Posts Tagged ‘nature’


QUOTE (Nicolaus Steno) – Jan 10

January 10, 2015

English: Nicolaus Steno in his last year; port...

“One sins against the majesty of God by being unwilling to look into nature’s own works.”

“Beautiful is what we see. More beautiful is what we understand. Most beautiful is what we do not comprehend.”

“Who looks at a meadow from a distance in the loveliest time of year, experiences a most pleasant visual sensation from the mingling of delightful colors. But when then he stoops over the meadow itself to look more closely at the leaves and flowers of the individual plants, such a variety and beauty of shapes and colors unveil themselves that he is compelled to exclaim: from a distance they appear beautiful, but nearby they are far more beautiful! But if, indeed, he proceeds even further and examines in one single plant the inner structure of the different constituent parts, the goings and displacements of the fluids which perform all (vital) actions, in the transition from seed to the mature plant producing new seed, even if he becomes acquainted very little with all that as if it were though mist, yet he sees enough to acknowledge that the pleasure experienced from what is known is nothing compared to that he would experience if he could know all that lies hidden.”
~Nicolaus Steno

In honor of Nicolas Steno, Catholic Bishop and Danish Scientist considered by many to be the father of geology, who was born on this day in 1638.

This Day in History for 10th January
Nicolaus Steno: Biography and Original Papers of a 17th Century Scientist
Nicolas Steno on Christian Responsibility
Geological Pioneer – Nicolaus Steno was a Biblical Creationist




October 21, 2014

“Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.” Psalm 142:4

DSC_0032Our duck, Chuck, cannot fairly be considered our duck. Chuck lives with us or, more accurately, around us. He was delivered to our home by some friends needing to relocate Chuck. Chuck needed to exist at a new home or he was soon to cease existing.

My wife, who has a soft spot for ducks, agreed to take in Chuck.

Chuck is a Muscovy duck. Muscovians can fly and perch in trees. They are a very hardy duck. Even so, we originally enclosed Chuck in our chicken coop at night. Coyotes roam our vicinity and we have lost several chickens in the night’s darkness to a local pack. We did not want Chuck to become “foie gras” for a coyote, so each night we herded him into the refuge of the coop.

DSC_0040However, Chuck is a large, male, bird. This means he eats a lot, without producing any eggs. We noticed a steep increase in the consumption of chicken feed after Chuck took up residence in our coop. The chicken food consumed by Chuck was proving to be expensive amusement of watching him waddle across our lawn. Our friends told us that they had never put Chuck in their chicken coop and he had survived.  So, Chuck has been deprived of the refuge of the coop.

I was awakened at 3 AM last week to the yipping of several coyotes. I groggily remembered that I had forgotten to close the gate to the chicken coop. I pulled myself out of bed, slipped into rubber boots, and headed outside with flashlight in hand. The sounds of the coyotes immediately cease as I closed the door behind me. They were close.

I went into the coop and counted my chickens. They were all silently and safely roosting. I looked for Chuck as I closed the coop gate behind me. He was nowhere to be seen so I headed back to the house. I wished Chuck good luck as I went back to bed.

DSC_0022The following morning, there was Chuck waddling across the lawn. He had made it. “Good for you, Chuck”, I thought as I ate my oatmeal.

We don’t really provide care to Chuck. We give him inexpensive corn and water, but as far as security, Chuck is on his own.  I look for Chuck each morning, half expecting to see a strewn patch of feathers signifying the demise of Chuck the duck. Yet, I am pleased to see him make it through the night…”good for you Chuck”.

winter treeI know that many people feel that God has the same attitude toward them, as I have for Chuck.  I have heard too many times the adage, “God helps those who help themselves”. It is an unspoken belief that God sleeps through our dark nights, coming to our aid only when we have shown enough resilience to survive to the dawn.

Those who are in Christ are not Chucks. We are the precious children of our Heavenly Father, for whom He provides care.

He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own knows me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:12-15)

fall treeOur God cares not only enough to get out of bed when He hears the threatening sounds of wolves, He cared enough to send His own Son as the good shepherd to lay down His life for the sheep – you who know His voice.

