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Iowa, Beautiful Land

 As children in elementary school, we were taught that the word “Iowa” meant “beautiful land,” and Iowa is a beautiful place in early summer. Rosy, morning skies and gilded sunsets punctuate the days. Fat, cumulus clouds tumble across acres of corn and soybeans. Golden oat fields sway in afternoon breezes. Wild roses, half hidden in the grasses, unfurl pink petals to uncover a yellow heart. Meadowlarks’ liquid calls pour over the fields. All this beauty speaks to me of a Creator, the Holy God.

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Just as the weather vane on the top of our big shed points to the direction from which the wind is blowing, creation points to its Maker.

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I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you.

I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence. You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes to see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.

–Jesus Calling: Enjoy Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

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Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.

Psalm 8:1-4   NIV

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The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.   Psalm 19:1-2   NIV

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Look about you: the beauty of the rose or the glorious sunset–these and others are meant to                             proclaim His Presence in the world. –Sarah Young

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And [the seraphim] were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”   Isaiah 6:3   NIV

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My prayer for us all:

that God may sharpen our “spiritual eyesight” so that we may discover His presence in a world full of His glory.

Searching for the Light

The sun had burned off the morning haze and ushered in a beautifully-bright June day.  The warm breeze was gentle, and the deep blue sky was spotted with puffy, cumulus clouds.

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On days like this it’s easy to understand Jesus’ proclamation:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12   NIV

The sunshine surrounds me and illuminates everything.  It is  the engine of photosynthesis that provides food for man and animal.  Sunlight heals.  It banishes the deep shadows.

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Sometimes the light is muted, weak.  High humidity at dawn can drape the morning with a heavy haze,

but the sun is still there.

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Sometimes sunshine is hidden, obscured.  Storms swirl and veil the sun.  The word “hide” means “conceal from sight,”  not destroy or eradicate.

The sun is still there.

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When the rainstorm scrubs the world clean, and the light is shrouded in the final wisps of clouds and is captured in rain-washed reflections,

the sunshine is still there.

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Sometimes when the sun has slipped below the horizon, the only light is what is reflected in sunset clouds.

But the light is still there.

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Is your life today as warm and cheerful as a bright summer’s day?  Soak in the rays and rejoice!

Are there troubles on the horizon, making it hard to see how the future will unfold?  Let the light of God guide you.

Are the storms of life–illness and injury, financial setbacks, broken relationships–clouding your days?  Have faith that the radiant glow of the Lord’s compassion shines behind the thunderhead.

Are you facing the loss of a loved one in the dark grief of sunset?  The blazing love of Jesus is a light that will comfort you as you mourn.

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Jesus is the Light you need every day, every kind of day, in every circumstance.  Look to Him.

Seek the Light.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29   NIV

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Diane W. Bailey  linking with Diane Bailey

Essential Fridays Linkup

 

 

 

 

linking with Essential Thing Devotions

 

 

 

 

 

linking with Holley Gerth

 

 

The Longest Day

I saw a golden glow to the west in the space between the evergreens.  I grabbed my camera and hurried out the back door to capture the sunset.  To the south over a neighboring farm and to the north over steel grain bins, wispy clouds glowed pink, creating a high canopy over the steel-blue line of another front moving in.

On this evening, one day past summer solstice–the longest day of the year–the sun had just dipped below the horizon.  The clouds, far north in the western sky, were splashed gold and rose and azure.

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In the northern hemisphere (where I live), each day will now be shorter, and the sun will seem to set farther south, until winter’s start in the cold, dark days before Christmas.

I have passed, unknowingly, my personal summer solstice, too.  The number of days behind me outnumbers those ahead.  I have a choice now to let this realization color my remaining years with sadness only or to leave room for the broad strokes of thankfulness.  I want to say, with David, that my

my cup brims with blessing   Psalm 23:5   MSG

I embrace the Biblical phrase “full of years” that was applied to Abraham, Job, and David. I hope to also be “full of years,” overflowing with experiences, friends, family–all manner of blessings.  I want my death to be at a “good age,” regardless of the actual number of years.  Imagine the joy of one day being “gathered to [your] people.”

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.   Genesis 25:8   NIV

I am becoming more content with the inevitable conclusion of life and the aging process, too, although I experience the typical fears:

illness of body and mind, debilitating disease, loneliness, and ostensibly outliving my usefulness.  I need to remember this verse:

They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,

Psalm 92:14   NIV

The fruit may not be the same as it was when I was younger.  It may not be of the same quantity, but as long as the tree or vine is alive, it can still yield a crop.

Until then I will rest in the arms of the One who carries me and sustains me.  I will clutch these promises tight to my heart with age-spotted hands.  I will walk outside with wind-blown, white-shot hair and watch the sunsets and thank God for blessings without number.

And I will praise Him for the final rescue, the rescue from death, in the never-ending Longest Day that is yet to come.

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Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Psalm 46:4   NIV

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linking with Holley Gerth

 

Essential Fridays Linkup

 

 

 

linking with Essential Thing Devotions

 

Thankful 30: Day 29–Readers

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 29:  I’m thankful for you readers who visit this blog.

I appreciate your kind and encouraging words.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I Thessalonians 5:11

For those of you who have enjoyed and commented on the photos of sunrise and sunset, this is how the morning and evening sky was painted today.

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Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,   Habakkuk 3:3

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See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 27–Sunset

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 27:  I’m grateful for sunsets.

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The rosy glow of the setting sun painted the dining room, as phantom chair and lamp shadows glided up the walls.

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The pastels shades of the evening light invited me outside to watch the sky being transformed by sunset.

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The delicate colors in the sky were backdrop to milkweed and common grasses.

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As the shadows deepened, the colors intensified.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!

Isaiah 9:2   The Message

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The horizon began to burn with gold and rose-tinted fire.

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.  I Timothy 6:15,16   NIV

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All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.   2 Corinthians 4:5,6   The Message

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An explosion of color, of glory!

Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.

John 1:3-5   The Message

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See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 16–Sunset Rain

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 16, November 16

I am grateful that I live in the country, so that I can see a sky full of glory like this.

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Late this afternoon the “scattered thundershowers” of the weather forecast coincided with the setting sun.

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The dark clouds full of heavy, splashing drops scudded past our farm.  I’m thankful I was  home and was able to watch the cumulus bloom.

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Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
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praise him in the heights above.  Psalm 148:1   NIV

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Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.   Psalm 148:4

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Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.   Psalm 148:3   NIV

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See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

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