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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31, 2010 (spiritual growth)

spiritual growth
photo by Ron Warner

This is a period of waiting.
As we wait upon the Lord,
we slowly accumulate perseverance,
wisdom, faith, and trust.
Inside our cocoon we continue
to develop, growing magnificent,
glorious wings, with which
we will be able to fly.
This process must not be rushed
by anything or by any human influence…
transformation must be complete…
the strength to fly
is developed as we struggle.
At the appointed time,
we will be completely freed from
all the worldly ties that bind us.

“For His divine power has bestowed upon us
all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness,
through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him
Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
By means of these He has bestowed on us
His precious and exceedingly great promises,
so that through them you may escape [by flight]
from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption)
that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed),
and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.”
- 2 Peter 1:3,4 AMP

“I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord,
appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life)
worthy of the [divine] calling
to which you have been called
[with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service…
And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind
[having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],
And put on the new nature (the regenerate self)
created in God's image, [Godlike]
in true righteousness and holiness.”
- Ephesians 4:1,23,24 AMP

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010 (captive by beauty)

"Once I was free in the shackles of sin:
Free to be tempted, just bound to give in;
Free to be captive to any desire;
Free to eternally burn in hell’s fire.
‘Til Someone bought me and called me His slave:
Bound by commands I am free to obey;
Captive by beauty I’m free to adore--
Sentenced to sit at His feet evermore."
- John MacArthur

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29, 2010 (strength, patience, and constancy)

strength, patience,
and constancy

photo by Lee Keefer

“I beseech thee, my most gracious God,
preserve me from the cares of this life
lest I should be too much entangled therein,
and from the many necessities of the body
lest I should be ensnared by pleasure,
and from whatsoever is an obstacle to the soul,
lest, broken by troubles, I should be overthrown.
Give me strength to resist, patience to endure,
and constancy to persevere.”
- Thomas A. Kempis

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010 (he must pass over)

he must pass over
photo by Lee Keefer

“Who is a God like You,
Who forgives iniquity and passes over
the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He retains not His anger forever,
because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness.
He will again have compassion on us;
He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
- Micah 7:18,19 AMP

“He that cannot forgive others,
breaks the bridge over which
he himself must pass
if he would ever reach heaven;
for everyone has need to be forgiven.”
- George Herbert

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010 (everyday life)

everyday life
photo by Ron Warner

"Most of us have been taught about the need
to appropriate by faith what is already ours through grace.
We all desire to have more joy in our Christian life.
The keys to experiencing joy are available to all of us.
We need to understand the gospel
of the grace of God as revealed to the Apostle Paul.
Then as we put Paul's instructions into practice,
we will come to know God experientially.
This will cause us to know Him better
which will cause us to want to obey more,
and on and on it goes.
Then as we learn and obey God
and become focused on spiritual things
instead of earthly things,
we will become thankful for everything
that God has provided for us in Christ.
Knowledge, obedience, and thankfulness
will then lead to abundant joy in our everyday life!
In the words of the old hymn: Trust and obey,
For there's no other way, To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey."
- David Havard

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010 (the word glory)

“O LORD, our Lord, how excellent
(majestic and glorious)
is Your name in all the earth!
You have set Your glory on
[or above] the heavens.
When I view and consider Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have ordained and established,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
and the son of [earthborn] man
that You care for him?”
- Psalm 8:1,3,4 AMP

“Nature never taught me
that there exists a God of glory
and of infinite majesty.
I had to learn that in other ways.
But nature gave the word glory
a meaning for me.
I still do not know where else
I could have found one.”
- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, 2010 (goes on as fruit)

“I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.”
- Dawna Markova

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24, 2010 (the right road)

the right road
photo by Lee Keefer

With hope and faith,
we rely on the Holy Spirit
for our guidance and direction.

Avoid turning off the path…
keep from turning left or right,
and aim for the light
of His truth.

Trust and obey.

