beauty

LOOK DOWN

A collection 1LOOK DOWN

We’ve all heard someone say, “Look up! Raise your head.”

But I’m challenging you to look down. Yes, search the ground where you walk. You might be surprised to see special arrangements God made just for you, because the next gust of wind will bring about a new pattern.

These unique touches of beauty, which most of us walk all over, shouldn’t be missed.

And while vacationing in the Georgia Mountains and camping at Fort Mountain State Park, I noticed some wonderful displays under my feet!

My husband took a late afternoon nap, and I wandered around for the next hour, snapping pictures of God’s splendid handiwork. But the beauty lay on the ground and the crunchy gravel where I walked.

I’m sure other campers wondered about the poor woman circling the campground—the one taking pictures of the path where she walked. They probably shook their heads in pity and told their children/grandchildren to stay away me.

Yes, strange.A collection 3

I know I appeared disoriented while circling with shuffling steps and pausing to—seemingly—take pictures of my hiking boots.

But at every step, I saw a new arrangement displayed in perfect simplicity. I took way too many pictures, but it was so much fun! Don’t neglect the simple path you walk or say it doesn’t amount to anything.

Perhaps, the high and lofty stuff will fail to be the most important possession in life.

“I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.” Psalm 145:5 KJV

~ Karen

 

 

A collection 6
© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

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FROM CRAWLING TO SOARING

P1140162FROM CRAWLING TO SOARING

I’m growing milkweed plants in the yard, and we enjoy watching the Monarch caterpillars hatch from eggs and munch on leaves. LastFrom camera_077 week healthy, chubby caterpillars covered the plants.

Then we got a cold snap. I feared the caterpillars would suffer harm, so I collected all of them. I put them in a jar for the night and gave them a supply of leaves. As the weather warmed the next day, I transferred them back to the stems of the plants. They continued to grow.

Two days ago, during another chilly morning, I went outside to fill the chickens’ water containers. But there cater_079was a caterpillar underneath the first loop of the water hose. Nope … that’s not a good place to establish even a temporary home.

I carefully removed him. He was cold, stiff, and not moving. I brought him in the house, put him in my “caterpillar jar” with some sticks, and sat the jar in an inch of warm water. He finally started wiggling and crawled up the side of the jar, got on a stick and crawled downward. Last night he attached himself to the stick and hung upside down. But he chose to hang close to the bottom of the jar! That’s not a wise place to hang out.A1

This morning I checked on him. He hung there, wiggling slightly. I thought, yep, he’s ready to shed his outer covering. I took the dog out and came back in. The caterpillar had thrown off his old, dark rags, and he hung there in a new green suit. I missed seeing the transformation! But I continued to watch him.

The chrysalis wiA3ggled, and I wished I could see inside, to see the amazing process take place. With each wiggle, the green casing changed shape. The top thickened and rounded, the length shortened. A gold dotted line brightened around the top like a crown. The chrysalis grew fatter, firmer, and smoother. It took about thirty minutes, and I snapped pictures.

Now, the chrysalis hangs from the branch, much too close to the bottom of the jar. I will tape the branch higher up in a day or so, so the butterfly will have room to lengthen and flex its wings when it hatches out of confinement.

How like human life. We’re like that caterpillar—often going the wrong direction, hiding in the wrong spot, sinking to the bottom of life, and trying to do things on our own.

God picks us up, warms us with his love, and offers forgiveness. He places us next to hiA6s heart and watches over us as we begin the transformation. It quite often takes a long time for us to change, to wiggle through circumstances, throw off the old life, toss away bad habits, and drop the stained and wrinkled garments of sin.

Then life takes on a new, bright appearance. But we are still growing, developing a heart for God, and changing with his guidance. We appear different. People have no problem seeing that we’ve left the old life behind. Some watch us with awe—remembering how we once crawled through life,A7 getting into tight spots.

We mature under God’s direction. And there is coming a day when the shell of this earthy life will split asunder and we will awaken in radiance and beauty. We’ll experience the newness of our appearance; past woes will be tossed aside. We shall lift off this earth to soar in the heavenly realms, higher than any butterfly has ever gone.

 

“In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.” Colossians 3:10 NLT

Thank you for reading this post. I hope it touches your heart and makes you realize that God wants the best for us.

~KarenA8

 

© Karen Campbell Prough

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DANGER AROUND US

DANGER AROUND US

Sometimes danger hides in how we, as mere humans, handle situations without God’s help. Many things are better left untouched, because when we proceed without seeking wisdom, pain and distress can be the result. People suffer all their lives from unwise choices and jumping in where they shouldn’t be. They reach and mess with things best left alone. Beautiful framing can hide a lethal bit of poison.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there can be a different set of problems. Life has risks but refusing to step beyond our enclosed world will limit the wonders that God set in place for humanity to experience and share. There are things in this world that scare people and turn out to be harmless. We can compare it to the fact that some unfamiliar creatures of nature might appear disgusting but can transform into a token of wonder and beauty.

So how does this reflect God’s love, when it comes to reaching out to others—perhaps those that aren’t so lovable or approachable? It can be scary. We need wisdom.

Wisdom and the request for God’s guidance can keep us on the right path. Not all the hurts in people’s lives will be erased. But that should not make us withdraw from contact with this world. Should we prevent rejection by keeping to ourselves and hiding God’s plan for man? No. As a human being and God’s child, we cannot foresee what a changed life may look like by our willingness to touch someone’s life in a good way. A beautiful thing may develop.

The plan of salvation is a second step. First, we must make contact. One action or word of comfort, in the name of Jesus, can promote a change in those around us. It will let them see that God’s salvation can be inviting, not scary or unobtainable for them. Our acceptance of others lets them see the possibility of them being accepted by God.

And so, we must step up to help those around us. But perhaps some of us need help today—a bit of reassurance—or words of encouragement and wisdom when we think about this subject. It can be frightening to reach out to others in this day and time. This world is splintering and fraying along the seams of human life. One scripture comes to mind: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 KJV

Another translation says, “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do … ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” James 1:5 NLT

Ask for God’s guidance at the beginning of each day.

Helping others is what God wants us to do—so that part shouldn’t have to be hashed over in our minds. For most of us—it’s the need for wisdom in what we say. But prayer, ahead of time, gives us strength. And remember, actions speak louder than words. Quickly responding to someone needing a helping hand doesn’t have to be proceeded by a thought-out prayer. Being aware of God’s nudging at the time is what fulfills our responsibility.

By asking for wisdom from God, it is easier to reach out and help others—no matter what they look like, what their circumstances, or how frightened we might feel at that moment. Remember to use wisdom but be willing to step out. God gave us the gift of wisdom, and we should be careful where we tread and how we present ourselves to others, but we should never neglect to be God’s example of a changed life.

So, take God’s love with you. Be a flame flickering in a world that doesn’t understand kindness.

Thank you for reading this post. Please scroll down and leave your comment. Your thoughts are appreciated. What have you done for God lately? How have you shown love to someone? Every little bit helps in today’s world. Pictures of the scorpion (not a poison one) was taken at a barn in Bell, Florida. I captured it off a wall, by placing a green-tinted drinking glass over it. And then I took pictures. I thought it was a neat results. Did you see what was on the back of the scorpion? Pictures of caterpillars and butterflies were taken of butterflies to show my grandchildren how they hatch.

~Karen

 

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Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives