Write 28 Day Challenge—#17 Reflections

I am an amateur photographer. It has been an enjoyable pastime since I was 11 years old and received my very own Kodak Instamatic camera. What fun it was! Wish I still had that little camera.

One of my favorite photographic captures are reflections. So I cannot think of any better way to ‘write’ this post on reflections than with some photos.

Please enjoy!

Write 28 Day Challenge—#16 Lonesome

Lonesome is a sad word that is hard for me to write about. There seems to be so many lonesome folk around. I recall Sid the Sloth from the movie Ice Age lamenting, “…off by myself, a lone, lonely loner.” “That’s a lot of loneliness,” the wooly mammoth replied. It is funny and true too.

We were created for community. The recent COVID lockdowns were devastating for many, many people of all ages in all places. Whether or not it was necessary is beyond the scope of this post. Rather it is the sad effects of the forced seclusion from society that brought intense loneliness to so many. I thank God it is over and done with.

I have also heard that social media produces a great sense of loneliness. That is rather easy to see, for while at social settings I have noticed few people engaging with one another. The vast majority are on their devices.

Two separate incidences formed a paradigm shift in my thinking over the years. When our sons had a playmate over one afternoon, the visiting dad told his son they were going to go home. Why? The children were playing video games. He told his son, “We are going home. You can play video games at home. We came here to play with your friends.” I never forgot that.

The other is a saying I’ve heard over the years: Wherever you are be there. I never forgot that one either. This takes deliberate effort at times because I can feel lonely in a crowd sometimes. So I must engage and be a part.

So what is the point? It is this: in many ways I can control the feeling of being lonesome. It may be in my power to do something about it. Should it not, I thank The Lord He is near. I pass it on to Him. He cares for me, guides me, and He loves me. He loves you too.

Write 28 Day Challenge—#15 Beautiful

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace. Romans 10:15

I have thought often about this interesting verse of Scripture. How are feet beautiful? Is it perhaps because feet are the vehicle used to bring the gospel of peace to people? In church, on the street, mission fields, or revivals, because men and women of God are walking and talking of the gospel of peace?

Our feet are bringing the beautiful message. Is that a stretch of a thought on this verse? What would you say?

Or maybe because of the message itself. The gospel of peace. This gospel, of Jesus, is beautiful, and made for all of mankind. So the beautiful feet are both the giver of the message and the receiver of the message. For both the giver and receiver are blessed.

Am I just digging too deep and looking for something that it really is not supposed to mean? I do not know. I do know that as this month comes to an end, I will not be sorry to see it go. It has been a bit rough. However the beautiful message from the beautiful feet that preach the gospel of peace has and will continue to hold me.

Write 28 Day Challenge—#14 Rare

I used to hear this all the time as a young person. Indeed I was told to practice it in my daily living. It is rare to even hear it anymore. What are these rare words?

Give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mom would tell me this when others upset or angered me. “I doubt they mean it the way you think,” she would wisely instruct me. More times than not I would find she was right after putting my hackles down. Why am I so prone to think the worst in people?

Scripture knowledge is most rare today. Yet it is full of wisdom for a knee-jerk responder like myself and for all of mankind around the globe. I know the day goes better for me and my interaction with people when I follow these guidelines from God as written in the Bible.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Prov 8:13

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov 16:18

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Prov 15:30

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… Prov 23:7

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. Prov 10:4

The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him. Prov 18:17

He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame. Prov 18:13

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Prov 14:1

These now rare instructions are life to our bones. Have you read them lately?

Write 28 Day Challenge—#13 Fact

Beautiful caverns can be visited all throughout the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Endless Caverns, Shenandoah, Luray, Skyline Caverns are close to us here in the North end of the Valley.

I worked as a tour guide at Endless Caverns in New Market, VA. Took my first group of tourists through at sixteen years old. Every summer local high school kids were hired as guides. It was fun. In fact, many kids would come back summer after summer for work.

Rock formations are beautiful and unique with different colors and forms found in each cavern. They are all worth a visit. One fact is true of them all. They have stalactites and stalagmite formations.

I was always asked the difference between the two. ‘Which one came from the top? Which one formed on the floor?’ Few tourists could remember. Here is an easy fact that will always help one remember:

Stalactites form from the ceiling. Remember this fact: “T” for top—stalacTites. You will never have to ask again!

Cavern rocks

Write 28 Day Challenge—#12 Decline

Possessing the ability to say yes or to decline, no, thank you, is a distinctly human gift. In the created order no other creature has this ability. My dogs, horses, cats, etc, cannot decline or accept options of life. Not where to live, when or what to eat, being left all day, space or lack thereof of where they live. We humans have a choice.

To decline is to turn aside. Folks are also given the opportunity to accept or decline Jesus. His free gift of Life and Grace will be accepted or declined by every human on earth. I chose to accept Him many years ago. It has made all the difference. It is not He who rejects us. We decline His invitation to us.

There was a popular saying long ago that went like this: No JESUS, no Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace. We Americans have tons of stuff and things today. Only Jesus gives Peace. Accept Jesus, please do not decline Him. Accept Him and know Peace.

Write 28 Days Challenge—#11 Name

It has been said the sweetest sound to someone is the sound of their own name. Would you agree?

Names are important because they represent our entity. Our first name is our given name at childbirth. Our last name, also known as surnames or family names are a reference to who we are in relation to our family, who we were, where we came from, what we did for a living or even the physical place of where we lived.

Surnames were not so common way back when. Growing populations created problems with too many people carrying the same given (first) name. Surname comes from the Latin sur, meaning “over or above” combined with -name. Surnames can reflect the occupation of the person. For example:

Carpenter—one who builds with wood.

Fletcher—one who makes feathered arrows.

Mason—a brick layer or stone mason.

Taylor—one who makes clothing.

Smith—a blacksmith or metalworker

They can also reflect geographical locations:

Hill—one who lives on a hill.

Valley—one who lives in a valley.

Moor—one who resides on a moor or open marsh land.

Dale—one who lives in a wide valley.

Milford—one who lived near a mill on a ford.

Other surnames reflect a persons physical appearance:

Long—a tall person

Swift—a fast person

Young—one not yet old as between generations.

Strong—a person of great physical strength.

Brown—someone with brown hair.

Surnames could also indicate positions or associations with important people in a community:

King—a person associated with a king.

Abbott—a person associated with an Abbott.

Steward—an appointee of royalty to act on their behalf.

Lord—one associated with a Lord.

Prince—one associated with a prince.

What is in a name? In many cases lots of things!

Write 28 Days Challenge—#10 Crevice

I find it very comforting God covered Moses with His hand in a crevice as He passed over him. Moses was allowed to see His back.

The Lord had commanded Moses to take His people and leave Egypt. To go to the land He had promised to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. God told Moses He would not go with them, “because you are a stiff-necked people; otherwise I might destroy you on the way.”

The conversation between God and Moses in the Tent of Meeting is powerful and instructive. Moses provides an example to me. He knows God’s Word toward himself and the people. Moses reasons with God using them. “You have been telling me…”; “You have said,”; “Remember that this nation is Your people.”

Moses does not use Gods Words to remind God of what He has said, but rather to prove he knows Gods word. How well do I know Gods Word, I ask myself.

The Lord answered Moses by telling him His presence would go with him and He would give them rest—“…for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

Moses then asked God to “show me Your glory.”

The Lord said He would cause His goodness to pass before him. But, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”

“…I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by…” the Lord told Moses.

To God be the glory! The mercy He bestows upon us! The example Moses gave us, i.e., we can reason with God, we can ask questions of God. But to me and most important is, we must know Gods Word.

Ref: Exodus 33