“Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:8
Nature Retreat on a Holiday Season
Warmest greetings and Happy New year to everyone.
Our ministry group (S.E.E.K. Outreach) recently organized a two-day annual spiritual retreat over the new year holiday. We opted for the beach as our retreat venue and were blessed by the therapeutic effects of the sand, sea and salty air for total rejuvenation. The place was surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the sea, and we all had a wonderful experience partaking in sunrise and sundown worships there. The retreat was not only an opportunity to delight in God’s wonderful nature but also to enjoy some fun activities amongst our group members and to set aside some time in silence, allowing us to listen deeply to ourselves and to God’s nature.
Since our group retreat fell on the holiday season, we exchange gifts there. We had a social night as well to further strengthen our bonding as a group. We had a great time building closer relationships with each other and reconnecting with our Creator. It was indeed a beautiful experience to open our hearts and souls and inspires us to have appreciative hearts for everything that God created.
We absolutely loved the location and experiences such a great time. Our short stay finally ended and although we wanted to stay a little longer, it was time to pack up our things and head for home. We enjoyed every moment of it and we concluded that our nature retreat was a complete success.
We appreciated the beautiful scenery a little more while waiting for our rented vans to pick us up off from the venue and take us back home. The roads were temporarily closed for security purposes as the area was fully packed with party-goers waiting for the countdown to the new year. We had to wait until the roads were reopened again. While waiting, we had our sundown worship and silent meditation.
With one minute to go until midnight, the crowd stood as they began counting down. When the clock hit midnight, there was a wild roar among the crowd as fireworks exploded in the sky, giving a colorful display for the excited viewers.
Out With A Bang! Countdown Fireworks!
As a new year begins, billions of people around the world find different festive ways to usher in and greet the first moments of 2019. Just as the clock rings out the 12 strokes at midnight of 31st of December, it’s the anticipated signal that the Gregorian calendar year 2018 is coming to a close and it was time to welcome the start of the year 2019. To some, it was a promising end of 2018 and a challenging start of 2019.
Millions of People across the globe waited to watch the skies light up. Spectators gathered around at midnight at the beaches, in the cities, or any designated countdown venues to watch the spectacular displays of fireworks. Millions of onlookers, watching the spectacular sight of fireworks exploding in the sky, is an incredible sight. Fireworks have been an integral part of the celebrations. It is definitely the most eye-opening and thrilling way to greet the New Year. Tons of fireworks were used to feature creative and impressive exhibitions of New Year’s fireworks displays. New Year’s Eve celebration is undoubtedly one of the most exciting moments of the year.
Good Bye 2018 & Hello 2019
Revelries, fireworks, concerts, games, parties and fun activities abounded as a massive crowd packed the area to mark the transition from the old to the new year. Revelers around the globe bid farewell to a year filled with challenges and welcome the opening of the new year.
New Year’s Eve celebration can be an overload of excitement for both adults and children. There’s so much to enjoy such as the awesome foods, live music, dance performances, extravagant and mesmerizing fireworks displays that excite everyone.
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In the beginning God created my heartLike the earth before the Creation, my heart is without form and void, ugly, filthy, and full of darkness. God wants to start a new creation in me.
Alternatives to TV and social mediaExperience tells us that the more we help others the more we feel blessed and contented. This is an activity that will give us many practical lessons and experiences that will make us a better person. No wasted time indeed.
Blessings I received from the AYA Friendship CampAt the peak of my struggle and doubts, God gave me the strength and drive to push through. He gave me the momentum to keep going on when I feel like there's no hope. It led me to believe that nothing's impossible if you just put your trust and faith in God.
That Glorious ‘Fireworks’
As our group stayed there and watched the New Year’s countdown, there was a mixture of strong emotions among the crowd. Excitement is wildly felt among the revelers and there was shouting and loud cheering at every spark and explosion of the dazzling fireworks display.
As I looked around, I could see thousands of people who stayed late at night waiting patiently just for that midnight countdown. They were being entertained by the awe-inspiring and majestic fireworks display and were enjoying every part of it. Every whizz and bang of the fireworks sent the crowd roaring with excitement. They were all cheering with praise and admiration at every burst of the fireworks.
While observing the crowd around me, I felt some uncomfortable feeling deep within and for some apparent reason, I was lost in my conscious thought. Have you ever pondered that those were only fireworks made by ordinary men and the span of time to enjoy its beauty is limited? It only lasts for a few minutes and then the show is over. Millions of people from all over the world are taking part in this and massive crowds are applauding the artificial creation of mortal men.
With all the crowds coming out to party, most of us tend to forget to admire and give thanks to the wonderful creation of our great Creator God? If millions of people can stay up late at night just to watch the fireworks made by earthly men and admire their fascinating shows, then why can only a few people take the time to look around and admire the beautiful creations of God? Many don’t even appreciate the lovely things around us and the nature that abounds in splendor and beauty. Our fellows even destroyed them out of lack of appreciation.
Though our earthly home is corrupted and ruined after the fall of mankind, we can still see the beauty that lies about in nature. Our earth’s surface is still diversified with mountains, hills and plains; we still have beautiful seas, rivers and lakes. We have delicate flowers, fruitful soils, trees and still have every source of our foods and nourishment. We have air to breathe in and water to drink and everything that we need is supplied by the hands of our Creator.
But where is this genuine admiration in our part? For all the things that God has done for us, only but a few stood and showed their sincere appreciation to our Maker. God has created great things that will last longer and painted the whole earth with brilliant and spectacular colours and displays that wow us at every angle. Fireworks excite you for just a few minutes, but the works of God’s hands last forever.
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:6
Like the display of new year fireworks anticipated by the massive crowd, the majestic coming of Jesus is also assured.
As faithful Christians, we have to be patient too while we wait for the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords for the second time. Our citizenship is in heaven and so we should wait eagerly for our Savior’s coming to take us home. Pray without ceasing that when He comes for His second coming, He will not find us in our slumber. But let us all watch and wait and be ready for His soon coming.
(Featured photo by Eliel Cruz)