THE SUN

For me, the SUN is a shining reminder of Jesus, the “SON”, in our lives.

If you have ever seen the sun rise
    from behind the hills and mountains,
You may have been blessed
    by the sparkling red and yellow rays that fill the sky.

swiss alps sunrise picture

Sunrise at the Swiss Alps–Photo courtesy of Bekah.

Just gazing on this beautiful sight,
    reminds us how much beauty is in creation–
     both inanimate and living,
There is a breathtaking awesomeness in the sight.

So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength. Then the land had peace forty years.   –Judges 5:31  (NIV)

During the day, see the sun brighten the earth
    and penetrate so deeply and warmly.
I so enjoy being immersed in the warmth of the sun
    as its rays are radiating so intensely.
A sign and symbol of all the love God gives us
    through His “Son”, Jesus.
Jesus’ love for us is deeply rooted in us
    and rises to brighten the lives of others.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  –Psalm 84:11  (NIV)

sun day

In the evening, see the sun setting over the ocean waters–
    such a tranquil and serene view.
This sight restores our soul
    letting us know God is in control
     and He is filling us with His peace and love.

11221377_938247549569596_7187812258351133098_o

 

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.  –Psalm 113:3  (NIV)

FAITH & TRUST

Fall time in the northeast USA is always a breath-taking blessing to experience. I find it a beautiful season where you can see God’s hand working to make such a beautiful masterpiece which we get to  behold with our eyes.  The green leaves on the trees start to turn to different hues of yellow, orange, or red. It is quite a sight to view. For those that have never experienced the fall time colors, I do hope someday you will be able to! Seeing the rolling hills and mountains, especially in the beautiful fall array of colors that God provides, brings me into a closer relationship with the Creator.
I recently had the privilege of going on a short day trip in fall time where, as is typical, I just felt enveloped in the Lord’s presence. It was as if His majestic power and beauty was all around me as I looked upon the “Grand Canyon of PA” in Wellsboro, PA.
There are different stopping points where you can view nature all around you.  It was actually quite a trek to go from one scenic part to another. For me, it was a trek that exercised my faith and trust in God. It made me think about that in my life, especially since I was alone at this point in the trip.
The other factor was that this whole trek was basically with no cell service..no way to contact anyone if something happened.
What if I had a flat tire? What if the car broke down? What if something happened? I tried to put those thoughts out of my head and trust the Lord just like we must continually do everyday of our lives. Listening to some Mac Powell country music also seemed fitting to help me relax.
IMG_20151012_124119854_HDR
Things didn’t get off to a great start. As I was leaving stop 1, there seemed to be this dirt road that was quite narrow. I thought it seemed more like a walking path but it seemed to be where the GPS was taking me. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before a closed gate was my clue that indeed it was just a walking path! I had to back up the car until I came to a parking lot to turn around, as the road was too narrow to do anything else.
Stop 2 is where there was a gorgeous view, though the trees were mostly just green and yellow, not so colorful on this particular day. Getting to Stop 2 took faith & trust in God and the GPS, that I’m never quite sure of! I still find it strange that one day the GPS can take you one way and another day it will take you a different path! My husband always says is a very complicated algorithm and wonders if I’m up to perfecting it!
At one point, I crossed over a paved road and end up on this dirt road that had a big incline and seemed only big enough for one car! I sure prayed a car wouldn’t be coming the other way!! At first I was doubting the GPS, but I figured at least the time was counting down to my arrival time so I had no choice but to trust it.  Sure enough I made it to stop 2!!
Stop 2 is where, looking all around, I definitely felt God’s majesty envelope me–the huge, massive hills–and I don’t know if you can see it, but to me, it looks like a giant heart carved in the scenery that only the Creator could do! I love the pictures that also have bodies of water in them.
P1080870
I couldn’t decide whether to venture down one of the trails but finally settled on going down this one. Once again, those “What If” thoughts would go through my head. In case you don’t know, I’m not really the mountain climber type, and I was all alone….What if I fell?  What if I got lost?  What if…  But, again, I tried to put those thoughts out of my head and decided to trust and have faith.
The view was awesome from this one outlook so I ended up being thankful that I did venture down the path. It was a closer up view of some of the water. I am always blessed reflecting on the beauty of the water.
P1080876
Stop 3 was actually a good 50 minute ride; once again with intense curves, narrow roads, some one lane bridges where you prayed no one was coming and you just went for it, and roads that required me to step out in faith. I was very thankful there wasn’t too much traffic going my way so I could go slower when I felt the need especially being on such unfamiliar roads.  The drive was kind of cool because at points you were close to the water and the sides of the massive mountains. It was like you were right at the base and could see how massive and majestic they were. These hills were covered with a beautiful array of yellow trees.
P1080885
I enjoyed Stop 3 where I pulled out my chair, journal, and started to pen my adventure. This stop was the perfect spot…located near the water where a few people were even fishing. I, in my typical fashion, sat to soak up the “Son’s” presence. At times you could only hear the wind blow, at other times the bird’s echoing squawks could be heard. When I’m near bodies of water and feel the Lord’s presence, I think about how often Jesus was near the water, calling the disciples, calming the water, etc.
 P1080890
P1080889
I knew I was definitely in the Lord’s presence when I looked up in the sky. What first caught my eye were three “different” looking clouds; the only ones gracing the clear blue sky. And right among those three clouds was a lone bird. Now, I always love to see the birds flying in the air near the water and want to capture the moment with a photograph. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a good, clear enough picture of the three birds this time. There appeared this one bird who then left this cloud area, and was quickly joined by a second bird,  and just like I’ve experienced before, a third finally appeared…always reminding me of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Three in one in ME!
P1080893
God is big and sure makes His Presence known to us in the beauty of nature. Take a  moment and enjoy His presence today!
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  –Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)
And, continue to trust God to help you through your struggles and have faith that His Presence, the Holy Spirit, is with you always!
Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.  –Proverbs 3:5  (NIV)

