1153. He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king. ~John Milton

I follow three rules:
Do the right thing,
do the best you can, and
always show people you care.
~Lou Holtz

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**Watercolor image found on Pinterest; text box added by Natalie

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. ~Psalm 103:19  ✝

1019. There’s not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. ~John Calvin

We were always intoxicated with color,
with words that speak of color,
and with the sun that makes colors live.
~Andre Derain

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By filling the earth with color the Lord has painted a kind of portrait of himself, and in so doing He has revealed an intentional path to His throne. This is no less true in winter for color is a continuous, rhythmic part of the mystery of God’s life and thus is deeply rooted in all four seasons. Winter may allow periodic breathing spaces for garden and gardener on forbidding days, cold and lacking in sunshine, but on days when the sun does make an appearance, there’s the usual soft, golden glow at sunrise, the sometimes pinky/purply bands low on the eastern horizon at day’s end, and the random blazing red and orange streaks of intensely tinted sunsets in the west. On occasional cloudless nights, there’s the white glow of the moon at times illuminating the deep indigo canopy overhead; on days when the bright yellow sun shines, there are the china blues of daytime skies, and when the sun doesn’t appear, there are the lovely, velvety grays of clouds filled with rain or  in rolling fogs or mists. I’ve heard winter called the season of drabness of the spirit yet I find bliss and hope not only in the things I’ve already mentioned but also in the reds of winter berries and the cardinals at the feeders, in the white of snow when it falls, in the silvery sparkles of icicles and frosts, in the constancy of green on hollies, conifers, spruces, and such, in the beiges and browns of dried grasses, autumn leaves, and seed pods, in the magenta of hyacinth bean seed pods or ornamental grass seed heads, and on and on it goes, the glorious, never ending sacred voice of color.

Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man,
color is the holiest, the most divine…
~John Ruskin

…for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. ~Romans 11:29  ✝

**Images and collage by Natalie

 

912. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest,
to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
Help us then, Lord, to be patient and
trust that the treasure we look for is hidden
in the holy ground on which we stand
and apparent even in the absence of light.
~Edited and adapted excerpt by
Henri Nouwen

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O, Ancient of Days, as daylight splits the veil of night, I praise Your holy name and wonder if you come to my garden still. If you do, do you come only in the early hours as I sensed at dawn today? Or do you come as well at dusk when light bedecks, with a touch of quicksilver sparkle, only the very tops of things making out of ordinary beauty that which is extraordinary? Is it in praise of your divine glory that the birds linger and chatter before their daytime forays and then again as they return at day’s end to find rest for the night? Are the gentle breezes I feel upon my face your very breath and the flowers I see fallen jewels from your holy crown? Do the bees and butterflies yet nectar in autumn to guarantee Eden’s resurrection after winter’s wrath consumes them. O, God, I want to know more of you and do believe you are here with me always; for if not on the lawn, I find your footprints upon my heart.

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16  ✝

**Image of titmouse and autumn berries via Pinterest

771. The flower has opened, has been in the sun, and is unafraid. ~Paula Cole

How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
down to its root, and in that freedom bold.
~William Wordsworth

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Today is your day to
paint life in bold colors,

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set today’s rhythm with
your heart-drum,

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walk today’s march
with courage.

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Create today as your
celebration of life.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Let us therefore come boldly unto God’s throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  ~Hebrews 4:16   ✝

749. It has been said, “time heals all wounds.” I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind protecting it’s sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone. ~Rose Kennedy

The love of Christ reaches
to the very depths
of earthly misery and woe…
It also reaches to
the throne of the eternal…
~Excerpts from Ellen G. White

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Oh, misery, what’s gonna become of me?
It’s raining,  a-rainin’ in my heart again
‘Cause this awful pain keeps me alone and awake.
The heavy, tearful rain’s a-fallin’ even though
I hear Your voice, Lord, a-callin,’ “It’s all right.”
But this salty, rain of teary sadness mixed
With desperation keeps a-fallin on my pillow
While outside it’s another rainy night in Texas.
And it seems like both rains are never gonna stop.
Lightning bolts a-flashin’, thunder booms a rumblin’
And the distant moanin’ of a train seems to play
A sad, sad refrain on this hard and rainy night.
Oh Lord, it’s such a rainy night in Texas,
It’s like it’s a-rainin’ everywhere in my world.
And no matter how many times I wonder
The story still comes out the same…
Whichever way one looks at it or thinks on it
It’s life and one’s just got to play the game
.
So I tell my pain-filled blues they mustn’t show
But these tears tonight I cannot keep from flowin’
‘Cause it’s rainin’ in my sad, despairin’ heart.
~Edited and adapted lyrics from a song
by Tony Joe White, and another song
by Bouleaux Bryant, and Felice Bryant

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. ~Psalm 31:9   ✝

692. Could life so end, half told; its school so fail? Soul, soul, there is a sequel to thy tale! ~Robert Mowry Bell

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices…
~Charles Kingsley

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These realities, of which Kingsley speaks, are meant to stir in humanity an ancient sense of belonging and in turn spark a desire to seek Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, but should they not, finding God in Christ is something even the blind can do. Our Creator sent us His son over 2000 years ago to be our memory and remind us of who we are and to whom we belong. Jesus is a revelation of our loving Father, of His amazing Grace, and of His Kingdom’s intention. And as the Messiah, Christ offers mortals, all of whom are subjected to detrimental temptation by malevolent forces in a fallen world, salvation, and then He, as their spiritual leader, directs those, who accept His offer, into righteous rhythms of life, into a willingness to serve others, and into the dance of life–a dance in which the whole universe can be seen as a partner.

“Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown.”  ~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:2 ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

571. There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. ~Charles Dickens

We look at life from the back side of the tapestry.
And most of the time, what we see are
loose threads, tangled knots and the like.
But occasionally, God’s light shines through, and
we get a glimpse of the larger design with God
weaving together the darks and lights of existence.
~John Piper

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No moon, no stars, no sun, no blue of sky… No bees, no butterflies, no adoring, garden paramours… Only a foggy Sabbath steeped in silent, grey stillness as bit by bit by bit color empties out of the landscape leaving in its wake pallid, watercolored remains to blanket the lawn… Autumn has but a fortnight left before she relinquishes her throne to winter’s chilling reign. So I wonder if she’s weeping, if the falling mists are her crestfallen tears. It would certainly seem so as gloomy and grey as her recent days have been. Her palette, once streaked with chestnut and chocolate, maroon and mahogany, mauve and mulberry, orange and ochre, red and russet, is soon to be washed of all but grey and beige and evergreen. Thankfully, however, there are the brightly colored lights of Christmas to brighten the dying year’s ever-increasing, muted days.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17  ✝