Love and Truth

The truth is incontrovertible.
Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it,
but in the end,
there it is.

Winston Churchill

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end,
they always fall.
Think of it–always.

― Mahatma Gandhi

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(toad frog / Julie Cook / 2016)

Just remember….
They might not always be considered pretty, worldly or even popular…
but Love and Truth will always triumph…

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

Isn’t it lovely….

Isn’t “it” lovely
Isn’t “it” wonderful
Isn’t “it” precious

Adpated lyrics Stevie Wonder
Isn’t she lovely

“And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of a whippoorwill
or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?”

Chief Seattle, 1854

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(a southern toad, Bufo terrestris / Julie Cook / 2016)

Down through the ages both frogs and toads have long gotten a bad wrap.
In almost every culture around the globe, within every tale, legend and folklore,
frogs and toads are inevitably cast in a bad light

They have been accused of causing warts.
Witches seem to love turning people into frogs.
And even Biblically, frogs and toads don’t always fair well.
As we read in Revelation that frogs spew forth from the dragon or beast’s mouth…
(Revelation 16:13-14)

They are instinctively thought to be slimy.
They like to eat flies, a little thing which seems to gross most folks out,
but hey, something has to eat them.

And of course there are those members of their clan which are poisonous.

And whereas frogs and toads are often looked down upon and considered lowly
they should also be considered most lovely.

They are considered by the scientific world as bioindicators.
A measuring stick if you will for the environment.
As frogs and toads populate both wet and dry lands and their skins are such that they readily absorb toxins and poisons form their surrounding environments, they are the first responders to show signs of distress and or a problem.

They have been around for over 250 million years pretty much as we see them today.
They have weathered the rages of time…yet their current numbers are shrinking at alarming rates.

An educational website, Save the Frogs, states:
“Frog populations have been declining worldwide at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Up to 200 species have completely disappeared since 1980, and this is NOT normal: amphibians naturally go extinct at a rate of only about one species every 500 years!!! Amphibian populations are faced with an array of environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades. Unless we act quickly, amphibian species will continue to disappear, resulting in irreversible consequences to the planet’s ecosystems and to humans. Frogs eat mosquitoes; provide us with medical advances; serve as food for birds, fish and monkeys; and their tadpoles filter our drinking water. Plus frogs look and sound cool, and kids love them — so there are lots of reasons to save the frogs!”
( Savethefrog.com )

It seems some of our lowest and most often ignored fellow creatures, such as bees and frogs,
are much more important to our survival than we often care to imagine.

When thinking about seemingly insignificant beings such as lowly frogs and toads having such a tremendous impact on the vast environment, eventually impacting our own existence, I am often reminded of the story of Androcles and the lion…

Of how tiny unsuspecting things can paralyze the great and the mighty.

Androcles demonstrates tenderness and mercy to the great beast by removing the thorn from his paw—I find it amazing that a great and mighty beast, such as a lion, is brought down my a tiny thorn stuck deep within his paw…
It’s a tale that should give us pause as we should consider the afflictions to the bees and amphibians
and that if they remain afflicted, they will inevitably die, taking us eventually with them.

A little bit of care and concern today, could do all species a wealth of good.

“Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

Job 13:14-16

Surprise Guests

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(photograph: Julie Cook/2013)

“Nature is the art of God.”
Dante Alighieri

Whenever I work in the yard, tend to the garden or have an opportunity of being out in the woods, there are no limits to the sights and sounds that so often bring me a sense of Divine Joy. I don’t know how anyone can stand outside, in the middle of “nature”, be it woods, ocean, mountains, field, garden–large or small, and definitely proclaim there is no Creator.

I have stood at the base of massive jagged mountains, ominous clouds capping the space above my head, as an angry, churning, black sea roared at my back–all the while feeling suddenly finite and small. I have stood waste high in brush, scanning the field for the infamous resident grizzles that called the very place I stood, home–all the while knowing that I was suddenly back in the food chain… and not necessarily on the top of that chain. I have paddled lazily on an inflatable raft on a turquoise clear sea, only to spy an ominous fin rise silently up then silently down right besides me– knowing all the while that I remained untouched, on my raft, not by my own accord.

It is at these certain moments when I, as the egocentric all powerful human, find myself knocked off my pedestal of arrogance, left but to quickly discover that I am merely a small piece of this place we call earth. We do not control this place, even though we so smugly think differently… it, in the end, will indeed control us.

It is at these moments, the moments of fierce and unpredictable adventures out of doors, when I know I am less and there is indeed More….yet there does not necessarily need to be extreme conditions or moments of fear for me to experience the often elusive glimpse of Divine Wonder—I can do so when I water a container of flowers or even clean out the garage….just as I did the other day and found a surprise guest hiding in a corner.

Mr. Toad had obviously wandered in our garage thinking he could or should hide-out behind the trash bin. I thought it best that he should be returned to the yard–as I gently scooped him up, depositing him near the plants in the garden. I would think the food “pickings” of a better variety and much more tasty in the yard verses the garage.

Even when I have the chance meeting with a toad, I am beautifully reminded that there is a Creator whose handiwork is constantly all around me. I am most thankful for these brief surprise encounters with nature, particularly when they are most unexpected,—these moments draw me out of my finite world, allowing me to see, sense, feel and touch the infinite Wonders which surround and thankfully engulf me.

I hope you have such opportunities on this Monday morning in June. What Wonders will you discover today?