Sunday, July 1, 2012
Welcome to Day 182 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Isaiah 1, more judgments against Israel and an earnest call to repentance. (See 1:18.)
v 13, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me… 16 …Stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Isaiah 2:3, “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths… 5 Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah 3:10, “Tell the righteous
it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.”
Titus 3:1, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to
be obedient, to
be ready to do whatever is good,
2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”
Summary: Learn to do right. Walk in his paths. Enjoy the fruit. Be obedient. Be ready… to do whatever is good.
Seems there is a common theme today.
Easy to focus on our sins, how we have fallen short. God’s judgment against us…
Even in the midst of judgment, God puts his standard on display. He gives clear instruction as to how to come back to him. Stop doing these things… Start doing these things.
Same with the New Testament…
Galatians 5, as I mentioned the other day… The works of the flesh are obvious. But the fruit of the Spirit is…
“Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”
We are called to live our lives as LIVING sacrifices… that is our reasonable (logical/spiritual) act of worship.
It’s not complicated, is it… It’s easy to make it complicated with laws and rules.
It really is all about focus. What am I going to focus on? The negative, sins, hurts, disappointments…
Or God’s goodness, his mercy, caring for others. Worshiping him.
Yesterday, nine of us piled into two cars to accomplish two things: 1. Go see the ocean. 2. Go see the Redwood trees. It was 3 1/2 hours of winding, two-lane, up-and-down-hill road each way… All for an hour at each location.
Oh, did I mention is was overcast? But it’s what our schedule allowed. We didn’t pick the day, it picked us. It was our only opportunity to make this trip.
The terrain was beautiful, but after an hour or two it all sort of begins to look the same. Hills, mountains, trees…
And it’s never fun to try to find the restaurant that some random person recommended to you while waiting for a traffic jam to clear. (She gave me the name of the street of the best burger join in Trinidad… It was actually in Arcata, not Trinidad. And she spelled the name of the street it was on, incorrectly. GPS doesn’t like that… Sigh.)
Such is life. (My summation after hours of feeling like I led our team on a wild goose chase…)
What I have discovered is life really is more about the journey.
If the journey were easy, everyone would do it. Few people are willing to make the sacrifice, to do what it takes, to pay the price…
It was an adventure. It wasn’t always “fun.” Closed quarters, NO PLACE to stop on the way home. Hunger, irritation, miles of treacherous (not kidding) road, impending nightfall, too many deer to count. Nausea… Fatigue… I was SO tired by the end of the journey.
But we did it…
We saw the Pacific Ocean. (It was ice-cold btw.) One of our new friends, Emily came along. This was her first time ever seeing the ocean. She is from Kansas…
Gracie, one of those in our group from Dayton has had pictures of Redwoods hanging in her bedroom since she was a child. Yesterday, she got to walk through them.
A stunning, surreal forest of gigantic Sequoia Redwood trees, some are two thousand years old! Miles of them… Some approaching 400 feet tall!
And they only grow in this one region in northern California, where the conditions are just right…
And we got to see them.
I made that journey last year. I knew what was involved. I told Reed, one of our group that gets car sick pretty easily, that this journey is not fun. (I got car sick last year.)
Words really can’t describe this journey. You can say hills, mountains, hair-pin turns, no guard rails, fog, clouds, rain… but until one experiences it, it’s just words. Climb 1,000 feet, descend 2,000 feet.
It’s all about the journey…
And being willing to pay the price.
“Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars, [Redwoods]
10 wild animals [deer] and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted.”
Your creation brings praise to your name. May I always do the same.