Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Umbrella

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 29, 2009

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust.
-Psalm 91:1-2

The word “umbrella” comes from the Greek word “umbra” which means shade. The umbrella is over 4,000 years old. Ancient cultures used it for protection against the elements. It is said that the first umbrellas were used to provide shade from the hot sun. Then, the Chinese waterproofed their umbrellas with wax for use in the rain. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. The unseasonably hot weather this week was cause to put up the umbrella and leave it up! Sitting in a shady spot under an umbrella provides a safe haven out of the hot sun. The hot weather calls many people out to the beach and I enjoy seeing families huddled together in the shade of an umbrella just talking and laughing. The umbrella is certainly our friend with all the protection it provides.

Spiritually, God is our umbrella. He protects us and helps us to weather the storms. Not a day goes by that I don’t ask for God’s protection for myself and my loved ones. I know that there are so many “near misses” in my day that it is God that saves me from cutting my finger at the cutting board, or prevents me from switching lanes while driving because there is a car in my blind spot. I know that He is there with His angels watching over all of us. It occurred to me that if we don’t pray for safekeeping for our family, especially our children, then who is? That is a sobering thought to realize that our family could be operating without His supernatural covering because we failed to pray. It is important to make it a part of our daily prayer life to seek the shade of His protection. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 23, 2009

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

This week my husband and I celebrated 36 years of marriage. The time has flown by since that balmy evening in April when we said “I do” before our family and friends. One would have thought that the pomp and circumstance of the lovely candlelight church wedding would have surely guaranteed us a blissful life. But they would be mistaken. Through our own inexperience and naïveté, we didn’t have the skills or know- how to be able to effortlessly blend our two lives into one with harmony. Instead, we had our ups and downs. Babies came, careers needed long hours and several relocations to unfamiliar places added stress, then sickness and more, but we somehow managed to survive it all. And today, we remain each others’ best friend. We both were raised in Christian homes, but we tried often to go our own way and not always seek God. A big mistake! Those were the hardest times for us. Older and wiser now, we have come to realize that our common goals far outweigh any conflicts, with the most important goal, making God first and foremost in our life together. We go forward now with gratitude for the lessons learned, the commitment that continually renews daily and the humor that is the thread that binds us and helps us to get over the little things. We both are open to continually fine tuning our marriage and making positive changes and adjustments to accommodate each other. Marriage is always a work in progress and the work is worth it!

There were many conflicts in the Bible. We are taught to approach differences with a spirit of peace and to rise above the problems to see the common goal. Unfortunately, conflicts are often used as a time to abuse by blaming and criticizing each other. That’s when taking the high road comes in. I have heard it said that when we find ourselves in conflict, we should fly high with the eagles and leave the seagulls to themselves down below. That gives me a chuckle, but there is truth to that. We each have choices. So, in any relationship, whether it is work, family or a marriage, when we find that we must speak up, stand up for ourselves or make the wrong things right, calling God into the situation is the only way. Trying to resolve conflict through peace and love is admirable and must surely please God and that is truly taking the high road to harmony. While conflict and confrontation are never comfortable, we can expect to have to deal with it. If we approach differences with a spirit of peace and love, then we have done all we can do and we can trust God with the rest. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble .- 1 Peter 3:8 NIV

