Simplicity by the Lake

As promised I’m sharing some of the photos from our getaway to a cottage called Simplicity. Now the funny thing is that most accomodations begin by giving a list of what is included – a pool, cable television, breakfast and free shuttle service. But the wonderful thing about Simplicity what it doesn’t offer!

Having four days of no cell service, no tv, no internet or even a daily schedule were an amazing blessing. Instead we discovered a flock of turkeys sleeping in a corn field, a deer grazing in the backyard by our car and a mist rising from the lake at dawn. Most of all there was time to pray and to talk things over with God. Busyness is often the excuse I use to put off till another day what God wants changed right now.

Last year after our first stay at the cottage I couldn’t wait to go back. Now I am wondering why I can’t allow more space for quietness right where we live. I learned that slowing down didn’t mean doing nothing, but instead allowing time for what mattered most. Simplicity is not just a cottage by a lake. It is a choice that Jesus is calling for us to make. What will you do with the 24 hours He is giving you today?

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV

Impossible Mountains

And he dreamed and behold there was a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:12 ESV

If you or a loved one have been living in long term care throughout this pandemic it might seem like a long climb up some impossible mountains from in front of you today to get back to normal. Today let’s look at someone in the Bible who also had a long way to climb. Jacob had lied to his father, tricked his bother into giving up his inheritance and was in the process of running for his life. The first night of his journey Jacob found himself out in the wilderness, without even a tent for shelter. He was so tired that he lay down with his head on a rock and fell fast asleep. That night God sent Jacob an intriguing dream. In spite of being totally undeserving of mercy God chose to show Himself to Jacob standing at the top of a staircase or a ladder to Heaven. I always thought this was a pretty neat story but never got the part about what it had to do with me.

Did you know that the Bible is just like Jacob’s ladder? It is an amazing book! First it reaches from Heaven all the way to earth. It is the only thing we can hold in our hands and know that it came from God. Second, just like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, God is standing at the top of it telling us of His loving plan for our lives. Like Jacob, even when it seems as if we are left alone God comes and reminds us that He is with us. Last of all our ladder is filled with angels. Some are climbing up carrying our prayers to God and others are coming down with God’s answers when we are in trouble. Most of all we have the Bible; which is God’s message that we can trust Him with our lives. It reminds us that there is nowhere we can go that His grace towards us through Jesus Christ cannot reach and that H e will help us to climb impossible mountains- even in long term care!

Got Mountains?

Have you got mountains in your life that you don’t know what to do about? Though they were usually too ashamed to talk to Jesus about their issues the disciples often faced that too. The great news for us is that these totally ordinary guys who also had to pay their taxes figure out where their next meal was coming from and who even argued about who was the most important were loved by Jesus Christ. He didn’t get fed up with them and go out looking for more spiritual disciples.

Instead in answer to their fears and doubts He said something like; “Hey guys why don’t we go for a hike up this mountain today?” As they trudged up the steep winding path towards the summit suddenly Jesus turned around and they saw that His clothing began to shine brighter than anything they had ever seen on earth.

And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. Mark 9:2-3

Then a strange series of events took place beginning with the appearance of Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus; and just when they thought it couldn’t get any weirder a shining cloud surrounded them and a voice spoke to them from heaven. As Peter recounted many years later; that was an experience that forever changed their lives. Though they had faithfully been following Jesus for a couple of years and had witnessed miracles and listened to His teachings they all still had questions and doubts just like we do. But God in His mercy called them up the mountain to see who Jesus really was and He is calling us  this morning too. He is waiting to show us great and mighty things that we don’t know anything about (see Jeremiah 33:3) There is still hope and we can still praise Him. This is a new day and as the sun rises today we need to remind ourselves that God is still in control and that if we will look to Him He will give us a hope that will change us forever.