Think about a time when you made something.  Remember the feeling of pleasure you had at creating something special?  Did someone comment on it and appreciate your handiwork?  Your music?  Your story?  Your art?  Your garden?

 

Off the Beaten Path | The heavens declare the glory of God

 

Slowly over time I’ve come to realize that we see the glory of God when we take time to admire his handiwork.  The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork.  Psalm 19:1  

I’m learning that God takes pleasure in the time I spend in marveling at the works of his hands.  It’s during that time he draws me closer to him.  It’s an intimate time.  In those moments and minutes, He renews my soul.  He guides me along the paths of righteousness  In those times he leads me in righteousness… Psalm 23:3.  It doesn’t feel like I’m in class, reading my Bible, and being taught.  Instead it seems that in those times, my heart and mind are being gently molded.  Or, maybe it’s because my heart has been marveling at his tangible beauty I’m more open to his gentle nudges.

 

Off the beaten path | Lake Michigan Tree Sunset Silhouette

 

The trees of the field clap their hands… I take photos.  The waves roar… I stand in awe and take photos.  The photo taking is a way I express my joy for God’s handiwork.

When was the last time you took a nature walk?  Often we get outside to exercise… we go for a run or a walk or a bike ride, or in the winter snap skis or baskets on our feet.  It’s a good thing.  Though often it really is one more item we check off from our to-do list for the day.

Have you ever gone for a ramble?  Off the beaten path?

It can be alone or with another.  It’s a time when there is no agenda… no set distance to cover.

 

Off the beaten path... at the frozen harbor.

 

It’s a time when you go outdoors, wide-eyed with expectation.  Slowing down to observe the vastness and the intricacies of nature.  God’s creation.

The majesty of God is magnified when we see him through the lens of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). He commands nothingness, and it obeys and becomes something.  ~ John Piper

Today or tomorrow… set aside time to check out God’s handiwork.  To observe the works of his hands.  To open your heart and eyes and ears… to him.

I know that I am more in awe of God, his greatness, and his power after I return from my walks.  My faith is increased, my heart is filled with joy, and the things that once seemed impossible seem possible.

 

Off the beaten path to see frozen icebergs on Lake Michigan

 

I remember hearing individuals say they don’t go to church, they meet with God in nature.  That is not what I’m suggesting.  The Bible is clear: Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.  Hebrews 10:25   We desperately need each other and to love each other in community.

This time spent in God’s creation does not replace our worship nor our time reading his word.  Instead, what it does is enhance that time we spend in the Bible.  And because we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, we are able to hear HIS still small voice as we walk in the quiet and soak in the beauties.  It’s in those times “He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own;” (from the hymn, In the Garden)

 

Off the beaten path and frozen Lake Michigan icebergs.

 

When was the last time you put on your walking shoes and went for a hike in the park or the woods or along the lake shore? When was the last time you allowed yourself to become childlike and stop to notice the color in the pebbles, the fresh sprouts that hint of spring, the bugs, the patterns the wind has swept in the sand, or even the sun rising or setting?

I hope you decide today to get off the beaten path, to fill your eyes and senses with HIS glories, to rejoice in the works of God’s hands, and to allow him to renew your spirit in a new and fresh way.

  • If you already do this… I’d love to hear what this looks like for you.
  • If you’ve not taken the time… take the time and let me know what made your heart sing.

 

JoyDay! A time for counting blessings.

 

It’s JoyDay!

The day we take time to look back over the past week and count ‘seven’… our joys and our sorrows… and give thanks.

There’s something wonderful that happens when we practice this counting.  We start to see things in our day differently, we live with more joy and expectation.  And peace.

Please join me in counting ‘seven.’

I’ll start!

Lord, thank you for…

  1. a great week spent with my dear dear friend
  2. sunsets on Lake Michigan
  3. the frozen beauty on endless miles of shoreline
  4. butterflies inside while it’s still cold outside
  5. sunshine
  6. getting to see a great lady I haven’t seen in many years
  7. an amazing time of worship and prayer

Now, it’s YOUR turn!

Scroll down to the “Share your extraordinary thoughts” below and tap in your ‘seven.’  You’ll be glad you did.

