A Beautiful Window From St John’s Ogdensburg, NY
A Beautiful Window From St John’s Ogdensburg, NY
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.
The cruise ship stopped in Juneau, Alaska, after all this was an Alaskan cruise. For most of the day, we explored the Juneau Mendenhall Glacier Park, which was awesome. It almost appeared fake; the beauty was surreal. Later that day, having a short time left before the ship was to set sail again, my husband and I decided to go up the tram in Juneau. The view of The Alaskan Coastal Mountain range was overwhelming in stature, simply put; it was magnificent to behold! In seeing God’s amazing creation, the scripture that came to my mind was:
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2 (KJV)
This area was pure untouched nature. I would have loved to explore the entire region; sadly, there was not enough time. However, in the short time that I was there, it made a lasting impression on me. He made such an amazing place, as the world, for us to live on; as well as giving us His inspired word, for us to live by. I know that He cares for us and will not at any time leave us nor forsake us. He at no time wanted us to be separated from Him.
In His word, The Bible, God reassures us that He is our help.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
Whatever you are going through at this time, if your circumstances seem overwhelming and impossible, if you are in a dark, low place, Look Up To The Hills From Whence Comes Your Help! You are not alone.
Up in the North Country of New York, we get to experience all four seasons. Some places in the world do not get seasonal changes. It can be nice to observe these seasonal transitions, as each time of year, has its own beauty.
The photo featured in this blog is during the season of winter. Winter in the north is very long, cold and snowy. Some winters are harsher than others. It can be difficult to get through to Spring. Many people choose to go to a warmer climate during the winter months. They are known as “Snowbirds. “
Although winter is not my favorite season, it does have some beauty to it that can be refreshing. I look at winter as a time to rest and be renewed. The weather causes us to do more inside activities. We can think about it as a time out. In God’s plan, things are dormant or in a state of hibernation during winter. They are in a waiting pattern; resting and replenishing. We need to learn from their example. Taking time to study, learn and reflect is a good way to spend the time.
God’s word tells us in Psalm 46:10(NKJV) to:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Each season has a purpose for us. A cold winter day, with freshly falling snow, has a peaceful, serenity to it. The photo of the frozen river on a freezing, yet sunny day, illustrates this well. Take a time out. Be Still and get to know God!
I live in a small rural “city” in Northern New York. I quote “city” not to diminish it, but growing up on Long Island, about 45 miles away from New York City; I view a city very different! Just a few minutes out of town, there is rural farmland. We also enjoy having a large Amish Community among us.
While traveling across the back roads one day, my husband and I came across this Amish farm of winter wheat. It was harvested and stacked in shocks. The Amish use a machine that is called a binder to harvest the wheat. They hitch the binder up to their horses to do the job. They do not use modern machinery. How they live is interesting, and the field of wheat sparked my curiosity. Of course, I had to get a picture.
Photos inspire me to think of God’s word and relate it to His creation. Planting, harvesting and sowing are all a part of His plan. The Bible verse I used for this photo is John 12:24.
“Most assuredly, I say to you ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.’” John 12:24 (NKJV)
In the verse, John 12:24, we can see, metaphorically, that Jesus is the seed that fell to the ground and died. He, even so, rose up to bring about an abundant harvest, for the glory of God. Through His sacrificial death, eternal life was made possible. This is the way God planned to redeem a lost world, through Christ, Himself, the perfect seed dying and rising again. We, who believe, are admonished to die to ourselves and live for Christ. By God’s grace, we can become a fruitful branch that produces a harvest for our Lord.
God not only shows us His spiritual provision for us, but His provision for our human needs as well. He cares for us through the planting, growing, and harvesting of the food we need to sustain our life. The farmer knows the cycle well. The picture of the field of winter wheat portrays the food, we need to eat here on earth, while John 12:24 speaks to us about our spiritual needs. Truly, this depicts God’s Harvest!
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
This setting is calling out to us to come and sit for a while. It says to take a rest; be still, learn and reflect. In these times of great busyness, this is a lost practice. In this world of stress, distractions and many troubles, we can lose sight of God and the peace we can have in Him. He wants to know us, and for us to know Him. Many things get in the way. We don’t make the time we need to build that relationship. It takes time to get to know Him and His word to us. He desires for us to have a relationship with Him. God wants to ease our burdens. We must give them to Him, and He will give us rest. Let us learn to stop, be still and listen.
Furthermore, Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV), speaks to us still more:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
As I think about how being still and spending time with the Lord is quickly becoming a missing practice, this old hymn came to mind. Sadly, hymns have become a lost entity as well. Really listen to the words in the hymn William Longstaff wrote. We are inspired to “Be holy, for I am holy” as said in 1 Peter 1:16(NKJV)
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Find rest in Him always, and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushing on; Much time spend in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; And run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord, And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Let us be sure to come to Jesus and take time to be holy. The picture bids us to, “Come Sit Awhile.”
Hymn “Take Time To Be Holy” Written by William Longstaff, 1882. Public Domain
“He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to give light in the night.” Psalm 105:39(NKJV)
The picture featured, illustrates this scripture very well. It shows the cloud, as the covering. The sun, with the red glow, portrays the fire. Psalm 105:39 tells us how God was there for the Israelite’s all through their exodus and journey in the wilderness. God led them out, but didn’t desert them, even though the Israelite’s complained like He had. That is not true, He supported them all along the way. They weren’t living a luxurious lifestyle, but their needs were being met in miraculous ways. Some thought it would be better to go back to Egypt. Had they already forgotten why they cried out to be delivered? They were living under harsh bondage. God is loving and caring.
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13: 5-6(NKJV)
We really can’t say too much about the Israelite’s and how they behaved, because we must honestly look at our own lives to see we have fallen into the same attitudes. We, who have the Holy Spirit as our helper, cannot even walk as we should. We grumble and complain. We are not content, as it tells us in the verse in Hebrews. God does care for us and is there for us through everything. He hasn’t deserted us either! His word teaches and guides us.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
This scripture says a lot. Simply put, it tells us that God doesn’t change. He gave us the Bible, His word; Holy Spirit inspired, for us to have and live by. It is His Story from creation (Genesis) to His coming again (Revelation). It has the beginning, the fall of man, His plan to redeem us, guides to life, many promises, the end; basically, everything we need to live by. God was with the Israelite’s as they wandered along their pilgrimage, and He is also with us as we travel on ours. May we at no time forget that He is our God, He is our helper, and He will not at any time leave us nor forsake us. God does not change; He will always be there for us. God is our covering.