The Very Stones Would Cry Out

Luke 19:37-40 – As he was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

2013-12-11 - The Very Stones Would Cry Out (IMG_0164)Fallen leaves on a moss covered stone.  Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve, Oregonia, Ohio.

As a hiker and aspiring photographer I am always looking for new and exciting locations with magnificent scenery.  Of course, time and distance limit the opportunities to travel to such places.  But, I often find that some of the most beautiful things in God’s creation are the little things right there in front of us, like a mossy, leaf-covered rock in a stream or the little patch of spring wildflowers beside the trail.

God is present in all of his creation.  And, as we read in today’s passage, even if someone were to try silencing the voices of those proclaiming the glory of God, be it a government, or religious leaders like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, “the very stones would cry out.”

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.

He Hurls Down His Crystals of Ice

Psalm 147:15-18 – He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. 17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

2013-12-07 - He Hurls Down His Crystals of Ice (IMG_1403)Water, ice, and snow cover the spillway at Caesar Creek Lake after our first big storm of the winter. Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio.

When it is 16 °F outside and the ground is covered with snow and ice most of us prefer to stay indoors.  It is an easy decision to stay inside, warm and protected from the elements, if you have no reason to go outside and brave the cold.  Likewise, as Christians, we often find ourselves staying within the protective walls of our churches.  We are comfortable and safe among our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is easy for us to fall into a routine that isolates us from the world and the people outside the doors of our church.

Even if it is cold and harsh out there we need to remember the mission to which Jesus calls us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Christ promises to always be with us; and, fortunately for us, the protection he offers is much more certain than that offered by the winter clothing we don to venture out on a cold winter’s eve.

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.

Whiter than Snow

Psalm 51:7-12 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

2013-12-06 - Whiter than Snow (IMG_0424)Freshly fallen snow along a fence line near the Carl A. Rahe Access. Little Miami State Park, Foster, Ohio.

While this photo is not from the winter storm that has blanketed us with snow here in southwestern Ohio today, I felt a winter theme was definitely in order for today’s post.  I hope to get out and add a few nice winter photos to my “portfolio” tomorrow.

The amazing thing about photography is that we can capture a moment in time and preserve it, allowing it to be appreciated for years to come.  What I find even more amazing, though, is that our God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator of the universe, does not see our sins like the photographs in an old family album.  Fortunately for us, through the blood shed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God has blotted out all our iniquities and removed the stain of sin from our lives.  Through Christ’s blood we have been washed clean and can rejoice knowing that we have been made whiter than snow!

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.

My Soul Yearns For You in the Night

Isaiah 26:9 – My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

2013-11-26 - My Soul Yearns For You in the Night (IMG_6599)Night falls over the placid waters of Stonelick Lake. Stonelick State Park, Pleasant Plain, Ohio.

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© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.