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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

After we had climbed the daunting Mt. Kinsman as our introduction to New Hampshire Appalachian Trail hiking, we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! This was much harder than anything we had done before, and we wondered if we would be able to finish the section that we had planned on. We decided instead of continuing to the next section on our hike, Mt. Moosilauke, we would skip it and hike the more mild section to the south to give our bodies one more day to recover.  We hoped by then we would feel well enough to conquer Moosilauke.

After hiking back to our rental car, we drove wearily to a car campground and set up our hammocks.  We were exhausted, but of course not too tired for some delicious Chinese food in town.  After that we crashed in our hammocks and slept soundly.

We had beautiful weather the entire week we were in New Hampshire.  The only major rainstorm happened that next morning, so we decided to give ourselves a break and wait out the rain. We had our breakfast at what was becoming our favorite breakfast place, Dunkin Doughnuts.  Then we cruised the main street of the town for stores that could provide supplies we needed.  We then hung out for the rest of the morning at a nice McDonald’s for delicious iced coffee, WiFi and power.  I was able to get the first YouTube video done for this trip. https://youtu.be/c7Dsfz1CT1k  It took a surprisingly long time and I was only able to get a third of the first day edited and uploaded before it was time to leave for the local pizza place with their $5 special, two pizzas and a soda!

By then it was pouring and we actually got a little wet running from place to place, which we were really trying to avoid.  We were wearing the clothes we were going to hike in and didn’t want them wet already.  But we were glad we could run inside and were not continuously remaining in the rain.  So after pizza, we headed out to the start point of our hike for the day.  By then the rain had stopped and it remained a bit overcast for a while but eventually the sun came out and it was beautiful!

The rest of the story is told in the video, Ore Hill (day 4) below.  The previous day is also included below.  Hope you enjoy hiking with us!  The Big Mt. Moosilauke will be next!

 

 

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Jesus loves me. He delights in me. He is affectionate towards me. He lavishes His love on me. I am deeply, affectionately loved! No matter where I go or what I do, His love is always with me and surrounds me. He is always in love with me. What a sense of belonging and security! My identity is the beloved of God. No one or nothing can change that.

So what could be wrong? I think my big mistake is trying to live for myself instead of Him. Living for myself, trying to make things work out my way, is anxiety. Living for Him is freedom. I only follow Him and no matter what the earthly results, I succeed.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
-Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV84)

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20130215-105434.jpgThe joy of the Lord is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

One of the things we like to do to train for our Appalachian Trail hike this summer is to take shorter walks throughout the week and a longer one on the weekend.  Our town built a nice walking trail that leads from our neighborhood to a nearby park.  You have to cross over a highway to get to the park.  One day as were doing our usual walk I noticed, someone had pained a big smiley face on the side of the bridge.  So you look down at cars zooming below you but also see this giant face smiling back at you!  I thought it was quite comical and a bit out of place so that it is a pleasant surprise, something you do not expect when crossing over a highway!

Sometimes I struggle with mild depression.  I just feel down and anxious and I really don’t know why.  I know its satan trying to bring me down and distract me from the amazing things God has planned for me.  If I am stuck feeling bad about everything, then I can’t very well live victoriously or move forward  with God.  It pretty much incapacities me.

But I forget God’s love for me and His joy.  Last night I had a dream of someone who loved me dearly and something happened that I seemed to find hilariously funny.  I woke up in the middle of laughing hysterically with this overwhelming sense of joy, so much that I felt I couldn’t contain it.  So that’s what I’ve been missing…a sense of His deep love for me, of being in love with Him…and joy.  Just inexplicable, overwhelming joy when you just forget all your cares and relax and trust God.

After all we really have no reason for anxiety. Our Father loves us dearly and accepts us unconditionally.  He has conquered sin and death so we know the end of the story.  We win!  And actually we win now too.  God is in complete control of our lives.  Everything that happens to us has been filtered through His love and all is worked for our good.  So we can’t go wrong.  We just follow Him and we win.  There is no need for worry because our loving Father has taken care of everything for us.  We just have to trust HIm.

So Jesus, help me trust you.  To give up my incessant worrying and to give up believing satan’s lies that things are always wrong.  I know it’s a lie, but it takes so much strength to fight.  But you reminded me last night what it feels like to give up all that worry and to trust you as if I haven’t a care in the world, to laugh freely, and to be loved.  If only we truly understood the reality of our life with you.  Help us to understand.  Thank You for giving this to us!  In Jesus name, amen.

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I praise You…Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.   Psalm 139:14-15

We decided to try a little bit longer t20130211-100143.jpgrail this weekend in our quest to train to hike a part of the Vermont Appalachian Trail this summer.  We visited a State Park about 45 minutes away that we had not been to since the kids were little.  We were remembering back then it was a real challenge to hike with them.  We either had to carry them in a backpack or listen to a lot of wining and complaining.  At some point we just gave up because it was too difficult.  But now my girls are 13 and 16.  They are taller than I am (which is not saying much!) and have full-length legs and young hearts and so are probably in better shape than I am! lol

The longest weekend hikes we’ve done recently have been around 3 miles and we all have done pretty well with that.  So this past weekend we tried a 5 mile hike.  There were several up and down hi20130211-100153.jpglls which we are not quite used to in our flat city.  We all felt it the next day, aches and pains, a few blisters, and an overused ankle!  But it’s all good, because now we now know where some of are our weaknesses are and can work on strengthening them before our big hiking trip.

Despite the aches and blisters, we had a really awesome time.  It always feels like such an adventure exploring out into the woods where few people go.  Since we had not been on this part of the trail, we weren’t sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised at all the treasures we discovered along the way!  We found a really cool old wood log stair case that twisted and descended into a ravine, across an old bridge and then another staircase leading back up out of the ravine (top).

It’s amazing how20130211-100222.jpg many different types of plants grow in the same forest in different areas, depending on elevation, sun and wind exposure.  At one point we crossed a road and descended back into a low area of the forest with really cool spiky, segmented snake grass spreading out to the right and left as far as we could see (above).

Another time we crossed a road and descended into a another low area with a bridge that was built around a tree, shooting right up through the center of it!  But we looked up, and this tree was just a long-dead stump with no leafy top!  We were trying to figure out why they took the trouble to build around a dead stump!  The area after the bridge opened up into a low area with a bright green plant covering the forest floor, which was a sharp contrast  to the brown leaf floor of the higher elevations (below).

20130211-100206.jpgWe are hiking to train for our summer hike and to get into shape.  But we are also finding we are really enjoying it!  We spend so much in the city with pavement and buildings and indoor, climate-controlled stale air, that we forget how amazing nature is that God has created.  Just the wild, unpredictable beauty and randomness of how He has put it all together.  It really is awe-inspiring and makes me grateful to God for giving us each amazing adventure.  It leads me to worship the powerful and creative God who makes these wild, life-size masterpieces.  I can’t wait for our next adventure where we get to be immersed again in God’s masterpieces!

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For in Him we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28

Its funny.  We grow up on this planet assuming that we belong to ourselves.  We assume that we can do whatever we want.  We are individuals.  We have rights.  We are free.  We can’t see God, so its hard to know sometimes that He exists and who He is.  But then one day we meet Him.   We fall in love with Him.  But, as in my case, it can become hard to understand why we are told to praise and worship Him?   One reason our country is great because we believe that everyone is created equal.  We aren’t used to societies that have ruling classes where it is accepted that one must respect and submit to persons above them. 

I struggled with this a year or two after being saved.  If God loved me, why would He ask me to praise Him??  I couldn’t understand why God, who loved me so much and was my Friend, would ask me to lift Him up and praise Him.  It just didn’t make sense in my logical mind.  I prayed about it and asked God, but still didn’t come to a logical answer.  So one day I finally just decided to do it.  And in doing it I felt such joy and a sense that it was right.

