1263. Then summer fades and passes and October comes. ~Excerpt from lines by Thomas Wolfe

Autumn begins with a subtle change
in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and
nights that 
become suddenly clear and chilled.
~Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

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At long last August passed into nothingness for the year, and I welcomed September, hopeful, despite knowing better from past experience, that it would indeed be sweet and bring on autumn’s amazingly lovely, cool, crisp days. Though disappointed by it’s initial lack of sweetness, I clung to the hope that the equinox would remedy what September had  so far failed to do, a hope fried by the 102 degrees last Monday, the 101 degrees last Tuesday, and the high 90’s the remainder of the week. But maybe, just maybe, as September passes into October this week, summer may actually begin somewhat of a fall into autumn’s golden glory, that is if the weather guys are right about their predictions. But then I know only too well that they might not be because I’ve spent too many years here enduring the heat as far as into December at times. So shhhhhh, let’s not allow my words and doubt frighten the chance away should it ring true. In the meantime, as usual I’ll cling to the memory of autumn that remains always in my heart.

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In every month, yet in aught begun,
Read over that month, what avails to be done;
So neither this travail shall seem to be lost,
Nor thou to repent of this trifling cost.

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…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~Excerpt from Romans 5:3-5 ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Yahoo weather; collages created by Natalie

1254. The Holy Spirit in every single soul “prays in us with unspeakable groanings.” ~Excerpted from a quote by Edith Stein

Holy Spirit, you are welcome here! Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere!
May you have a truly blessed Sabbath and feel the touch of Christ’s presence!

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Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
CHORUS
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
~Excerpted lyrics written by
Cyril Garrett Neville, Gaynielle H. Neville,
Hack Bartholomew, Norman Caesar

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1167. My job is to inform, not to convince. ~Saint Bernadette

Looking for God?
And haven’t found Him In a building
Or on an altar
Or in a religious rite
Or in a churchly ceremony
Or in the words/actions of Christians?

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“And the Holy Spirit descended in
a bodily shape like a dove upon Jesus,
and a voice came from heaven, which said,
“Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
~Luke 3:22  ✝

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So the answer lies in Jesus and what He taught
and how then, upon learning that, that people
choose to live out His teachings in their daily lives.
Of course there are always the proverbial “rotten apples”
found in any kind of “barrel,” but even though they
don’t  get it at all or get it right, they can’t spoil the Truth 
Sadly, however, there are those who pervert it
or by their wrong actions keep others from finding it.

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If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ~1 Corinthians 13:1  ✝

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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2-3  ✝

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-7   ✝

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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1158. Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

…I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace…
~Diane Ackerman

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Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear
are not “yours,” not personal.
They are conditions of the human mind.
They come and go.
Nothing that comes and goes is you.
~Eckhart Tolle

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Every morning, every moment,
with every breath, breathe in forgiveness,
breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe in life,
and breathe out gratefulness.
Let the love and light of God soak
into your spirit and flood your heart.
You are loved.
~Author Unknown

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For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Excerpt from Psalm 91:11  ✝

**First image found on the internet along with Ackerman’s quote; other images via Pinterest

1039. Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. ~Albert Schweitzer

Oh to relive
those Old Sundays,
those sacred things…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

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My faith journey began long ago at a time when I was young enough that all I knew was unmarred innocence, youthful unawareness, and blind acceptance of what I’d been told and taught. In handmade, starched and often white organdy dresses and on feet in meticulously polished white shoes I’d enter with my family, as I’d been taught, solemnly and quietly into church buildings with their tall steeples and large, sonorous bells that called the masses to worship. Inside there was the unmistakable aroma of old wooden pews, time-worn Bibles, and tattered hymnals that spoke of countless others who had come before us to worship. And because it was a time of greater formality, we were greeted at the doors by ushers in dark suits wearing white carnations in their lapels; these men and/or women would hand us freshly printed programs as they led us down the aisle to a pew with red velvet cushions, cushions that had seen many a day and been sat on by a multitude of churchgoers. Somewhere along the way to our seats, I would encounter an image of the Christ who was portrayed as a man with soft brown hair and a sweet face. When all who had heeded the call to worship were seated, the acolytes would march in under gothic arches carrying state and national flags in the glow of blue, red, green, and yellow light streaming through the stained-glass windows. On their heels came the choir and the robed pastoral staff. Once everyone was in place, choral voices led us in songs before we were implored to make affirmations of faith and recite the Lord’s prayer. Then came the giving of tithes in gold offertory plates, before we drank from silver chalices filled with the “Blood of Christ” and took from a silver plate the bread wafer that symbolized the “Body of Christ.” All the while these sacred things were taking place, a large pipe organ played softly in the background behind flickering candles and pretty flowers on altars covered in sacramental cloths. Finally by the time all was said and done within the hallowed gray, stone walls, we had sung a number of old familiar hymns, shouted amens, listened to a tutorial sermon, bowed our heads for the holy benedictions, read words of Scripture, raised our arms and voices in praise, and prayed for friends and neighbors as well as the hungry and the needy. And all of it was fervently carried out in hopes that God, was then and would always be with us, listen to our pleas, and answer our prayers.

