Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Labor Day

Labor Day

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Glass
August 28, 2013

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

 In the late 1800’s the idea of recognizing workers came to fruition with a celebration to be called “Labor Day”. It was put into law and it would be celebrated the first Monday in September each year. Originally the idea was to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. There would be parades and speeches made by political figures. Today the holiday continues, and the parades may continue and speeches are made, but it is more known as the last celebration weekend of summer.
 So how will you observe Labor Day? Doesn’t everything come down to making a decision no matter what it is? Recently a friend passed away and at his funeral they spoke of his decision making process. Even though he was a man of many earthly riches and a business mind that was considered superior, his family said this: “His decisions were based on two things……one, would it glorify God and secondly, would it bless someone”. And that was it. A simple, yet most important creed to live by. We were on the receiving end of his generosity and saw that his actions were genuine and his faith real. Since hearing that, I admit that I want to follow in the same path. To follow my friends’ legacy of glorifying God and blessing someone, it will take our mind off of ourselves and onto God where we can be used by Him. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 1 John 3:17 ESV

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Casting Out

Casting Out

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5 

There are many different ways to catch many fish such as using weighted nets and trawling nets to name a few. When casting out any net, there is a great expectation of hope and that something good is possible. It is said that the charm of fishing is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. 

What is hope? The definition is, “a likelihood of success. A chance that something desirable will happen or is possible.” Hope has its rewards: joy and peace. Romans 15:13 speaks of hope this way, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Casting our cares to God gives us the hope that builds faith. But what is faith? The book of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We can’t see hope or faith, but like the fisherman who casts his net in faith and hopes for a bounty of fish, we must believe it is there.

When we go through trials, it is important to stand on faith that something good will come from our difficulty.  That all things glorify God. And when we are in the good times and the season we are in is glorious, we must not forget to continue to commune with God and seek His Word so that faith and hope grow deeper as we abide in Him.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013



You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. Mark 7:8 NIV

When my husband goes fishing, if the fish is too small, he must release it back into the water. There are guidelines to follow when fishing and it is more than just dropping a line overboard. To release something means to let go.  And it is especially hard to let go when hooking a fish that is just a bit shy of the regulation length! But he says that is what a camera is for, to record the moment before release.

What are other things that we have to let go of? Maybe past disappointments, outdated traditions, memories, bad experiences, unbalanced relationships to name a few.  And then there are possessions that we are convinced we can’t part with.  We are disappointed to realize the upcoming generation doesn’t want our “treasures” as we had hoped because they have their own.  Cleaning house to unclutter is a daunting task but speaking from experience, it can be a good thing!

Some relationships are hard to find peace with. We work hard at making things work, we turn the other cheek, and we forgive over and over. We help just short of enabling and we give till it hurts. When in a relationship with a person that has let go of God, it can be very difficult. Because some people don’t want to change, we have to seek God’s counsel to determine what He wants us to do. Sometimes He gives us the okay to walk away. Other times He instructs us to set an example. But most certainly, our prayers are heard and we must continue to pray for the lost.

Are there things in your life you wish to let go of and release? When fishing, sometimes it is necessary to cut the line. Seek God’s guidance and let every action honor Him. The goal is to live in peace.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Finding Your Way


Finding Your Way

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 4:29 NIV

This week I had occasion to visit an assisted living facility numerous times. My expectations were exceeded at every turn! At first glance, there were people in wheelchairs or holding onto walkers that were slowly moving about. Others were seated in chairs in the lobby to observe the comings and goings of visitors and staff.  Then I noticed behind the white hair and thick glasses were bright smiles and gestures that said “hello”. In the following days, I was able to talk to many of the wonderful people there and learned about their lives. I met a teacher, a concert pianist, a blind man wounded in the war, a sweet man in a plaid shirt that sits by the door daily and so on. I loved my time with these fascinating seniors. In my youth I guess I mistakenly thought that at some point, life would be over at a certain age and I would just drift aimlessly like a boat in the ocean waiting for my turn to go to glory. But as I have gotten older I realize for some people, that is exactly what happens, but for others, they make every day count. Adlai Stevenson said, “It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.” While I saw many folks living life, I noticed that others chose to stay in their rooms and not get involved. The comparison could be that some folks are just spectators while others are participants. A spectator simply observes and watches and does nothing to contribute. The definition of a participant is someone that shares and takes part in something. I want to be known as a participant and I bet you do too! Not just in everyday life but in my faith as well.  These dear seniors may get lost, forget important things, appear frail and tired, but many are set on finding their way each day. They seek to be useful; they seek independence, peace and companionship with God and with each other. I see God’s Light shining through so many of their faces. Their age or physical limitations have not dimmed the glow that lives within them.

