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The Army of Locusts
Joel 1-2
 
Hear this, ye inhabitants of the land,
Has anything like this happened in your days?
Tell it to your children and grandchildren,
That they be warned to follow in God's ways.

Let all the inhabitants of Judah tremble, 
For the day of the Lord is at hand-
A day of darkness and gloominess-
For an army of locusts invades the land.
 
Swift as steeds, with a noise like chariots,
Forward over the mountain tops they leap.
The earth quakes and trembles before them,
They chew, they swarm, they crawl, they creep.
 
Before them is like the garden of Eden;
Behind them is desolation and stubble.
Because of the sins of God's people,
The whole land suffers famine and trouble.
 
They run to and fro in the city;
And climb the wall like men of war;
They enter the windows like thieves,
They come through every crack and door.
 
Gird yourselves and lament, you priests;
For the grain and drink offering fail.
The harvest of the field has perished;
Man and beast alike, hunger and wail.
 
"Repent," cries the Lord your God.
With fasting and weeping, return to Me;
Then I'll remove the locusts far away,
And drive them out toward the eastern sea.
 
"Barns shall be full and pastures green;
vats shall overflow when the grapes are trod.
Then when you eat and are satisfied,
You shall know I am the Lord your God." 
 
       by Jennie Flowers 

 

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 Ten Tips On How To Get Along With People

1. Keep chains on your tongue; always say less than you think. Cultivate a pleasant, persuasive voice. How you say it often counts more than what you say.
2. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully.
3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind word to somebody. Praise good work done, regardless of who did it. If correction is needed, criticize helpfully, never in a destructive manner.
4. Be genuinely interested in others. Let everyone you meet feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance.
5. Be cheerful. Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Hide your pains, worries, and disappointments under a smile.*
6. Keep an open mind on all controversial questions. Discuss without arguing. It is possible to disagree and yet be friendly.
7. Never engage in gossip. Make it a rule to say nothing about another unless it is something good.
8. Be careful of other people's feelings. A laugh at another's expense is rarely worth the effort, and it may hurt where least expected.
9. Pay no attention to cutting remarks that others may make about you. Learn to live above such comments.
10. Don't be too anxious about your rights and having favors repaid. Let the satisfaction of helping others serve as its own reward.

-selected

* I like these 10 points very much. I do want to make a comment about #5. To get along with people and in order to effectively follow "weep with those who weep," I believe there are times we should share our pain. Most of the time we should be cheerful, but there are times we need to share our trials with others and ask for prayers. Not only does this comfort and strengthen us but it brings others to trust us that they can share their own trials with us. They believe we will understand their pain. -Pat

 

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Heart to Heart
by: Rose Ann Noey

Soul to soul and heart to heart;
Of each life, each is to be a part.
Our Christian joy can so abound
If each within each our lives are wound.
 
 Give me, brother, your patient ear.
Touch me, sister, and draw me near.
Please, reach out to my lonely heart
And help to pull sin's painful dart.
 
The world, they have their "weather" talk,
But Christians share a sacred walk;
So, should we not have more to say
Than "Hello there" and "Have a nice day"?
 
Cliques divide our union's strength
And cause the lonely souls to shrink
Away from those they need so much.
Reach out to these!  They need our touch!
 
Heart to heart and soul to soul;
Each buffs each in our Christian fold.
Of each to each and each with each,
We share our love till Heaven we reach

 

 

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"Speak to the earth and it will teach you."

 

"But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?" (Job 12:7-10) 

 

Because Job's suffering was so extraordinary, Job's friends came to the conclusion he must be a great sinner and God was punishing him severely. They would make speeches about Jehovah's great wisdom in His creation. While this sounds like a wonderful thing to do, in reality, they were disciplining Job by telling him, if God can make such an amazing world, He has the ability to see Job's terrible sins and He has the right to judge and condemn Job.

In sarcasm, Job praises his friends for their great wisdom. He lets them know they haven't told him anything that he didn't already know. In fact, Job tells Zophar that even the beasts and the birds knew these things - they proclaim God's majesty and rule in the universe by their very existence . By their structure and design, they follow the laws God placed in them as they shout out the great wisdom of God Almighty, their Creator! They are the testimony that Jehovah reigns supreme and in His hand is the breath of every living thing, and the souls of all mankind.

