The glowing warmth and radiance of God reaches down to us. This is a marvel to behold! Let us consider how glorious heaven must be. In the picture, we capture a burst of God, just a glimpse of His grandeur, which He allows us to see. The glory of God is glowing brightly for us to grasp. God is yearning for us to turn our hearts toward Him. We, as humans, have fallen from grace. We need a Savior! Although we may feel the need to hide ourselves from God, He still reaches out to us. The rays radiating toward us symbolize God extending His love and forgiveness. How does He do this? He does this by sending His son to earth.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16(NKJV)
Let us take a moment and turn this verse over in our thoughts. We are in great need and God, in His love for us, sent the greatest gift of all, His only Son. He gave Himself fully to take the punishment we deserve. This is Christmas, Christ with us. As we give our loved one’s gifts, let us also lift our eyes and hearts to Him. God gave His Son as the greatest gift to us. Therefore, we can give Him our hearts, as our finest gift to Him. This is the true gift exchange.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
While taking this photo, through the trees, I was trying to capture a feeling of depth and continuance. The opening in the trees forms a heart shape. It draws you into a continuity that stretches quite far. There is a ceaseless depth to God, which stretches into eternity. Looking through these trees, is like looking into the heart of God.
Thankfulness came upon me as I pondered the awe of God and His unending love for us. This led me to consider the thoughts of being appreciative and giving thanks. What is being thankful? I think it is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for someone or something. Being thankful should not be just a one-day event. Thankfulness really is a state of mind. Perhaps, looking deeper, we can even say it is our very being. In the Bible, God tells us to be thankful.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(NKJV)
It very explicitly says, “In everything give thanks!” This doesn’t mean, in some things, but EVERYTHING or better yet, IN ALL THINGS! Let us truly give thanks to God for all He has done and is doing for us; let it not last only for “Thanksgiving Day” but be continuous without ceasing. Enjoy and God Bless you and your families as we reflect on our blessings this Thanksgiving Day.
Be renewed and be refreshed; God is always there. He is continually flowing in us, taking care of our being. This photo is of a peaceful river with lovely green foliage thriving all around. Along the riverside are purple flowering plants in bloom. Looking at the setting in this picture brings about a relaxing sensation, a feeling that all is well and taken care of.
“The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 (NKJV)
The river is a ceaseless source of flowing water, which shows the perpetual love and out pouring from God to us. Both are the seedbed for our refreshment and nourishment. The richness of the river and its surroundings, reflect this. Our lives, as well, are deeply enriched by His constant renewing and refreshing, which He desires for us.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (NKJV)
Our Heavenly Father is the living God, our everlasting refreshment and flowing spiritual guide. He is the director of our life. Read, reflect, meditate on His word; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Let Him, ever be your nourishment. To God be the glory!
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” James 1: 22-24 (NKJV)
There are physical reflections and there are spiritual reflections, for us to see. Let’s look at the physical aspect of reflections. We use mirrors to capture the physical aspect. Mirrors are used to reflect an image. When we look in a mirror, we might not always like the image that is staring back at us. We physically can see this. There might be some things that we can do to change our picture. Perhaps, we need to smile. A good brushing of the teeth could help. You might consider grooming your hair nicer. Let us not forget a little make-up to the rescue! All of these affect our outside appearance. Although this isn’t the most important factor about us, it can help us to be more confident. It is our storefront!
Now we want to focus on the spiritual reflection, which is the more important part of us; the actual product of the storefront. The Bible speaks to us about the inner self, the person we truly are. This is harder to be seen. It can encompass what we believe, our thoughts, our desires, our reactions, our nature itself, for good or bad. Although I say it is harder to be seen, believe me, what is on the inside, is reflected outward for others to see. What are you showing?
God’s mirror reflects the spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of our life. We use a glass mirror to show us our outside appearance. What can we use to show us the spiritual reflection? We need to use God’s Word, The Bible, as our inner mirror. Think about this, God’s word is a guide for us to live by. Are we learning and living what God teaches us in His word? As it says in James 1: 22-24, we cannot just read the word; we must also do or live what it says, as well.
What are some of the reflections we should be able to see? Let us look at Galatians 5: 22-25(NKJV):
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
How is your spiritual mirror? Are you reflecting what is in God’s word? We need to read, study and learn God’s ways. Let the fruit of His Spirit flow in and out of you. His light will beam forth; and reflect from you to others.
