1388. Everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life. ~J. Philip Newell

With you is the source of life, O God.
You are the beginning of all that is.
From your life the fire of the rising sun streams forth.
You are the life-flow of creation’s rivers,
the sap of blood in our veins, earth’s fecundity,
the fruiting of trees, creatures birthing,
the conception of new thought, desire’s origin.
All these are of you, O God, and I am of you.
-A prayer by J. Philip Newell

There are many images of the church in the Bible, but we will mention just three: the church as the Body of Christ, the People of God and the Bride of Christ. Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:10; 4:15) and Christians are the body. “People of God” is another image of the church. God says of the church, “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 8:10 NIV). The church is also referred to as the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:32; Revelation 19:7; 21:9), suggestive of a special and sacred family relationship between Christ and the church.

The concept of the visible and local church also touched briefly on the challenges and tensions that sometimes result in churches. Critics point to divisions and disagreements among Christians as evidence of a lack of unity and, hence, a lack of real biblical support undergirding the Christian church as a whole. Is this true? In some cases Christians do indeed need to admit to shortcomings and, at times, un-Christ-like behavior. But in looking at the bigger picture, the Christian church has always been united on key points of belief such as the reality of a personal, loving God, salvation that is found in Christ through His death and bodily resurrection, human depravity and the need for redemption through Christ and more. This “mere” Christianity or core of unshakable truths has united Christian churches throughout the centuries and continues to do so.

When it comes to the essentials or primary matters, Christians are united, but when it comes to nonessentials or secondary matters, there is room for some disagreement. This disagreement, however, does not change the unity on the foundations of Christianity such as the person of Christ and His role in human redemption. ~3 Excerpted paragraphs from an article by Paul Velarde

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. . .” -Job 12:7-8  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1383. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. ~Excerpt from 1 Chronicles 29:11 ✝

“We know from Scripture that God can turn the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1 ✝). That means we should be praying for God’s will to be done and for our leaders to seek God and listen to Him. We should pray that they be surrounded by godly counsel and most important, that our leadership would personally know God and the salvation found through faith in Jesus Christ alone.” ~Billy Graham

It is very clear we are to submit to those that have rule over us, to pray for those in leadership, and to obey the laws of the land. Nowhere in the Bible do we see that we are to wish death and destruction to our leadership. ~Excerpted lines from an article found on the Internet.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls… ~Hebrews 13:17 ✝

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls… ~Hebrews 13:17 ✝

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor(president) supreme… ~1 Peter 2:13 ✝

1320. Through all the…

noise and chaos of this world it’s absolutely essential to find a time and place every day to whisper the name Jesus, the name above all names. And then with certainty know that any and all of us, will be heard. Afterwards we must then be still and wait, listen and believe, and before long we’ll find ourselves in and surrounded by the Lord’s Holy presence.

 “Be still, and know that I am God…” ~Excerpt from Psalm 46:10 ✝

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God is always waiting to hear from His children,
And because He wants us to hear His voice,
He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible,
He speaks to us through our thoughts,
He speaks to us through our conversations with others,
He speaks to us through ordinary moments in our lives
He speaks to us through our circumstances,
And so on…

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

1182. Wherever fear is, happiness is not. ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Fear is the main source of superstition,
and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To conquer is the beginning of wisdom.
~Bertrand Russell

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When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins
from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes like the measle-pox
when death comes like an iceberg
between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity,
wondering: what is it going to be like,
that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower,
as common as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage,
and something precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if
I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing
and frightened, or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up
simply having visited this world.
~Mary Oliver

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10  ✝

**There are 365 days in the year, and the Bible, as in the passage above, tells us not to be afraid 365 times. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a message the Lord wants to be rooted in our hearts every single day of our lives.

1076. Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn. ~Terri Guillemets

While I dance I can not judge,
I can not hate,
I can not separate myself from life.
I can only be joyful and whole.
This is why I dance.
~Hans Bos

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Dancing is the loftiest,
the most moving,
the most beautiful of the arts,
because it is not mere
translation or abstraction from life;
it is none other than life itself.
~Havelock Ellis

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So why is it that Natalie has seemingly been obsessed with dancing of late? Perhaps it’s because the dance of life has visibly begun again in her yard, and because springtime is one of the things that never fails to thrill her beyond what mere words can express. So she dances, literally and figuratively, and not unlike Zorba the Greek. She read that Friedrich Nietzsche said he “would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.” And she knows that indeed He does because the Lord of the Dance is currently waltzing away here. And will she dance with Him again? Oh, yes, yes, and yes as well as always, always, always! For long ago during one of springtime’s magical dances the resurrected Christ took her in His arms and whisked her away to a “virtual” cross in order to make His offer of forgiveness, salvation, and redemption undeniably clear and real! That’s why now she does her best to offer Yahweh (Yeshua) all that she is and all that she does as well as all the flowers that grow in her garden. For she believes, as did Rabindranath Tagore, that “God waits to win back His own flowers as gifts from man’s hands.”

Nature is God’s first missionary.
Where there is no Bible there are sparkling stars.
Where there are not preachers there are spring times…
If a person has nothing but nature,
then nature is enough to reveal something about God.
~Max Lucado

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Let them praise His name with dancing…  ~Excerpt from Psalm 149:3   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

684. God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

Morning is the best
 of all times in the garden.
The sun is not yet hot.  
Sweet vapors rise from the earth.
Night dew clings to the soil 
and makes plants glisten.
Birds call to one another.  
Bees are already at work.
~William Longgood

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Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it’s a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
~Pueblo Blessing

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12   ✝

547. …the whole fabric of creation is woven through with the thread of God’s light. ~J. Philip Newell, THE BOOK OF CREATION

Nature is God’s first missionary.
Where there is no Bible,
there are sparkling stars.
Where there are not preachers,
there are spring times…
If a person has nothing but nature,
then nature is enough
to reveal something about God.
~Max Lucado

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My church has no wall
My church has no roof
Birds are flying through
Stars are shining above
My church has no door
My church has no window
Shy owls are welcome there
Secret lakes are stained glass
And bluebells go to the mass
It is a shelter in my heart
Hugeness in my soul
My church is nowhere
And everywhere at the same
As fragile as a snowflake
As strong as love
For it is the breath of life
For it is just made of faith
~Frédéric G. Martin
at: http://poemsandpoemes.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/my-church/

Send me Your light and Your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell. ~Psalm 43:3  ✝

**Image via Pinterest