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

God Continually Renews And Refreshes

You Shall Be Like A Watered Garden

Be renewed and be refreshed; God is always there.  He is continually flowing in us, taking care of our being.  This photo is of a peaceful river with lovely green foliage thriving all around.  Along the riverside are purple flowering plants in bloom.  Looking at the setting in this picture brings about a relaxing sensation, a feeling that all is well and taken care of.  

“The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 (NKJV)

The river is a ceaseless source of flowing water, which shows the perpetual love and out pouring from God to us.  Both are the seedbed for our refreshment and nourishment.  The richness of the river and its surroundings, reflect this.  Our lives, as well, are deeply enriched by His constant renewing and refreshing, which He desires for us.

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”   Ephesians 4:23-24 (NKJV)

Our Heavenly Father is the living God, our everlasting refreshment and flowing spiritual guide. He is the director of our life.  Read, reflect, meditate on His word; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  Let Him, ever be your nourishment. To God be the glory!                             

He Will Not Leave You Nor Forsake You

Be Strong And Of Good Courage

Do you ever feel alone, afraid, helpless, hopeless, sad, stressed, discouraged or like giving up?  Sadly, this list could go on and on and on.  At times in life, we all can feel these emotions.  This isn’t necessarily bad; we are human.  However, when these feelings don’t go away quickly, and they seem to be overtaking us, is when they can become a problem or stronghold in our life.

In this photo, the tree is standing strong.  The branch is outstretched with the leaves hanging on.  The leaves don’t appear to be struggling, they appear to be relaxed and calm, we might say, trusting.  The branch reaches out, knowing it is being held up by the strength of the tree.  Again, we can use this as an example to show the trusting relationship needed for this to take place.  Now think about us and how this is a representation of us and our relationship to God. 

God is our strength. Do we allow Him to be it?  How are you doing?  Are you letting God be your strength?  Are you calmly resting and trusting Him in your life situation right now?  OR ARE YOU A STRESSED WRECK?                                                 

God tells us in Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV): 

“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”

In the background of this photo, the lighthouse stands with the light on.  This stands for God and His ever-loving steadfastness in our life.  The water is calmed for us by our God.                                                                                                             

 He tells us in 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.”

He tells us to be strong and courageous, to not be afraid.  God is always there watching over us.  Through everything, we can trust Him to light our way. We might feel like we are alone, but we are not, so don’t try to do it by yourself.  God did not at any time, intend for us to be on our own.  We read this fact all throughout scripture.  We are His creation, and He cares for us.  Let Him take the proper place in your life.  Together, you can withstand all the storms of life.  Remember, “He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

God Is Graceful And Glorious

The Lord God Is A Sun And Shield

While driving home, one autumn day, there was an especially beautiful display of color and light.  God’s glory was shining forth. The sun was radiant, as it was nearing time to set for the day.  The color of the leaves lit up, glowing brightly from the sun shining on them. It was an awesome show from God.

I was getting near this special spot, known as the point, on The Saint Lawrence River, where the sunsets are just amazing to behold.  That day’s sunset was extremely effulgent. Of course, I pulled over and just had to try to capture its glowing beauty. 

This sunset trumpets God’s glory and grace.  Every day the sun rises and the sun sets.  Faithfully, this occurs day after day, as designed by God.  Each day is gracefully given to us from God, Himself! What a wonderful gift.  We give Him all the glory.

The bible verse from Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) tells us:

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

God speaks to us through His word and creation.  We see this is true by looking at the picture of the sunset; He created.  Then we read about it in God’s word, both working together for His grace and glory. Surely, we can take comfort in believing Him when He says, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  Walk in His ways and He will be with you. 

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!

God’s Harvest

The Grain Of Wheat Dies And Produces Much Grain

I live in a small rural “city” in Northern New York.  I quote “city” not to diminish it, but growing up on Long Island, about 45 miles away from New York City; I view a city very different!   Just a few minutes out of town, there is rural farmland.  We also enjoy having a large Amish Community among us.

While traveling across the back roads one day, my husband and I came across this Amish farm of winter wheat. It was harvested and stacked in shocks.  The Amish use a machine that is called a binder to harvest the wheat. They hitch the binder up to their horses to do the job.  They do not use modern machinery. How they live is interesting, and the field of wheat sparked my curiosity.  Of course, I had to get a picture. 

Photos inspire me to think of God’s word and relate it to His creation.  Planting, harvesting and sowing are all a part of His plan.  The Bible verse I used for this photo is John 12:24.

“Most assuredly, I say to you ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.’”   John 12:24 (NKJV) 

In the verse, John 12:24, we can see, metaphorically, that Jesus is the seed that fell to the ground and died. He, even so, rose up to bring about an abundant harvest, for the glory of God.   Through His sacrificial death, eternal life was made possible. This is the way God planned to redeem a lost world, through Christ, Himself, the perfect seed dying and rising again.  We, who believe, are admonished to die to ourselves and live for Christ.  By God’s grace, we can become a fruitful branch that produces a harvest for our Lord. 

God not only shows us His spiritual provision for us, but His provision for our human needs as well.  He cares for us through the planting, growing, and harvesting of the food we need to sustain our life.  The farmer knows the cycle well.  The picture of the field of winter wheat portrays the food, we need to eat here on earth, while John 12:24 speaks to us about our spiritual needs.  Truly, this depicts God’s Harvest!  

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

Every Good And Perfect Gift Is From Above

Every Good And Perfect Gift Is From God Above

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”    (James 1:17) NKJV

Reflecting on God’s word, in James 1:17, we are reminded that every good and perfect gift is from the Father of lights.  As I contemplate this photo, I can sense these words come alive.  I can feel His warmth, as God sends His love and light down on us, illuminating our way.  Let us ponder this verse throughout the day, knowing that our Father desires to bless us with every good thing.  Let His light radiate for all to see. God is love!  He is always with you.

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

Seasons come and seasons go, but God stays true through all.

As we transition from Summer to Fall, we surely become aware of this, not only by the cooler temperatures, but also by the display in colors of the leaves.  Where I live, it is a season we get to enjoy.  The leaves lose their chlorophyll, allowing the true colors to come forth.  It is also a time of harvest from all the Summer growth.  In Fall, we prepare for the season of Winter, where we rest and enjoy the reap of the harvest, while waiting for the renewal and refreshing that Spring brings.  God speaks about this in His word, in Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV,

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”

Each season has its purpose.  Every year the Summer, season of growth, closes with the change of color in the leaves, becoming Fall.  Fall is a time of change and harvest.  As the leaves fall to the ground, a yielding to the next season of Winter is taking place.  Winter is a season where we rest and enjoy the harvest.  Then, once again, Spring arrives, bringing with it a fresh newness.  It is a season of new beginning, planting and hope.  The cycle starts once again.  All the seasons have their “purpose under heaven.”

Surely, this is true in our own lives as well.  All the times and seasons have a “purpose.”  We learn; we apply and grow.  We reap; rest and trust God through it all.  Let God show you His “purpose under heaven” for you.  Then take your opportunity; share it in due season and He will bless you beyond your dreams.

If you keep God first, He will keep you first.