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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Martin Luther says Happy Halloween? Nailed it!: Purity 253


Purity 253 10/31/2020 
 
Good morning!!

Today’s photo comes from a friend on the Florida coast and this sunrise from a few weeks ago is screaming new beginnings!
First, Happy Halloween! Be safe but have a blast!
Second, for those who don’t know, every Halloween is also Reformation Day! On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed His 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. After centuries of the Catholic church had fallen into compromise and was literally was selling tickets to heaven. Luther translated the original Greek texts of the Bible to discover that what had been translated in the Latin to read “penance” was actually supposed to read “repentance”.
The implications were that man didn’t have to pay for his salvation with good works, man just had to “turn to” God.
Christ had paid it all and all man had to do to be saved was place their faith in Him to be forgiven of ALL of their sins and to be given eternal life.
Luther’s work rescued the gospel of salvation of grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, for His Glory alone!
Unfortunately, even 523 years later, people still live in darkness, thinking they have to earn their way into God’s kingdom. It’s a lie.
Put your faith in Christ and all is forgiven. “Turn to” Him and experience the joy and peace that comes from receiving eternal life that starts now!
Third, after 5 months and 207 pages later, I have finished and submitted my Master’s thesis for my degree in Christian Counseling! It is Finished!!!
So, now what? I don’t know!!! But....
I will Rejoice! I will Rejoice! And Be Glad!
God bless you all!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Purity 252


Purity 252 10/30/2020 
 
Good morning and Thank God it’s Friday!

Today’s photo of a sunrise taken in Greene County welcomes us to the hope of a fun but safe Halloween Weekend.
I am taking the day off to put the finishing touches on my thesis and can not wait until I finish. It speaks of the power of God and how following Him can transform your life.
After my journey, I can simply do no other but tell of the new life that we can all enjoy through putting our faith in Jesus Christ and actually following where the Holy Spirit leads us: into a life of peace, love and joy!
God bless you all!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Purity 251


Purity 251
 
Good morning,

Today’s photo was taken during my travels out in Esperance NY last week.
I snapped it at the time because I was taken by the beauty of that blue sky and the contrast of the foliage which displays some trees still showing changing colors and others that had “fallen already” as they were stripped bare of their leaves.
I share it as a reminder of the continual change in life and the fact that we are all in various stages of maturity. I also love the dirt/gravel road that stretches ahead to an uncertain future.
With a national election next week and Covid numbers on the rise, we face an uncertain future.
I have had the Covid crisis affect my family this week as my brother Tommy’s fiancĂ© was diagnosed with the coronavirus (and no I haven’t been exposed). I am asking for prayers for healing and strength for Dana as she reports mild symptoms and the hope for a quick recovery. While troubled by the diagnosis, Dana is looking forward to the future and is trusting that the Lord will bring healing.
So even in a season where the signs of life and death are on display in the trees around us, and our nation’s governmental future is uncertain, as Christians we look forward, down that long and dusty road into the future, knowing that God has been with us so far and that He will be with us every step of the way until we get to the other side of this election, this virus, and this life.
In Christ, we have the ultimate security knowing that through faith in Him that nothing can separate us from the love of God and He will bring us through.
I invite all who see this to come to the Celebrate Freedom meeting tonight at Rock Solid Church at 6:30pm to find the hope and healing that come through a deepening of our relationship with God.
God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Purity 250


Purity 250 
 
Good morning,

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent hike at Letchworth State Park in Castile NY “way out west in Upstate NY”.
I share this photo of Letchworth State Park’s middle falls because it displays another example of God’s creative beauty and it represents a middle point for our week as we hopefully make the plunge into the second part of the last week of October.
I am close to completion of my thesis and am overjoyed at the prospect of the joy of accomplishment and freedom that awaits.
You know, a victorious life in Christ is defined by keep Him continually in our presence while we stretch ourselves to be more like Him and to discover the unbelievable possibilities He has for our lives.
So if you’re in a rut, it’s time to look at what you’re doing and change it with a spirit of adventure and exploration. Go out there and enjoy your life. Expand your mind by learning something new. If you are distant, draw closer to God.
I’m here to tell you that a victorious life is found in the context of our relationship with God, enjoying Him and challenging ourselves to grow.
The TV and the couch have taught you all they have to offer.
Look up the Wonderful Counselor and follow where He leads you: to life and life more abundantly.
I mean, check out these falls! Who even knew they were out there? There are places to see and things to do with this life and they are so much better when you bring God along for the ride!
God bless you all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Purity 249


