Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday's Thought

Transformation Starts With a Choice
by Billy Graham

The 12th chapter of Romans says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (verses 1, 2).

It says be transformed; be changed. That’s what we need today. Among young and old alike, we need a change—a spiritual change, a moral change. God calls on all of us to make a total surrender to His Son Jesus Christ.

If you want a change in your life, if you want forgiveness and peace and joy that you’ve never known before, God demands total surrender. He becomes the Lord and the ruler of your life.

You’re surrendering all the time. When I fly in an airplane and I sit down in the seat, I’m surrendering to that plane. Nothing I can do about it.

I’ve been operated on several times, and I didn’t negotiate with the doctors. As they took the knives out and put the anesthetic in, I put my full trust in those doctors that they were going to do the right thing.

God said, “I know the plans I have for you, … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). That’s what God says. He’s not here to condemn you. He’s here to bless you and love you and take you into His arms and say, “I forgive you. I’ll change your life. And when you die, you will go to Heaven.”

That’s what God is saying, if you will surrender totally and completely. But you can’t hold anything back.

"Dogwoods in Bloom"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
First, surrender your mind. Now, when you surrender your mind to God, it means not only what we think but how we think. Some think that when you come to Christ, you have to leave your mind behind. Our faith is not irrational. Jesus will stand the inspection of any scientist, mathematician or intellectual in the world.

I read that by the time you reach college age you will have seen more than 200,000 television commercials. Can you believe that? Congress debated what influence advertising was having on children’s behavior. The average 21-year-old has seen 10,000 hours of violent programs. No wonder we have shooting in our schools. Our minds get saturated with violence or swearing or sex or whatever it is. A survey found that 77 percent of all allusions to sex on network television involve sex outside of marriage, and that cheapens love.

The Bible says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new” (Ephesians 4:22, 23, NIV). You can be made new.

You see, your mind is more than a computer. In a computer, the programs don’t get stronger the more you use them, but it’s not true with what you see and hear. What is repeated is reinforced in our minds. What we remember influences what we do. The Bible says, “For as [a person thinks] in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). What do you think in your heart? What are you really like down inside?

Television also creates a problem or a dilemma and then in 30 minutes neatly resolves the problem, and the viewer enjoys a feeling of release. But that’s not the way it is in real life. In real life, our problems won’t go away rapidly. We’re conditioned to want things immediately, right now: “I want gratification now. I want my way now.”

The Bible says, “Whatsoever things are true and honest and just and pure and lovely, think on these things” (Cf. Philippians 4:8). Is that what you think about? Good things? Or do you think about things you know are not right?

The Bible says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind”—your mind—“is stayed on You” (Isaiah 26:3). Get your mind on Christ every day, all day long, because the devil is fighting for your soul.

There are two forces at work inside of you. One is satanic, and one is God. Don’t let the devil corrupt your mind. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), the Bible says.

Second, surrender your body. One of the great debates today is who owns the body. Doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and juries debate the moral, ethical and legal sides of this issue. And the questions surrounding suicide and euthanasia and abortion center on the issues of who owns and controls your body. Who controls your body?

The Bible says if you’re a Christian, your body does not belong to you. It belongs to God. And the Bible also says that it’s God’s temple. Your body is God’s temple, and He dwells in you if you really know Christ (see 1 Corinthians 3:16).

Well, you say, “Billy, what do you think about sex?” I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for sex, and you wouldn’t be either. God created sex. He made us sexual human beings, men and women.
"Purple Clematis"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The scholar Eugene Kennedy wrote that sex is being used for a whole host of reasons for which it was never intended. And that’s true. There’s no such thing as free sex or free love. There’s a price tag of broken relationships and broken hearts and broken bodies and broken families. God created us as sexual beings. But from the beginning, God planned that the full expression of sex is to be within marriage.

What about you? If you have made a mistake in this area, you can ask God to forgive you and change you and give you power to resist temptation. He’ll do it. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, NIV). In other words, you can’t go to Heaven unless you get it cleared up. And the only way to get it cleared up is at the cross where the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin.

Jesus said, “[You] must be born again” (John 3:7). You can start all over with a new life. He’ll forgive all the past and give you power for the future. Your heart can be changed. It’s changed through prayer. It’s changed by reading the Bible. It’s changed by listening to the Holy Spirit.

