Monday, September 18, 2017

When was the last time you were by the ocean? I have to say that I thought I would have more "ocean time" this year, but somehow it didn't happen. I had the pleasure of visiting the ocean in North Carolina with my sister, at Shell Island and at Topsail Island. These beaches are clean and the water is a light blue. They aren't crowded with people, or boardwalks, just natural sandy beach to walk and look at. Even in the hight of summer you can be alone and enjoy all that's around you. You have to get wet, because it is so hot!

Our New York beaches are not like this. The ocean is never warm, and the Sound is full of rocks. I don't mind the rocks when I wear beach shoes, but the rest of my family won't go with me. I think it's great to have a beach 10 minutes from my house. When I was in Elementary school my Father would take us to the local beach in the summer. He was a teacher so this was his time to get fit, so we were there 3-5 times a week. He used the summer beach experience to lose weight with swimming and my brother, sister and I had the best time ever. It was the happiest time of the year for our family.

When I am at the beach, looking up into the skies seems like the natural thing to do. I remember my husband's Aunt Connie saying when she moved out of New York City, that "the sky is so big out here!" Her sincerity made us laugh, and she was so cute! The sky didn't change, only her perspective did. She got to see more of the sky because nothing was blocking her view. Do you have something blocking your view? "The heavens declare the glory of God, because it goes on for ever. God, has no end and no beginning, and the skies tell us the same. One can only have this revelation at the beach, or on top of a mountain.

Whether you are at sea level, or high in the mountains, your comprehension of all the earth is one of awe and majesty. At these times, we see more of the reality heaven.Who is like our God, who can compare to His matchless grace and love? Do you know of any that can equal His divine wisdom and power? Can someone else create all out of nothing? You could spend all of your life looking, and all of your relatives after you for hundreds of years and come up with nothing. No one can match the one and only, sovereign, Holy, maker, creator, divine One.

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic all purpose garment. Never be without it." Colossians 3:14  {MSG}

Suppose all that people saw of you were your spiritual gifts?  What if your outward appearance didn't show but only what was inside your heart? I would be so scared for others to see what is inside! I want to hide some anxious, bitter thoughts away because I may feel I deserve to hold on to them. Oh, I feel blah just writing about it!

Maybe you can remember a time when you were sure that you had conquered a certain fear, but it seems to have found its way back into your heart. I hate when that happens, but it may need just another nudge to leave you alone for good! God knows our hearts better than we do. Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us that we don't know how wicked our own hearts can be, but God sees all and loves us anyway. God searches our hearts, and know our thoughts, and still He continues to work to get us free! He knows a little push here or there is what is necessary to release His unfailing mercies and truth in us.

How do we put on love as a garment? We choose love. We push away from anything else.We have a choice to walk in love or fear, or hatred. These emotions can be a stronghold on us, and may seem as if we cannot choose something else, but that is not the truth. "Whom the son sets free is free indeed." {John 8:36} Remember, it's not our strength but God's that we should rely on. How do rely on Him? We read His word, and if need be, take it as medicine. Our hearts are sick from sin, so he is the only remedy.

We are all tried by fire, to see what we are made of. At times we need to dig deep to find Jesus, because we have pushed Him away all too much. I for one can attest to this. Why don't I take Him at His word? I am learning, and so are you, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. Fight for love to be the first thing to come out of your mouth!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
{Proverbs 31:3} NIV

I wish I could say that I painted these flowers, but I didn't. I can't take the credit for it, but it shows exactly what I feel in my heart. Bright colors, flowing lines, and subtle shades. These are not real, but I could imagine that some flowers arrangements look similar, but then there are real flowers that look fake. No matter what, flowers display a beauty that is heavenly.

The beauty of heaven can be seen all around us, although it is a faded view, a distant image of the reality that is beyond. It reminds me of the beauty in our faces, which some may see as fading, but I say it gets better with age. The wrinkles may not be welcome, but the wisdom that comes from being older is a wonder to behold! Most of us who are older, {which includes everyone, because we are older than we were yesterday,} understand the seasons of life as just that. We can't stop one time from flying into the next.

Most of us feel that our beauty was in the past, never to be restored. God is not one of us and He says that a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, not the one who stands out in the crowd, not the one who has the right words at the right time. The best thing in God's estimate of life, are those who know their God. Plain and simple. I'm glad for that because I was never known for anything when I was young. I didn't stand out, and I felt left out, picked over sort of. I wasn't great at anything, especially school.

I didn't have a subject that I could look forward to because I really knew it well. What brought about tremendous change in me, was when I gave my life to God. It was as if someone turned my life into technicolor! Life seemed entirely different. I felt God's love all over me, and I knew I would not be the same again!I left behind my insecurities , but truthfully it took a while to work this one out. Doubt and fear began to fade, as I saw Jesus walk into every area that I allowed him into.  It isn't easy but it is worth everything!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." {Ephesians 6:10}

Do you want to live on this private island, by yourself? Sometimes I think it might be nice, but not most of the time. We are social beings, especially if you are a woman. It's the way God intended for us to be. Otherwise who would ask for directions, find out what the neighbors are doing or make sure everyone has used the potty before a long trip? It's our way of relating to the world around us, and keeping our families safe. We have to be "in the know."

I don't mean we have to know about everything in a gossipy way. No, we need to know how to care for our loved ones, as Jesus cared for those around Him. He made known to His disciples what would be necessary so that they could please God, which is at the core of every person's soul, whether the person knows it or not. All of life's journey is about filling the inner absence of God. Those who know Jesus as their personal Savior has the void filled, but still there is a process of letting go of the old ways, and grabbing hold of the new.

