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The Painter

I hope you’ve seen Bob Ross on television. Now gone but still on television, he was the painter who dazzled the world with his lush landscapes painted with knife-like tools and large brushes. Drink in this: trees in the foreground created by scraping the canvas, with a moonscape coming to life center stage with a three inch brush.

I love watching his sessions on public television and even took a class to learn his technique. In three hours we all did a painting and brought it home! Once, in her constant joy to do nice things for me, Cheryl secretly bought a ticket to a public demonstration by him. And then he unexpectedly died before the class!

I thought of Bob Ross, the lesser painter, last night as I stood outside and took in the sunset. Cold but with a sharply focused sky, with sweeping, broad strokes the Master Painter swept one-half of the sky with long, thin pink clouds. The sky, with puffs of white smoke-like clouds around the longer pink ones–and with a not-to-be-forgotten blue background–was cause for praise to God for His works.

It takes run-on sentences to begin to describe God and what He does.

The delight of God in His sunset must have been great in heaven. It sure was for me on earth.

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Dogwoods and Wednesdays

Rhea Herald News

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

Were you the one driving down my street last Wednesday, staring at me while I sat in the front yard watching my dogwood tree? It was a superb fall afternoon and though I probably looked silly sitting by myself I enjoyed the fall afternoon and my dogwood tree.

Fall has brought its usual offerings. Mary Weston Fordham wrote: “Ah! The year is slowly dying, and the wind in tree-tops sighing…Thick and fast the leaves are falling, high in air wild birds calling…” And, there have been special gifts from autumn this year, e.g., thunderstorms and serious lightning. Dogwoods are special each fall.

I wish Jesus had used a dogwood tree for an illustration. Ever masterful in His use of ordinary things as illustrations of eternal truths, Jesus would surely have said some key things for His followers with the dogwoods. He used wheat in John 12 and vines in John 15. I don’t believe there are lost books of the bible—what God wanted for us is in our hands. But if He wrote another chapter or two…surely He would mention dogwoods.

For my part, I think a healthy fall dogwood tree brings enormous good to the eyes and heart, and points me to some important realities.

Fall leaves sing quite a song. Green from summer sun and moisture—and now “thick and fast they are falling,” during fall they mutate into many-colored, spotted ornaments adorning their trees and surroundings. Of all the tree’s components they are most like us, portraying our individual uniqueness, changes as we grow into Christlikeness, and things in me that need to die. Wednesday, I saw the leaves as never before.

Dogwood berries intrigue me this fall. They come and go during the seasons, some lingering to adorn the tree and surroundings. They stand out like my friend’s perfectly restored bright red muscle car. They also can stand up to tests of faith. On Wednesday, I noticed several clusters of red and brown berries still intact from last year. Maybe we can work on endurance together.

Dogwoods don’t have flowers in the fall but they always have the trunk and branches, and they look more and more barren in autumn. Jesus taught us life flows through the vine—Himself—and we are the fruit-bearing branches. Though we cannot always see Christ’s work in and through us He “is at work to will and to work His good pleasure” (Philippians 1:6). This lesson was vivid to me Wednesday.

The most stunning fall dogwood reminder is the eternal lesson from John 12:24. The death of leaves and berries now brings life next spring; the death of Jesus on the cross was necessary and resulted in the salvation of many—like me!

Jesus and dogwoods seem to really go together on Wednesdays.

Messiah

Sunrise, September 22, 2014

“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead…”

1 Corinthians 15:41-42a

The sunrise has many choir members who daily sing a prelude of the Son’s glory long before the sun actually appears. This morning, the moon was positioned so close to the horizon its fingers could touch the queen of our solar system. The cloudless sky sang a tune in pink and yellow, and the barely-quarter moon soloed with highlights all around–and it glowed.

I am playing Handel’s, Messiah, as I write and rejoice. What song about Creator Jesus do you like?

Come, join the choir today and sing of the joy of God’s Son!


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