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Showing posts from March, 2018

Silent Saturday

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It's a humbling experience to walk among the tombstones of fallen soldiers... both named and nameless. People who gave of their lives for a cause greater than themselves. Men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom they believed in.

Can you imagine the feelings Jesus' disciples had the Saturday following His crucifixion? While the religious leaders gloated in their "victory," Jesus' body lay in a borrowed tomb and His followers were quietly hiding out for fear of their own lives. They must have been in shock as well for the One they believed would be Israel's King was instead raised up on a cross and killed like a common criminal. Were they wrong to entrust themselves to One such as this for the last three years? What now? What was next?

Jesus had made them aware of His purpose on several occasions but that was not what they wanted to hear. Even John the Baptist foretold it when he saw Jesus in the wilderness before beginning His m…

The Cross Tree

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One of the hidden treasures in Cades Coves is The Cross Tree. This symbol of Christianity could very well have been carved 100 years ago before the National Park Service purchased the land. The story behind it is unknown. Was it carved in remembrance of the death of a loved one? Was it just someone trying out their new knife? We do not know.
On GOOD FRIDAY, the cross has a very special meaning to me. It is on this day that my Lord and Savior was whipped, beaten, mocked, spat upon, cursed and crucified to death. And just as the poison ivy surrounds the cross etched on this tree, it was for sin's poison of all mankind -- past, present and future -- that placed those nails into the hands and feet of the innocent Son of God.
For Jesus, it was NOT a good Friday. He could have called on His Father in heaven to save Him. He could have called on a thousand angels to save Him. He could have saved Himself for that matter... but He didn't. There was a holy blood sacrifice that had to be a…

Lessons from the Least

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As I hiked the Smoky Mountains last weekend my eyes kept focusing on the moss that covered the rocks and logs. Upon closer inspection one quickly notices the detail in even the smallest patch. Through a macro lens, one sees what many might assume is one plant instead more closely resembles a forest.

There's an old saying that "the devil is in the details" but I am here to tell you that GOD is in the details. He created life and did so intentionally and purposely. In doing so we realize that human beings were the pinnacle of God's loving design because as great and beautiful as we perceive all that the universe contains, nothing else was made to have an intimate relationship with its Creator. He saved the best for last.

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Psalm 139:14
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well…

Thirst Quenching Water

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There's nothing like clean, cold, refreshing water when you're thirsty. Or is there?

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Georgia Southern Botanical Garden
Statesboro, GA

Crossing Over

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Bridges are made to help people cross over from one side to the other over some obstacle. Sometimes the bridge spans a creek and other times a deep gorge. Sometimes the barrier is just too deep and wide for even the greatest marvel of human construction and engineering. Sin is just that.

Jesus became the bridge that spanned the gap created by sin that separated sinful man from Holy God. The cross made it possible for us to bypass judgment because Jesus was already judged on our behalf. He took the punishment for our lawlessness on Himself so that we can have eternal life now and in heaven if we only hear and believe in Jesus, God's Son.

John 5:24
[Jesus said...] “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."

That's the message of the cross.

A Path into the Storm

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Sometimes, by God's grace He takes us by the hand and leads us to peaceful green meadows. But, sometimes He directs us into the storm, for in the storm we learn dependence, endurance, and develop character that validates the hope in which we stand by faith.

In the good times we SAY that we trust in the Lord. In the difficult times we KNOW beyond a shadow of doubt where our hope lies.

Romans 5:2-4
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Road to Abrams Falls
Cades Cove, TN
Great Smoky Mountains

The Straight Way

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I was reminded the other day that there are eyes continually on us. People are watching me and they are observing you. God is not unaware of your thoughts and actions too. But unlike God who is there to cheer you on and encourage you to be a better person, some are just waiting in the shadows to pounce on you the moment they see a moment of weakness or failure. Some would rather call you "hypocrite" than admit they too are imperfect human beings.

So, my prayer is that the Lord will lead me daily down that straight and narrow path that He lays out before me. I do not want to be a stumbling block for others and I want to stay in proper fellowship with Jesus all through the day. If they see one who makes mistakes, then may they also see one who is more than grateful for the forgiveness received through God's loving grace.

Psalm 5:8
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me.

Cades Cove Loop Road
Great Smoky Mounta…

Peace, Be Still

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Those words were uttered by Jesus as the storm raged about the boat and those with Him were fearful for their lives. The waves were crashing all about and the scenario seemed utterly hopeless. BUT, JESUS. Yes, Jesus was in the boat and with a simple utterance, "Peace, be still" there was a great calm.

I have a friend who will be starting chemo treatments tomorrow and I know there must be a great deal of anxiety. Many of you are also going through treatments to rid your body of cancer or are facing a life-changing scenario that you never imagined.

The good news is the storm that Jesus rebuked was of no surprise to Him and He certainly had power over it. He too wants to whisper in your ear those words of healing, courage and strength... "Peace, be still." You may still get tossed about for awhile but you can face it with with a calm spirit knowing Jesus is in the boat with you. He will carry you through to the other side.

Mark 4:39
And [Jesus] arose, and…

Hollow

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Hollow logs make for nice photos. They also provide a home for wildlife. Eventually they will rot into the ground and provide valuable nutrients to the soil. There's a lot of good things going for hollow logs, but I certainly wouldn't want to build my house from one. I want solid wood that will stand the test of time.

Unfortunately we often meet people who are very hollow on the inside. They may look like the real deal from the outside, but inside they are empty and they have a very shallow, deceptive character about them.

Paul wrote to the believers in Rome about what it means to be "solid" through and through.

Romans 12:9-10
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

To follow Christ means more than outwardly looking the part, but it's about an inner character, inspired by God's Spirit, that shows preference, genuine love and honor to others.

Cad…

The Tree - For Me

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Sometimes when you've taken photos at the same location year after year you begin to get lazy with your compositions. It's easy to shoot from the same spot without contemplating alternative perspectives. As I drove down the road past "The Tree" I noticed a view that could only be observed out of the side or rearview mirror. So I pulled over without hesitation and captured it. And I really like it!

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be tough. This is Holy Week as we observe the death and burial of Jesus prior to His resurrection. Don't you think it was WAY out of Jesus' comfort zone to willing and publicly go to "The Tree" for the sins of the world?

Maybe we ought to get a little uncomfortable this year and be willing to humbly, yet boldly acknowledge our faith publicly in the One whose shed blood paid in full the price that freed us from the bondage and curse of sin and death... and whose resurrection provided a path for redemption, …