A Walk Through Isaiah

Standard

It is difficult for me to pick a favorite book of the Bible, but Isaiah in the Old Testament is a top contender. Digging deeper past God’s judgment of sin, we find promises fulfilled only in Jesus, assurance of God’s comfort, and anticipation of heaven’s glory revealed.

The beautiful diversity of Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest (of West Virginia) reminded me of a walk through Isaiah to discover earth-shattering truths that change hearts and lives to follow the LORD.

 

Isaiah 2:5

Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Red Creek Trail

Red Creek Trail

 

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Beaver View Trail

Beaver View Trail

 

Isaiah 40:4-5

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Raven Ridge Trail

Raven Ridge Trail

 

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Raven Ridge Trail

Raven Ridge Trail

 

Isaiah 44:22

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Beaver View Trail

Beaver View Trail

 

Isaiah 49:10

They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.

Red Creek

Red Creek

Are You Sharing The Good News?

Standard

IMG_2794 Roseate Spoonbill

It was the last hike of the day. The trail was easy with a panoramic view of the Everglades marshy landscape. We were not alone. Couples walked hand in hand. Photographers carried their paraphernalia with anticipation. We were almost back to the parking lot when someone caught our attention and shared the good news: a flock of roseate spoonbills. The excitement was palpable. Strangers gathered together in hushed awe. Cameras, fingers and eyes pointed to the beautiful sight. The experience was too good to keep to ourselves. We in turn told the hikers behind us. Later, I learned that the sighting was rare and truly a memorable gift to take home with us.

As Christians, are we sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? There are many people on this path called life. People are longing for good news and anxious for a view of lasting beauty. As Christians, we know who to look to and where to direct our steps: Jesus Christ. Can others sense the excitement of Jesus’s place in our lives? Do we keep faith to ourselves with whispers of wonder? Or do we seek out those, including strangers that we can share Jesus with? Through proclaiming faith, we experience the best memories of the journey. Let’s share the gift of Jesus that will take us to our eternal home.

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful in the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

 

Ephesians 1:18

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

 

God’s Kaleidoscope of Beauty: Part 2 in Pictures

Standard

Sometimes fewer words are better… I wanted to share the pictures from our fall trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that testify to God’s kaleidoscope of beauty.

Presque Isle in the Porcupine Mountains

Presque Isle in the Porcupine Mountains

Lake Superior Sunset

Lake Superior Sunset

Bare Bluff

Bare Bluff

Looking down from Bare Bluff

Looking down from Bare Bluff

Lake Superior Shoreline

Lake Superior Shoreline

Hiking on a Carpet of Fall Leaves

Hiking on a Carpet of Fall Leaves

Tumbled Rocks along Lake Superior's Edge

Tumbled Rocks along Lake Superior’s Edge

IMG_2357

Standing Guard in the Middle of the Trail

IMG_2368

Shades of Green in the Fall

 

Fall Frames Cut River Bridge

Fall Frames Cut River Bridge

IMG_2211

We are part of God’s Wonderful Creation!

God intends for us to be a part of His kaleidoscope of beauty. Picture yourself in the midst of God’s glory for that is where He already sees you!

 

Deuteronomy 32:10-11

In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. 

 

 

God’s Kaleidoscope of Beauty: Part I in Words

Standard
Fall in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: View from Bare Bluff

Fall in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: View from Bare Bluff

I knew it would be challenging. We were warned by those who had walked the same path. My mindset was a slow and steady pace. On the narrowest sections, I hunched down to lower my center of gravity. I had to stuff that fear of heights as we hiked around the face of the cliff. But oh the view, we were told.

We had two choices on this trail: the easy way or the hard way. We chose the harder way for the challenge. For the sense of accomplishment that we can still do this smack dab in the middle of our middle age. And for the practical reason to put the hard part behind us while our legs were still fresh.

To endure the trial of the trail and pop out on the bluff face was relief, followed by instant awe. My eyes couldn’t take it all in. I stood in place to simply absorb the view. Brilliant fall colors dotted the hillside. The immense blue of Lake Superior framed the view to the east.

For that moment in time, I believed it was the most beautiful place in the world. Other hikers came and went, but we didn’t want to leave. We lingered, for where could we find a better view and a more perfect day of sunshine to enjoy God’s gifts for his beloved?

God’s creation is God’s kaleidoscope of beauty: constantly changing, constantly inspiring and constantly calling us to discover the next glimpse of God’s glory. It will be on a different day at a different time in a different place with a different view. But it will still prompt me to pause and thank God all over again for his kaleidoscope of beauty in my life.

 

Psalm 98:7-8

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;

 

2 Corinthians 3:10-11

For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

 

 

I Hope There are Blueberries in Heaven!

Standard

 

Picking a Blueberry Patch in the Mountains of West Virginia

Picking a Blueberry Patch in the Mountains of West Virginia (Berries with a Beautiful View!)

I have always looked forward to picking wild blueberries in the mountains of West Virginia. I first got hooked years ago when my boyfriend-turned-fiancé and now husband of 26 years took me to meet his grandmother, “Grams.”

The evening walk with Grams and Grams’ dear friend Barb included blueberry picking and girl talk. When Gram’s arthritis kept her from long walks and stooping over to pick berries, it was just Barb and I. And now and then, my two boys would join us. After Gram’s death, we spent our West Virginia vacations with Barb and I kept picking berries.

In good years, I gathered enough berries to make a batch of jam. One year, we celebrated my youngest son’s birthday with a blueberry pie. The family favorite was always Grams’ recipe for pancakes with blueberries thrown in. I thought we would pick blueberries forever. For Barb was my scout to find the berry patches and to let us know when to plan our yearly visit in order to fill my freezer with berries. But Barb died suddenly and I lost my best blueberry-picking buddy ever.

A couple years passed and the desire to pick berries lingered and grew. This year while on vacation, I was determined to find blueberries and to start a new tradition of berry-picking with my daughter-in-law. It didn’t happen. Wrong time of the summer. Wrong place.

On the next to last day of vacation after the kids left, my consolation was a hike in Dolly Sods with a beautiful view of Canaan Valley. And a surprise. Ripe blueberries along the trail. A trail I was not familiar with. A trail that I have never ventured on before. My heart swelled with joy at the sight. Enough berries to eat out of hand. Enough berries to take home and make Grams’ blueberry pancakes.

I smiled at my taste of blueberry heaven. Then my eyes welled up. It wasn’t just about that blueberry goodness. I missed Grams. I missed Barb. I missed the time that has gone by so fast. It was about the good memories. It was about the connection with those I loved and lost. It was all about the feeling that blueberry-picking evokes in me: love and longing. I hope there are blueberries in heaven for my berry-picking buddies are waiting for me.

 

Ezekiel 47:12

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

 

Revelation 22:1-2

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.