Renewal Bursts Through

Break through with newness of life !

Spring has finally arrived, and we embrace the miracle of new life appearing again. Gently, yet determined to push through, the lilac appears, birthing a new flower. New life has come!  We see the flower peeking out and get to enjoy the beauty it brings.  Yes, the lilac is lovely to look at, but another benefit is the pleasant fragrance it offers. This rebirthing brings us a sense of hope.  It tells us the lilac plant endured through another winter.  If we persevere through hardships; we also can experience renewal in our life.  

The lilac tree persevered through the cold, snowy and icy weather. Patiently, it waited to bloom, to become all God wanted it to be. It forbearingly endured through the difficult winter. This is not always easy. Ladies think of giving birth. Patiently you wait for the baby to form and be ready. Then the time comes to push out this new life; so, it can grow into all God has designed for it.

Now we can apply this to our daily struggles; in which we all find ourselves.  Life has a way of bringing us many trials and tribulations. These difficult times can help us to grow stronger if we persevere.  They can bring about refreshment and renewal on the other side.  God tells us this in Romans 5:3 (NKJV):

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.”   

Of course, none of us like going through trials or tribulations; however, we must keep our mind on the result.  Be strong and persevere, do not grow weary my friends for God promised us help when we fall into various trials.  The Bible tells us in James 1:2-8(NKJV) to count it all joy, looking to the end of the trial.

“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.  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. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

We are all in a tribulation of great multitude at this point with Covid 19 spreading wildly.  It has affected the entire world and each of us personally, in many ways.   Look to God to help us through this.  Let us pray the end of this matter will help us all to see things a little differently.  Not that all this horror is good, but during this pause, take time to reflect and find what really matters. Become all God wants you to be. Let Him work in and through you.  Bloom fully!  Be well, stay safe and God Bless.

© Denise L. Calandra

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

The Good Shepherd

Jesus Lamb of God

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Who is Jesus Christ?  We learn in the Scriptures, He is the Son of God, Our Savior, The Lamb of God, The Prince of Peace, The Coming King, The Good Shepherd, to name a few. I want to focus on Him as The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, and our Savior, as we commemorate His resurrection.

Sadly, for this to happen, Jesus had to go through the agony of suffering on the cross.  This is the reason He came into the world, to die for us, to save us from our sin.  Through the Lenten season we reflect on this gruesome event. Thankfully, because He was willing to suffer for us, we now can embrace His resurrection and victory over sin. He is alive! 

Jesus already laid down His life for us, so now He takes up His role as The Good Shepherd to keep us in His flock. His love and care for us did not end on the cross!  What is a shepherd? A shepherd is a person who cares for, tends and guards his sheep. He will even lay down His life for the sheep.  Furthermore, we think of a person who protects, guides and watches over others as a shepherd. In the following Bible verse Jesus tells us, Himself, that He is The Good Shepherd.  

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:11-15(NKJV)  

This is something to celebrate.  He cares for us; we are His sheep. He rose from the dead for this purpose. Because He lives, we have hope, we are not alone.  In Hebrews 13:5, Jesus tells us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Moreover, His love for us is not a superficial love, but a love of great depth.  He loves us each so much that if just one of us was lost, He would have still come and died for our sin alone.  See the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-14 (NKJV):

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.  For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think?  If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?  And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” 

This brings me to the featured photo of the stained-glass window. I really enjoy these windows. Stained-glass windows are so engaging; they tell a story with their pictures alone. They truly are a unique form of art. Sadly; it is a form of the past.

  This alluring stained-glass window is in St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ogdensburg, NY.  It is one of the many beautiful windows on display there.

 Jesus, The Good Shepherd, is fully expressed for us in this stained-glass window. Here we see Jesus holding a staff in one hand, while holding a lamb in His other.  The lamb He is holding is that one lost lamb. We also see He is out and about in a pasture, keeping watch over the rest of His flock as well.  Jesus, The Lamb of God, our Good Shepherd portrayed well, without any words needed! 

On this resurrection day embrace The Good Shepherd, let Him guide your life. Rejoice!

Happy Easter

© Denise L. Calandra

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Could It Be Something Like This?

Many of us have heard stories from people who were close to death.  They tell about their experience of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  There have been quite a number of these accounts in near-death situations. This is definitely a reassurance how God is there and is REAL. 

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to see this light?  When visiting Whiteface Mountain, in The Adirondacks of New York, to get to the top of the mountain; you must walk through the tunnel pictured above.  As I stood at the entrance to this tunnel, I couldn’t help but think about, “The Light at the end of the tunnel!”  Could it be something like this? I need to follow the light.

In life, we face many different circumstances. In some of them, we may long for the end of the problem to arrive.   We might have to endure for a longer time than we like.  The expression “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” is used to help us get through.  If we put our trust in God, we always have hope.  Keep looking to the Lord, He is the light of the world.  He tells us this in John 8:12 (NKJV). 

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

At this moment in time, we are waiting upon the Lord to calm the storm of illness from spreading its destruction any further.   We all have many emotions to deal with during this crisis.  We must go to God and His word to get His faithful reassurance.

“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 the 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 4:17-18(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)

Keep looking to the Lord, our light, and get through the tunnel confidently.  God Bless and be well. 

©Denise L Calandra

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.

In Jesus Name, The Lord, Our Strong Tower.

For This Purpose I came Into The World

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV)

The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, surely is a representation of Jesus our strong tower.  What a joy to have been able to view this in person.   The cross is predominating; you really can’t miss it!  It is upright in its glory for all to clearly see.

The Cross is a symbol of joy, love, peace, grace, hope, mercy, salvation, safety and so much more.  Ultimately, it stands for the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. This is, of course, all wonderful for us; however, it goes much deeper than this. The joy, love, sacrifice and all of what I mentioned above are the result of the willingness of the “Son of God” to endure this ordeal.  The other side of the story had to take place for this symbol to mean so much to us.

Let us consider the “other side of the story,” as we are in the Lenten season.  During this time, we need to reflect and consider all that Jesus endured for us. Without His willingness to tolerate this pain, we would not have the glorious Resurrection Day, Easter, to celebrate.

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour.’ But for this purpose, I came to this hour.  ‘Father, glorify your name.’” John 12:27-28 (NKJV)

Jesus was aware, His entire life, of the reason He was sent to earth and all that He would go through.  Actually, He foreknew before His earthly existence, yet He still came to die for us.  He bore this burden for our salvation.

“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 (NKJV)

The physical suffering and agony that He was put through, is greater than any of us could ever imagine. As a matter of fact, it was unbearable.  We focus on this aspect more, but what about the emotional suffering He experienced?  He prayed and literally sweated drops of blood over His upcoming fulfilling of purpose.  I believe the emotional was even more unbearable than the physical.  Consider this, Jesus the Son of God, part of the trinity, in heavenly bliss with His Father, knowing no sin, became sin for us and was separated from God.  This caused Him to cry out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”   Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)

Ponder this, He was physically whipped, tortured, beaten, mocked, shamed, crucified; and then He was separated from God, as the sin of the world fell on Him.  This was the ultimate agony that He endured for us. Yes, The Cross, is a symbol of joy, love, peace, grace, hope, mercy, salvation, safety and so much more. Prayerfully, we will never forget the reason why.  All this leads us to Easter, Resurrection Day!  Hallelujah, thanks be to our God!

For a full detailed account of Jesus’ suffering go to: inspirationalcorner.blog/easter, it is an inspirational read.  I highly recommend it. 

© Denise L. Calandra