by June Friesen,
Nature’s Gift of Love
One of my hobbies is photography. In the past year, especially as I have been out in nature, God has often gifted me with surprises in at least one or two photos every week. The beauty of these gifts is that God also brings to mind a Scripture or two that inspires my Christian faith. This photo was taken in a Botanical Garden here in Phoenix, Arizona where I live and when I arrived home, my eyes immediately saw a cross, but then off to the right, a stamen that appeared as praying hands. Yes, when we are mindful of God’s beauty everywhere He is able to bless us and remind us that He is watching over us as well as the whole of creation with love. I was reminded of a few verses in Galatians 2 as well.
Galatians 2:19-21 (MSG)
I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
These verses hold out hope for God’s followers. It is a hope that releases one from the bondage of rule keeping. It is a hope that gives peace in the midst of or instead of having to please others. It is a hope that one places firmly in Christ believing that daily living in this world is possible as one embraces Him 24/7 to the best of one’s ability.
THE CROSS AND THE PRAYING HANDS
The gift of God’s love is so pure and holy,
It is unflawed, freely given without restrictions or limitations,
The cross is a symbol to the world of this love God holds in His heart for all –
It is the place where God was poured out in sorrow and sadness
For all of humanity in their selfishness and pride.
The beauty that arises from the cross carries a purity –
A purity for the human heart that embraces God’s victory over sin –
A purity that may not necessarily show forth in a perfect life here on this earth –
But a purity that will be realized in eternity when with Jesus His followers one will live.
The cross – as it stands vertically between God and this earth –
The cross bar – as it reaches from one side to the other –
The cross – as it encompasses the whole of the universe –
The cross – as it is secured to this earth –
The cross – it continues to call today to you and to me –
The cross – God’s eternal message of forgiveness to all of humanity.
Yes, the cross is a symbol of godly faith –
And God desires that it become an active symbol
Alive within each one of His followers –
Living of life of
“Loving God, loving self and loving everyone else,”
As His Son demonstrated to each one of us that day on the cross.
So, as we clasp our hands in prayer –
Let us allow God to enwrap our hands with His –
Let us receive His infusion of forgiving love graciously
Knowing that He is gifting it to us to then go and readily share with the world.
So as the flower here is widely opening its petals in beauty for all who pass by –
Let you and I also widely open our hearts and our hands in love to others as they pass by –
May our lives reveal the beauty and power of a life that has been changed
By the power of the cross and a yielded life to God Almighty.
Amen and amen.
Photos taken by June Friesen
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