Thursday, October 27, 2011

Autumn Flowers

Autumn Flowers
Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
October 27, 2011

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. –Isaiah 40:8 NIV

This past week I went to a flower farm where zinnias and sunflowers were still blooming. The vibrant colors of fall were evident in the fields of flowers just waiting to be picked. I brought two handfuls of flowers home for the dining table and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Buds of sunflowers slowly opened during the week as the zinnias wilted one by one. Flowers, I think are one of God’s gifts to us. When I look at a flower and examine the petals and the intricate structure, it is a reminder of God’s perfection at work. The arrangement of the seeds in the center of a sunflower is a geometric wonder to me.

If God worked so hard to perfect the flowers, then is there any doubt that he would have done less when he formed us? Stop along the beach and pick up a shell. Look at it. The ridges, the colors, the perfect shape. Another achievement that nature gets to take credit for under the umbrella of God’s artistry.

We are so much greater than a flower or a shell. We are a masterpiece made and created by God. We would not be here if God had not breathed life into us. Each person has a purpose in this life. It is important to fulfill that purpose but to do it God’s Way and not our own way. What does that mean? We just don’t want to get ahead of God and take the plan for our life and make things happen in our own time. Instead, we are to know God through His Word and grow from His Instruction. We are to lean on Him while He takes time to develop, refine and prepare us for the plans He has in store. Like a flower unfolds, one petal at a time, we are the same. One day at a time. One step at a time. Trading impatience for patience. Trusting God every moment to lead us to the purpose and plan for our life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011



Reflections by the Sea
Betsy Ore Glass
October 19, 2011

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
-Psalm 119:35 NIV

The Outer Banks hosts many paths: bicycle paths, walking paths, handicap and nature paths. Some are straight and others are winding. No two are alike and there is always something beautiful to see and enjoy along the way. When I was a young girl, my grandmother lived at a beach. Her little house with a wraparound screened porch was tucked in among the cedars, pine and oak trees. The path from her back door to the top of the sand dune was made from wooden planks, creating a straight path to the beach. She lived under the protection of a canopy of trees, but once at the top of the path on the tall dune, a panoramic view awaited us. Even though most of the treed path was dark or covered over in pine needles, the reward was always there at the end of the path….a view that was breathtaking! The darkness lifted and the light of day or moon by night illuminated us while we stood on that path, finally at our destination.

Sometimes we just simply want what we want! Scripture says that God will give us the desires of our heart. Some things we want are just not good for us. We can thank God that He knows more than we do and knows what is best for us. I can look back in the past and think I was just so certain about the direction I thought God was taking me. All the while, I realize now I was on my own path. It is hard to discern which path belongs to whom!! When we get faced with choices or opportunities, our first step is to go to God and ask for wisdom. There have been times I have felt a nudge in my spirit to act or move forward. Not knowing what is ahead of me, I have walked forward in obedience by faith, and sure enough, God would have cleared the path for me towards victory. Other times, I have felt like there was glue on my feet. Everyone else around me was moving forward with plans and I had plans too, but felt God holding me back. Disappointed at first and frustrated that I couldn’t step out yet, I realized that God knew best and that His Timing is everything. God has managed to put me where He wants me at any given time. I have learned that He calls the shots. When I simply can’t wait any longer for God to act, then I begin to feel that maybe He is waiting for me to act. That happens sometimes. That is when I move forward with my goals and plans in faith, with caution. I trust Him to stop me at any time and He has. He orders our steps and blesses us with the wisdom on what path to choose to live the life he has designed for us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Reflections by the Sea ©
Betsy Ore Glass
October 12, 2011

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. –Psalm 28:7 NIV
October is a wonderful time to be at the beach in my opinion. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler. Goldenrod is in full bloom with its mustard colored flowers growing wild here and there. Sea oats look rich in a golden amber hue as they wave back and forth on the dunes in the ocean breezes. Salt spray covers everything. Where tourists once sunbathed on the summer beaches, large flocks of pelicans and gulls have reclaimed those places as their own again. It is sweatshirt weather on most mornings. Pots of seafood chowders and stews are put on simmer all day for early autumn suppers to stave off the evening chill. October spells pure joy to me as it is the one month that everything seems to be just perfect on the Outer Banks.
For a while, I have collected everything I could find with the word “joy” written on it. Tree ornaments, plaques, magnets and more. I use these little messages throughout my home as a daily reminder to stay in joy and not complain or find fault with myself or others. I have learned that it doesn’t take much to get hooked into the emotion of complaining and grumpiness and that is a trap the enemy uses to steal our joy. We have to be on guard against this happening. My favorite definition of joy is “the expression or display of glad feelings”. Being filled with joy can cause us to want to do and share good things for those around us. It is like having a new song on the inside of us. When we can, I think we are supposed to spread our joy outward and see how God uses it to make positive changes in our lives and the lives of others.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Choose Faith Not Fear

Choose Faith Not Fear
Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
October 05, 2011

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11- 14 NIV

We are seeing what happens when an ocean roars out of control, with the necessity of building of a bridge over newly cut inlets, which will restore traffic between communities again. The fire that has been burning out of control for months west of the Outer Banks is worthy of taking note of. Even with the torrential rains from a hurricane, the dampened fire has continued to burn. Winds that appear to be calm one minute can build in the next and combined with the right atmospheric conditions, begins to circulate and an out of control tornado starts a rampage of destruction. These are all forms of nature, but do you know that we can operate out of control too?
My son in law was teaching me how to operate his boat. I respect his guidance and pay close attention to everything he says to do. I don’t want to lose control of the boat and put our family onboard in danger. Exercising discipline and taking advice are good things if we want to grow and go forward. When we begin to walk away from God’s Word, His guidance and His instruction, is when we start walking in the deep end of the water alone. If we cast our cares on God and seek Him and keep our eyes fixed on Him and His teachings, we won’t lose control and veer off course, where lack of self- control exists.
Have you ever been so angry that you did something and then regretted it? Have you ever said words to someone in a few short minutes, only to realize later that it would take many lifetimes to repair the damage done? What causes someone to lose control? Usually it is born out fear of some kind. Fear and living in fear can cause a person to react in many ways, all of which reflect an out of control countenance. But if the emotions, heart and mind are rooted in God and His Ways, we can’t have faith and fear at the same time. God says to walk in faith. We face trials sometimes that make us feel like we want to have a temper tantrum at times. But, did you know that trials are often a test to us and reveals to God where we are in our level of faith? Walk away from anything, any behavior or thoughts that don’t line up with God. (Titus 2) Apologies and repenting brings forgiveness and paves the way for new beginnings and a fresh start. Building faith by reading the Word and memorizing scripture now is like putting money in the bank. The strength from a strong faith will be there for us later when we need to call upon it.