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Tracks in the Heart

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This is where the dirt road ends and pavement begins. There are a lot of tire tracks found in that loose, red Georgia soil, but you will not see a single impression in the asphalt (except maybe on a blistering hot Summer's day when you can fry an egg on that surface).

I believe most people reading my posts would rather have a dirt road over asphalt. They would prefer a slow ride down a quiet, country road over the hectic hustle of the big city traffic jungle.

This photo speaks to me about the condition of a person's heart though. There are strangers, friends and family you meet regularly who appear on the surface to be hardhearted. They haven't always been that way but circumstances turned their warm heart of compassion into a cold heart of stone -- and nothing or no one can make a positive impression on them or move them. And then there are those whose hearts are soft, pliable, vulnerable... people on whom others leave a deep impression -- sometimes for bad, but mostly for…

Confidence - Misdirected and Assured

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A MISDIRECTED CONFIDENCE

Quote from the Movie:
"We'll give him more than chains. He's always been king of his world, but we'll teach him fear. We're millionaires, boys. I'll share it with all of you. Why, in a few months, it'll be up in lights on Broadway: Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World."

God warns man about placing confidence in status, power and reckless behavior.

Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the path of those who have foolish confidence. (Psalm 49:12-13a)

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. (Psalm 146:3)

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. (Proverbs 14:6)

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AN ASSURED CONFIDENCE

An assured confidence does not rest on human accomplishments or wealth. An assured confidence lies in the hope, grace and help of our God and Savior alone.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord…

Light in the Valley

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This is a sunrise photo from the Oconaluftee Valley Overlook on Highway 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is one of my favorite sunrise locations as you've seen before because of where the sun appears on the horizon, the layers of ridges, and the frequently present clouds hovering just over the mountains.

The thing about sunrise photos is that you never know what to expect, particularly if you set out in the early morning hours while it is still very dark. Actually, this is the only way to do it otherwise you will miss all those sweet colors that appear with the very first light -- generally 45 minutes before the sun actually shows itself.

In this case, there were no clouds in the sky so the orange and yellow tones that appeared prior to the actual sunrise were not reflected off the clouds but off the chemicals naturally and unnaturally found in the atmosphere (yes, even traces of smog can produce appealing colors on the horizon). And as it grew lighter, more of the valley reveal…

When the Lights Come On

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I rarely photograph the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge during the day. There's just something mesmerizing about shooting a long exposure image of the water cascading over the dam with the lights reflecting in the water. The mill just seems to exude new life and character at night.

I don't know about you but I am drawn to the historic structures that remind us of decades long gone. I am thrilled when people care enough to maintain and/or restore them for present and future generations.

I believe giving the next generation something tangible to experience of the past is vital. I believe that consistently living out our lives for the Lord today in front of this generation of young people is vital to raising up strong adults who will continue a faith journey which will lead future generations to the Lord too.

But here's my concern... what was spoken of concerning the Israelite nation in Judges 2:10 is far too real in today's American society as well.

"And all that generation al…

Streams of Mercy

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When in the Smokies, I love coming down out of the mountains and stopping at many of the streams, creeks, brooks, and waterfalls along the way. There is a sense of peace and calmness that accompanies the sound and scene before you.

I am reminded that following a mountaintop experience there is only one place to go -- down. It's not unusual to feel depressed, forsaken, lonely, bored, hurting and afraid right after having a grand and golden sunrise moment.

Can I reassure you of something? God gives us those mountaintop moments to remind us of Himself and His presence in our lives, but those rivers of peace, calm, love, mercy and grace do not flow UP... they flow DOWN. So as you journey toward or dwell in that valley experience please know that God's goodness is flowing to where you are. Open your eyes to His life-giving, life-sustaining flow so that you will be re-energized, rejuvenated and restored in whatever situation you find yourself in.

The same God in the mountain is the sam…

Movers and Shapers

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Have you noticed how smooth the rocks and boulders are in the river beds of the Great Smoky Mountains? Obviously the rocks are much harder than water, but it is the water that shapes the rocks and not vice versa.

Yes, rocks may divert the flow temporarily, but sooner or later the force of rushing water will inevitably move or reshape even the largest of stones.

You may have found yourself between a rock and a hard place in life and the weight of your circumstances seem unmovable, yet I am here to encourage you -- prayer, like the rushing waters, touches the heart of God to move or smooth those obstacles which seem too heavy to bear on your own.

Jesus told His followers, "Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."…

The Road Ahead

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No one can predict what lies ahead. We can look forward with hope or we can tremble with fear as we consider the future. Would the next few moments after taking this photo provide other spectacular displays of light or would a torrential rain pound on us for the remainder of our journey?

Proverbs 27:1 reads, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."

Jesus tells us, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34)

Only God knows what the next moment holds for us. We should be consumed with neither boasting nor fear. While I may not know how this day will unfold, I do know Who holds me securely in His grip. So, by faith I trust Him.