Changes

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!

© Denise L. Calandra 2021

Photo available at: https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

Lean-To


He is our shelter along the way

My husband, daughter and I were exploring The Remington Recreation Trail in Canton, NY, on a sunny summer day. Not taking this path before, we had no idea of what to expect. We were not sure where the path led, how long it was or where it ended. We discussed this as we continued walking along, enjoying the scenery. Around one of the turns on the walkway, we came across a shed building, known as a Lean-To. It was a picturesque setting to behold along the wooded pathway. It made me think about how it served as a place of shelter if we met up with inclement weather or needed a rest. What a surprise haven to find!     

This spurred me on to consider how much more of a treasure and refuge we have in our Lord and Savior. As we go through our life journey, overwhelming situations may come our way. It is a comfort to know that we have God to look to. He is our safe place. His word confirms this to us. Look at what these verses tell us: 

Psalm 91: 1-2 (NKJV) “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust’.”                                                                                    

Psalm 46: 1-6 (NKJV) “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.”

He assures us that He is our true Lean-To!! He is our shelter along the way.  Will you Trust Him today? There really is no other way.

© Denise L. Calandra 2021

Photo available at:  https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

He Will Make A Way

Isaiah 43:15-19 (NKJV)

“I am the Lord, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”

When we read these scriptures from Isaiah, we see how God makes a way for us. Imagine how the Israelites might have felt. Finally, they were set free! They were on their way to a better life.  As the Israelites, were on their journey, they came before this body of water right in front of them. There they were, with all their belongings, children and all. Now what could they do? How were they going to be able to cross over? Could they make it if they swam across? Moreover, let us not forget who was right behind, chasing them, not wanting to let them go. Pharoah and company changed their mind about setting the Israelites free.

Can you see our predicament in all of this? We too, once coming to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, are set free. Slowly, we begin to move ahead in our new life. Yet, who or what wants to tag along? Our old self does not want to let go either.

Do we get to a certain point, then become blocked as well? What is your Red Sea? What is your roadblock or stumbling point? Is it fear, doubt, finances, health, addiction, pain, or perhaps old sinful ways? It may not be the actual Red Sea, but it is a real block for us. Are you at your Red Sea?

Although the way can be long, do not lose heart. God is our true help and hope, in all things. Take another look at the verses in Isaiah. Verses 15-17, show us:

-We are set free.

-God parts the Red Sea, making a way.

-He brings down the pursuers.

In verses 18-19, we see:

-God admonishes us to forget the former things.

-He gives us hope that He is doing a new thing for us.

-He wants us to know it and walk in it.

Do not let discouragement bring you to a halt. Do not miss what He is doing for you. Just like the picture in the woods, there is a way to cross over the gully. It might not be the way you think it should be, but the way is there. God will and does make a way for us in our walk with Him. Get through that roadblock to the new thing He has for you. Remember, God will make a way where there is no way. Now go forth and receive it!

©Copyright: Denise L. Calandra 2021

Photo available at:  https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

The Heavenly Stairway

Psalm 37:23 (NKJV) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

It was at Fillmore Glen State Park, in New York, our family met. The date was September 2020, during the Covid 19 Pandemic. This being an open outside area, made it a great place to gather and enjoy some time together.

There was a 350-stair hike challenge, which we all survived. The stairs were wide and smooth making it easy (well sort of) to walk on. However, over in another section of the park was a much older stairway. It was narrow; the steps had crumbling stones in them. They were very uneven and steep. All of this made it difficult to walk up, unlike the other stairway. This stairway took all your attention and focus, lest you stumble and fall. Sunlight was shining through the trees creating an alluring effect on you. Surely you wanted to climb them, as difficult as it was, all the way to the top!

When I was back down at the bottom, I looked up the stairs and took a photo. I named the photo “The Heavenly Stairway.”  We are all on our journey through life. As we travel along, we face many different trials, temptations, and difficulties. We must navigate our way extremely carefully, so we do not stumble and fall. If you are a believer, then your destination is Heaven. How are you doing along your pathway? Thankfully, we are not left on our own to make it. Let us look at some scriptures to see what God is telling us and how He is there to help us.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (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 16:9 (NKJV) “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Psalm 37:23 (NKJV) “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