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy  Ore Glass
April 15, 2009

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” -Acts 2:38 NIV

The definition of a decoy is something used to lure someone or something into danger. Added meaning is also to entrap, snare and entice. A decoy, as we know it, is an artificial bird that is set in the water by the hunter, as though it were feeding, in hopes that other birds will join in. Then the hunter, who is concealed nearby, is in range to complete his task. Decoys, many of which are skillfully hand- painted and carved to an exact likeness, can even be motorized today. Decoy making has become an artful business for many and a fun hobby for others.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between whether something is real or not. Even to the untrained eye. If we can see it and touch it, we can probably spot the trademarks of authenticity, but not always. In our spiritual life, even more difficult to discern at times, is the voice that powers our thoughts and actions. Is it the Holy Spirit talking to us, who guides and directs us; or is it the sharp disguise of the enemy that masquerades the road to temptation and sin? Knowing that we have heard the voice of the Holy Spirit brings clarity and peace to any circumstance. The voice of the Holy Spirit can also warn us of danger up ahead and we should heed that advice and act on it. God sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. The enemy is the great imitator and he uses many disguises. He is the master decoy! But this much I do know. If it is the Holy Spirit’s voice guiding us, God will confirm it. He will send His message of guidance to us a second time, for instance, when a trusted friend offers the same wisdom. Or when a scripture that we come across in the Bible jumps out at us with a confirming answer. It is in some of those areas that God will confirm His message. We are not on our own. God is always there, ready with His perfect wisdom and advice and confirmation. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hope Lives

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 08, 2009

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11: 25

Easter represents Hope and it shines the light on God’s Promise for Eternal Life. Eternal Life means even more to me this year as we recently said goodbye to my dad in January. I am counting on God’s Promise that as believers we shall never die, but live in eternity. A favorite old Easter hymn is called “He Lives” and part of the chorus says this:

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and He talks with me Along life's narrow way. He lives, He live, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.

Martin Luther is quoted as saying that “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time.” How true. Each budding tree or bush is showing us new life. My mother tells me that my dad’s prized climbing roses are budding already. Yes, new life. It gives hope and meaning to new beginnings.

It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. We can have a new beginning today. A fresh start. A new life. We have everything within us, on the inside of us, to start anew. God believes in us and wants the very best for us. Educator Alice Freeman Palmer said that “For I remember it is Easter morn, and life and love and peace are all new born”. Today is a new day. Lord, we believe in you and we ask for a fresh new anointing of love and peace to fill us and surround us, to see our life and circumstances in a new light.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
April 01, 2009

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. –John 25:24 NIV

In preparation for Easter, flowers are blooming everywhere. It seems that Mother Nature does her part to herald spring by putting forth blossoms everywhere to celebrate new life. Garden centers are well-stocked with flowers in all colors for the home gardener that decorates their landscape with blooms, here and there. Florists will work overtime to deliver bouquets for the Easter dinner centerpiece. In my family, I have always tried to have something pretty blooming by my front door on Easter Sunday. Over the years that little tradition has meant different things. When my children were young, they thought we were sweeping up and planting flowers to get ready for the Easter Bunny! That was one way of getting the kids to help with gardening! Now, it is a spring ritual to put on our best face to the outside world with a flower or two and maybe even a fresh doormat.

When I see the life of my children evolve into adulthood, I think of watching a flower develop from a little sprout and then grow into a full fledged blossom in all its brilliance. No two flowers are alike and my children are similar, yet different. That is God’s Hand in each of their lives, shaping and molding them to be unique individuals. I have seen them struggle with things and questions about which path to take in life. I view them with a mother’s prideful heart. Wanting to step in and help them at times, but realizing if I did so, it could hurt them in the long run. But we know that God has a Plan for each of them, including falling back on the love given by parents that are there to support and love them through it all.

I think that God views us much the same way. He is our Heavenly Father and we, His Children. He loves us no matter what. He proved that when He sent His Son, Jesus to die for us on the cross and give us Eternal Life. For years, I think I didn’t understand Easter. I couldn’t see past the crown of thorns and the pain that Jesus suffered. There was such a sadness over Easter and as a child I knew it wasn’t equal to the happy time I felt at Christmas. It was years later that I understood that Easter not only stood for Resurrection but also for Restoration. A time for Promise and Joy! Now, I look to Easter as an anniversary to renew myself and to be grateful for this wonderful Eternal Gift. Like a blossom that unfolds in stages, old thoughts have given way to new wisdom, vision and new ways of understanding. Maybe Christmas and Easter are more alike that we realize where we could proclaim, “Joy to the World” on both occasions.