God Sees You In Infrared

Photo by Veronica H. on Pixabay

Did you know that some birds and bees can see things that are completely invisible to us? They’re able to see in infrared, just beyond the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum that human eyes can detect.

What looks to us like a regular pink flower might resemble a helicopter landing pad to a bee. Where we see only the uniform expanse of one colour, the bee may see a target-shaped design involving different colours. The bee’s infrared vision allows it to home in on the most nectar-rich part of the flower.

The world looks completely different when you can see in infrared.

I sometimes think that God sees us in “infrared.” He can see things in us that are invisible to others, and even to ourselves.

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Beauty Out Of Brokenness

Photo by treenabelle on Pixabay

Once this pandemic is over, psychologists warn that many of us may suffer from post-traumatic stress for some time to come.

Some of us will have seen our business close down for good, suffered isolation and loneliness, or may have even lost a loved one during the COVID-19 crisis.

But is PTSD a given in these circumstances? Is there different outcome that can occur, an unexpected benefit that may arise out of these difficult times?

Psychologists say yes: there’s such a thing as post-traumatic growth.

It’s been found in survivors of war, cancer, and natural disasters. Some people emerge from a crisis with increased spirituality, a greater sense of personal strength, new priorities and closer relationships with others. What could have broken them actually made them better.

This phenomenon reminds me a bit of “sea glass.” Sea glass, or beach glass, found washed up on shores, starts out as merely cast-aside pieces of broken glass. Perhaps they’ve been tossed overboard from a ship, or thrown into the sea from land along with other garbage.

These shards of glass endure years of being buffeted against the stones of the sea bottom. It seems like they’re being dashed about mercilessly by the relentless action of the waves. Surely no good could come of this?

But then, something almost magical emerges.

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Some Things Never Change

Image by mabi2000 on Flickr. by CC BY-SA 2.0

Has your head been spinning with all the changes the world has undergone in the past several years?

We stumble through one crisis, only to find another totally unexpected one emerge. We wonder if life will ever truly be the same again.

It’s at times like these that we need something that never changes, much like conifers.

During the winter, when deciduous trees are bare, I’m thankful for coniferous trees. These loyal friends, like the spruces, pines and firs, still have their mantle of green, which they’ll keep year-round. These silent sentinels might not be flashy, but we can count on them not to change.

God’s character is like that, too.

When the world seems to be in turmoil, and life is changing in ways that are distressing and unpredictable, we need something unchanging to hold on to. That something is our eternal Heavenly Father.

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Saved By The Blood

Image of ground squirrel by Roy Buri from Pixabay

In a match between a ground squirrel and a deadly rattlesnake, whom would you bet on?

Remember, this is a ground squirrel: it can’t run up a tree to escape.

And if the squirrel needs to defend its burrow with its babies inside, it doesn’t have much choice: it has to stand its ground.

What chance does it have against a venomous rattlesnake?

More than you’d expect.

California ground squirrels have an ace up their sleeve.

When confronted by a rattlesnake, this squirrel is able to engorge its tail with extra blood. It then waves its tail back and forth vigorously, super-heating the blood.

The snake, while lethal, has relatively poor vision, so it can’t clearly see what it’s facing. It instead uses its built-in infrared sensor to detect heat.

The squirrel’s hot, blood-filled tail swishing to and fro mimics the heat signature of a much larger animal. The snake thinks twice about taking on such a formidable creature, and more often than not it slinks away, defeated.

The squirrel has been saved from its enemy by the blood.

And so are we.

On our own, we are no match for that serpent of old, Satan.

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Blessing Or Curse?

Image of lawnmower by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if a circumstance is a blessing or a curse.

You’d think it would be easy to know if something was good or bad, wouldn’t you?

But you might not be correct.

I used to complain to anyone who would listen about how much work it was taking care of my parent’s yard. The huge corner lot involved endless mowing of the lawn in summer and raking of leaves in fall. Not to mention shovelling all the snow off the driveway and extra-long sidewalk in winter.

I’d gripe that caring for their yard would be the death of me.

Then one day I happened to look at my biceps.

Not bad at all. Sort of impressive, really, for a woman my age. I don’t go to the gym, so what was keeping me toned and fit?

Taking care of the dang yard, that’s what.

What I had cursed as a burden was actually the very thing that was keeping my muscles and bones strong. I repented for my grumbling and ingratitude as I realized that the big yard had been a blessing in disguise.

Sometimes God uses what appears to be something negative to bring about something positive. We shouldn’t be too hasty to assume that we know whether something is good or bad.

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God Knows How To Get The Word Out

Image of milkweed pod and seeds by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Plants are ingenious things.

They have numerous ways of dispersing their seeds to grow new plants, methods that go far beyond simply dropping a seed to the ground from the mother plant above.