All of creation sings praise to the Almighty God by their very existence and display of wisdom!

 

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The earth teaches...
 
"The appeal must be to its orderly course, its summers and winters, its seedtime and harvest, its former and latter rains, its constant productivity, which, no less than animal instincts, speak of a single ruling power directing and ordering all things."

 

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The teachers. The entire circle of animate and inanimate creation—everything on the earth, in the air, and in the sea. The natural and the supernatural, the visible and the invisible, the material and the spiritual, the mundane and the heavenly, are in God's universe so indissolubly linked together, and so wisely adjusted to each other, that the one is a picture or reflection of the other, the earthly and material an emblem of the heavenly and spiritual. Hence all nature is full of subtle analogies to things and thoughts existing in the realms above it—the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual, the human, the celestial. Hence the wise student of nature may find
 

"Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

('As You Like It,' act 2. sc. 1.)

Hence man is frequently counselled by Scripture writers to learn wisdom from the creatures. "Solomon sends us to the ant; Agur to the coney, the locust, the spider; Isaiah to the ox and the ass; Jeremiah to the stork, the turtle-dove, the crane, the swallow; and the heavenly Teacher himself to the fowls of the air" (Thomas). Of all teachers Christ stood indisputably first in interpreting the hidden thoughts of nature.

=Pulpit Commentary 

 

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I have some beautiful white lillies in my flowerbed but they insist on pointing their pretty heads away from the house and toward the fence. Whether or not they can be admired by others isn't important to them ; they turn their faces toward the sun. Let's turn our faces toward the Son as well. -Kathy Crawford

 

"In contemplation of created things

By stops we may ascend to God."

-Milton

Why focus on creation? Because it is our teacher. The earth displays order and unity. The beast give us an example of obedience to its Maker. The birds lift our spirits to the sky and the great variety of life in the lakes and oceans create awe of the wisdom of God. 

 

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 MIRAGE
 
A mirage is light that is refracted (bent) through air at different temperatures. Light passes down from cool to hot air, it gets bent upwards towards the denser air and away from the ground. To our eyes, these distorted rays seem to be coming from the ground, so we perceive a refracted image of the sky on the ground. The picture shows a mirage in the Mojave desert that gives the illusion there is a body of water in the distance.
 
Of distant waters mocking their distress.
Floats o’er the desert, with a show
The hot air quivers, and the sultry mist
Still the same burning sun! no cloud in heaven! 
 
Isaiah speaks of the "glowing sand" which gives the idea of a mirage, "And the glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes."  (Isa 35:7) The times of fear, deception, and emptiness will be replaced with hope as the Messiah will come bringing life and holiness to all mankind.
 
"And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."  (Isa 35:10)

 
How small a part of any situation is the fragment of that we see, how much of what we do see we ignore or distort through preconceptions, and how unwise it is to extrapolate from our elementary grasp of truth.
              -Wayne Jackson 

Why the focus on creation? Because it displays the many and various works of the wisdom of God. These are God's possessions lovingly given to us to observe with awe and increased faith in our Creator's wisdom.


O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions. (Psa 104:24)

The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have prepared the light and the sun. (Psa 74:16)

 
 
It's beautiful the Summer month of June
When all of God's own wildflowers are in bloom
And sun shines brightly most part of the day
And butterflies o'er lush green meadows play.

Light hearted skylark songster of the wing
High o'er the quiet and lonely moorland sing
Above her nest cloaked by the tangled heath
Her charming song so exquisitely sweet.

So mellow the gentle breath of june day breeze
The birds rejoicing on the leafy trees
And dappled trout in pool bed of the stream
Bask in the sun their spotted skins agleam.
 
                                              -  Francis Duggan, June



The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.
(Pro 20:12)

 
Do You See the Wisdom of God in Creation?

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew. My son, let them not depart from your eyes-- Keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. (Pro 3:19-24)
 
The creation is a testimony of God's wisdom. Do we see it? Do we even look?  
 
