Friday, May 27, 2011


Cairn at Maple Grove

"And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God,
an altar of stones" (Deuteronomy 27:5).

Cairns are man-made heaps of stones that have been erected all over the world since ancient times.  Varying in size and complexity, they serve as landmarkers. Some are built to mark graves, summit tops, or trailways.  Others mark the location of historical or memorable events. A carefully built cairn will stand perfectly balanced without the use of cements or adhesives.

In Old Testament times, God's people built altars of stones to mark the places where God rescued them or performed mighty acts. We built this cairn at Maple Grove several years ago as a monument to the greatness and goodness of our God.  It serves as a memorial for us to recount the ways He has blessed us and to testify to His mercy and faithfulness.

"When your children ask their fathers in times to come,
'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know. . .
 that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear
the LORD your God forever" (Joshua 4:21-24).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Snow White

"Though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson,they shall become like wool"
(Isaiah 1:18). 

The beauty of spring:  Eye-catching foliage found in dense, white snowballs and feathery, scarlet maples. 

The beauty of the Cross:  Heart-grabbing forgiveness found in the pureness of Christ's love and the shedding of His blood that wipes out our darkest sins and makes our hearts clean. 

"These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


"You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7).

Our home is surrounded by a variety of foliage; some of them are old heritage plants passed on from previous generations.  Whenever we hear the word "surrounded," we may think of being hedged in--by trouble or the enemy, with no way out. That surely is something we face in our lives. But there is another kind of being surrounded that does not leave us feeling defeated.

Christ surrounds us with His love and protection, keeping us safe and secure from temptation and evil's destruction. His presence gives us confidence, filling us with genuine peace and joy. 

We are also surrounded by the memory and encouragement of those who went before us, who taught us the Christian faith and passed  it on to us as a godly heritage.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us"
(Hebrews 12:1).


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bearing Fruit

"I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit"
(Leviticus 26:4).

While we all complained about the steady doses of rain this spring, we nevertheless have been admiring and enjoying the new growth and full blossoms the rains brought forth, even from a very tender young tree.

At a tender young age, I remember complaining about having to memorize Bible verses for confirmation classes.  I am grateful now, however, for the steady dose of God's Word that produces the fruits of the Spirit in a Christian's life.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25).


Friday, May 20, 2011

Not the End

"See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your fathers, told you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Deuteronomy 1:21).

I gently slid the window open to peek at the nestlings who hatched from their eggs only two weeks ago.  All three of them were facing outward, peering over the edge of the nest.  As I raised my camera to capture a photo, they all sprang from the nest and flew straight ahead.  Their abrupt flight startled me and left me feeling disappointed that I wouldn't see them again.  I reflected on what a joy it had been to watch them grow and mature, and I was glad I was there to see them fly away.  I stared at the distant trees and realized that a wonderful new world was waiting for them to experience.

A wonderful new world is waiting for those who belong to Christ. Whoever believes in Him "has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24)As long as we are here on this Earth, we continue to grow and mature in our faith until He brings all things to completion.  At that time, He will create a new heaven and a new earth, so that death is not the end but only the beginning.

 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. . . and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:1-4).

Thank you for following Lady Robin's story.  Continue to visit for more observations of God's presence among us.  God bless you.

Jesus said, ". . . whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14). 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A'flap'a Your Arms

"They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD. . . Then shall the
young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and
the old shall be merry" (Jeremiah 31:12-14). 

Baby birds know instinctively how to flap their wings before they leave the nest. But it takes time and practice for their muscles to strengthen before they become good at flying.  So these young nestlings spend part of their day entertaining us with the Bird Dance.  Do you know it?

"Uh well a'shake'a your shoulders and a'move'a your feet.
We're gonna stomp to the Bird Dance Beat.
Uh well a'flap'a your arms and a'move'a your hands.
We're gonna rock to the Bird Dance band."

Some people think that Christians are straight-laced, boring, and don't know how to have fun.  Maybe some are.  It depends on how you measure what's fun and what's boring.  Those who are in Christ have more to sing about, more to dance around, and more to rejoice over than any other people in the world! So with songs in our hearts, light steps in our feet, arms stretched upward in gratitude, let's rejoice over the greatness of God's love and praise Him forever!

"Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! . . .Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! . . . Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 150:1-6).

