The Singing of Birds

Homer SunriseThey’re back.  The silence of winter has been broken by the melodies of songbirds.

The bleakness of long dark days, that wane into long dark cold nights has been interrupted–even changed.

From the boughs of spruce trees and the barren limbs of alders and cottonwood come the melodic tones of the songbirds, who having completed their long migrations from the southern hemisphere, have perched in my trees to welcome my mornings.

It’s another sign of the promise of a faithful God who promised that there would be seasons, and that seasons would change.  For every Winter there is a Spring, and for every dark night there is a promise of new light, warmth, and fresh beginnings of a day full of new mercy.

The ground beneath my feet softens, changing from frozen earth to thin layers of mud that gradually become deeper layers of moisture and soil as the ice melts away.  Puddles form on the surface of the lawn and the gravel driveways–waiting for the thaw that will absorb them into the ground.

Dormant seeds begin to feel the trickle of water washing in around them, and the gradual warming of the earth by the sun. These seeds will shiver and shed their outer shell in order to forge their path through the dirt as fresh sprouts in the days ahead.

More than the fragrance of fresh coffee in the morning, or the inviting smells of breakfast on the stove, the rays of sunshine in the early morning hours is the most welcome view, and I soak in its rays as it climbs up over the mountain landscape to perch in the sky.  Every day it climbs a little higher than the last.  Every evening it lingers just a few moments longer. My world is brighter by the day.

In mid-winter I forget what the song of the birds sounds like.  The earth seems silenced and hushed then, and the darkness bids me to stay inside and keep warm as I can.  But then there comes that morning–so unexpected when, before my alarm wakes me from sleep, I am roused to life by singing.  They are back!

The songs of the birds tell me to dream again.  They tell me that there are more birds to follow as the days grow brighter and the ground grows softer, so keep watching and listening.  Their melodies recite again the promise that God is with me and that He has not forgotten.

Genesis 8:22

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Matthew 6:26

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

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40 Downloads of my brain

On the eve of my 40th Birthday…mist and water

In no particular order, here are 40 thoughts that have sparked within me and inspired a teaching, a song, or a blog.

  1.  Prayer is only as powerful as the god it is directed to.
  2.  No one is allowed the privilege of disbelief only. You must have a counter-belief in its place.
  3.  The most beneficial pain you can add to your life is the pain of conviction and the pain of growth.
  4. Knowing who the author of a piece of art is determines its value, and reconnects the art with its source. Have you considered your Designer?
  5. Jesus didn’t say, “Neither do I condemn you. Return to what you were doing.” With compassion He said: “Go and sin no more.”
  6. Freedom in Christ is victory over sin, not victory over your conscience. Keep your conscience.
  7. Love and grace are held within the disciplines of faithfulness and endurance. Jesus discipled because He Himself was disciplined.
  8. You can love others deeply, serve honestly, and give without regrets while still holding to your convictions and your character. Jesus did.
  9. He didn’t die to give us a 2000 year old story. He died to bring us back to life.
  10. God’s wisdom for me will always have my neighbor in mind.
  11. Grief is the process of letting go while reaching for something steadfast. Even if you free-fall, God is certain and His grasp is constant.
  12. We grieve the loss of life because life is sacred. We mourn the loss of innocence because there is such a thing.
  13. Sometimes mornings are like the pull-start of a lawnmower.
  14. Let your art be the free-est expression of a soul securely anchored.
  15. A healthy fear of loftiness will keep you off of pedestals.
  16. Condemnation will always say you are hopeless. Conviction will always say the supply of your help and hope are limitless.
  17. When beauty connects to the soul it is never lost.
  18. Be someone’s umbrella today, and paint for them a brighter sky.
  19. If you have lost your sense of awe, you have quite likely closed your eyes.
  20. Unforgiveness is a debt. If your debtor cannot repay the invoice you carry, the enemy will try to persuade you to pay it off yourself in pleasures “you deserve”.
  21. What God asks us to do, instead, is turn the bill over to Him and allow Him to meet our needs.
  22. If you won’t do it, you won’t become it.
  23. Everyone needs a Joshua and Caleb in their life, otherwise you will spend your years looking at giants, and living small.
  24. Sometimes the weight you are carrying is not about you, but about those coming after you. You carry the hope and the struggle, so that they will enjoy the Promised Land
  25. Sometimes miracles are found in the forward steps. So pray, and walk.
  26. Don’t give up ground or drop your authority where God has given you responsibility. Instead, fully vest yourself into that arena, and in time, pass it on as a rich inheritance.
  27. Faith is the place holder for what you cannot presently see, but are certain will buoy you up.
  28. And if ministry was all about the Sunday morning experience, the New Testament would have been a short collection of essays.
  29. If you have a long range goal or extensive assignment, partner with optimists. You will only survive a short walk with a pessimist.
  30. I can spend my life chasing fire, or live my life as an altar where it burns.
  31. I’ll never see it multiply if I never let Jesus take it, break it, and bless it.
  32. The desire I have for all of my kids to be together with me can only be a reflection of God’s desire for us, His children, to be with Him.
  33. They say I don’t need a god to smile. Considering the neurology, pathology, and physiology of just facial nerves, I conclude that I do.
  34. There is a lot to be said for silence.
  35. If you can’t be the tidal wave, be the ground swell.
  36. Find your voice and use it both for the glory of God, and to speak up for those that cannot speak.
  37. Grace gives us a fresh page to write our lives on.
  38. History records who you are, not who you want to be.
  39. Life does not wait for your perfect plan, your pay raise, your successful diet, your New Year’s Resolution, or your cure.  Life ticks away as moments…little gifts wrapped in a million packages.
  40. Nothing is lost in God’s hands, and nothing is wasted in His plans.