Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time


Time


And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.

-Genesis 1:14 NIV

 

This is the time of year that summons us outdoors. There are gardens to plow, seeds to sow, flowers to mulch and lawns to mow. There have even been a few days nice enough to walk the beach without a coat. The sound of children riding bicycles, dogs barking and the smell of the first cookout of the season will soon be in the air. We are coming up on a busy season and time runs short occasionally.  The recent time change from Eastern to Daylight Savings Time has thrown me off balance a bit. But in a few more days, all will be well only to have to adapt again in the fall when our clocks go back an hour.  Time is a precious commodity. It has been measured by shadows, sundials, hourglasses and ticking clocks. Some days we often lament that we don’t have enough time in each day and other days, particularly when we are looking forward to an event, the time seems to inch by slowly. We caution children not to “rush” time. We follow by saying that when they are older, time will seem to rush by at lightening speed when they will wish it could slow down. Most of us have an order to our day. We mark time by our chores, responsibilities and to–do lists. Some days we wake up in the morning and we “hit the floor running” and other times it is a chore to get our “motors started”. We are all unique and different, but what we all have in common is we each only have 24 hours a day…no more, no less. God says to make Him first. Plain and Simple. In my own experience, if I don’t sit down and fellowship with Him first thing with my cup of coffee, the day gets away from me. The phone rings, there is a knock at the door, errands have to be run and family things need tending to. I always run out of energy early, not able to complete my chores and end the day feeling unaccomplished. On the other hand, when I do make Him my priority, I receive a Peace that follows me into the night. We never know what each day will bring, but one thing is for sure.  I would much rather pray for Godly Protection for me and my family first thing in the morning, than at the end of the day! God gives us the freedom to have free will. Are we willing to make time for God each day?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sand Fence


Sand Fence


 

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.

–Romans 16:17-18

 

Sand fences have been enormously helpful in dividing land and building up dunes. The rickety weathered pickets held together with thin wire comes in large rolls to be stretched out and stuck in the sand. Sand fences don’t look particularly sturdy, but do a wonderful job nonetheless. I’ve captured many photographs of these fences at the beach. Not only are the fences effective, but they add texture to the scenery and provide many perches for birds. When storms come and cause the sea to rise, often the fences lose their footing and get washed out, littering the beach with broken pickets. Once gathered, these scraps of weathered wood make nice kindling to start a fire on chilly winter days.

 

Fences and boundaries surround us, whether real or imagined. It is important to have them for needed protection, whether we are inside or outside the fence. It can be comforting at times being inside the fence, corralled with everyone else in thought and deed. But God teaches that some situations and even some people are not good for us. Remember being told as a child, “don’t follow the crowd”? Our parents meant for us not to succumb to peer pressure. We can get caught up in taking sides on issues, causing great and long lasting divisions and strife. There is never a good time to harbor and nurture these emotional rifts. Stepping away from conflict has great merit.  It is up to God to help us discern what side of the fence to be on when we are given a choice. He desires for us to seek Him in prayerful guidance.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sky


Sky


Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Luke 18:27 NIV

 

What I love so much about being at the beach is the unobstructed view of the sky. For miles it can be seen. When frontal systems and storms approach the area, they change the look of the overhead landscape. It’s probably my imagination, but sunrises and sunsets seem to linger longer in the expansive sky.  An atmosphere full of clouds is worth taking notice of. And so is a sky without a cloud in it. Both are breathtaking. I once rode in a hot air balloon. What I expected to hear were rushing winds as we navigated through the currents. But, to my surprise and serene delight, there was no sound at all, except for my breathing. We soared above the birds. There was no wind in our face as we lazily drifted along for over an hour. We could see for miles all around us. It was truly a bird’s eye view. Noise from the city below couldn’t be heard either. I couldn’t imagine that we had enlarged our vision and found such unexpected peace at the same time.

