Thursday, June 30, 2011

The American Flag

The American Flag

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 30, 2011

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

This Fourth of July, I will hang my American flag on the front of my home as I do each year. But this year, it seems to symbolize more to me that it ever has before. Love. Love of country and love of our servicemen for their sacrifice. What is love? One dictionary describes love as “to hold someone dear, to cherish them, to feel affection.” My favorite definition is “the unselfish concern that freely accepts another in loyalty and seeks his good.” There are many different kinds of love. There is fatherly love, motherly love, sisterly love, brotherly love, puppy love, romantic love, and so much more. But this is not a lesson in defining love, but instead, a reminder to strive for love, to show love, to give love, receive love and enjoy love. Everyone needs love to live. It is life to the body and the spirit, both physically and emotionally.

If we think that we should give more love to those around us, yet don’t know where to start, we could begin with God. He loves us always. We can have faith that He will fill us with love overflowing! Our hope is in Him, because when we feel alone and there is no one else for us, His love for us never waivers. It is hard to give something to someone if we don’t have it to give. But, if we enter into a new or a renewed relationship with God, we can feel and absorb His love so that you we can pass it on. If we have a hardened heart from the past, we can ask for forgiveness and He will oblige. 1 John 4:16 tells us, “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. To love, is to obey God and his commands. “Let those love now who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more”-Thomas Parnell

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Walking in Faith

Walking in Faith

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 23, 2011

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. –Romans 10:1 NIV

Early morning walks whether they are on the beach on in a neighborhood can be very special. But of course, walking the beach when possible is my favorite of all. Often I found myself talking out loud to God, as though He is walking along side of me. The warmth of the sun chases away the light chill of the morning. Pocketing a few specially selected shells for the windowsill back home makes the day memorable. Best of all, are the deep breaths from walking vigorously on the sand with lungs full of salt air. I believe all these things combined, make the start of a perfect day.

There are many “walks” in life…some physical, like walking a beach or exercising. But the one we will talk about today is the spiritual walk. Our relationship with God is our most important “walk”. We are given a choice of whether or not we choose to follow Him and His Word. Assuming we choose to walk with Him, He begins to take us down different paths and roads to teach and strengthen us. Some roads are bumpy with turmoil and tribulations and other times, we seem to glide by effortlessly. Those challenges we come up against build us up and invariably we come away having learned a new lesson. I have learned over and over these past few months that we cannot have faith and live in fear at the same time. One cancels out the other. It is very subtle how fear seems to become a stronghold in our life over small things and before you know it, we become afraid or worried and anxious about everything. Fear is a dark spirit that comes upon us when we think “what if” thoughts and fear thoughts. If we allow ourselves to remain anxious or continue to worry, the end result is living a life consumed with fear. It comes on us so quietly that we often don’t know it has happened until our entire mindset becomes based on fear. Each time I have allowed my mind to walk down the road of fear, I realized later that it was for naught. Everything worked out, but the toll of carrying worry and anxiety in my body caused my heart to beat faster, headaches to come upon me and my sleep to be interrupted. Some fears are normal, but most are not. God says that we are to trust Him. He is our Protector and Provider. He is always the Answer. Whatever fears we may be carrying today can be surrendered to God in exchange for faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word. Reading scripture that comforts and guides us into a deeper walk with God automatically diminishes our natural tendency to live in fear to free us for a life of faith.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Father

A Father

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 15, 2011

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12 NIV

A father should be the foundation of the family on which the mother and children stand secure. That is the ideal family. But it isn’t always the case. In the last 45 years, it is reported that the United States has become the world leader in fatherless families. Single mothers do the best they can to be mother and father to their children. And grandparents stepping in and other role models to provide a father figure like coaches and teachers. Churches today recognize the need to help and provide support to families and therefore youth groups are becoming vital as a source of values and fellowship with guidance to the children. Anyone who helps to shape a child’s life in a positive way enforcing love and values is an angel on earth and we should thank them.

I will miss my father again this year. Now in heaven, or as he referred to it as "the sunny side", it seems just yesterday that I was buying that plaid short sleeve shirt and sweet card to hand deliver. I miss the smell of his after shave and the scent of his shaving cream. He laughed easily, had strong opinions and loved generously. I was blessed to have my dad for my friend. Today, at this time in my life, I have a heart full of memories to fall back on and for that I am glad. He always puts us ahead of himself. He saw to it that we took vacations, Sunday drives, ate lots of ice cream, went to ball games and he lovingly sat in the living room chair as I stumbled through my impromptu weekly piano recital, playing just for him. He loved roses and I was so proud when I painted one of his roses for my mother this past year to hang on her wall to last forever. “Your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.” ~Author Unknown

Time is fleeting. It is going by at record speed. If you have your father, don’t let a moment go by without picking up the phone or stopping by. If you are not reconciled with your father, make peace. You will be glad you did. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. Love covers over all offenses. Love conquers all.

If you are a father, count your blessings and know that God has blessed you with this most important job for the rest of your life. Be the best at it. Don’t forget to make memories because of people like me, that is all that we have now from that most important relationship.

And to all of us, never forget that our Heavenly Father is always there. We can talk to Him. Cry to Him. Rejoice and celebrate our triumphs with Him. He guides us everyday. In little ways and big ways. He is often obvious in our life and other times His voice and suggestion is very subtle…but He is always there.

On this Father’s Day, may God bless all our fathers and father figures, past, present and future

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Being Guided

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
June 08, 2011

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—Proverbs 1:5 NIV

The Outer Banks offers so much to do and many times, tourists aren’t sure which way to turn. Fortunately the “locals” are a wealth of information and are always willing to share to make the vacationers visit special. When we travel we always ask where the “locals” dine and for directions to those special places that are off the beaten path. We will take any advice that we can get from anyone “in the know”. Being guided by people who know more than we do is a blessing. We would never set out in a boat without charts, or hike without a compass or travel somewhere without a map to guide us. That’s why it is important to seek information, wisdom and knowledge which give us the tools to stay the course on our journey.

Spiritual guidance is a blessing, too. When we allow ourselves to be guided by God, it is amazing the places He will take us. Sometimes we think we know all we need to know and on our own will we set out to do things, move, change jobs, make things happen. Many times it will work out and sometimes it won’t. But I can tell you from experience, when we surrender our will to God and allow Him free rein in our life, mighty things happen. Part of surrendering is to let go of worry and fret too. It is counterproductive to “give it all to God” and then take it back again with anxious thoughts.

I know too that with each new day we have to make the decision about what will guide our lives or will we allow ourselves to be guided. Make no mistake, there will be days, weeks, maybe months when absolutely nothing happens. I know because that has happened to me and I think God is off on assignment tending to other people and just hasn’t gotten to me and my life just yet. But that isn’t true even though it feels like it at times. Keeping faith strong in these quiet times when we aren’t hearing anything is vital. In our “I want it now” world, it is easy to get impatient with God’s Timing. But this I know. When we think nothing is happening, God is actually lining up things behind the scenes for us. And then one day, the blessings pour down on us and we are flooded with opportunity, blessings and more. The phone will ring and the news is what we have been waiting for. We may have a divine appointment to meet that “right” person of influence that will help us to make our dreams a reality. He guides us in many ways. But what is important is to stay with God during the drought. He has not forgotten us or forsaken us. We haven’t done anything wrong. The drought builds our faith and when God is ready, He guides us higher. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. –Psalm 27:14 NIV