"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
July 14, 2010
While in Yellowstone, a portion of scripture came to mind as we were driving around. I was unable to locate it at the time, and Jon was unfamiliar with it. All I could think of was something about God owning a cattle on a thousand hills. Finally, I've been able to find it. The Psalm is dealing with sacrifices, but I'm going to use a couple verses in the middle of it.
Psalms 50:10,11 says, "For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains and the creatures of the field are mine."
Then Psalms 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."
When we were leaving Yellowstone for the last time, we drove through Lamar Valley to get to the northeast entrance. As we drove through that area, there were hundreds of buffalo. The whole valley was covered as far as we could see. Some were far away and others were right beside the road. They still had their winter coats and looked scraggly and ugly. Buffalo aren't the most attractive animal, but the baby calves are kind of cute. But to see so many in one area was pretty astounding.
During the time we were in the park, we were able to see several different animals. We had already seen a lot of buffalo. In fact one day we were driving and were in a line of traffic. We noticed no cars were coming from the other direction, which put us on the alert that a possible animal sighting was ahead. Then rounding the corner from the opposite direction was a buffalo walking down the center of the lane blocking traffic. He was slowly sauntering along and knew he was king of the road. He seemed to be looking towards our side looking for a place to cross the highway, so Jon decided to be nice and stop and give it an opportunity to cross over and get out of the way. As soon as the buffalo saw the opening, it began crossing over in front of us. What took us by surprise was how slowly the buffalo crossed the lane. It looked like he was headed straight for our car and wasn't going to stop. We were taken aback and could picture it walking right into our car and taking out a headlight and making a big dent. But he did turn right as he got to the car, missing it by mere inches. Then he walked down the passenger side of the car and was close enough that I could have easily reached out and touched him without stretching at all. He looked to only be 2-3 inches from the car. Whew, we got through that without any problems!
But it was only a few minutes later when the same thing happened; only this time it was two buffalo walking down the road blocking traffic. Jon once again decided to stop and let them cross in front of us. But this time they started to cross, then apparently decided the ditch looked too steep. Just as they got to our car, they turned and got back into the other lane and continued their walk. We drove on, so have no idea how long it took them to finally get out of the road so cars could safely pass.
While in Yellowstone, we saw several deer; and early one morning we saw a large herd of elk. That was nice and we enjoyed seeing them, but we've seen buffalo, elk, and deer before. What we really wanted to see was animals that we don't normally see. Before our trip, we had talked that we would like to see a bear and a wolf.
On our first day there, one of our first animal spottings was a black bear. It was moving fairly quickly and there were some trees in that area, so we were only able to get a few pictures. But that was so exciting!
We then saw cars pulled over and everyone with their cameras and tripods, so we knew something exciting was spotted. There was a grizzly up on the side of the mountain. It was a ways off so we couldn't see it very well, but well enough to say we saw a grizzly. We have a fairly good lens for our camera and Jon had taken a couple pictures, then was showing them to me. You gotta love digital cameras! It was only as we were reviewing the pictures that we saw that there was a cub with the mama grizzly. Actually it turned out that two cubs were eventually spotted. We stood there for a long time waiting on the mama bear and her babies to get up and do something exciting. The mama would turn her head occasionally or adjust around, but nothing exciting. I'm guessing she was nursing her cubs. We had been there for quite some time, and finally I asked Jon if he was ready to move on. It wasn't that I was bored, but we had taken a few pictures, and it seemed like the bears were going to hang out in that one spot for the rest of the day. We weren't able to get real clear pictures due to the distance, but got enough to show that we actually saw a grizzly with her cubs. We had no sooner turned around and headed to the car when the mama suddenly got up and she and the cubs ran out of sight. Jon was able to get a glimpse of both cubs, but I missed it. It happened so quickly that Jon was unable to get another picture of them. I felt kind of bad that I had suggested leaving and us missing out of the bear finally getting up and moving with her babies.
There's an older song that says, "Don't give up on the brink of a miracle." Too often we pray and pray for something, and seemingly wait and wait for an answer. But then we become impatient and give up before God answers, and end up trying to do things our way and figure it out on our own. We can often miss out on God's best for us by doing this. If I had of been patient for just a couple more minutes we could have seen the bears get up. Jon would have had his camera ready and been able to get a picture of the three of them leaving.
It's easy to say, "Oh well, at least you got to see a grizzly and got a picture." And that was very exciting and we were thrilled about that. But how often do we settle for something being good enough, when we could have experienced the best?
We got up at daylight one morning and went out animal hunting. We were in the Hayden Valley on the east side of Yellowstone and saw a car parked in an overlook area. We pulled in and ended up staying there for quite some time. We saw a herd of elk. We then were able to watch a black bear wander around the valley for an hour or so. We got some amazing pictures. There were also two bald eagles perched on a bluff there. We got a few sunrise pictures coming up over the valley; but the pictures don't even begin to do it justice. What a way to start a day!