We become stronger as we hold on tighter. As we push aside the temporal, and lay hold of the eternal we grow, and we let God do the work, which by the way, He already accomplished on the cross. Why do I go around and around, like Moses and the Israelites when all I have to do is rest? I think Moses was never more than a day's journey from the promised land, but the people were not ready to go in and take it over.

Sounds like a waste of time, but possessing the land took the strength of God in their hearts, which wasn't something most of them had grasped. The song goes like this, "It's not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts. It takes God's power to overcome the enemy. It takes God's power to change hearts. It takes God's power to bring us to the cross.

Do you see this bumblebee on this zinnia? It stayed there for two days. I thought I had to move quickly to take this picture before it moved, but not this time.Do you see the white picket fence? My husband wanted it so our children would have it as a memory from their childhood. My husband felt this memory was important. I felt a release of tension today as I passed a white picket fence that a neighbor put up recently. If it doesn't help anyone else, it was for me! I could laugh out loud!

Our childhood memories are important in who we become. They can mold us and shape us, for good or ill. I remember my Mom telling me that when I was in kindergarten the teacher told her  I would never be a reader. I wish she hadn't told me this, but later on when I far exceeded that professional opinion I gave all the glory to God. My husband was told at the age of 16 by a teacher  that he should drop out of High School, and look for a job. After 40 years as an Attorney , he is very glad he didn't listen to that advice.

Discerning God's direction and hearing His voice clearly comes after years of careful consideration.  His advise trumps every one else. Anything that comes from God is safe, and good for us. If it lines up with His word it will be what is best, but it might not make sense to us. We don't see all of the picture that He sees. We don't know how all the pieces fit together.

Another safety measure I try to use is to have a trusted friend, who knows the Lord, to bounce my thoughts off of. The Apostle Paul said, " Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. {2 Corinthians 13:1}Although this verse refers to legal matters, it still is true to confirm God's direction in our lives. We need each other, and God wants us to trust another who has wisdom and care. Not one of us can be an island unto ourselves. Many times a person close to us has a better perspective and understanding of any given situation. Be careful to only share with those who have your best interest at heart. Love and grace to you today, my sweet readers!

Friday, September 8, 2017

"We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.  {Psalm 66:12}

You might be saying to yourself, I remember seeing this picture recently, and yes you would be right. I felt it bears repeating! I love the beauty of the reflection in the water that adds depth to the scene. I take a lot of pictures, hoping for a few that will be worthy of my blog. This one speaks to me, in a way that I can relate to. We all need to be reminded how much Jesus cares, and wants to bring us to a place of richness.

I am not writing today to tell you that if you trust in God, He will give you a million dollars. The richness that God wants to give moves beyond the money realm. Although He is a good provider in the natural, we have to do the physical labor 99.9% of the time. The abundance that God is talking about has to do with our souls, our spirits. We go through hard times, whether it is financial, relational, or physical. In the magazine "Voice of the Martyrs" a 90 year old man continues to serve God even though he knew he would probably be put in jail, again. Most of us have no idea what that kind of hardship is about. My Pastor has said many times, "If you  are willing to live for Jesus, you will die for Him.

And we see much destruction these days from water. Hurricanes in Texas and Louisiana, have left thousands without homes. We don't know yet about Florida, or what will occur after that. A earthquake in Mexico just happened today, and my daughter tells me that her friends are talking about Christ's return being around the corner. I don't know God's timetable, but I do know that we have never seen the level of disregard for God and His ways that we see today.

What should we do with a pending date of Jesus' return? Continue as we are. Serve God as best you can and however He leads you. Pray for wisdom, strength for yourselves and family. The Bible tells us there will be two in the field, and one will be left. There will be two grinding grain, and suddenly one will be left. Share God's love and desire to save those who are lost. Ask God to pour His love upon you so that you can shine as a light, as a lighthouse for Him, and don't act surprised when He does it! Blessings my dear readers.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"If you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed-"{ Matthew 17:20}

I'm planting tulips today because I want something pretty to look forward to in spring. Usually I have to wait until I plant flowers or for the hydrangea to bloom, which doesn't happen every year. I usually plant geraniums which you see in the picture. They are tried and true when it comes to plants. They are hardy, bloom all summer, and are vibrant colors. I wish I could be vibrant, bloom all season, and never wilt! Some days are not meant for vibrancy I have decided. I call these catch up days.

A catch up day usually occurs after a lot of busyness, or emotion. My husband will say to me at night, I can't stop thinking, I need to shut down my brain. In the middle of the night I can wake up and my brain kicks into action, when it isn't supposed to. This is when prayer works well. Rehearsing with God what ever we are feeling at the time can bring back rest. Trusting in His unfailing love brings peace.

Peace can be fleeting if you live in a household with teens. I might add that girl teens can be particularly emotional and flippant. Plans can change in a moment, they can be stable one minute, and crying the next. "What's wrong?" you say. "Oh nothing," they cry. O.K., then let's move on. "Don't you care about why I"m crying?"Men have a hard time understanding this. They are not the only ones. I know that my child will be fine. All girls come out of the "teen years", and move on to some concept of stability. I know this. I want it now!

I want my teen to understand everything, act like an adult, be courteous all the time, and not ask any questions about this. Nice for me, but she doesn't learn a thing. She needs to see Christ in me, so that she can be drawn to Him, even on those days when I don't feel like it. How do I do this. "I" get me out of the way. If I will lean on God, and take each step one at a time, He will come out. Our children start out smaller than a mustard seed, but with time, prayer and lots of coaching, caring , and love will glorify God beyond anything that we have ever been able to do.