Growing together in the Spirit of Jesus Christ...

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25 NIV

Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

may not die with any guilt

“Who can tell what a day may bring forth?
Cause me, therefore, gracious God,
to live every day as if it were to be my last,
for I know not but that it may be such.
Cause me to live now
as I shall wish I had done
when I come to die.
O grant that I may not die
with any guilt on my conscience,
or any known sin unrepented of,
but that I may be found in Christ,
who is my only Savior and Redemmer.”
- Thomas A. Kempis

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 30, 2009

refuge and strength

On the way home from doing some errands
I passed a van with the logo on the side
for Trinity Security Systems.

Hmmm… that is the name of
the same security system
in which I put my trust… the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost.

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.”
- Psalm 46:1-3 NIV

“Trust God's authority, not man's majority.”
- Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29, 2009

"Who comes here, to this whiteness,
this far and frozen place,
in search of something he cannot name?
Not wealth, it may be,
but a fortune of the spirit,
a freshness denied him
in the place he came from."
- John Haines

"The universe is full of magical things
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."
- Eden Phillpots

"We need to find God,
and he cannot be found
in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence."
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, December 28, 2009

December 28, 2009

direct my path
original photo by Ronnie Benner

“God of the day and of the night,
in me there is darkness,
but with you there is light.
I am alone, but you will not leave me.
I am weak, but you will come to my help.
I am restless, but you are my peace.
I am in haste, but you
are the God of infinite patience.
I am confused and lost,
but you are eternal wisdom
and you direct my path;
now and for ever. Amen.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 27, 2009

50 years together
Happy Golden Anniversary

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort
of feeling safe with a person,
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all out, just as they are,
chaff and grain together,
certain that a faithful hand
will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and with a breath of kindness
blow the rest away.
- Dinah Craik

“An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today,
the memories of yesterday,
and the hopes of tomorrow.”
- Author Unknown

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

the greatest gift

The packages have all been opened,
the gift getting and giving is over.

The food and treats were great,
the laughter and fun with family and friends
are now memories.

But how much time was spent
thinking about the Lord, Jesus Christ,
and the greatest, most important,
gift of all time?

“This is Christmas:
not the tinsel,
not the giving and receiving,
not even the carols,
but the humble heart
that receives anew
the wondrous gift, the Christ.”
- Frank McKibben

Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25, 2009

nativity wreath
scene created by Faye

Except the Christ be born again tonight
In dreams of all men, saints and sons of shame,
The world will never see his kingdom bright.
- Vachel Lindsay

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
- Norman Wesley Brooks
(Let Every Day Be Christmas), 1976

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24, 2009

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful
than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.
That is a loveliness to which surely none can be insensitive.
It is the still ecstasy of Nature,
wherein every spray, every blade of grass,
every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig,
is clad with radiance ..."
- Fiona Macleod

“As your faith is strengthened
you will find that there is no longer
the need to have a sense of control,
that things will flow as they will,
and that you will flow with them,
to your great delight and benefit.”
- Emmanuel

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009

“I prefer winter and fall,
when you feel the bone structure of the landscape -
the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it,
the whole story doesn't show.”
- Andrew Wyeth

“The color of springtime is in the flowers,
the color of winter is in the imagination.”
- Ward Elliot Hour

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009

I took a walk into the woods
down a familiar lane
during this latest eastern snowstorm.
I happen to love the woods
when it is snowing...
one of my favorite time/places.
I rarely miss such an opportunity.
Sometimes I will stand here quietly and listen
while the snowfall gradually turns me
into a human snowman.

"Go to the winter woods:
listen there, look, watch, and
"the dead months" will give you
a subtler secret than any
you have yet found in the forest."
- Fiona Macleod
(Where the Forest Murmurs)

"The cold was our pride,
the snow was our beauty.
It fell and fell,
lacing day and night together in a milky haze,
making everything quieter as it fell,
so that winter seemed to partake of religion
in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn."
- Patricia Hampl

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

terrible times

“Sin is like a slippery surface…
it is easy to lose control.”
- Author Unknown

“But mark this:
There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves,
lovers of money, boastful, proud,
abusive, disobedient to their parents,
ungrateful, unholy, without love,
unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not lovers of the good,
treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
having a form of godliness
but denying its power.
Have nothing to do with them.”
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 20, 2009

Christmas is less than a week away and
winter will officially arrive Monday.

