Now that the holidays are over and decorations are down and away, do your walls seem bare and in need of an uplift? Why not consider some wall art to freshen up your decor? Check out these two photo sites below to help.
This picture intrigues me. I look at it and see the cross in the forefront, standing strong, with the church behind it. Let’s say the church represents God, although it is just a building it has come to depict God. We also see the cross, which we need to go through, to get to God. This is the only way to restoration with God, through Jesus, God’s only son. Jesus took our sins upon Himself as He hung on the cross with arms stretched out for us. This picture illustrates that for us. In the Bible we read about salvation through Jesus.
“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.3.16NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John.14.6NKJV
Jesus tells us in His word, that He will never leave us nor forsake us. See 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.” Deuteronomy 31:6NKJV
Looking at this picture I not only see the cross to remind me of what Jesus did for us, but also how God stands strong. He is always there for us. He is the true foundation that we must hold on to. Again, the above photo illustrates this for us.
There is an old hymn “The Churches One Foundation” written by Samuel John Stone, which is now public domain. Read the lyrics below and prayerfully reflect on them. Help us to not let His foundation crumble.
1 The church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is His new creation, by water and the Word; from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.
2 Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth, her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy Name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.
3 Tho’ with a scornful wonder, men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed, yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.
4 The church shall never perish! Her dear Lord, to defend, to guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end; tho’ there be those that hate her and false sons in her pale, against the foe or traitor she ever shall prevail.
5 ‘Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace for evermore; till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.
6 Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won. O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.
“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV
When you look at this picture what is one thing you can say for sure? Upon looking at it you can definitely say this is an Amish Buggy. It surely belongs to the Amish. What is it then that makes us know and be able to say, “There is the Amish?”They have certain beliefs and live them out through their lifestyle. Faith, family, community and simplicity are important to them. They believe worldliness can cause them to not be close to God. They choose not to use electricity, modern machines, equipment or vehicles. The Amish adhere to modest and distinct clothing, which they all wear. The Amish live out their beliefs, to the best they can, and they do have a unique lifestyle,which definitely gets noticed. They must comply with the Ordnung rules or face the possibility of being excommunicated or shunned. It is a strict lifestyle to uphold. They exemplify the scripture below.
“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV
Now the obvious question to us who are Christians is, “How shall they know us?” We also have faith and a belief system. We too believe in God and try, to the best of our ability, to live according to His will as is stated in the Bible, God’s word. Faith, family and community are important to us, as well. We, like the Amish, believe that worldliness is not gain for us, as while we are in the world, we are not of it. God warns us about this.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19 NKJV
We, unlike the Amish, use the advantages that modern technology can offer. When used properly and in moderation they can be helpful in our lives. Our dress, although not a specific dress code as the Amish adhere to, should reflect God’s standards. We look to God’s word to guide us in walking according to His will and ways. If we are Christians and truly believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we do have a responsibility to follow how God wants us to behave. Jesus gave us two commandments, they have become known as “The Greatest Commandments.”
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22: 37-40 NKJV
Our example is not as obvious or outward as The Amish, but more inward, led by the Spirit of God dwelling in us. We have a lifestyle that is unique also. Our behavior should reflect the fruit of the spirit, given to us through His helper, The Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
To answer the question “How shall they know us?”, we need to look at what Jesus tells us in His word. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV
DO THEY KNOW US? CAN PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US THEY ARE CHRISTIANS? ARE WE LOVING ONE ANOTHER AS GOD HAS TOLD US TO?
“The Light shines in the darkness, And the darknesshas not overcome it.” John 1:5
We are all familiarwith Lighthouses. I remember learning that the first lighthouse dates back to over 2,000 years ago. They were and are used as navigational aids, helping sailors navigate through the seaways. Many of the early forms of lighthouses were just bonfires set on beaches along the shore. Sadly, over time lighthouses have become somewhat obsolete with the advances in technology. Lighthouses still stand in many places and are a reminder and a comfort to sea going ships, even if they are not technically needed.
