It took some time to catch this delicate flower with my phone camera. An ever so slight breeze kept moving it out of view of my small lens. During my efforts, I noticed the branch from which the lonely blossom had made its descent, an elderberry treen in bloom.
My heart was captured by the thought of our loving Father holding us individually in His capable hand. I reflected on His delight in the Church when individuals display His heart of love and care to one another. I wondered if we always comprehend our individual importance and moreover the great power the Holy Spirit displays in the community of believers.
A single blossom, on the way
The Father’s mindful piece of art.
Alone not able to display
The fullness of His loving Heart.
A lonely, quiet-sounding note,
Precisely placed, composed with skill.
Her tune reflecting God who wrote
The symphony of His sound will.
One snowflake dropping to the ground,
In weakness melts; its beauty goes.
But sticking to the snow around,
As avalanche brings mountains low.
So it’s with you, beloved friend.
Made unique – part of the whole.
The Gospel is our means and end
And “Glory to God” the highest goal.
“Father, Your loving-kindness surpasses our understanding.
Make us effective in Your Kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit as we serve one another in the community of believers, Your Church.
Help us repent of our pride.
Draw us to Your Word of Truth and make us bold as we
So we, though many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.
(Pictures, Word and Poetry by Heidi Viars, 2018)
I am having a hard time getting used to them. Quite frankly, they are a bit annoying. I think I made the property look way too inviting. At first, they both took a careful glance at the house and left. Then they came back – for good. Our neighborhood hasn’t been the same since they moved in.
Mr. and Mrs. Eastern Bluebird are not the easygoing couple. After they inspected the new birdhouse, which I had set securely on the fence post of the garden, they grabbed their twigs and moved in.
I don’t want to complain about my new neighbors but she appears fearful and, might I say, slightly paranoid. Any reflection of herself sets her off into a tizzy. At random she attacks bedroom windows and car mirrors of any kind. At precisely 4:35 am, driven by the first ray of sunlight, she fearlessly seeks out the threat of “other birds” in bedroom windows. While she toils and soils, she ruins our sleep and view. He is enabling and a tad bit too nice to her. When she is worn out and tired she heads back to the fence where he is waiting to feed her a juicy bug from his beak.
I feel sad for her in her frenzy. I’d like to tell her to relax, explain to her worried mother’s heart that she along with her family are safe. If I could just take the form of a bird for a moment, I’d fly over and bring her some grubs, have a chat and try to encourage her to trust that she is ok. I’d point out that her fears are based on nothing and that her future and the future of her young are secure.
I am reminded of our God. While we flapped around in our fearfulness and sins, He came to us in the form of a man. Jesus dwelled among us to communicate God’s heart to a lost and fearful people. Jesus came to the World so that we would not have to stand before God in fear of His judgment. By accepting Jesus’ punishment for our sins and His death on the cross, by repenting from our sins, we get to enjoy a secure future. In surrendering our lives to Christ, we are able to understand the endless and beautiful love of our Father and Maker. And in that love, there is little room for fear.
“Father, thank you for your kindness to our hearts. You tell us not to fear. You ask us to trust you. Teach us that in your perfect love there is no room for fear.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
For fear has to do with punishment,
and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18
(Devotional and Pictures Heidi Viars, 2018)
“Lord, I so often miss the gifts you have set before me. Open my eyes so I can see them and open my heart so I can embrace them. Thank you for your faithfulness!”
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
I love walking early in the morning with my Great Dane Thor. A few times a week we get to head out into the open fields and quiet woods for much-needed exercise.
Several weeks ago, on one of those beautiful walks, I found myself in a conversation with a stranger which I have never seen and strangely with whom I have never exchanged a word…
Thor and I regularly come by a bench in the middle of a prairie. On this particular morning, I sat down for a few minutes, closed my eyes and let the early morning winter sun warm my face. When I open my eyes, I noticed on the ground in front of me, in the melting snow, something shiny. I dug around with my feet and found a bunch of pennies. Without thinking much, I picked them up and arranged them in the shape of a cross on the bench’s armrest. Then I got up and headed back on my walk.