 

We get stuck in routines and the same old mindsets sometimes. It is good to take a close look at our life and see if we have become everything we had hoped for and more. Sometimes our dreams are not big enough. We like to limit God in what He can offer us based on what we know. But, God is all knowing and all seeing. He has plans for us and if we allow Him to work in our life, we can do more, have more and experience more because of Him.  We can live a life of joy and happiness and enjoy the rewards in life.  But first, we should be willing to expand our thinking and be willing to put our life in His hands. Today is a good time to open our minds and hearts to all kinds of possibilities that await us. Forget that voice that tells us all the reasons why something won’t work. It is God’s promises and vision that we seek for an “enlarged” life.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter


 

 

Winter

 

…for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. –Hebrews 4:10 NIV

 

Winter is definitely here.  Cold fronts come through with strong winds that ruffle the water, bend the sea oats and cause the gulls to tuck their heads down into their chest.  Summer clothes get pushed to the far side of the closet and long sleeves shirts and bulky sweaters replace them. There are some people that even leave the beach during winter for warmer climates in the south. Seems everything takes a break. Grasses and flowers go dormant, birds hunker down in their nests, and blowing sand covers steps and walkways to the beach. At first glance, it can be considered a dreary time, but I don’t see it that way at all. Especially when the basil seeds sprouted this week in my makeshift greenhouse in the kitchen window. It is great to see new life spring forth.

 

Winter is a time to replenish, renew and rest. It is a time to appreciate the beach, too. While nature takes a nap, we can still walk the beach or walk to the end of a pier and feel the wind at sunrise. A hot cup of coffee or cocoa warms the spirit anytime. Reading a book by the fire wrapped in a warm throw can keep the mind active. Seafood chowder and buttery cornbread tastes like a feast for dinner on a cold evening.  There is something to do each day.

 

Winter can be a solitary time and that is good for our spirit to be by ourselves with little distraction. God is always there and in the quiet moments of life, we tend to hear Him more clearly. He drops in ideas and thoughts to our minds and hearts. We have all winter for them to take root on the inside of us.  Winter is the time to plan the garden of our life, for spring will be here soon enough and we must cultivate our hopes and dreams so they can grow into full harvest. These cold days are times to actively seek God’s Presence and His Voice for our life. He is our Counselor in all things. Entering into God’s Rest prepares us to receive what He has for us next.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Filters


Filters

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them] -.Philippians 4:8 AMP

My camera has been a friend to me for many years. I don’t know of a better way to capture a moment, a sunrise or sunset or that perfect wave than with a snapshot. When the moment is gone, it is gone forever, only to live on in our minds. But if we capture it with a camera, the moment can live on for years.

 

My picture taking wouldn’t be complete with the use of filters on my camera lens. There are books on the subject of filters because there are so many to choose from. The definition of a filter is this: “Camera filters are optical elements that alter the properties of light entering the lens for the purpose of improving the image being recorded.” My favorite is the polarizing filter. Many types of filters absorb light, but what I like so much about the polarizing filter is that it absorbs unwanted reflections, which reduces the glare. It is a “must-have” filter when photographing the water.

The camera lens is not the only place a filter could be applied. With the world today and the choices we are exposed and have access to, it is almost necessary to put a filter on what gets into our heart, mind and spirit. A filter can reduce and eliminate negative and unwanted things. As I get closer to God, I find myself being more careful about what I read, view or listen to, especially in my own home where it is the most important. If we don’t exercise caution about this, there is the chance we can become deceived about what is good or not. That is what becoming “desensitized” means.  I will behave myself wisely and give heed to the blameless way--O when will you come to me? I will walk within my house in integrity and with a blameless heart. I will set no base or wicked thing before my eyes. I hate the work of them who turn aside [from the right path]; it shall not grasp hold of me. Psalm 101:2-3 Amplified Bible. We start by resisting anything we are hot sure of.  Our scripture today in Philippians shows us what things to think on. Now what things do we need to filter out?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beachcombing


Beachcombing


 