This particular lighthouse, in the photo, stands on Lighthouse Point, where The Oswegatchie River flows into The Saint Lawrence River, along The Saint Lawrence Seaway. Although not officially in commission it has been restored by the owner, who lives in the house. In October of 2011 the lighthouse was relit as a tribute to its history. Once again all the many large ships that travel this seaway can see and enjoy the light.
We find ourselves sailing through another year, we refer to it as “A New Year.” It lies before us fresh like a blank book, just waiting for us to fill in the pages, as we navigate our way. There is so much unknown ahead, we surely need guidance to help us.
As the sailor set out upon the open seaways, the lighthouses directed them. They stood steadfast, they were their light in the darkness, marking the pathway and warning them of danger. We, like the sailors, can use all the guidance and direction we can get, as we venture out into the unknown before us. Thankfully, we have God,the creator of all, to call upon. We are not left alone to get through our passage on earth. Do not let Him become past tense.
As I contemplated the plight of the lighthouse, I thoughtfully considered our dilemma in a world where technology takes center stage. Has God become somewhat second place or worse yet, obsolete to us, as our guide. This is a great danger. Has technology, social media, the meta verse, the cloud, with all its capabilities, distractions, attractions and gadgets caused the need for the true light of the world, our Lord, to grow dim? Let this not become the case!!
God tells us, in His word, to look unto Him. He is the light of the world. He is the way maker and He will never leave us nor forsake us, we need to heed His word. Let us regard the following scripture verses.
John 8:12 “ I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (NKJV)
Isaiah 43:16 “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, And a path through the mighty waters” (NKJV)
Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NKJV)
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (NKJV)
Proverbs 3:6 “ In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (NIV)
Heed His word!! Do not let the ways of the world take the place of God. Do not let His light grow dim in these unsettling times. We need Him even more than ever. Never let Him become obsolete in our lives. He is the only true light of the world. Reach out today, He is waiting.
This photo was taken in April. The buds were just blooming. Along came some snow, softly covering the new flowers. It took a very pretty picture. It reminded me of a Bible verse talking about the seasons. Of course, that verse is Ecclesiastes 3:1:
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” NKJV
Even if seasons overlap a little, they do each have their own time and purpose. It is nice we get to enjoy them.
It was a pleasure to experience this awe-inspiring scene one chilly winter day. Despite the cold, barren setting, the brightly shining sun, gave out such a sense of warmth. Even though it was a snowy wintry day, the sun illuminated the entire area, covering it with a blazing glow. It appeared to be setting the trees on fire. It was an extraordinary sight to behold! I call it, “A Sunny Snowy Day.” The scripture in 1 Peter 1:7 (NKJV) tells us:
“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
How is your faith? Are you in a struggle? Are you fighting through various trials and temptations? Does the light seem to be going out or flickering? In James 1:2-4 (NKJV) we get inspiration to carry on.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Do we count it all JOY? Are we pressing on to the prize? We do not always see the working of God in us to grow our faith. He may use our situations, in life, to help us realize what really matters. Your FAITH is more precious than GOLD! Keep your faith, let it shine forth in all things, not just the good times. Your surroundings and situations should not matter.
Look unto Him, the “SON”. The “SON” is always there, no matter what season or place we are, in our life. As a child of God, we need to let Him be our refiner, purifier, and polisher. Let God’s perfect design for you shine forth. Let your FAITH in the SON glow. May God set us on fire, as He completes His work in each of us!
People tend to get excited when they see a rainbow. “Hey, look there is a rainbow!” “Wow, I just saw a rainbow!” “That rainbow was so awesome!” These might be some thoughts exclaimed upon seeing a rainbow. Have you ever wondered why it brings this reaction? Yes, it is a beautiful, colorful and wonderful sight to envision. However, maybe the reason we get such delight goes much deeper than this. Perhaps, deep inside we know it is a reminder of God’s love and promise to us.