Romans 8:31 (NKJV) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

  • First, God tells us all things are possible through Christ. He is in us and is our strength. We can rely on Him to help us. We are not alone.
  • Secondly, we need to trust the Lord, completely. Do not depend on your own thoughts, acknowledge God and His ways, so He can direct your paths.
  • You may make plans, but let God lead you in them. You cannot go wrong with God as your guide.
  • If we are looking to God for direction, He will make a way for us to get through. He rejoices as we go.
  • Even if our way gets difficult and tiresome, He will not leave us nor forsake us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

When you see a challenge, do you run to it and give it all you have?  Perhaps, you back away from it, defeated before you even begin. This stairway in the photo can be a bit overwhelming at first.  I realize that not everyone can physically climb these steps, but that is not the point. The point is when you come across a challenge, an obstacle, or a difficulty, as you travel along your way, do not back away. Attack it, even if one step at a time, you are making progress. Eventually, you will make your desired goal. It is well worth the climb to reach the top of “The Heavenly Stairway.” Let God direct your steps in all things.

The featured picture is available to purchase @:  https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

© Copyright Denise L. Calandra 2021

Looking Up


“Unto thee, o Lord, Do I lift up my soul.”
Psalms 25:1

While standing at the front of this church building, it automatically causes me to look up. This steeple is awesome, but at the same time it makes me feel small and helpless. My thoughts turn heavenward, causing me to cry out to my Lord and God. What a comfort it is knowing He is there for us. This is just a building, however it does represent God to us. The building is built with a stone foundation and stands strong. How much more is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ our true rock and foundation? He stands even stronger!

In our daily life, with all the trials and struggles we sometimes face, isn’t it a comfort and wonder to know we have a God who is with us to help? The troubles can overwhelm us, making us feel small and helpless, as when standing by such a towering building. When we choose to look upon our true rock and foundation, God, we feel empowered and strengthened. Why? Let us read what the Bible tells us in His word about Jesus as our rock.

Psalms 18:2 (NIV)

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

While a church building may represent God to us, I am grateful to have the living God, my True Rock and Foundation to stand on. I pray you do as well, and if not, will you consider Him today?

©️copyright 2021 Denise L Calandra

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!

Clap Your Hands, Give Praise To God Our Creator!

Lift up our eyes and hands to God

While having the opportunity to explore the coastal areas of Alaska, I was pleasantly surprised.  I had the enjoyment of experiencing nature in its purest form.  It caused me to consider how the world might have looked, as God was creating it. It was overwhelmingly, awe-inspiring for me.  God’s creation is awesome! What a blessing; truly, this was a refreshing adventure.  I wonder what beauty lies further inland.  That waits for a future endeavor.

Looking upon this forest of trees, I began to sense the abundance of God.  He is not a small God, but wonderfully unlimited in all He has to offer us.  The thought, nothing is too hard for God, comes to mind.  He tells us this in Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV):

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is there anything too hard for Me?”  

Sometimes in our busy life, we need to step back, take a long deep breath, and give God all the praise and worship due to Him. We need to learn from His creation of nature.  Look closely at all the trees in the picture above, they are focused upward, to the heavens.  They know whom their creator and God is. They have no problem giving Him the glory and praise due to Him!  What about us?  Do we struggle in this?

I had no intention of talking about the situation the entire world finds itself in, at present.  However, this is a unique problem.  COVID-19 is affecting every nation and the way we all live our lives. Suddenly, the world seems a lot smaller.  We are all connected, and most definitely, dependent on God, the creator of all. So, is this our time to all take pause and reflect on what really matters? Perhaps it is time to put aside our differences, along with the hate and fear. This only divides us more. The two following scriptures remind us of who and what is important.

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV)

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, The Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NKJV)

Despite all that is going on in this world, remember God is still in control. We are His creation; He wants us to take time to know and to praise Him!  Be like the trees, look unto God.  Praise Him in all things.  Be safe and stay well.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1 (NKJV)

© Denise L Calandra

God’s Grace Our Hope

If along the way you encounter choppy times, stand firm, keep going, keep The Cross before you always.

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.”

© Denise L. Calandra

Thoughts, Resolutions, Pondering and Contemplation…As we consider a New Year Ahead.

Consider all that may be ahead. A vast amount of opportunity lies before us.

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

© Denise L. Calandra

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

What a peaceful, glorious, holy night. For unto us a child is born!

On a quiet night, a long time ago, a baby was born. He wasn’t just any baby, He was the Son of God, born for us.

Immanuel… “God With Us”

Christmas…”Christ Has Come”

This is the reason we celebrate. This is the coming of our Lord to save us all.

Merry Christmas and God Bless All!

© Denise L. Calandra