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord
with all your heart and mind and do not rely
on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know,
recognize, and acknowledge Him,
and He will direct and
make straight and plain your paths.”
- Proverbs 3:5,6 AMP

"The Christian is not one
who has gone all the way with Christ.
None of us has.
The Christian is one who
has found the right road."
- Charles L. Allen

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23, 2010 (law of love)

law of love
photo by Lee Keefer

“It is the law of love that rules mankind.
Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled us
we should have become extinct long ago.
And yet, the tragedy of it is
that the so-called civilized men and nations
conduct themselves as if
the basis of society was violence.”
- Mohandas Gandhi

“So God said to Noah,
‘I am going to put an end to all people,
for the earth is filled
with violence because of them.
I am surely going to destroy
both them and the earth.’”
- Genesis 6:13 NIV

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22, 2010 (stream of adversity)

stream of adversity
photo by Lee Keefer

“Beloved, do not be amazed
and bewildered at the fiery ordeal
which is taking place to test your quality,
as though something strange
(unusual and alien to you and your position)
were befalling you.
But insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings,
rejoice, so that when His glory
[full of radiance and splendor] is revealed,
you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].
If you are censured and suffer abuse
[because you bear] the name of Christ,
blessed are you[--happy, fortunate, to be envied,
with life-joy, and satisfaction
in God's favor and salvation,
regardless of your outward condition],
because the Spirit of glory,
the Spirit of God, is resting upon you.
On their part He is blasphemed,
but on your part He is glorified.”
- 1 Peter 4:12-14 AMP

“If we study the lives
of great men and women
carefully and unemotionally
we find that, invariably,
greatness was developed,
tested and revealed through
the darker periods of their lives.
One of the largest tributaries
is always the STREAM OF ADVERSITY.”
- Cavett Robert

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21, 2010 (by the grace of God)

photo by Lee Keefer

"I am not what I ought to be,
I am not what I want to be,
I am not what I hope to be in another world;
but still I am not what I once used to be,
and by the grace of God I am what I am."
- John Newton

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010 (such a brilliant light)

such a brilliant light

“And the matches gave such a brilliant light
that it was brighter than at noon-day:
never formerly had the grandmother
been so beautiful and so tall.
She took the little maiden, on her arm,
and both flew in brightness
and in joy so high, so very high,
and then above was neither cold,
nor hunger, nor anxiety…
they were with God.”
- Hans Christian Andersen
(The Little Match Girl)

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010 (continuing the journey)

These are some of the leaves
that fell from my dead and dying
sugar maple tree.
Searching the yard under the tree
I found this grouping of dead leaves,
grass, and wood sorrel.
I liked the way the sorrel
continues to thrive and grow
among the fallen, dead leaves
of the tree.

Life is a continuing journey of the spirit
and does not end with physical death.

“Success is not a place at which one arrives
but rather the spirit with which
one undertakes and continues the journey.”
- Alex Noble

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18, 2010 (sincerely seek)

“Is anyone among you suffering?
Then he must pray.”
- James 5:13 NASB

“And it is impossible to please God without faith.
Anyone who wants to come to him
must believe that God exists
and that he rewards those
who sincerely seek him.”
- Hebrews 11:6 NLT

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17, 2010 (pure innocence)

pure innocence
photo by Ron Warner

I think if ever I had to pick just one wildflower
it would this one… bluets
(Houstonia caerulea (Hedyotis caerulea).

Also called, Quaker Ladies or Innocence,
as well as a few other common names,
they are said to reflect the blue
and the serenity of heaven
in their pure, upturned faces.

“Know you what it is to be a child?
It is to be something very different
from the man of today.
It is to have a spirit
yet streaming from the waters of baptism;
it is to believe in love,
to believe in loveliness,
to believe in belief…”
- Francis Thompson

“The few wonders of the world
only exist while there are
those with the sight to see them.”
- Charles de Lint

“The silence often of pure innocence
persuades when speaking fails.”
- William Shakespeare

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16, 2010 (paying attention)

"I love to think of nature
as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour,
if we will only tune in."
- George Washington Carver

“You can become blind
by seeing each day as a similar one.
Each day is a different one,
each day brings a miracle of its own.
It's just a matter of
paying attention to this miracle.”
- Paulo Coelho

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010 (roots of self-destruction)

This is not a photograph
taken in Autumn.
The photo was taken on July 13th.