The Bird Dance Beat -  The Trashmen, 1964

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By What Appearance

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart"  (1 Samuel 16:7 ).

This young Robin is learning the skill of preening its feathers and spends a lot of time in this activity.  The birds' feathers are important for flying, body temperature, protection from the environment, and even for courtship.  Without feathers, they could not survive, so it is a vital part of their nature to pay careful attention to their grooming.

We are taught good grooming practices from the time we are young.  Taking care of our bodies is God-pleasing and essential to our good health and to our relationships.  Unfortunately, we live in a superficial world where people judge each other by their looks. The temptation is to put too much emphasis on outward appearances.

God doesn't focus on our outward appearance. It is what's on the inside--the condition of our "heart"--that matters most to Him. He focuses on developing our inner beauty so that He is reflected in our lives by what we think, say and do.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).

"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror" (James 1:23).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fear Not

"For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I am the one who helps you'" (Isaiah 41:13).

The baby Robins are getting stronger.  They flit about in the nest with eager activity, standing and stretching and watching the world around them.  For the most part, they feel very secure and safe. When they were younger, they didn't notice when I would slide open the window to sneak a quick peek at them, but now they cower down in fear. Their fear instinct has kicked in.  That's a good thing, because they are going to need it.

We, too, have fear instincts that protect us from danger. Unfortunately, we have also trained ourselves (or allowed Satan to persuade us) to be afraid and to worry excessively every time trouble draws near.  Jesus assures us that He is always with us and is our Strength.  When we put our trust in Him, He gives us peace and joy and a sure hope that will not disappoint us.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Heads Up

"Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28).

It has only been 11 days since these baby Robins hatched from their eggs--blind, naked and helpless.  Now covered in feathers, their eyes wide open, they are able to move around in the nest and peer out into the world around them. It will not be long until these nestlings become fledglings, ready to venture out on their own.  They will have to pay close attention as they have much to learn about surviving in the world.

Like birds in a nest, our time on earth is short, but a glorious kingdom awaits those who belong to Christ.  Now is the time to pay attention to His teachings and learn of His redemption before it is too late.  There is no other way to eternal life.

"And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away"
(Isaiah 35:10).

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Meaning of Life

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly"  (John 10:10).

Now that the days are sunnier and warmer, Lady Robin doesn't need to spend as much time in the nest keeping the nestlings warm.  She can feel their body temperature and instinctively knows whether or not they need her added warmth.  She remains nearby to watch the nest but lingers in the yard with the chickens, competing for some worms and insects and enjoying life. 

When people  refer to "the good life" or say things like "this is the life" or "live life to the fullest," they are usually making reference to some kind of physical or material pleasures.  But that kind of living doesn't satisfy for long. It doesn't last forever. 

When we walk with Jesus, life takes on a real vitality that surpasses anything else we've known.  It is only when we live with Christ that life becomes really worth living and we begin to live in the real sense of the word--now and for eternity.  This is the true spiritual meaning of "the abundant life."

 "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).


  "If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, LORD, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can,
with reverence, serve you" (Psalm 130:3-4).

This would have been one awesome photo!  Would have been, if I hadn't messed it up.  I waited patiently by the window for one of the Robins to come to the nest with food for the nestlings.  I do that a lot--stand patiently by the window with my camera ready, waiting for the good shot. 

Lady Robin flew up to the nest, and just as I was about to press the shutter button, Sir Robin suddenly appeared.  I was so stunned that I looked up as I released the shutter and messed up the shot.  Of course then it was too late to get another good one.

Sometimes that's the way it is with our Christian walk.  We start out on course, but then we get distracted, and we mess up the opportunity to do what is pleasing to God.  But with God there is forgiveness, and He gives us many opportunities to be a good witness for Him. 

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 2:22-23).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grow Up

"We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).

It is astounding how fast these baby birds are growing!  Just two days ago, they were much smaller and had only a little bit of down covering their bodies.  Now they fill the nest and are sprouting tiny feathers.  The food, warmth and protection their parents provide for them is helping them to grow up into mature Robins.

When we first become Christians, we are spiritual infants. We receive spiritual food from God's Word, and we learn to trust Him through the greatest difficulties. We exercise our faith by practicing the love, forgiveness and generosity He taught us.  As we grow up into mature Christans, we become more and more like Christ.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mouths Wide Open

"Open your mouth wide and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10).

