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    Ice Flowers

    Fifteen-year-old Wilson Bentley was captivated by the intricate beauty of snowflakes. He looked with fascination through an old microscope his mother had given him and made hundreds of sketches of their remarkable designs, but they melted too quickly to adequately capture their detail. Several years later, in 1885, he had an idea. He attached a bellows camera to the microscope and, after much trial and error, took his first picture of a snowflake. During his lifetime Bentley would capture 5,000 snowflake images and each one was a unique design. He described them as “tiny miracles of beauty” and “ice flowers.”

    No…

    The Perfect Gift

    Every year our local botanical garden hosts a celebration of Christmas around the world. My favorite display is a French nativity. Instead of the traditional scene showing shepherds and wise men with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh gathered around the manger, it shows French villagers bringing their gifts to baby Jesus. They bring bread, wine, cheese, flowers, and other items that God has given them the ability to produce. This reminds me of the Old Testament command to bring the firstfruits of our labor to the house of the Lord (Ex. 23:16-19). This depiction of the nativity illustrates that…

    Something New

    Seared in the fire. Crafted into perfection. Ready to be used. Just as the craftsman refines a tool for a select purpose, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God has already given you ambitions and directions. Go fulfill them.

    What if God Takes Away My Gift?

    I love writing poems. It’s my way of expressing my feelings, thoughts, and frustrations. My very first poem was about a girl (as you may already have guessed). She was someone I had admired from afar but never dared to approach.

    Why Jesus sees us as Beautiful

    Hello Beautiful! If someone said that to you, would you look behind you to see who they were really talking to? Since 96 percent of women surveyed don’t see themselves as beautiful, this would be a common reaction. We’ll make the case that “beautiful” is the way God made us to be. We may feel ugly, but Jesus sees us as beautiful. Do you believe that?

    Using your Gifts to Bring God Glory

    Someone once said, “Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to be something I’m not. It comes from a voice in here, calling me to be the person I was born to be.” Let’s talk about what it really means to use our specific creative gifts to bring God glory and bring us fulfillment as well.

    You are an Expression of God’s Glory

    Growing up, many of us were taught lies about ourselves, lies that in some ways can make us feel almost invisible and insignificant. Let’s talk about why it’s important to ask God, “How do you see me?” Because each of us is created with our own voice to be a unique expression of God’s glory. You have a role to play in His kingdom, one that no one else can fill.

    A Generous Tip

    In November 2014, a couple asked a waiter named Carlos for a dish that wasn’t on the menu. As former restaurant workers themselves, they were impressed by him and how he fulfilled their recipe request. The man asked Carlos what he would do if he had the money and time he needed. “I work two jobs. I don’t really have time,” he replied. He did, however, let on that his car needed a $1,500 repair job. Later, Carlos found a $1,500 tip on the table. He said of the generous couple, “Thank God for you and for what you’ve done.…

    chosen instruments

    My daughter is only 5 years old, but she’s a self- declared “artist.” One day we talked about paintbrushes. I selected two and handed them to her. The first brush was slim, with bristles that ended in a fine point. The other brush was larger and thicker. I explained that artists typically use bigger brushes to fill in large areas, while tiny brushes work better for small spaces and creating details. Painting involves choosing the right tool at the right time in the artistic process.

    Creating and Reflecting

    Artist Jim LePage created a piece of artwork for every book of the Bible. As he read the Scriptures to prepare for this project, he applied his imagination to each scene—processing it visually as if it was a movie and he was the director. His artwork was born from this inventive approach to Bible study. Although Jim admits that some of his work is quite edgy, I think he would agree that his ability to be creative comes from the ultimate Creator Himself—God.

    We’re A Community

    A pastor’s wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That put the family in a difficult, stressful situation. The pastor wondered how he was going to be able to take good care of her while he still had responsibilities for his church family. But he needn’t have worried because church members stepped up and volunteered to assist him with meals and some of her care.

    tests and gifts

    Those quirky Internet tests can be fun to take. Answer a few questions, and you learn which superhero or character from a popular movie you best resemble, or which country best fits your personality. People take these tests and then post on social media: “I got Batman!” “I’m Napoleon!” “I should live in Shangri-La!”

    caedmon’s calling

    During the eighth century, a farmhand named Caedmon served at Whitby Abbey in the north of England. One night he had an extraordinary dream. In the dream, someone asked Caedmon to sing a song about creation. Being a farmer and not a singer, he initially refused. But as the dream progressed, he did indeed compose a song praising the Creator.


    September 2019: Christian Living

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