1439. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Psalm 91:11 ✝

May all the Angels be your
sheltering and joyful guardians.
~John O’Donohue

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Who among us doesn’t remember times when we felt the hand of benevolent angels at work in our lives? My guess is we all migjht be able to acknowledge them. The word angel comes from the Greek word “angelus” which means messenger, and among other things, Biblical angels as messengers not only revealed helpful/vital information to mortals but they also protected and rescued them. Also in Scripture we find angels caring for the Israelites and smiting their enemies. And of course they were the guiding presence leading the wise men to the manger where the  Jesus, the Messiah, was born. So it is that one writer has described angels as a “medium of the Creator’s power, and they exist to execute His will.” And because angelic presences have been so prevalent in man’s history over the centuries, mortals have in various ways tried to portray angels by word and/or image.

Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. ~Psalm 148:2 ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

1432. The leaves drift toward the earth like ships to land, a voyage launched from timbers’ great lofty berths… ~Excerpt from a poem by Dan Young

Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem.
Thick and fast the leaves are falling,
High in the air wild birds are calling,
Nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn.
~ Edited poem by
Mary Weston Fordham

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Day by day autumn’s end draws nearer, and thus even more strains of “nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn” fill the coldish air. And because the temperatures finally dropped below freezing for several nights here, the things that had been hanging on perished or are now in the process of dying and so their joyous songs of life have ceased for the year. The terrain too is well-nigh down to its barest essentials, and all that we’ll soon hear are winter’s deep sighs and silences or the wailing of her bitter, gusty winds. Things that  hold onto the promise of spring either in their roots or in splitting seed casings will be busy beneath the soil whilst they wait for the sun to invite them to flourish “Thick and fast” falling remnants of leaves have been and are layering the ground to protect what lies beneath waiting for the appointed hour of rebirth in earth’s next circle around the sun. It’s all a God-ordained and Scripturally- declared grand plan, and I love watching Yahweh’s strategy play out round and round as the years pass. In fact on days when I feel out of sorts, I’ve learned to get outside regardless of how cold or hot it is, and as I look, listen, and wait under heaven’s canopy, it’s not long before my inner compass is made right again. Feeling earth’s heartbeat and becoming a part of its rhythms keep at bay the sense of hopelessness that’s often engendered by the trials of life and a world torn by depravity and meriless madness. Being close to the land is as comforting and reassuring as when I was a kid and slipped my hand into the safety of a parent’s hand. The same thing happens even more so now that I’m aware I’m drawing near God and what He has made. Standing in His Creation, I’m certain that even though humans transgress and frequently fall short of what they’re meant to be and do, He still stands ready to take His children by the hand, comfort them, and proffer His magnanimous gestures of mercy and redeeming grace. It’s not unlike what I experienced when I first felt my child move in my womb. I knew that the sensation which felt like wings of a butterfly barely grazing my inner flesh was the unmistakable touch of something sacred stirring inside me. The Lord’s movement in our inner and outer lives is much the same. It may be an ever so slight brush against our flesh and/or soul, but we know that we have indeed felt the Almighty’s loving Presence.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. ~Isaiah 40:10-11  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1430. I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world. ~Mary Oliver

The universe is full of radiant
suggestion…over and over in the butterfly
we see the idea of transcendence.
In the forest we see not the inert
but the aspiring. In water that departs forever
and forever returns, we experience eternity.
~Mary Oliver

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Is there some “voice” you turn to when your heart and soul needs a spark, something to satiate a vague longing, or to get your creative juices flowing, or something to make you feel acutely alive, or when you need some wise rumination or conjecture that transcends the routine and the mundane commentaries. I know that Scripture and the teachings of Jesus can do that, but as a mortal human being, I also need the take on such things from other mortal humans. I need wise musings by kindred spirits who voice things that comfort me and help me feel less alone and isolated. I know, I know; I have a loving husband and a loving family and friends, but don’t you ever long for someone who knows you better than anyone else deep down inside in those places you, seldom if ever, bring to the surface. You know, the things that touch you profoundly and you’re not entirely sure why or where it comes from, and you need another’s thoughts to help you understand what you feel and how intensely you feel it. I’ve never been anything except a daughter, a wife, and a mother, but there is a Natalie way down in there that I’m not sure I could put into words so that they could understand how or what it feels like to be the me of me, not the one who has always tried to live up to the expectations of others, but the one who has always wondered what it would have been like to strike out on her own and follow her own dreams. This is not a complaint for I have been truly blessed all my life. Nor does it mean that I’ve never faced great sorrow or loss or coped with chronic pain. Everyone has “crosses to bear,” but we don’t have to let such things define and/or decide who we are! Perhaps that’s why literature has always been a great source of illumination for me because I believe writer’s are always digging down into that same kind of well and attempting to bring to the surface what they find therein.

