Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An Earful of Waxwings {and a Poem}

Winter is, in my opinion, the best time for birdwatching in our area. We are either winter homes or on the migratory path of quite a few species we don't see the rest of the year, and we are far enough south that the usual suspects, the cardinals and mockingbirds and chickadees and house finches and sparrows, don't feel the need to escape for warmer climes.

This year, in addition to the charm of goldfinches, we have enjoyed watching an abundance of cedar waxwings. They seem to relish the berries of the native Yaupon holly, and we have holly shrubs along one side of the house and a medium-sized tree in the front. It made me laugh to discover that the collective noun for a group of waxwings is either an earful or a museum (Madame Tussaud's, perhaps?).

They look so elegant and a bit mysterious with their black burglars' masks and tiny flash of red at the tips of the wings, but they are spooked by the slightest thing and not brave enough to travel alone. We see a dozen waxwings or a hundred (truly), but not just one.

In the poem below the photos, I play around with that idea a bit. Enjoy!

A hundred banditti alight,
Their stolen shards of shattered sunset
Glowing like candles blazing in bare limbs.
Their theft exacts a high price:
A shadow approaches, and they flee,
Fugitives from their own guilty consciences.

Friday, February 23, 2018

He Loves Because

female house finch

God loves you not because you are clever
not because you are good,
but because He is your Father.

(Kindle Location 7,254, Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Regaining Peace

Bewick's wren

"Each and every time something threatens to steal our peace, we can stop what we are doing and open that raw, painful place to God. Sometimes a brief but honest prayer is all we can manage. As often as possible, we do well to sit with his Word open before us, asking him to reveal himself in our struggle. The more we see, the more we will want. Before we know it, we will find ourselves wanting him even more than we want our problems solved. He himself will be the peace we have been wanting all along. He is faithful to us in this way. It has been said, and truthfully so, that sometimes we don't know God is all we have until God is all we've got" (Kindle Location 435, Lydia Brownback, Contentment).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Heralds of Weighty Mercies

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:5

Orange-crowned warbler

"There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales—in this side he puts his people’s trials, and in that he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to his crew.... Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—he finds it full—he begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it.... There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies."
~Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning of February 12

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Strength Enough

You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1, CSB).

'When you are oppressed with the weight of any duty and service in your calling, improve your trust in God's power. Perhaps you find the duty of your calling too heavy for your weak shoulders: lay the heaviest end of your burden on God's shoulder. When at any time you are sick of your work and ready with Jonah to run from it, encourage yourself with that which God said to Gideon; 'Go in this your might', has not God called you? Continue in the work God sets you to, and his strength will be engaged for you....

"In a word, Christian, rely upon your God, and make daily applications to the throne of grace for continual supplies of strength. God is so pleased that you come to him in this way, and the more often the better, and the more you come, the more you are welcome. Such a bountiful heart your God has, that while you are asking for a little peace and joy, he bids you to open your mouth wide and he will fill it. Set your needs all before the Almighty. God has strength enough to give."