Now that the holidays are over and decorations are down and away, do your walls seem bare and in need of an uplift? Why not consider some wall art to freshen up your decor? Check out these two photo sites below to help.
This picture intrigues me. I look at it and see the cross in the forefront, standing strong, with the church behind it. Let’s say the church represents God, although it is just a building it has come to depict God. We also see the cross, which we need to go through, to get to God. This is the only way to restoration with God, through Jesus, God’s only son. Jesus took our sins upon Himself as He hung on the cross with arms stretched out for us. This picture illustrates that for us. In the Bible we read about salvation through Jesus.
“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.3.16NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John.14.6NKJV
Jesus tells us in His word, that He will never leave us nor forsake us. See Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6NKJV
Looking at this picture I not only see the cross to remind me of what Jesus did for us, but also how God stands strong. He is always there for us. He is the true foundation that we must hold on to. Again, the above photo illustrates this for us.
There is an old hymn “The Churches One Foundation” written by Samuel John Stone, which is now public domain. Read the lyrics below and prayerfully reflect on them. Help us to not let His foundation crumble.
1 The church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is His new creation, by water and the Word; from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.
2 Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth, her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy Name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.
3 Tho’ with a scornful wonder, men see her sore oppressed, by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed, yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.
4 The church shall never perish! Her dear Lord, to defend, to guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end; tho’ there be those that hate her and false sons in her pale, against the foe or traitor she ever shall prevail.
5 ‘Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace for evermore; till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.
6 Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won. O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.
When I look at this setting, I am overwhelmed with peacefulness. It takes me to a quiet place, away from all the daily struggles. It was important to Jesus to get away by Himself, as well. He was also concerned for His disciples who were so busy they didn’t even take time to eat.
In the Bible verses below we read about the Apostles going to Jesus and sharing all that they had been doing. We see His response of concern for them in their weariness. Jesus admonished them to go away to a quiet place.
“Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.” Mark 6: 30-32 (NKJV)
This shows us that Jesus clearly considered the condition of His apostles and insisted they go away to a deserted place to get some rest. He knew they needed to be refreshed and renewed to be able to carry on effectively.
In the scriptures we learn how Jesus, Himself, needed time to get away. He would go to be alone, with God, and pray. It was not just on one occasion this occurred, but several times. It was a consistent practice. Jesus would go and pray by Himself before and after a teaching event among the crowds who came to hear Him. See below what the Bible teaches us about this behavior.
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’” Mark.1: 35-37(NKJV)
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:” Luke.6: 12-13(NKJV)
“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Luke 5: 15-16(NKJV)
“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” Matthew 14:23(NKJV)
We can see a definite pattern here, nothing was done without prayer and supplication with God the Father! 1. He prayed for strength and wisdom before going out among the crowds. See Mark 1:35-37. 2. Before making any major decision Jesus went and prayed. See Luke 6:12-13. 3. In order to be filled before He went to teach, preach and heal Jesus prayed. See Luke 5:15-16. 4. After He was done with a major event He went away alone to pray for refreshment and renewal. See Matthew 14:23.
If Jesus, God’s son, our Lord and savior, had the need to humbly take time and go to His Father in Heaven in prayer, then how much more should we? You don’t have to pack up and go somewhere to do this. Go to a quiet room, go for a walk, go to a park, yes the mountains or beach, wherever you can be calm and seek the Lord. This is the most important part of our Christian life. We need His filling and strength to be effective for Him. If we neglect this we will be walking in our own strength not His. I implore you to “Come away and rest awhile with Him.”
“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.’” John 8:12 (NKJV)
This pathway along The Saint Lawrence River, is delightfully lit up, glowing from the light of the sun. It draws you in and gives a peaceful, comforting affect. Perhaps, a rest on the bench would be good for the soul. A front row seat to watch His glorious beauty unfold for us to embrace.
This gives me cause to consider all God has done for us. He gave all, so we may receive eternal life. After we sinned, He sent His Son to redeem and restore us to a right relationship with Himself. Our God, creator of all. My thoughts go to an old hymn written by Charles Wesley, “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain,”in which one lyric states, “Oh my God that thou should die for me.” This hymn is now public domain and I suggest that you look it up.
If we give all to Him, we do not walk alone in darkness but in His light. He lights our paths. He is truly the light of the world. He speaks in His word to us, as well as Through His creation. God implores us to be filled with His Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” For God so loved the world…how much more does His love and light enfold, encompass and comfort us. He reaches deep into our soul. There is a song called “Spirit Song”, which I highly recommend you look up. Let His Spirit fill you, guide you and truly make you whole.
My prayer is for you to know the fullness of God in your life.
Wow, sometimes the best things come in the morning. A new day, a fresh beginning for us to behold. As I stepped outside, early one morning, I was surprised and delighted to see such glorious beauty in front of me. The fresh morning dew lay quietly upon the roses, shining and glittering for all to see. They were still while receiving their refreshment for the new day. Yes, God cares for all His creation! How much more does He care for each and everyone of us, whom He has fearfully and wonderfully made. Take time today to be still and refreshed by our Heavenly Father and others will surely be blessed as well.
