Another Flag at Half-Staff

 

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Another shooting last night…two songs and a prayer swelled up in me.  I need not say anymore…

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan, 1962

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Where have all the flowers gone
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone
Young girls pick them, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn
Oh, when will they ever learn

Where have all the young girls gone
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone
Gone for husbands, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn

Where have all the husbands gone
Long time passing
Where have all the husbands gone
Long time ago
Where have all the husbands gone
Gone for soldiers, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn
Oh, when will they ever learn

Where have all the soldiers gone
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn

Where have all the graveyards gone
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone
Gone to flowers, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn
Oh, when will they ever learn

Where have all the flowers gone
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone
Young girls have picked them, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn
Oh, when will they ever learn

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

 

Oh, LORD, forgive us our sins.  Heal this land, this nation, this world, O God.  We have fallen so very far away from You, Father.  Forgive us. When will we ever learn? 

I seek Your face and know You care about us.  I know You love us.  But have You given up on us?  I think not.  You called Your children over and over again as they wandered in the wilderness and were held in captivity.  You are calling to us to turn from our wicked ways and come to You.  I pray for us as a world, as a nation, as individuals.  May we get on our knees before You, before the Cross of Christ and repent of our ways that we may return to You.  I pray this with a heavy heart for my own loss, but the loss of the nation and the world seems extremely heavy to bear.  Christ, please take these burdens from me for I cannot carry them.  I pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.  

 

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His Invisible Attributes

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For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.   Romans 1:20

But as for me, I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.  Psalm 71:14

How do we come to know God?  He is infinite.  He Omniscient.  He is Omnipresent.  He is Omnipotent.  He always existed.  He is the Great I AM.  How can I wrap my brain and heart around this God from this tiny life I am here on earth?  I feel so small when I think about my Creator, my Strength, my Healer, my Redeemer.  How can I know that Him?

Matthew Henry stated:  The being of God may be apprehended, but cannot be comprehended. 

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How can I call Him all of these things when I cannot even know Him?  How can I know that He will be so much for me when He is invisible to me?

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. Ecclesiastes 11:5

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Psalm 139:15

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His Word tells me that He is all that He says He is.  The Word is the Truth.  I believe God’s Word.

I look all around me…at the trees, the birds, the flowers…seeing God’s natural beauty.

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God shows Himself in ways that are birthed in the natural.  We see His beauty all around us.

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Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.  Acts 14:17

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

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Lift up your eyes on high
And see Who has created these stars,
The One Who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.  Isaiah 40:26

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“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”  Acts 17:24-28

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When I find these words in the Bible telling me that the LORD is, and He is all, I trust and open my heart.

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  Psalm 18:2

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Father, You are God and Creator of my soul, body, and mind.  You know all.  You are over all.  Your beauty surrounds me.  I see it in the trees, the streams, the color of Fall, the flowers of Spring and Summer, the rain and the snow.  I hear it from the tops of trees…a bird’s chirping.  I see their colors.  They are of You and remind me of Your amazing touch on all.  You painted a beautiful natural world.  I see it through my eyes, hear it through my ears, and sense it in my heart and soul.  Your world is my temporary home.  One day I will be in a Home with You.  Oh, what a glorious day that will be.  The natural beauty that is here in the things around me, the National Parks, the breadth and blues of the oceans, the clouds and sky above me…these give me a glimpse of the beauty of our Heavenly Home.  Father God, You are the Artist and Creator of this natural world here.  I cannot even imagine the Heavenly Home You have prepared for us..  What beauty You have created.  Thank You, for I come to know You a bit better each day as I see my world.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

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  1. Christian Computer Wallpaper:  http://www.christiancomputerwallpaper.com/author/editor/
  2. Psalm Quotes for Winter, Melinda Somers, Via Karina Martínez,  http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/8082747/