Whether or not we use our God-given eyes to see the world around us should not be based on whether we are an outdoorsy person or an indoorsy one. It shouldn't be based on what our interest are - whether we are hikers and campers or stay inside and enjoy a good book. We should desire to see the creation because what we are looking at is wisdom. It is drawing closer to God by coming to a better understanding of His profound wisdom in the world He created. This, in turn, gives us courage and peace.
 
Use the eyes God has blessed you with - get outside today and take a look! 



The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

(Pro 15:3)

After reading this, did you immediately feel fear or comfort? 

 

 

 

A FEW INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OUR EYES:

Unlike our ears and nose, for example, which never stop growing our entire lives, our eyes remain the same size from birth. Then there’s the complicated process of irrigation, lubrication, cleaning and protection that happens every time we blink – an average of 4,200,000 times a year. 

More than 1 million nerve fibers connect each eye to the brain and currently we’re not able to reconstruct those connections.

A fingerprint has 40 unique characteristics, but an iris has 256, a reason retina scans are increasingly being used for security purposes.

Each of your eyes has a small blind spot in the back of the retina where the optic nerve attaches. You don’t notice the hole in your vision because your eyes work together to fill in each other’s blind spot. 

And there are other astonishing inbuilt systems too. Take, for example, a little trick called the Vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). In short, it’s our own personal Steadicam – an inbuilt muscular response that stabilises everything we see, by making tiny imperceptible eye movements in the opposite direction to where our head is moving. Without VOR, any attempts at walking, running – even the minuscule head tremors you make while you read these words – would make our vision blurred, scattered and impossible to comprehend.  

-selected 

 

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Seeing is Believing: The Design of the Human Eye

by Taylor Richardson 

 

If one of your friends asked you, “How do you know God exists?,” what would you say? There are many different ways to prove God’s existence, because God has given us so much evidence. Sometimes we find that evidence in things we see in the Universe, for example, the Sun. The Sun is like a giant nuclear engine. It gives off more energy in a single second than mankind has produced since the Creation. It converts 8 million tons of matter into energy every single second, and has an interior temperature of more than 20 million degrees Celsius (see Lawton, 1981). Sometimes we find evidence in the animal kingdom. Take the golden orb spider for instance. Pound for pound, the dragline silk of this spider is five times stronger than steel, and is twice as strong as the material that currently makes up SWAT teams’ bulletproof vests. In fact, due to its amazing strength and elasticity, it has been said that you could trap a jumbo jet with spider silk that is the thickness of a pencil.

And sometimes the evidence for God’s existence can even be found within our own bodies. The writer of the book of Hebrews spoke about this evidence when he said: “For every house is built by someone, but he who built all things is God” (3:4).

One of the best examples of design within the human body is the eye. Even Charles Darwin struggled with the problem of how to explain how such a complex organ as the eye could have “evolved” through naturalistic processes. In The Origin of Species he wrote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest sense (1859, p. 170, emp. added).

But even though Darwin acknowledged that the eye could not have evolved, he went on to argue that it had, in fact, been produced by natural selection through an evolutionary process. It seems almost as though Darwin could not seem to make up his mind on the matter. But he is not the only one who has struggled to explain, from a naturalistic viewpoint, the intricacy of the eye. Evolutionist Robert Jastrow once wrote:

The eye is a marvelous instrument, resembling a telescope of the highest quality, with a lens, an adjustable focus, a variable diaphragm for controlling the amount of light, and optical corrections for spherical and chromatic aberration. The eye appears to have been designed; no designer of telescopes could have done better. How could this marvelous instrument have evolved by chance, through a succession of random events? (1981, pp. 96-97, emp. added).

How indeed? Though Dr. Jastrow argued that “the fact of evolution is not in doubt,” he confessed that “…there seems to be no direct proof that evolution can work these miracles.… It is hard to accept the evolution of the eye as a product of chance” (1981, pp. 101,97,98, emp. added). Considering the extreme complexity of the eye, it is easy to understand why Jastrow would make such a comment. In his book, Does God Believe in Atheists?, John Blanchard described just how complex the eye really is.

