Only God!

Only God Could Create…
Fauna

A Bowl of Kittens!

800_7070Only God could create a bowl of kittens! These are two of a litter of four at my daughter’s family’s house in Rome, Georgia. It’s more than amazing that an eternity ago God knew they’d be born last month. That’s hard for me to imagine, but I guess that is one of the ramifications of omniscience – he is all-knowing. Think about this: John 17:24 says “for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” He loved my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids before the foundation of the world. He knew the beginning of each of their lives, what day, what hour, what minute. He knew they’d live in Rome and knew they’d love cats! And he knew these two kitties would be born and when it was time, formed them using his wisdom, power and handiwork. And he even threw in different personalities that they’d each develop.
Now that’s pretty awesome, isn’t it!!!

Mates for Life…

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These two beautiful Mourning Doves have adopted us to be their retired parents. They spend time in our trees, on our deck, our rails and anywhere else they can hang out together. They are never separated. I didn’t get the picture but a few minutes earlier they spent about 10 minutes grooming each other’s feathers. The Mourning Dove mates for life after raising two baby doves at a time and both doves care for their young. If one dove dies, the other dove visibly mourns the loss of its mate. Here is more information from Wikipedia on Mourning Doves.

It’s no wonder that God’s Word speaks fondly and powerfully of the dove, who God Himself created!
Song of Solomon 2:14

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely.”
Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 3:16

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,
Luke 3:22

and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
John 1:32-34

John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, `He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

A Little Yellow Bird at Sunrise

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I literally ran to get my camera when I saw this little guy outside my window this morning. Even though behind my house is a dense forest which has dropped most of it’s leaves, when the sun comes up on the horizon to the East, it has to filter through a hundred trees to get to my house. But somehow God chose this morning to light up this beautiful bird on the birdbath on my deck just outside my window. Set against the dark browns and grays of winter leaves and trees, it seemed to reflect hope for the Spring to come. And God seemed to say, “Joy comes in the morning…” I needed that today.

Psalm 30:

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

A Fearsome, Awe-Inspiring Hawk!

A Fearsome Hawk!

I looked out the window a few months ago and no more than 10 feet away on a branch was this huge, beautiful hawk. We have a wooded area behind the house with bird feeders and little critters who like to feed on the seeds that drop down when the birds pick out their favorite seeds and push the others to the ground. We also have several hawks that fly high over the woods and make their eerie high pitched screams as they watch over their domains on the ground, and nest in the very tops of the trees.

As I watched, the hawk dove headfirst for something on the ground below the feeder at the window. I couldn’t see what it was after because the feeder is close to the house and below the window. After a minute, I looked out and watched the hawk land on a tree branch 50 yards away and start pecking away at some poor creature caught in its talons (probably a chipmunk). Grabbing my camera I spotted him as he flew to another branch and took a nap after his meal.

I thought about this brief episode and was amazed at the drama that went on as God provided his beloved hawk a meal at the expense of some other of His beloved creature’s carefree day. From the tiniest to the tallest, that’s the way God’s world works. It really doesn’t seem fair to the chipmunk. But I’m sure it seemed fine to the hawk. And humanly, the ways of survival in the animal kingdom makes sense to us.

Of course for us, it’s difficult to see it in such casual terms. When people we love are lost or suffering, or when we are sitting in that hospital bed suddenly (as I was not a few days after this photo was taken), wondering if we are going to live another day, the fairness and fate of it all can be quite scary. But I am reminded of something my pastor Doug McIntosh said years ago. Life for us is like we are looking up at the underside of a huge elaborate persian rug. The underside has threads and fibers dangling randomly in all directions. And when you see it, you can faintly make out a pattern. But it is a confusing mess that we cannot envision making any sense. God’s view of the rug is from above. A perfectly designed thing of beauty. Each of the threads in just the right place to complete the pattern and contribute to the completed, intricate, colorful work of art. Each of our lives contributing to the beautiful tapestry as we weave in and out of our fellow fibers lives and are knit together for all eternity.

So my desire is to see the sometimes ugly, seemingly unfair underside of the rug and yet “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean NOT on my own understanding. I will acknowledge Him and He will direct my paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

A Laughing Gorilla!

