1344. “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,” (~John 8:58 ✝), a passage of Scripture which tells us that the Lord existed before His human life on earth.

The passages of Holy Writ below are seven other
“I am” statements made by our Lord.

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 3.06.04 PM.png

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” ~John 6:35  ✝

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12  ✝

“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” ~John 10:9  ✝

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” ~John 10:11  ✝

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” ~John 11:25  ✝

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” ~John 14:6  ✝

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” ~John 15:1  ✝

The great “I am” had:
no servants, yet they called him Master.
no degree, yet they called him Teacher.
no medicines, yet they called him Healer.
no army, yet kings feared Him.
won no military battles, yet He overcame the world
and conquered death.
committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
And though He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; text box addd by Natalie

865. Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation. ~Rumi

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all else, may silence make you strong.
~Chief Dan George

Screen shot 2015-09-08 at 4.05.49 PM

When Christ said that man does not live by bread alone, he spoke of hunger. This hunger was not the hunger of the body. It was not the hunger for bread. He spoke of the hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being in silence. He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love. Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world…But with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others. ~Chief Dan George

Screen shot 2015-09-08 at 2.41.10 PM

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. ~Psalm 13:5   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet

678. Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. ~The Talmud

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists
in the elimination of non-essentials.
~Lin Yutang

Screen shot 2015-02-18 at 10.11.21 PM

The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life’s plain,
common work as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread
are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” ~Psalm 142:5   ✝

607. He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter… ~John Burroughs

The simplicity of winter has a deep moral.
The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor
and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere,
is not lost either upon the head or the heart.
It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet
and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread.
~John Burroughs

Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 6.58.17 PM

At daybreak yesterday winter’s customary leaden skies spread out in brilliant, China blues, and the cold, cold January day issued forth golden streaks of sunlight that ran across the wheat-colored lawn. Blanketed in warmth inside, I sat for some time enjoying an untroubled spectacle and watching the birds fly back and forth from feeders to their sheltering places.  But soon the serenity of the scene was threatened by four feral cats who moved in, crouched down, and inched along the ground in hopes of securing a tasty “catch” for the day. However, as luck would have it, one of the birds spied the predators, sounded the alarm, and off they all flew. When the cats tired of waiting, they wandered off, and the birds returned to their feeding frenzy. Eventually I spotted the one for whom I’d been waiting; he, a bright red cardinal, zoomed in and perched momentarily atop the feeder pole, a throne not wholly unbefitting his majesty. As I lingered watching his bright red flashes flit about here, there, and everywhere, I realized that last night’s blustery north wind had ceased, and now only sporadic zephyrs were ruffling the bamboo’s leaves. And so it was that a splendid morn had unfolded and everything within my frame of vision had been steeped in a heavenly quietude, a “chirpy” kind of beauty, and a soothing calmness. What a healing balm tis such for one, wearied, crestfallen, and grappling with pain! The Lord, in His loving and mysterious ways, had tipped over my cup of despair and once more filled it to overflowing with His loving grace. O Eden, how you yet issue benedictions that fill and thrill the children of your faithful, Master Gardener.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. ~Genesis 2:15   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

506. Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul. ~Thomas Mann

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away,
but do not take from me your laughter.

Screen shot 2014-10-03 at 6.16.24 PM

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.
~Pablo Neruda

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

491. Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

That is faith, cleaving to Christ,
twining around Him
with all the tendrils of our heart,
as the vine does round its support.
~Alexander Maclaren

DSC_0031

Like all else in Creation, vines remind me of the nearness of God perhaps because they reflect the way He wraps His arms around His children and keeps them close to Himself. In that way we go together like a hat and glove as they say for we are to the Lord as the branch is to the vine, as sheep are to the shepherd, as the flower is to the stem, as the bride is to her groom, as the bird is to air, as the fish is to water, as the star is to the sky, as the sun is to the moon, as the plant is to the seed, as the grass is to the dew, and as the babe is to its mother. Simply put, we are inextricably linked to Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth, and it is from our loving Source that we gather strength and energy. His supporting and sustaining provisions draw us into His holy web of life and subsequently move us closer and closer to the Light. In the Gospel of John are the “I am” sayings of Jesus which give us wonderful descriptions of the way Christ connects with us:

“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the gate for the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
“I am the resurrection, and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

Screen shot 2014-09-18 at 2.17.41 PM

Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. ~Psalm 80:14-15   ✝

**Three images above Scripture via Pinterest

471. We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. ~Henry Rollins

As in the bread and the wine, so it is with me.
Within all forms is locked a record of the past
and a promise of the future.
~Author Unknown

Screen shot 2014-08-29 at 2.43.26 PM

During the course of a year, as humanity steps from one reality to another, there are visible ledgers of receipt and discernible promissory notes. So it is that in late August with less than a month to go before summer’s end and fall’s onset, my camera has captured an overlapping of this year’s waning third season and the waxing of its final season. The photos above prove that mortals are never left with an ending minus the birth of a new beginning. There is nothing finite that doesn’t contain signs of the infinite, and when such is seen the “little bird of hope” sings the loudest. So as summer draws to a close, may you realize that the seeds for tomorrow have and are being set, both in Creation and your lives. I know this because in the photo on the left is a fat seed pod I found in my garden this week, and it’s just waiting to spill its jewels of renewal upon the earth. As you dance with the, Lord and Lover of your soul, I pray that you realize you, too, are part of the splendor of the moment and that any discord endured in “dark nights of the soul” can be assuaged by shining new dawns. I pray also that you find a myriad of reasons to sing for joy, today and always.

“Glory be you, O God, for the rising of the sun, for colour filling the skies, and for the whiteness of the daylight. Glory be to you for creatures stirring forth from the night, for plant forms stretching and unfolding, for the stable earth and its solid rocks. . .that in the elements of earth, sea and sky I may see your beauty, that in the wild winds, birdsong and silence I may hear your beauty, that in the body of another and the interminglings of relationships I may touch your beauty, that in the moisture of the earth and its flowering and fruiting I may smell your beauty, that in the flowing waters of springs and streams I may taste your beauty, these things I look for this day, O God, these things I look for.” ~Excerpts from prayers by J. Philip Newell

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. . . ~Psalm 96:11-12 ✝