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IMG_3282Pennsylvania was the venue for a major ministry in the cool winter climate.  In my computer were five messages and one workshop ready to be delivered in the course of two and a half days.  That is a load of work.

When I consider that each time a speaker delivers a word from God, the responsibility is massive.  Representing Him accurately each time and then fending off spiritual challenges and physical challenges at the same time is a daunting task.  All of us who preach and teach love to respond to God’s call yet we know that the preparation and delivery of our calling is weighty.

After the first presentation, I was feeling the task in front of me.  It is a lot like the first lap on a long foot race.  Or it is similar to the first leg of a long bicycle ride.  Your mind wonders if your body is already spent.

It was time for a walk.  So, I went outside.  My coat and cap were tightly worn to insulate me against the cold winds of the NE.

There on a hill I could enjoy the scene of the valley below.  Grass cushioned my feet.  Trees that had long since shut down into winter mode stood like bare sentinels waiting for warmer temperatures in the distant Spring.

Clouds heavily laden with moisture fly overhead looking for comrades to share their moisture loads and find an excuse to drop it on the earth.  Birds flitted about scarfing up stray seeds.  Squirrels had escaped their nests and foraged for food and chased each other relentlessly as if their energy levels would burst if they stayed docile for too long.

Caught up in the middle of God’s great creation, I realized that my load had disappeared.  The weight of representing Him was now a distant memory, swallowed up in the greatness of who He is and the certainty of His presence.  Standing as part of His creative hand with life teaming around me reminded me that ministry is all about Him.

I breathed in deeply.  The air was fresh and clean.  My lungs relished the moment.

He would be faithful and I surrendered myself to His assurances.  Faithful friends from around the nation and the world would be praying for this ministry.  Studied up, prayed up and rested up I was ready to keep going through the weekend of service.  God would do His amazing work and I was privileged to be a part of it.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_3284My morning walk was through the cold windswept countryside of the Pennsylvania farmlands.  Clearly it was winter.  Grass was now a light brown with so much of the frigid months weighing heavily on the foliage and outside near-unfriendliness.

Dressed right for this climate and time of year, I enjoyed being outside for a moment of contemplation.  Breathing in the freshness of air that had blown clear and struggling rare rays of sunlight sneaking through a heavy layer of low hanging clouds was invigorating.  Often I would pause and look over the valley below.

A farm was quiet on the other side of the highway.  There were a few hardy animals slowly meandering in the pastures.  They would graze contentedly.  God gave them a natural coat that grew thicker in this time of year.   Each one was comfortable, unconcerned about any inclement weather.

Then a gust of wind moved me.  Quickly, I pulled my cap down a little tighter and pulled on my gloves a little tighter.  My down coat was doing its superb job of keeping me well insulated against the dropping temperatures.

I looked up and found a reason to gaze.  The trees that surrounded me were mostly sporting naked limbs.  All of the deciduous trees had gone into winter mode, hibernating for months until the temperatures rose again in Spring.

My stare above continued.  A smile followed.  The scene captured my mind for a long moment.

While the whole valley had tightened down to survive another winter, there was lingering presence of perseverance.  Above in the limbs of a tree, several leaves had stubbornly refused to “let go”.  They were still hanging on.

The wind was swirling about trying to bat them off of their perch.  But, tenaciously, their grip kept them locked into place.  They would occasionally flutter but they would not be moved.

A large blowing wind moved the tree trunk, swayed the branches and even shook the cluster of leaves.  However, they remained rigid at their connection.  Several hold out leaves from a neighboring tree surrendered.

The sky was dotted with the last of the Autumn leaves that were driven out of their high perches and laid out as another piece of the natural carpet on the ground.  Millions of leaves already gave the ground an insulated coverage.  This cluster was still holding on.

I smiled.  With a wink of my eye, I left them to stay their course.  The picture of perseverance is a power vision to behold.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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