1435. Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us. ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Remember this. When people choose
to withdraw far from a fire,
the fire continues to give warmth,
but they grow cold.
When people choose to
withdraw
far from light,
the light continues 
to be bright in itself
but they are in darkness.
This is also the case when 
people
withdraw from God.
~Augustine

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Try as some may, purporting that life is “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing” or that it’s merely the result of events that can be explained through science or reason falls terribly short of reality. Nothing in these assumptions explains the existence of or need for compassion, grace, love, or mercy. Nor do they explain the compulsion in the human heart for expressions of such. If mortals were simply intellectual beings, they’d not emote, express feelings, or commit loving acts that are seemingly inspired in some inscrutable place within their physical being. These things, like all happenings in Creation, are indeed symbolic narratives designed to teach or illustrate truths about the Ancient of Days who created and wired into humans the capacity to feel, express emotions, and extend kindnesses to one another. It’s also true, as Muggeridge suggests, that the Author of light and life wrote into the fabric of Creation parables for His children and that getting the gist of them is an art, an art mastered not only by looking carefully at the apparent and outward realities of Creation but also by peering into its inward and inner realities. The sacred isn’t merely above us but forever within us and the entire body of Creation. Discovering the sacrosanct in all that Yahweh made can’t help but stir in the descendants of Adam a sense of connection and belonging to a higher Power. The resources and bounty of planet earth alone give us plenteous reasons to sense the presence of a Holy Benefactor and to feel His gracious, creative, and loving hands in our lives. What sparks a real desire within the human heart to seek Him is the “getting the message” within all the happenings of that which He has made. However, in case Creation’s parables are too puzzling, over 2,000 years ago God expanded the narrative and clearly revealed Himself when He sent His Son to be our Savior. Jesus is our memory, and in coming to offer us salvation, He reminds us of who we are and to whom we belong. As we prepare to celebrate the Messiah’s birth this weekend, I wish all of you a very blessed Christmas. As a very familiar yuletide song says, “O come let us adore Him!” And as we do, I pray that we create a compelling testimony to others of the Lord’s very real presence in our midst.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20 ✝

**Image via the Internet

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 ✝

1089. The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven  upon the place beneath. ~William Shakespeare

The great and amorous sky curved over the earth,
and lay upon her as a pure lover.
The rain, the humid flux descending from heaven
for both man and animal, for both thick and strong,
germinated the wheat, swelled the furrows
with fecund mud and brought forth the buds in the orchards.
~Aeschylus, The Danaides, c 500 B.C.

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Rain! Each drop is a small, but powerful, miracle descending from above, and when it falls, it comes down on a mission of salvation through time, space, and distance. When it first hits the ground after a prolonged dry spell like the one we’d been having, the sound of it fills my ears with joyful delight. As I listen to the falling rain it seems to create a kind of music which is not unlike the dulcet chords a beloved’s voice gives rise to. What’s more its haunting melodies often spark the remembrance of a vague “water” memory, perhaps a nebulous recollection of my wet beginning that lingers somewhere in memory’s oldest and deepest recesses. So it is that for as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to rain’s mystique, and it never fails to put a smile on my face and thanksgiving in my heart. It has been said that nature, like man, sometimes weeps for gladness, and when the smell of wet soil and damp grass greet my nose, I have also been known to “weep for gladness.” Not only that but on the heels of the smiling, gratitude, and weeping, I’m oftimes overcome with the irresistible urge I felt in childhood to jump and dance with wanton joy in the sloshy puddles beneath my feet.

He(God) draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams. Job 36: 27  ✝

**These are rain dotted flowers already blooming in my gardens.

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

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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

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

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet

839. And soon, too soon, we part with pain to sail o’er silent seas again. ~Thomas Moore

It’s an art to live with pain…
to mix the light into gray.
~Eddie Vedder

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I have lived pain, and my life can tell,
but I only deepen the wounds
when I neglect to give thanks for
the heavy perfume of wild roses in August
and the song of crickets on humid summer nights
and the rivers that run and the stars that rise
and the rain that falls and all the
good things that a good God gives.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Ann Voskamp

The migraine rages on, and once more I’m sailing the silent seas of pain. Though it be a life long story, the Lord has and will again bring me back one day to dry land. ~Natalie

But as for me, afflicted and in pain–may your salvation, God, protect me. ~Psalm 69:29  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

817. Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you. ~St Francis of Sales

     Angels are all around us, all the time,
in the very air we breathe.
~Eileen Elias Freeman

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The golden moments in the stream of life
rush past us and we see nothing but sand;
the angels come to visit us, and we
only know them when they are gone.
~George Elliot

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We not only live among men,
but there are airy hosts, blessed spectators,
sympathetic lookers-on,
that see and know and appreciate
our thoughts and feelings and acts.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Angels come to help and guide us in as many guises
as there are people who need their assistance.
Sometimes we see their ethereal, heavenly shadow,
bright with light and radiance.
Sometimes we only feel their nearness or hear their whisper.
And sometimes they look no different from ourselves.
~Eileen Elias Freeman

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I had so many freckles that my mother used to say
that they were kisses from the angels.
~Lara Flynn Boyle

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Wishing you…
a sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering angel, so
nothing can harm you.
~Irish Blessing

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Goodness knows I have plenty of freckles, and so I’m not surprised that with all those angel kisses all over my face I’ve felt the presence of ministering angels all my life. However, lately there have been even more than ever aflutter in my world. And so my post tonight is in praise of the Lord and His ever-vigilant angels. For I know not where any of us would be without angels watching over us. Where heaven meets earth, there are you, too, my friends!

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. ~Hebrews 1:14  ✝

**Angel images via Pinterest