Purity 249

 Good morning,

Today’s spectacular photo of a sunrise on Lake George comes from our friend at SK photography and design.
After yesterday’s somewhat gray day, I just had to share this bright image to remind us that God is always here for us and it’s okay to appreciate the really pleasant days as long as they don’t affect our overall outlook to where we need sunshine to have a good day.
Although gray, yesterday I rejoiced in praising the Lord as I am drawing near to completion of my thesis and am already making plans for the “next thing”. Right now I have vague ideas about what comes next but I look forward to getting there.
Unlike the world who sees possible changes as catastrophic, Christians should know that regardless of what comes we never lose our hope, for we know God is always available and will be with us come what may.
It’s imperative to remember this and stay in His presence because life and the things of this world are always presenting challenges, pain, and changes that threaten to take away our peace.
We don’t deny the reality of pain, loss, or struggle in our lives, we just remember all we have been given and the One who will continue to provide in the future. When we do this, we can endure anything and can find peace and joy through His presence even in the darkest of days.
Keep walking with and talking to God.
God bless you all!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Purity 248

 

Purity 248 10/26/2020

Good morning,
Today’s photo comes from a friend who captured an early morning sunrise near their home in a Columbia County.
I love the way the morning light shines through the tree line to declare a new day.
I share it because it’s Monday again and as much as we might want to stay in the weekend, Monday is declaring a new work week.
With that said, I pray that, while you have work and another week to face, you keep the bigger things in mind.
In this photo we could focus on the tree line that is in front of us or we can recognize the beautiful light that shines beyond, over, and above what is immediately before us.
Likewise, remember that no matter what challenges we face this week, God stands behind them all and can be accessed for wisdom, strength, and love.
God bless you all!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Purity 247


Purity 247 
 
Good morning!

Today’s photo was shared by the Trinity Methodist Church in Hudson. Pastor Kenneth Coddington understands the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church’s billboard on Joslen Blvd outside of Hudson NY has proclaimed the power of prayer to take away fear and bring peace throughout the Covid 19 pandemic.
I share it because I, like Pastor Ken, know that our faith has power. Those of us who have faith in Jesus as the Risen Lord have the hope of eternal life and the new life that can pull us out of a life of darkness into His marvelous light! Ask me how I know!
So as you spend the weekend I want to encourage you to do two things.
1. Remind yourself of what you got. If you got Jesus, you got this! There is no condemnation for those in Christ. So if you have any negative thoughts about yourself, stop them by reminding yourself of who you are according to God:
- worthy of knowing the truth - priceless
- Loved & accepted by God
- Free from the power of death - eternal - right after your last breath you are with the Lord - be fearless!
- Given power - when you call on the name of Jesus - He gives you strength that you wouldn’t have on your own! So call Him, talk to Him. He also gives you power to say no to temptation (deliver me from the evil one) and to follow His leading for you life. So follow.

2. Be a light to those around you. Let people know that you love them but more importantly there is a God who stands above it all who loves them too and sent Christ to save us all.
So go out this weekend, take pics, enjoy all the possibilities before you, and show God and everyone else you understand you have the light of the world living inside you: And Shine!
Enjoy your weekend and God bless you all!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Purity 246


Purity 246 10/23/2020 
 
Good morning and Thank God it’s Friday!

Today’s photo comes from a friend who works along the Hudson River and captured this Sailboat on an Autumn cruise.
I share it hoping you have a smooth transition as we sail into another weekend.
I usually have a lot to say but my friend’s comments on his own photo say enough for today. He said:
“Watching this sailboat today reminded me of something I did awhile ago, I gave up.
Put your sails up let God take you on a ride the rest of your life, He’s got you, I know I gave up and let God be in control.
Trust Him put your sails up.”
As a successful graduate of Celebrate Freedom, my friend knows what a victorious life of faith means. Take his advice and let go and let God.
God bless you all!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Purity 245


Purity 245 
 
Good morning!

Today’s photo was captured earlier this month at Lake Placid. I love the way the water reflects the glory of the heavens here on earth.
Similarly God’s glory is reflected in the lives of those who know Him and follow Him.
As I prepare to teach on Grace tonight at Celebrate Freedom, my thoughts have turned to my relationship with God over the last ten years and how He has led me to places I would have never seen and to do things I would have never done without Him.
The power of our faith does not only lie in believing intellectually in God for heaven someday. The power lies in trusting what God’s word tells us about life and who we are in Christ and showing our faith by following where He leads us.
By following Him, he has lead me out of addiction and bad relationships and He has lead me into a life of joy and peace that is continuous as long as I keep my eyes on Him.
While I can’t physically see the Holy Spirit, I can feel His presence and leadings through my conscience and intuition and I can feel His presence when I commune with Him in worship. So I am continually thinking about His presence and His truth in regards to my life.
Just as Peter was able to walk on water when He kept His eyes on Jesus and trusted Him, we can walk through life and all its struggles with peace when we stay in His presence.
So turn your attention to Him, keep walking and talking with God and you will be amazed where He leads you!
God bless you all!

