It’s cold!!! Crunchy footsteps have announced your trek toward the treestand. You are now dutifully at the end of the pickup’s early-morning farewell as the frigid and squeaky steel treestand rungs herald your unwelcomed presence to wary ears and searching eyes. They know you’re there. A shooting star intercepts the extraordinary milky way. Satellites reflect the soon-to-rise sun. The furry and feathered nocturnal ones wearily begin their pursuit of daylight roosts and protected ground-blinds. Truly it IS darkest just before dawn. Anticipation is rampant during the refreshed and nervous stirring of the daylight-activists. There’s an edgy and deafening silence eerily stirring your adrenals into action. Man, it sure is cold out this morning! Gradually, the owls cease their hoots as the mice, rabbits, skunks, porcupines and ‘possums settle comfortably into their daytime hideouts … preserving their body heat as best they can. A gentle breeze rattles dead and dying leaf-dom as each stubborn clinging leaf prepares for its wafted float to the floor. Ever so faintly the sun begins its eastern-ly rise. It always does. And it always does from the same direction … variable only as earth’s axis makes its ever predictable winter tilt away from the sun. It’s late November and it’s cold. We pretend the sun is always going to rise and shine. Time zones remind us that all the houses of the world are waking at their own morning’s sun-risen beckoning. The sun is now gaining altitude in our personal horizon. There it is! The glow begins and enlightens the neighboring treetops and warms my body and heart. The birds and animals feel it, too! Sunrise truly is spectacular … and comforting! Sprinkle some clouds across the sun’s rising path and the view becomes breathtakingly (frosty breathing makes us all look like smokers this morning) sensual and serene. The splendor swipes its brushstrokes across the broad sky as its Master’s prolific palette of color-choices plays out its dynamic art-form before our very eyes. No ho-hum response to THIS grandeur! AND, if it’s a brilliant dark red sky, look out! Our knowledge of how to read the signs of nature warn us of a pending storm. Predictable! “Steam”, it appears, sends forth those visible vapors rising from the surface of the N. Platte river calling for the deserved praise to and for its Designer. Heat ALWAYS trumps cold! Sunrise … western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming style … The diurnal prelude: tiny birds chirping their earliest daytime bird-songs. The crescendo: squirrels and their treestand chatter along with Blue jays screaming their new-day delight. The ducks, geese, bald eagles and tom gobblers now strut and soar their role in this morning’s joyful symphony. It’s a new day dawning!

JESUS spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Elsewhere, JESUS answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:9-11) As the hymn lyrics say, “I have decided to follow JESUS. No turning back, no turning back” CREATOR GOD is so worthy of our praise and devotion! “The day is Yours (God’s) , the night also is Yours (God’s); You (God) have prepared the light and the sun. You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.” (Ps 74:16-17). My Precious rises early. Often she’s found praying as she glide/rocks looking eastward through our wide living room window. I had already sketched this week’s column when she unknowingly asked, “Have you ever thought about writing about the sunrise?” Smiling…she’s my same-page love. Next week let’s watch the sunset together. (Sunrise’s pattern in reverse).

PRAYER NUGGET: Praising Creator God! “From the rising of the sun to its going down The Lord’s name is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?” God is greater and bigger than we think!

Nebraska Panhandle and eastern Wyoming…I love you and am praying for you.

All Bible references are from the NKJV

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