Even now sometimes I struggle with allowing God to be in control.  Sometimes I do better than others.  The days I give Him control are often wonderful days as I watch as He works out my day.  But other days I find myself resistant.  I just want to do what I want to do!  I know it’s not right and ultimately it leads to discontent on my part.  But yet I still choose it sometimes.  Why do I have so much trouble giving Him control and admitting that He is my Master, albeit the most loving, gentle, kind Master there is, who is always working for my good .

But as I look at who God is, it becomes easier to understand why we should worship and obey Him.  He created all of us!  Before that there was nothing but God.  He has always existed, He has no beginning and no end.  He always Is.  And then He decided to create the earth and us.   We only live because God sustains us.  Our heart beats, we breathe in oxygen, our soul lives because He sustains us.  

He created the perfect planet to sustain us.  It is just the right distance from the sun to sustain our life.  A bit too close and we burn up.  A bit too far and we freeze to death.  We have just the right amount of oxygen so that we can breathe and not some other gas which would poison us.  Without Him creating the perfect, safe environment for us to live in, we would not continue to exist.

No only did He create us and our planet, but He created a plan for us as well.  We are living in the story that He created.  He knew Adam and Eve would sin.  He knew He would send Jesus to die for our sins.  He knows when He will come back again to bring us to  be with Him.  It is His story, planned by Him from beginning to end.  And we are a part of it, walking through our little piece of it.

So for me to think that I am my own, that I am independent, free to do whatever I want is kind of silly in light of all that!  It is all God’s.  His people.  His story.  He has a right to tell me what is right and wrong.  He has a right to be worshiped and adored.  He is, after all, all-powerful, holy beyond our understanding, and Love.  He loves us more than we can imagine.  He is a great, unimaginable, good Being, the likes of which we cannot conceive.  We’ve never met on this earth anyone who compares.  We never will.  Even the angels in all their glory, do not hold a candle to God.  He is the One and Only great and awesome God.

In light of all this, our response is only to bow down and worship.  We are created from a thought in His mind.  We are sustained by His will.  We are cared for and protected by His Love.  We are created for Him and by Him, living on His earth, walking through His plan, His story until He brings His children safely Home to be with Him.  We are not our own.  We are His.  In the end there really is no other response than worship and submission. 

And the amazing thing is that with all His power and glory and greatness and holiness, He comes down to find us, each of His individual children.  He comes to seek each one of us and gives us dignity, life in Him, a sense of purpose in His plan, the love we have always desired.   In fact, He gives us the love that He created us to receive and without which we are incomplete.   The Great King treats us as friends, as sons and daughters.  He treats us gently and kindly as we kneel in awe and reverence of our Master and Love.

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I was driving to work today in the snow!  In early December!  That’s especially remarkable since I live in the South and snow is a rarity here.  It was so beautiful.  Big, fluffy, wet snowflakes!  It wasn’t cold enough to stick to the road so we all had to go to work and school. :(  But it was beautiful, coating the tree limbs and grass, turning my usual morning commute into a fantastic winter wonderland.

I was filming the snow with our early Christmas present, a video camera.  We have had great fun with our camera, filming our girls and the snow and our Christmas tree.  But I was getting frustrated with the fact that the scenery just didn’t quite look as beautiful on the screen as I could see with my naked eye.  It just didn’t quite capture the same picture.  The same happens with my still camera.  I can get beautiful outdoor pictures with it, but still the quality is just doesn’t compare to what my eye can see.  Cameras cannot pick up the slight nuances of light and shade, depth of focus, contrast, the ability of the eye to quickly capture high quality detail in whatever direction the eye looks, at multiple depths, including what is outside of the focus area in the peripheral vision and the ability to see the depth in three dimensions.  As beautiful as the snow was, the camera was just not quite getting what I was seeing.

