31 – God’s Miracle of Nature

by Jill

I delve into the incredible ways we can connect with God through nature. I share a review of the children’s devotional book “God is in Nature” by Jessica Dobler, which highlights the complexity and beauty of the natural world and how it all works together in harmony. With biblical passages about nature, the book creates meaningful devotionals for all ages. I also discuss how nature can impact us, from beneficial to dangerous, and emphasizes the importance of preserving its majesty.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2258783/jessica-doebler/

Transcript

whether we’re animals that are preparing for winter or humans preparing for winter, whether we bury seeds and then those become plants next year or how the bees pollinate all the plants. These systems too, I see that she sees the same thing I do in how God created these systems. There’s everything that works together in this. But then in one of her devotionals, she tells us that we should think about who we put in our garden with us. Are they helping us grow or are they hindering our growth? But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can clarify that. She talks about bees and how helpful they are collecting nectar and pollen, but that the bee could just collect nectar and leave. But instead, God creates the bee for a purpose. given us a purpose too. And so then that particular prayer and meditation has to do with our purpose that God wants us to know. I always get stuck on the fact that God thinks that we’re sheep. He says that he’s our great shepherd. He talks about pastors as shepherds. And so then she says quote, “God promises to look after us like a shepherd would look after his sheep. Not because he thinks we’re dumb.” See, there goes that dumb sheep thing. But because he knows that we can be skittish, afraid of danger, that we don’t know what wolf is lurking in the place around us, and he can see the high place to know where it is. And so in this particular devotion, she knows that God, our shepherd, can look out for us and care for us in a way that nobody else could. She brings up the passage about how God will make your path straight. Someone said that this passage had to do with when someone important was coming into your district or your area, you would go out and make the path better. You would clear out, make it wider, fill in the holes and the ruts, but then you would also work to make it straight. You know, if everyone’s just walking on your path and they’re not important, then you can have a rock there and a thing there. But when you made a path straight, it was because someone important was coming on that path. And when in Proverbs 3:6 he says that he will make our path straight, it means that we’re important. That he will even out the rocks and the holes and the ditches and the mud puddles, and he’ll make it easier for us to get on our path. Remember, this is a podcast talking about our journey towards God. He will make our way straight. It’s not easy, she says, when you go hiking and you’re going through weeds and stumbly places and you trip and you fall. But this is where God is going to make sure that our footing is good and that when we walk we’ll be able to trust in him that our path will be straight and smooth. She says, “He will blaze a path that will make our life a much more pleasurable hike.” See? that analogy of our walk with God as an adventure and a trip? She does too. She talks next about rain and how every time rain must fall and my first thought was you know heaven providing rain for the crops as Acts 14 17 talks about but it also means that sometimes it rains sometimes there’s disappointment sometimes we have hardships. I love how she thinks outside the box about each of these devotionals and how we can use nature and events in nature to be that stepping-off point for worship. I like the analogy she gave about the good soil. For example, there are places in the Bible where it talks about the seed and the seed fell on rocky soil or it was snatched up by birds and it never planted and that whole analogy God gives us about nature we’ve seen it I’m sure farmer seed all the time where they try to plant something and yet it doesn’t come out because something in the soil wasn’t correct or the seed didn’t make it. And so that is another launching point for our worship and our prayers to God. She says, quote, “He is shaping us and making us into something beautiful.” But in that point of the hardship And Matthew 7 25, the rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house and yet it did not fall because it had a foundation on the rock. There’s another analogy of rocks, not the seed falling into the rock and not growing, but that unshakable foundation we have. And when that foundation is in God, our house stands firm. She brings up the points where Jesus talks about the fruit. Luke 6, 44a, each tree is recognized by its own fruit. And are we recognized by the fruit we produce? So she brings that into the devotional of telling us how we can bring fruit to our lives. One of my favorites that she talks about is in a devotional called What’s Inside? how from 1 Samuel 16 7, “The Lord does not look at things that people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And that’s where she talks about the seed being little, the mustard seed, the tiniest of all seeds, but God knows what’s inside of us. And we too shouldn’t look at the outside, but focus on what God sees in us and God sees in other people. nature sometimes can be dangerous and this is where she goes on and talks about 1st Peter 5 8. Be alert and of sober minds your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I’m sure David understood this analogy very well but we have a whole system in place that is walking around trying to do us harm. So we can see in nature itself that some things are beneficial to us, some things are neutral to us, and some things are very dangerous to us. And she brings that nature into asking God to keep us from harm and lead us away from anything that tries to tempt us. What’s interesting too is at some point she talks about water and she talks about James 3 11. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? She talks about how we need the right water. Jesus talked about the water of everlasting life that Jesus gives us and that we thirst for the appropriate kind of water not the wrong kind of water and that Jesus used many times in analogies and parables about giving them the water that will make us never thirst. When she talks about these analogies and she talks about how God is in nature, Jesus used nature inside a scripture and inside his own discussions and conversations with people looking for that water. But sometimes, many times, she brought the prayer and the analysis then to looking to make sure that we’re not only looking for the proper water, but we’re also trying to protect the water on this planet. So there’s certainly this idea of conserving the great glory that God built for us. So overall, I love this book. It’s hard to talk about a devotional book, but I tried to give you some ideas of how she goes through the different kinds of nature, bringing it back to God, and bringing it back to how we can pray in our daily lives, talking about the clouds and the babbling rivers, and everything brings us back to the nature of God. Even the storms that obey Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, even the storms obey him. So I love this book. I know it’s a kid’s book, but if you’re looking for something that touches you when you’re like me, where you look at nature and it really brings you feeling closer to God, this is the perfect book for you too. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. And while I said it’s for kids, anyone could make use of this kind of devotional. So again, this book is called God is in Nature, a kid’s devotional about his awesome creations by Jessica Dobler. And I hope you enjoy it the way I enjoyed it. I’m going to refer to this all the times when I go out, particularly in spring and summer, and look at the world around me. It’s a great devotional just for that purpose. My challenge to you is think of something where Jesus talked about nature and think about something natural around your house and how that particular beautiful thing can bring you into devotionals, whether it’s conserving God’s beautiful creation or pulling in an analogy, a parable, or a scripture piece that will remind you that that beautiful waterfall by your house, the spring, the lake, even the beautiful tree, or even the flowers that you planted in the ground, how can that bring you closer to God? Alright everyone, thanks so much. I appreciate you listening to the podcast. Please remember that you can always email me at jill@smallstuffwithgod.com. I’d love to hear what kinds of episodes you like, maybe things that you don’t like, or what you would like to hear more of. Please feel free to contact me with prayer requests and if there’s anything that I can do for you. Have a wonderful week. God bless you. And remember, the nature around us and discovering the world that God created starts with small steps. [MUSIC]

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