To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 (KJV)
Like many writers, I dream of writing without ceasing. I have ideas and inspirations to share and words to write before I sleep. Sometimes, though, God has a different plan for me.
We were packing to take a family beach vacation. My husband and I had rented a house and were looking forward to spending time with our family and playing with our grandchildren. As usual, I packed my writing supplies. I fantasized about meditating on the beauty of the beach, walking the sand at sunset with pencil and pad in hand, and dashing off inspirational pieces. Along with family time, I had visualized a writer’s retreat. How blissful. How unrealistic! A retreat doesn’t happen with family, especially children, around. I had prayed for everything concerning the week, except how the Lord would use it from a writing perspective.
After the first day, reality knocked on the door of my sandcastle dreams. Soon I settled into the plan that God was orchestrating. I arranged treasure hunts, played games, built roads in the sand, and read lots of books. We watched children’s movies and went shell hunting. The only time I could write was early mornings or at night. That didn’t work. Gratefully tired from all the family fun and being a child again with grandchildren, I relaxed the writing thoughts and embraced the reality. I prayed, “Lord, did You bring me to this lovely spot to remind me that You plan our seasons? Thank You for doing a much better job.”
I could see God smiling as He spoke to my heart, “Child, sometimes I provide writing time for you, and sometimes I place you in the middle of things to write about. With spiritual eyes watch yourself interact with your family—playing with your grandchildren and teaching lessons about Me from the beauty around you.”
I was reminded that this was not the time to write about adventures with the Lord; it was the time to live them. I could write about them later. Learning the importance of discerning seasons by listening and being obedient to Him is crucial for a fulfilling relationship.
Dear Lord, thank You that through every season of life You are there. Remind us daily that following Your way leads to the best for us.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently on him. Psalm 37:7
I love the time of relaxation and refreshment when we are away from home. The outdoors is especially conducive to daydreaming and refocusing. Being away from “civilization” allows one time to sit, think, read, and pray. I use it as a retreat experience—a concentrated time to think about the Lord and His benefits. At home sometimes it is difficult to be still before the Lord as we are told to be in Psalm 37; other thoughts crowd in--often anxious thoughts--about daily problems or work. But when I retreat, I give my mind over to Him, listening for His voice. Whether I refresh in the mountains’ majesty or the ocean’s glory, being still before the Lord is easier when I am away. He replenishes my spirit. The cares of this world slip away, and I can focus on God, the Creator.
Sometime today retreat, be still, and wait patiently on Him. Listen to what He has to say to you. Praise Him for His creation and your recreation experience will truly become re-creation.
Dear Heavenly Father, Today may I stop long enough to be still in Your Holy presence. Thank You for reminding us of our need to re-create through Your Spirit.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
When life overwhelms us, my husband and I like to head for the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA. Once in the foothills, life seems to make sense again. Or is it that seeing the Lord’s majesty and beauty as we enter the parkway and round the mountains draws us closer to the Lord and brings His peace?
Seeing God’s creation from a lofty mountain peak reminds me of His power and majesty. As permanent as the mountains seem, much more permanent is God’s love for us. Scripture states that one day the earthly goods that we deem so important will pass away. But the covenant that God made with us through our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, will never be removed from those who are His. We are His eternally. The hills proclaim His very existence, and the valleys declare the depth of His love. Take time today to relax in the knowledge that His compassion and love will not fail you. Draw upon His strength and see His love in creation. Feel His peace bringing you joy. Praise Him for His unchanging nature and steadfast covenant.
Lord, may we never be so overwhelmed by the stresses of this world that we forget to spend time with You. May we look to the hills as they proclaim Your love. Thank you for the sounds of nature that echo Your voice. Your creation proclaims Your existence, and along with every part of it, we praise you.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3 KJV
When our grandson Brennan was five he loved to watch bugs. When he joined us on a camping trip, we made sure that he enjoyed some bug watching time. He would bring his magnifying glass, clear plastic bug box, and resource book. As we helped him scoop up a bug for the box, his eyes lit up with excitement. He delighted in his find as he used his magnifier to see the complexities of some of God’s smallest creations. Because the magnifying glass allowed Brennan to see his find, he eagerly desired to learn more about it.
The psalmist David reminds us to magnify God in the same way. We delight in getting closer to him through prayer and His Word, leading us to exalt Him in all His beauty and glory. When we magnify the Lord, we lift Him up for others to see. As our friends and family see God’s involvement in our daily lives, they too may want to take a closer look at Him. Today, let’s share Him with someone—lifted up and magnified.
Dear God, today may I magnify You in everything I do and with everyone I meet. Thank You for Your involvement in our daily lives. Help others to see You through our actions and speech.
Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and who believes in him will not be put to shame. I Peter 2:6 RSV
I watched as the cornerstone was dedicated for the new sanctuary of our church. I thought how solid it looks, how capable of holding the weight of our new building through storms and years of use. Jesus had already indicated to Peter that he would be a rock of faith from whom a spiritual church would grow.
Peter, therefore, reminds us that as Christians we may be assaulted by the storms and weight of daily living, but Jesus is the Cornerstone of our life. Because of His great strength in us, we too can bear the difficulties and stresses of daily living. We need only to lean on Him—our Firm Foundation.
