The Greatest Gift Of All

God Sent His Son This Is True Love

The glowing warmth and radiance of God reaches down to us.  This is a marvel to behold!  Let us consider how glorious heaven must be.  In the picture, we capture a burst of God, just a glimpse of His grandeur, which He allows us to see.  The glory of God is glowing brightly for us to grasp.  God is yearning for us to turn our hearts toward Him.  We, as humans, have fallen from grace. We need a Savior! Although we may feel the need to hide ourselves from God, He still reaches out to us.  The rays radiating toward us symbolize God extending His love and forgiveness.  How does He do this?  He does this by sending His son to earth.

“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)

Let us take a moment and turn this verse over in our thoughts.  We are in great need and God, in His love for us, sent the greatest gift of all, His only Son.  He gave Himself fully to take the punishment we deserve.  This is Christmas, Christ with us.  As we give our loved one’s gifts, let us also lift our eyes and hearts to Him. God gave His Son as the greatest gift to us.  Therefore, we can give Him our hearts, as our finest gift to Him.  This is the true gift exchange.  

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”    John 1:14

To God Be The Glory

In Everything Give Thanks

Looking Into The Heart Of God

While taking this photo, through the trees, I was trying to capture a feeling of depth and continuance. The opening in the trees forms a heart shape. It draws you into a continuity that stretches quite far. There is a ceaseless depth to God, which stretches into eternity.  Looking through these trees, is like looking into the heart of God.

Thankfulness came upon me as I pondered the awe of God and His unending love for us. This led me to consider the thoughts of being appreciative and giving thanks. What is being thankful? I think it is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for someone or something.  Being thankful should not be just a one-day event. Thankfulness really is a state of mind. Perhaps, looking deeper, we can even say it is our very being.   In the Bible, God tells us to be thankful.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(NKJV)

It very explicitly says, “In everything give thanks!” This doesn’t mean, in some things, but EVERYTHING or better yet, IN ALL THINGS! Let us truly give thanks to God for all He has done and is doing for us; let it not last only for “Thanksgiving Day” but be continuous without ceasing.  Enjoy and God Bless you and your families as we reflect on our blessings this Thanksgiving Day.

© Denise Calandra

Delight In The Lord

A Wonderfully Colorful Pathway

God is a colorful designer. This painted scene, is from a crisp autumn day, near The Saint Lawrence River. We delight in the wonder of the Lord, as His word tells us to in Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

This verse tells us to delight in the Lord. We can take joy, pleasure, contentment, happiness and so much more in our Lord.  Yes, we have every reason to delight in God. He is ever caring, in every area of our life. What a peaceful time it is to walk along this splendid pathway of color, reflecting on the fact that God created it for us to enjoy.  We see a glimpse of His unending creative beauty.  

Have you ever considered that God is delighting in you as well? Further along in Psalm 37, verse 23 we read just that.

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

When we let God guide our way, then He delights in us!  What a comfort to know He truly is concerned about us.  He cares for us!  Let Him direct your steps, so He may be delighted with you.  Take time to notice the beauty along your path in life. You only go through once.  Delight in the Lord!

Be Still And Know That I Am God

Peaceful Winter Day

Up in the North Country of New York, we get to experience all four seasons.  Some places in the world do not get seasonal changes.  It can be nice to observe these seasonal transitions, as each time of year, has its own beauty.

The photo featured in this blog is during the season of winter.  Winter in the north is very long, cold and snowy.  Some winters are harsher than others. It can be difficult to get through to Spring. Many people choose to go to a warmer climate during the winter months. They are known as “Snowbirds. “

Although winter is not my favorite season, it does have some beauty to it that can be refreshing.  I look at winter as a time to rest and be renewed.  The weather causes us to do more inside activities.  We can think about it as a time out.  In God’s plan, things are dormant or in a state of hibernation during winter.  They are in a waiting pattern; resting and replenishing.  We need to learn from their example.  Taking time to study, learn and reflect is a good way to spend the time.   

God’s word tells us in Psalm 46:10(NKJV) to:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Each season has a purpose for us.  A cold winter day, with freshly falling snow, has a peaceful, serenity to it.  The photo of the frozen river on a freezing, yet sunny day, illustrates this well.   Take a time out. Be Still and get to know God!

Come Unto Me, I Will Give You Rest

I Will Give You Rest

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

This setting is calling out to us to come and sit for a while.  It says to take a rest; be still, learn and reflect. In these times of great busyness, this is a lost practice.  In this world of stress, distractions and many troubles, we can lose sight of God and the peace we can have in Him. He wants to know us, and for us to know Him. Many things get in the way. We don’t make the time we need to build that relationship.  It takes time to get to know Him and His word to us.   He desires for us to have a relationship with Him. God wants to ease our burdens. We must give them to Him, and He will give us rest.  Let us learn to stop, be still and listen.

Furthermore, Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV), speaks to us still more:

“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.”

As I think about how being still and spending time with the Lord is quickly becoming a missing practice, this old hymn came to mind. Sadly, hymns have become a lost entity as well.  Really listen to the words in the hymn William Longstaff wrote.  We are inspired to “Be holy, for I am holy” as said in 1 Peter 1:16(NKJV)

                        Hymn Lyrics:

 Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;                                   Find  rest in Him always, and feed on His Word.       Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,      Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushing on; Much time spend in secret, with Jesus alone.               By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;                                          Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

 Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;                                    And run not before Him, whatever betide.                                       In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,                                          And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Let us be sure to come to Jesus and take time to be holy.  The picture bids us to, “Come Sit Awhile.”

Hymn “Take Time To Be Holy” Written by William Longstaff, 1882. Public Domain

God’s Earth And Sea, It Was Good!

God saw that it was good.

 What was it like, before He created the earth and all that is in it?  God has no beginning and no end.  We are unable to understand how this is possible, as finite beings.  We have a beginning and an end.  The earth itself has a beginning and will have an end as well, but God Himself has no beginning or end. 

Sometimes when I read the Bible, I try to visualize how it might have been at that time. Try to imagine what it was like before creation, when only God existed.  I also wonder what creation could have looked like as God spoke all into existence. Take a minute, close your eyes and try to envision before and after creation.  He created the heavens and the earth. Things only begin for us in Genesis 1: 1-2. 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” NKJV

If you ever want to see nature, in its innate raw beauty, Alaska is a place you should consider going.  On a cruise along the Inside Passageway, you see the landscape in all its natural form.   Early one morning, looking at the mountains and water, in this photo, I thought about creation.  Could it have looked something like this?  Genesis 1:10 came alive to me, prayerfully this picture, along with God’s word will speak to you also.  We truly have an awesome God. 

Genesis 1:10 “And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the of the waters He called Seas.  And God saw that it was good.” NKJV 

His creation was beautiful in the beginning and still is today.  His word and promises, to us continue.