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

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

we raise to them

“I have never been able to think
of the day as one of mourning;
I have never quite been able to feel
that half-masted flags were appropriate
on Decoration [Memorial] Day.
I have rather felt that the flag
should be at the peak,
because those whose dying we commemorate
rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.
We honor them in a joyous, thankful,
triumphant commemoration of what they did.”
- Benjamin Harrison

“Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010

passing wings

Dear Lord:

Could you spare some Guardian Angels
To give us peace of mind
As our Children wander from us
And stretch the ties that bind ?

You have Heavenly Legions Father
Could you send us just a few
To guide our eager youngsters
As we give them Lord to you .

Oh Thank you, Thank you Father
And Oh our glad hearts sings
We're certain that just now we heard
The swish of passing wings!
- author unknown

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

warehouse workers

On a recent local mission trip
six of us bagged groceries
to be distributed to several churches
for families in need.

The teenagers kept the bins of food
filled and broke down the cardboard boxes.
One lady prepared the empty bags…
paper in plastic.
The other three of us worked down an assembly line
of bins placing the available food goods into the bags…
pasta, soups, sauces, crackers, fruit,
vegetables, instant oatmeal, etc.
In just over three hours we managed
to pack 175 bags for distribution.

It was very rewarding and a lot of fun.

“Make your life a mission -
not an intermission”
- author unknown

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Do you see beauty in
the commonplace?

Those scenes or things in nature
most often overlooked by most.

I have a habit of taking photos
many people would not even think
worthy enough to photograph,
or so I have been told many times.

The flower above, upon close inspection,
appears, at least to me,
absolutely gorgeous.
Is it a rare flower found only
in a certain out-of-the-way, exotic place?

Some ignore…
some only look to avoid, or eliminate
some look and appreciate at a distance,
some look closely and see the gift for what it is,
and some look beyond the gift and see the Giver.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

most exciting adventure
photo by Ronnie Benner

“I believe one of the most valuable lessons
we can ever learn
is how to listen to God.
In the midst of our complex and hectic lives,
nothing is more urgent,
nothing more necessary,
nothing more rewarding,
than hearing what God has to say.
His voice waits to be heard;
and having heard it,
we are launched into the greatest
most exciting adventure
we could ever imagine.”
- Charles Stanley

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

spiritual experience

“In an authentic spiritual experience,
emotion, feelings, and the senses
often become intense, transcending the normal.
These may include strong feelings of remorse over sin,
a mighty sense of trust
that surpasses the pain of a traumatic situation,
an overpowering peace in the midst of trouble,
the overwhelming sense of joy
related to confidence and hope in God,
intense sorrow over the lost,
the exhilarating praise in understanding the glory of God,
or a heightened zeal for ministry.
Spiritual experience by definition is an internal awareness
that involves strong emotion
in response to the truth of God’s Word,
amplified by the Holy Spirit
and applied by Him to us personally.”
- John MacArthur

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

illumination of the soul
photo by Ronnie Benner

“God sustains every soul
and dwells in it substantially,
even though it be that
of the greatest sinner in the world,
and this union is natural.
The supernatural union exists
when God’s will and the soul’s will
are in conformity.
Therefore the soul rests
transformed in God through love.
The illumination of the soul
and its union with God
corresponds to its purity.”
- St. John of the Cross

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

by the flowers

“And the Scriptures give us
hope and encouragement
as we wait patiently
for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this
patience and encouragement,
help you live
in complete harmony with each other,
as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
Then all of you can join
together with one voice,
giving praise and glory to God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 15:4-6 NLT

“Count the garden by the flowers,
never by the leaves that fall.
Count your life with smiles
and not the tears that roll.”
- Author Unknown

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

the solid rock
photo by Ronnie Benner

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
- Edward Mote

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010

photo by Ronnie Benner

Edgar Allen Poe’s character in ‘The Raven’
is despondent over a lost love, Lenore.
The raven’s presence and its quote ‘nevermore’,
was allowed to feed his depression until
he gives up all hope.
Such is one without faith and
the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit
we realize that instead of
nevermore (without the presence of God)
it is evermore (peace and joy with Him)
and nevermore to sorrow and depression.

“Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.”
- Isaiah 50:10 NIV

“…and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
- Isaiah 35:10 NIV

“For the Son of Man came to seek
and to save what was lost."
- Luke 19:10 NIV

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

in our every thought and plan

Four years ago on this date,
SonRays made its first post.

It has grown a lot since that first post
but more importantly
I have grown.

I pray it has been a blessing to others
as it has been to me, my family, and friends.