You are cared for, Beloved of God, even when you feel like you are without refuge. “Good for you, JD” is not the affirmation I receive from God as I emerge from a trial or temptation. He is the good shepherd who watches over me through my long nights. He is our refuge who closes the gate of our soul to the wolves of darkness. He is the one who cares for us as we are silently sleeping in the security of our faith.

Therefore, we need to remember the love of our Father and learn to cry out to Him as the Psalmist when dark thoughts threaten our security:

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:1-4)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for being my refuge.  Thank you for caring for me.  Thank you for your Son – who layed down his life for me.  Thank you for sustaining me through every trial and temptation.  Thank you for leading me to the rock that is higher than I.  Thank you for being my strong tower against the enemy even when I am unaware of the danger around me.  Lord, let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen


WHAT I LIKE – April 6

April 6, 2013

The following are some of my most favorite internet waves from my surfing the web the last couple weeks.


“The happy ending of the Resurrection is so enormous that it swallows up even the sorrow of the Cross.” – Tim Keller


I was so encouraged by this reminder that Jesus came to be the New Adam.  It is because Jesus is the new Adam that we can be restored back to our original place and purpose in God’s plan. Is there any greater treasure than this?  And it is a gift to any who will acknowledge the grace of God, accept the words of Christ, and receive eternal life.  Adam doesn’t live here anymore…

This is a beautiful prayer of faith from centuries ago.

“O God of the highest heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.”  Regeneration: A Puritan Prayer

This article is a wonderful reminder of the effectiveness of the gift of prayer.  “God made us in His image — with the ability to speak into existence things that are not.”  Effective, substantial prayers


I love the stanza, “You are the light that makes my heart rejoice!”  It is so very true.  We desperately need the filling of the Lord’s Spirit.  Fill Me With Your Spirit Once Again

This is such an encouraging telling of what real forgiveness is like.  Forgiven


Amazing grace is indeed a sweet sound.  It makes me cry like a baby every time.  Amazing Grace

This story is a wonderful reminder of the golden rule and not to let the little stuff get in the way of the glorious stuff.  The Wooden Bowl


This is a really good article on how to pick the right running shoe.  It actually convinced me to go into a good running shoe store and have them do it for me.   How to Choose A Running Shoe


This is a good reminder that training with other people will encourage us to keep going or get going again in our training.  There are no excuses.  Tri to be Inspired

My current problem is not packing ten pounds of stuff onto my bike.  My problem is the ten pounds that I am packing around my waist.  However, I found this article helpful because it makes you think about what you really need on a ride and what you are doing to all the careful engineering of that expensive bike you’re riding.  Nutrition,The Bike, and Aerodynamics


I am not even considering doing this swim but the photo in the article is great.  You have to check out this open water swim.  Wild Swimming On The Jurassic Coast!

This article has some very good thoughts and instruction for good swimming technique and avoiding injure.  Swimming Shoulder Injuries – Thumb Entry or Not?


This article has some very helpful tips on how to get faster on the bike. I need to try the isolated leg training.  I am pretty sure I have a lot of dead spots in my pedal stroke.  5 Ways to Boost Your Average MPH on the Bike


This is just cool.  I have no idea how you would decorate around it but I would be willing to give this treehouse its own room.  The smallest treehouse in the world

I don’t know if I could go this far.  It just seems the opposite of why you were just taking the shower.  I guess I need to get over linking moss and fungus together.  Natural Moss Bath Mat


I just love to watch talent doing its special thing.  I wonder how many similarly amazing artists out there that we may never hear about.   O.K., So Craftsmanship Isn’t Dead Yet


The weather has been very nice this last week so I was thinking about taking my mountain bike out for a ride in the desert.  Unfortunately, the forecast is for wind and rain.  I will just have to wait to knock the rust off of my mountain biking skills.  This video shows off Danny MacAskill biking skill.  I don’t know how it is even possible for him to do some of the things he does .  Calling what he does biking just does not seem appropriate.  There must be another term because what he does and what I do are not the same thing.  Inspired Bicycles – Danny MacAskill April 2009


This is a beautiful photograph of a lake in South Carolina.  I am looking forward to summer and getting back up into the mountains.  Bluffton, South Carolina

"Thumbs up" picture, mostly uploaded...



