Nature Speaks

Soft and low a voice is calling,

Bids me leave my toil and care,

On my ear the accents falling

Glad and free I hasten there.

‘Tis the voice of nature pleading

Sweet, like music in the air;

And ’tis God’s great hand that’s leading

Me to seek and find Him there.

Little birds to me are singing

Of a God who’s over all;

Merrily their flight are winging,

Knowing He’ll not let them fall.

Little flowers to me are speaking

Of a God who’s always true;

Nature, as a whole, is seeking

To impart me life anew.

Oh! that I might heed her teaching,

Be more trustful every day ;

List the sermons she is preaching

Pointing to the heavenward way.

Day by day from her I’m learning,

Walking paths that Jesus trod,

Till at last my heart is turning

Upward, to sweet nature’s God.

                       —Esther Fiedler.

New Worlds to Conquer in the New Year

“No more worlds to conquer”—and great Alexander wept.

How blind he had become because his moral senses slept!

 His narrow world of selfishness is all that he had seen;

The vast world of the spirit was, to him,unknown, unseen.

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Those rich realms of the spirit hold new worlds to conquer still.

 What exploits now await the men of vision and of will,

What great discoveries will be made, what victories will be gained,

What treasures of contentment and of peace will be attained!

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If we beat back the barriers of ignorance and doubt,

And triumph o’er the enemies of peace within, without;

If we push back the wilderness of want and human need,

Then we can take our places with the pioneers, indeed.

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Come, let’s fell the savage forest of fear and hate and strife,

And open up new highways to a better way of life.

Let’s level mountains of our pride that shut men from our view,

And bridge the yawning chasms of misunderstanding, too.

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There ARE new worlds to conquer—let us cross each new frontier.

May God help us accept the challenge of this great new year. 

Poem by Adlai A. Esteb

Consider the words of this poem from the Australian Record and Advent World Survey – January 1, 1962

Questions for Consideration:

  • In 323 BC, at age 32, Alexander the great conquered the then-know world, and yet, by most accounts, drank himself to death.
    • What areas of great victory can I  celebrate from this past year?
    • What new enemies – unknown, unseen – must I  face in the new year?   
  • If we beat back the barriers of ignorance and doubt, And triumph o’er the enemies of peace within, without;
    • What is a new thing I can learn, a question that I choose to answer in 2019?
    • Where in my life do the “enemies of peace” run rampant and will I confront them?
  • Let’s level mountains of our pride that shut men from our view, And bridge the yawning chasms of misunderstanding, too.  
    • Who have I shut out behind my “mountain of pride” or separated myself from across the “chasms of misunderstanding”, and how can I restore that relationship?

Scriptural Reflection:

My son told me a joke recently.  He said, Daddy, what goes up and never comes down? I did not know the answer, so I asked him to tell me the answer to his riddle, and he shared simply our AGE.  Paul encourages us that though we can’t get younger on the outside we can renew the inner man every single day.  Don’t fall for the trap of outward transformation alone – what Jesus termed – white-washed tombs [ Matthew 23:27] but seek also to renew the inner man as well.  After all “A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next.” – Maranatha