“For man with all his knowledge,
His wisdom and his skill,
Is powerless to go beyond
The Holy Father's Will...
And When we fully recognize
The helplessness of man
And seek the Father's guidance
In our every thought and plan,
Then only can we build a world
Of peace, good will and love,
And only then can man achieve
The life he's dreaming of.”
- Helen Steiner Rice

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010

what lies within us
unknown photographer

Sometimes in life we lose track of old friends…
sometimes it is a great blessing to find them again.

An even greater blessing to find
you share the same faith in God.

“What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to
what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

new hope for tomorrow
photo by Ronnie Benner

“On the wings of death and sorrow
God sends us new hope for tomorrow...
And in His mercy and His grace
He gives us strength to bravely face
The lonely days that stretch ahead
And know our loved one is not dead
But only sleeping and out of our sight
And we'll meet in that land
where there is no night.”
- Helen Steiner Rice

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

"Love that goes upward is worship.
Love that goes outward is affection.
Love that stoops down is grace."
- Donald Barnhouse

“For me, the world of nature
bears spectacular witness
to the imaginative genius
of our Creator.”
- Phillip Yancey

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

the 4th commandment
photo by Ronnie Benner

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
On it you shall not do any work,
neither you, nor your son or daughter,
nor your manservant or maidservant,
nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
but he rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
- Exodus 20:8 NIV

Is it now only the nine commandments?

“God's commandments were never meant to restrict us,
but to bring us joy and peace.
Imagine what our world would be like
if everyone obeyed all of God's Ten Commandments
out of a sense of love toward God and each other.
What a wonderful world this would be!
God's commandments are not burdensome.
God's Sabbath is not burdensome.
The Sabbath is a delight.”
- Let the Bible Speak
(The Sabbath Series)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16, 2010

deliver us

“We thank you, O Lord our God,
for all Your goodness.
You have shielded, rescued,
helped and guided us
all the days of our lives,
and brought us unto this hour.
Grant in Your goodness
that we may spend this day without sin,
in joy and reverence of You.
Drive away from us all envy, all fear.
Bestow upon us what is good and meet.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
- Author Unknown

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010

into His presence boldly
photo by Lee Keefer

“Now that is a typical way that monarchs functioned.
You approached only when you were invited.
You approached somewhat delicately.
You may have approached going in backwards,
we read in some cases,
or going in bowed over for certain.
In some cases crawling
and typically the king was elevated
so that it was clear to you
that he was way above you
and you were somewhere under his feet.
You approach with a certain hesitancy,
with a certain delicacy
and you certainly didn’t approach
with an attitude demanding anything.

But our God is just the opposite.
He’s absolutely available,
absolutely approachable, gracious,
merciful, compassionate, kind
and you can go into His presence boldly
and ask for whatever you want.
You can go into His presence any time
and not interrupt Him.
In fact, He desires you to do that.”
- John MacArthur

“Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace…”
- Hebrews 4:16 KJV

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

contentment to sail
photo by Ronnie Benner

“O glorious faith! This is your work,
these are your possibilities:
contentment to sail with sealed orders,
because of unwavering confidence
in the love and wisdom
of the Lord High Admiral:
willing to rise up, leave all,
and follow Christ,
because of the glad assurance
that earth's best cannot
bear comparison with heaven's least.”
- F. B. Meyer

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

birthday reflection
photo by Ronnie Benner

“Count your life by smiles, not tears.
Count your age by friends, not years.”
- Author Unknown

“And in the end,
it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.”
- Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

glow with responsive love

“The secret of walking closely with Christ,
and working successfully for Him,
is to fully realize that we are His beloved.
Let us but feel that
He has set His heart upon us,
that He is watching us
from those heavens with tender interest,
that He is working out the mystery
of our lives with solicitude and fondness,
that He is following us day by day
as a mother follows her babe
in his first attempt to walk alone,
that He has set His love upon us,
and, in spite of ourselves,
is working out for us
His highest will and blessing,
as far as we will let Him,
and then nothing can discourage us.
Our hearts will glow with responsive love.
Our faith will spring to meet His mighty promises,
and our sacrifices shall become
the very luxuries of love for one so dear.
This was the secret of John's spirit.
‘We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.’
And the heart that has fully learned this
has found the secret of
unbounded faith and enthusiastic service.”
- A. B. Simpson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

