Beginning the morning of April 4, and throughout the day, we received six inches of snow: the first of our ‘winter season’ that just passed. But it was not ordinary snow; it was sumptuous, fluffy storybook snow — the kind in which, for those who remember, one made snow angels. As I settled in at my desk for a writing session on my book, I gazed out my window and observed these delicate, soft flakes: each one different, and definitely part of God’s sense of humor. There were flocks of birds too flying in a frenzy sans any choreographic sense. And like Joseph’s Coat, they were of many colors: yellow and red; others black as night; and only one Blue Jay I named Rufus. I fell in love with this beauty, for the snow on his head and under his beak made him a rather whimsical creature-of-the-air.
I began what I thought would be serious writing for the morning. It never happened. I was too distracted by the birds continuing their flamboyant, if not flirtatious, dance among the white crystalline flakes, descending aimlessly, gracefully, and with great intensity. Grabbing my camera, I hoped to capture the loveliness that was unfolding.
Female cardinals are muted in color compared to the male’s blazing red. But this girl made a subtle statement in her own kind of beauty, sitting on snow-covered branches in-between flying escapades.
Another female appeared later and was surrounded by a haze of misty flakes, creating a sense that she was unreal. But she was.
The snow stopped late afternoon. I heard a raucous cry and wondered if it was the eagle nesting in a giant conifer, also just outside my window. With expectancy, I reached for the camera again, and saw not an eagle, but a great black crow. His wingspan was at least twenty-four inches. He sat with his back to me. I took this image for as the light faded there emerged a haunting contrast of his sleek, black wings and feathers against the monochromatic surroundings. He was at rest, perched so very still, yet maintained his authoritative countenance.
Though I did none of what I planned, it was a satisfying morning and afternoon in that I got to do my favorite things: take pictures and begin writing this April Covenant Journal. I’m aware of the adage that ‘we plan and God laughs.’ I believe He smiles with compassion given we are so resolute and eager to execute “our” plans when, in fact, He usually has something much better in mind.
I want to share about the many e-mails and letters asking questions — all good, respectful, and curious — since I penned a statement within these pages three months ago. I wrote I uncovered inner peace and joy I never felt in my seventy-two years of living from the moment I began my walk with Jesus Christ.
Based on these letters and queries, there are issues that require absolute truth be told:
- Being Christian is a commitment to living a world-view that is in the minority today.
- It isn’t ‘cool’ to be Christian, especially if you are a believer, born again, evangelist, apologist.
- We believe the Bible is Sacred and the literal Word of God.
- We do not bow at the altar of the humanist movement, reverencing sovereignty of intellect and self.
- Some ask how can an intelligent person believe in God, the Bible, the Triune Godhead on any level?
That said, if any, or all, of the above resonate with your thinking, I recommend you read, peruse, or research C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, J.R.R. Tolkein, Thomas Merton, A.W. Tozer‘s Pursuit of God, and R.C. Sproul‘s renowned scholarly work: writing, teachings, and the foundation of Ligonier Ministries. These are few among other intellectual Christians too numerous to name both past and present. These highly educated, inquiring minds doubted, questioned, and struggled with the truth of the Bible, even wrestled with the Lord, yet finally embraced Christianity. Why? If you’re curious then you’ll investigate the matter. If not, to quote C.S. Lewis, Don’t fuss. Just forget about it.
Truthful Answers to Assumptions: 1) I do not belong to the Tea Party, nor do any of the people with whom I worship, 2) I do not own a holster and gun, and 3) I do not hate or judge anyone for their sexual inclinations. While I do have conflicts about abortion, these relate to personal matters going back to my own birth, and the sanctity of life. It is an issue with which I struggle. I seek not to impose my inner conflicts on anyone, though I am inclined to embrace life over death.
Jesus taught, in His humble, gentle way the superficiality of self-righteousness; to not ever judge others; that acceptable sins such as hatred, arrogance, violence, slander, gossip, and pride are, indeed, serious transgressions against others — as well as our own souls.
I was disappointed that not one person seemed remotely concerned about God being erased out of the Founding Father’s fundamental documents that govern our great nation. I’ve excerpted the last third of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural address as a reminder to myself how important God was to our Framers and former leaders who believed in The Moral Law. Most of our current and potential leaders (President, Congress et al. as well as those of other nations), appear rather clownish in the shadow of Mr. Lincoln.
The Almighty has His own purposes…
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Thought provoking for sure. Interesting too is that Lincoln alluded, or directly used, Biblical verses throughout his Inaugural speech: Genesis 3:19; Matthew 7:1; Matthew 18:7; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 147:3; and James 1:27.
A BIRD NAMED ISAIAH
This final image was taken last spring when a large, robust cardinal perched on a single limb outside my writing desk window. Due to his hour long monologue, I named him Isaiah. (The Book of Isaiah is the longest of the Old Testament prophets.) The timing seemed right to use this image: we need some green and Isaiah is surrounded by lush foliage. Also, a wonderful lagniappe appeared in this image through the shadows of trees: a cross. I did not see it when I photographed Isaiah, but it is there. Enjoy and God bless!
May our Lord richly bless and keep each of you in His strong, loving care ….