A warm spell has sparked the interest of biting flies on the beach. Landing on bare arms or legs, they give a nasty bite and fly off. My husband carries a fly swatter on his walk, carefully taking aim and quickly ending their food fest. Today more than five fell at his blows, and I suggested we ought mount their heads on a small post to carry as we walk, warning others of the consequences of attempting an attack. We laughed at the picture, but it made me think of the value of warnings. Sometimes, despite the warnings, I choose to do what I want, convinced that my way is better, confident that I’ll suffer no negative consequences. I have examples and warnings from both the Old and New Testaments, but I persist in making my own mistakes, suffering my own losses. I believe what the Bible tells me, and yet sometimes it seems to permeate so little into my conscience and actions. I need help, Lord, in hearing your word, in trusting its truth, in applying it to my behavior. Forgive me for failing to heed your warnings; please guide me into courses that are good for your service and for my eternal soul. Amen.

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  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.

Forever ChangingForever Changing

Visitors to the island sometimes ask me if I grow weary of the seascape which surrounds me, if perhaps it begins to pall with familiarity.  My answer is always the same, “Never!”  Each day’s sunrise, each morning’s cloud bank over the horizon, each afternoon’s heat or rain or chill, each evening sun’s race to departure or quiet sinking into the water, each night’s star-drenched sky or fog filled darkness brings its own quiet joy and beauty.  My eyes are never sated, my ears never blocked to the sights and sounds of the island.  Like a dear companion with its own moods and personality, the island is a gift of variety and discovery.  Thank you, God, for giving me so much beauty.  Help me always to appreciate your generosity in each day’s discoveries. Amen.

Paradise NowParadise Now

On occasion I’ve been at local shops and overheard a visitor say, “Just another perfect day in Paradise!” I smile because it does seem like Paradise, this beautiful island set in a turquoise sea, ringed with white sand beaches, palm trees, and tall pines. But if this is Paradise, it isn’t the original Paradise before Adam and Eve sinned. There are problems on the island too—relationships that shatter, sickness and death, drownings and child abuse, loneliness and alienation. Paradise isn’t a geographical entity; it is a state of grace and proximity to God that acknowledges the presence of sin, but also acknowledges God’s victory over forces of evil. I thank you, Lord, for this beautiful island, but even more than that I thank you for the place you’ve prepared for me in the eternal Paradise. Until I taste that glory, make my life here on the island a fit preparation for eternal life with you. Amen.