Why Sunsets and Sunrises Are Important

sunrise - sunsetBesides the color and the texture – the absolute enjoyment of how the clouds morph together – it is a creative and artful experience to watch the sun rise and set.

Artists paint them. Poets compose sonnets about them. Writers doodle in their journals while they watch them. Romantics use them as a setting for love.

Each sunrise reminds us of a chance to start over – that God’s mercies are new and his faithfulness continues.

The morning sunrise signals another opportunity to live life with abundance and joy, to make a difference in someone’s hurting life, to offer hope and encouragement even while we drink in the beauty for ourselves.

Each sunset reminds us of the brevity of life. Where did the day go? How is it we are almost into October of this year and soon will greet another sunrise followed by its sunset?

The dusky sunsets also signal an opportunity to look back on the last twenty-four hours. Did I live in abundance and joy? Was I alert for opportunities to be an authentic woman and share God’s love with others? Do I need to confess anything before I go to bed?

My dream house – which I have detailed in my vision journal – will have windows on the east and on the west so that I can enjoy the full panorama of sky, morning and evening.

It is part of my daily worship to meet God in the morning as the sun rises and to praise him for the day past as I revel in the colors of sunset.

Even God enjoys his own creative adventure each morning and evening. “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy” (Psalm 65:8).

I wonder what songs of joy God will sing over this day, when the sun sinks under the western horizon. And what plans does he have for tomorrow’s colorful palette?

Finding that place of joy and enjoyment can be as close as your window pane. Take a moment tomorrow morning and this evening to joy in the patterns and shadings of God’s sky.

Then bow your head before the Eternal Artist who creates something new every day.

©2015 GateWay of Hope

Women’s History Month – Part 4

ImageDuring March, 2012, we honor the women who used their gifts of communication to become influential writers and propel the Gospel forward with their words. Some of these writers include:

Faltonia Betitia Proba (4th century AD) – a Christian poet.

Kassia (810-867) – a Greek poet and hymn writer. 49 hymns have been attributed to Kassia, the majority of which are currently used in the Eastern Orthodox liturgy.

Hildegard (1088-1179) – a theologian who wrote about natural history and the medicinal use of plants. As a script writer, Hildegard saw some of her plays performed in the convent she organized.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) – Yes, Julian was a woman who wrote about the motherhood of God.

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was born in England, married at 16 and sailed to America. As an early colonist, she and her family struggled through many hardships, but kept their faith intact.  Anne became one of the premier Christian poets of the 17th century.

Sarah Osborn (1714-1796) – a Christian leader and writer.

Hannah More (1745-1833) wrote for stage performances and then became a philanthropist. She wrote tracts and books, describing social injustices and in 1805 published a book titled, “Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess.”

Phyllis Wheatley (1753-1784) – a poet.

Hannah Adams (1755-1831) – a famous Christian writer. To help her family survive during the Revolutionary War period, Hannah made lace and tutored college-bound men. Then she wrote “An Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects”, an encyclopedia of world religions. With sales from this book, Hannah became the first American woman to support herself through the income of writing.

Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) was the founder of the Sisters of Charity. During her lifetime, she wrote prolifically in her journals which recorded the struggles and victories of a life of faith. She also translated several French works, including “The Life of St. Vincent de Paul.”

Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) – an evangelist and a writer.

Most of us know the name of Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) who was a famous hymn writer.

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) used her writing skills in conjunction with her gift of evangelism. One of her most beloved books is “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life.”

Patricia St. John (1919-1993) – a popular writer of Christian children’s books including “Treasures of the Snow.”

The list grows into the 20th and 21st century. God’s daughters continue to use their giftings for the furtherance of the Kingdom. Whether they write, serve as missionaries or raise the next generation of Christians – the month of March reminds us to celebrate women and their roles in history. Since Jesus valued us and died for us, we know we can go forward to write, speak, teach, nurture and evangelize our world. As Christ has loved us, so we love him and make our own places in history as women, servants and the bride of Christ.