Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Offence Intended

     My feline buddy and a snowflake gave me an object lesson a few days ago. We had no snow on the ground, but it had turned cold and there was snow in the air. Mr. Whiskers sat out back, his head jerking this way and that as he watched one flake after another falling toward him. He had fun batting his paw at ones that passed close to him, jumping to catch others. His take on the action reversed when a snowflake fell toward his face just as he was about to step into the house. He was angry. To his way of thinking that innocent speck of frozen vapour had chosen to attack him deliberately. A moment before the snowflakes were playmates. Now they were his enemies. The only real change was his perspective.

     A word or even a look can do to us what the snowflake did to Mr. Whiskers. If a person is already feeling others don't think much of him when someone smiling approaches, the individual may think he's being mocked. The person passing by may just have thought of something funny at the moment. He may not have even noticed the one who took offence.

     Psalm 119:165 says, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." (KJV) The heavenly host that appeared to the shepherds the night the Lord Jesus was born spoke of peace on earth. God wants His people to have peace. Satan delights in causing upset and trouble. Often we may take offence when the one who spoke or did something intended no harm and probably has no idea of how it was perceived. We need a healthy sense of self-worth. In Christ there is a perfect balance. When we keep close to Him there's less danger of thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. We can let the snowflakes or words or looks fall where they may, knowing that, most often, no offence is intended.
Photo courtesy of 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hope with an Unlimited Warranty

     Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (NKJ) 
     A narcissus bulb can illustrate this truth. To a squirrel it may be a mouth-watering treat, but to humans it has no beauty. Nevertheless a gardener knows that drab brown object is bursting with life even before it begins to sprout. Leave it in a box without light or moisture and yet it will struggle to grow. Give it light, soil, water and it will produce green stems and leaves so quickly its growth charted on a graph will amaze children.

     Faith is like that bulb. A promise from God's Word is the germ of life we wrap our faith around. We believe the Word and trust God for the answer before anything has transpired that we can show to the world as proof. The Apostle Paul said, "if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." (Romans 8:25 NKJ)

     With our faith based on the life-giving Word, we can be as sure that we will receive the answer we need as the gardener is that delicate white flowers will appear on the tips of the paperwhite's stems. The fragrance of the narcissus is the ultimate evidence that we were justified in expecting exquisite blooms to be produced by that brown lump. We have much greater reason to anticipate amazing results from our prayers. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


     On the afternoon of Remembrance Day my friend's husband called that she had slipped away Home at ten o'clock that morning. People often say "passed", but Din and Bet and I had shared a YouTube story on the subject. We always dipped our heads and chuckled when "passed" was mentioned during after skating tea time. My chuckle is AWOL just now. I am discombobulated. That word should be discombobled in my opinion. Syllables creating any sound close to "elated" do not fit. Any way you say it, Din may be singing alto in the most amazing praise team in the universe. For sure, she is totally well, totally happy, totally at peace. Her husband, sons and their families and oodles of friends are discombobled. Every one of us needs God's grace.

     I've heard Joyce Meyer say, "Grace is like manna." That is perfect... exactly the portion we need for each day. When I thought back over that morning, before daylight I'd happened to read Mercy Me's lyrics to "I Can Only Imagine"... "Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?" On the way to church I'd stopped to take a picture of the sugar bush with no leaves on the maples, no sign of life. Yet we know the sap will rise in the spring. People will make syrup. New leaves will grow and that forest will be a thing of beauty once more. Before noon I watched my grand-nephew lay a wreath at the cenotaph in honour of those who gave their lives in war for our freedom. Life continues..

     Deuteronomy 33:25 says, "As your days, so shall your strength be." (NKJV) So we choose to be faithful to Him and trust Him to supply what we need one day at a time. Din has fulfilled her days. For the rest of us, the best is yet to come.    

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Comforter

     Recently I heard Robert Morris telling about his bride buying a comforter for their bed. He looked forward to pulling that soft warm cover up around his neck, but when they went to bed that night the new comforter had disappeared and the thin, worn one they'd been using was back in place. His wife wanted the new one to be kept "for looks" when company came. She had no intention of them using it.