THE JOURNEY HOME

As a Christian, you can consider your life on this earth as a pilgrimage to eventually spend eternity with God our Father and Jesus our Lord.

Have you really viewed your life as that?  Maybe not focusing so much on the routine “things” you do daily but on the things that are really important for eternity?

On your journey home, you may travel down many different roads.

**Some roads may be heavily traveled–Maybe you find yourself following the crowd which could be good or bad.

**Some roads may be only slightly traveled–Maybe you find yourself forging your own path doing what you feel God has called you to do that others may not think is popular.

road final

Photo credit by ANDRÉS NIETO PORRAS under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0) Word added by http://www.hopetoinspireyouwordpress.com

**Some might be very bumpy and full of potholes–These are the times when trials and tribulations are coming at you to test your faith.

**Some might be smooth–Things just seem to be moving right along on a nice, even keel where you know God is in control.

Whatever roads your life takes, the important thing is to keep your eyes focused on Jesus, knowing He is in control. Relying on His power and surrendering the trials of this life to Him will get you down those roads.

On your journey home, you have the opportunity of meeting many different pilgrims along the way.

**Some pilgrims will have the same views as you on life and faith–Maybe inspiring you to live a better life or giving you a different viewpoint to consider.

Jenny

Jenny, a great pilgrim (& editor) in the Lord who inspires me!

**Some pilgrims will not share the same views as you on life and faith–Maybe you will be an inspiration for them or your life may help them see something differently when the time is right in their life.

By sharing your different experiences with each other, you both may help each other. There is so much to be learned from sharing one another’s journey if we are willing. 

On your journey home, you have the opportunity to do things that build up the kingdom of God on this earth.

**Giving to the poor, lowly, needy

**Sharing your love of the Lord through whatever gift God has given you-inspiring music, writing, art, spoken word

**Serving the less fortunate through serving meals, sharing the Gospel

Jesus Christ

Photo credit by QUOTESEVERLASTING under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

**Praying for others to make a difference in their life

**Showing love and kindness to all you meet–opening a door for a stranger, sharing a meal with a widow or widower

**Giving an encouraging word to someone who is feeling down or alone

On this pilgrimage home, our focus should be mostly on how we can build up the kingdom of God with the gifts God has given us and how we can bring His love to all we meet.

Through everything in this life, it is important to keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus.

Everything you do—whether in speech or action—is done unto Him. It makes no difference if you’re at home, school or work—it is all for the Lord.

By keeping the proper focus throughout your journey, you will be prepared to make that final crossing whenever the Lord calls you home, without fear or concern. Then you can spend eternity face to face with our Lord—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  –Colossians 3:17  (NIV)

MARTHA or MARY?