A Laughing Gorilla!Our recent trip to the Atlanta zoo was amazing. The Atlanta zoo has the largest exhibit of Gorillas in the world. When I found this picture I had taken there I laughed out loud! What a wonderful face he (or she?) has. Maybe someone can look at the Atlanta zoo website and tell me what the name of this gorilla is. I tried to think of some deep and profound parallel in the scriptures this might illustrate, but decided it was just a fun photo to share! In Ecclesiastes 3:4 it says there is a “time to weep, and a time to laugh!” I say, let’s take a moment to laugh and marvel at the many ways God displays His creativity and humor!

A Foggy Tennessee River Sunrise!

A Tennessee River Sunrise!

The Tennessee River in Chattanooga carries barges all day long, but we enjoyed this beautiful scene early one foggy morning on the deck of the house we rented for a family vacation. You can just barely make out the Egret peacefully perched on a limb in the distance!

Psalm 97 – “The Lord rules. Let the earth be full of joy. Let the many islands be glad. Clouds and darkness are all around Him. His throne is built upon what is right and fair. Fire goes before Him and burns up those who hate Him on every side. His lightning lights up the world. The earth sees, and shakes.

The mountains melt like a candle before the Lord, before the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens tell about how right and good He is. And all the people see His shining greatness.

Zion heard this and was glad. The people of Judah have been full of joy because of what You decide, O Lord. For You are the Lord Most High over all the earth. You are honored above all gods.

Let those who love the Lord hate what is bad. For He keeps safe the souls of His faithful ones. He takes them away from the hand of the sinful. Light is spread like seed for those who are right and good, and joy for the pure in heart. Be glad in the Lord, you who are right and good. Give thanks to His holy name.” – New Living Translation

A Tiny But Determined Tree Snail!

A Tiny But Determined Tree Snail!
I found this tiny little snail this morning in my garage after a rain. It was only about 1/4 inch across but so unique and perfectly formed with both a crusty hard shell for protection and a soft elastic body that could navigate all around its environment. I decided to take a closer look and picked him up and took him out to my deck. It took the little fellow about 10 minutes before he poked his head out (well, actually just his eyes!) to see whether it was safe. Eventually, his gooey body unfolded out of the little shell. I saw such amazing features looking through my micro lens I thought I’d share them with my OnlyGod365 friends! I asked my wife Carol what she thought of when she saw this photo and she immediately said, “Perseverance!” I thought that was a perfect description! Even though it probably only travels at a couple feet per hour, it found a way to escape my deck after I went inside for 15 minutes to eat a sandwich! I found a scripture that illustrates perseverance, but it DOESN’T call on us to move at the pace of a snail!!!

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Technical stuff: Shot with a Nikon D800 camera, Nikkor 60mm F2.8 macro lens, Nikon SB910 Flash, Lumiquest hand-held reflector.

Here are few more amazing shots of our little buddy…

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A Seagull Enjoying a Flight over the Beach in Destin!

A Seagull Enjoying the Beach in Destin“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them all! Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:25

What a beautiful word picture Jesus paints. And this beautiful bird is a testimony to his words! We could almost see the smile on this seagull as he hovered over us, wondering if we were going to toss a cracker up in the air to him! This is one of those photos that makes photography all worth it! Truly only God could put together an elegant, beautiful, feather-light creature like this that can soar lazily in the air and then effortlessly fly straight ahead into a strong wind or swoop down to pick up a crumb without touching the ground! I didn’t do a single thing to try to make this photograph any different…no special effects could enhance the amazing beauty and detail of God’s handiwork!

A Dog With the Curiosity of a Cat!

Our Shih Tzu Minnie

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
I know that verse applies to me. But I think it also applies to these faithful companions He has blessed us with! Our little Minnie understands many words, including “Go for a walk?” which elicited this curious glance. To think of the amazing capacity and generosity of our God to invent these little creatures who bring us (and our kids and grandkids) such joy and laughter!

An Intricate Mosquito Wasp

An Intricate Mosquito Wasp

This little guy was flying around the garage and my instinct was to grab the flying insect spray and make short work of him.
I looked again and got out my Macro lens. So many moving parts! All working together to do something man has spent billions to accomplish – fly!

An Early Morning Spider Web Shining in the Sun

An Early Morning Spider Web

“He commanded and they were created.” Ps. 148:4-5.
I went outside this morning to get the paper and walking back saw this spider and web shining in a beam of sunlight. I grabbed my Nikon D300, put on the 60mm micro lens and caught this just before the sun’s rays moved to another spot. What amazing detail. Still wondering about those regularly spaced white streaks the little guy weaved into the web. Only God knows why they are there!