Entangled

These two trees are entangled together.

If you look closely at this picture, you will see two different trees. This is not necessarily unusual; however, these two trees have become entangled together. Somehow, they were in each other’s space causing this to occur. Nevertheless, they both managed to grow. However, this situation allowed only one to grow strong, to its full potential. The other was hindered by the entanglement. One was a lilac tree. I do not know the type of the other tree. The lilac tree was stronger; it grew tall, and overtook the other tree not allowing it to fully develop. 

As I studied these trees, it made me think about how we need to be watchful in our own life. We need to be careful who and what we get involved with as we go along. Do not get entangled in wrong things. God warns us in His word about this. Listed below are just a few of many scriptures making this point:

  • Psalm1:1-2 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
  • 1Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV) “Do not be deceived; Evil company corrupts good habits.”
  • 2Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV) “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
  • Proverbs 13:20 (NJKV) “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 (NKJV) “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.”
  • 2Timothy 3:13 (NKJV) “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

These scriptures are clear about the way we are to live. Heed the warning to walk right and grow to your full potential in Christ. Do not be hindered, follow the way of our Lord! We can end up victorious and stronger, or we can become weaker. Do not get entwined in anything that will bring you down the wrong path and stop you from growing. Stay with God.

©Denise L. Calandra 2021

Photographs available for purchase at the following website:

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

Breathe On Me

Your Very Breath Sustains Me

One afternoon I was outside in my backyard enjoying the wildflowers that were growing. There was a refreshing summer breeze blowing. It was an invigorating moment. One of life’s gifts to help us forget, if only for that moment, the troubles around us.

As I looked down at the flowers, I watched with interest, how the breeze gently picked up the open petals and blew them to the side. Softly, the breeze came along and lifted the petals right up guiding them over. I try to see God in His creation and   look to see what He says in His word; then put it together.

So along came the breeze and gently lifted the petals on the flower. It directed them. The breeze whispered by as if to say:                                                                   

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 NKJV

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’.” Isaiah 30:21 NKJV

“You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 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

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7 NKJV

Learn from the flower to rest in Him. It trusted as the wind gently picked up its petals and directed them to the side. At this moment, it knew that everything would be okay. There was no struggle, it just went with the flow. If only we could truly learn to rest and trust in the Lord. We could save ourselves a lot of trouble. Lay your burdens down at His feet and believe He will uphold you through it all. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and direct you. Truly rest in Him! Invite His breath to flow on you.

© Denise L. Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.          

Destinations

Let Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead

Looking at these train tracks, watching as they fade far off into the horizon, many thoughts and memories come to mind. It brings me back to my childhood days on Long Island. Trains were and are a major part of life there. They are an alternative form of transportation into New York City, avoiding the Long Island Expressway experience. You can take the train to many other places as well. They are an important form of transportation.

When you see train tracks what do you think of? Perhaps, a journey, an enjoyable ride, traveling to a vacation area or a daily commute to get to a specific place? Trains do not hold the same role for all people. A train might stand for a pleasurable trip somewhere, instead of a daily commute. There also are freight trains, which bring supplies and food to places for us to use in our daily lives. We can see that trains are useful for transporting people or items from one place to another. They bring us to a specific destination.

As we journey through life on earth, from a Christian perspective, we have a precise destination before us.  Our purpose is to make it to this destination, our true home in Heaven!  While reaching this goal becomes our focus or concern; we do not want to neglect the experience itself along the way. 

May I ask you a few questions? How are you doing on your pilgrimage? First, do you know your destination? If so, are you staying on track? Have you been derailed along the way? It can be too easy to get distracted and get off course! We as Christians, have a destination we are reaching for.  We have a “conductor” guiding us as we travel along. He is there to help us keep on track.                                         

Most of us are familiar with the movie “Polar Express.” Let us consider this movie. It has a destination, which is The North Pole. There were passengers aboard for the ride. They were picked up along the way, especially for this train ride. They were not there by chance. Each one was going to the same place, the North Pole. However, they each had their own struggles to overcome along the way. The conductor knew each person and each situation. He was guiding them along and helping them to overcome their problems. They were each shown what they needed, from the conductor. He gave them their tickets punched with their need on it.  One was to BELIEVE. Another was to LEAD. One was to RELY ON, and another LEARN.  They each received a special message for their unique situation.

Let us now get back to us trekking along on our paths. Do you feel overwhelmed, confused, lost, unsure, unworthy, alone, tossed about, or distracted? We have a destination we want to get to. We have struggles along the way also. Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed or alone we allow ourselves to get sidetracked. Do not be dismayed for we have THE TRUE conductor, Jesus Christ, to guide us on our way. He is our keeper and is showing us the way to overcome all obstacles. He cares for you and me. He is making sure we make it to our destination, home with Him.  He helps each of us in our own special need. He wants us to BELIEVE, LEARN, RELY ON, and LEAD. We must look to Him and His word to stay on track.  Proverbs 4:25-27 (NKJV) admonishes us to do that!

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you, 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.”

© Denise L Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is…

Let The Love Of God Enfold You

Let this scripture and thought be a guide and encouragement to us this day. We especially need to consider where our help comes from in these times of turmoil. God Bless you all. Stay safe and well.

Copyright: Denise L Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.

The Lord God Is Our Sun And Shield

The Lord Will Give Grace And Glory

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

May God bless you.

Copyright: Denise L. Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement.

You Are Of Great Value To God

God Cares For You!

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!

©Denise L. Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

Unto You I Lift Up My Eyes

The Glory of God Shines Forth

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)   

© Denise L. Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

How Vast Is Our God

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God’s Depth is Unfathomable

How Vast Is Our God!

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.

© Denise L. Calandra 2020

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!