Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heat Wave

Heat Wave
Reflections by the Sea ©

Betsy Ore Glass
June 27, 2012

The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; -Psalm 121:5 (NIV)
The recent heat wave charted record heat as the thermometers have soared. Extremely hot weather can be dangerous, it is definitely unwelcomed and most definitely uncomfortable at the least! On those sweltering days, there doesn’t seem to be a respite from the heat. Swimming pools feel like bath water, umbrellas offer little shade, and trying to stay hydrated seems to be a full time job. Early morning walks on the beach can be the most pleasant time of the day, and a slight evening breeze can be cause for celebration. And yes, to pray that the air conditioning continues to work is something we can do!
We have a thermostat within us. Our temperature is regulated and most everyone’s is 98.6 degrees. If something is out of kilter, if we are sick, it may register higher. That is one of the first things that a medical professional will do to evaluate a patient is to take their temperature. When everything is “normal”, we feel fine. If not, our body reacts with a change in the temperature.
Did you ever stop to think that we have an emotional thermostat as well? If all is well, we are light-hearted, laugh easily, and we are good company for someone. Our mood is steady and neutral and we are at peace with everyone and everything. If we are having our own “heat wave”, if we are angry and worked up, it shows in our emotions and actions. We don’t mean to, but we can allow our bad mood, our frustration, our anger to spill over to spoil the mood for everyone else. A crowd of people can be affected by the actions of just one person. For instance, the boss comes in the office in a bad mood and everyone scatters. But a warm, friendly receptionist can be the first smile of the day and it sets the tone in the office. Not only can this principle apply at the office, it works for home, school and church.
It is within our power to become a godly thermostat wherever we go. We can choose to shake off anything unpleasant and walk into a room with a cheery hello, a compliment, offer a kindness, or give a smile. There are numerous things we can do. One person can make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to reflect the heart of God and the tide of the day will change.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
June 20, 2012

We live by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

A simplified explanation of fog is that it is a cloud at ground level that is caused by moisture in the sky. It doesn’t matter if it is warm or cold outdoors, fog can still be formed. When the fog rolls in at the shore it envelops everything in a blinding mist. Sometimes standing near the ocean’s edge I can hear the sea churning but I can’t see it. I hear the gull’s overhead and the boat engines in the distance, but cannot see them. The weathered cottages behind me all in a row are invisible in the thick soupy fog. It is an eerie feeling to stand in the fog’s shadow that blends into the gray scenery along with everything else. Most times all I can see are my feet and hands in front of me as I take one step at a time. Why is it like this I wonder? Why is our vision clouded so much? As much as we blink our eyes and take a huge swipe with our hands to try to move the fog from us, it seems fruitless. We just have to be patient for the sunlight to shine through to burn off the mist. And it always does.
In our spiritual life, the fog can roll in just as intensely as it does at the shore. When we fail to stop seeking God’s Will for us, it opens the door for the enemy to overtake us. We lose our focus. It’s like we are in a fog. Our vision seems clouded with fear and worry and other things that rob us of His joy. God loves us and wants and desires fellowship with us. Trusting Him in faith will surely burn off the cloudy mist that dims our spirit. A foggy day reminds me that our faith is similar. We know things are there, like the sea, boats, and the dunes and even though we can’t see them through the fog, we trust in our knowledge and depend on it. Faith is the same. We can’t see God but we know He is there. We surrender to Him knowing that His way is better than ours. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

Father’s Day

If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.-Psalm 37:23-24 NIV

Father’s Day came about in the early 1900’s when a young girl listening to a Mother’s Day sermon wanted to also honor her father. In 1924, it became a national idea and President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea. It was President Lyndon Johnson that established the 3rd Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966 and President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972. We all have a father and we count ourselves grateful if we had a godly father that brought us up to know our Heavenly Father. Especially this time of year we each may reflect and reminisce a bit on how our father helped to shape the life that we enjoy today. We also want to honor and remember the many wonderful men that have been mentors to us and shown fatherly wisdom and guidance when we needed it. And never to be forgotten are the mothers that have stood in for the father for whatever reason to keep the family going.

