The Things That Bug Us

Image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay

Do you ever think that you could have designed this planet a bit better than God did?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the beauty of God’s Creation: the animals, birds, trees, flowers, oceans, mountains, and starry night sky.

But I have just one quibble….

Bugs.

I think God made far too many of them.

Scientists estimate that there are 10 quintillion bugs on Earth, which works out to well over a billion insects per person.

I find this excessive. All most of them do is bite, sting, or frighten people.

In an ideal world of my creation, there would only be a few select insects. Cute ones like ladybugs and beautiful ones like butterflies would make the cut, but I can do without the rest.

Plus, I’d make a lot more flowers. Sound good?

There’s only one problem with the utopia I’ve designed: what would pollinate the flowers?

Insects are responsible for the vast majority of pollination. In my version of this world, I would have eliminated the very things that make possible productivity in flowering plants.

I think we take the same attitude when it comes to things in our lives that we find unpleasant or demanding.

We want nothing to do with the things that “bug” us.

Read more

God Didn’t Make a Mistake When He Made You

Cormorant. Image by sharkolot from Pixabay

Pity the poor cormorant.

This ungainly waterfowl is never at the top of anyone’s list of favourite birds.

It looks almost prehistoric, with its matte black feathers and strongly hooked bill. It lacks the beauty of a brightly coloured cardinal or the elegance of a swan.

The cormorant sits unusually low in the water, as though it’s about to sink. And because its wing feathers aren’t waterproof like those of other waterfowl, it needs to stand for long periods with wings outstretched, drying its feathers out in the sun.

It’s clumsy on land, and must expend more energy flying than other birds.

Nothing seems quite right about the cormorant.

Did God make a mistake when he fashioned them?

Not at all!

The cormorant’s lack of waterproofing actually plays to its advantage. Its waterlogged feathers make it less buoyant than ducks, enabling it to dive deeper in search of fish to eat.

Cormorants are excellent divers, agile and swift, with some species being able to dive to an astounding 150 feet.

So its “deficiencies” aren’t actually a bug, but rather a feature.

Do you ever feel like you’re not as good at things as other people? Do you feel as though you simply don’t measure up?

Rest assured, God didn’t make a mistake when he made you.

Read more

Want To Feel God’s Love?

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

It seems like marriage proposals these days are a competitive sport.

It used to be that a man would propose to his beloved over a romantic dinner, with flowers on the table and perhaps some violins playing. He would get down on bended knee, present a ring, and ask for her hand in marriage.

Apparently, that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Now, proposals have to be over-the-top. They might feature anything from fireworks to skywriting. A will-you-marry-me moment nowadays might involve a scavenger hunt, a fake movie trailer, a full orchestra and choir, or a ride in a hot-air balloon.

More adventurous grooms might enlist a celebrity in the proceedings, hire a flash mob at Times Square, or arrange to appear on the Jumbotron at a sports game.

And then there’s the man whose proposal took an entire year to create. Unbeknownst to his girlfriend Jennifer, each day for 365 days Dean Smith videotaped himself proposing to her, every time with a unique message. On the 366th day, he showed her the completed video and finally proposed in person (she said yes).

Why do people go to so much trouble?

Because they want to show their intended how much they’re loved.

Did you know that God has done the same for you?

He loves you deeply and He wants you to know it!

Let’s see how God stacks up when it comes to showing love.

Read more

Sounds Like Paradise

Image of New Zealand by Lars_Nissen from Pixabay

Right now, living in countries like New Zealand sounds like a sort of paradise to the rest of the world.

Some island nations have been able to beat back the novel coronavirus to the point where life is almost back to normal.

People in those countries can once again attend concerts, go out to restaurants or to church, return to their workplaces, and hug their friends and family.

They can pretty much go about their pre-pandemic lives.

For those of us living in countries still battling second or third waves of COVID-19, life in places like New Zealand seems like a dream.

We hope that one day maybe life will be like that for us, too: we long for a world where there are no more restrictions, suffering or death due to COVID-19.

In essence, we all yearn for a release from “bondage,” don’t we?

But even when we’ve been able to put the novel coronavirus in the rear-view mirror, this ache for freedom won’t quite go away.

Why?

Read more

The Language of Flowers and the Language of God

Say it with flowers!
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA-2.0

Flowers speak. Not just through their fragrance or their beauty, but with secret codes, too.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “language of flowers” popular during Victorian times? This enchanting symbolic language enabled suitors to send coded messages to their paramours, ones that couldn’t be spoken aloud. The message depended on the particular flowers and colours chosen for the bouquet. An entire conversation could be carried out solely through flowers, with no words employed at all.

We all know that red roses symbolize true love, and we’d rightly guess that the forget-me-not begs that the giver be remembered. But did you know the following flower meanings?

Red carnation: My heart aches for you
Hyacinth: Your loveliness charms me
Canterbury bell: Your letter received
Yellow rose: Jealousy
Butterfly weed: Let me go
Weeping willow: Sadness

The Victorian language of flowers is a cryptic tongue. Most people only see the surface of the flower and not the symbolic meaning hidden within it.

God has His own “language of flowers,” but it actually encompasses all of creation. God is continually speaking to us through nature:

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20 NLT)

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1 NLT)

If we listened in to what nature was saying about its Creator, what messages would be revealed?

Read more

Season of Stillness

Empty cafe in Italy
Photo by Peter H. on Pixabay

The lockdowns associated with the coronavirus pandemic have produced some unexpected results in the natural world.

With fewer vehicles and industrial machines operating, noise pollution has been reduced so dramatically that seismologists can hear sounds from inside the planet that they couldn’t detect previously.

In cities, reduced traffic noise is allowing people to hear birdsong, the chatter of squirrels, and the chirping of crickets like never before. People have been surprised to discover that they can now hear the flapping of birds’ wings as they pass overhead.

A quieter environment is probably also allowing animals to hear each other better. City birds usually have to sing more loudly than their country cousins to make themselves heard above the urban cacophony: perhaps their mates and rivals can hear them more easily now. With a reduction in ship traffic, marine mammals might also be finding that they can contact each other with greater ease now that there is less “acoustic smog” in the oceans.

If we can hear the creation better during the lockdowns, and creation can hear itself better, can we hear our Creator better?

Read more

Orchestra In Your Garden

Snowdrops, one of the harbingers of spring

Finally! At long last we’re starting to see signs of spring here in Toronto.

There’s still a bit of snow on the ground, but the tiny snowdrops in my garden are already shyly blooming. The tulips are just starting to poke the tips of their leaves above the ground like a periscope, as if checking to see whether it’s safe to emerge.

“The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” (Song of Solomon 2:12 NLT)

After a long winter, it makes my heart sing to see the beginnings of spring.

But do the flowers and trees themselves sing? And if they do, what is their song telling us?

Read more

Knit One, Purl One

There’s something rather magical about knitting, isn’t there?

Think about it: you start with something as simple as a ball of yarn and some knitting needles. Doesn’t seem very promising at first, does it?

But thanks to the skill and imagination of the knitter, you end up with a beautiful and intricately woven sweater, scarf or mittens, or booties for a baby. Or even a knit-covered bicycle. All made with great care and lots of love.

Did you know that God is a knitter, too?

Read more