Flesh and Spirit

Are we fascinated with bubbles because we cannot see the wind? Yet these wondrous things help us to see the very thing we cannot capture with our own eyes!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

John 3:8 NIV

Look back at the first photo. We have special rocks here in the Ohio river valley. Fossils decorate almost every stone in a stream here. This site identifies many of them. https://faculty.msj.edu/kritskg/evolab/Site/Cincinnati_fossils.html#:~:text=The%20rocks%20of%20Cincinnati%20are%20450%20-%20443,is%20the%20fossil%20of%20its%20long%20straight%20shell

We are fortunate to live on one of the world’s famous fossil localities.  The rocks of Cincinnati are 450 – 443 million years old and contain several different types of fossils.  Each of the species shown below are extinct. 

horn coral
Brachiopod
Cephalopod
Trilobite and bryozoan

As a child I played with these all the time. Only later in life did I find out they were unusual.

Those stones remind me of flesh. Stones, fossils and flesh all have sharp edges. Whether we admit it or not we are stuck in our own ways and want our own way with God and man. Then comes the wind of the Spirit, blowing upon us to bring change, help and relief. How can wind change a rock? Being born of the Spirit changes a person both immediately and gradually. Yield to God Almighty and discover how!

Repeat: Another Treasure in Plain Sight

This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication…. So I guess the pressure to write this week has been taken off!

So did he hitch a ride from the flower grower to the flower shop at Kroger’s to my house or come in to find this fragrant place from outside in our yard? I will never know. I was delightfully surprised when I found him, snapped his photo, then caught him in a tissue and sent him on his way in the yellow begonias outdoors.

Where are you from tiny guy?

I will never know his origins or destination!

Jodi Picault wrote a novel entitled Small Great Things. In it was this quote which had me pondering.

I hear the flow of the fountain behind me, and I think about water, how it might rise above its station as mist, flirt at being a cloud, and return as rain. Would you call that falling? Or coming home?

Jodi Picault
water as vapor

These are the kind of thoughts that make me praise God. We have had severe humidity, then thunderstorms, then water flowing from the yards. Is it falling, or coming home?

“Water flirting at being a cloud” thunderstorm brewing
water on the earth – storm runoff

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

Matthew 5:45b NIV
Photo by Molly – He causes His sun to rise on all

Ponder this and share your own discovery in the comments section!

Once Again, Anchovy Rain

This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication…. So I guess the pressure to write this week has been taken off!

Did you hear about the glut of anchovies in Marin County, California? To me it would just stink. To Bob it would be like quail in Numbers 11:31-32!

Bob said just put down a pizza crust and let him bake it! Ugh!!

Not raining quail, but something like that!

Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 

Numbers 11:31-32 NIV

Another Treasure in Plain Sight

So did he hitch a ride from the flower grower to the flower shop at Kroger’s to my house or come in to find this fragrant place from outside in our yard? I will never know. I was delightfully surprised when I found him, snapped his photo, then caught him in a tissue and sent him on his way in the yellow begonias outdoors.

Where are you from tiny guy?

I will never know his origins or destination!

Jodi Picault wrote a novel entitled Small Great Things. In it was this quote which had me pondering.

I hear the flow of the fountain behind me, and I think about water, how it might rise above its station as mist, flirt at being a cloud, and return as rain. Would you call that falling? Or coming home?

Jodi Picault
water as vapor

These are the kind of thoughts that make me praise God. We have had severe humidity, then thunderstorms, then water flowing from the yards. Is it falling, or coming home?

“Water flirting at being a cloud” thunderstorm brewing
water on the earth – storm runoff

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

Matthew 5:45b NIV
Photo by Molly – He causes His sun to rise on all

Ponder this and share your own discovery in the comments section!

Shepherd and Psalm 23

Our neighborhood study group was able to cover chapters one and two in one meeting – barely. We do like to talk! A couple of the gals grew up on farms or with actual sheep. They added a lot to our meeting.

This week we will try for chapters three and four. Three is really long by comparison and I doubt we can get through it. Then when I read four I realized it was rather short. We will see.

Some of my notes from the book in chapter three include:

Keller wrote that “it is almost impossible to make sheep lie down unless they are

  1. free from all fear
  2. free from friction with others of their kind
  3. free from pests like flies or parasites
  4. free from hunger”

Certainly sounds like people, huh? He continues saying “It is actually the owner who makes it possible for them to lie down, to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing.” Do you look to our great, good Shepherd for these needs? Do we truly see Jesus as your owner, shepherd? He will even help us when conflict arises from other sheep!

There was a time when it was Christian fashion to wear a collar or lapel pin of an angel. They were readily available. I positioned mine on a cork and sat it in my kitchen windowsill as an object lesson for myself. (I just LOVE a kitchen windowsill!)

I named her ANN, not necessarily after my mother, but to remind me to be Anxious for nothing, to be NOW Here and to Not jump to the furthest negative conclusion. I was trying to hone those skills. I had learned anxiety, mind racing and negative thinking so very well that it took a lot of effort to unlearn those things. I still have times I must work at it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Tim 1:7 NKJV

To enjoy the above mindset, I must allow the Holy Spirit not only access to my thinking, but permission to change my thoughts. I must learn to live and move in “a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The Shepherd bought this for me, and I must choose to live in it.

Chapter four is “He leads me beside quiet waters.”

