FROM VARIETY COMES UNITY

There are times when I look out the window into our backyard and I am amazed at the creativity of our God.  The variety of birds that come to the bird feeder and to the birdbath is wonderful, and it just comprises a miniscule sampling of the birds that He created for His world.

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Backyard bird looking for worms!

 

Some are so graceful and fast that our eyes cannot take in their flight unless it is captured in slow motion.

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Precious hummingbird approaching the feeder.

 

Others blend in with the surroundings, but they always seem to appreciate the shelter from the snow!

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Little bird taking cover from snow under the bird feeder “awning”!

The cardinal is young and is not yet fully colored, but he will be a brilliant eye-catcher when he is older!

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Young cardinal looking around the side of the feeder.

 

Some are dusty colored and demure in their plumage, but they create such beautiful music with their cooing and rustling feathers when they take wing!

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Mourning dove at the bird bath.

 

Some are bright in their coloration, and they shine in the sunlight.

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Yellow goldfinch standing brightly on a stem.

 

Each kind of bird brings his own beauty, sound, and sight to the yard.  The variety of colors and of sounds from the numerous birds, both visible and hidden in the trees, brings to my mind the description that God gives of His people and His church.

 

By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Isaiah 45:23

 

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:10-11

 

In the book of Revelation, John records the vision that he had of the end times, of the church and of the activities in heaven.  In chapter 5 at verses 9 and 10 we read:

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”  [Emphasis mine]

 

Then, to top it off, that same chapter states in verse 13:

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”  [Emphasis mine]

 

Imagine the sound as millions of voices join in the same song of praise.

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The choir and symphony ready for the music to begin at the Schermerhorn concert hall in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Even now, I get chills when a choir powerfully sings of God’s grace and His love.   I cannot imagine the glorious euphony that will be raised when all of us are praising God through song, even those whose voices on earth sounded more like a “caw” than a “chirp”!

 

Scripture clearly states that through Christ’s blood and his sacrifice, He ransomed us as a people for God, and this group of people is comprised of Christians from around the world, encompassing “every tribe and language and people and nation”.    This means that we will worship in different ways and we will sound different in our language, but the meaning will be the same – our God and our Savior will be praised, adored and glorified.

 

Some may worship in grand and glorious cathedrals.

 

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

 

Others may worship in a wood frame church in the mountains.

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Wooden church in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.

 

Just as the creatures in nature are not clones of each other, we are not going to look alike.  Just as each creature has its own unique sound/language, we do not all have the same language.  But if the God who is worshiped in each of these places is the God of the Scripture, the God who sent His Son to save His people from their sins, all of these folks will join together in one glorious song of praise to the King of Kings, now and for all eternity.

So, why wait until heaven? 

Start now – praising the Lord for His glorious creation.  Praising the Lord for His wondrous works to the children of men.  Praising the Lord for His sovereignty and providence.  Praising the Lord for His grace and mercy towards his people through salvation from their sins.  Praising the Lord in song or by making a joyful noise.  Praising the Lord in your heart and in your soul, as you remember all His kindnesses and mercies showered upon you each moment of every day.

 

David put it quite succinctly, repeating the imperative throughout the Book of Psalms:

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 106:1

 

Father, I thank You for your grace, mercy and love as is evident in your creation that is all around us.  i thank You for your Spirit that dwells in each believer in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I praise your holy name for all the gifts and benefits bestowed upon me through no merit of my own, especially salvation through Jesus Christ.  I thank You and praise You now, and forever more.

 

OPEN YOUR EYES … NOW, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Have you been in the high mountains and soaked in the vista sweeping across the horizon for a far greater distance than that which you can usually see?

 

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Vista view from Blue Ridge Parkway overlook.

 

Things seem so different from that perspective. Have you ever had an opportunity to be in an airplane or on top of the mountain when you could see the fields, houses, rivers, buildings and roads below?

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Knoxville, Tennessee downtown from Sharp’s Ridge.

 

Looking at a city from the mountain top hides the random streets with roads clogged with traffic. It conceals the home with a messy yard or a tree that is less than beautiful when walking past on your evening stroll. Instead, all those features become one piece of the fabric that gives character to the overall motif when viewing things from above.

When I view the mountains …

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Rocky Mountain peaks from an airplane.

 

or the oceans, …

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Pacific Ocean waves and rock formations along Oregon coast.

 

the minutia of the day is lost in the splendor and majesty of God’s creation. Indeed, God’s creation is awesome in its scope, beauty and power. Just check out Yosemite National Park, for example!

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Yosemite National Park waterfall and downstream.

 

The Bible says in Genesis 1:1 that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In Deuteronomy, Moses prayed:

“O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?”
Deuteronomy 3:24.

The Psalmist says:

“Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.”
Psalm 104:1.

See the mighty Giant Sequoia Tree in King’s Canyon, California.

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Giant Sequoia Tree in King’s Canyon, California.

 

God’s power is truly visible in the overwhelming splendor, beauty and majesty of His creation. His creation prompts us to praise Him for His mighty works.

But, His power is not only visible in the huge glorious vistas splayed out before us on this planet. His creative power is shown in the minute, as well.

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Azalea blooms up close and personal.

 

The detail in the flower of an azalea bush bespeaks of a Creator Who loves beauty.

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Goldfinch sitting atop branch in flower garden.

 

The glorious chirp and beauty of the Goldfinch as he sits atop a branch in the garden, searching for food, his mate, or just taking in the scenery.  God’s handiwork is evident even in this small creature.

Yes, God’s creativity is visible even in that which we walk past and ignore on a daily basis, in the beautiful birds, butterflies, flowers, clouds, sunsets, and in the myriad  of His majestic works which are simply too big for me to comprehend.

The Bible tells us that God wants us to know Him. Paul says in Romans 1:20:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…”

God, the Master Creator, has made the world and everything in it, including us. Such power, majesty and glory is too incredible for me to understand  – I only know that He wants to have a relationship with me. When I take my eyes off the problems, pain and discomfort of this life and look to Him in love, trust and obedience, then I remember that and I know that He loves me and is in control.

I am not a Polyanna who cannot see problems or pain – I have experienced both problems and pain on multiple occasions in my life. Rather, I am suggesting that, even in the middle of the problem or pain, you can look up to the Father Who loves you so much that He  sent his Son to be your Savior and Lord.  Becoming a Christian does end problems or pain, however.  When Paul asked that his “thorn in the flesh” be taken away, we read this:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9.

Pain will still be present, but His comfort and His grace is sufficient to overcome whatever the world may throw at us.

So, I ask you, “What do you see?” Keep your eyes open and expect to see God today. He is present and He will make Himself known to you, you just need to look and listen as His Spirit guides you through the day!

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24.

Praise the Lord!

 

Father, forgive me when I have focused so much on my own personal problems, pain, discouragement that I have failed to see You all around me. Open my eyes and my heart to your comforting care and draw me close to You, each day. May I praise your Name each day You give me the gift of life.