     We humans have been given intelligence, but sometimes lesser creatures display more sense. The other morning a grey squirrel was huddled on our window sill. His tail was curled up over his back and head protecting him from the cold rain. If that tail is an important symbol of his worth and identity, he did not tuck it under his body to keep it dry in the storm. He did not hesitate to use it to its full potential to provide shelter.

     That same day Mr. Whiskers found a cozy corner on top of the eiderdown for his afternoon nap. When he was ready to curl up, he burrowed into the softness of the comforter. Whether his paws were dirty or he had burrs stuck in his coat from his outdoor shift was of no concern. He did not ask permission. He welcomed and used what was available for his comfort.

     Robert Morris went on to teach that we have the Comforter, the Holy Spirit for our use, not for show. He delights in comforting those who receive Him. Psalm 91:4 says, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge." (NIV) Whatever storms come against us, we are welcome to snuggle into the shelter He offers freely to all. He "is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34 KJV)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Darkness and Light

     These mornings it's still dark when Mr. Whiskers decides it's time for us to get up. I confess I'm often not eager, but as soon as that first light breaks in the east I have a change of heart. The words of an old hymn come to mind. "When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries, "May Jesus Christ be praised!" (Author of original unknown. Tr. Edward Caswall, 1814-1878)

     On the Saturday evening of our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend the setting sun lit up the foliage on the trees with spectacular light. I raced outdoors with my camera to meet my neighbours doing the same thing. One of the ladies said they were doing dishes and at the moment when the sun broke through they were asking each other, "Where is this light coming from?"

     Light has such power. The sky may be black except for one splash of sunset colour, and we cannot stop ourselves from focusing on the spectacular hues of red and orange and all the changing blends created. I pray that the same will be true in the spirit... that there will not be one who can resist turning his eyes fully away from the darkness of the lies of the enemy and toward the truth and light of this world, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 1, 2012


They come and go the days they do
And hold them back we cannot,
But joyously we look ahead.
We know the way is all prepared.

     That's all I remember of a poem my father wrote some forty years ago. At this time of year it comes to mind. When friends in the south are relieved to feel temperatures dropping, others in this part of the world may not feel quite the same. Mom was known to stretch out the "berrr" part of Octoberrr and Novemberrr, but in Ecclesiastes we read, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 KJV)

     A dear lady who was president of our Christian writers' club lost her battle with cancer a few days ago. We are thankful that Esther is free of pain, but so many feel a great sense of loss. It seems there are positive and negative aspects to much of life.

     The leaves are just beginning to turn red here. Summer sports are over and the ice is in the arena. We're skating again and we've resumed our after-skating ritual visiting over a cup of tea. I've harvested a three litre basket of fingerling potatoes from the top of the pepper cage. To turn red the peppers need more warm days than we usually get in October. They should have ripened by now. The birds are almost as busy at the feeders as they were in early spring. Soon it will be time to put out suet for them. They will need the fat to keep them warm.

     It's true that we can't hold back the days, and that there will always be things we welcome and others we would choose to avoid. How blessed we are that the One who holds the times and seasons in His Hands is only good and loves us with a love beyond our understanding.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Fruitful Vine

     Every two or three days I've looked at our ancient grape vine. Between the weather and birds, and perhaps other creatures, most years very few grapes remain on the vines long enough to ripen for jam. Nutrients travel through the vine to the fruit, but lots of other factors play a role in determining whether there will be fully developed grapes to harvest.

     More and more I'm realizing I no longer fit in the category of the young vines. For many years my roots have been nourished with excellent teaching, the support of good fellowship, time for personal study and prayer. I was planted in good soil and received great care from the time I accepted Christ as Lord. To produce healthy life-giving fruit is my sincere desire.

     In spite of all I have going for me, many times when I check on the harvest it is sparse. I am so thankful that Father God continues to be an incredibly patient vinedresser. The children of Israel spent forty years getting into the land they were promised. For forty-two years I've been traveling and I am grateful for the growth I've experienced, but every so often when a spurt does occur, I just shake my head realizing: How many times have I read that verse? How many times have I heard that truth explained? and finally, I get it!

