Glowing ever so softly, the sun is radiating gloriously! It fully encompasses the area, with the glow of a spectacular sunset. I am reminded that God is our sun and shield. How wonderful is His love for us! He bestows His undeserved glory and grace upon us. Patiently and faithfully God is there for us! In His word it also says, we need to walk uprightly to be endowed with all His blessings. These are His words and promise to us. How do we do this? How do we walk uprightly, especially in these troubled times we are experiencing? God does not leave us without hope or a way out. Take heed to what He says in Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
Do not be overwhelmed or discouraged by outside circumstances. Do not let your peace be taken from you. Stand strong, gird up and trust Him with all your heart. Be a light amid all the darkness. As one cried in the wilderness; be one to shine in the dark.
“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:43 NKJV
Are you anxious, worried, stressed, or uneasy? Are you concerned about all the situations and circumstances in your life? Do you not know that you are of great value to God? We read in Matthew 6:26 (NKJV):
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
The picture above illustrates this scripture well. Walking along the Saint Lawrence Seaway Trail, the birds above were soaring, gliding, and fluttering about. They were enjoying themselves and appeared not to have a care in the world. They moved about with great ease. We tend to get heavy laden at times in life. We stumble and struggle through the days. The cares of the world take away our peace and joy. God does not want us to carry all these cares upon ourselves. He is our ever-present help in time of need. He tells us in His word to come to Him and to cast our care onto Him.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7(NKJV)
The birds really do not have a care in the world; we should not either! He wants us to trust Him, in all things. Give all our concerns to Him, so we too can glide our way along this earthly journey. Watching God’s extraordinary creation is surely a confirmation of what He proclaims in His word. To God be the glory! Cast your care upon Him, He truly does care for you. Do not forget that you are of great value to God!
One afternoon I was taking out our little Dachshund for some air and other business. I was feeling a little down, with all that is going on in the world right now. It can get overwhelming at times. We not only have to deal with the corona virus illness itself, but with all the unrest and conflict resulting from all the experts and leaders. As I was mulling all this over in my mind, a question came upon me. It was “Why are you cast down?” Immediately I lifted my eyes up to the sky and cried out to God in prayer, fully considering the Bible verse in Psalm 43:5 (NKJV):
“Why are you cast down, O my soul?”
I looked straight up in the sky above, and as I focused my eyes, I was delighted at the beautiful scene I beheld. The sun was brightly shining, illuminating through the clouds, brightening up the cloudy atmosphere. I felt a sense of great peace, comfort, and thankfulness. Yes, why am I cast down? I have no reason to be cast down. God encouraged me to lift my eyes to Him! Let us look at Psalm 123:1(NKJV):
“Unto you I lift up my eyes, O you who dwell in the heavens.”
Despite all our surroundings and trials in this world, God is in control. He is there for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Just take the time to look unto Jesus, He will never fail us. We can get through all things with Him at our side. Be encouraged, be of good cheer, God is our help. We will get through this.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33(NKJV)
While standing near the edge of The Grand Canyon an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder, along with a little fear and trembling, came upon me. Stunned, I gazed out in amazement. Overlooking the absolute beauty and grandeur of this sight was a breath-taking experience! One cannot even begin to grasp what lies before you.
My mind marveled at the awesomeness of this creation by God. The magnificence of The Grand Canyon can be unfathomable. Looking upon the width and length and depth and height of it, it appears infinite, although it is not. The Grand Canyon is finite with limits and boundaries, despite its largeness.
Now consider this, if God can create something like The Grand Canyon in all its splendor, how incredible is God Himself? He is not finite and has no limits and boundaries. Who can understand His width, length, depth, and height? He does not even have any measurements. What does this say about His vastness and infiniteness? In Ephesian 3:17-19 (NKJV) we read what The Bible has to say about this very subject:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
This is wonderful to ponder and meditate on. God has a never-ending love for us. He cares for us and no matter what situation you are going through; it is not too hard for Him! Let us look at Jeremiah 32:17 (NKJV):
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”
This should bring you hope, peace and comfort to know what a loving God we have. His vast and deep love for us is unending. His love is infinite with a depth immeasurable, that reaches every aspect of our life. Marvel at the awesomeness of God Himself! He cares for you. God’s blessing on you all.
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.
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!
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.
“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.