Take time to consider these scriptures from God’s word. Be blessed.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (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)
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
“ For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)
There is an old hymn, now public domain, called “In The Garden.” Read the lyrics below and reflect on our loving God and Creator of all.
I come to the garden alone While the dew is still on the roses And the voice I hear falling on my ear The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me And He talks with me And He tells me I am his own And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known
He speaks and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds hush their singing And the melody that He gave to me Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me And He talks with me And He tells me I am his own And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known
Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. May God Bless you!
“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV
When you look at this picture what is one thing you can say for sure? Upon looking at it you can definitely say this is an Amish Buggy. It surely belongs to the Amish. What is it then that makes us know and be able to say, “There is the Amish?”They have certain beliefs and live them out through their lifestyle. Faith, family, community and simplicity are important to them. They believe worldliness can cause them to not be close to God. They choose not to use electricity, modern machines, equipment or vehicles. The Amish adhere to modest and distinct clothing, which they all wear. The Amish live out their beliefs, to the best they can, and they do have a unique lifestyle,which definitely gets noticed. They must comply with the Ordnung rules or face the possibility of being excommunicated or shunned. It is a strict lifestyle to uphold. They exemplify the scripture below.
“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV
Now the obvious question to us who are Christians is, “How shall they know us?” We also have faith and a belief system. We too believe in God and try, to the best of our ability, to live according to His will as is stated in the Bible, God’s word. Faith, family and community are important to us, as well. We, like the Amish, believe that worldliness is not gain for us, as while we are in the world, we are not of it. God warns us about this.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19 NKJV
We, unlike the Amish, use the advantages that modern technology can offer. When used properly and in moderation they can be helpful in our lives. Our dress, although not a specific dress code as the Amish adhere to, should reflect God’s standards. We look to God’s word to guide us in walking according to His will and ways. If we are Christians and truly believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we do have a responsibility to follow how God wants us to behave. Jesus gave us two commandments, they have become known as “The Greatest Commandments.”
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22: 37-40 NKJV
Our example is not as obvious or outward as The Amish, but more inward, led by the Spirit of God dwelling in us. We have a lifestyle that is unique also. Our behavior should reflect the fruit of the spirit, given to us through His helper, The Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
To answer the question “How shall they know us?”, we need to look at what Jesus tells us in His word. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV
DO THEY KNOW US? CAN PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US THEY ARE CHRISTIANS? ARE WE LOVING ONE ANOTHER AS GOD HAS TOLD US TO?
This sunrise was taken one morning in my backyard. Although I didn’t capture it rising along the horizon, it has a beauty and promise all its own. It was so bright, happily spreading its glorious sun rays through the trees and lighting up the shed. A fresh new day has arrived, with all the promises of amazing possibilities for us.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2Corinthians 5:17
A new day is a blessing from God. It is a new beginning, a fresh start. Isn’t this the wonderful grace God gives to us as we go through our daily lives. It is a reminder of how He loves us and forgives us. He has a plan and purpose for each of us. He doesn’t want us weighed down with past baggage. If we stay in the past we can never grow into all that He has for us. Look to the “Son” who is reaching out to us. Do not miss the beautiful rays coming your way. Let it all go, be engulfed in His renewed life for you.
As the sun rises and as it goes down each and every day, keep your mind on the word of God. He tells us in Psalm 113:3 to give Him praise for all He has done, is doing and is going to do. Let Him light your way.
I love this doorway. It is not only comforting and peaceful, but there also is an alluring quality to it. Truly, you just want to enter in.
This surely should be the same, plus even more, about Christ, Himself. He is comforting and peaceful, as well as alluring. He emanates pure love toward us. Lovingly, Jesus calls to us bidding us to come unto Him.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NKJV
Jesus came for us. He left His Father and heavenly home to save us. Sadly, we chose to sin. Somberly, we reflect on how this caused God to sacrifice His only begotten Son for us. This was the only way to redeem us from our sinfulness and restore us into a right relationship with God the Father. Of course we are thankful and rejoice in this, however it does cause us to grieve over what He went through for us.
“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
In the season of what we call “Lent”, we reflect and focus on what the Lord has done for us. Also, we consider our own lives and behavior as we spend time in prayer and fasting to seek to be closer to God. It is a time of preparing for our Lord. He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants us to seek Him, not just during Lent. As a Christian, a follower of Christ, this needs to be our daily practice. The more we seek to be closer to Him, the closer He comes to us. He is not an indifferent God. Jesus’ death on the cross is not the end of the story. Remember, He arose from the dead. We celebrate His resurrection and rejoice in the new beginning this gives to us all. Come, seek, knock, ask, search and you will find rest. He bids us to come to Him, He came for us! What a glorious resurrection day Easter is! Please enter in. There is salvation through no one else.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV
“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