     I've learned at last that if I claim a promise and do not see the evidence of the answer in the natural realm, the answer is fulfilled in the spiritual realm first. It is a spiritual reality and will manifest in the physical realm as I continue in faith without wavering. This simple lesson is huge for me. I trust, as I apply it and other truths I come to understand, people who come along to check this vine will find tasty fruit to harvest. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Gift of Sight

     In my reading the other morning I came to       I Kings 22:19 where Micaiah said, "I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left." (New Spirit-Filled Life Bible) It was one of those special moments when your spirit melts as the Word of God touches your heart. I don't envy the terrible assignment Micaiah had, to prophecy doom to a king who already hated him, but to see the Lord on His throne...God can give an ordinary human the ability to see Him in His majestic splendor and glory. Someday...

     Still filled with the wonder of anticipating seeing what Micaiah saw, I glanced out the window. What a treat for these natural eyes! The male cardinal landed on the rim of the birdbath, a brief patch of crimson, before he flew off as a robin was already splashing in the bath. A pair of distinguished yellow-shafted flickers pecked for ants in the lawn. Another robin perched on the piece of driftwood I'd set on the stones that surround the pond, and stayed when a blue jay landed about four feet away on another stone. I didn't disturb them to get a picture. They don't hold still for photo ops, but I can share the places where I saw them.

     Perhaps they are more willing than usual to share territory because of their need to build up strength for either the cold months ahead or their exodus south. Whatever the reason, the bonanza of birds on that morning of soft, warm air was a pure gift. Until I am permitted to feast on the spiritual visions I crave, I am oh so thankful for the ability to see the wonders all around me which the One on the throne created. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Which Door?

     Many unique doors are tucked away waiting to be discovered in our village. They say something about the character of the owner or the function of the building to which they give access. A stranger passing may imagine the folks living there to be traditional and conservative or fun-loving and offbeat just by the appearance of the door to their home.
Concerning spiritual matters, popular opinion may say all the doors are good; choose whichever one appeals. And each person is free to make that choice. But the One who declared Himself both Son of Man and Son of God did not hesitate to claim to be the only door (John 10:9), and what an amazing door He is. If we could see with our natural eyes what lies beyond each of those doors, there would be no contest.
 All the promises in John, chapter 14, are beyond that Door, available to anyone who chooses to open and enter. For many the ultimate one must be His promise to come and show Himself to the person who ventures in. (verses 21 and 23) Which of those other doors can be opened to reveal a living, loving Redeemer? What a privilege to have had this Door pointed out to me; to have been welcomed inside to see and know for myself that what He says is true; and to be able to share directions with anyone who is interested.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Power of a Seed

     Along the cliffs of the limestone gorge there are great views of cedar trees growing out of the rock. A seed has lodged in a crack of the rock and somehow connected with enough soil and moisture to germinate. As the root discovers openings to spread through it grows outward seeking nutrients and upward seeking light. By the time a cedar tree matures its root may have split the rock in which it grew leaving a portion of its root system exposed. What began as a tiny seed has split the limestone where it began to grow. That's powerful!

     Jesus taught that, "The seed is the word of God." (Luke 8:11 NIV) The cedar birthed in rock and growing toward the light eventually provides shelter for a chickadee and a fragrant deterrent for moths that love to feast on woollen blankets. That tree gives me hope. Even though my inner man may be rock-hard. Even though I may have closed my mind to the things of God, if I choose to receive one simple word like, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV), that word can take root and produce life in me.

     That first nibble on the word may give me an appetite to start snacking. Once I've developed a taste for it my hunger increases until I'm enjoying a feast that satisfies. The belief system that grows as we feed on the word of God provides the strength to hold steady through storms. It produces spiritual fruit to help others with whom we can share.
     The germ of life in a seed is miraculous. Only three squash plants survived from the seeds I planted. The wee hill of earth they were poked into probably looked inviting to squirrels and cats (one of whom will remain unnamed). I replanted some seedlings the varmints pulled out. Once the plants grew, if a critter broke a stem, it ended up on the compost heap. But the three that continue to grow across the back yard are lovely evidence of the power of seeds to produce vibrant results.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Under the Copper Beech

     Sometime during the last stretch of incredibly warm days I realized that there is almost always a cool breeze under the copper beech tree out back. Branches that would be better trimmed, when it comes to ducking and dodging around them to cut grass, provide a graceful canopy to sit under. My feline buddy and I are loving our free moments in that spot.