One of the many great stories from the Bible that Jesus teaches us some life lessons is found in Luke 10:38-42 about the story of Martha and Mary. Hearing and reflecting on this story is always a good thing for me.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NIV)

mary final

                                    Photo: God’s beauty in Bermuda

Let’s take a closer look to see what lessons we might be able to incorporate into our daily lives by looking at Martha and Mary and what Jesus had to say about them.

Martha:

–Opened her home to the Lord

–Distracted by preparations

–Worried and upset about many things

–Approached Jesus to ask if He cared that Mary was not helping

–Wanted Jesus to tell Mary to help with the preparations

–Thought Mary should be busy doing the same things as she was around the house

Mary:

–Did not busy herself with doing things around the house

–Sat at the Lord’s feet

–Listened to what Jesus was saying

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus himself said to Martha:

“But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a Martha as far as trying to always “do” things, especially in the home.

It seems like there are always distractions calling my name, probably like most wives and mothers, and those husbands or fathers who are primary keepers of the house and children.

*Working

*Grocery shopping

*Planning and coordinating of schedules

*Dishes

*Cleaning

*Paperwork

*Bills to pay

*Running children to different events & attending too

*Planning and making meals

*Volunteer work

and the list goes on and on.

But, I must add a disclaimer here….The Lord has definitely blessed me, allowing me to work part-time since the kids came along, AND with a wonderful eldest child who assists me with taking care of so many tasks around the house which allows me more time to sit at the feet of Jesus and spend time writing about Him.

So often, it feels like if I’m not DOING, I’m not being productive or useful.

Reflecting on this story is a great thing to do…

6989843282_7cfc5f2428_o

Photo credit by Unlocking the Bible under Creative Commons License (CC BY-ND 2.0)

**To remember that finding ways to listen and spend time with Jesus are most important….

–Through prayer, which can really be done at any time….I enjoy doing it while driving places

–Through reading Scripture

–Through attending retreats, seminars

–Through small group sharings

–Through Bible studies

–Through visiting the sick, lonely, poor

–Through writings to inspire others in their walk with the Lord

–Through sharing with other Christian friends who can encourage and inspire us

–Through listening to inspiring, worship music.

I think the challenge is to be like both Martha and Mary and to keep that BALANCE in our lives. What a great story to remind us of what is really important in this life!

YOUR STORY

Every life is truly a special gift from God.

What you do with it, and how you live it, is YOUR gift to God.

Have you viewed YOUR life as such?

Do the things you busy yourself with reflect that view? How about the decisions you make, the places you go, the people you interact with?

story to god

Your life is a story that only YOU can write to our Creator, God Almighty. No two people have the same story; each and every story is unique!

Your life is made up of some circumstances you have control over, and some things you do not have control over. Every day brings many decisions. The choices you make shape and mold YOUR life’s story.

Your story is made up of many chapters–it could be based on the stages of life–infancy, childhood, teenager, young adult, adult, elderly person.

The chapters could also be represented by significant events in your life.

When you start out as an infant, you depend solely on your caregiver to meet all of your needs, but as you begin to grow, you have some control over YOUR gift to God.

As you become a teenager, you have even more options in deciding how YOUR story will be written.

**Will you stand up for your beliefs or will you follow the crowd and compromise your faith?

When you are a young adult, you have even greater control over writing YOUR story to God. The opportunities are endless and you have more freedom.

Probably as an adult, you have the greatest potential for writing YOUR story to God. You are now on your own and responsible for yourself.

How you react to the various situations in your life is a big part of YOUR story.

**Are you going to choose to be happy despite possible “bad” circumstances or will you let sadness and loss of hope overtake YOUR story?

**Will you let Jesus guide your path?

With God’s help, you have the power and freedom to write YOUR personal story–your gift to Him.

13958007216_688981a991_o

Photo credit by BK under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is never too late to begin anew if YOUR story is not what you want it to be.

**If there is a chapter in your life that you don’t like, you can seek God’s forgiveness and move on to bigger and better things.

God is always there waiting for us and waiting to guide us.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when you are an elderly person, or at the end of every chapter in YOUR story, you can look back and say that you are satisfied with YOUR story?

YOUR story is YOUR gift to God!

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.  –2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NIV)