Do you ever feel alone, afraid, helpless, hopeless, sad, stressed, discouraged or like giving up? Sadly, this list could go on and on and on. At times in life, we all can feel these emotions. This isn’t necessarily bad; we are human. However, when these feelings don’t go away quickly, and they seem to be overtaking us, is when they can become a problem or stronghold in our life.
In this photo, the tree is standing strong. The branch is outstretched with the leaves hanging on. The leaves don’t appear to be struggling, they appear to be relaxed and calm, we might say, trusting. The branch reaches out, knowing it is being held up by the strength of the tree. Again, we can use this as an example to show the trusting relationship needed for this to take place. Now think about us and how this is a representation of us and our relationship to God.
God is our strength. Do we allow Him to be it? How are you doing? Are you letting God be your strength? Are you calmly resting and trusting Him in your life situation right now? OR ARE YOU A STRESSED WRECK?
God tells us in Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV):
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”
In the background of this photo, the lighthouse stands with the light on. This stands for God and His ever-loving steadfastness in our life. The water is calmed for us by our God.
He tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV):
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
He tells us to be strong and courageous, to not be afraid. God is always there watching over us. Through everything, we can trust Him to light our way. We might feel like we are alone, but we are not, so don’t try to do it by yourself. God did not at any time, intend for us to be on our own. We read this fact all throughout scripture. We are His creation, and He cares for us. Let Him take the proper place in your life. Together, you can withstand all the storms of life. Remember, “He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
While driving home, one autumn day, there was an especially beautiful display of color and light. God’s glory was shining forth. The sun was radiant, as it was nearing time to set for the day. The color of the leaves lit up, glowing brightly from the sun shining on them. It was an awesome show from God.
I was getting near this special spot, known as the point, on The Saint Lawrence River, where the sunsets are just amazing to behold. That day’s sunset was extremely effulgent. Of course, I pulled over and just had to try to capture its glowing beauty.
This sunset trumpets God’s glory and grace. Every day the sun rises and the sun sets. Faithfully, this occurs day after day, as designed by God. Each day is gracefully given to us from God, Himself! What a wonderful gift. We give Him all the glory.
The bible verse from Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) tells us:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
God speaks to us through His word and creation. We see this is true by looking at the picture of the sunset; He created. Then we read about it in God’s word, both working together for His grace and glory. Surely, we can take comfort in believing Him when He says, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Walk in His ways and He will be with you.
In life, we travel across many paths. Sometimes we know where they lead, at other times we do not. It might seem like we are blindly wandering about out in the wilderness; the way to go is very unclear to us. What can we do? Before we get into what we can do, let’s look at the picture that is featured today. It illustrates a wilderness, with a pathway in the midst, with a glimmer of light to guide the way.
God tells us in His word what we should do. He tells us to trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NKJV)
We might have an idea about where we want to go, but we don’t know how to get there. Many obstacles may be in our path preventing us, or perhaps; God has other plans. We always need to pray for God’s will, not our own, and let Him direct our path.We must rid ourselves of our personal thoughts and desires and trust Him, with all our heart, to lead us down the correct path, even if that path is not clear. That’s where trust comes in.
Let’s compare this to a GPS. One way we use the GPS is to have it on, just to make sure, but we already know where we are going. Sometimes it might tell us to go a different way than we already know. Then we can choose which way we want to go, but we know we will get there. You are thankful for the help, but still in control.
Another way to use the GPS is when you have no idea where you are going at all. You are totally dependent on the directions being given to you on the device. Take the next exit, turn left, then right, etc., etc. It seems like you are going in circles, you have no clue, but then you hear, take the next left; your destination is on the right. You have arrived. You are relieved and thankful to make your destination, without getting lost. However, for a short period of time, you were not in control; you had to trust and rely completely on the directions you were being given. This can be stressful.
Now, let’s put this into a spiritual perspective. We really are not in control; although we like to think that we are. We must depend on God’s word and Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. God wants us to trust Him totally, in all things. This should not cause us stress, but should give us great peace and comfort. In life, our path may seem difficult or unclear, but when we trust God to lead us, we can be sure that we will be guided divinely. We must put our trust in Him. Oh Lord, help us not to lean on our own understanding. May we acknowledge you in all our ways. Please direct our paths. God’s GPS is always best!