     Jesus encouraged his disciples to enjoy a quiet place. (Mark 6:31) That could mean a few days at some lovely get-away location, but it can also be a comfy seat in a quiet corner, indoors or out. We need time for the eyes of our heart to begin to realize the hope we have in Christ. (Ephesians 1:18) It takes time "to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge." (Ephesians 3:18-19 NIV)

     The place we choose can be ours to meditate on God's goodness. It can be where we take a moment to thank Him for the blessing of family. I can't gaze up through the branches to the top of the clothesline post without remembering the day Hugh wrestled that heavy pole into place without help, and I'm so thankful he did. Can't imagine not being able to dry the clothes outdoors, and love to see them blowing beyond the crossbar, a reminder of the cleansing Christ accomplished for us at Calvary.
My shady nook has also become a favourite place to enjoy a good book. These days it's Marcia Lee Laycock's A Tumbled Stone. I'm hooked. Loved One Smooth Stone and reconnecting with Alex on his quest to track down family in the sequel has me greedy for moments to settle back in that chair under the copper beech. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

He's Not Hiding

     Wednesday morning I needed to leave for a meeting. I thought Mr. Whiskers had come back inside, but I hadn't seen him for some time. The search began...on the beds, under beds, under dressers upstairs, couches and chairs downstairs - no cat. Before leaving I went back into one bedroom and there he was in plain view on a chair. I didn't see him because he wasn't in any of the places I expected. To spot him on that chair I had to look specifically across the high bed.
 Our search for God is similar in some ways. He too may be right in front of us, yet we fail to see Him. We ask for a clear answer to a troubling problem and no apparent solution comes. If we can trust that He is working out every aspect of each situation we've given over to Him, the dilemma is settled as definitely as if He had answered in an audible voice. Whether or not we hear Him speak or feel His presence, He is with us.
 Jesus said He was anointed to bring the good news of salvation, heal our broken hearts, give us the ability to see, free us from bondage. (Luke 4:18) I Peter 2:24 declares His stripes provide our healing. Sometimes we have to make a specific search, then apply the principle of Romans 10:9, to believe in our hearts that the need is met and declare it aloud.
 Our God is not hiding. He is revealed in His Word, through His people, through divine circumstance, and in all He created. The fragrance of the mock orange blossom, a parking spot just where we need it, an unexpected gift, a scripture verse giving clear direction... our God is with us encouraging, comforting, leading. Jesus said the pure in heart shall see God. (Matthew 5:8) As we ask Him to make our hearts pure we will see Him more and more.

Do visit You will enjoy the devotionals Grace posts and those of the guest bloggers she is hosting over the summer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Consider a Cat

Oodles of jobs to do on a day with no away from home commitments. No need to look presentable. I'm okay in my garden grubbies. Don't have to watch the clock and the weather is perfect. Our area is considered safe from frost for the most part by the end of May and I had an agenda on my free day to finish planting annuals and plants I'd kept in the house over the winter. The afternoon was getting on by the time I had all those little guys tucked into their spots and I could tackle a project that intrigued me. 
At a Canada Blooms workshop in March, Ken Brown described planting peppers in a cylinder-shaped thingy made of hardware cloth lined with landscape fabric. I had no idea what either of these was, but over the weeks I had tracked them down and figured I could create my pepper cage before supper. My teacher-heart would have appreciated a detailed lesson plan to follow. The learning curve grew as I worked at making the springy wire fencing stay unfurled and fastening the two ends together to form a circle; getting the landscape fabric in place, and the completed contraption secure in a patch of freshly dug earth.

That would have been a good place to stop, but, no, I had my plan - like I would never have another free day... What I thought would be plenty of soil filled only one third of the cage. To give each pepper as much space as possible I started squishing them in at the bottom two or three inches above the ground. Somehow all except the first have survived. After I mangled its poor wee root ball, I snipped a wire to make a larger opening to poke the roots of each of the other plants into the earth. 

I've learned lots about what to do and not to do another year, but how much better to have stopped, rested and thought through the steps to a better result. In Matthew chapter six Jesus said to look at the birds. I could have just considered the way Mr. Whiskers operates. He's up early, making his rounds, tending to business. Then he does the big stretch, finds a spot to his liking and sleeps. When he's rested,off he goes again with fresh energy for his next adventure.

