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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
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!
© Denise L. Calandra
Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.
At the end of a family hike was this stunning waterfall. If you were never there, it is a wonderfully, refreshing surprise! A rewarding end to an adventurous day.
On our path in Christian life, we must continue along, pressing forward to the prize. This is stated in Philippians 3:14 (NKJV):
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Then the rivers of living water will flow.
“He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of His heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NKJV)
A rock is not a living object but is inanimate. However, this lifeless object brings pictures of understanding concerning God. The rock, in this photo, is a large mass of stone, forming a hill, with a cliff. We use the term ROCK to represent a firm foundation or support. The Bible refers to the LORD as our ROCK!
Let us look at what the Bible says about this.
“There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NASB )
Looking at the image, we can visualize this. We can see in the picture the rock is not a pebble; it is not a small stone, or even a boulder, but it is a large foundation stone, which can withstand much, just like our God.
The Bible further states:
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)
Looking closer at some of the words used in the above scripture will help us get a fuller understanding.
Rock- A rock signifies something solid and strong.
Fortress- This is a place we feel protected.
Deliverer-Is someone who can rescue from harm.
Strength- Is being firm, courageous and powerful.
Trust- To have confidence, certainty and to rely on.
Shield- An Armor used to protect.
Salvation-Is to be saved from one’s sins.
Stronghold- Someone or something has a grip on you. This can be good or bad.
All the above words were used in Psalm 18:2 to help us to understand more about God and who He is. In these descriptive words, God is portrayed as, strong in nature; a person who supplies shelter for protection. The one who can rescue, give courage and power. Through these, we can take confidence in Him. Furthermore, we can always rely on Him. He shields us, saves us from our sins and will never let us go. He is the foundation stone we can build upon and stand on. Surely, He is worthy of our trust and adoration. How can we look upon creation, read His word and not see that it all falls into perfect place? Our God is our ROCK!
Thought for today . . .
Plant yourself firmly in the Lord. Keep your mind fixed on His word. In keeping this discipline, God will help you flourish in all things. Praise God.
In our life, we seem to focus on the large concerns, to petition God to help us with. This is not wrong; He wants us to come to Him, in all things. However, in our focusing on these, we sometimes miss all the multitude of little things, God is doing. When I first read the Bible, cover to cover, I was astonished at how many of our daily sayings were there. These sayings I heard and used throughout my life. This, once again, solidified the fact of God’s existence and word for me.
This picture is of a glorious sunset, painting the sky red. Admiring this sight, I was reminded of the saying, “Red sky at night, sailors delight, Red sky in morning sailor take warning.” I’ve heard and used this saying many times, and there it was, rooted in the scriptures. For a new Christian, this was a discovery from God. It may seem like a little thing, but nothing is minimal with God. As you wait on the Lord to answer your prayers, look for all the small blessings along the way. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking He isn’t there! He surely is there, guiding your way. Let the word and signs He gives, light your way.
“He answered and said to them, when it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’” Matthew 16:2 NKJV
He is in all things.
In remembrance of 9/11/2001
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
The setting of this photo draws you in. It brings a feeling of coziness, glowing warmth, and peaceful comfort. The lamp Illustrates the glow of His love and light flowing to us; fully enveloping us, illuminating the words of Psalm 119:105, NKJV.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
God is like this! He is our light, hope, comforter, teacher, strength, shield, protector, and much more. In everything we do, He longingly, reaches out to us, ever so gently bidding us to come to Him. In His word we read the following:
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NKJV
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NKJV
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.’” Mark 6:31 NKJV
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 NKJV
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 NKJV
Take a break, sit a while, learn of Him, let his word and His spirit fill you. Feel His love and light surround you. Let Him be the lamp to your feet. God Bless!
On a recent trip to Lake Placid, NY my husband, and I were blessed to have a hotel room with an amazing view. Every morning God painted a different design for us to enjoy. Each design was more stunning than the one before. The scripture that came to mind was “His mercies are new every morning.” It was so awesome to see God’s word come alive in His creation. It is The Living Word! I look for God and His truth in all things. Reflecting on how he gives us a new day, start, and another chance, is a special reminder of God’s faithfulness. Truly, he loves us and is merciful to us. Creation’s beauty offers you entrance into God’s mercies day to day. Take His fresh mercies every day and soar.