experience to God. When we do wrong, we must recognize the error, talk to God, ask for forgiveness, accept God’s grace, and then resume life in a Christ-like manner.

Personally, I accept God’s reality when I witness the glory of creation. As I attempt to understand my personal theology, I must admit that nature speaks to me. I see God’s wonder in the world he created. I understand that this world we live in is ever changing. I appreciate that God’s creation included the possibilities of evolving naturally or evolving through any realm of reasons due to human interaction with other humans or animals or any other facet of this world in which we live.

Why do we think that God is not part of science? God is in all that exists in this world. God created a world with all the possibilities that life can and will change. The fact that God created caretakers for this world shows that as a creator change would occur. The caretakers may have received instructions, but even the caretakers had freedom to think.

Scholars have categorized theology into a study of God with a range of perspectives. Creation theology is just one that speaks to me personally. It helps me to understand how humans are simply part of this world and we have a way of messing it up but also of preserving and even improving it.

Theological studies include various methods to understand how God is part of our lives. Biblical theology in emphasizes how the recorded stories and words explain God. Historical theology follows the Christian story through time, people and place. Philosophical theology tracks the various ways people have reasoned and explained Christianity experience. Practical theology analyzes the practices of the church, including the different forms of ministry. And there is the systematic theology. Systematic theology might be viewed as a broader study as it includes “. . . rethinking and reinterpreting the doctrines and practices of the church in the light of what the church itself avows to be of central importance—namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ that liberates and renews life.” (Migliore, p 11)

Knowing what you believe is not necessarily easy, but it makes understanding how God works in your life much clearer. We struggle to manage our daily lives, but knowing God is present with us through these daily struggles defines the quality of our life. Once we are comfortably living our theology, we also become God’s presence in this world for others.

Knowing what you believe, beginning with the Triune God and then on through how God works in our world, brings us closer to God. Living the Christian lifestyle also puts us into an outward-thinking mode so that we reach out to serve one another as God wants us to serve. We truly become caretakers of this world one person to another, one home to another, one community to another, and even on to other communities around this world.

The sun has not yet risen, but the glorious sounds of God’s world surround me even at this very moment. My theology may begin with creation, but it has continued throughout history. I see God in the context of the moment. I see God in the beauty but also in the misery of human life.

God is love. God gives grace. God created, but he also gave his creation the freedom to continue evolving. Knowing what I believe helps me to serve one another in love so that God’s creation can continue to grow.

Closing prayer

Dear Father, creator of heaven and earth,

Thank you for life itself.

Thank you for freedom to think and to do.

Thank you for your grace and forgiveness.


Guide us, day in and day out,

To learn who you are.

Guide us in seeking to understand

The story of Jesus Christ.

Guide us to accept the Holy Spirit

So we may follow Jesus more closely.


Be with us along our journey

Learning about your love, grace and forgiveness.

Be with us as we struggle

To manage life challenges.

Be with us as we reach out in love

To others needing your love and grace.


May we find peace and happiness

In the glory of your creation.

May we find the joy of serving one another

In the same way as Jesus did.

May we deliver grace through the Holy Spirit

So others may know the promise of everlasting life.


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.


Citation:  Migliore, Daniel.  Faith Seeking Understand:  An introduction to Christian theology, 3rd edition.  Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, MI.  2014.


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Opening thoughts

Stepping into a new world through a blog is not easy. The world is so large and I am just one individual with a lot on my mind. I find there are times when I just want to talk to someone concerning any range of topics. This will be an opportunity for me to begin sharing thoughts.

For instance, today the sunshine was so welcome, but the clouds started creeping in again. Here in Missouri the old saying is that if you don’t like the weather, just wait around about 15 minutes and you will have another style of weather. I am ready for spring, for sunshine, for dry yards that the girls (our two puppies) can romp and play in all day, and for the early signs of rebirth: jonquils, tulips, budding trees, and even the peepers singing in the bog areas.

Winter can be such a challenge, but we also know that we live in a world filled with cycles. Growing up on a farm, the seasons provided a rhythm of life. I love the spring, the summer, and the fall, but as November dawns and the leaves are gone, I struggle with the winter. Winter has no color. I live for the first signs of color in the spring. I listen for the peepers. I smell the breeze for signs of rain or the first lawn mowing.

The seasons of the year constantly remind me that we, too, have our own seasons. I am mentally in the late spring, but the chronological truth is that I am in late summer. That is not a concern, it a statement of honesty. My life changes periodically, and each change brings new challenges. Usually the challenges are exciting and cause me to grow. Maybe each human season is really a new spring.

So today, I join the web and begin a new season–a spring. I hope that my thoughts will find warm, soft, black dirt to grow many more ideas during this spring.

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