A favorite tree in our backyard,
a Sugar Maple, is only to be remembered
for the glorious leaves it produced
for many years.
Leaves, thankfully, that I have captured
with a camera.

There are those of us that have
produced much appreciated beauty
and joy in the world
only to have life cut short
by such roots of destruction.

“There are seeds of self-destruction in all of us
that will bear only unhappiness
if allowed to grow.”
- Dorothea Brande

"You can enter God's Kingdom
only through the narrow gate.
The highway to hell is broad,
and its gate is wide
for the many who choose that way.”
- Matthew 7:13 NLT

"Today I have given you the choice
between life and death,
between blessings and curses.
Now I call on heaven and earth
to witness the choice you make.
Oh, that you would choose life,
so that you and your descendants might live!”
- Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010 (let the blessings flow"

I have been suffering lately
with what I will call
”photographers block”.

When an author suffers from writers block,
one technique to remove the block
is something called "flow writing".
You write, without stopping, for 10 minutes.
Even if you do not know what to say...
just start with that...
"I don't know what to say"...
then continue with whatever comes to mind...
the weather, your favorite color, etc.

Perhaps, if we suffer from "photographers block",
we should do the same...
just pick up the camera and start shooting
anything you see for a certain length of time...
don't concentrate on framing, exposure, etc...
just shoot.
Digital photography has made
this exercise a lot cheaper.

When we feel down
and are not even sure
how to pray (or what to pray)...
you might try "flow praying".
A good thing to use in your flow praying exercise
is to list all your blessings.

Let the blessings flow... :)

"Not in rewards,
but in the strength to strive,
the blessing lies."
- J. T. Towbridge

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010 (beauty from thorns)

“Beauty is indeed a good gift of God;
but that the good may not think it a great good,
God dispenses it even to the wicked.”
- Saint Augustine

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010 (cleanse thou me)

“…cleanse thou me
from secret faults.”

- Psalm 19:12 KJV
photo by Ron Warner

“The world wants men
who are saved from secret faults.
The world can put on an outside goodness
and go very far in uprightness and morality,
and it expects that a Christian shall go beyond it,
and be free from secret faults.
A little crack will spoil the ring of the coin…
The world expects, and rightly,
that the Christian should be more gentle,
and patient, and generous,
than he who does not profess
to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus.
For the sake of those who take
their notion of religion from our lives,
we need to put up this prayer earnestly,
‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.’"
- Mark Guy Pearse

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010 (enter my heart)

enter my heart

“I confess, O God—
that often I let my mind wander
down unclean and forbidden ways:
that often I deceive myself
as to where my plain duty lies:
that often, by concealing my real motives,
I pretend to be better than I am:
that often my honesty
is only a matter of policy:
that often my affection for my friends
is only a refined form of caring for myself:
that often my sparing of my enemy
is due to nothing more than cowardice:
that often I do good deeds
only that they may be seen of men,
and shun evil ones only
because I fear they may be found out.
O holy One, let the fire of Your love
enter my heart, and burn up
all this coil of meanness and hypocrisy,
and make my heart
as the heart of a little child.”
- John Baillie

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10, 2010 (not by sight)

not by sight

“Our natures must be changed
to become as a child
to gain the strength we must have
to be safe in the times of moral peril.”
- Elder Henry B. Eyring

“He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.”
- Psalm 40:3 NLT

“We live by faith, not by sight.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 09, 2010 (tapestry of diversity)

what a tapestry
photos and montage by Ron Warner

“We all should know that diversity
makes for a rich tapestry,
and we must understand
that all the threads of the tapestry
are equal in value
no matter what their color.”
- Maya Angelou

“We are a part of God’s wondrous weaving,
important in our very distinctiveness.”
- W. Eugene March