Then I thought, after all these thousands of years of human beings developing greater and greater levels of invention and technology, we still can’t recreate the human eye in all its complexity.  Now if we, the most intelligent life on this earth, cannot even create a decent eyeball after thousands of years, how likely is it that unintelligent chance or evolution could have created us intelligent humans beings, who as a whole are infinitely more sophisticated than just the one part of our body?  Could chance create our graceful and coordinated hands and legs which no man-made robot can imitate?  How about our heart and our lungs?  Or our brain which is more sophisticated than our fastest, most up-to-date computer?  How much less likely could chance have created our souls, our spirits, our heart, our conscience?  How about our desire for God, for heaven, to know we are loved and wanted and significant in the universe?  Our desire to know there is Something greater than ourselves, Someone more powerful, Someone loving, who is in control for our good in the middle of all the chaos that we experience.  What is our need to explain where we came from, how we were created and why, do we have significance, are we loved, do we matter?…

Yes.  We are loved.  We do matter.  We are created by the One who loves us more than we can imagine, the One who wants to be our Father, who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us, to take the punishment that we deserve for our sin instead of us.  Once we accept this, then we are His, and He ours.  We are forgiven.  We are safe in Him.  We are loved.  We know where we came from.  We know why we were created.  We know where we are going.    And we know Who created the most amazingly sophisticated creations on this earth…snowflakes, our spirits, our bodies, and especially our eyeballs.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.   Rom. 1:20

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, who remains faithful forever.  Psa. 146:5-6

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There are certain aspects of God’s character that amaze me every time I think of them.  I just can’t seem to get over them.  I was listening to our Klove Christian radio station on the way home from work today, and the speaker was talking about how they never get over the fact that God actually chooses to live in us.  When I think about it, it continues to amaze me too.  God actually condescends to make His home in our humble little hearts, making us a temple in which His presence resides! 

I can’t get over the fact that He actually lives in me.  It is such an intimate, personal, all-encompassing experience.  He is always with me, inside of me.  I am never left alone.  Never without help or comfort or company.  He goes about my day with me, experiencing everything I experience, feeling everything I feel.  He knows me, inside and out.  He is always ready to listen to my thoughts and fears.  He helps me with my struggles or is just available to chat.  He never leaves.  He shares my very body with me.  He co-resides in me.  It’s really an amazing, awesome thing that I cannot get over!

The second thing I can never get over is that fact that God loves me.  He, who created all things, who has all power, who is perfect and holy, loves me!?   He, the great King, chooses to reach down and lift up us poor children, so that we become sons and daughters of the King! 

It doesn’t even seem like it should be true.  It doesn’t seem right that He should be so loving and so gentle and kind and patient with me.  I keep trying to convince myself that my latest transgression was one too many.  Surely it would have lessened His love for me, or at least His desire to be with me.   But it does not.  It never does.  He always greets me warmly, with love and gentleness.  He delights in my presence.  He delights in me.  Thankfully His love for me is not based on what I do but on what Jesus has already done for me on the cross.  He just loves me for me, because I am His.  Because He made me. 

Sometimes I forget what His love is like, how deep it is, how crazy and passionate He really is about us.  I get distracted and doubtful.  But then once again He reminds me, and I am surprised to remember that He truly does love me that much, beyond what I can even comprehend.  After all these years of learning about His love for me, I don’t think I’ve even scratched the tip of the iceberg!  I only know a wee little bit of the depth of His love now and even that little bit  amazes me. 

God, I never get over being amazed at how You love me or how You are always within me.  I would be lost without You, and I am alive with You.  You, living within me, loving me beyond my imagining, gives me life.  It is the very sustenance by which I live.  I am grateful beyond words and humbled.  We love You, and we choose to be with You too, amen.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph. 3:17-19

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.   Josh. 31:8

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