Sonnet 73

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Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

— William Shakespeare,
Sonnet 73.

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All Saints Day 2016

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Happy All Saints Day!  Like the sunlight in that tree, it is the Word of God that makes the saints shine.

“I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:2, ESV).  How does the Church dress beautifully for her husband, Christ?  She adorns herself with the words and promises of God by believing them.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

— Revelation 21:3-4, ESV.

God’s word shines in our hearts giving us light and life.

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At the entrance to High Cliff State Park this red maple stood in a sun beam between the clouds and green trees.  After parking, I walked back, waited for the sun to reappear, and shot some photos with my old Canon A550.

Recently, my Canon G12 died.  I ordered a new camera, but the new camera had to be returned because it had a dead pixel.  So my A550 has come out of retirement.  The 7.1 megapixel A550 was my first ever digital camera, and I have always had a lot of fun with it.  When it retired, the batteries were not making a good connection, but I managed to fix that issue, and now the camera seems to be working as well as ever.

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But for my old A550, this scene would have been lost.  I hope you like the pictures, and that you have a blessed All Saints Day!

Maple Leaf Haiku

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“Color turn to red.
Maple leaves to earthen bed.
Rest for now,” God said.

Walking on High Cliff

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Crack in the Niagara Escarpment rock at High Cliff.

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The Red Bird Trail follows along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment which forms the cliff of High Cliff State Park in Wisconsin.

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The Niagara Escarpment is a large arch shaped, raised rock that runs from an area south of Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, through Door County, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a number of large islands in Lake Huron, Ontario, Niagara Falls, and continues on into New York.  It is most famous because Niagara Falls runs over it.

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“How magnificent are Your works, LORD,
how profound Your thoughts!”

— Psalm 92:5, HCSB.

God’s creation is magnificent, and reflects His glory.  But the greatest and most profound thought of God for us is His own incarnation in Jesus Christ.

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Christ is the only way of forgiveness and reconciliation.  He is the only way to heaven.  (John 14:6).

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Jesus is the rock of our salvation.  (Psalm 62:2).

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

— Isaiah 53:5, ESV.

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2016

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Four hundred ninety-nine years ago, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses.  Those theses sparked a discussion in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church that is still ongoing.  The first theses said:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

In recognition of this 499th anniversary, I would like to give away a copy of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.  This is similar to the regular hard-cover Second Edition, except it has a bonded-leather-cover with gold trim on the page edges and comes in a gift box.  The condition is new, never used.

If you would like to enter the drawing for a free copy, just fill out the form below.  However, you must be at least 18 years old, may enter the drawing only once, and you must be a resident of the United States.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and emails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon on All Saints’ Day (Tuesday, November 1), 2016 A.D.

Only God Can Heal

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“‘If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’  (Matthew 7:7-11)…

“For this reason have we who are evil a good Father, so that we may not always continue evil.  No evil person can make another person good.  If no evil person can make another good, how can an evil person make himself good?  Only our Father, who is good eternally, can make of an evil person a good person.

“‘Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved.’  (Jeremiah 17:14).”

— St. Augustine,
Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, 11.2,
as quoted in A Year with the Church Fathers, CPH 2011, page 313.

For Others

“Christ first takes possession of the conscience, and when it is right in faith toward God, then he also directs us to do work toward our neighbor…   God does not desire the Christian to live for himself.  Yea, cursed is the life that lives for self.  For all that one lives after he is a Christian, he lives for others.”

—Martin Luther,
Homily for Trinity 19, Church Postils.
Emphasis added.

The End of My Canon G12

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Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Boyd Lake State Park in Colorado.

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I got up at about 6 am to see the sunrise.  It looked like it might be a beautiful sunrise, so I walked down to the water with my trusted and beloved Canon G12 camera.

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A crane and some ducks foraged for breakfast.

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As I approached the water, the fowl moved off to the side in the bluer areas of the scene.

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The sky toward the sun started out very red with a hint of purple in the clouds.

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Down by the water’s edge, the whole scene was filled with light and color.  Little by little the light shifted from red to orange.

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The blues away from the sun made a beautiful contrast.

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The colors constantly turned and changed as the sky brightened into brilliant orange.  (Some of these photos are best viewed by clicking on them, and viewing a larger size).

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Some of the best sunrises and sunsets are when the sun shines underneath cloud cover causing the clouds to reflect back the light from the sun.  In this case, the clouds reflected the sun, and the water reflected the clouds.  This effect doubled the light.

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This wide angle shot pulled back from the lake to show the full pallet of color.  The sun is just starting to appear, and the colors are retreating.  Please notice the magenta just to the right of the main sunrise.  I tried to capture that color, but failed because my camera malfunctioned on those pictures.

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At this point, most of the pictures were horribly overexposed due to what I think may have been a malfunctioning computer or shutter.  This one turned out okay.

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The light receded off the water even further.

After the above photo, it was clear that something was terribly wrong, and it wasn’t going to fix itself.  I kept snapping photos, but they were all white and covered in lines.  That magenta color would never get its own shot.  Eventually, I would get one last photo:

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The very last photo.

Then the sun rose above the clouds, and the colors faded to gray.  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21, ESV).

And now a moment of photographic silence in honor of my departed G12.

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A Slice of Heaven

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Hartman Creek near Waupaca, Wisconsin

There is something quite beautiful about the way the pine needles shimmer in the late afternoon summer sun (that I’ve never been able to capture with a camera).  This place seems to me like a slice of heaven.

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Mist from campfire smoke and water vapor.

Even tainted by sin, God’s creation remains wondrous.  But the greatest beauty of all is God’s mercy in Christ.  In him all things will be made new.

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Mist on the creek.

Christ is much more than just a slice of heaven.  He is life itself.  (John 14:6).

God’s blessings to you.

Long Weekend

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Mountain biking, hiking, and watching the sunset at High Cliff.

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The pictures in this post are from Labor Day weekend 2016 A.D.

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Swimming, watching the waves and clouds, enjoying the cool breeze, meditating, praying, and reading Tainted by Morgan Busse on the beach at Whitefish Dunes.

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Hiking at Whitefish Dunes.

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Mountain biking at Peninsula.

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Biking the Sunset Trail, mountain biking, picnicking, biking the Sunset Trail again, and more mountain biking for good measure.  That landmass on the horizon is Chambers Island (just west of Adventure Island).

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At the end of the day at Peninsula State Park, a sudden realization.  Also thankful for the car I purchased brand new sixteen years ago.  199,000!  That’s worth one last photo before leaving.  16 years, 199,000 miles.  Thank you Lord Jesus.