This picture was taken on a beautiful summer day. The blue color of the sky, with the white fluffy clouds and sun brightly shining, was masterfully designed by our Father in heaven. It compels you to look up and you can not help but consider how wonderful He is! Could this be how the sky looked as He ascended? It gives us reason to contemplate.
The season and events surrounding Easter is not just a one to three day time frame. It begins with the forty day period of Lent and continues through Palm Sunday, Holy Week, the crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Forty days after the resurrection Jesus ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God. Then ten days later, the day of Pentecost happened. This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. This also signifies the birth of the Christian church. The Day of Pentecost also ends the Easter season.
We tend to focus mainly on resurrection day, rightly so, however, there is much more to consider. Take the time to contemplate all that took place.
The ascension and day of Pentecost both were a fulfillment of Jesus’ ministry on earth. The Bible tells us in Acts 1:9-11 that He is coming back in the manner He ascended, in the clouds! Be ever so diligent and alert! Jesus tells us He is returning and He cautions us to be watching and ready, for no one knows the exact day, only the Father in heaven. Be ready!
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42NKJV
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” Matthew 25:31NKJV
“Shadows”, in life we all have them. These are two different pictures taken and put together as a double exposure. In doing this a shadowing affect was created. By shadows, I am referring to our past, that seems to keep following us. Ironically, these pictures were taken of my husband and myself, on a dock in our home town; where surely lies most of our past.
I am not saying that we need to forget or disregard all of our past, it helps define who we are. However, as a believer in Christ, there is a past that we definitely need to be rid of. It just bogs us down and creates problems. We are not meant to carry these burdens once we come to the Lord. This is the beautiful thing about the salvation God graciously gives to us.
“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.” 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 NKJV
We must understand all that God has done for us through His salvation in order to walk as He wants us to. Christ died for our sins and forgives us, because all have sinned and need a savior. See John 3:16-17 and Romans 3:23.
“ 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 NKJV
A key factor for us to remember is that God, not only forgives our sins, but He also forgets them. We are the ones who do not forget our past sins and punish ourselves, over and over, causing our past to control us. It “shadows” our daily lives, hindering our growth as new creations in Christ. God died to free us from these burdens. He does not want us burdened in this way. This makes us live ineffective lives.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NKJV
“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 NKJV
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 NKJV
There is so much to consider, yet still, there is so much more He has done for us. Let us now complete this with the thought of how God gives us newness of life. How are you doing? How are you walking in that? We seem to live such effectiveless lives. Don’t let your past sins haunt or hinder you. God forgives and forgets, so we also, need to forgive ourselves and forget our sins to go forward in newness of life. Stop dredging up the past and learn to live in His mercy and grace. It starts within ourselves; stop the “shadows “ from following you in your life now! Believe and trust His word and promises.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NKJV
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4 NKJV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
“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.
Are you caught in a time of change? Life is full of them. We can learn and grow from them all, good or bad.
How do you look at change? Life is full of them. Some changes are good, which we openly welcome. Others we find not so pleasant and are not as eager to embrace them. Regardless, in this life, there will always be changes for us to face.
This photo shows a flower going through a conversion process. It is not the more familiar process, which shows new life bursting forth, like in spring. The flower is going from a season of full glory to a dormant stage, a time to rest. The flower loses the color it had and quietly fades away. Yet it does not lose heart! Hibernation helps to protect the plant through the frigid winter season, so once again, it will thrive. During this period, the roots continue to develop and grow, enabling the flower to appear again.
We too, as humans, need to learn from the plants and the process God has put in place. When going through a change point in life it is okay, and even a necessity, to step back. God may have pulled you out for a season to reflect, to rest, study and renew oneself and emerge stronger than before.
God speaks to us through His word. Let us examine scripture verses to see what God has to say concerning this.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”
Do not fear or resist the change God has for you. Let go of the old and allow the new to emerge. God, in His way, does not want us to get too comfortable, change is a way He uses to guide us on. He wants us to embrace all He has for us. Remember, we are just passing through and the best is yet to come. Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. God Bless You!
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.
Looking out from Whiteface Mountain, we see hills, valleys, waterways; what an endless display of natural beauty. It can bring peacefulness to us, as we behold such grandeur. We clearly can see all the landscape in front of us. Thinking forward, at this point, consider that we cannot see into our future and know all that will befall us; as we travel on our life journey. However, we can carefully consider and contemplate the paths and choices that are ahead. Thoughtfully pondering the situations before us, can help us to choose wisely our direction.
Yes, a “New Year” is once again upon us; actually, it is in full swing. Sometimes we think about it as a time for a new beginning, a fresh start, or a change of some kind. We might reflect on the past and ponder as we consider our future. Thoughts about what was helpful in the last year may go through our minds. We also, might question ourselves about what wasn’t so useful. We can contemplate about both aspects; learn from them and make any changes that can be a benefit to us. We may even make a “New Year Resolution,” that many times we do not keep. Maybe, it has already been broken!
There are many paths, roads, situations, challenges and choices that lie ahead for us this year. Let’s look at what some of these paths might be like. Use these photos, below, to visualize some situations we may encounter.
Some paths are leisurely and pleasant.
Some paths or circumstances are challenging.
Other paths may be choppy or unsure.
There are ups and downs, highs and lows, along with twists and turns.
Some paths are clearly marked, others are not. Some are long, some lonely and dark. Other ways are busy and crowded and some definitely connect one place to another.
Paths have a destination, some lead us to safety, others don’t. Some are lighted along the way, others are not. There can be hope at the end of certain roads, if we choose wisely the road to take.
As we can see many things await us each year. Some will be very welcome; others may not. There will be countless choices and decisions for us to consider. It can be difficult or complicated as we navigate our way through the trials of life. We all will need great wisdom to help and guide us along. I go to God’s word, The Bible, and see what the scriptures say. There is a verse for every situation. My thoughts and reasons for this blog is to help us to thoughtfully consider and ponder what lies ahead and prayerfully contemplate wise choices. May God Bless you all this year ahead. Have a wonderful journey.
Below are a few verses to help. Go search for yourself, there is an endless supply of wisdom available to you. Seek the words of the Lord. Happy travels.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1 NKJV
“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
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 NKJV
“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:26-27 NKJV
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.