On this Father’s Day, many fathers are serving in the military away from home. We pray for their family, their heavy hearts and for their safe return. General Douglas Macarthur described how he wanted to be remembered. Not as a soldier, but as a father. He said, “But I am prouder - infinitely prouder - to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle field but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in Heaven.' .

We offer thanks today for the fathers that we celebrate in person, in our hearts or in our memories. Most of all, if there is anyone of us that is lacking a fathers’ love, our Heavenly Father can shower us with His Love in rich abundance and fill all the empty spaces to overflowing. There is no greater gift that a father can give, but of himself. Inheritance, riches and possessions don’t measure up in the end. Remembered are those precious times, when father and child sat side by side, and talked of everyday things, the future and of God.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vacation Harmony

Reflections by the Sea ©
Betsy Ore Glass
June 13, 2012

“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. “- Colossians 3:12-14.

Most schools are out and many families will begin converging to the beach for a week or two of vacation. It is a happy time. A time that has been looked forward to by parents and children alike. There’s much to do. Everyone hoping for sunshine, good beach days, and family fun. Monuments, lighthouses, ice cream and fishing are always on everyone’s to- do list! But with all good intentions there can be a lot of time spent together which can be a blessing or a challenge. That is when everyone will need to be respectful, polite and helpful to ensure unity and harmony, keeping in mind the goal of having a great vacation together.

The definition of unity is harmony between people or groups. It appears to be an easily explained definition but it can be quite hard to live by those simple words. Many times we have to come together in unity to do good work, or to support a cause or to peacefully live in harmony in our own homes or yes, go on vacation together! To live under the umbrella of peace, harmony and unity takes a lot of godly patience. It is said that, “Harmony makes small things grow, and the lack of it makes great things decay”.

When a family or group is living in harmony, there is no strife. Instead there is love, patience, tolerance, understanding and offenses cannot exist. But when unity falls apart and each person feels they are more important than the other, harmony escapes and leaves turmoil in its wake. Within a family, strife can march in the front door and turn a happy family against each other very quickly. Then somebody has to eventually seek peace and with prayer and forgiveness, things can be repaired if everyone is willing. So how do you live in peace and harmony? The Bible gives explicit instructions on what to do. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Very Divine Connection
Reflections by the Sea ©
Betsy Glass
June 06, 2012

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:10 NIV
It was a place that I had visited with God so many times before in the past. You may think it was on top of the tallest dune with swaying sea oats or during a stroll near the water’s edge or even on a bench sitting alone on a pier. But no, the place was actually a hospital chapel.

Over the years I had become too familiar with this little chapel in this big hospital. This cozy room was bathed in rich dark wood, a few rows of hard uncomfortable pews and a couple of fake stained glass windows that were backlit with fluorescent bulbs. The velvet kneeling cushion at the altar was worn and frayed. It needed replacing long ago but it still served its purpose. I always sat in the same place, second row, center pew. It was the only quiet place I could go and be with God at the hospital. The thick walls kept the customary hospital sounds out and for that I was grateful. And here I was again. I was just here a month ago and now back again. Just too soon.

On this particular night it was Saturday evening at 9pm and I was praying for my loved one and just resting in His Peace. After a while and feeling content with this brief respite, I decided to leave and call it a day. But I couldn’t move. So I thought maybe it was more praying I needed to do, so I did. A while later I went to get up and felt like weights were on my legs. I didn’t have the strength to stand. I was puzzled. Why couldn’t I get up? I knew that I was tired and reasoned if I sat a while longer maybe the feeling would pass. It had been a long day. So I decided just to sit and wait some more. My mind was blank; the prayers had been said so I just bowed my head and breathed a big sigh. And then the door to the chapel swung open. A little girl came in and sat down next to me. She sat so close she practically crawled in my lap! With our legs touching as she grabbed for both of my hands, I looked at her and thought for a moment that either she was an angel or she thought I was an angel and this was the reason I couldn’t leave earlier ….God was putting us together and I quickly realized He was about to give me an assignment.