The other day I passed by the same bench and to my surprise found the cross still on the armrest. However, when I looked closer I noticed that it wasn’t exactly the way I had left it. Two pennies had been added to the center. Without hesitation, I grabbed one more penny and placed it on the two in middle and kept on walking. I smiled knowing that I was “conversing” with someone.
Yesterday morning I headed out again. This time determined for the bench and the cross. I wasn’t disappointed and found it rearranged. The pennies in the center were gone. Someone was trying to communicate with me. I thought for a moment how I could make my presence known. Quickly I turned all the pennies face up, with the exception of the center; I kept it heads-down. I headed for the rest of my walk – thinking for a long time about my Heavenly Father and the way He communicates with me.
Though I have not seen my Heavenly Father nor heard Him audibly say words to me, He leaves me messages everywhere. He communicates clearly through many different ways. The Bible speaks most clearly about God, who He is, what His intentions and plans are for humanity and even for my life. God also uses other people who know Him to speak truth into my life. They see things I can’t and relay messages from my Father to my heart. While I walk I often experience God’s messages for me in nature. He shows me His immeasurable power in stars and in the tiniest plant. He shows me how He cares for the birds and assures me He sees me, too.
However, the greatest message of God to humanity is the message of the cross, the Gospel. Here God showed His love for us in the most unexpected way. His flawless character mingled together with His loving intentions for us. His perfection painfully displayed our imperfections. Jesus Christ and His death on the cross was the most costly provision God had to offer to fallen people and their sins.
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(pictures and devotional, Heidi Viars, 2018)
My heart is overwhelmed with the glimpses of your kindness toward me.
My soul cannot comprehend your deep, abiding love.
Even though I mocked your Word of Truth, you loved me despite my foolishness.
Even though I drove those nails into your hands, you touched me and healed my brokenness.
Even though I spat on your face, you turned your countenance toward me and drew me with endless love and understanding.
Even though I pressed a crown into your beautiful head, the Head over all Creation, you overlooked my ignorance and lifted mine in my shame.
Even though I valued fading, earthly possessions, you showed me eternal blessings and riches in you.
Even though I despised your leading, you gently called my name and drew me into your presence.
Son of God and Spirit of Life, Light of the World and Good Shepherd, how can I show you my love?
Wisdom of God and LORD of Lords, King of Ages and Lamb of God, what can I give you, that you don’t already own?
Ransom for all Men and God’s own Son, Lord of the Harvest and of Peace, teach me to surrender my all to you.
Lord of our Righteousness and Word of God, Faithful and True One, unveil my eyes to see you in the Light of Truth.
Peace of God and Master, Blessed Hope and only Ruler, you set your throne aside for my sake.
Jesus, my sure Foundation, and Savior of the World allow me to serve you with my all my heart and soul.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister
Trains filled with tears.
On one way tracks,
Pulled by invisible evil – passing gates that lie about freedom –
Drawn by vile forces into hell.
Fires, fueled by God’s own image.
Ovens can’t burn hot enough to consume the guilt.
Mass graves, bottomless pits, fed by famished frames.
Their depth covered with ignorance.
Time can’t silence their voices.
Guilt’s smoke rises upward.
Waiting – Stinging in the eyes of God on the last day …
Will testify to wickedness and evil.
Perceived imperfection perfectly sewn into garments and stamped into passports.
Imperfections tattooed by the imperfect.
The perfect image discarded by perfectly placed rounds.
Time doesn’t silence these sounds.
Too evil for eyes and ears to conceive.
No words can describe the vile and depth of wickedness.
Human depravity, pits – much deeper and larger than mass graves.
Humanity’s disease –
No fire fueled in man-made ovens is hot enough to destroy the shouting ashes.
No flames hot enough to eradicate faulty ideas.
Pointing bloody fingers toward God? A perversion from hell!
No, this is humanity without God.
This is Satan letting glimpses of hell spill onto earth!
Don’t look away!
Don’t look away!
Be vigilant Church, draw back the curtain of your comfort.
Come out from your beds of ease!
Find the injustice, before the graves of “the imperfect” find you and condemn
Your silence before God!