// captivated //

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“He splashed orange in the sunrise

and cast the sky in blue.

And if you love to see geese as they gather,

chances are you’ll see that, too.

Did He have to make the squirrel’s tail furry?

Was He obliged to make the birds sing?

And the funny way that chickens scurry

or the majesty of thunder when it rings?

Why give a flower fragrance? Why give food its taste?

Could it be, He loves to see …

That look upon your face?”

{from “He Chose the Nails”}

“So the next time a sunrise steals your breath, or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, ‘Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

I’m about to tell you something you may find hard to believe … Here it is: If you were the only person on earth, the earth would look exactly the same. The Himalayas would still have their drama and the Caribbean would still have its charm. The sun would still nestle behind the Rockies in the evenings and spray light on the desert in the mornings. If you were the sole pilgrim on this globe, God would not diminish its beauty one degree.

Because He did it all for you … and He’s waiting for you to discover His gift … He’s waiting for your eyes to pop and your heart to stop. He’s waiting for the moment between the dropping of the jaw and the leap of the heart. For in that silence He leans forward and whispers: I did it just for you.

Find such love hard to believe? That’s okay … Just because we can’t imagine God’s giving us sunsets, don’t think God doesn’t do it. God’s thoughts are higher than ours. God’s ways are greater than ours. And, sometimes, out of His great wisdom, our Father in heaven gives us a piece of heaven just to show He cares.”

{from “The Great House of God”}

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tune my heart to sing thy grace

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“Come, thou Fount of every blessing,

tune my heart to sing thy grace;

streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.

Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.”

To sing His grace.

It’s hard, you know, those days you stare at the sky, asking the “why” question over and over again, and your heart is buckling under the hurt, the pain, the raw of fresh emotions threatening to surface.

This grace thing. It’s hard to wrap the mind around.

When you lose one you love, when things don’t go as planned, when you hold yourself to a standard of perfection, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you feel like you’ve let God down.

When your cup overflows with doubts & fears, instead of the joy & peace you’re meant to have.

Wait a second, and I’m supposed to sing You’re grace? How could You expect me to? How can you expect me to? How, why, when You know I can’t carry this weight, this burden, anymore? How …. how ….

Why?

~*~

In my heart’s breath, there’s hope.

When, Lord? When will I learn to lean on You? And not on myself?

I’m not perfect. I can’t be perfect.

There’s no way.

When, Lord, will I stop trying to grab the pen from You, the Author, to write This Story the way I want it to go? When will I understand that You know what’s best for everyone, and myself?

When will I be able to sing thy grace, in my heart, & my life, and sing it loud for every soul to hear? Like Joshua Eddy? And Kaitlin Boyda? And Mrs. Sieker?

Help me to learn, oh, Lord,

Thy Will be done.

// sunshine & rain //

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There’s something about the sun.

The way when she wakes up and yawns, slowly stretching her fingertips through every meadow, forest, and valley, touching every dew drop on blades of grass, and stretching, still, through the branches and leaves of maple trees, dappled gold on raw earth.

Beckoning us to a new day.

However, it is coming to that time of year that such scenes will no longer be observed, clouds of grey hovering in once-blue skies.

And today is that kind of day.

Here you will find me, sitting contentedly inside the house, wearing too-big-for-me sweatshirts, drinking coffee, writing til my fingers bleed, and soaking every last drop of sunshine when I can (psh, well, when there actually is some), like the way you savor that last sip of tea, or the last page of your favorite novel.

So I am here, contemplating, that … well, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to leave summer just yet.

I mean, where would we be without the sun? The sun gives us food, and warmth, and … life.

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But oftentimes I forget about the beauty of rain? Those days watching rain drops trickle across the car window? The way it makes the earth smell so fresh and clean? The joy I feel in being able to splash in mud puddles, or in sitting inside hearing its quiet melody as it pitter patters against the roof?

I mean … where would we be without rainHow would things grow? How would we live?

{the following is written by John Piper, emphasis added by mwah.}

“But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God;

Who does great and unsearchable things,Wonders without number.

He gives rain on the earth, and sends water to the fields.”

~ Job 5:8-10

“If you said to someone: ‘My God does great and unsearchable things; He does wonders without number,” and they responded, “Really? Like what?” would you say, “Rain”?

When I read these verses recently I felt like I did when I heard the lyrics to a Sonny and Cher song in 1969: ‘I’d live for you, I’d die for you, I’d even climb the mountain high for you.’ Even? I would die for you. I would even climb a high mountain for you? The song was good for a joke. Or a good illustration of bad poetry. Not much else.

But Job is not joking. “God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth.” In Job’s mind, rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (= meditation).

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear, blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27, 878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water. That’s heavy.

So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?

Well, it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds of water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a billion pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up to get bigger. And when they’re big enough, they fall. Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up, if there was no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it. I still don’t see why drops ever get to the ground, because if they start falling as soon as they are heavier than air, they would be too small not to evaporate on the way down, but if they wait to come down, what holds them up till they are big enough not to evaporate? Yes, I am sure there is a name for that too. But I am satisfied now that, by any name, this is a great and unsearchable thing God has done. I think I should be thankful– lots more thankful than I am.

Grateful to God for the wonder of rain,

Pastor John Piper”