Everybody is tempted. The devil tempts everybody, every one of us. I’ve been tempted hundreds of times; so have you. Temptation is not sin. It’s when you yield to temptation that it becomes sin. Christ died to give you a new heart and a new desire.

Third, surrender your will. Before Jesus healed or helped people, He would normally say, “Will you? Are you willing?” And I’m asking you, will you surrender to Christ? Will you let Christ dominate your life and be the Lord of your life? Will you? That’s the question He asks. The Scripture says, “Whosoever will, let him come” (see Revelation 22:17).

You say, “Lord, I will receive you into my heart tonight. Forgive me of my past, the things that I’ve done wrong. I want You to give me a new direction in my life. I want You to fill up this empty place in my life.”

Have you ever surrendered yourself unconditionally to Christ? Have you ever given Him your mind and your body and your will? When you come to Christ, that’s just the beginning because you must live for Him. And in living for Him, that means that the dominant feature of your life will be love. Whatever the color of someone’s skin, you love them. You go out of your way to be friends with people of another race. That’s how you love.

I hope that you will say, “I receive Jesus in my heart. I trust Him. I know that I’m going to go to Heaven because of Him. I know my sins are forgiven because of Him, and I’m ready to die for Him.” Will you do that? ©1999 BGEA

Will you surrender to Christ?

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. The Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Devotion reprinted and published with permission of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Annuals to the Rescue

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
I love a lot of color, a variety of color, in my gardens in the spring and throughout the summer months up to the first frost in the fall.

I like to start the season with Pansies throughout my garden to announce the coming warm weather.  Sometimes, the Pansies from last fall will last through the cold winter season into the Spring.  I replace these with Petunias and Marigolds.

A pattern I like to follow when planting annuals is to purchase as many colors as I can.  When I plant them, I try not to plant the same color next to the same color. This creates a wide colorful garden.

I like to use Dahlias and other Annuals which are a bit more expensive than Petunias to decorate the porch, deck, and highlight the sitting area of my Wildlife Garden.  If you purchase a tall Annual, or a Perennial, and surround it with smaller annuals, you can create an awesome garden.  Try that in a colorful pot as a highlight in the garden.

When you first start a garden with Perennials. you can use Annuals around those plants to bring color in your garden too. Plant Annuals around the Perennials each season until they are their full size and blooming as you want.

As the title of this post says, "Annuals to the Rescue"- add color everywhere.

Before purchasing Annuals, be sure to check the frost date in your area.  Many places will sell them early in the season before the frost date.  Should there be a frost and you do not cover the plants, you might loose them all.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Timeless Thursday! White Clematis at Deck Post

"White Clematis at Deck Post"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The contrast, maybe clash, of old wood with the White Clematis against it is a very beautiful setting to me.  The old wood seemsto give an excellent contrast to the white color.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson

"For I know the plans I have for you,
declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope."

- Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Instagram and Photography and Noah and -

Used by Permission, GraphicStock
Social media is what it is and I enjoy using it for different purposes, personally and professionally.

As a photography and writing business owner, it's an excellent way to share my work with many diverse people from many areas of the country and even the world.

Sometimes, though, I can be a bit slow in embracing new technology and new gadgets.  I think it's more that I want to be sure I am getting something I can use, incorporate easily into my workflow, and have good reason to use the technology, device or app.

I say all that to share this, as far as social media, I have gotten into Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger - from The Dog's Paw, Blogger - Lenses in Bloom, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flickr. Now, several months ago, I started using Instagram- from The Dog's Paw.

Instagram - from The Dog's Paw is going to be a bit different.  I will be sharing my photography skills using my Android phone- which is still a work in progress.

If you know me very well, you know I don't like to do what everyone else is doing or does.  I'm kind of a nonconformist.  I don't seek that, it just comes naturally. Having said that, Instagram will be where I share my journeys with Noah and my wife too. You will see photos from all over the place as we head out for vacations, railfanning, nature walks and hikes and just "going for a ride!" It will be a fun ride and I hope you join us.