This precious girl was 12 years old and said her grandfather was upstairs in ICU and he was minutes away from dying. She said her whole family was upset and crying but she didn’t understand why she wasn’t crying. She wondered out loud that maybe something was wrong with her that she wasn’t upset and crying too like the grownups. But what did upset her was that she didn’t know how to help her family. She was desperate to help. I hugged her tightly and held her close. I assured her nothing was wrong with her. I asked if she would like me to pray for her and she said “Oh yes”. She said she knew God. So I prayed a simple prayer as we were clutching one another. And then she prayed too. Simple. Innocent. Childlike. Beautiful. I asked her if she knew “The Lords’ Prayer”. And she said, “Do you mean the one that goes ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’”? Smiling at her innocence, I told her it was a grown up prayer and she would hear it again until one day she could memorize it too. So I said the prayer as she was still holding on to me. The minute I said “Amen”, she grabbed my hands and started to pull on me. I could see in her eyes how distraught she was and how intent she was to do something good. Begging me, she asked me to go with her to help her family like I had just helped her. I didn’t hesitate. God was now revealing His assignment. While we were walking the back halls of the hospital, arm in arm and taking the elevator to ICU, I prayed my own prayer that if this is God’s work that He would give me His words to say and pray, and that He would be present. I would just be the messenger for Him. Let these words be God’s words, not mine.

This precious child took me to her mother standing outside of the room and I explained why I was there at the request of her daughter. She hugged me and said this is definitely a divine connection. I was then taken into the small room at grandfather’s bedside where about 15 family members of all ages were standing surrounding his bed. They greeted me with hugs and great love and were most appreciative of a prayer. (God must have known that these hugs would comfort me as well.) I made my way around the room speaking quietly, hugging and shaking hands to each person and finally I reached my hands out to the grandmother. I asked her if this prayer was something she would like for her husband and her family and she said, “ Yes”. I shared that “I understood this moment in time for their family. In this same hospital, just three years ago my father went to be with the Lord. I believe God has brought me here tonight to let you know He loves you and He is with you.” And then I prayed. God gave me beautiful words of comfort. We were holding hands in a circle around grandfather in unity and in unison we ended with “The Lord’s Prayer” and together we all said, “Amen”. I turned to the little girl and said, “I believe God used you and me tonight so together we could bring comfort to your family. So God must have very special plans for you in your life. Just keep following God and He will take you many places and maybe one day you can help another family like you helped your own tonight. I believe you will go far and you will be a leader. Set high goals for yourself.” I hugged the grandmother one more time and touched the grandfather at his feet and said “God bless you grandfather”. I left the room and walked to the elevator. I never got their name. I don’t know what happened to him in the following hours. We had prayed that God would heal him whether it was on this earth or as he walked the streets of gold in Heaven, that the chains of sickness would be broken from him. What I do know was that grandfather and his family was held tightly by God’s loving arms that Saturday night. And I was humbled to be used by Him.

I went back to the chapel. I had been with my loved one for a week and that Saturday morning I was to fly back home. But my loved one took a sudden turn and I had to cancel my trip home. I wasn’t supposed to be in that chapel earlier in the evening. I should have been a home with my own family in another state. But God intervened and put me where He needed me. And He will use you too. It could be in the line at the grocery store, the pier, walking the beach, anywhere. Or yes, like me, He could find a way to cancel your trip so He could put you where He wants you. God’s plans are bigger than our own. God knows when we need comfort and He brings it. There is no doubt in my mind that God is everywhere, sees everything and is over us all. We can depend on Him. I wonder if that little girl I met will let those encouraging words I spoke stick on the inside of her. Maybe her life will be different and her family will see her in a special way now. All things are possible and He gets the credit for all good things. And oh yes, my family member was touched by God too and we were able to leave the hospital a few days later in better health than when we arrived. God is so good!