Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
February 29, 2012

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. -Psalm 51:10 NIV

The Outer Banks is beginning to burst into bloom with flowering trees, flowers and bulbs announcing the arrival of spring. I have always associated the spring season with a time for new beginnings. The outdoors looks fresh and rejuvenated with new growth and buds. The colors of the emerging blooms are vibrant, especially the yellow forsythia and daffodils. We have learned to have faith that a flowering tree will bloom again as it has in year’s past, even though it was just a mass of bare limbs weeks ago. Remembering also that beneath the barren ground there is a cluster of bulbs that will soon give way to a colorful display of beauty that can’t be ignored. Spring is a showcase for nature in its purest form. It is the season of eternal hope.

I have seen the phrase, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” on many greeting cards. In spiritual terms it could also mean to take what God has given you and make the most of it. There are things that happen to all of us. Painful experiences, deep wounds, emotional disappointments, hardships. No one escapes them as they are part of life on this earth. However, we don’t have to make them the focus of our life either. Talking about our problems to friends over and over and living in self-pity keeps it fresh, day after day. What we can do is to leave negative experiences behind in our thoughts and minds. Dwelling on those times of sorrow or loss after an appropriate time has passed has an amazing impact on us. Reliving events in our minds and hearts can be as though they have happened to us again! We have to change our focus from disappointment and sadness to God and get back to where we belong. We can get stuck in a lifeless cycle where nothing good happens because we don’t expect it to. Letting go and releasing painful experiences and attitudes to God will free us up for a new beginning. We can pray for a clean heart to accompany a new positive steadfast spirit towards our future. Let the old pass away to make room for the new!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being Prepared

Being Prepared
Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
February 22, 2012

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. -Ephesians 6:10-11 NLT
Each morning before I take our puppy for a walk, I check the weather and the temperature. I need to know whether to put a coat on both of us, carry an umbrella to shield us from any rain or grab the sunglasses and a hat on a sunny day. Even though I check the weather reports and predictions, I don’t know what to really expect until I actually walk out the door. I think I am fully equipped but many times the rain gives way to sun and vice versa and I realize I am not prepared at all!
We are told to put on the full armor of God each day. What is the full armor? The belt of God’s truth. The breastplate of righteousness which protects our hearts and emotions. The shoes of peace. The shield of faith which helps us to see past our troubles and remain focused on God. The helmet of salvation to keep from doubting God and the sword of the spirit which is God’s Word, our offensive weapon when we are in battle against darkness.
When we cloak ourselves in the full armor of God, we can be assured we have all we need to meet the day. Each day I specifically ask in prayer that God equips me with His full armor. But why is this so important? As in the weather, sudden storms come up, hurricanes can cut a swath through our geography and lives, snow surprises us wit a covering over the sand and so much more. You get the idea. In our life, how many times have we “planned” our day but things seemed to come out of nowhere. We were thrown off course, off balance. When we are outfitted with the whole armor of God we know we can rise up over our problems while keeping God at the center of our life. We know we won’t lose control of our emotions, that we will be able to see things as they really are because God’s truth resides in us. We have an abundant faith inside of us to make it through. We will not doubt God or His existence in our life or the situation we seek wisdom to deal with and we have God’s Word to back down the enemy when he tries to come against us.
On the coldest day of winter you would automatically put on your heavy coat and when the rain comes, you’d seek an umbrella and maybe boots. You have trained yourself to do those things instinctively. So it goes with the full armor of God. We should make putting it on as an essential part of our morning until it becomes second nature to us. How could we even think of going through the day without Him?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012



Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
February 15, 2012

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. -James 3:3-5a NIV

The power of the tongue is awesome. Sometimes it is used for good and sometimes not. Think about it. If a small rudder can move a big ship, I suppose if we had a rudder, it would be our tongue. A prepared and experienced pilot will have his charts out and studied before he sets sail. Before he engages his rudder, he knows the places to avoid and charts a safe course for his ship. We aren’t always so prepared when it comes to what we say. Sometimes our mouth starts speaking and before long, we find ourselves in a heap of trouble after having offended someone, being curt, making assumptions and more. One thing for sure though, we have to go where our tongue takes us. How often do we have to clean up the messes we have made with our mouth! It has happened to all of us. So many tidbits of wisdom come to mind. “Think before you speak and if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In our everyday life we are given a choice of how to react or speak in almost every situation. Just take a moment and think about what to say first. Some of our choices may have long lasting effects, so it is important to think things through and not speak or react in haste. Offenses are often carried around for years like old luggage and some even carry grudges to their death and it was all because of a few spoken words. So often a little prayer helps. Just saying, “Please God, give me the right words” is all that is needed to change a possible negative outcome into a positive one. Today, we have to try to use our mouths for good. To uplift, build, encourage, fortify and boost ourselves and one another. It is a good time to check our rudder to be sure we are heading in the right direction. God tries to nudge us when we get off course and it is up to us to remember Him in all we say and do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
February 09, 2012

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. -Psalm 127:1 NIV

Many books have been written about the uniqueness of the architecture found on the Outer Banks. It is likely that you could see many different kinds of structures on the same street…older block homes with flat roofs, newer homes with exquisite detail and extraordinary windows or just a simple dwelling, known as the “beach box”. And the most talked about Outer Banks homes are located in Nags Head on Cottage Row. These homes are historic, grand in size, well constructed and sturdy. They have endured much. Many homebuilders today try to incorporate many of those architectural elements from the past, found in the old homes, on the newer ones being built now. That specific Old Nags Head appearance suggests homes with wraparound porches, gabled roofs, shingled exteriors and shutters
A homebuilder starts with a plan, literally. Before ground is broken, the blueprints have been studied, reviewed and approved by all. There is a pattern in which to build a home. First comes the foundation, then the framing, plumbing, and so on. Planning is also very important in our personal life but think about how often we do something without the proper preparation. I believe that it is important to also give our prayer time with God some structure, too. My blueprint for prayer is simple and is as follows: begin by first thanking God, praising Him and offering thanks for who He is and what He does for us. Next, seek forgiveness for our sins where we may have fallen short. Then ask God to send His holy angels to surround us and protect our families and us. Next, ask that He remove and bind anything in our life that is not of Him. Then I ask Him for the covering of His armor, followed by seeking the Holy Spirit to fill me completely. After saying The Lord’s Prayer, that is where I will pray for people by name and then I ask God to give me a scripture so I can spend time in the Word. The foundation to a Christian life begins with prayerful communication with God. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. Luke 6:49 NIV

Thursday, February 2, 2012



If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

-Matthew 21:22 NIV

The definition of a beacon is a flashing light, a lighthouse or signaling buoy that produces a flashing light to warn or guide ships. There is beauty and history in each lighthouse that dots the Outer Banks. Some coastal areas can only boast of one lighthouse, but from Corolla to Ocracoke, we have four! Each one is different from the other and most unique. Stories of past are told, to the next generation, to keep the history of these lighthouses alive and protected, for those yet to come. It is still a wonder to me how these magnificent beacons of light defy the storms, hurricanes and wind, but they do. These mighty structures deserve the recognition they have received, past and present.

If a lighthouse is so sturdy that it can withstand adversity and the test of time, how can we tap into that kind of strength? I have received a flood of emails this week from people, some I know and some I don’t, that are sick and are asking for prayer that God would heal them. Several years ago, I was treated successfully for breast cancer. I know firsthand that when we are stricken down, prayer can take on a whole new meaning and importance. We are pleading for our life. God allows things to happen to us sometimes to strengthen us where we are weak. If we have drifted from Him, He wants to draw us close again. He will use us in ways to help others, because of the new insight and understanding we have gained from our own illness. Anytime we are asked to pray for someone who is ill, we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to do so. This is called intercessory prayer. Making time to pray for others is something that God calls us all to do. I don’t know where I would be today if it weren’t for the many prayers that were lifted up on my behalf. God can change the results or outcome of any situation, if it is His Will. Never lose faith and hope. He hears all prayers. None are wasted. Prayers do make a difference. God is our beacon of light in those dark days of sickness and our strength to overcome it is in Him. "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. Isaiah 38:5 NIV.