This most recent trip to the Dominican Republic was probably one of the greatest spiritual growth times in my own Christian life. Our group did a lot: from training fire departments, to visiting orphanages, to spending time with the locals in the villages and towns. All of those things are fun and enjoyable, however,one of my favorite things we did together was a daily sunrise devotionals by the beach. I know for the night owls reading this it may come as a shock but the sun actually does rise up over the horizon in the morning.
Since some of you might be unfamiliar with this concept, allow me to paint you a picture. It’s that quiet time of morning, just before the sun comes up. Pitch black is all that paints the sky from east to west. We venture out together in the darkness about a half mile to the beach from where we are staying. The sky is fighting a glimmer of light off in the distance where the sun will soon be rising. You can just barely see the different lighter shades of black and blue in the sky. As we finish our walk and enter the beach from the roadway, we are flooded with a mind blowing sensory overload of stimuli. The crash of waves roaring against the rocks. The sound of birds squawking in the distance as though they are happily greeting the new day. The wind greets your nose with a burst of warm salty sea air. The sea stretched out for miles and miles over the horizon as through it would never end. The clouds off in the distance, each of which are being touched by a different shade of blue and ultimately changing in various shades of red, orange, yellow, and then turning that familiar puffy white as the sun creeps its way up over the ocean. We slip off our sandals and walk calmly through the sand to our familiar meeting spot on the rocks at the end of the beach. Tall palm trees to our back, blue ocean to our front. It’s a beautiful tranquil spot to enjoy time with God and each other as we welcome the new day together. One of the few thoughts that would repeatedly run through my mind daily on the beach would be “if this spot is so beautiful, I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful heaven is.” Second only to my wife, this is the most beautiful thing in the world and God gave it to us to enjoy. Psalm 19 verse 1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. Have you ever thought about how beautiful heaven will be? Do you ever think about how fantastic it will be seeing Jesus’ face up in heaven? There is a song by Mercy Me called “I can only imagine”. I would encourage you to Google or Youtube it when you have a chance.
Over the next half hour, the sun crept slowly up over the horizon as we spent time together reading God’s word. We would take a few moments quietly reflecting on what we just read as well as how to apply it to our lives. I turned to walk back towards the complex we were staying at and I saw our footsteps etched into the sand right along the shore’s edge. Suddenly a huge wave came ashore and washed away the footsteps. As the water retreated back into the ocean, it left a new smooth level shore that looked spotless and calm. The Bible says in the book of Lamentations, “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.” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Every day we wake up with a new beginning. God’s mercies on us are like the waves covering up the footprints. God has given us this day, this new day, to rejoice, and thank Him for this moment He has given you. Those waves are God’s constant reminders of mercy and forgiveness, every morning, God’s grace is as endless as the waves.
For those who know Christ, take comfort in two things. First, you’re forgiven by God and saved by His abundant grace and mercy, every morning! Second, look at nature. Take a walk outside and see how beautiful His creation is. I would challenge you to take a walk outside for a half hour this week. Just look at the trees, the clouds, the flowers, or even snow. Get out and enjoy God’s creation. Put on the song “I can only imagine” on your phone, plug in some headphones, and go out for a walk. Think about how indescribable it will be someday to be in God’s presents.
For those who are yet to know Christ as savior, I leave you with this thought from the book of Isaiah. “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”-Isaiah 44:22. Take a look at God’s creation, everything in nature is pointing to the glory of God. Wouldn’t you like to be in God’s presents someday? Wouldn’t you like to experience true forgiveness? If you would like to know what true grace and forgiveness is all about, reach out to myself or one of the fellas on the BWOB board. We would love to talk to you about Jesus and the forgiveness and peace that is only found in His name.