repose calmly
photo by Erin Doyle

“Here is the response of faith, ‘You know!’
What a pillow for the heart to repose upon!
‘You know!’
What few but comprehensive words to sum up
and express the heart's difficulties
and perplexities and trials. ‘You know!’
What an inexpressibly sweet resting place
in the midst of life's tumultuous heavings,
in the midst of a sea that knows no calm,
in the midst of a scene
in which tossings to and fro are the hourly history!
What an answer they contain
for every heart that can find no words
to express its big emotions,
for a heart whose sorrows are too deep
for language to find its way to God!
Oh, that they were ever uppermost in the soul,
as the response to every difficulty in our path!
They are God's answer
to everything we cannot fathom,
God's answer for our hearts to rest upon
and our lips to utter
when every way is hedged up
so that we cannot pass.
‘O Lord God, You know!’
Rest here, believer.
Lean your soul on these words.
Repose calmly on the bosom of your God,
and carry them with you into every scene of life.
‘O Lord God, You know.’”
- F. Whitfield

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

looking too far?

“We are in danger of looking too far
for opportunities of doing
good and communication.
In reaching for rhododendrons,
we trample down the daisies.”
- Author Unknown

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010

A Mother's Love

“There are times when only a Mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.
There are times when only a Mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith
And a Mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.”
- Author Unknown

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8, 2010

like a flower

“We do not realize the importance
of this unconscious part of our life-ministry.
It goes on continually.
In every greeting we give
to another on the street,
in every moment’s conversation,
in every letter we write,
in every contact with other lives,
there is a subtle influence
that goes from us that often reaches farther,
and leaves a deeper impression,
than the things themselves
that we are doing at the time.
After all, it is life itself,
sanctified life that is God’s holiest
and most effective ministry in this world,
— pure, sweet, patient, earnest,
unselfish, loving life.
It is not so much what we do in this world,
as what we are,
that tells in spiritual results and impressions.
A good life is like a flower,
which, though it neither toil nor spin,
yet ever pours out a rich perfume,
and thus performs a holy ministry.”
- J. R. Miller

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

by the brook
photo by Erin Doyle

“Not by the river but by the brook.
The river would always contain
an abundant supply,
but the brook might dry up
at any moment.
What does this teach us?
God does not place His people
in luxuriance here.
The world's abundance
might withdraw their affections from Him.
He gives them not the river, but the brook.
The brook may be running today,
tomorrow it may be dried up.
And wherefore does God act thus?
To teach us that we are not to rest
in His gifts and blessings, but in Himself.
This is what our hearts are always doing…
resting in the gift, instead of the Giver.
Therefore God cannot trust us by the river,
for it unconsciously takes up His place in the heart.
It is said of Israel that
when they were full, they forgot God.”
- F Whitfield

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010

little things

“I thank you for the house in which I live,
For the gray roof on which the raindrops slant;
I thank you for a garden and the slim young shoots
That mark the old-fashioned things I plant.

I thank you for a daily task to do,
For books that are my ships with golden wings.
For mighty gifts let others offer praise
Lord, I am thanking you for little things.”
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

make your choice

“I am trying here to prevent anyone
saying the really foolish thing
that people often say about Him:
‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher,
but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’
That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man
and said the sort of things Jesus said
would not be a great moral teacher.
He would either be a lunatic -
on a level with the man
who says he is a poached egg -
or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:
or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut Him up for a fool,
you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon;
or you can fall at his feet
and call Him Lord and God.
But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense
about His being a great human teacher.
He has not left that open to us.
He did not intend to.”
- C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

Let him come to Me and drink!
photo by Erin Doyle

“He who believes in Me
[who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me]
as the Scripture has said,
From his innermost being
shall flow [continuously] springs
and rivers of living water.”
- John 7:38
(Amplified Bible)

“Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice,
If any man is thirsty,
let him come to Me and drink!”
- John 7:37
(Amplified Bible)

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010

instruct and teach

“May the strength of God pilot us,
may the wisdom of God instruct us,
may the hand of God protect us,
may the word of God direct us.
Be always ours this day
and for evermore.”
- St. Patrick

“I will instruct you and teach you
in the way you should go;
I will counsel you
and watch over you.”
- Psalm 32:8 NIV

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 2, 2010

blooming the same colors

“To the pure, all things are pure,
but to those who are corrupted
and do not believe,
nothing is pure.
In fact, both their minds
and consciences are corrupted.
They claim to know God,
but by their actions they deny him.”
- Titus 1:15,16 NIV

“Purity of heart
is blooming the same colors
in the middle of the wilderness
when no one sees you.”
- Vanna Bonta

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010

to be content

"Contentment is a pearl of great price,
and whoever procures it
at the expense of ten thousand desires
makes a wise and a happy purchase."
- John Balguy

“Not that I speak in respect of want:
for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.”
- Philippians 4:11 KJV