Today was our first major snowstorm
of the season here in PA.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
- Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 19, 2009

“But ask the animals,
and they will teach you,…”
- Job12:7 NIV

“The ox knows his master,
the donkey his owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
- Isaiah 1:3 NIV

December 18, 2009

"There must be limits, somewhere,
to the human footprint on this earth.
When the whole of the world
is reduced to nothing but human product,
we will have lost the map
that can show us how we got here,
and can offer our spirits
an answer when we ask why.
Surely we are capable of declaring sacred
some quarters that we dare not enter or possess."
- Barbara Kingsolver
(Small Wonder, 2002)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009

given in trust

“It is God’s world still.
It has been given to man not absolutely,
but in trust, that man may
work out in it the will of God;
given—may we not say?—
just as a father gives a child
a corner of his great garden,
and says,
‘There, that is yours;
now cultivate it.’”
- Phillips Brooks

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16, 2009

This is the photograph, that I used
in the very first SonRays devotional,
May 21, 2006.

I have grown some since then,
but I am still a work in progress,
thanks be to the Lord.

Seek Him and you will find Him…
you will find that He was always there
all along.

Seek and find,
Yield and dine,
Serve and intertwine.

God Bless

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15, 2009

concerning the future

“There are nine requisites for contented living:
HEALTH enough to make work a pleasure;
WEALTH enough to support your needs;
STRENGTH enough to battle
with difficulties and forsake them;
GRACE enough to confess
your sins and overcome them;
PATIENCE enough to toil
until some good is accomplished;
CHARITY enough to see some good
in your neighbor;
LOVE enough to move you
to be useful and helpful to others;
FAITH enough to make real
the things of God;
HOPE enough to remove
all anxious fears concerning the future.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009

“Modern civilization is so complex
as to make the devotional life all but impossible.
The need for solitude and quietness
was never greater than it is today.”
- Tozer

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
- James 4:8 NIV

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009

our present possession

“Home is the one place in all this world
where hearts are sure of each other.
It is the place of confidence.
It is the place where we tear off
that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness
which the world forces us to wear in self-defense,
and where we pour out the unreserved communications
of full and confiding hearts.
It is the spot where expressions of tenderness
gush out without any sensation of awkwardness
and without any dread of ridicule.”
- Frederick W. Robertson

Let’s make wherever we are, a home,
by concentrating on our heavenly home
in eternity.

“We have the Holy Ghost
to be the power of the enjoyment
of all these things in our souls,
while we are waiting on the tip-toe
of expectation for Him to come again,
that where He is, there we may be also.
What I seek is that we may enter
into the power that is given us
for the enjoyment of these things.
‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared
for them that love Him’ (1 Cor. 2: 9).
Arrested by this thought, many of us stop there,
and put it all off to the future;
but the Apostle only quotes this
from Isaiah to contrast it with what we have.
‘But God hath revealed them unto us, by His Spirit.’
The things that God has prepared in His eternal counsels,
are now revealed to us by His Spirit,
that we may know them,
and enjoy them as our present possession;
that our hearts might live in them as a present reality.”
- J A. Trench

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 12, 2009

in increasing measure

I planted this little evergreen tree
three years ago.
It doesn’t look like it has grown much,
if any, at all in that time.

Once we have been redeemed
through the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ,
we must not stay a newborn.
Our spiritual growth is essential.

I still have “high” hopes
for this little one,
and even higher hopes for all of us.

“His divine power has given us
everything we need for life and godliness
through our knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us
his very great and precious promises,
so that through them you may participate
in the divine nature and escape the corruption
in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort
to add to your faith goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities
in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being ineffective
and unproductive in your knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But if anyone does not have them,
he is nearsighted and blind,
and has forgotten that he
has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers,
be all the more eager
to make your calling and election sure.
For if you do these things,
you will never fall,
and you will receive a rich welcome
into the eternal kingdom
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009


"After scolding one's cat
one looks into its face
and is seized by the ugly suspicion
that it understood every word.
And has filed it for reference."
- Charlotte Gray

Isn’t it wonderful that…

“…as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
- Psalm 103:12 NIV

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10, 2009

in our weakness

The cat on the lap is Kokomo.
Up until a few weeks ago
he would never jump up on your lap
let alone become so at peace there.

Ever since he had kneecap surgery
when he was just a kitten,
unstable, soft surfaces like a lap
were off-limits for him.

The surgery was several years ago.

If a cat can change its habits,
guided by our gentle spirit… overcoming fear,
so dramatically… so we too can change
our repetitive habits
with the help of the Holy Spirit.

“For you did not receive a spirit
that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship.”
- Romans 8, 15 NIV

”In the same way,
the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
- Romans 8, 26 NIV

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009

Freddie the leaf

“Freddie landed on a clump of snow.
It somehow felt soft and even warm.
In this new position he was
more comfortable than he had ever been.
He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
He did not know that Spring would follow Winter
and that the snow would melt into water.
He did not know that what appeared
to be his useless dried self
would join with the water
and serve to make the tree stronger.
Most of all, he did not know that there,
asleep in the tree and the ground,
were already plans for new leaves in the Spring.”
- Leo Buscaglia
(The Fall of Freddie the Leaf:
A Story of Life for All Ages

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things...
I play with leaves.”
- Leo Buscaglia

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009

a lost harvest

“The ordinary group of worshipping Christians,
as the preacher sees them from the pulpit,
does not look like a collection of very joyful people,
in fact, they look on the whole
rather sad, tired, depressed people.
It is certain that such people
will never win the world for Christ...
It is no use trying to pretend:
we may speak of joy and preach about it:
but, unless we really have the joy
of Christ in our hearts and manifest it,
our words will carry no conviction to our hearers.”
- S. Neill

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7, 2009

love one another

“Love cannot endure indifference.
It needs to be wanted.
Like a lamp, it needs to be fed
out of the oil of another's heart,
or its flame burns low.”
- Henry Ward Beecher

“Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.
By this all men will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
- John 13:34,35 NIV

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6, 2009

The first snow of the season.

“When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season,
I'll know I'm growing old.”
- Lady Bird Johnson

“The first fall of snow is not only an event,
it is a magical event”
- Author Unknown

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing,
wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather.”
- John Ruskin

“Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.”
- Psalm 86:8,10 NIV

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 5, 2009

how good and pleasant

These two brothers haven’t gotten so close
since they were little kittens.
Zembie, the red one,
was feeling a bit under the weather
and I think Kokomo, the black one,
was trying to comfort him.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brothers to dwell together in unity!”
- Psalm 133:1 AKJV

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4, 2009

renewing of his mind

“We are apt to forget that a man
is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation;
he is committed to Jesus Christ's view of God,
of the world, of sin and of the devil,
and this will mean that he must recognize
the responsibility of being transformed
by the renewing of his mind.”
- Oswald Chambers

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009

spiritual outlook
photo by Patrick Frey

“Take stock of yourself spiritually and see
whether you have ideals only or if you have vision.
’Where there is no vision. . . .’
When once we lose sight of God,
we begin to be reckless,
we cast off certain restraints,
we cast off praying,
we cast off the vision of God in little things,
and begin to act on our own initiative.
If we are eating what we have out of our own hand,
doing things on our own initiative
without expecting God to come in,
we are on the downward path,
we have lost the vision.
Is our attitude today an attitude
that springs from our vision of God?
Are we expecting God to do greater things
than He has ever done before?
Is there a freshness and vitality
in our spiritual outlook?”
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost for His Highest)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

secrets of the heart

Artificial trees, artificial candles,
artificial fireplaces, artificial flowers,
artificial fruit…
are looking more and more
like the real thing.

Beware of an artificial faith
in yourself and in others.

”For He knows the secrets of the heart.”
- Psalm 44:21 NASB

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1, 2009

rich in the grace of God

“We must be willing to accept
the bitter truth that, in the end,
we may have to become a burden
to those who love us.
But it is necessary that we face this also.
The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness
is the virtue that can make us and others
rich in the grace of God.
It takes heroic charity and humility
to let others sustain us
when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves.
We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere,
both in suffering and in the charity
of those who come to the aid of our affliction.”
- Thomas Merton
(No Man is an Island)