Please join our adventures by following us on Instagram - from The Dog's Paw! See you there!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Early Spring Skies"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

Sometimes I am just not as brilliant or on top of things as I wish I was. What? Yeah, it seems that I have a lot to learn as I meet people in this universe in which we live. What am I talking and writing about?

A few weeks ago, my wife and I embarked on a cruise which we’d been anticipating for quite a while. It seems that whenever I travel, I overpack. I take too many clothes and too much stuff to do should I have time and so on. So, determined to avoid this, I packed only what I thought I would absolutely need on this trip.

As we travelled to Fort Lauderdale, everything went as planned. It was becoming an awesome experience together as we celebrated 20 years of marriage.

We arrived a day earlier than the cruise was to leave in order to allow time for whatever to happen. It worked well and provided us some “breathing” room for a delay or two.

On the day we were to travel from the hotel to the cruise ship, we met a couple in the hotel lobby breakfast who were excited to be going on their cruise. It wasn’t on our ship or with the Gospel Music Celebration Cruise we had chosen.
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I noticed the couple seemed to be very happy and cheerful. However, when we shared about our cruise, they seemed to not know what we were talking about or maybe wondered why we would take a trip like this.

As I paid more attention to the lady traveling, I came to the conclusion that she has some sort of cancer diagnosis. Of course, I couldn’t ask her as I did not know her. I determined this by the hat she was wearing- I've seen it way too many times over the years.

We joined them later in the morning on the shuttle from the hotel to the cruise ship. Once again, I noticed that she seemed a bit concerning but was going on a journey with someone she loved.

Later in my journey, my heart ached as I realized she didn’t seem to know God. I don’t judge someone so I don’t know for sure but gathering from some comments and actions, I wondered.

I wish I hadn’t left my Gospel Tracs at home as I could have given her one and I wished that I had said more about God in the brief time we had in meeting on this earth.

I don’t know her diagnosis or what time she has left on this earth, but I do know that with God in her life, she would experience His Awesome Presence in the most difficult of times.

While God doesn’t always choose to heal our physical needs, He does choose to help us through them or will use them to reach others. God isn’t a crutch to help losers that is often portrayed in media but a True Help in many different times of trials.

Do you know God? Have you met His Son Jesus Christ who died on a cross for your sins so that you can have eternal life with Him in Heaven and not in hell for all eternity- which means forever and ever?

If you have not, please follow these steps to doing so- 

(C) Allen Pearson
If you would like to learn more, please visit Peace With God!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday's Foto! A Trip to Horseshoe Curve

Railroad Altoona PA
"A Trip to Horseshoe Curve"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
My wife, dog and I headed to Altoona, PA once again this Spring to visit my favorite train watching location which is Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, Altoona, PA.

The day was absolutely perfect!  We arrived around 11 a.m. and stayed until 4 p.m. seeing around 10-15 trains in that time period. The weather was sunny and warm.

If you enjoy watching trains, this is the place to go.  Be sure to visit the RailroadCity website for seasonal operation dates and times, do not use the website found through Google Maps as the times are incorrect. My heart stopped when I found the site and thought it was closed after driving all that distance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"Finally, be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of
his might."

Ephesians 6:10, ESV

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Thought

(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The Resurrection

16 "When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him."
 - Mark 16:1-6

Today we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. He was crucified on Good Friday for our sins and rose on Easter. He paid the ultimate price for our sins -death- so that we wouldn't have to if we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior.

Sometimes I have a difficult time believing someone would do that for me.  It's part of my nature to analyze and think about things much further than what I should- in some cases.  This is one of them.

Whenever I question, I chat with a buddy of mine or read something written by Billy Graham, David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, or Jack Graham. These men have written incredible books and devotions which remind me that we have to have faith! Belief in God and Jesus Christ requires faith. So, I focus on that- keeping Jesus in my mind while many other things try to get my attention.

God's Gift of Salvation is available to everyone and anyone who is willing to accept Him. There is no price, there is no work required or initiation or anything like that- just to have faith. Interested in becoming a Christian and learning more about Him and the life He has for you?  Follow these steps:

Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"(23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
 (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
-Romans 3:23-24, ESV

"(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:23, ESV

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

(16) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16, ESV 

Confess your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

(9) "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. "
- Romans 10:9, ESV

(13) For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  
 - Romans 10:13, ESV

"Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. 
I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. 
Jesus, come into my life and take control, 
forgive my sins and save me. I place my trust in You alone
 for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."