Sadly at a church after we moved here I witnessed such widespread hypocrisy and intolerant prejudice by clergy and church members alike that I stopped going to church and turned away from Lord and His teachings at the age of 19.  However, the Good Shepherd would not let go of that which was rightfully His and so He pursued me for the next two decades as He does all of His wandering and lost “sheep” until one day I turned to listen to His voice again. Soon afterwards I chose to walk back into a church, and fortunately it was one where sincere sanctity appeared to be palpable and devout holiness seemed to permeate all that and who had gathered to honor and consecrate the Almighty, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ. It felt like home and I knew I was home. As sentient beings, everything we encounter evokes some kind of emotional response from us which affects both flesh and psyche. So powerful and evocative are such experiences sometimes that there have been people who are healed of life-threatening diseases by constantly picturing themselves in times and places of the past wherein they were happy and well and sensed the presence of the Almighty.

Experience life in all possible ways –
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter.
Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience,
because the more experience you have,
the more mature you become.
~Osho

The sacred pathway is
not hard, children
know it…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

…if I(Paul) am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. ~1 Timothy 3:15-16  ✝

**All but one image via Pinterest; collage by Natalie, and one photo of Natalie

1006. My beloved is mine and I am His… ~Excerpt from Song of Songs 2:16 ✝

Wilt thou love God, as he thee? Then digest,
My Soul, this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by Angels waited on
In heaven, doth make His Temple in thy breast.
~Excerpt from the Holy Sonnet XV
by John Donne

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Christianity is a love story. It is about love lost at Eden and love restored at Calvary. We alone out of all creation were made not mere to serve God but to love Him and be loved by Him. It was not the angels and archangels whom He made for love; He made them for ministry (Hebrews 1:14); He made us for intimacy (v. 13: Ephesians 2:6).

The heart of God, the desire of God, the greatest command of God, is not about obedience, not about worship, not about service, not about study, but about love–loving God with everything we have, even as He loves us with everything He has. But, sadly, we have often replaced love with law, intimacy with theology, delight in God with duty to God, being found with God with being sound about God. Our speech about God has the cold sterility of the scientist rather than the thrill of the poet. We have interpreted texts, but we have somehow failed to experience the reality behind them. The Holy Spirit today and always is calling His church back to intimacy with Jesus. ~These are passages from Chapter 2 of a Kindle Book, MORE, written by Rev. Simon Ponsonby, at St. Aldates in Oxford, UK.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~Deuteronomy 6:5  ✝
Jesus replied,“Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” ~Matthew 22:37  ✝
He(Jesus) answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Luke 10:27  ✝
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” ~Mark 12:30-31  ✝

**As we draw closer to Christmas and ready hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, I thought this was a particularly good excerpt to read and “digest.” I pray that Rev. Ponsonby doesn’t mind my sharing this portion of his book.

**Image found on Pinterest

947. Creation betokens a Creator. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is more completely
the child of art than a garden.
~Sir Walter Scott

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I often marvel at the Lord’s artwork in Creation, and one of the things I love most about our amazing Creator’s handiwork is God’s occasional bent towards the frivolous. I see in it in flowers like the pink dahlia in the photo, and when I do, again I know why we are implored in Scripture over and over again to rejoice in the Lord and in His ways. Clearly God sees merit in such because nature itself speaks profusely of the Divine’s joy and delight in it and all that He has made. Not only that but after each day of Creation’s work in Holy writ it says that God looked upon what He had made and saw that it was good. Since this flower and other frivolous entities are a part of Yahweh’s grand design, I believe that perhaps they are made especially for times when the human heart has difficulty finding much of anything in which to rejoice. After all we are not asked to rejoice only in the good times but at all times. In a poem I read this week the author purported that each of us is “God clothed in a body.” Inasmuch as we are made in His image and as believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, at the very least that perception is a good way of remembering just how sacred and precious we are in the eyes the our Creator. Thinking that way might also help us rejoice more when we look at ourselves in the mirror and when we look at others.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. ~Psalm 68:4  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest