Monday, February 27, 2023

Tree of Trust {The Other Beatitudes}


“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

Whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water,

That sends out its roots by the stream,

And does not fear when heat comes,

For its leaves remain green,

And is not anxious in the year of drought,

For it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV


All flesh is grass,

Our glory its flower—

Ephemeral as Texas bluebonnets

Or Washington cherry blossoms

Or Colorado aspens shimmering gold—

Fifteen minutes of flowered effulgence

Then petals drift on footpaths,

Float away on the breeze;

Gold leaves mound and dry

Until raked away or decomposed,

Dust to dust returned.


Without Goldilocks heat and moisture,

Summer and winter and seedtime and harvest,

They may not even display 

A blink of glory.

The blessing of bluebonnets, however beautiful,

Is a frail and feeble thing,

Dependent on so much to go just right

To flood the pastures,

Fill the horizon,

With perhaps—what?—

A hundred hours of blue

Or blush or gilt.


That same frail withering flesh,

When filled with faith in the Lord,

Trust which is the Lord,

Has strength and substance

Like a tree rising upward.

Trunk thickening outward,

Roots branching downward,

Downward and downward,

Outward and outward

To the water table.

To the river,

To rain-soaked surface soil,

Sustained by springs

Lesser plants know not of,

Springs slaking thirst unceasingly.


Let the winds blow;

Its roots are deep and deeper still.

Let the sun scorch;

Its leaves will verdant be.

Let drought wither grasses

And field flowers;

Water may gush from granite

That tree of trust stand tall,

Limbs outstretched, upraised.

It dwells in rich good soil

Which carries living water

Into perennial fruitfulness,

Foretaste of the harvest of New Jerusalem.

Monday, February 20, 2023

All for You: A Prayer

"Lord, help me to glorify You.

I am poor; help me to glorify You by contentment.

I am sick; help me to give You honor by patience.

I have talents; help me to extol You by spending them for You.

I have time, Lord; help me to redeem it, that I may serve You.

I have a heart to feel; Lord, let that heart feel no love but Yours,

and glow with no flame but affection for You.

I have a mind to think, Lord; help me to think of You and for You.

You have put me in this world for something.

Lord, show me what that is,

and help me to work out my life-purpose.

I cannot do much,

but as the widow put in her two copper coins, which were all her living,

so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into Your treasury.

I am all Yours;

take me, and enable me to glorify You now,

in all that I say,

in all that I do,

and with all that I have."

~Charles Spurgeon

Friday, February 10, 2023

Open: A Prayer

Open my ears, Lord, to listen attentively to Your Word.
Open my mind to understand the Scriptures.
Open my eyes to recognize You in the unfolding of this day.
Open my hands to receive what You give.
Open straight paths before me in the way of Your will.
Open my heart to love and trust You with all I am and have, in Jesus' name.

Photos from the sunrise of 4 February 2023

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Crucible of Suffering and Our Sovereign God

Last week was the sort of hard week that feels like a month but also leaves one, come Saturday, asking, “Now what did I do this week? Why was it so unfruitful?”

We began with life-threatening health emergencies for not one but two family members. The human has an initial diagnosis and was given one medication to address the problem until the specialist appointment this week. We do not know the detailed prognosis or path forward yet, but I do not exaggerate in calling it life-threatening.

Moose Tracks, our dachshund-terrier mix, woke last Sunday with severe abdominal pain, to the point that when I tried to touch his middle, gently, to suss out the location of the pain, he yelped and ran away from me. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis caused by genetics, an infection of unknown cause, and “dietary indiscretions.” The emergency animal hospital kept him for 36 hours, then sent him home with 3 medications. That’s in addition to the inhaler he started using at the beginning of the year for the respiratory inflammation that caused his last emergency vet appointment in October. He’s been busy.

In addition, an essay into which I poured my heart, soul, mind, and strength was rejected for the fourteenth time. It seemed poor stewardship of time and energy to make further attempts.

Then the ice storm that blasted much of the United States hit here too, shutting everything down from Monday night through Thursday. Schools remained closed Friday too. We are grateful our power stayed on, and we didn’t suffer burst pipes or lose any tree limbs.

In the midst of that, the usual medical appointments, phone calls, and paperwork continued, and the caregiving and cooking and mounds of laundry that don’t stop for drama.