I don't think I've ever seen anything that could open its mouth as wide as these baby Robins.  Their beaks are disproportionately large for their bodies.  They also make a lot of noise.  No one taught them to open their beaks so wide or to squawk the way they do, but one thing's for sure--the parent birds can't ignore or miss these targets. 

That's how we ought to be praising God.  We might think we don't know the right words to say or are afraid that we won't say it eloquently.  That doesn't matter.  Not in the least.  All we have to do is open our mouths, and the Spirit of God will put the words to our voices.  In fact, we can't even open our mouths to praise God on our own without the movement of the Spirit in us.  So don't worry.  Don't hold back.  Open your mouth so as to honor God, and He won't miss the target.

"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise"
(Psalm 51:15).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sound Asleep

"The hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11).

Three sleeping baby Robins, now four days old.  Lady Robin still sits on the nest to keep them warm.  The down covering on their tiny bodies is increasing.  They raise their heads and open their beaks wide when the parent birds bring them food.  Beyond that, they don't move around much, and they sleep most of the time. 

Sleeping is something most of us probably don't get enough of. . . or at least we'd like to get more sleep than we do.  Spiritually speaking, however, sleeping is the last thing we want to be caught doing. 

Jesus taught us how to stay awake spiritually by listening closely to His teachings, reading the Scriptures with our minds and hearts open; praying diligently for protection from the evil one; and receiving His Spirit and forgiveness in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.  The Spirit of God will thus keep us "wide awake and alert" for our Lord's return.  Only God the Father knows when that last hour will be.

"Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep" (Mark 13:35-36).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Proud Parents

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12).

Today the third egg hatched, and I noticed that the male's role has increased.  The Robins have very strong instincts for helping each other and taking care of their young.  The male brings food to Lady Robin and the baby birds--earthworms, insects and berries.  Occasionally the female will leave the nest, but when she does Sir Robin stays with the nestlings until she returns.  The baby birds will grow rapidly and be ready to leave the nest in two to three weeks.

Birds and animals act out of instinct, but humans act out of emotions, wisdom and obedience.  God created man and woman in His image and gave them children so they could be a loving family, as He is loving.  Because of our sinful condition, God gave us commands regarding our treatment of each other.  When the family is faithful to God's will, it is strong and glorious!

"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged" (Colossians 3:19-21).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Hatchday

"Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. . . .I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit'"
(John 3:3-5).

It has been 14 days since the first egg and 12 days since the third egg was laid. Right on target.  I could tell something was different today, because Lady Robin was chirping a lot and standing on the edge of the nest as much as she was sitting on it.  So I took a quick peek and saw that two of the eggs had hatched.  The parents have already tidied the nest and removed the empty shells. Baby birds are hatched blind, naked, and helpless, just as human babies are. They are totally dependent on their parents for survival.

Seeing new life is so exciting, including within the plant and animal kingdoms.  It is more exciting to see new human life, and even more thrilling to witness new spiritual life in the Kingdom of God's grace.  We humans are born not only physically but also spiritually blind, naked, and helpless. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God and Baptism, creates new life within us--revealing Christ to us, clothing us with His righteousness, and strengthening us with His power.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stand Firm

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

Male and female robins are similar in appearance, except that the male generally has a darker head and breast. While the females sit on the nests incubating their eggs, male robins roost together in trees at night and stand close by their nests during the day.

We face many challenges in this world.  Christ does not promise that life here will be easy, but He does promise to always be with us and to give us strength to face those challenges.  This world is temporary, but God's love and salvation endure forever.

"Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD,
 which he will work for you today" (Exodus 14:13).

Monday, May 2, 2011


Maple Seeds at Maple Grove

"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:7).

When I was a young child I called Maple seeds "helicopters" or "whirlybirds."  I used to love to chase after them and try to snatch them out of the air.  As the seeds mature and are released from the trees, they immediately begin to rotate and spin. Floating and scattering to the ground below, each has the potential to develop and grow into a tall Maple tree.

We have a lot of Maple trees at Maple Grove. So many tender Maple saplings sprout up in our flower beds that we have to pull them out.  We replant some of them in pots of dirt, water them, and nurture them along. 

That's how it is with God's Word.  He is the Author.  He delivers His Word to us so that when we read or hear it, the Holy Spirit produces new spiritual growth within us. 

"No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).