“We're all only fragile threads,
but what a tapestry we make.”
- Jerry Ellis

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 08, 2010 (like wildflowers)

like wildflowers

“Every man dies.
Not every man really lives.”
- Braveheart

“If we would only give, just once,
the same amount of reflection
to what we want to get out of life
that we give to the question
of what to do with a two weeks' vacation,
we would be startled at our false standards
and the aimless procession of our busy days.”
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.”
- Psalm 103:14-19 NLT

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 07, 2010 (show sincere love)

show sincere love

“‘Who is thy neighbor?’"
It is the sufferer,
wherever, whoever, whatsoever he be.
Wherever you hear the cry of distress,
wherever you see anyone
brought across your path
by the chances and changes of life
(that is, by the Providence of God),
whom it is in your power to help -
he (she), stranger or enemy though he be -
he (she) is your neighbor.”
- A. P. Stanley

“You were cleansed from your sins
when you obeyed the truth,
so now you must show
sincere love to each other
as brothers and sisters.
Love each other deeply
with all your heart.”
- 1 Peter 1:22 NLT

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 06, 2010 (finding joy)

finding joy

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise”
- William Blake

"There are souls in this world
which have the gift of finding joy everywhere
and of leaving it behind them when they go."
- Frederick Wm. Faber

“You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
- Psalm 16:11 NLT

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 05, 2010 (put your trust in God)

put your trust in God
photo by Patrick Frey

"How horrible it will be for these people.
They have run away from me.
They don't pray to me sincerely,
even though they cry in their beds…
They have turned against me.”
- Hosea 7:13,14 GWT

God has throughout the Bible
brought affliction to people
in an attempt to turn them back to Him
but still they sought Him not.

How many, afflicted with illness and disease,
maintain a self-induced, prideful stance
instead of turning to God?

“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust you, O LORD,
because you have never deserted
those who seek your help.”
- Psalm 9:9,10 GWT

“Blessed is the person
who places his confidence in the LORD”
- Psalm 40:4 GWT

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 04, 2010

majestic nature
photo by Ron Warner
(used with permission)

“As a kid, I loved being
surrounded by mountains, creeks and animals,
and volunteering with my mom
on initiatives to help protect the environment.
Being part of this contest is one important way
I can help ensure we all get to experience
the beauty and wonder of wildlife,
such as the bald eagle,
that enrich all our lives
and make us proud to be Americans.”
– Amy Smart

“Across the country, America's symbol,
the Bald Eagle has made a remarkable recovery
thanks to efforts to protect these birds and their homes.
Without these efforts,
we might have lost the Bald Eagle forever.
Our commitment to protecting rare wildlife
ensures that Americans can enjoy seeing eagles
soar across our skies for generations to come.”
– Betsy Loyless

“A lot of people have heard about the bald eagle,
but you don't really appreciate
the majestic nature of a bald eagle
until you actually get to view one.”
– Scott Root

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 03, 2010 (as from God)

as from God
photo by Ron Warner
(used with permission)

“‘His kingdom rules over all’”
Therefore you can find nothing
which is not a matter for praise,
since there is nothing which is not
a matter of your LORD's gracious permission,
planning, or control.
‘Over all.’
Nowhere can you step outside HIS realm,
nor in anything get beyond
HIS care and government.
‘Over all.’
Thus take all as from GOD,
hold all as from GOD,
and by your gratitude
give all back to GOD again,
completing the circle,
making HIM the Alpha and Omega,
the Beginning and the End of all things."
- Mark Guy Pearse

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 02, 2010 (cast your bread)

cast your bread

“Give, and you will receive.
Your gift will return to you in full -
pressed down, shaken together
to make room for more,
running over,
and poured into your lap.
The amount you give
will determine the amount you get back.”
- Luke 6:38 NLT

“Cast your bread on the surface of the waters,
for you will find it after many days.”
- Ecclesiastes 11:1 NASB

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 01, 2010 (love and tender mercies)

love and tender mercies

“It's your unlimited power to care and to love
that can make the biggest difference
in the quality of your life.”
- Anthony Robbins

“I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.”
- From:
You Raise Me Up

“He redeems me… and crowns me
with love and tender mercies.”
- Psalm 103:4 NLT