Memory verse: “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
The fourth step on the Romans Road is about our needed response to the solution to our problem.
P.S. See this post if you’re unfamiliar with the Romans Road! Also, see this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!
It should be noted that, since there is no hunting season on shooting photographs, I generally secure my photographic venison on whatever random day of the year and in whatever random location (such as my flower garden) it presents itself.
I actually took this one’s portrait back in July, when his antlers were still velvety knobs—but since it’s Hunting Season, which is as good as a national holiday in this neighborhood, it seemed like an appropriate time to join the fun and talk about the deer I “shot” this year, too. I suppose that the fellow above would hardly be considered a trophy, but like most hunters, I also find that the bucks are elusive and capturing one, however short his antlers may be, is something worth celebrating.
He was foolish enough to pause before bounding off with a woof, so he is literally my first buck, at least so far as I can tell for sure. See? There he went, after that long curious look, finally deciding to flee the lady with the giant black eye. He will, however, have to call upon more wariness than that if he doesn’t wish to be caught by his foolish hesitation and end up in small packages in someone’s deep freeze within the next couple weeks!
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)
It was almost as good as Yellowstone National Park when a bear is sighted along the road.
The cars were lining up. The phone cameras were clicking. People were leaning out their windows, smiling big. Nobody was out of their vehicles snapping closeups while foolishly ignoring the unpredictability of wildlife (aka a protective mama doe), but I won’t deny that I considered it. (But did you see the look in her eyes up there? That was pretty much enough to keep my hand off the car door handle and be satisfied with just rolling the window down.)
And these two tiny fawns, so new they were still wobbly, stood at the edge of the highway bracing their ungainly long legs and staring at their audience in wonder. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the first time they had ever seen cars or humans, let alone been on an outing.
Mama hovered nervously in the woods nearby, snorting, stamping worriedly. They bleated back like tiny lambs as if to say, “Whatchya so worried about, Mom? See? These people like us.”
And it was true. Cause, well, you know, for all the tulips I’ve ever suffered the loss of to other members of their species (it happened again this year, ahem!), how can you not be utterly charmed by a newborn baby fawn—especially when there are two of them staring at you with their big, innocent dark eyes at the same time?
Who cares about tulips, anyway.
“Do you observe the calving of the deer? Can you count the months they fulfill, or do you know the time they give birth? They kneel down, they bring forth their young, they get rid of their labor pains. Their offspring become strong, they grow up in the open field; they leave and do not return to them.” (Job 39:1-4)
This week, our resident swan pair debuted their newest brood of offspring, parading them very proudly all the way around the lake (for all the neighbors to see, I presume). There are six cygnets, which might be their all-time record for family size!
There is a shy doe at the edge of the field, who acts very nervous whenever we come near. I know there’s a tiny fawn hiding in the swampy raspberry thicket beyond where she lingers, though we have yet to actually see him.
After three known unsuccessful attempts (including inside the exhaust pipe of my husband’s truck), last year’s swallows have finally settled on a place to build a new nest. Incidentally, it’s in the exact same place as they built the last one. Silly birds.
A mother rabbit went bounding off from my parent’s garden when I was visiting there earlier this week, scared by the dog. She left this wee cutie, with brown eyes almost as big as his ears, crouched obediently close to the ground. He didn’t move a muscle, even when I took this picture:It’s been baby time everywhere we look outside lately—and then, finally, at 6:45, just after the pearly gray dawn of a Wednesday morning, it was our turn.
A tiny baby voice cried out for the first time in the little house on the edge of a lake, while outside in the gentle rain the swan family paddled softly through the lily pads in search of breakfast and the swallows twittered busily around their almost-finished nest.
“A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” (John 16:21)
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.“ (Psalm 30:5)
Praise the Lord!
Sometimes, in all the wonderful hustle and bustle that December can be, it’s good to take a walk alone in the woods to listen to the stillness…
to quietly admire the strange and wonderful effects of melting and freezing snow and ice…to be startled and then delighted when a deer goes leaping across the trail mere feet in front of you…to stand and watch the late afternoon sun glint through bits of ice on twiggy branches, like hundreds of cut glass ornaments hung for Christmas…to deeply breathe in crisp cold air and be glad for warm new mittens…
and, as the still permeates your soul, to think about the One who said to “be still and know that I am God”,
the Prince of Peace whose purpose was to bring ultimate and perfect peace on earth, whose first humble coming to earth we will celebrate very soon—and be glad.
“And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Sometimes in the midst of the busyness, it takes something as far removed from the tinsel and packages as a woodland cathedral robed in winter white, where no instrument plays but the wind whispering through the branches and no voices speak but those of chickadees and squirrels—
to bring your heart back where it needs to be.