Only Through Jesus

God stands strong throughout time. He is our true foundation!

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.

God’s blessing to all.

©️ Denise L. Calandra 2022

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

Photo is available at: https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

To learn more about God and His ways check out this discipleship series at Amazon, see link below.

Advertisement

Come Away and Rest Awhile

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

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.”

©️ Denise L. Calandra 2022

Scriptures for daily thought and encouragement!

Pictures available at:

https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

He Will Make A Way

Isaiah 43:15-19 (NKJV)

“I am the Lord, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”

When we read these scriptures from Isaiah, we see how God makes a way for us. Imagine how the Israelites might have felt. Finally, they were set free! They were on their way to a better life.  As the Israelites, were on their journey, they came before this body of water right in front of them. There they were, with all their belongings, children and all. Now what could they do? How were they going to be able to cross over? Could they make it if they swam across? Moreover, let us not forget who was right behind, chasing them, not wanting to let them go. Pharoah and company changed their mind about setting the Israelites free.

Can you see our predicament in all of this? We too, once coming to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, are set free. Slowly, we begin to move ahead in our new life. Yet, who or what wants to tag along? Our old self does not want to let go either.

Do we get to a certain point, then become blocked as well? What is your Red Sea? What is your roadblock or stumbling point? Is it fear, doubt, finances, health, addiction, pain, or perhaps old sinful ways? It may not be the actual Red Sea, but it is a real block for us. Are you at your Red Sea?

Although the way can be long, do not lose heart. God is our true help and hope, in all things. Take another look at the verses in Isaiah. Verses 15-17, show us:

-We are set free.

-God parts the Red Sea, making a way.

-He brings down the pursuers.

In verses 18-19, we see:

-God admonishes us to forget the former things.

-He gives us hope that He is doing a new thing for us.

-He wants us to know it and walk in it.

Do not let discouragement bring you to a halt. Do not miss what He is doing for you. Just like the picture in the woods, there is a way to cross over the gully. It might not be the way you think it should be, but the way is there. God will and does make a way for us in our walk with Him. Get through that roadblock to the new thing He has for you. Remember, God will make a way where there is no way. Now go forth and receive it!

©Copyright: Denise L. Calandra 2021

Photo available at:  https://denisecalandraphotography.picfair.com

Physical Reflections and Spiritual Reflections

Reflections

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”  James 1: 22-24 (NKJV)

There are physical reflections and there are spiritual reflections, for us to see.  Let’s look at the physical aspect of reflections.  We use mirrors to capture the physical aspect. Mirrors are used to reflect an image. When we look in a mirror, we might not always like the image that is staring back at us. We physically can see this. There might be some things that we can do to change our picture.  Perhaps, we need to smile.  A good brushing of the teeth could help. You might consider grooming your hair nicer.  Let us not forget a little make-up to the rescue! All of these affect our outside appearance. Although this isn’t the most important factor about us, it can help us to be more confident.  It is our storefront!

Now we want to focus on the spiritual reflection, which is the more important part of us; the actual product of the storefront. The Bible speaks to us about the inner self, the person we truly are. This is harder to be seen.  It can encompass what we believe, our thoughts, our desires, our reactions, our nature itself, for good or bad.  Although I say it is harder to be seen, believe me, what is on the inside, is reflected outward for others to see. What are you showing?

God’s mirror reflects the spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of our life.  We use a glass mirror to show us our outside appearance.  What can we use to show us the spiritual reflection?  We need to use God’s Word, The Bible, as our inner mirror.  Think about this, God’s word is a guide for us to live by.  Are we learning and living what God teaches us in His word?  As it says in James 1: 22-24, we cannot just read the word; we must also do or live what it says, as well.  

 What are some of the reflections we should be able to see?  Let us look at Galatians 5: 22-25(NKJV): 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

How is your spiritual mirror?  Are you reflecting what is in God’s word?  We need to read, study and learn God’s ways.  Let the fruit of His Spirit flow in and out of you.  His light will beam forth; and reflect from you to others.   

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.