 Wishing you... An Extraordinary Day!

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Comments

  1. Joy Day
    1. Nice overcast day. Still praying for snow!
    2. Knowing God not one single professional–all have left me with out help–but I realize God is near. Brain injuries though not so easy
    3. Many affirming unexpected letters of my faith seen by others
    4. A really fun time with a dear friend
    5. Someone kept from serious injury–that God had placed on my heart to pray for for about ten days prior
    6. Peace at this little moment in time
    7. Very sweet neighbor

    • Dear Gwen… my heart hurts for your struggles in receiving good care. God is always near and I am so grateful to see how he continues to encourage and comfort you and demonstrate his love and faithfulness. Lifting you up now to the Father. [[hugs]]

  2. Debbi Saunders says:

    I am grateful to God for :
    1. A beautiful sunny weekend!
    2. A quiet weekend of personal reflection.
    3. For wisdom, clarity, and Peace.
    4. For the wonder and beauty of nature.
    5. For a rare pelican sighting! That has spiritual significance to me!
    6. For the work the Lord is doing in my Nephew.
    7. For my wonderful Inner circle of Godly Friends! Who have been my support during this trial I have been experiencing.

  3. My husband and I have been struggling with a decision for a while now but we made a decision on the weekend.
    After much praying, soul searching and long talks we’ve decided to move.
    I am from NFLD not where I presently live, I have been away from home in ONT since 1999.
    When I moved it was supposed to be for 2 years, lol its now been 16 years!
    I have never been truly happy here, but life happens and I never had the chance to move back.
    We visited there in 2012 so he could meet my family (we were engaged then) and he fell in love with the beautiful scenery. We’ve decided in April 2018 were going to move. We should have enough $$ by then to get our first home and were moving HOME that spring!
    I am so excited and finally my heart feels free, even tho its 3 years from now I’m just happy its coming! 🙂

    • Tonya… that is so exciting. Isn’t it a wonderful thing when after much prayer, you have peace that comes with a big decision like that. Those three years will fly by, for sure. And with your eye on an even more specific goal, I’m sure you’ll be even more motivated to keep on when the going is tough.
      I’ve traveled through the Great Lakes region of Ontario countless times, especially during the years we lived in the Buffalo area, and we did drive up the Maine coastline to New Brunswick once. But, Newfoundland… that is like another world… I can see why you would miss it.
      I’m so happy for you!! [[hugs]]

  4. Lucy Beliveau says:

    Hi Diane, Unfortunately, I am not able to get out and walk around so I am can enjoy God’s wondrous gifts to us but thankfully, I have a lovely, big backyard! We set outside yesterday for the first time this year and oh, how I loved it so! The trees are beginning to bud and I could smell grass as our neighbor across the street groomed his lawn. The birds were out in full force, flying above as if they, too, were taking in the beauty of the new season. My mind was whirling with what I would plant in my pots and I silently thanked our Lord for keeping many of our lovely herbs free from the frosts of winter. Hopefully by summer time I will be a bit more ambulatory and I will be able to walk and enjoy God’s wonders around our neighborhood but, for now, I will cherish my backyard’s many treasures and watch as spring unfolds its colorful majesties!

    I Love Joy Day!!!
    Thank you Lord for:
    1. the beauty of spring as it unfolds in my lovely backyard!
    2. the blessings God gives to my dear brother, Proctor and his wife, Dorothy. This is a difficult time for them so their love for one another and their tremendous strengths are undoubtedly gifts from God.
    3. baby Vivian, my brother’s first grandchild, whose pictures are sent from afar to cheer them up in their many hours of stress and endurance.
    4. my precious puppies who love me and keep me company each and every day! I’m not able to drive so often times my days can seem long, so how happy I am to have their constant companionship.
    5. the safe return of my son, Michael, who had a very severe blowout on the highway. Thank you Lord.
    6. Whitney, my dear friend who spends time with me helping me to better understand the complex world in which I live.
    7. my kind, precious husband, Guy, who cares for me and handles not only our business affairs, but my Mother’s, who is 93 and lives in an Alzheimers home. Lord, I have such a difficult time understanding why…please continue to help me. Thank you.

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