Purity 244

Purity 244

If anyone is reading this blog, this was the post for Wednesday 10/21/2020. I got preoccupied with a project around the house and forgot to post it but feel that it is good enough that I don't want it on the blog... so you will get two entries today. I won't be "tweeting it though...

Good morning,
Today’s photo comes from Celebrate Recovery. I share it because I have gotten in the habit of sharing a photo of God’s creation everyday and today I wanted to emphasize your part in it all.
For many, we look at the immensity of the universe and the wonder of the heavens and the landscapes of our earth and instead of seeing the truth of the Creator God, we see ourselves as insignificant beings in a vast but cold heartless universe that will all just wind down and die one day.
This is a lie. While science will confirm things do fall apart over time, the explanations of how things started are much less certain.
God started it all and He will have a say in how things end.
But today’s point isn’t creation, today’s point is our relationship to the God who created it all and sought to make peace with mankind through Jesus Christ.
For those who believe, please realize the immensity of the gift God has given you. Although the world has seemed to gone mad and the cycles of life and death seem to point to our doom and destruction, Christ rose from the dead to show that He was God and He has authority over death and creation.
So don’t lose hope. Remember, that although we don’t fully understand how things will play out, we have the assurance of life eternal through our faith in Christ.
Our salvation is only the beginning of living out the new life Christ has given us. When we follow Him and walk in the Spirit we enjoy love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
These fruit of the Spirit are to be grown in our lives and it all starts with the knowledge that there is a ultimate meaning and purpose to our lives: to know Christ, to make Him known, and to follow where He leads us.
So be grateful, rejoice, and live!
God bless you all!

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Purity 243


Purity 243 10/20/2020

 Good morning,

Today’s photo of the splendor of fall foliage and it’s reflection in a body of water comes from a friend’s excursion earlier this month to an undisclosed location in upstate NY.
I share it as a reminder to stop and recognize the beauty and blessings that surround us while we go through life.
As I write about having progressive and simultaneous goals of applying the truth of God’s word to our lives and problems, I am cautioning my readers to remember to practice patience, forgiveness, and grace for themselves as they strive to make progress.
When we step out of the narrative of building a career or family and meeting our needs for a moment, we can realize that all our accomplishments will come to a natural end and the things that consume us today will mean little or nothing to us further down the road.
So I am advising to develop the fruit of gentleness in our lives, forgiving ourselves and others as we try to “take care of business”.
So take a moment today to acknowledge that you have done something’s right and that for the most part you’re headed in the right direction.
I encourage you to count your blessings and to see all the good in your life and to rejoice.
A victorious life is defined by enjoying the journey and the presence of God in our lives as we go.
God bless you all!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Purity 242


Purity 242 10/19/2020

Good morning!

Today’s photo is brought to us by a friend who set out on a hike on The Harlem Valley Rail Trail this weekend.
I share it with the hopes that we will all put our best foot forward as we leave last week behind and face a new week with hope and the knowledge that we never walk alone.
As I look forward to another week with the Lord, I just have to report what an incredible weekend it was!
First and foremost I want to thank all who prayed for Gloria Burgess. While my understanding of her condition is still not perfect (have you ever had to repeat what the Doctor has told you? It makes sense when you hear it from them but boy is it a challenge to adequately pass that understanding along to others), I know that the reports were serious but she has been released from the hospital, having never lost her faith in God to heal and to hold her! Praise the Lord!
On Saturday, I went to the Men’s Breakfast at RS Church and participated in the church’s workday. What a blessing to come together as men and worship and work in the Lord’s house!
And yesterday, we were honored to have Paul Szfran give an awesome message of the power of our faith. Afterwards I was blessed with the fellowship and food at our biweekly life group.
With God in our lives, we are no longer alone.
When we invest ourselves in each other at our local church, we simultaneously bless others, get blessed, and give glory to God.
No matter the state of the world or the struggles of our personal circumstances, when we walk in the Spirit there is a peace and a joy always available for us to rest in!
God bless you all!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Purity 241

Purity 241 10/17/2020

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a magnificent sunset comes from a friend in Ocean Isle Beach NC. As the sun sets on another week, I share it with the hopes that you enjoy your weekend.
Prayers for Gloria Burgess, a part of the Celebrate Freedom Family who was diagnosed with a sudden serious illness. Please keep her and her family in prayers as we await more information and pray for a good report.
Gloria’s crisis alerts us to the brevity of life and how we can be taken out of our normal routine in a moment by sickness or tragedy.
In times like this the value of our faith is fully realized as in Christ we have the ultimate hope for healing and new life, in this life as well as in eternity.
Times like this also make us appreciate our friends and loved ones for their support and love now and through the years.
Gloria and I know that our God is a healer and a redeemer. We also know that when the Lord calls us home, He has prepared a place for us. Our gift from God is that because we know this we can walk through any crisis and testify to God’s goodness come what may.
So love God, love your life, and love the ones He has put in it.
God bless you all!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Purity 240