Another afternoon came with time to fill up the cylinder with more soil and I planted fingerling potatoes on top of the peppers. The Canada Blooms workshop was on vertical vegetable gardening. What I've done probably needs lots of correcting, but it was "vertical" and at least I've learned about hardware cloth and landscape fabric. And I'm choosing to pay more attention to my golden boy's tactics.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Need Patience...Quick!

Toward the end of 2011 I placed my poinsettia from Christmas 2010 in the dark basement for fourteen hours every day for ten weeks. I thought it was supposed to produce red petals again at the end of that process. It was as green when I stopped taking it to the cellar as it was when I started, and from January to March it even seemed to have lost its will to live. Then in April tiny new red growth began to appear! I was so glad I hadn't relegated it to the compost heap.

Living things need time to develop and mature. No matter how often Mr. Whiskers and I check on the plants we have growing, it's not possible to hustle them along. Isaiah 61:3 speaks of God's people as "the planting of the Lord", and He is amazingly patient with us. 

I remember a term when two junior grade boys in our library club just could not get along. Gloom settled over the whole group when those two were being miserable to each other. I was tempted to ask them to stop coming...until it occurred to me that it is a good thing God doesn't do that when His children can't get along. How gracious He is giving us time to master each thing He wants us to learn before setting the next lesson before us. The seeds we've planted need time to grow, and the precious seed, God's Word, which He has planted in our hearts also needs time to produce good fruit. Thank you, Father, that You are willing to wait as stalks of patience sprout in my heart. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring on the Fast Track

Our Mom, who lived to celebrate her 100'th birthday, used to say, "We'll be glad when April's here." She was anything but a complainer. Our home is heated with water radiators. On her way into the living room on a cold night Mom would pat the one in the hall and comment that she was so glad we had warm radiators. When the furnace broke down and there was no heat as she checked the rad on her way by, she didn't miss a beat. "I'm so glad we have warm blankets on our beds," was all she said. But she still looked forward to April and warmer days coming.

This year Mom might have been just as pleased with March. Everything was early. Papa goldfinch took his cue from the forsythia and began getting rid of his winter coat much too soon for this corner of the globe. Both were a vibrant yellow before the end of March. The robins had returned from the south. Cardinals and chickadees sang their spring songs, and bluebirds started gathering dry grass for the nesting box.

A few warmer days had coaxed sap up the trunks of the maple trees even in February. Night temperatures in March varied between the freezing ones needed with ones above freezing, and some days were too mild for the quality of sap needed for good syrup. In the southeast corner of the province farmers seeded fields earlier than ever before, not without the concern that a cold snap could cause big trouble.

But we have God's promise, "As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." (Genesis 8:22 NIV) Even with such strange goings-on here in the weather department, Mom's response would most likely be, "It'll be fine. We'll take what comes." That about covers it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


A couple of things happened just as February was ending and March was beginning. Hope it's okay to slip in this extra piece that fits best now.

The other morning I went upstairs to find Mr. Whiskers snuggled up to a lacy white Victorian pillow that was a gift from a special child. For some reason the soft yellow towel on the end of the bed where he usually sleeps had lost its appeal. Any spot that he often curls up on can be identified by a patch of gold. Although I don't have a lot of knowledge about animals, I'm guessing it comes from some oily substance in his ginger hair. I love my house buddy, but not enough to let him wreck the pillow.

Perhaps washing it on delicate cycle with a special soap would remove his mark. However, if he isn't given the opportunity to leave his signature the process won't be necessary.

Another scene contributed to what God was speaking to my heart about Mr. Whiskers and the pillow. The snow had melted during a few milder gray days revealing a rather dingy landscape. Then overnight, temperatures dropped and a fresh snowfall made our world look clean again. I knew it was only a cover-up, that what was underneath hadn't changed, but it still transformed the image and lifted our spirits.

