unknown iris from Angie copy

The Unknown

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We are so blessed in this digital age to have a means to take photographs, and then immediately re-take them if the result is not what we had imagined it would be. That process used to take days or weeks, while the opportunity passed.

Here in the dead of winter, I am cheered by my screensaver flashing the glories of the bygone summer garden.

As with the photos of old, we don’t always label the digital ones. This morning, I was attempting to remedy this shortcoming.

“Yes, that was a pretty daylily,” I thought, as I came upon a photo. Was it “Peach Magnolia?” The label simply said “img.36732.jpg,” or something similar and probably longer.

Continuing my quest for some semblance of order in my photographic garden history, I then pulled up an image of a stunningly unusual iris.

The iris was a bit of a surprise to me. I had purchased the rhizomes last spring in a blooming clump, and decided that the generous portion could be divided. The seller did not remember the name of this iris; but it resembled one on my wish list, named “Coffee Whispers.” It was two-toned, cream and orange-brown. I carefully labeled both plantings as “Toffee Whispers.”

Imagine my delight and astonishment when the second division bloomed completely different from the first planting.  And, oh — what a difference!

The upright petals were yellow. The “falls,” or lower petals, were purple fading to yellow with a luscious chocolate-colored edge, slightly curled. The icing on the cake were the softly hued orange beards. Wow!

I simply labeled the picture as “The unknown Iris.”

Paul saw a similar situation in Athens as he walked about the city (Acts 17:22-31).

We are very blessed to have Paul’s words recorded for us, just as I have my flower photos recorded in my computer. We have even more — the four gospels, the writings of the epistles, and the revelation of John. The “unknown god” should not be unknown to any of us in this “information age.”

Most of us have multiple Bibles in our homes, plus digital copies. My husband and I are just finishing up a daily chronological Bible on our Kindle this week, a gift from a friend. It was an informative and interesting way to read the scriptures!

But how well do we really “know” God? Reading our Bibles is not enough. Let me challenge you to do even more than read your Bible in a year’s time.

Get into the “meat” of the word. Dig into your reading, and really plumb the depths of this amazing gift that God gave us — his letter to mankind.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, NASB).

“Combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” suggests that the words that the writers used, though they reflected the writer’s personalities, were carefully selected by the Spirit. Please consider using a Bible version that is close to the original languages.

Word studies can be fascinating and teach us more about these “spiritual thoughts.”

Printing out copies of a chapter or two and underlining recurring words and themes can help us learn the scriptures as a whole, rather than only isolated key verses.

For our new year, I hope to know God much better than ever before. May he never be to us an “unknown God.”

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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