July 26

            I admit, openly and without shame, that I am a nerd. When I was growing up, I was very much a bookworm instead of an athlete. Other kids had sports players as heroes; I had Carl Sagan. It was he who inspired something that fascinates me to this day, and that is my love of astronomy. One of my favorite places to go was the local planetarium. I am always amazed at what new insights have been, and are being, discovered on a daily basis (although, admittedly, many of the new ideas that have been birthed were, and are, beyond my comprehension).
            If I could afford to have a house with an observatory on it, I would do it in a heartbeat – but for now, I’d have to be content with getting a good telescope. Then again, I’d be so excited that I’d hardly know where to start looking.

            It makes good sense to look to the heavens as a source of wonder. The psalmist wrote it best when he started Psalm 19 with, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth 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.” (Psalm 19:1-4a, NIV) The God who created the entire universe has also given us the means to understand it and delight in it. May we use those gifts with wisdom and reverence.


July 17

Life is full of opposites. We can’t really escape it. Just turn to Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and look at the list: born/die, plant/uproot, kill/heal, tear down/build, weep/laugh, mourn/dance, scatter stones/gather stones, embrace/refrain from embracing, search/give up, keep/throw away, tear/mend, silent/speak, love/hate, and war/peace. There are various scripture passages that list the concept of opposites throughout the Bible. 
We may look at these opposites sometimes as a bad thing as opposed to a good thing. Sorry, I just had to put another opposite in there! These opposites help to make the human experience more full and appreciate each side. Take for example the picture I took above, because the clouds are covering the sun. it makes it much more interesting . I have always said I don't think I would like living somewhere that the seasons didn't change. I think I would get too used to the warm weather and sunshine. Think about how when there are days and days of cloudy, rainy weather when the sun finally does shine, it seems brighter and we appreciate it much more. Or think about when it is so dry and it finally rains, we are grateful for the rain to quench the dry earth. During a cold winter day the sun will come out and you might turn your face toward its warmth. Or during the hot summer, there is a break in the weather and the air is cooler and it is literally like a breath of fresh air. I don't want to take opposites for granted. I think God created them to make us more aware of each opposing concept and to remember that nothing is to be taken for granted and to remind us of His blessings each day.

Loving Father, thank you for the opposing forces that you created to help us see and feel Your Presence here on earth.


July 2

                In my younger days, there was a board game called “Can’t Stop,” in which the object was to throw dice and to try to make your way to the tops of numbered columns (from 2 to 12) on a board shaped like a stop sign. You could only have three active columns at a time, and the winner was the first to claim three columns in their color. The catch was that you could stop at any time and save your progress, as it were, but if you threw the dice and they did not add up to any of the numbers you were trying for, any progress you had made would be lost.
                The idea here of temptation is obvious – do you give into temptation and press your luck, or do you stop with what you have? But the columns are not of equal length in this game – the “7” column is much longer than either the “2” or “12” columns, because 7 is the easiest roll to make on two dice, while 2 and 12 are the hardest. If you were new to the game, you might see the short columns and think, “Oh, I only have to do this three times. I have to get many more 7’s to win that column. I’ll stick with the short ones.” That player would soon learn that what seemed to be the easier course is actually the harder one, and vice versa.

                It’s natural for us as humans to try to find the easier way to do things, but we must be careful and, to use a cliché, not judge a book by its cover. It’s the same way with following Christ. As Christians, we may look for the easy way out and not keep in mind that being a Christian – that is, following Christ – is not easy. Discernment takes time and discipline, but if we make a conscious effort, the rewards will be greater than we could even imagine.