Dear Jesus, Thank you that I have a Foundation Who bears the weight of whatever I may have to face today. Remind me daily to rest upon Your love so that others may see Your peace in me throughout the storms of life.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 RSV
“I think you will be needing bifocals this time,” the optometrist said when I was teaching middle school. I had known this was coming. I had been stumbling over words as I read to my students. This was the summer for me to correct the problem. The accuracy of my vision is important to me in my job.
Just as we maintain our vision by following the doctor’s advice, so we must keep our spiritual vision by following God’s word. He gives us prescription after prescription in the Bible for keeping our spiritual vision clear. We are reminded to keep our eyes on Jesus through faith, daily Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians.
Dear Lord, Though my earthly vision may decline, may my spiritual vision always remain sharp and clear. May I walk in faith with spiritual “eyes” looking to you.
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23 RSV
“Look Mom, I found my barrette the dog buried,” Lori exclaimed gleefully as she ran into the house with the found treasure. My four-year-old cherished that barrette as I lovingly place it in her sunny blond hair. Now we could enjoy using it again.
The Bible reminds us of the uselessness of burying our “treasure.” If fact, we are reminded of a man who received one piece of money (talent) from his master. Instead of wisely investing it, he dug a hole and buried it—thus ending its usefulness. The talents we hide will never go to the furtherance of the Lord’s kingdom. We bury them by giving reason upon reason why we cannot begin to use our gifts. Let us today ask the Lord to help us uncover those gifts and use them for his glory.
Lord, Please remind us daily that one talent yielded to you can bless many more than many talents buried and never used. Thank you that you patiently wait for us to uncover our talents.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9 KJV
When I was a child, revolving doors in the department stores held both a fascination and a fear for me. I loved going around and around, as I pushed the door, completing the full circle many times before the next customer came. But in the fun was the fear of getting trapped.
The entrance to our hearts is best served by a revolving door. We bring God’s Word into our hearts through Bible reading and prayer. We let it rest there momentarily while we ponder and apply its meaning to our lives. Then with joy we share it with others, bringing them hope and peace through the revelation that God loves them. Are you ready for the thrill of the mighty revolving door of God’s presence in your life? When His words enter the door of our hearts and then are spoken to others, we are promised that they will not return void.
Dear Lord, help us to meditate on Your word daily and pray for those around us. May they see that You are the door to life.
O, God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NIV
I was out of shape after winter, so in the spring when my husband suggested that we hike a mountain trail, I reluctantly agreed. Not long after we began, I realized that I was out of shape from winter’s interlude. Why hadn’t I walked regularly or gone to the gym more often?
It was a warm day, and I depended on frequent stops and water from my canteen’s diminishing supply. The cool refreshment quenched my demanding thirst.
Exhaustion turned to relief as the trail’s end finally loomed ahead of us. As we welcomed the mountaintop end of the trail and a well-deserved rest, we enjoyed the inspiring view across the valley and final sips from our canteens.
Even though I am grateful for the water that quenches my physical thirst, I am even more thankful for the living water of God’s Word, the Bible, which strengthens me and relieves my soul’s thirst. Through prayer I am filled by His presence. To remain refreshed all I have to do is to seek Him daily.
Heavenly Father, thank You for offering us refreshment for our suffering spirits. We know that as long as we drink in Your fulfilling Word and quench our longing hearts with Your fellowship, we will never be thirsty. May our first stop daily be at the well of Your everlasting spring.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 NIV
The beautiful ivy had crawled up through the ground after winter’s cold and was overtaking our sturdy wooden fence. I needed to remove it. So, on a beautiful spring day, with gloves and clippers, I headed out to trim. The vine was solidly and deeply rooted in the dirt, but I was able to pull the runners away from the fence. I hated trimming those beautifully variegated leaves. To me, ivy gives a sense of antiquity and strength. As the day ended, I looked at the carpet of cuttings on the ground and breathe a sigh of relief that the job was nearly complete. As I finished the next morning, I noticed how dead the trimmings were after only one night.
Jesus cautioned believers to live in Him for the same reason. His words in the Bible resound with the same thought—apart from Him, we can do nothing for His kingdom, and we do not become what He has created us to be. If we are like sturdy branches growing in Him, the Vine of Life, we will understand that the pruning, while sometimes painful, is necessary for us to grow in love, trust, and service for God, leaving us to be an ever-bearing, vibrant part of His kingdom. However, as the leaves of the ivy vine die apart from its strong source of strength, we too will die spiritually if we remove ourselves from prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers.
As the springtime brings new growth, and the earth becomes rejuvenated with beauty, may we experience the same in our relationship with Jesus by staying connected to Him.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a fruitful branch on Your vine of life. May my life glorify You.
I love to walk with and write about our great God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Now in my senior years, I can say, looking back at the joys, difficulties, and challenges of life, "I know that my Redeemer lives," (Job 19:25 NIV). I am a retired teacher and author of many published articles, and contributor to two books--God Still Meets Needs (Littleton)and Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ (Wilburn,Butts). I am also author of In God's Creation: Devotions for the Outdoors and In God's Creation: Devotions for the Beach. Both books are available on Amazon and www.booknofurther.com.