Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Beach thoughts

   I have never blogged while on vacation before. I blogged while on my overnight trip to Amish country in February, and blogged while at the Hope for Wholeness Conference; but this is the first time since getting a laptop that I have been on a true vacation.

  I haven't been to the ocean for 5 years. In some ways, my life hasn't changed much in those 5 years. In other ways, my life has changed. I have matured some.......believe it or not.... I have grown spiritually, and now believe the God who created this world loves me more than I could ever grasp or imagine.

  This morning was my first time at the beach/ocean since 2011. I walked in the sand and sat in my chair and watched and listened to the waves crashing on the shore. As I walked, sat, and stood looking at the ocean and beach, these thoughts came to my mind:

Footprints on the sand

  I have always liked the Footprints In The Sand Poem. As I looked back and saw my footprints in the sand of Avon Beach, I snapped a picture and the words of that poem came to my mind:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

  And on a not-so-serious note, this little strip also came to mind:

The Love of God, verse 3

  As I watched the waves crashing on the shore, and looked out to see water as far as my eyes could see, the words of the third verse of The Love of God came to my mind:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Holes in the sand

  This is a bit long, but it is really good. This also came to my mind as I walked on the beach this morning. I guess God figured I needed all of these reminders:

From Ann Graham Lotz

Only God, through Christ, has the power to forgive sin. It doesn’t matter how big the sin is or how small, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was committed or how recently. It doesn’t matter whether it was spontaneous or malicious. God will forgive you if you come to Him at the cross of Jesus Christ.

God forgave the men who nailed His Son to the cross—when they asked Him to.2 So why do you think He won’t forgive you when you ask? What do you think is beyond the forgiveness of God? Abortion?—Adultery?—Abuse?—Hate?—Hypocrisy?—Doubt? —Divorce?—Drunken-ness?—Or Immorality?—Or Murder?—Or _____________? You fill in the blank.

There is nothing you have ever done that He cannot or will not forgive when He is humbly asked.

A few years ago I found myself groping for a way to explain this to a woman who had been on death row for multiple murders and would be executed within ten hours of my visit. Tears glistened in her eyes as she looked at me beseechingly, needing assurance of the salvation she had claimed by faith six years earlier. That very night she would be stepping into eternity, and she was desperate for reassurance of her forgiveness by God. I asked her if she had ever been to the ocean, and she nodded “yes.” I asked her if, as she had walked along the shore, she had seen small holes in the sand where ghost crabs had darted in and out. Again she nodded. I then asked if she had seen any larger holes, like those made by children digging. Beginning to look puzzled, she said “yes,” she had seen holes like that. I persisted gently to see if she had ever seen huge holes created by machines dredging a channel or burying pipe lines on the beach. Her brow furrowed as she again acknowledged a quiet “yes.” I then leaned toward her and pressed my point, “Velma, when the tide comes in, what happens to all those holes?”

A soft light began to gleam in her eyes, and a smile played at the corner of her lips as I answered my own question. “All the holes are covered equally by the water, aren’t they? God’s forgiveness is like the tide that washes over all the ‘holes’ of your sins and covers all your sins equally.” And Velma stepped into her heavenly home fully assured of her acceptance by God.

Praise God for the sacrifice of Jesus that is sufficient to cover all of your sins. All of them! Even “small” sins like gossip or worry, “medium-size” sins like losing your temper, “large” sins like murder—all are covered equally by the blood of Jesus.

There is nothing you have ever done that He cannot or will not forgive when He is humbly asked.

And one more:

Waves on the beach

   As I walked on the beach this morning, much of the sand was undisturbed....yet I know we were not the first people to walk on this beach. At high tide, the water comes up more on the beach and wipes away all of the footprints, tire tracks, and other marks in the sand. I could see it already happening where my nieces had walked closer to the water than I had.

  I was reminded that each day is a new day with no mistakes or screw ups yet, just like the beach is wiped clean daily of footprints. And it is also like God's grace and forgiveness sweeping across our souls and hearts to make them unblemished and free from sin.

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