In this blog I would just like to take a few moments to reflect on some of the experiences God granted to us this summer. My reflections actually begin in May with our unplanned trip to see my sister MaryAnne in South Padre Island, Texas. This trip was made because my sister is dying with throat cancer and we (Deb and I) felt the need to visit her perhaps for the last time in the flesh. Though it was a very difficult time, seeing my sister in the state she is in, it was also a profitable time of healing and encouragement. Especially encouraging to me is the knowledge that my sister is in Jesus’ hands and I will see her again, even if she shortly leaves this physical realm. Seeing her in this state reminded me to make sure I keep my accounts short and to live fully each day for the Lord Jesus Christ. It also reminded me not to assume everything will be the same tomorrow as it is today. Life can change in an instant.
The next big event of the summer was our visit with my son and grandsons. Their visit was part of a short 2 day trip up to Boston to take in a couple of Red Sox games. This was not my original intention when I purchased the tickets, but God has a way of overseeing our actions for our good and His glory even when we don’t understand what He is doing. Traveling with 5 in our party added significantly to the cost of our trip. Memo to self – when traveling with son and grandsons multiply cost 5 times. Things are a lot more expensive today, especially gas, than they were 20 years ago when we traveled all over America as a family.
One of the incredible blessings of my grandsons visit was my grandson Ethan’s decision to pray with the Diane Kahan to receive Christ as his Savior. To hear Ethan tell his dad that “we need to find a church to go to because I trusted Jesus as my Savior” refreshed and blessed my heart beyond words. Memo to self – find a way to have the grandsons come out every year for VBS and represent Christ before them and love on them as much as possible. I’m already working out the plans for next summer’s visit, if the Lord tarries in His coming.
Because of the expenses over the summer and a tuition payment due in Aug. we needed to become creative and resourceful to find fun and affordable things to do for the remainder of the summer. Three of these outings were exploring some of the nooks and crannies right here in New Jersey. The Tuckerton Seaport was a really cool and affordable place (see previous 2 blogs). We also enjoyed Smithville which is a pleasant little town outside of Tuckerton that has 60 shops located in old buildings, some from the early 1800’s. This is only affordable if you don’t spend too much money shopping, a real danger. But be sure to try the caramel pretzel ice cream at the Scoops ice cream shop. Frenchtown, on the Delaware River, was another pleasant place to visit. If you visit park on the NJ side and walk across the bridge to the little veggie and fruit stand on the PA side. I have never walked across the Delaware River before, have you? Try the ice cream at Maria’s. Memo to self – for a romantic date in the fall pack a picnic lunch with Deb and take a walk along the Raritan Canal. Bring along a blanket and find a quiet place to enjoy the fall foliage and the company. Memo to self- never try moving a piano by yourself, it’s a very bad idea.
One last memo to self – enjoy each precious moment God gives you. Don’t assume on tomorrow but enjoy today to its fullest, allowing God’s grace to fill your cup. Reflect, rejoice, love and enjoy. Don’t hurry through life, but take time to smell the flowers and enjoy the grace of God that He extends to us with each breathe we take. Remember also Paul’s words that he wrote in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians where he says in the 6th chapter, “As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you”. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (v. 1, 2 NIV). Remember today is the day of salvation, put your trust in Jesus Christ and He will not let you down. Encounter Him in a saving way and you will have eternity to enjoy His presence.
Pastor Rich Sivo