So now what?

If you prayed this prayer with your whole heart and believed what you did, you are now a Christian.  My suggestion is to find a local church and become involved.  Talk to the pastor about this experience and ask him to teach you where to go or what to do next.

If you are not familiar with a local church, a few excellent resources to get you started or who can follow up with you are:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Southern Baptist Convention

Southern Baptist Conservatives

Church of the Nazarene

In Touch Ministries (Charles Stanley)

Turning Point Ministries (David Jeremiah)

PowerPoint Ministries (Jack Graham)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
"even as the Son of Man
came not to be served but to serve,
 and to give his life 
as a ransom for many."

- Matthew 20:28, ESV

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday's Thought

"Spring in Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved
Today is Palm Sunday.  The day before Easter that begin Holy Week. It is the day Christians remember and celebrate as the day Jesus entered in Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Savior and King.  As he rode a donkey into town, a crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road.  They shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

This time of year causes much reflection for me.  As I think about Palm Sunday and Easter is all about, I have a hard time understanding why someone would die for me so that I could have eternal life in heaven.
"Spring in Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I've had the blessing of being brought up in the church.  My father was a Minister of Music and my mother say in the choir.  Each of them did many jobs in the church throughout the years. We were there every time the church doors were open. Of course, as a young boy I knew this is what we were supposed to do and really didn't rebel too much from it.

In my early teen years, I began playing the organ for church services.  I loved it and practiced and practiced and should have practiced even more.  As an organist, I was blessed with the ability to play music by ear which made it easier to read the words to the songs and sing along with the congregation and choir specials.  So, the works of those songs repeated much of the truth of the Gospel.

As the words of the hymns and choir specials recounted through my mind, I was constantly reminded of how Christ died on a cruel cross for my sins.  The music played and sung on Palm Sunday was usually more of a "mourning" or "sad" song less celebratory- Easter was definitely a celebration.  Even as I've aged, and am not playing the organ at church, these songs go through my mind as reminders of what Christ did for me-

Ten Thousand Angels 

1 They bound the hands of Jesus 
in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him thro' the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin;
They said, "Crucify Him; He's to blame."

He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, (alone), for you and me.

2 Upon His precious head 
they placed a crown of thorns;
They laughed and said, "Behold the King."
They struck Him and they cursed Him
and mocked His holy name.
All alone He suffered everything. (Chorus)

3 When they nailed Him to the cross,
His mother stood near by;
He said, "Woman, behold thy son!" 
He cried, "I thirst for water," 
but they gave Him none to drink.
Then the sinful work of man was done. (Chorus)

4 To the howling mob He yielded;
He did not for mercy cry.
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, "It's finished,"
He gave Himself to die;
Salvation's wondrous plan was done. (Chorus)

Author: Ray Overholt, 1980

If you are wondering about the Palm Sunday and Easter season- what it all means or what its all about, be sure to visit a local church this coming Easter to learn more. 

If you would like to learn more about God's Plan of Salvation for man, please visit Peace With God.

#easter, #jesuschrist, #palmsunday, #holyweek, #godsword, #eastersunday, #godssalvation, #salvation, 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday's Words

(C) Allen Pearson
One of my most favorite Scriptures is:

"but they who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with 
wings like eagles;
they shall run 
and not be weary;
they shall walk
and not faint."

- Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday's Thought!

"As the Deer"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

I Ask for Mercy

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” - Luke 23: 42-43

The Polish astronomer Copernicus, through his writings and education, changed the concepts of what men think about the universe and how the universe runs. He was a brilliant man. But when Copernicus came to die, he did not see himself as an astronomer but as a sinner in need of forgiveness. He asked that this epitaph be inscribed on his gravestone: “Lord, I do not ask the kindness Thou didst show to Peter. I do not dare ask the grace Thou didst grant to Paul; but, Lord, the mercy Thou didst show to the dying robber, that mercy show to me. That earnestly I pray.”

Do you want that today? Do you want the mercy that God showed to the dying thief? He will show it to you and save you today.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers and to learn about salvation, please visit Assurance of Salvation.

Devotion used by written permission of Love Worth Finding.