Some plants sport wings on their seeds (called samaras) to enable the wind to carry them farther away from the mother tree than regular seeds could go. The maple tree uses this method of seed dispersal: once released from the tree, its seeds spin through the air like helicopters to find a new home.

Other seeds, like that of the milkweed, drift on the wind using their own downy parachutes. Dandelions do the same (much to the chagrin of those trying to maintain a dandelion-free lawn!).

Some seeds come wrapped in tasty packages, like that of the raspberry. Animals or birds eat the berry, then excrete the seed later on (along with some “fertilizer”).

The burdock plant takes another tack: its seeds have sticky hooks that attach to an animal’s fur as it passes by. The seed essentially “hitchhikes” to begin life in another location.

Another intriguing method of seed dispersal is used by the jewelweed plant. Its seed pod “explodes” when touched, flinging the seeds far and wide. It’s no coincidence that jewelweed also goes by the name “touch-me-not.”

I guess we can’t put nature in a box when it comes to seed dispersal. It uses a variety of creative ways to achieve its goal of propagating new plants.

We can’t put limits on God either.

He uses many different ways to plant the seed of the Word of God in people’s hearts.

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The Only Horoscope You’ll Ever Need

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

What’s your astrological sign? Are you a Libra or a Leo?

Do you read your horoscope daily and make life decisions based on that advice?

Astrology teaches that the time cycle in which you were born determines your personality, and to some extent the course of your life. But this might leave you with a sense of being powerless, at the mercy of impersonal forces beyond your control.

Isn’t there something better to help you navigate your way through life?

I believe there is.

How would you like a horoscope that is valid for every day of the year, no matter when you were born?

One that contained truths you could always rely on, was written by Someone who knows you and loves you, and is not determined by inanimate objects like stars or an impersonal and arbitrary time cycle?

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Look Beyond The Obvious

Image of a killdeer bird by Esteban Rodriguez from Pixabay

Sometimes the most innocent-looking birds can be the craftiest.

Take the killdeer, for instance.

This bird, a type of plover, has cheery horizontal stripes across its front in bold black and white. The rest of its body is decked out in gentle brown and buff colours. It has what look to me like honest, kind eyes.

It seems like a bird that has nothing to hide.

But looks can be deceiving.

The killdeer isn’t above pulling a fast one on you.

If you or a predator gets too close to its nest, which is invariably on the ground, the killdeer puts on an act worthy of an Oscar-winner.

It pretends to be injured, holding its wing out at an awkward angle while emitting plaintive cries of distress.

This “broken-wing act” distracts the predator and lures it away from the bird’s eggs or chicks in the nest.

So if you want to take a peek at the killdeer’s nest, you have to look beyond the deception. You have to realize there’s something the bird doesn’t want you to see; hence the hullabaloo.

You have to have the discipline to not let yourself be distracted by the bird’s conniving song and dance.

I think sometimes Satan works a bit like the killdeer.

There are things he doesn’t want us to see or realize.

So he deceives us.

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What Will You Grow: Fear or Faith?

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

With the arrival of spring, gardeners are faced with some difficult decisions:

What should I grow in my garden?

You only have so much square footage and only so much soil.

You have to make hard choices about what plants will be given space, and which ones you’ll have to forgo this year.

Maybe you’d like to grow dozens of pink roses in your garden plot. That’s a great idea: it would look gorgeous and smell beautiful.

But then you’d have to give up on the idea of growing a vegetable garden in that spot. You simply don’t have the space to do both.

If you dream of having a wildflower meadow in your yard, you’ll have to skip your plan of creating a formal French garden. You have enough room for one or the other, but not both.

Similarly, you only have so much real estate in your mind.

You have to make decisions about what you’ll let take up space.

What will you grow there?

Faith or fear?

They both grow in the same soil, so to speak: uncertainty.

But only one of them produces a harvest that’s worthwhile.

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Same Spider, Different Silks

Dew drops on spider’s web. Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

When you let your mind wander, do you ever find yourself asking odd questions?

Such as, “Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?”

Or, “How do you grow a seedless fruit?”

Or how about this one:

“Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?”

I can’t help you with the first two, but I do have an answer for the third.

When spiders build their webs, they draw out silk from their abdomens with six spinnerets. The key is that they’re able to emit different types of silk for different purposes.

The spider first constructs a frame for its web. Then, it lays down spokes of non-sticky silk to use as walkways.

Next, the spider weaves spirals of connecting lines between the spokes using sticky silk. This is for ensnaring small insects that it will later eat. The spider knows to avoid walking on these gluey strands.

A spider can also spin stretchy silk for the centre of its web, or extra-strong silk for the anchor lines.

Whichever type of silk the spider decides to spin, it all has a specific purpose. And even though the types of silk differ, they all come from the same source.

I think we can borrow this analogy to describe how we can receive quite different things from God’s hand.

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