520. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have you ever looked at a map of the world?
Look at Texas with me just for a second.
That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast,
and the Red River and the Rio Grande. . .
As soon as anyone anywhere in the world
looks at it, they know what it is.
It’s Texas.
~Author Unknown

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But knowing that I’m living in God’s world everywhere in Creation is equally as obvious because of the undeniable iconic images of His reality. For example when I encounter people, be they Texans or anyone else, I recognize God’s face because we are all made in His image. In the vitality that shines forth in human faces, I see God’s strength. In the laughter of those I love here or elsewhere I become aware of His grace. In my deepest yearnings, I feel His presence and sense His divine design. In my brokenness and suffering His mercy shines through. In the great lights of the sky, I glimpse the shining of His everlasting faithfulness. In the quiet of the night, the stars and the moon that He flung into space speak His name and tell of His power all around the globe. In the insights of wise ones far and near, I hear His voice and grasp His truths. In my soul searching, His nearness is felt, and in fears that come in the darkness of the night, I encounter His angels. In colors that fill the sky and flowery faces, I see His beauty. In relationships with others, His love is made known. When my flesh is wounded and my body bleeds, the face of His Son who, in a land far, far away, shed His blood for my redemption is revealed. In unforeseen moments of wonder, awe, and passion I feel stirrings of His mighty spirit. And the touch of His hands can be felt in the warmth of the sun, and in the changing seasons of the north, south, east, and west His rhythm of life becomes clear. And today on my birthday, I know that I have been blessed wherever I’ve been and gone all the days of my life.

“O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? . . .” ~Deuteronomy 3:24   ✝

380. Flowers are the alphabet of angels, whereby they write on the hills and fields mysterious truths. ~Benjamin Franklin

Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power mightier
to reach the soul, in thought’s hushed hour,
than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
~Mrs. Felicia D. Hemans

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Lilies, beautiful lilies, I adore them! And I feel sure they’ve written “mysterious truths” on many a hill and field since they’ve been cultivated for thousands and thousands of years. Lilies were the holy flower of the ancient Assyrians, and there’s an ancient legend that says the lily sprang up from the tears Eve shed as she left the Garden of Eden. It has also been written that the lily-of-the-valley grew up from the tears shed by Mary over the death of her son, Jesus, the Messiah. The word lily in French is lis and the fleur-de-lis may be a stylized representation of a lily. However there’s been much controversy and debate about whether the stylized flower is a lily or a wild yellow iris instead. Despite the disputes, at some point in the Middle Ages, the fleur-de-lis did in fact become a religious symbol associated with the lily. That may have stemmed from words in the Song of Solomon and other passages of scripture or literary works since Christ has often been depicted amid stylized lilies.

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My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear. ~Anne Lamott

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My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. ~Song of Songs 6:2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

228. Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. ~Eric Sevareid, CBS new journalist

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Every happening, great and small,
is a parable whereby God speaks to us,
and the art of life is to get the message.
~Malcolm Muggeridge,
English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist

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 short of compelling realities to the contrary.  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 symbolic narratives designed to teach or illustrate truths about the Ancient of Days who not only created us but also wired humans with the capacity to feel, to express emotions, and to extend kindnesses to one another.  So the sacred isn’t merely above us but forever within the entire body of Creation, and discovering the sacrosanct in it 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 feel His gracious, creative, and loving hands at work in our lives.  But for me what sparks an even stronger desire within my human heart to seek the Creator is that 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.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  ~Ephesians 1:17   ✝