The human eye is a truly amazing phenomenon. Although accounting for just one fourth-thousandth of an adult’s weight, it is the medium which processes some 80% of the information received by its owner from the outside world. The tiny retina contains about 130 million rod-shaped cells, which detect light intensity and transmit impulses to the visual cortex of the brain by means of some one million nerve fibres, while nearly six million cone-shaped cells do the same job, but respond specifically to colour variation. The eyes can handle 500,00 messages simultaneously, and are kept clear by ducts producing just the right amount of fluid with which the lids clean both eyes simultaneously in one five-thousandth of a second (2000, p. 313).

Statements like this proves that the eye was so well designed, and so complicated, that it could not have happened by accident, as evolution teaches.

THE EYE’S DESIGN

The anatomy of the eye was first examined and recorded at Alexandria, Egypt, in the first century A.D. An anatomist, Rufus of Ephesus, described the main parts of the eye, which included the dome-like cornea at the front, the colored iris, the lens, and the vitreous humor (which gives the eye its shiny look). Today, thanks to microscopes, we now know that these, along with many other parts of the eye, work in harmony to produce the gift of sight.

Diagram of the Human Eye

The outer white layer of the eye is called the sclera, more commonly known as the “white of the eye.” This layer is an extremely durable, fibrous tissue that extends from the cornea (the clear front section of the eye) to the optic nerve (at the back of the eye). Six tiny muscles (known as the extraocular muscles, or EOMs) connect to the sclera around the eye and control the eye’s movements. Four of the muscles (known as the rectus muscles) control the horizontal and vertical movement, while two (the oblique muscles) control the rotation. All six muscles work together so that the eye moves smoothly.

The inside of the eye can be divided functionally into two distinct parts. The first is the physical “dioptric” mechanism (from the Greek word dioptra, meaning something through which one looks), which handles incoming light. This includes the cornea, iris, and lens. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped window (about eleven millimeters in diameter) that covers the front of the eye. Its most important function is to protect the delicate components of the eye against damage by foreign bodies. Thus, the cornea acts like a watch face, in that it lets us look through the “window” of our eye while protecting the internal components from debris and harmful chemicals. The cornea also takes care of most of the refraction (the ability of the eye to change the direction of light in order to focus it on the retina) and works with the lens to help focus items seen at varying distances as it changes its curvature. The iris and the pupil work together to let in just the right amount of light. There are two opposing sets of muscles that regulate the size of the aperture (the opening, or the pupil) according to the brightness or dimness of the incoming light. If the light is bright, the iris constricts, allowing little light to pass; but if it is dark, the iris dilates or expands, allowing more light to pass through. The light (or image) then moves through a lens that has the ability to adjust its shape to help it clarify the image by changing the focal length of the lens between 40.4 and 69.9 millimeters where it is then focused (in an inverted form) on to the retina.

Between the lens and the retina is a transparent substance (the vitreous fluid) that fills the center of the eye. This substance is important because it not only gives the eye its spherical shape, but also provides nutrition for the retinal vessels inside the eye. In children, the vitreous feels like a gel, but as we age, it gradually thins and becomes more of a liquid.

The second is the receptor area of the retina where the light triggers processes in the nerve cells. The retina plays a key role in visual perception. In his book, The Wonder of Man, Werner Gitt explains how the retina is a masterpiece of engineering design.

One single square millimetre of the retina contains approximately 400,000 optical sensors. To get some idea of such a large number, imagine a sphere, on the surface of which circles are drawn, the size of tennis balls. These circles are separated from each other by the same distance as their diameter. In order to accommodate 400,000 such circles, the sphere must have a diameter of 52 metres... (1999, p. 15).

Alan L. Gillen also praised the design of the retina in his book, Body by Design.

The most amazing component of the eye is the “film,” which is the retina. This light-sensitive layer at the back of the eyeball is thinner than a sheet of plastic wrap and is more sensitive to light than any man-made film. The best camera film can handle a ratio of 1000-to-1 photons in terms of light intensity. By comparison, human retinal cells can handle a ratio of 10 billion-to-1 over the dynamic range of light wavelengths of 380 to 750 nanometers. The human eye can sense as little as a single photon of light in the dark! In bright daylight, the retina can bleach out, turning its “volume control” way down so as not to overload. The light-sensitive cells of the retina are like an extremely complex high-gain amplifier that is able to magnify sounds more than one million times (2001, pp. 97-98, emp. added).

