From our Smoky Mountain home up on the mountain – down in the ‘holler – by the ‘crick’ . . . to wherever you and yours may be this Christmas . . . we wish you the Gift of the One who left Heaven for earth 2,000 years ago to bring “Peace on earth, good will to men” to everyone who chooses to accept the only eternal promise of hope and joy this world has.
Clouds abated today and sunshine peeked through, a welcome respite from a lengthy stretch of stormy weather . . . and I heard the mountains calling.
John Muir once said, “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you” . . . and today they moved in.
High among mountain cathedrals’ majesty, blanketed in pristine virgin white, He silently whispered to my soul in the solitude . . . Peace, Hope, Joy and Love . . . so thirsted for in the world below me.
Scripture tells us that faith can move mountains . . . climbing mountains always moves my faith to greater heights, wishing I could linger longer.
“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
Calm/Swift . . . Clear/Muddy . . . Turbulent/Tranquil . . . water is a metaphor of life.
Such were where my thoughts drifted on today’s wilderness wander pondering the day when, with those gone before me, I will forever contentedly wander beside the river of “pure . . . clear as crystal “ waters. – Revelation 22:1
The photograph was taken the on a wilderness-wander the other day portraying the ambivalence of life’s journey . . . there will always be sunshine above, and tumultuous rapids below. The picture depicts sunshine’s Hope.
A recent totally unexpected, upsetting event threatened capsizing in discouragement’s rapids, but Grace kept me upright. A quote came to mind reminding me not allow yesterday’s failures to destroy today’s joys;
“To live above with the folks we love, that will be glory. To live below with the folks we know, that’s another story.”
Years ago, lamenting to a pastor friend how my life’s foremost, self-imposed failure had affected others and Christianity’s name, he compassionately, but candidly told me,
“It’s not about you Fred. You’re not that important. God and others will survive your failure”.
His words uncovered the root of all sins I’ve struggled with throughout my life . . . ‘I’m important’ self-pride.
Watching the rising sun evaporate clouds off the mountains this morning, a subtle, Divine duality of pride stuck me . . . in my own and the world’s perspective, I’m truly “not that important”. But I . . . the one who wandered away . . . God has undeservedly and sacrificially deemed “most important”, leaving the 99 to carry me back to the flock on His shoulders.
While we proudly take pride celebrating our country’s precious independence and freedom this 4th of July, may we ever remember it’s Him who has been carrying our nation on His shoulders, and endeavor to continue let Him do so in His way, not ours.
Having the last word may be of benefit in a discussion, but of what benefit will your last words be?
As though it was yesterday, the last words my mother spoke to me before going Home at 93 still echo in my heart . . . “Later Freddy”. Those two words spoke, and continue to speak, the confident hope of eternal reunion someday.
Four words, cried out in inconceivable anguish, sealed that reunion on a cross 2,000 years ago . . . Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? . . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46
In the words of Pastor John Ortberg:
“The cross is the ultimate paradox: God experiencing the absence of God so that He can draw closest to us in our loss and grief.Jesus was in a sense never closer to us than when He was furthest from the Father”.
Wherever this Easter may find you, be it in trail or triumph, my prayer is you will find the confident hope of reunion in knowing the One whose last four words uttered in death, conquered it, and loved you into eternal life.
This picture sits on my desk reminding me how totally forgiven and loved I am, and the reunion that awaits