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

-Psalm 16:11 NIV



A beachcomber, according to the dictionary is defined this way, ”a drifter or loafer usually by the seacoast”. Is that all it says? They left out the part about having fun, getting exercise and clearing the mind. I am not too crazy about being described as a “drifter or loafer”, but if that is what you call strolling along the shoreline in search of washed up treasures, then I’ll take it! Filling my pockets with shells in all shapes, colors and sizes is heaven on earth to me. Maybe there is a little “drifter” in you, too. Slowing the pace and enjoying a walk on the beach is a precious gift we can give ourselves. I am not sure what draws people to the beach. Maybe it is the ever-changing grandness of it. The water looks different every day. The way the sunlight reflects off of the water and waves that curl and roll in to shore is mesmerizing. And maybe yesterday’s footprints have been worn away by a strong breeze so the sand looks untouched and new. To me, the best part of beachcombing is to arise early and be the first one on the beach in the morning to be a part of the day as it unfolds.

 

God wants to be part of our day. And, He wants to be first in the order of things we have on our schedules. Before the demands of the day can multiply, I can honestly say that making God first is the best way to meet the day head on. Finding that special time and place to rest in His Presence may take some effort. Especially, if the TV is blaring, children and pets have to be fed and the phone starts ringing. It may take a juggling act to find that time with God but it is worth it. Plugging in to God’s Word, His Peace and Protection will start the day right. It is a discipline at first, but once God’s Presence is truly heartfelt in those special moments with Him, you may find yourself waking up a little earlier just to spend more cherished time together with God.

 

                                                                         

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year


A New Year

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. –Isaiah 43:19 ESV

The new 2014 calendar is up on the wall. The pages are blank and the coming days and months are full of hope and promise. What will the New Year bring? Certainly there will be challenges, whether we accept them or not, and the New Year will also bring new opportunities.  It is said that, A new morning means a new beginning, a new struggle, a new endeavor, but with the Lord by our side we can overcome any challenges and turn obstacles into stepping stones. Prayerfully and hopefully if we can go into the New Year with a good, positive outlook, then we are laying the foundation for great expectations.

 I don’t make resolutions as much as I ponder what it is that I want to do this time of year. Mostly it because I believe it is God that drops those seeds of desire into my heart in the first place. Then I hand him the paintbrush so He can paint the canvas for the coming year by directing my steps each day. Basically, I trust that He knows what I hope to accomplish, to get past, and to overcome, all in an effort to live for Him. Find out what is in your heart and ponder what steps to take to get a good start to the year. Walk the beach, stroll along a pier or sit on a bench and watch the rolls wave in.  Be still and listen. Seek peace and the will of God to be your guiding light. Let Him do a new thing!  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are ne every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” –Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV

 

 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


All Is Well

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. –Psalm 28:7

The reflections of Christmas 2013 linger on even as the day has come and gone.  The wrapping paper torn away, a few cookies and candy canes remain and the wilted holiday greens are evidence that we indeed had a celebration. Christmas Eve service always delights with the familiar carols sung and the message of Jesus’ birth warms the heart with His Everlasting Love. My grandson sat though most of the service and that in itself was a Christmas miracle! All is Well!

But what if everything in your life is not well? People that experience the loss of any kind or hardship this past year may have lost their sense of the holidays.  Christmas may represent sadness rather than joy.  My Dad’s favorite carol was “Oh Holy Night”. Every time I turned on the radio, walked into a store, went to church, I heard that song. Over and over again. Even though he has been gone for 4 years now, it could have been a painful memory for me. Yet I chose to celebrate that song and each time I heard it, I said, “Merry Christmas, Daddy” as though he was right there beside me. 

We have choices as to how to approach the things we must face. Some folks walk a tougher path that we do. We must encourage and lift them up because next year they could be the ones lifting us up in love. Being there for one another at all times. Our attitude and faith are the keys. Believing in God for good in all things will strengthen us. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Happy New Year!!