  3. Snow on branch:  http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/cold,scripture/Interesting

  4. “Snow Falling” – http://www.bwallpapers.com/wallpaper/snow-falling-4569/

  5. Psalm Quotes for Winter, Julie Rios, http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/8197395/

  6. Psalm Quotes,  http://www.psalmsquotes.com/psalm-19-1-famous.htm

  7. Night Stars: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=night+stars&title=Special:Search&go=Go&searchToken=5kja8wlaa2wp6btgjd8pjw0wb

  8. “What no mind….”  http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/cold,scripture/Interesting

  9. Psalm Quotes: Veronica Herman, Psalm And Winter Scene Photograph,    http://quotesgram.com/img/psalm-quotes-for-winter/45490/

 

 

 

 

Perishable to Imperishable Seeds

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Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Blankets…so vivid and lush in the Texas Hill Country this past week.  The peak of wildflower season here…we decided to venture there for a few days.  It was beautiful.

God’s Glory shone all around us wherever we drove.  Winding Farm-to-Market roads, County Roads, and two-lane Texas Highways.  Flowers everywhere.  BUT…photographs of these flowers do not give the real carpet-effect on this screen.  Each stem stands about 6-8 inches high…some clumped together…some spread apart.  The colors are so much brighter in person.  You know what I am saying!

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A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:6-8

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Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

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As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,

and His righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep His covenant

and remember to do His commandments.

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,

and His kingdom rules over all.  Psalm 103:13-19

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YES…these beautiful flowers were at their peak while we were there, but they will fade.  The season is now to see them at their best.  The beauty…clearly there.  God created these amazing flowers.  He created us…you and me.  We, too, will fade in these physical bodies, but if we are born again in Christ Jesus, we are of imperishable seed .  We will meet the Lord in Heaven one day.  These Scriptures tell us that God’s Word does not fade, nor does His love.

Father God, You are my All.  You are my Creator and the Love of my life.  You made these beautiful flowers for my eyes to behold.  The colors and the fragrances remind me that You are near.  Father, thank You for allowing us to get away for a few days in order to see the splendor of Your natural world.  We enjoyed it so.  You show us Yourself as we journeyed along the winding roadways of the Hill Country.  Oh, Father, You are truly Glorious.  You remind me that I am dust and am fading as I age, but You sent Your Son Who took my sins away.  I have been reborn with imperishable seed and will live in eternity with You.  Oh, Father, what a gift!  These little flowers remind me of the awesome sacrifice You made for me.  Truly, I pray, in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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For a brief history of Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification desires for the nation as well as Texas:

“Decades ago, Mrs. (Lady Bird) Johnson recognized that our country was losing its natural landscapes and its natural beauty. As much as 30 percent of the world’s native flora is at risk of extinction.”

Getting on the subject of beautification is like picking up a tangled skein of wool,” she wrote in her diary on January 27, 1965. “All the threads are interwoven — recreation and pollution and mental health, and the crime rate, and rapid transit, and highway beautification, and the war on poverty, and parks — national, state and local.  It is hard to hitch the conversation into one straight line, because everything leads to something else.”

Mrs. Johnson wanted to beautify the nation’s capital during her time as First Lady.  She and others did so much to make Washington, D.C., a capital city to be proud of as they filled the Mall, parks, and streets with flowers and new landscaping, refurbished run-down neighborhoods, and so much more.   She told the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital, “Over the past three years, the people in this room have produced nearly two and a half million dollars to take steps toward making this nation’s capital more livable and more beautiful. Not only is your handiwork enjoyed by the three million people who live and work in this city, it can be seen also by seventeen million visitors who come here each year, and our work has inspired other cities across the country.” 

She played a large part in getting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 into and through Congress, although she would have liked it better if it had passed without so many amendments.  It called for control of outdoor advertising along the nation’s Interstate Highway System and other federal primary highway systems. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

From the time Mrs. Johnson left the White House until she died in 2007, Mrs. Johnson never stopped desiring to beautify this country.  Mrs. Johnson and “actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes.  First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants.”  

Mrs. Johnson (and the Wildflower Center) encouraged the planting of seeds along roadways.  Many Texas highways and byways share the fruit of this labor in bright and brilliant color each Spring!