Purity 240 10/16/2020

Good morning and Thank God it’s Friday!
Today’s photo comes from a friend who was visiting Seneca Lake in The Finger lakes region of upstate NY.
I share it because while it might not be a stunningly bright sunrise or be filled with fall foliage or blue skies, it’s tranquil waters and obscured sunset behind gray clouds has a simple beauty and sense of peace that I pray we can all take with us into the weekend.
Like this photo shows a sun behind clouds, sometimes God’s presence in our lives isn’t always apparent . If we were at this water scene and turned around 180 degrees we would probably just see gray skies as far as the Eye could see, but although we wouldn’t see the sun, it wouldn’t deny the fact that this sunset was behind us waiting for us to see it’s glory and bask in its presence.
So if you are going through life in a gray mood and have been doing it one day at a time after one day at a time, muddling through the best you can, stop looking at the gray skies in front of you and look for the light that is the presence of God.
When we humbly ask Him to reveal Himself to us, He does. When we ask Him for strength, He gives it. When we ask Him for rest, He offers to walk with us and take our burdens.
So let go and let God. He has offered His peace to us and it is available to all who ask.
God bless you all!

 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Purity 239


Purity 239 10/15/2020 

 Good morning!

Today’s photo comes from a friend’s recent horseback riding expedition and it displays the beauty of some of our local terrain at an undisclosed location in Columbia County, NY.
I share it because the idea of horseback riding reminds me of some of the advantages we enjoy when we stop doing things on our own and cooperate with God on our journey through life. Like using a horse’s strength to traverse terrain, God can
1. Give us a higher perspective of life
2. Provide us with power to go further than we could go on our own
3. Take us to new places we may have never experienced solo
4. Provide us with comfort and company on our ride through life.
God is omnipresent. That means He is with us where ever we go and we can reach out and grab a hold of his love and strength at anytime to help us through life’s journey.
I pray that you begin or continue to make your life a spiritual practice by continuously bringing the presence of the Lord into your life by talking to Him as you go through your day, thanking Him for the beauty you see and leaning on Him to get you through the rest.
It’s Thursday and I invite all that see this to join me at The Celebrate Freedom Meeting at Rock Solid Church tonight where you can join other believers in the journey to allow our relationship with God to take away our problems through His vision, His truth, His guidance, His strength, and His love.
If you aren’t local, connect with a local church or just seek God through His word until He guides you to where you should go.
God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Purity 238

Purity 238 10/14/2020

Good morning,
Today’s photo of blue skies and the distant view of the Catskill mountains comes from a friend who got some great shots from what I suspect to be from the hills near the Olana state historic site outside of Hudson NY. If you ever visit the Hudson area, be sure to visit Olana to see Frederic Church’s mansion and hike the trails for spectacular views of the Hudson River, the Rip Van Winkle, and the Catskill Mountains.
I share this photo because I am just loving that clear blue sky after having a day of rain in my neck of the woods yesterday. There is just something about the clarity of a blue sky that can give you peace and raise your spirit in joy.
In our confusing world and the trials of trying to find your way, it is a blessing when you experience a moment of clarity, when you have a revelation or an appreciation for something you either didn’t know or forgot and took for granted.
In my childhood I remembered real moments of peace at church. In my childlike faith, I never doubted the reality of God and believed everything about what I learned about Jesus and the knowledge of good and evil.
As I grew up though the lines got blurred as I wanted to do what I knew was bad but somehow felt good. Instead of just going with what I knew was right, I redefined the rules. My philosophy was that the only bad thing about doing bad was getting caught so I just learned to get away with the bad things I wanted to do.
That worked for a while but eventually I had the get rid of God and Jesus too. Asking for forgiveness continually and dealing with guilt was a burden that was more easily handled by doing away with God all together.
With years of running away, coming back, and running away again, I was very thankful when God stopped me and showed me the truth.
My ideas about him were wrong. I found out He loved me and forgave me all my sins by just putting my faith in Christ. And it was only from knowing that love and forgiveness that I could ever have peace.
It was a moment of clarity like no other. It gave me new life in an instant.
Since then the revelations of who God is and what He’s like keep on coming and I continually stand in awe of how good He is.
So seek those moments of peace and clarity, life is to be lived and explored. In all my wandering and searching, I ended up more or less right where I started: knowing that God is real and there is peace and joy to be found in His presence.
God bless you all!