A Gift Beyond Measure

God sent His son to us as a little babe. A gift beyond measure,wrapped in swaddling cloths.

This is such an important Bible verse. Probably, many of you have it memorized. It tells us about our God, the creator of heaven and earth, loving us so much, He willingly sent His only Son to earth, so that we might have eternal life.

If we turn to the first verse in the Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (NKJV) He made the world, then the animals, then man and woman. See in Genesis 1:31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Yes, “God so loved the world.”

We see how much God loved the world, in which, He created. Therefore, one can only wonder why God sent His only begotten Son to earth for us? We seem to forget about the fall of man. In Genesis chapter 3, we can read the account of this tragic event and the consequences of it, for us all.

All creation had sweet fellowship with the living God before the fall of man. After this tragic event, everything changed, our sin separated us from God the Father. In ourselves there was no way back, we were now lost. However, our loving God had a plan all ready for us. He had a plan to save His creation, whom He loved greatly.

His plan began by sending His only Son to earth. He was sent as a little babe. This was the first step. If He never came it would never have worked. We see in The Apostles Creed, the plan. It is stated as follows:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Now this sums it all up for us. God sent His Son, Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirt, born of the virgin Mary, was crucified for our sins, actually died, and was buried. He descended to the dead, yet on the third day He rose from the dead. He is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. This is also stated in the scripture verse, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” He was sent, He came, He died for our sins, He rose again and is seated with God, in eternal life. It is now up to us to believe in Him and what He has done for us, so we too, can have eternal life with Him. As I said at the start of this blog, John 3:16, is a very special Bible verse.

Look closely at the photo of the sun setting. As it is going down the glow that is emanating from it is reflecting the symbol of the cross onto the river. It is reflecting the color red on the water. I think about the blood and water that came out of Jesus’ side when pierced. He shed His blood for us that we may have eternal life. Isn’t this truly the gift beyond measure? As Christmas is quickly approaching, take time to ponder the depth of this act for us. This is the reason and meaning of Christmas.

1John 5:6 (NKJV). “This is He who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”

May God richly bless you this Christmas. Rejoice in the new born king.

©️Denise L. Calandra 2021

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement !

https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

Are you watching?

Out in the wilderness, along a hiking trail, stands the watchtower in the photo above. What is the significance of a watchtower anyway? A watchtower is built with an elevated observation platform. The purpose is to provide a high safe place from which a person, such as a guard, can observe the surrounding area. Primarily, they have been used by the military, where a person is appointed to keep watch over the area for any signs of danger.

The tower, along the trail, stood alone and was empty. Only when we climbed it did it become full. Then we were able to stand and look around or “watch.” In this case, if my husband and I never chose to climb up and look around, we never would have seen the lake. We would have missed it, because it could only be seen by looking over the top of the trees!

God wants us to watch in our daily lives. He admonishes us in His word to watch and pray. What do we miss when we do not listen to His Word? Let us read some Bible verses about doing just that!

Luke 21:34-36 (NKJV) “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Matthew 24:42-44 (NKJV) “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Matthew 25:1-13 (NKJV) “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But He answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV) “Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ He asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

From reading these scriptures, we can see, God is telling us about the importance of practicing this discipline in our daily lives. He tells us to watch and pray in several verses. Because God is ever concerned about us and how we are doing; He warns of danger that can come upon us if we are not careful. As believers we need to obey a loving God who saved us from our sin. We want to do His will for us. He knows that our flesh is weak, and we can fall into various temptations in the world. We must always be learning and growing in our relationship with Him. Watching and praying keeps us close to God. If we are not diligent and wise, we may miss what God has for us. Always be prepared and ready for we do not know when He is going to come or need us to fulfill a specific purpose. Are your lamps trimmed? Are You ready? Do not miss out and have the door shut on you. Desire to be your best for God. Be ever diligent so you do not miss Him. Do not be caught off guard as in the parable of the ten virgins!

Are You Watching?

 ©Denise L. Calandra 2021

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

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!

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.

In All Things

Red Sky At Night

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.