Sights of the Season

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace

God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11

a-pop-of-fall-color

burning-bush-in-fall

changing-colors

fall-berry

Fall-flower-1

fall-flowers-2

fall-vines-on-tree

fall-tree-against-sky

fall-rose

The Fragrance of Fall

the-fragrance-of-fall

Have you ever noticed that Fall has a distinct fragrance? Cool. Crisp. Refreshing. And with a hint of…spice!

As I took a morning walk with my dog, Daisy, I couldn’t get enough of it!

Since today is the first day of Fall, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on this new season. What types of sights, sounds, and smells do you look forward to during these upcoming months?

How about fire-pits? The roasting of marshmallows. The sight of the leaves changing colors. And later, the crunch of leaves under your feet. Pumpkins. Corn mazes. Comfy sweaters. Warm beverages such as hot chocolate and hot apple cider. Soups and crock-pot meals…to name just a few.

I wonder what God thinks about the fragrances of Fall? Does He enjoy them as we do? The Bible teaches us that our lives are like a fragrance rising up to Him in heaven. What type of aroma are we to our Lord? Do we exude a pleasing aroma by living a Christ-like life? Or is the aroma that we give off one that is offensive, both to God and to those around us?

This Fall season, allow Christ to transform your life–just as He is transforming the landscapes around us. Be open to the areas that He may want to change…and wait in expectation as He makes your life (and my life) a sweet-smelling fragrance.

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT)

My Source of Hope

what-gives-me-hopeWhat gives you hope? According to Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, it is God’s grace that gives him hope. He states: “What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.”

I would have to agree. Without God’s grace, I would not have the strength to fight the mental battles of anxiety and OCD, to wrestle with doubt and discouragement, to accomplish daily tasks, to embrace change, or to face life’s difficulties head-on.

“And He [Jesus] has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB) It certainly doesn’t make sense: that when we are at our weakest, it is then that we are actually at our strongest. Not because of who we are or what we can do, but because of God’s power residing within us. Realizing that we don’t need to rely on ourselves to get through each day is certainly a great cause for hope.

Have you ever read Lamentations 3? It is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. After the author of the book (probably Jeremiah the Prophet) weeps and laments profusely regarding the condition of the people of Israel, he calls to mind a truth that gives him hope.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Because of God’s presence and His power, we can have peace. We can have hope for the future, knowing that the Lord is in control. Our heavenly Father sees our difficulties, and promises to be with us right there in the midst of them.

What is it that gives you hope?