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.

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“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

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

1247. September days have the warmth of summer in their briefer hours… ~Rowland E. Robinson

Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands.
In Christ we see God suffering – for us.
And calling us to share in God’s
suffering love for a hurting world.
The small and even overpowering pains
of our lives are intimately connected
with the greater pains of Christ.
Our daily sorrows are anchored in a
greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope.
~Henri J.M. Nouwen

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As I grapple with summer’s still sweltering heat, I have to remind myself that humanity has observed adverse aberrations of nature millennium after millennium and that out of the chaos order eventually returns.  Author, Peter Saint-Andre, says  nature “can inspire, enlighten, send shivers up the spine, delight, anger, frighten; it can make one think, feel, shake one’s head in astonishment, cry, laugh out loud; it can evoke feelings of triumph, melancholy, light-heartedness, serenity, excitement, boredom, rightness, anxiety, joy, sorrow.”  And I agree with him on all counts but until some level of coolness settles, it is challenging for me to experience much excitement and serenity.  Only now when, in the midst of the feverish misery, the wild purple eryngo blooms does the melancholy begin to lift a little.

Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love. ~Lamentations 3:32  ✝

**Image taken by me along a country road in our area. These amethystine beauties can be found blooming  this time of year in fields ravaged by summer’s heat.

1168. To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle. ~Walt Whitman

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day,
a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic
waiting somewhere behind the morning.
~J. B. Priestley

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I have a recliner opposite my patio doors, and the doors are wide enough to afford a great view of a sizable portion of our yard and its flower beds. When I first get up in the morning, I enjoy sitting for a while in my chair watching the sun come up and the birds begin their daily activities. In the top photo above you can see a portion of a patio chair, part of the flower bed near the patio, part of another flower bed by Natalieworld, and about a third of the island bed that’s between me and the back fence. It was started decades ago before the removal of a large stand of bamboo that was behind it and the subsequent development of a new flower bed that now runs along the fence. Thus that back bed has become a sort of secret garden since you can’t see much of it until you walk around the island bed along the path near my neighbor’s fence on the north or the path that runs along the north side of the greenhouse. So it’s always fun to see what I’ll find when I finally get up and out to go look for what’s new back there on any given day. That back bed, anchored by a purple red bud tree that I’ve watched come up from a volunteer seedling, is where I threw out lots and lots of different kinds of seeds last fall. As spring advanced first came the poppies, the larkspur, the cornflowers, and the ragged ladies, and now the coneflowers, monarda, hollyhock, allium, daylilies, and a few sunflowers are blooming there currently. Also I have several kinds of vines beginning to climb on the chain link fence back there, and so soon I’ll have a host of morning glories, moonflowers, and coral vine flowers. So it is that a garden is more of a moveable feast than a static thing and when people ask what I have growing, it really depends on the week or the month. And I think that’s what I love most about it. But then there are the transitional times when not too much of anything at all is blooming.

If you really want to draw close to your garden,
you must remember first of all that you are
dealing with a being that lives and dies;
like the human body, with its poor flesh.
One cannot always see it dressed up
for a ball, manicured and immaculate.
~Fernand Lequenne

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.~Psalm 36:7-8  ✝

759. I can’t say I wasn’t hoping for it, but I didn’t see it coming. ~Jessi Kirby

None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives. ~Kathleen Norris

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When the second semester of my junior year began in January, a new guy started showing up around our table to watch us play bridge in the student center, and after a while this “new guy” began offering to go get my food and soft drinks as well as my cigarettes. (Yes, sadly, after my father’s death I took up smoking, a bad habit which took me a long, long time to break.) My card buddies called him JP and said that he’d been teaching them to play pinochle. Since I was always up for learning new games, I asked if he’d teach me to play pinochle too, and he seemed to jump at the chance. So it was that I learned to play pinochle, and shortly thereafter one of the five most unexpected events of my life occurred. JP (AKA James) and I began dating that spring, and then we became engaged at the first of June and were married by mid-August. No, it was not a “shotgun” wedding. It was just as the line in the movie says, “when you meet the right person, you want your life together to start right away.” Yes, Danny, did ask me to fork over the $50.00 since our wager wasn’t due to be over until October. To be continued…  (2 weeks, 3 days and counting)

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  ✝

The two topmost images on the left of collage via Pinterest, others are mine, and I created the collage

313. And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have dipped again in God, and new-created. ~Excerpt from a poem by D. H. Lawrence

The last fling of winter is over…
The earth, the soil itself,
has a dreaming quality about it.
It is warm now to the touch;
it has come alive;
it hides secrets that in a moment,
in a little while, it will tell.
~Donald Culross Peattie

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In winter the earth sleeps peacefully and sinks “in good oblivion” as it readies itself for another spring.  Then morning after morning upon arrival of the vernal equinox, the “new-opened flowers dipped again in God, ” as it were, appear.  It seems to me to be the same for us in the changing seasons of our lives for we, too, are dipped again in God whenever we are “new-created” for the next phase of our lives.

“…then I must know that still I am in the hands of the unknown God,
He is breaking me down to His own oblivion
to send me forth on a new morning, a new man.”
~Excerpt from same poem by D. H. Lawrence

In early civilizations the fact that food supplies were soon to be restored was one of the reasons spring’s coming was especially revered.  Later on it became significant with the spread of Christianity because Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the vernal equinox.  Thus springtime reveals the hidden secrets of the soil, and the risen Christ reveals the secrets hidden in our souls if we but follow Him and listen.

The secret things belong to the Lord, our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.  ~Deuteronomy 29:29   ✝