1355. I just kept thinking, if I don’t do something, who will? ~Matthew West

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot 
do
interfere with what I can do.
~Edward Everett Hale

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I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
~Excerpted lines from a song
by Matthew West

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While in the car today, I heard this song again and thought to myself how relevant it was and still is in these troubling times. Going to church to worship and praise God once or twice a week is not nearly enough to fulfill our purpose and obligation to the loving God we worship. We have been given that we might give, and we are called on to be His church whenever and wherever we are. In so doing we become the light and hope of a fallen and hurting world. Anybody with an eye to see and an ear to hear knows that all around each and every one of us are people who are suffering, people who are poor, people who are hungry, people who are thirsty, people who are abused, people who are broken. people who need love and encouragement and on and on the list goes. And for all of them far more has to be done than the preaching of a sermon. That’s why we, each one of us, have to let our actions be a message and/or an act of merciful grace to and for others. We must let God use the gifts and talents He gave us to bless those in need. That is the true way of a miracle worker. One random act of kindness a day can change 365 lives every year. And when the right words can’t be found, just a smile and a kind word will sometimes do for they too can be the stuff of miracles. And if you are in need or feeling down, go be a blessing to someone else and you’ll find that the blessing, like a boom-a-rang, comes right back to you. Smiles and kindness costs the giver nothing but their impact is beyond measure, and like a pebble thrown in a pond they reach out in ever-widening circles!

You(God) enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. ~Psalm 18:36 ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1269. The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them,-these sticks, stones, feathers, shells,-there is no Deity. ~R. H. Blyth

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In the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
How long does it take

to hum a hymn?  Strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
Once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
And sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

Am I lonely?
The beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.
-Mary Oliver 

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. ~Psalm 84:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collage by Natalie

1100. Creativity is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in. ~Amy Lowell

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world, and
all there ever will be to know and understand.
Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen,
and thinking what no one else has thought.
~Albert Einstein

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Why should you think that beauty,
which is the most precious thing in the world,
lies like a stone on the beach
for the careless passer-by to pick up idly?
Beauty is something wonderful and strange
that the artist or writer or musician
photographer or dancer fashions out of
the 
chaos of the world in the torment of his soul.
~Edited and adapted excerpt from
W. Somerset Maugham

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,  to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3: 20-21  ✝

566. The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. ~St. Jerome

The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched –
they must be felt with the heart.
~Helen Keller

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On the edge of dreaming when the brain lets go, when it stops its scheming, our blood runs slow… Then the heart speaks clearly of the things it knows, things it brought so dearly at the evening’s glow… And a misty sunset fills the west with yellow, gold and scarlet red. The bowl of space at dawn sheds light upon our silky bed. For you, I send refreshing rain to wash the past away. A quiet breeze drifts warmly across your tired face. It brings the scents from flowery climbs, and leaves without a trace. With vines and newborn stars in our hair…undressed, bronzed platinum we are as summer in your golden church… Like whispers lost at sea…we soar beyond the sky of fire…in harmony within the clash of elements… Together lost and free to claim our each desire. Like leaves we float to earth, once more…forbidden passion, romantic eyes, and heated lips…two burning amber hearts released and drinking slowly mysterious champagne of heaven’s sweetest rest… ~Oksana Rus

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~Deuteronomy 6:5   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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

385. Like billowing clouds, like the incessant gurgle of the brook the longing of the spirit can never be stilled. ~Hildegard von Bingen

Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God. ~Hildegard von Bingen

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O most noble Greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendor upon the wheel of Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn!
You glow like the incandescence of the sun!

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O moving force of Wisdom, encircling the wheel of the cosmos,
Encompassing all that is, all that has life,
in one vast circle.
You have three wings: The first unfurls aloft
in the highest heights.
The second dips its way dripping sweat on the Earth.
Over, under, and through all things whirls the third.
Praise to you, O Wisdom worthy of praise!

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Holy spirit, making life alive,
moving in all things, root of all created being…
You are lustrous and praiseworthy life,
You waken and re-awaken everything that is.

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Who was she, this feather on the breath of God? By name, she was Hildegard von Bingen; by profession, among other things, she was a writer of one of the largest bodies of letters to survive from the Middle Ages. Born in 1098, Hildegard was given as a tithe to the church, and later as a writer of poetry and songs as well as theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, a composer, a philosopher, a Christian mystic, and a benedictine abbess, it has been said that “her life tells of an irresistible spirit overcoming social, physical and gender barriers to achieve great things in the service of Christ.”

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4  ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

**Poetry by Hildegard von Blingen
** Images via Pinterest

221. Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness. for you are holy. ~Amy Grant

Loving God, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

~Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and poet

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He has no car, no address, no phone number.  He has no money in his pocket; he doesn’t know from where his next meal will come; and more than likely he knows not where he’ll lay his head to sleep tonight or any other night for that matter.

I know not his name nor where he’s from nor where he is now.  Neither do I have any idea what trials lead this man in the photo to the harsh realities of the streets where he currently exists, but I do know in whose image he is made and to whom he belongs.  And I know that if there is to be any kind of joy in his world or peace in our silent nights, it will happen only with help from those of us who are part of Christ’s body.

In the Father’s eyes this man’s worth is no less than that of any other man, and the story that’s in his eyes is deserving of compassionate ears.  So I pause tonight to pray for this man and those like him.  I pray that all of them find food and shelter as well as a good measure of comfort and peace.  And for my family and you who are reading this, I pray that you all have a most blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year.  “O, come let us adore Him” for He came to save us all.

Grant me the grace of inner sight this day
that I may see you as the Self within all selves.
Grant me the grace of love this day
that amidst the pain and disfigurement of life
I may find the treasure that is unlocked by love,
that amidst the pain and disfigurement of my own life
I may know the richness that lies buried in the human soul.
~J. Philip Newell

How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  ~Psalm 36:7   ✝

*The photograph of this homeless man was sent out in an enews bulletin from a local church.