“We live by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
Once, when I was barely scraping by as an associate pastor, I asked God to help me find some money. I needed $300 fast, and the only way I knew to get it was to sell my beloved guitar. I told a local music shop owner my instrument was for sale, then restrung my guitar and polished it up. I sat it on a stand and prayed with true faith, “There it is, Lord…”
About five minutes later, the shop owner called. Someone was in his store looking for a guitar like mine! I brought my instrument to the shop and sold it to a gentleman on the spot for $400. The money was enough to cover my need, plus buy another guitar (less fancy, of course) to get me by.
God orchestrated the entire transaction!
As often happens here on Word Press, it was another blogger’s post that jogged my memory. Marie, from Blog with Marie, helped me remember a spiritual marker of my own.
She wrote about misplacing a heart shaped ring her mother gave her upon the birth of her first child. It wasn’t an expensive piece of jewelry, but held great sentimental value. Marie retraced her steps, praying to God all the while that He would show her where it was.
Did she find it? Click or tap over to her excellent post to find out!
It is in the quiet of the woods that I hear and feel God’s presence without distraction.
The Space Between is a marvelous blog I discovered recently that focuses on experiencing God in the great outdoors. On the site, Cori reflects on faith, family, hiking, yoga and other life pauses.
Her April 3 post, Walking with God, is a true gem that brought back memories of hiking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico over 30 years ago.
What ignited my vivid recollection was the author’s statement, “Hiking is moving meditation: miles of opportunity for prayer and reflection on scripture.”
I spent the summer of 1988 working at a Christian conference center near Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was an exquisite setting, with huge conifers, cold water creeks and mountains in every direction. There were also dozens of alluring trails in the area. I became a compulsive day hiker.
After several beginner and intermediate treks, this young buck (me) yearned for a challenge. One of my braver hiking buddies suggested a 12.4 mile (out and back) route, in the nearby Pecos Wilderness Area, that was rated difficult. It started at a picturesque creek and ended near the 12,000 foot summit of Baldy Mountain–a 3,000 foot elevation gain.
Piece of cake, right?
Please stay with me, kind reader. I promise to come to a good biblical point.
We started at sun up. It was early July, but at 8,600 feet the temperature was in the upper 30’s. You could see your breath! I shivered under my thin sweatshirt as we meandered up the narrow, winding trail.
Stands of pine and spruce trees towered above us, hiding the view of the valley below. Just when it seemed we’d been swallowed by the forest, a window appeared.
Farther up the mountain, where the trees and the air grew thinner, the trail became steep. There were so many switch backs I lost all sense of direction.
Finally, the top of “Old Baldy” came into view. I took off my backpack, next to a crystal clear lake, and sat down. That’s when it hit: EXHAUSTION. The euphoria of reaching the trail’s end suddenly gave way to wilting fatigue. Despite being 20 years old, and in top physical shape, I could barely move.
I ate the 80’s equivalent of a Power Bar and laid back on my pack. “Dear God,” I prayed, “please help me get down this mountain.”
The next thing I know my buddy kicked the sole of one my boots, “Wake up, Dave. We need to start back.” I’d been asleep for an hour!
Thank God, I was able to stand. My strength had returned! Getting down the mountain turned out to be much easier than getting up it. This provided a fine opportunity for meditation on the move.
Have you ever had an experience that lined up with scripture word for word?
“Even those who are young grow weak; young men can fall exhausted. But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.” — Isaiah 40:30-31 (GNT)
It’s deceptively easy to walk up a mountain–for real, or metaphorically–only to find yourself exhausted.
Jesus gets it…
“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
It happens every spring, intruders invade my lawn. Hardy weeds with sinister names like, Bullnettle and Prickly Lettuce, and ones with cute names, like Chickweed and Goosegrass, try to choke out my beautiful Bermuda.
Enter, the Weed Sheriff. That’s me. You’ve got to stop the trespassers before they go to seed and make those little burrs that stick to your dog’s fur.
No weed is safe in MY yard!
I know, I know, I could treat my whole lawn with some industrial strength herbicide. But I ENJOY weed busting.
When I think of a large yard that has both good green plants and bad, it reminds me of Paul’s advice to his young protege, Timothy.
In a large house there are articles of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV)
Weeds are like sin to the Christian life. Both are instruments of ignoble purposes. Allow me to illustrate with a particularly insightful acrostic:😀
Pervasive – the weeds of sin are all too common and hard to stop.
Invasive -they pry and protrude into our lives.
Evasive -weeds are deceptive and misleading, often camouflaging themselves.
There’s not just PIE in the sky, there’s some right off the back patio. Therefore, daily weed control (confession of sin) is a necessity. My former pastor and mentor, called this cleansing process, God’s ‘washcloth.’
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Weeding must be intentional.
But how do we tell the grass from the weeds? No worries. The best strategy is to not be the only sheriff in town; ask the Holy Spirit to treat your whole life with a heavenly strength herbicide.
Get rid of the weeds and God’s grass will grow.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.