Without a doubt, this thin (only 0.2 mm) layer of nerve tissue is a marvel of engineering. It contains photoreceptor (light-sensitive) cells and four types of nerve cells, as well as structural cells and epithelial pigment cells. The two kinds of photoreceptor cells are referred to as rods and cones because of their shape. Each eye has about 130 million rods and 7 million cones. The rods are very sensitive to light (whether it is bright or dim), and allow the eye to see in black and white. Cones, on the other hand, are not as sensitive as rods, and function only optimally in daylight. There are three different types of cones—red light, green light, and blue light—each of which is sensitive to its respective color of light, and which allow the eye to see in full color. The rods and cones convert the different lights into chemical signals, which then travel along the optic nerve to the brain.

Not only are the images produced by the dioptric mechanism miniaturized and upside-down, but it turns out that they also are left-right inverted. The optic nerves from both eyes split up and cross each other in such a way that the left halves of the images of both eyes are received by the right hemisphere of the brain, while the right halves are received by the left. Each half of the observer’s brain receives information from only one half of the image. As Gitt went on to explain, “Note that, although the brain processes the different parts of the image in various remote locations, the two halves of the field of vision are seamlessly reunited, without any trace of a joint—amazing! This process is still far from being fully understood” (p. 17). It is hard to believe that this inverted system of sight could have been produced through evolution.

Since the eyes are one of the most important organs in the body, they must be taken care of constantly. And God designed just such a built-in cleaning system, consisting of the eyelashes, eyelids, and lacrimal glands. The lacrimal glands produce a steady flow of tears that flush away dust and other foreign materials. The tears also contain a potent anti-microbial agent known as lysozyme that destroys bacteria, viruses, etc. The eyelids and eyelashes work together to keep dirt and other debris from entering the eye. The eyelids act like windshield wipers, blinking 3-6 times a minute to moisten and clean the eye.

For many years, scientists have compared the eye to the modern manmade camera (see Miller, 1960, p. 315; Nourse, 1964, p. 154; Gardener, 1994, p. 105). True, the eye and camera do have many things in common, if the function of the camera demands that it was “made,” does it not stand to reason that the more complex human camera, the eye, also must have had a Maker? Alan Gillen explained it best when he wrote: “No human camera, artificial device, nor computer-enhanced light-sensitive device can match the contrivance of the human eye. Only a master engineer with superior intelligence could manufacture a series of interdependent light sensitive parts and reactions” (p. 99, emp. added). That master engineer was God. The writer of Proverbs knew this when he wrote, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (20:12).

REFERENCES

Blanchard, John (2000), Does God Believe in Atheists? (Auburn, MA: Evangelical Press).

Darwin, Charles (1859), On the Origin of Species (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; a facsimile of the first edition).

Gardner, Lynn (1994), Christianity Stands True (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Gillen, Alan L. (2001), Body by Design (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).

Gitt, Werner (1999), The Wonder of Man (Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung E.V.).

Jastrow, Robert (1981), The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Lawton, April (1981), “From Here to Infinity,” Science Digest, 89[1]:98-105, January/February.

Miller, Benjamin and Goode, Ruth (1960), Man and His Body (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Nourse, Alan E., ed. (1964), The Body (New York: Time, Inc.).

 

Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=1412 

 

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Just a little something I came across recently that is a good illustration of how we can be led to believe "facts" that are, in reality, lies. Let's keep our eyes wide open in all areas of our lives in order to see clearly.

 

Do you still believe carrots will help you see better?

(The power of war propaganda)

In World War II, Britain's air ministry spread the word that carrots helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force's successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. 

 

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We may not esteem the tiny sparrow, but Jesus used it to illustrate our heavenly Father's watchful care: "you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:31). If God is concerned about the tiny sparrow, how much greater must His concern be for man, who is immeasurably greater in value than the sparrow!

There is no place for worry in the life of a sparrow, and no attempt to stockpile supplies for the future -- yet their lives go on. The point Jesus is making is not that the birds do not work; it has been said that no one works harder than a sparrow to make a living; the point He is making is that they do not worry. Sparrows do not strain to see into a future, which they cannot see, and do not seek to find security in the things they have accumulated for the future.