These episodes brought God's forgiving ways to mind. First that He wouldn't declare any clean-up just required too much effort. No matter how ugly a stain I've created with some totally out-of-line words or action, He's willing and able to completely remove it. Plus, He never merely covers over my sin so that everything looks pleasing again. He eradicates every trace of it, blots the charge from the records and forgets it happened. I am so very thankful for His amazing mercy and love.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Following the Recipe

Some folks love to experiment with unusual combinations of ingredients and create special treats. The result may be delicious or it may be something even they are not able to swallow. If we just need to get something baked and don't have time to mess with disaster, a tried-and-true recipe is priceless. Measure the correct portion of each item, follow the directions for putting them together and the amount of time suggested for cooking or baking, and the results usually satisfy. Individual needs and quirks can dictate less sugar, more cheese, no salt... without spoiling the outcome as long as we follow the basic guidelines.

I am so thankful for Father God's recipes for daily living. Just as directions in a good cook book show us how to concoct a meal the family will enjoy, paying attention to the steps God's Word outlines can help us through each day. The Lord Jesus said, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over...(Luke 6:37-38 NIV) The last bit makes me think of flour being measured into a sifter, then falling through into the mixing bowl as the handle is turned. Each ingredient is needed and a cake turns out best if the flour is added first and last, alternately with the liquid.

In life God shows us the best order for each step too. When angry words are spoken, we can resist the urge to defend ourselves and talk back; ask Him to help the one who's upset; forgive, and leave the outcome with Him. Whatever issue we face, our Lord has the best solution and to be able to lie down in peace at the end of the day is as satisfying as the most scrumptious gourmet feast.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just Do It!!!

If I did not know Mr. Whiskers' humble origin, I might suspect he descended from some royal line whose members had walked on nothing less than a soft carpet of green. He is keen to complete his tour of inspection around the brown barn each day...after I've cleared the snow from the path all the way from the back door to the compost bin behind the barn. When he still hesitates to set out, all I can do is encourage him to get going. Once he ventures forth he's engrossed in the adventure.

I am looking forward to connecting with Isaiah (which could happen before too long in view of world events). Not our Isaiah in Sunday School, who, along with his brothers, could be destined to do great things for God, but the Isaiah who wrote, "What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?" (Isaiah 5:4 NIV) Comparing His people to this vineyard, God says He cleared the stones, dug the ground, planted the best vines, built a watchtower, cut out a winepress... He has done all He can do for His people to produce the best results.

For each of our lives there is an amazing plan. God prepares the way doing exactly what each of us needs to move forward and accomplish it. He sends ones like Barnabas along to encourage us. Our families, pastors, friends lend their support, with an extra nudge at times from folks like the dear couple in British Columbia who contacted an editor on my behalf.

I have never put a toe to Mr. Whiskers' backside to get him moving, but that's about what this reluctant individual has needed more than once. The words on a sign I passed yesterday confirmed what has been happening in my heart recently, "Sometimes the best helping hand is a good firm push."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nutty Notions

One unusually mild sunny morning I spotted a squirrel stretched out on the crossbar of the clothesline post. His obvious enjoyment soaking up the rays tickled me. Careful not to startle him, I came around the corner from the far side of the house into the back yard, camera ready to catch the moment. Before I was close enough to click my little "point and shoot" he sprang up ready to flee.

This bushy-tailed rodent could not know that I intended no harm to him; that my only wish was to share his pleasure. Maybe his mom taught him before he first ventured from the nest never to trust a human.

When I switch the lens around in my direction, all excuses vanish. We cannot begin to imagine how many times Father God longs to come close to us. Often failing to understand seems to be what we do best. He has done everything possible to show us His incredible love. Yet people believe the enemy's lies and draw back from His approach.

To think our God was willing to come to this earth as a man to reveal to us that His whole desire is to extend His love and mercy and grace to humankind...Nothing in me is remotely willing to become a squirrel so they will trust and return my affection for them. I ask with David, "What is man that You are mindful of Him?" (Psalm 8:4 NKJ) It's one more thing beyond our understanding, but He has deemed us worthy.

I take a look at the dark hole Mr. Nutkin retreats to, his safe place. Then I consider the amazing promises available to everyone who chooses a loving relationship with Father God. Our ability to choose is the key. God could overrule this freedom, but He presented it to us and He won't go back on His Word. I don't want to miss any together-time we can share, running away from what I would choose above all else if I could understand what it is I'm being offered - "unbroken fellowship with Him in Christ Jesus". (Romans 6:11 AMP)