What about our faith and our spiritual journey? Are we active or inactive?  Hopefully we are living our life to be a reflection of God’s love and all that He represents. But if not, to be adrift spiritually is a sad place to be. There is so much help and support that is available that it is hard to watch someone go in and out of their spirituality like the tide rolling in and out.  If someone is seeking to find their way and needs help, let us be useful and honor God by sharing our faith and God’s grace and mercy. And if you feel like a spectator in your faith and have been adrift, turn back to God, seek Him in all you do and ask for divine help and confide in a Christian friend, church or pastor that you need help in finding your way. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matt 7:7 NIV

Changing Direction

Changing  Direction


  My help comes from the Lord,
      who made heaven and earth

Psalm 121:2 NLT



When I recently walked the beach, I started to look for beautiful whole shells to bring home with me. Bending down and searching closely, there were just little pieces of broken shells littering the beach. I came across a broken sand dollar but decided to let it stay in its place in the sand and continued my search for a whole one. Usually when you find one you will find more. Soon I got tired of walking in the hot summer sun and decided to change direction and turn back. My pockets were still empty. I decided I would be happy if I could find that broken sand dollar on my way back. It would indeed be a real treasure after all. Almost giving up, there it was, in the sand, practically hidden because it wasn’t gleaming white, but was deep gray with tones of brown. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I was thrilled to take it home. It would be a reminder of my day, when I consciously decided to change direction by shifting my focus and seeing with new eyes.


I have heard it said that God can use anyone. But sometimes we are not willing to be used by Him. Too many times we are busy at home and at work, careers, caring for family, rushing to and fro. When we are super busy and wrapped up in our own world, we often miss His voice. Daily living and personal interests all take time and God is set aside for another day. It is not intentional that we push Him aside like a broken shell, it just happens. But then, our whole world can get turned upside down when unexpected things happen that threaten our comfort, peace, relationships, finances, our life. The things that were once important have lost their meaning and value in our lives. It takes having a broken spirit and the choice to change direction to be able to see things with a new set of eyes. We learn quickly in our despair that all that matters is that God hears our prayers and helps us. While He has always been there, we consciously decide to make Him and our relationship with Him a priority.  It is at that very moment that God can use us the most. Our relationship with God outweighs anything else that is happening.


You don’t have to be at your lowest point for God to use you. But too often it takes being at our lowest to reach out and take His Hand.  And when we do, He will help us. And He will use us. Our faith will build. We will want to share what we are learning and God will put us in places where He can use us. We can witness to family, lend a hand to a neighbor, provide encouragement to the young and old, or offer a prayer to a stranger, always sharing God and His Goodness. There is no limit to what God can do through us when we are willing to follow Him.






And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him

- Matthew 4:18-20


In a coastal area, there are so many ways to enjoy fishing. Deep-sea fishing is probably the most costly and often the boats return with large bounties of fish from miles offshore. The sport fisherman may also like pier fishing. Some, including my husband, enjoys surf casting from the sandy shore into the area just beyond the breaking waves. Tackle shops are filled with all the necessary equipment, lures, rods and reels. Sometimes the passion for fishing is passed down from one generation to another. And then there is the commercial fisherman who depends on the weather and his boat and the sturdiness of his nets to capture enough fish to earn an income. This is hard work, but for those that do it, they would tell you, there is no other job for them. The patient fisherman most always enjoys being rewarded with a bountiful catch.


God wants us all to be fishers of men. He expects us to share our faith and to witness to others. We don’t need all the lures and trappings of a seasoned fisherman to do this. Like a fisherman however, we can approach witnessing in many different ways. God will show us what to do. All we need is the genuine desire to serve Him. The Holy Spirit is within to strengthen us when we feel His calling. Just living an obedient life, raising our families with Christian values and attending church is a silent witness to those around that are observing us. We may be examples of godly living without even being aware of it! This is my father’s glory that you bear much fruit, sharing yourself to be my disciples. John 15:8






Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near

-Mark 13:28 NIV


The scenes of summer are everywhere. Lots of traffic converging to the Outer Banks as vacationers arrive with great anticipation. Vegetable stands, one after the other, line the journey to the shore with some of the first harvests of the season, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. Rows of colorful umbrellas dot the beach for as far as the eye can see. Brand-new beach towels hang over the rails of rental cottages along the Beach Road. Where the full time residents live, the landscaping is manicured with splashes of color from beds of daisies, day-lilies and the occasional hydrangea, my favorite. Some driveways are bordered with shells collected from the winter, along with piles of gray conchs casually placed at the base of brightly painted “beachy” mailbox posts.  Backyard grills come alive with the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers that linger in the early evening air. Neighbors, families and friends gather for annual crab feasts and corn on the cob, while catching up with each other. Summer is the time of year when everything seems to come together.


Surely, I am not the only one that feels so carefree and happy at the beach. The salt air seems to wash away my problems and concerns. The sand between my toes doesn’t annoy me…instead it lets me know I am “home”. The smell of suntan lotion evokes many childhood memories. Perhaps my favorite summer memory is recalling my grandmother’s fig preserves with lemon. Only she could make it her own special way, from her small tree in the backyard, surrounded by a single row of bricks. I love July. The sky is still blue with wispy clouds circling overhead before the hazy gray days of August rolls in.  I cannot bear to be indoors this time of year. I don’t want to miss any of God’s beauty and creativity. I will praise Him for these beautiful and bountiful blessings, the sights and sounds of summer.