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Friday, August 10, 2012

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12

Note: Podcast is unavailable for today's message.

"Looking Intently"

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25).

Yesterday we visited the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison Wisconsin, one of the most beautiful and well-maintained gardens we have ever visited. It was especially interesting how vibrant the gardens were in light of the drought this area has endured. It was an overcast day and somewhat rainy at times but we made the best of it.

I especially like to consider close-up photos with drops of dew or raindrops on the flowers and we and share several of those with you today. This type of photography causes me to observe carefully and look for more detail and it provides a spiritual illustration in our message.
In order to get several of the photos shown today I had to stoop down and at times get on my knees, zoom in and observe carefully. 

Our daily verse is power-packed and also demonstrates the importance of careful observation. Let's observe four requirements for one who is "blessed in what he does."
1) "He looks intently." In the Greek this conveys "to bend, lean over, stoop down". We're not talking about a casual glance, but careful observation into that "perfect law that gives freedom."
2) "Continues to do this." Our pursuit of knowing God and His Word should and indeed must be constant and lifelong. It's not a sprint but a spiritual marathon race we're committed to.
3) "Not forgetting what he has heard." I consider all that I have read from the Bible or studied or heard from godly preachers that I have forgotten. Have you ever read several chapters of Scripture and five minutes later forgot what you read? I'm sure we all have and that's a major reason for making time for thoughtful observation.
4) "But doing it." This was a major focus in James. We are perhaps more familiar with a verse, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).  It's not enough to simply read, but we must respond to God's truth and His direction for our lives.
I want to be a person the Bible calls "blessed in what he does" and I'm sure you do as well. Let's follow these steps and be careful in our observation of that which matters most.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, would You help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and eager to observe that which You want to show me. As I read Your Word, may it not be simply out of duty or habit. Intensify my hunger for Your hidden treasures that can only be found as I dig deeper into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Open my mind, my heart, my ears and my eyes to spiritual insights that bring understanding, acceptance, and gratitude for Your work in my life. Lord, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law.  Amen.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Madison, Wisconsin

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
The gardens were lush with multiple shades blended together.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
Not only some type of wire form and close trimming but various plant colors make up these picnicking bears.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
Fragrant and exotic Stargazer lily.
Upon close observation we noticed the anthers were cut on each lily. If you look at the center of the flower you'll notice the stems are clipped straight across. Brooksyne looked on the internet and read that the bloom will last longer when the anthers are removed. Also recommended for cat owners since this is the poisonous part of the plant (maybe they have a resident cat in the gardens as we do in Mount Joy at Hostetters Nursery).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
Big beautiful hibiscus flowers were abundant in the gardens.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
Close observation revealed this caterbillar that looks like it's munching on one of its favorite plants - the milkweed (notice the lower leaf chewed on). Also the tiny yellow aphids clustered on the plant will be problematic if not treated soon. Unless you observe your flowers and plants carefully you'll miss these destructive bugs (also known as the silent killer) which will destroy the plant if not treated.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
I looked up and saw that they had made an effort to keep the birds off any horizontal surface by using some type of pointed nails. But this bird made its nest right over the nails anyway!

Olbrich Botanical Gardens 8/9/12
Thai pavilion with an interesting story.

Wisconsin farm 8/9/12
From a distance this tidy farm got not only our attention but also our hosts, Doug and Georgia, along with their daughter Katie. They pulled their car over to take pictures and we did as well. Hopefully the last several days of rain will help the crops recover in the beautiful rural areas of Wisconsin.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

"Open Our Eyes Lord"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"The Voice Of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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