The most regretful people on earth
are those who felt the call to creative work,
who felt their own creative power
restive and uprising, and gave to it
neither power no time.
~Mary Oliver

Many writers fit the bill that I described above, and I quote them frequently, but it has only been in the last few years that I have found my forever go-to first person for such things. This remarkable woman is a modern-day, living poet, and I have bought to date everything she has published for I don’t think I’ve ever read works by another that touch me the way she does and explain what I feel inside any better than she. I have shared some of her works before as well as in this post, and in the coming days I’m going to post quite a few more for I’ve been “hungry” again of late and as always have found “nourishing food” in her words. I hope you to enjoy her musings and offerings.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a
hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal
of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours,
and I will tell you mine.
~Mary Oliver

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ~James 1:5  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1421. Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well.  ~John Greenleaf Whittier

At the bottom every man knows well enough
that he is a unique human being, only once on this earth;
and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is,
ever be put together a second time.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Scripture tells us we are all made in the image of God, Himself, so why then are we not all the same? I’ve come to think of it like this: our bodies are a whole entity made up of diverse parts that on their own cannot function nor do they serve any purpose as separate parts. However, together they work as a fully functioning part capable of being and accomplishing great things. So not unlike the human body then we, as individuals, are all diverse in appearance and here for sundry, specific purposes in the whole body of Creation/Christ. Though not all cookie cutter images are we, we are designed to be diversity in unity with God as well as unified to all the diverse things He has made. We are meant to be in relationships so as to deepen our reverence and affection for all mankind and our Creator who is bigger, more powerful, more diverse, and more loving than we could ever imagine. As we live out our lives, what our eyes see and what our mouths speak should always be filtered first through our heart of hearts where we are inextricably tied to the strings of God’s heart. What we look like matters only in the light of how we treat everyone and everything that crosses our path on this journey, be it the earth and its bounty that sustains mind, body, spirit, and soul, the creatures we encounter, or the people who share our lives. We are all an integral part of a bigger picture. Where we are at any given moment and what we do affects whatever or whoever is near to us in this sacred kind of jigsaw puzzle. But our impact doesn’t really end there, does it? Whatever or whomever we touch has reverberations. It’s like the ripple effect in a pond; the circles just keep moving on and on taking drops of the whole along with them until they reach the outermost boundaries if there at any. Thus although we are unique and seemingly an end unto ourselves, we must never underestimate the reach of our lives and the effects of our unique blossoming within the sphere of the whole body of this thing called life. Everything we say or don’t say at times and everything we do or don’t do sometimes makes a difference! And no two entities are exactly the same; also all bear scars sustained during growing seasons in this thing called life. Yet we are one with the One who made us, and it is to Yahweh that we shall return!

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. ~1 Corinthians 12:12 ✝

**Images found on the Internet

 

1392. He prayeth best, who loveth best all things great and small; for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There are 100,000 or so species of insects 
native to the United States. More than 1/3 
of these have been found in Texas. 
Texas has more different kinds of 
insects than any other state. 
~From a Texas Gov’t. publication
found on the Internet

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There is simply never a shortage of “beasties” on Texas soil especially when the temperatures soar. “Things great and small,” lovable and loathsome, have been on the move in the water, in the air, and on the land. Some float, some flutter, some fly, some are fleet of foot, some feed on the earth’s grasses and some crawl, slither, or graze in them. Scripture tells us that the good Lord saw that all He made was good, but being a less than perfect mortal, I struggle with loving and seeing the good in “all things great and small.” The fact that spiders, snakes, and “skeeters” bite and can kill has always had a great deal to do with my disdain for earth’s not so charming and/or endearing creatures. However, when I became an avid gardener, I began realizing more and more the intentionality of all that God made. Working the soil helped me see the genius of the “string of life” that connects everything on earth together in a beneficial series of interdependencies. Creation, on a grander scale of course, is much like the human body–everything in it is connected and it all works together for the good of the whole. In light of that complete awareness, slowly but surely, I’m learning to be more tolerant of the earth’s less endearing creatures. Toiling under the sun in all the seasons has shown me that built into Creation’s tapestry are purpose and provisions for all that God made. That awareness, despite my difficulty in embracing all of the “beasties” who dwell here in Texas has engendered and enlarged my trust, love, and faith in the Lord’s plans and His purposes as well as an acceptance of all that He has made.

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How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. When You send your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. -Psalm 104:24, 30  ✝

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 ✝

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