“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13 (NKJV)
Let us remember God created us in the beginning, in His image. Sadly, it didn’t take long for mankind to sin and fall from God’s grace. God was repentant, sorry, that He had created us.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:5-9 (NKJV)
God decided to destroy all, through a flood covering the whole earth. Thankfully, Noah found grace in His sight. God allowed Noah and his family to be saved, by entering the ark. This became their home and provision for safety throughout the flood. When the waters receded and land was visible, Noah and his family got off the ark. God made a beautiful rainbow in the sky. He said this was a sign of His promise to mankind, which is not to destroy the earth by a flood again.
“Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud.” Genesis 9: 11-14 (NKJV)
Upon seeing a rainbow, we are mindful of God’s love and grace. We also are reminded of God’s promise to mankind. Let us realize the rainbow goes all the way back to the flood with Noah. The fact that the rainbow is still in existence today shows us that God and His word are real! God keeps His word and can be trusted. This truly is a joy and comfort. What a colorful promise indeed! So, the next time you are enjoying the sight of a rainbow, never forget God’s promise and love for us. Honestly, this is the pot of gold. It is greater than anything the gold could ever buy. Rejoice and be glad. Enjoy!
It is the winter, a season of cold and dreary weather. The trees are bare and empty. However, they still reach out their branches to heaven and stand strong. God is shining through; His love and light are ever radiating. Whatever season you are in, in your life, or no matter what situation you are going through, you are never alone. God says He is the vine and we are the branches. He also tells us that we need to abide in Him for us to bear fruit, to have success. If we abide in Him, He abides in us. It is this working together, in the right relationship, that produces a good result. He is faithful and will be with you. His love and light enfold all who welcome Him. In the verse John 15:5, it says without Him we can do nothing. We need Him and He wants us.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5(NKJV)
Do not let this get you down that you can do nothing without Him. I would not want to be without Him because He is our sustainer. God does not leave us helpless. The Bible tells us that we can do all things through Him. He is our hope, and that should comfort and strengthen us.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Whatever you face in life, in this world, keep your eyes on The Cross. With the Cross before us, we can never lose. Because of God’s Grace, we have Hope.
Listed below are some scriptures that tell us this truth.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Peter 2:24-25 (NKJV) “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
John 3:16 (NKJV) “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.”
Matthew 10:38 (NKJV) “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 16:24 (NKJV) “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'”
Keep your eyes looking up to where your help comes from. There is hope and grace in Christ.
Romans 15:13 (NKJV) “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Take the time, be still or dormant for a season, then the refreshing will come.
Many of us would not consider the winter season to be refreshing, as said in Proverbs 25:13. Living in the north country of New York, I had to learn to deal with winter. Winter is the longest season up here. It can be extremely cold, very snowy and yes quite long to endure. Since most of the time is spent indoors, using it wisely for a season of refreshing, or better said as renewing, is helpful. Actually, this is a scriptural principle.
Ephesians 4:23(NKJV) tells us, “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
There are the seasons of busyness in our lives, all throughout our years. Taking a “time out”, being dormant or still is needed to grow and gain renewed strength. Let us learn from nature around us.
John 12:24(NKJV) “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.”
The pictures of the grass, wheat, and plant appear to be dead or barren. The river is frozen; it’s very still. They all seem to be in a state of uselessness, when really, they are resting and refueling for the next season of fruitfulness. Whether a beautiful flower to behold or a delicious fruit to eat, they are busy preparing to emerge again. It is hard work, and the dormant season is necessary. They are being still, resting so they can be revived once again.
Do we take time to be still? God tells us in His word,
“Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).
I look at winter as a “time out”; a time to reflect, prepare and refuel. We also can be ready for the busier seasons ahead. A day of lightly glittering, quietly falling snow can be peaceful and cleansing. It is a beautiful sight to behold. Being still and enjoying the wonderful beauty winter has to offer can help bring renewal and refreshment to your soul.