We also saw a wolf that same day and Jon got some awesome picture of it. It was on a small hillside across the road from where we were driving. That was a huge highlight for us. We have never seen a wolf, black bear, or bald eagles so up close and personal. We weren't close enough to be in danger, but with our camera lens we could zoom in and get some great shots. It was fun and awesome to be able to experience that.
As we were leaving the park for the last time we were talking that we saw black bear, a grizzly and a wolf so we were happy! It would have been nice to have seen a longhorn sheep, but that was okay. We got to see the main things we were really wanted to. It was like God decided to give us a bonus. We rounded a corner and there was a longhorn sheep standing beside the road. We then saw one of the fattest, biggest beavers we've ever seen. What a way to end our time in Yellowstone.
Seeing so many various animals in Yellowstone reiterates the fact that God truly does own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every animal in the forest is His. He knows all the creatures in the fields. And the scripture states that God knows every bird in the mountains. Now that's astounding!
During our time there, it was as if we could see the work of God all around us everywhere we looked. God's eyes were upon every animal and bird in the park; His hands formed the landscape and formations everywhere we looked; He created every sunrise and sunset; and He took the devastation caused by fires, earthquakes and volcanoes and cause new life and beauty to form from it. I felt closer to God during our days in Yellowstone than I've felt in a long time. Many times we'd look at one another and comment, "Only God could have created this!" It's hard to even put into words.
There are some designated areas with buildings, but a lot of Yellowstone has been left to its natural state and hasn't been commercialized. You see nature at its rawest and purest form. They don't come in and clean up devastation left by fires, but leave the trees lying where they fall and allow nature to run its course and new growth to form on its own. Animals aren't penned in cages, but are free to roam at their own free will; even it's down the middle of a road. It was just an amazing experience for us; and one we hope to have again someday.
Jon and I were talking that there are thousands of acres in Yellowstone that is non-accessible by road. We're sure that there are hundreds of animals is in the park in areas that no one is able to get to. So we felt blessed to see the ones that we did. But God knows where all those other animals are and He keeps watch over them all. Wow, what a thought.
Matthew 10:29-31 says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
We saw a couple different birds that really caught our eye while in Yellowstone. The colors were just vibrant and they were really pretty. When you look at all the different varieties and colors of birds, that gives a small glimpse into the creativity of God. God cares about details. That's obvious in the nature around us. It's obvious in all the different varieties of animals. God didn't slough off and get tired of being creative. But He took, and still takes, time with every single minute detail in the world around us. As the Psalm says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."
But the scripture goes on to say, "And all who live in it." If God cares enough about all the cattle, creatures in the fields, animals in the forest, and birds in the mountains that He knows each and every one of them, how much more He cares for us! We can read the scripture that says that even the very hairs of our head are numbered and think, "Why would that even matter to God; and why would He care about that?" But it just goes to show that nothing goes unnoticed by God. If He even knows how many hairs are on our head, that means that there is nothing about us that God doesn't know. He loves us and we're never out of His care. His eyes are always upon us and we have worth in His sight. That should give us such peace. What an amazing God we serve!
Just because it's easier for God to count the hairs on some people's heads, doesn't make His love any different. Regardless of the number of hairs a person has, their true beauty is in their heart.
In Yellowstone, it's common to see something that at first looks ugly, but on closer look can be pretty. The alpine bluebird (I think that's the breed in the picture above) is obviously a beautiful bird. The tree under it is pretty ugly. But it also has an interesting twisted trunk, and tells part of a story of the area, where a shift in the rocks released boiling hot water and cooked the roots of trees over several acres. At the very least, it makes a good perch for a beautiful bird.
What did Daniel do to be promoted by the king?
What position did Daniel hold?
What was the name of the king who built the golden image and commanded that the people bow down to it?
What were the name of the three men who refused to bow to the golden idol?
Who died from the fiery furnace?
Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles
5 cans whole green beans -- any brand
2 pkg. Thick cut bacon
1 stick butter
2 cup brown sugar
Cut bacon strips in half (the bundles of green beans should be made small enough for half strips to wrap them nicely). Bundle green beans together (5-6 green beans in each bundle). Tightly wrap each bundle of green beans with one half strip of bacon and place fold side down in 9x13 glass dish. Once all green beans bundles are completed, set aside and prepare glaze. Begin melting whole stick of butter in small non-stick pan. Once melted, add brown sugar; blend together until glaze has a syrup consistency (don't overheat). Pour glaze over green bean bundles and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until bacon looks thoroughly cooked.
Daniel interpreted the kings dream. (Daniel 2:47)
Daniel was ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2:48)
Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:5)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-18)
The men who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the flames were killed from the heat of the fire -- God protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fire and they were unharmed. (Daniel 3:22)
I said, "I will guard my ways lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle....." Psalms 39:1
(Boy, some days I need God to put a muzzle on my mouth!!)
We love you!
Loretta & Jon