My Nature walk along the River

Every couple weeks or so I like to walk along the Mississippi River on this trail. In this photo I am looking back from where I just walked.

Usually the trail is rugged, but here the way is flat and easier walking. But as you can see, you have to watch where you are going or you will tumble into the river. I walked along this path for a while, and then when the trail ended I took a sharp right up to another broader trail.

Here we are on the broader trail, or it is more like a road. In fact, I often see workers drive on this road.

Looking to the left, you see the river again through this jungle of trees.

Here is a rare sight this early in the spring. So lovely! All of these beautiful sights are God’s special gifts for me to enjoy.

Here the trail winds around these trees; and though the way is darker, I know that God is still with me. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me.”

Here the path is quite narrow. “Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The path suddenly turns green. It’s beautiful here. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”


Up the path and to the left I viewed this red-winged black bird in the swamp.

I have often wondered why this clump of grass always grows taller in this area. Perhaps there is something or somebody buried there that makes the ground more fertile. This reminds me of where we used to live in Delano, Minnesota. We had this corn field and there were places where the corn would grow almost twice as tall as the other corn. One fall day my dad decided that before plowing he would burn the field because he had let it get so overgrown with weeds. Well, it happened that after the weeds had burned off, the ground just kept burning and burning. We discovered that the earth was full of peat soil, and peat burns. So all you farmers, before you decide to burn your field make sure you don’t have peat or you will have a mess, and the good peat will be burned up and good for nothing,

Look at the Birds of the Air

For some reason I really like this photo. I have often past by this small tree next to that old telephone pole with the old spikes, and I usually always see little birds like these resting on the branches—without a care in the world. Oh, look at the birds. They have no worries. I wish I were as worry free as the birds.

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? Matthew 6:26.

Crooked and Straight Trees

Crooked Tree

As you can see, this is a very crooked tree. And notice that it is in the swamp.

A leaning tree.

This tree is not so raggedy, but it is bent over. It is also in a low area next to the swamp.

A very crooked tree.

This tree is a mess! And it is totally in the swamp. A swamp tree.

A very tall and straight group of trees.

Now here is a very lovely group of tree. Very majestic looking. And they are no where near a swamp.

Tall trees.

Notice that these tall trees are nowhere near a swamp. They were planted above the swamp.

Crooked and tall trees

In this picture, notice that the trees on the left are on lower ground and they are crooked and bent over. But the rest of the tree are on higher ground and they are straight and strong.

I was wondering if we can learn something from these trees. The Psalmist in Psalm 1:3 tells us that the righteous man will be like a tree that is firmly planted by streams of water. But it doesn’t say that he is planted in the water, but by the water. Those who are planted in the water get too much water. Are there some Christians that get too much water? I think a Christian that spends all of his time reading the bible and going to church, but has no ministry, he may end up like a crooked tree. He is getting too much nourishment–more than his body can handle. Just a thought.

Plan Not to Plan

In this comic strip, Jeremy seems to be trying to get out of work. On the other hand, he may have a point.

I think we should be very careful about making plans and goals. I have gotten myself into a lot of trouble when I have made big goals and plans for myself. For me, it works better to first pray about a thing, and then pray some more. I would rather let Him lead me into something than to make big plans. As Proverbs 16:3 instructs us, we should first commit our way to Him and then He will establish the plans He desires of us.

Proverbs 16:9

The mind of man plans his way,

But the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a man’s heart,

But the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your works to the Lord,

And your plans will be established.

The Mortification of Sin

Prayer A to Z

Jesus deals with this topic of the mortification of sin in Matthew 5:29-30.

“And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.

Some do not identify this passage as one that deals with the mortification of sin, but D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount insists that it does. And notice that it comes directly after verses 27-28, which deals with the sin of adultery; or more precisely, adultery in the…

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Let Us Pray: A National Day of Prayer

My church has canceled worship services today because of the coronavirus. Many churches around the nation are doing the same thing. I was thinking that we should take this off day to pray. In fact, that was also on the President’s mind. I received a letter from Franklin Graham yesterday declaring today to be a National Day of Prayer, and I want to pass that letter on to you.

Dear Friend,

Our President has declared tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, to be a National Day of Prayer. He reminded the entire country that throughout its history, the United States has looked to God for strength and protection in times like these.

