Gripped by His love and full of thanksgiving…

Emily thinks Pollywog Creek reminds her of the movie “Snow White“. It does appear that a ménagerie of animals are peacefully co-existing here. This morning we watched a black snake slither through the mulch of leaves under one of the sweet gum trees, while doves and fox and grey squirrels picked through the leaves and grass for seed that had fallen from the feeders.

Goldfinches, sparrows, and a green painted bunting ate leisurely at the feeders until they were startled by the playful antics of the squirrels as they chased each other up and down and around the trees. Red-bellied woodpeckers, bluejays, and cardinals took their turns at the feeders, while a mockingbird flew in to drink from the bird bath.

Crows cawed from the top of a pine tree in the pasture, and a neighbor’s rooster crowed in the distance. Even the peacocks across the creek occasionally added their harsh cry to the dissonant chorus.

A drake and two female muscovy ducks have been visiting the pond, much to my husband’s displeasure, and yesterday, a little green heron perched on a cypress knee while the ducks swam nearby. Late in the afternoon last week, a beautiful red and gray fox walked briskly along the edge of the creek. Just as he turned toward the pond, Emily frightened him away. At dusk, rabbits emerge from the thickets along the creek and squeeze through the fence to munch on the winter grass just outside the back door.

It’s no secret that the backyard swing is my favorite place to perch in this “Snow White” set of ours. An Easter basket of good books, a cup of coffee, and delightfully cool weather has made it all the more perfect.

John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ” has been in my book basket for quite some time, but I’ve been reflecting at length on passages (like the one below) from its pages more this week than most.

“We can stand before (the cross) only with a bowed head and a broken spirit. And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance, and we, gripped by his love and full of thanksgiving, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.” (emphasis mine)

Before I grab my book basket and get comfy on the swing outside, I’ve been using the online ESV Study Bible to study the Scriptures our church provided for us to read every day this week. I need about an hour every morning to listen, read and study these passages online. I’m so amazed at what I am still learning from familiar passages I have read many times over the years.

I’m “gripped by his love and full of thanksgiving.”

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