January 3, 2013

“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19

Cover of "Master and Commander - The Far ...

Cover via Amazon

I am a fan of the Patrick O’Brian nautical series of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin and the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  I had not watched the movie or read one of the books in a while.  So, I was appreciative of an opportunity that arose over the Christmas break.

In a discussion about the actors that we enjoy and appreciate, I discovered that my in-laws had never watched the Master and Commander movie with Russell Crowe.  It was a perfect excuse to introduce them to the Patrick O’Brian story and be transported to another time and world.

When we watched the movie, I was delighted to be reminded of one of my favorite lines.

 Maturin and Aubrey had returned to the Galapagos Islands to allow Maturin to do more investigating.

 Dr. Stephen Maturin: “Jack, I fear you have burdened me with a debt I can never fully repay.”
Capt. Jack Aubrey: “Nonsense! Name a shrub after me. Something prickly and hard to eradicate.”

I love that attitude – “name a weed after me”.  Who wants a weed named after them?  There are not very many people who would be comfortable with their legacy being associated with a prickly and hard to eradicate weed.

However, have you ever considered what a weed is?

I have planted a lot of grass in my lawn.  I go to great extents to water, mow, and fertilize my grass.  However, when that same grass gets into my walkway, it is a weed and I try to eradicate it.

I have planted rose bushes in our flower beds.  They need a lot of work; pruning, herbicides, fertilizer. Yet, I have a wild rose-bush that is growing along our ditch bank that I burn every year, periodically spray it with Roundup; I try to eradicate it because its location makes it a weed to me.

I planted an entire row of elm trees as a wind break.  Since they have matured, I pull up elm tree sprouts all along my house foundation and out in my yard.  Those little sprouts, which I initially spent money to buy, are now a weed because I don’t want any more elm trees.

A weed is classified as a matter of context.  The gardener determines what is and is not a weed. The gardener determines what plant is valued and what is considered a noxious growth.

Have you ever considered what you are in this world? 

Who is the gardener of this world?  At this time, our enemy, the evil one, is the gardener of this world.  That makes every follower of Christ a weed in this world.


Weeds (Photo credit: Tobyotter)

I am a weed.

The reason that I don’t fit into this world is because I am a weed.

The reason some view me as odd is because I am a weed.

The reason that I am unappreciated is because I am a weed.

The reason that some treat me with disdain is because I am a weed.

The reason some consider me uneducated or intellectually inferior is because I am a weed.

The reason some want to legislate away my beliefs is because I am a weed.

Since I am a weed, what kind of weed am I?

I am hard to eradicate“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38);

I have a bad fragrance“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16);

I am prickly“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22)

I am  a weed in this world by definition.  The reason I am a weed is because this world’s gardener is not my gardener.

My Gardener views me as a beautiful sprout of wheat, a fragrant flower, a productive olive tree, a fruitful grape vine.  In my Gardener’s eye, I am valued; I am the plant to be nurtured, protected, fed, watered, and pruned.

In my Gardener’s eye, this world is full of weeds to me; weeds that threaten to choke and stifle my growth.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

There is a day of harvest coming.  On that day, the distinction between wheat and weed will be made. On that day, my Gardener will be the one making the plant classifications.  On that day, His classification is what will matter and those known to Him as a wheat will be harvested and those unknown to Him will be weeds to be burned. (Matt. 13:36-43)

Until that day, I can think of no higher honor than for this world to view my legacy as nothing more than a weed.

I will be thrilled to be viewed as a prickly, stinky, weed that is hard to eradicate.

I know who values me.

I know who is nurturing me.

I know who is pruning me.

I know my Gardener and He knows me.

…And that is all that matters.

PRAYER: Jesus, Thank you for being my Gardener.  Lord thank you for caring for me.  Forgive me for periodically forgetting who I really am.  Forgive me for thinking that being a weed is preferable.  Lord, care for me so that I will produce fruit in abundance to your praise and glory.  Amen

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