“My people have committed two sins:

They have forsaken me,

    the spring of living water,

and have dug their own cisterns,

    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:13 NIV
Broken cistern

Keller wrote, “It is a compelling picture. It is an accurate portrayal of broken lives – of shattered hopes – of barren souls that are dried up and parched and full of the dust of despair.”

He gives an example of watching native herds in the ‘blazing equatorial sun of Africa’ being led to clear water in deep cisterns that were like huge rooms dug out of the rock and out of the sun. The owner had to get in there and bale the water into a drinking trough for the animals. Keller was impressed again ‘by the fact that everything hinged and depended upon the diligence of the owner, the shepherd. Only through his energy, his efforts, his sweat, his strength could the sheep be satisfied.”

He draws the parallel that when we are in deep, dark places, Jesus, our Shepherd is there with us in it. “It is His energy, effort, and strength expended on our behalf that even in this deep, dark place is bound to produce a benefit in us.”

Are you trusting Him in all things?

Observations, Prayer, and Quote

22-6-18
Humidity has broken
Bringing a day of breezy tossing leaves
Sun plus wind makes spangled shadows
Favorite weather of summer
Not too hot, warm air flow refreshes
Oh Lord, You gift me with today

22-6-20 Amy Carmichael nails it again: “Often, when we are most in earnest to pray, we are tormented by wandering thoughts and distractions of all sorts. I have been reading some old books lately and find that exactly the same thing distressed others. “The noise of a fly,” as one says, is enough to distract him. Do not fuss, do not worry, do not spend time wondering why that thought came just then or that other interruption was allowed (for that is playing into the enemy’s hands); but as soon as you are conscious that you have been drawn away, peacefully come back again. “ “Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”. Ps 116:7

Doe moves silently through the yard. Suddenly fawn is behind her. And then more suddenly an even smaller fawn. She leads them into the shrubbery and overgrowth. I am saddened by their departure. Then they are back in the yard. As if she teaching them the safe places and paths she takes. Larger fawn looks over the ditch in front of me as it considers entering my yard. There is no sound to my ears, but she must have called them as they hurry after her. Oh Lord, I want to be that receptive to Your call.

Best I could do in a heartbeat, through the screen, with iPad camera! Fawn is between the tall grasses, between trees (middle and left) in front of shrub like growth.
Walking our favorite road above the lake 
Bob white
Wood thrush
Wild geraniums
White violet 
White clover
Pink clover
Honeysuckle
Dog roses
Bullfrog song
Red wing
Herons 1 wading
            1 in flight before us
Burbling stream
Cool breeze
Sunshine
1 milkweed shoot
The reasons I love this walk!

The heavens declare the glory of God:
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth their speech;
Night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
No sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
Their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.
Like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
And makes its circuit to the other;
Nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Psalm 19:1-6 NIV

A Lamb in Childhood

When I was a child my parents had a small farm and fishing lake in Loveland, Ohio. The lake was a pay lake called “Lake Cast-A-Line.” (It has since been drained to make a subdivision.) I can still remember being allowed to give a lamb a bottle of milk in the kitchen. That lamb was one messy eater, but I was delighted! I was perhaps 4 years old? Due to my Dad’s poor health we had to move by the time I was 5.

The milk was mixed from powder and perhaps explains why that scent draws me to this day?!

Has the Lord assigned someone to feed you? Here is your challenge: Have you thanked them?

Here is John Michael Talbot singing Psalm 23. I wore out the album, I bought the CD. I about wore that one out also. I listen to this collection regularly even today!

Trust in the Lord. He will keep you, feed you and shepherd you forever.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV

Shepherd

Our neighborhood women are starting a study of the book entitled “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” written by W. Phillip Keller, first published in 1970. I have led this book as a study once or twice before and most all participants have enjoyed it immensely.

Writing the introduction, Keller said “First of all I grew up and lived in East Africa, surrounded by simple native herders whose customs closely resembled those of their counterparts in the Middle East.” He goes on to tell how he became a shepherd for about 8 years. Then even later, as a lay pastor he shared the truths of this Psalm with his “flock” every Sunday for several months.

If you have not read this book it is a great one. Twelve short chapters, easy reading with much meat included!

As with most books, this one has a variety of cover art. You can purchase it used on Abebooks or Thrift. Almost every new book seller still carries it. Worth the read. So powerful the lessons included between those pages as relates to us as His sheep.

Here is a photo of my old copy:

If you get a chance to obtain a copy read along with us. I will try to post something each week about our study. I will go out of my way not to break any confidences from the group, just share Keller’s powerful lessons.

This week we will likely cover the introduction only. Chapter one has many Scripture references that are not noted. I will be posting those next week.

Baking in Early Spring

I wrote this in 2015 when we still lived on Siesta Drive.

Goldfinch in early spring
Marshmallow Chicks for Real © Molly Lin Dutina 2015   

It’s the time of year
bakers make cupcakes
with green coconut frosting
a marshmallow chick on top.

Deck banisters are lightly coated with frost
Six goldfinch in spring plumage
not yet brilliant summer yellow
wait for chance at the feeder.
Hill in background covered
with King Edward daffodils.

Bakers have nothing
over reality!
Summer Goldfinch
photo by r m dutina

I once called goldfinch in summer plumage “Flying daffodils.” Look about you. Never know when you, too, will discover a …. and just now the tapping on the window screen … revealed right next to me a young goldfinch in full summer plumage picking insects from the edge of the screen. Oh my! He surprised me!! pink feet and all!! At least I think it was a goldfinch! No camera nearby.

“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Isaiah 61:11

…treasures in plain sight! June, 2022