Quiet Times

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   There are days when I walk on the beach and greet everyone I pass with a smile, a nod, and a brief “Hello!”, Other days, like today, I feel cocooned in my own thoughts, almost oblivious of others as they pass me.  Like the sea itself, our energies and thoughts sometimes ebb and flow, focused inward or outward, depending on the day’s needs.  I ask you, dear Father, to make both perspectives profitable.  May I have quiet time when I can turn my thoughts inward to touch your face and feel close to the Christ who lives within me.  But may I never lose balance—may I also remember to turn my energies outward, reaching for the Christ who resides in others.  Help me, like the sea itself, to maintain a measured balance.

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Today’s beach walk was difficult—soft sand offered no resistance to my feet.  With each step my feet deepened in the sand, and I had to pull myself free.  I missed the hard sand of low tide when my feet meet firm footing.  My life is often like that; I sink into a rut from which it’s difficult to extricate myself.  There are so many ‘rut inducing’ temptations—food, TV, gossip.  I tell myself that I can easily be free, but it becomes more and more difficult as I’m implanted into the soft ruts of life.  With each step habits deepen and my walk becomes slower and slower.  Forgive me, Father, I need your help.  Please grant me the firm strength of your word so that I can resume my walk along your path.  Help raise me from the soft sands of temptation so I can walk once again with you. Amen.


  This morning I found a perfect sand dollar on the beach, whole and unblemished.  Such finds are rare for me, because waves can be brutal and crush the fragile shell.  When we walk on the beach and find a partially fragmented sand dollar, we joke that it’s only worth fifty cents or a quarter, or even a dime, depending upon its crushed condition.  How blessed I am that God doesn’t measure our worth as we jokingly measure sand dollars.  Always He sees us as we would hope to be, whole and unbroken, worth the full amount, forgiven by his mercy and love.  In God’s eyes I am never depreciated in value, no matter how fragmented I may appear.  Dear Father, please help me, I pray, to see the value in all whom I meet—each individual a perfect, unbroken creation.

Weather MapsWeather Maps

Each evening we regularly watch the weather forecast, letting it assist us in selecting the next day’s wardrobe and activities.  I see storms blowing up from the west or cold fronts descending from the north.  I read of strong winds moving in from the east or balmy weather reaching us from the deeper south.  As I look at weather maps and hear the forecaster’s analysis, I think of all the forces that move over each of us every day, affecting our lives.  Quarrels, petty betrayals, ill health, financial reversals, family divisions.  We are so exposed, here on this human weather map!  Please, Lord, have mercy on us all.  May we see in you a refuge remote from surface patterns, deep, abiding, and eternal. Amen.