groanings

“A revival may be expected when Christians have a spirit of prayer for a revival.
That is, when they pray as if their hearts were set upon it.
When Christians have the spirit of prayer for a revival.
When they go about groaning ouheart’sr hearts desire.
When they have real travail of soul.”

Charles Grandison Finney


(no visitors to the flowers / Julie Cook / 2018)

The other day a fellow blogger, Colorstorm over on The Lion’s Den, offered a post musing
about Genesis and the stories of God’s Cheribum.
Cheribum are found in various pieces of scripture throughout both Old and New Testament.

However, CS digressed somewhat to a different thought…that being the latest news on
Hawaii’s volcanic eruptions with the following observation:
“What fool would not enjoy the mercy of God?
We currently see the fiery lava flows in Hawaii, and should beg God to spare us,
but we do not, and act as if this freak of nature is common as the underappreciated rain
from heaven. (but I digress)”

(full post here:
https://thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/not-particularly-now/#comment-18179)

And so it was his digression that got me thinking.

My mind went to the mention in Scripture about the groanings of the earth.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth
right up to the present time.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship,
the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Who hopes for what they already have?

Romans 8:22-24

Which brought my mind around to my own more up close and personal observations.

This Spring has been a bit quiet.
Quiet in an odd and unsettling sort of way.

The usual and almost taken for granted flurry of activity in the yard between the birds,
bees, butterflies, etc.,
has not been what is typically seen for this time of year.

Truthfully, I consciously first took notice of this back in February when I had not seen a
single robin bobbing about the yard in search of stirring grubs and worms.
Usually, by February my yard is awash in robins—yet nary a one had been seen until just the
other week. And then it was merely two birds.

My hummingbirds, my typical clan of three, showed briefly in April, disappeared for several
weeks while just yesterday I noticed a single male dashing about.

Usually when the blueberry bushes are blooming, of which takes place in late March into early April,
the bushes are a buzzing melee of bees of every shape and description along with a myriad
of butterflies.
But do you know that I can count on one hand how many butterflies I’ve actually seen visiting the
yard this Spring?
A tiger swallowtail, a little coastal skipper, and a small white butterfly.
This coming from a yard that could typically pass as a butterfly house.

All of which is so very very out of sync for my small neck of the woods.

Now biologists, who have already raised the alarm over the slow yet noticeable disappearance
of frogs and that of their kin, would chalk my observations up to climate change or perhaps
even just a fluke of a year….or maybe some overuse of pesticides in the area…

But that I don’t buy.

Vulcanologists are most likely chalking up Hawaii’s volcanic activity to the natural
occurrences taking place deep down within the earth…
As those Pacific islands were formed by volcanos, it should come as no surprise
that there’s still volcanic activity on islands where there are active volcanoes.

However the haphazard and precarious in all of this is that people happen to live
near the volcano.

Houses have been destroyed and thousands of folks are now dispersed, evacuated and devastated
while tourism is a bit on hold as this area of the world just happens to be what the US
consider’s her own personal piece of paradise…
and paradise just happens to be currently teetering on a molten and burning inferno.

Yet my thoughts rest not readily nor so easily on the dismissive reasons found within the
pages of the textbooks of the geothermal world or that of climate change.
Not that I don’t believe man and his quest for bigger, better and more has not had a
progressively negative impact on our environment…we have and we are currently doing
a nice job of destruction…
however…

The earth is groaning.

The smallest indicators of this world are bothered…

Yet the earth has groaned since that fateful day when the gates to Paradise were forever
shut to man…yet shut with a promise that those groanings would only increase with time…
for the time is approaching when a Holy foot will touch the mountain that will split
under the power of something greater than this world has yet to ever see or experience.

The tiniest amongst us know.
The earth groans—for she knows.
And all of mankind will soon tremble…

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.
And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder,
an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

Revelation 11:19

storms will rage

“I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is,
the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it.”

St. Faustina


(early signs of change / Julie Cook / 2018)

March enters like a lion and exits like a lamb…
while April showers bring May flowers…

or so we are reminded.

Spring is a tumultuous time here in the South.
It might snow one day while tornados wreak havoc the next.
A good two months of a seasonal roller coaster ride.

I’m beginning to feel much the same with regard to our Christian faith.
Our lives have become a roller coaster ride of ups and downs of attacks and assaults—
physically, verbally, mentally, and of course, spiritually.

It is the season of our times as Believers as we are reminded:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms

Ephesians 6:10-12

That we may be ready, come what may…

“Throughout Sacred Scripture, we find that when God’s people fast,
the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare.
In the Old Testament, the Lord told Isaiah that a fast properly undertaken would
‘loose the bonds of wickedness … undo the thongs of the yoke…
let the oppressed go free’ (Is. 58:6)…
In the New Testament, we find that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the
wilderness in preparation for His battle with Satan,
who came to tempt Him (see Lk 4:1-2)…
If prayer is a spiritual weapon, fasting is the spiritual whetstone on which it is sharpened.
It’s the spiritual muscle that,
when exercised regularly,
strengthens the thrust of that weapon to pierce the Enemy and drive him away.”