I am thankful to President Trump for recognizing the power of prayer and showing faith in the Lord to intervene on our behalf. With so much uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus at home and around the world, people are afraid. Now is the time for Christians to be strong and courageous, knowing that Almighty God is with us. As His Word instructs, we are to cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

We need to pray for those who are sick and their families, for those who are living in fear and anxiousness, for the professionals who are providing medical care, for those working on treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, and for our leaders to act with wisdom and courage as they make vital decisions that impact each of our lives. Please also lift up the President and our nation’s coronavirus task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence in prayer as they work closely and diligently with the myriad of issues related to this pandemic.
 
 
Some churches are not meeting in person for worship this Sunday to avoid possibly spreading the virus. But that doesn’t prevent us as the Body of Christ from coming before the Lord, kneeling in prayer, and pouring our hearts out to Him. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

I ask that you contact your friends and family and ask them to join in prayer tomorrow, whether gathered together in person, or in their homes.

May God bless you.

The Righteous and the Wicked: Fruit Trees and Chaff – Psalm 1

I’ve been thinking lately about the first Psalm—mainly about chaff. In this Psalm the Psalmist compares the righteous man to the wicked man.

Here is what is said about the righteous man:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season,

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

(Psalm 1:1-3)

Here are my observations on the righteous man:

  • He does not listen to the teaching of the wicked or even spend much time with them.
  • He meditates on the word and delights in it all the time.
  • He is like a fruit tree. He is fruitful and prosperous.
  • Like a tree, his life is stable and is firmly planted.
  • The Lord knows him and will be with him for eternity.

Here is what the Psalmist says about the wicked, unsaved man:

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1:4-6)

Here are my observations about the unrighteous man:

  • He is like chaff. He has no fruit, no stability, no real prosperity.
  • He has no hope of eternal life. In the final judgment he will be found unrighteous and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev. 20:11-15).
A farmer tosses the wheat into the air so that the wheat chaff will be blown away.

More on the Chaff

How would you like to be compared to chaff? Well, the Psalmist compares the wicked to chaff in verse 4. Think of it. Chaff. Chaff has absolutely no value, no worth. Wheat chaff is the outer casing of the wheat kernel that has gotten old and is coming off. That outer shell is so flimsy that when you would throw the wheat into the air, the wind would blow the chaff away.

Think of that.  Think of being blown away. The non-Christian is in a state of constantly being blown away. He is blown wherever the wind happens to blow. He has no strength of will.  He lets the evil world blow him wherever the devil and the world want him to go. Just like the chaff, the unbeliever has no fruit, no value, and no real prosperity. Oh, he may have momentary desires and delights of the flesh, but nothing that will last and nothing that has any lasting (eternal) value. And he has no stability. He is not like a stable tree. He has no roots. He is just chaff that is blown from place to place with the wind—with the evil world.

The Chaff Compared to the Unformed Earth

As it happened, on the same day (yesterday) that I read Psalm 1, I also read Genesis 1. As I was thinking of the chaff, I also thought of how the earth was in the beginning.  The bible says, “And the earth was formless and void.” (I’m not sure how to interpret this. I tend to think that God first created an unformed earth—like a big lump of clay—out of nothing; then later He formed it as it is now). Anyway, I began to think of the chaff much like that formless earth.

And that got me to thinking. If God could make a beautiful, fruitful earth out of that formless mass, why couldn’t He make something out of the chaff. Well He can and He has. Every time a person is saved it is like a formless piece of chaff being miraculously created into a beautiful new creation of God—with hope and purpose. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

My Relationship with God

I hesitate to write on this subject because I don’t always feel close to Him. Sad but true. Many may say that they feel the Lord’s nearness all the time. Good for them. That’s the way it should be.  And I strive for that. The Psalmist said, “The nearness of God is my good” (Ps.73:28).  Sometimes I really feel His nearness, but many times I feel dragged down by my sins. Sin is the whole cause of distance and we need His mercy. He is always there waiting to lift us up.

In terms of my relationship with God, well, His love for me I know is constant. But my love for Him is ever wavering. I am a bit of a rebel. I know I am too much in the world. I let myself see too much of the world’s entertainment. If it wasn’t for the mercy of the Lord, I would be engulfed in sin’s miseries. But He again and again pulls me out of it—causes me to come to Him. This whole thing, this post, sounds like a confession. I suppose it is. Truthfully, that’s what my relationship with God is—my sins and His mercy and grace. I wade in the mud, then I come to Him, and He cleans me up with soap and water.

I longingly wait for the time when we all will be continually sharing His glory, when all sin and evil will be eradicated and forgotten, and when all our tears will be wiped away.