Worry is needless, useless and even injurious (Matthew 6:25-32). Worry, which wears out the mind also, wears out the body. Worry affects our judgment, lessens our powers of decision, and renders us progressively incapable of dealing with life. Worry is a manifestation of our lack of faith in God (Matthew 6:30). We need to learn to be content (Philippians 4:4-13).

In the midst of turbulent times Habakkuk said, "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls -- Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

God's continued care for us should bring contentment in our lives. "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-10).

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excerpt from article "His Eye is On the Sparrow" by David Padfield

for full article go to  http://www.padfield.com/2001/sparrow.html

 

His Eye is On the Sparrow

by Civilla D. Martin 

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,”
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Tho’ by the path He leadeth
But one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him,
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

 
 
 
 Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

 

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I agree totally about the healing power God has provided in the beauty and wonder of creation.  A good while before my husband, Jimmy, became so ill, the state began putting in the sidewalks along 301.  There were many people (self included) who balked at the waste of taxpayer money to build sidewalks way out here.  However, long before they were finished, I decided that if they were going to be built, I was going to use them.  They actually took away my excuses for not getting out and walking regularly. 
 
So, I began to walk....and with the walk I found that I began to talk to God even more.  Although I could not go everyday when Jimmy was ill, once he passed away, I did.  I began to walk longer distances and my prayers became more intense as I sought help in dealing with the grief. But, there were so many times when I simply didn't know what to say anymore, so I just began to count my blessings.....the beautiful blue sky that day, good health to be able to get out and walk, wildflowers growing along the sidewalk and in the pasture, etc.   As I walk, I am often reminded of that hymn "I come to the garden alone".  The prayer walks are especially helpful when they are preceded by opening God's Word and listening to Him....although sometimes I talk to Him first and then come back to listen to Him.  -D.J. 

 

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I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
 
We want to picture the author of this song, C. Austin Miles, taking a walk in a beautiful garden as he communes with God, but that is far from reality. When he wrote this song he was sitting in a cold, leaky basement in New Jersey without a window and without a view of a garden. Mr. Miles was reading and meditating on the story of Mary Magdelene talking to Jesus at the tomb and he imagined what it would have been like to be alone with Jesus in the garden. The beauty of creation, especially coupled with God's word, becomes alive in the mind's eye.

 

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Death Valley Super Bloom

Isaiah 51

 


For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. (Isa 51:3)

I thought of this verse when I read about the Death Valley super bloom that happened this year. Seeds that had laid dormant had come to life after the rains came from el Nina - the last time this has happened was 2005. Amazing how life remains in the seed after all that time, especially in such harsh conditions as the desert.

Because of her sins, Israel had divorced her "mother" (Isa. 50:1) - her Creator. She laid dormont, destroying her own spiritual state and becoming a wasteland of sin and destruction. However, the same Lord who had taken away her blessings promised that one day He will send an abundance of blessings and Israel's desert will become like the garden of the Lord, full of joy and thanksgiving. Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God.  (Isa 52:8-10)

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The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph 1:18)

 

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THE PURSUIT OF PEACE

Andy Benton 

The peace that leaves one always untroubled and unafraid is found in a secure relationship with God. Sin makes many alluring promises, but even in the most ideal of circumstances leaves us broken and alone, alienated and empty. In Christ we are loved, forgiven, reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18–19) and recover the loving Father sin has stolen from us. Those who have “peace with God” are anchored in eternity and therefore untouchably whole and at peace in the... most troublesome storms.

It is this God-given wholeness that makes Christians such a peaceable people. Filled to overflowing by a gracious God (Ephesians 3:19; Colossians 2:9–10), we are in the world not to take and to rule but to give and to serve (Matthew 10:8; 20:27–28). The heavenly country of which we are a part is a peaceable kingdom where swords have been beaten into plowshares and men no longer study war (Isaiah 2:4; 11:6–9). That is the reason we “follow after the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19) and seek to “be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).

 

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STRESSED?

  • Pray
  • Read God's word
  • Get outside! The trees, the grass, and the butterflies are purveyors of peace for the soul. 

Our God of peace provides peaceful scenes for our hearts to be refreshed.