Paul Thigpen,
Manual for Spiritual Warfare p. 42

I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

a tenacious lot

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Harper Lee


(ice and snow encrusted Camilla / Julie Cook / 2017)

Remember the picture of the yard sign I shared on Friday??
That ‘Southern State of Mind’ Georgia Bulldog yard sign??
A yard sign that was quickly accumulating snow?
Well this is what it looked like once the snows ended Saturday…..

We Southerners do like our “weather.”
And we love to both fuss and cuss it….
Be it good or bad.

All kinds of weather.

We will complain about the heat.
We will lament about the humidity.
We will run and hide, with good reason, at the first sign of a tornado.
We will grumble about the lack or rain…
Just as we will grouse over its abundance.

But throw a little sleet, ice or snow our way and it’s all but
Katy bar the door..

We will get practically giddy at the first mention of anticipated snow…

As visions of serene images of Currier and Ives dance like magical
sugarplums round our anticipating heads.
Horse drawn carriages gliding effortlessly through the snow, as bells merrily jingle
while both adults and kids alike race joyously to build snowmen.

Children and teachers alike sit glued to weather reports, praying the Weatherman
will grant that ever so hoped for wish…the announcement of No School..
as everyone races for a homemade sled…mother’s favorite cookie pan….

However all of this wonderment quickly dissipates the minute the roads ice over,
the pine trees bend to the ground and snap under the heavy weight of all
the frozen precipitation…as the temperatures dip in to the teens, transformers blow
like popcorn, and the lights all go out…

as in out for days….

For suddenly there are no more fun and games as all things have
jumped to drastically frightfully serious in the twinkling of an eye…

Yet under all that frightfully messy winter…
Just like our much maligned yet prevalent Kudzu….
we remain…ever tenacious…

It’s what we do…
We might wilt a bit, panic a tad, slip slid into every ditch imaginable…
but we will always come back strong….
Just wait until April to see just who’s looking good!!!!

For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for
you against your enemies to give you victory.

Deuteronomy 20:4

The April fool

A fool may be known by six things: anger without cause; speech without profit; change without progress; inquiry without object; putting trust in a stranger; and mistaking foes for friends.
Arabian Proverb

DSC00848
(cement putti riding a fish / Julie Cook / 2015)

Malevolence and betrayal walk the land this day, hand in hand, as Evil waits its due.
What was, now is and all that breathes hangs in a scaly hand.
The shape shifter stands in the shadows, biding his time
“Is it not yet the moment?” he hisses, as his giddiness is hard to contain.
“Crush the Light” tiny demons skip and sing with delight
“Hail oh darkness and death.”
Black clouds gather silently overhead as distant thunder rumbles.

Bets are made as the silver is counted.
The deed is nearly at hand.
This midweek day remains eerily calm,
Yet noted, it is claimed as the day of Fools,
With the biggest one waiting in the depths of darkness

He licks his lips in greedy anticipation.
The thought of finally winning is more than he can bare.
As the mole scampers about his blinding task
with words dripping from his mouth like honey,
Yet it is not bees that he gathers but the flies of death.

It is to this day that the earth hangs in the balance between Light and Dark
Events are coming that will change the outcome of all humankind.
Darkness falsely claims its gain and counts its fortunes far too soon
For this tale has been long foretold
Battles will wage
Powers will clash
The dead and the living must now decide.
Yet when the dust settles and the storm clouds pass,
The War will be long past
As a single April fool stands forever wondering how he lost. . .

Newness

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
you shall begin it serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

DSCN4356
(spicebrush swallowtail butterfly / Julie Cook / 2014)

While out walking in the woods, on a most blustery day, a tantalizing surprise made its presence known. . . Gloriously, it appears that our long weary wait, through a never-ending winter, may soon, blessedly, be drawing to a close.

Life has been painfully cold, unseasonably so. Nightly lows have remained in the mid 30’s. Wind and rain has been the featured guest as of late, but today, joyfully today, a glimpse of Hope.

Lithely, without rhyme or reason, bouncing on shimmering translucent wings, the first butterfly of the season dances past non believing eyes.

Still bundled up, fighting March’s final fierce stinging winds, we wander along the trail just happy the sun has decided to make a long awaited appearance. Are we seeing things? Was that truly a butterfly wistfully flitting past?

A spicebrush butterfly makes its way to a small twig in order to bathe in the warm rays of an early spring morning.
A sign of new days and new ways, as the heavy unending winter mercifully dwindles and wanes, becoming nothing more than a shadow.

Today is a new day indeed.
A glimpse of a happy change has made its presence known and for it, we are most grateful!
We sit perched on the edge of a happy new month.
Oh Blessed Happy Day!!

Rainy days and Thursdays always get me down….

DSC00539

…or Mondays, or Tuesdays, or, well, you get the idea—however, as this is April and it is raining, I do have hope. It is this very rain that will give way to the flowers of May and beyond. It is a day that provides the time, if not exactly the incentive, to clean house, work on neglected paperwork, etc. So on this rainy, April Thursday, I offer you a glimpse as to why today’s rain is beneficial…here is to warmer, sunnier, abundantly colorful days ahead (and if it’s not raining where you are and it is sunny… enjoy the flowers!)
(Photo: Julie Cook/ Salzburg, Austria 9/2012)