The Ladder-Bridge

by Virginia Grounds

One of our grandsons has been playing football in the position of quarterback since he was five years old. We love to watch him play. He is now a senior in college, and we missed most of his games this year. But as we traveled home from the one game we were able to attend, the clouds from the rainy day began to break up.

At one point, as the sun was going down, the sky was clear blue and cloudless directly above us. Yet surrounding us on all sides were the most beautiful clouds. We seemed to be in the middle of this circle of clouds with the rays of the sun creating the most beautiful colors in them. In each direction, the colors varied from gold, coral, lavender, and red, ending in deep blue. The sight was awesome!

My immediate thought was, this is a reminder of what it means to be surrounded by the presence of God in all His creation while at the same time filled with His relational presence.

In Genesis 28:11-15 (ESV), Jacob had a dream of a ladder from heaven to earth with angels from top to bottom. God spoke to Him and gave multiple promises. But it is in Verse 16 that we see Jacob’s response when he awakened. “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was awestruck with the realization that God was present.

That is how I felt when I saw the evidence of the presence of God in His creation. God is Omnipresent. He is everywhere, always present. But we often forget that He is always there for us, seeing us through every storm. I had to be honest and ask myself, “When was the last time I was so aware of the presence of God?”

We find the beginning of an answer to His personal presence in John 1:51 (ESV). “And He [Jesus] said to Him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  Jesus is the bridge between heaven and earth, between God and man. Jacob had a vision of this bridge in the form of a stairway and realized God was in his presence. But we have more than a glimpse. We have the reality of Christ in us, the bridge to God always, in every place.

Had I not been driving from the game that day, I probably would have been asleep or looking at my phone as my husband drove. How often do we miss the glory of God and the reality of His presence due to distractions? That afternoon was a wakeup call for me to look around more, to be alert and aware with my focus directed upward. God reveals His presence in incredible ways, as we put aside those distractions and look to Jesus in everyday life.

I am so thankful for the gift of God’s grace that allowed me to cross that bridge through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to constantly be aware that He is all around me, as I look at creation. I do not want to say as Jacob did, “and I did not know it.” Knowing God through Christ Jesus is something to be thankful for as we struggle in this journey called life. He is our sustainer and strength. He is our way to heaven. Let us give thanks to God for Jesus and the way He made for us to be with Him always.

God to Jacob – “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…” Genesis 28:15a ESV

Jesus to the disciples – “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Virginia Grounds is a speaker, author, Bible Teacher, former radio host, and effective communicator. Her love for women’s ministry and passion for God’s Word have been an important part of serving for more than 30 years in ministry in one of the largest churches in America. Virginia served with her husband in full-time ministry helping to meet the needs of hurting people. This motivated her to write her first book, Facing Fears, Quenching Flames, a devotional book for overcoming fear and anger. Her second book, Rock Solid Trust, Trusting God When Life is Hard released last year and is available on Amazon. Her latest book is a Bible Study titled, Living Your Glory Story –  knowing God’s Word for Sharing Your Story.

Rock Solid Trust: Trusting God When Life Is Hard by [Virginia Grounds]

Virginia is married with three adult children and grandchildren. Her ministry website is majesticinspirations.com. Her ministry blog is Grounded Through Faith (formerly Majesticinspirations.com) at www.virginiagrounds.net. She also formats manuscripts for print at www.manuscriptprep.com

Join the conversation: What do you see in nature that reveals God’s presence to us?

Packing for the Journey

by Virginia Grounds

And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money, and do not have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.”  Luke 9:3 NKJV (emphasis added)

Summertime – my favorite time of year. It is a time for break from the everyday routine. For many, it is a time for vacation, fun, relaxation, and family gatherings.

Summertime is also a time of church mission trips and conferences. Packing for a mission trip can be a challenge, as there are normally limits on how much luggage you can take. How to squeeze a change of clothes for each day into one small bag is an interesting experience. And we cannot forget about all the incidentals including mission gifts.

Several years ago, I went on mission to El Salvador. The message God gave me to the women there was about the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ. I had this great idea to take some polished rocks and markers for each woman to write the scripture reference on that most spoke to them through the message. When we arrived at the airport, my luggage was overweight. I had to open it right there at the check-in counter with the eleven other women around me and distribute bags of rocks to each one. How embarrassing! From this experience I learned an important lesson. What we take is not important; the message and the mission is our purpose.

When Jesus sent His twelve disciples out on mission, His instruction for their travel was quite different than what we are inclined to do as we prepare to travel. He told them to “take nothing for the journey”, not even a change of clothing! They were not to take a suitcase, food, or money. Can you even imagine leaving on a mission trip with only the clothes you are wearing?

No purse full of stuff, ladies. No briefcase of work to do as you travel, or technology. No snacks. No cellphone. Nothing.

As I read the Scripture, I thought perhaps the journey was a short one, and they would not need provision. However, the words of Jesus dispute that claim by showing their need for housing. Therefore, I believe the message Jesus is teaching them is to trust God to provide as they carry out the mission for which they are sent. A change of clothes for everyday is not to be the focus. Worrying about food and housing was not to be the focus. Their mission was to preach the kingdom of God for salvation to all who would hear. Jesus would inspire others to house and feed them. The disciples were to be dependent on God to provide.

The Lord, who knows all things, sent them out knowing that provisions would be made for them, as they obeyed what was asked of them. He had given them the power to do so. When Jesus empowers and we respond, He provides. That is a trust building truth you can count on.

When it seems the provisions in your life journey are not what you wanted or hoped they would be, Jesus provides what is needed. He tells us in Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV) not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear. Just take care of today for tomorrow will worry about its own things.

He applied this same message to sending the disciples on mission, and it applies to our lives as well. Focus on the moment. Don’t worry about what will take place there, just do what we are sent to do. Trust God to provide.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Virginia Grounds is a speaker, author, Bible Teacher, former radio host, and effective communicator. Her love for women’s ministry and passion for God’s Word have been an important part of serving for more than 30 years in ministry in one of the largest churches in America. Virginia served with her husband in full-time ministry

Rock Solid Trust: Trusting God When Life Is Hard by [Virginia Grounds]

helping to meet the needs of hurting people. This motivated her to write her first book, Facing Fears, Quenching Flames, a devotional book for overcoming fear and anger.

Virginia writes to grow women in their faith and teach life lessons for survival in today’s world. She is married with three adult children and grandchildren. Her ministry website is majesticinspirations.com.

Join the conversation: What do you prioritize when preparing for a trip?