Adventures can lead to see God’s handiwork

What do you get when you put together a tent, family, sleeping bags, and a free weekend?

A summer adventure!

“Last week, my daughter and her husband came to visit and we decided to take the opportunity to go camping.  We opted to go to Deadwood Reservoir – a reservoir literally in the middle of nowhere in the Boise National Forest accessible only by several forest service roads – an absolutely beautiful place!  IMG_1236 (1024x768)Four of us left to go up Thursday morning to find us a campsite while the rest would leave after they were done with work later that evening.  The evening folk were going to take a more circuitous route to the reservoir while we morning folk decided to take a more direct route – Forest Road 555 – a route we had not taken before, but a route that promised to cut about 60 miles off the trip in.  After driving into the mountains and turning off the main road onto Forest Road 555, all looked fine for about 50-100 yards until we rounded a bend and started up – up on a road that full of gargantuan rocks and deep ruts – a road that was barely wider than Ol’ Nellie – our 2001 Ford conversion van pulling a much older wooden utility trailer full of our tent camping gear.  At that point, we could not turn around (literally!) without risking life and all our gear – so we spoke nicely to Ol’ Nellie and plunged forward praying we did not meet anyone coming the opposite direction.  If you could look past the narrow gutted road and sheer drop-offs, the views were spectacular – gorgeous wilderness beauty with the rugged Sawtooth Mountains in the background! IMG_1252 (768x1024)My son drove wonderfully and after well over 2 hours on FR 555, we finally made the 25 miles or so to Deadwood Reservoir – people run marathons that distance faster than we traveled on that forest service road that day!  But God got us there safely and provided us with a wonderful campsite for the weekend!  Needless to say, after a very blessed weekend with family, we all took the more circuitous route home! IMG_1214 (1024x768)
Forest Road 555, however, reminded me of our life as Christians – it is definitely a road less travelled, full of challenges and trials – and we certainly need to keep focused to stay on the road!  I know I often feel like an old conversion van trying to navigate a life more suited for a 4-wheel drive or all-terrain vehicle!  But God has equipped us with all we need and promises that if we let Him drive, He’ll get us safely to our destination, heaven.  Plus, along the way, God does provide us with wonderful “vistas” – I need to trust His navigation and not miss, but enjoy, the blessings He so wonderfully arranges for me.” (Lori Malnes)

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God’s wonderful creation reminds us of his handiwork and it took an adventure to see it. Sometimes during the adventures of life, we forget to stop along the road and see where we are and where we have come from. By stopping, we see God’s greatest handiwork. Take the time to enjoy the view. You will see beauty in the most unexpected places.

Other posts on Witness Well:

I believe that we have won!

Five inspiring promises to walk in the Light

Are you perfect in Christ?

What is your definition of a Christian?

With a word that contains a variety of connotations, I believe the Bible defines a Christian in one short statement:

One who is already perfect in Christ.

Do you agree?

Jesus set the standard for heaven in Matthew 5:48 when he declared, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

In the context of Matthew 5, Jesus is confronting those who felt comfortable in their own righteousness. They believed that God would judge them favorably based on their commitment and obedience. In a sense, Jesus is asking them, “Really? Are you safe? Because you have not committed adultery, are you not guilty of lust? Because you have not murdered, are you not guilty of anger? My standard is to be perfect, because I am perfect.”

One sin, no matter how small, causes imperfection. Either you are perfect or you are not. The reality is that a person can never become perfect.

Family camping trip at Deadwood Reservoir in Idaho.

Family camping trip at Deadwood Reservoir in Idaho.

No matter your definition of a Christian, if perfection is the standard, how comfortable will you be on judgment day?

Jesus’ whole point on His sermon on the mount is to make a person uncomfortable with their righteousness.

The whole point of Christ’s life and death is to have a person receive comfort in His righteousness.

Saving faith means that a person has met the standard of perfection. By faith alone, a person receives the full benefit of Christ’s completed work on the cross. Christ’s perfect obedience becomes a believer’s perfect obedience. His payment on the cross becomes a believer’s payment. His life becomes a believer’s life.

The status of a Christian believer is perfection despite living in a state of sin. Because of Christ, a believer is perfect.IMG_1232

This contrasts to a Mormon’s definition of perfection.

In a recent blog post I wrote for tilm, org, the focus is on the false belief that a person can become perfect based on their own obedience. Since perfection is unrealistic, the LDS Church redefines Jesus’ command to “be perfect”. In the process of becoming perfect and “practicing” to follow Jesus, they are in a sense, “being perfect.”

The blog post goes on to give three suggestions on how to share the biblical concept of perfection with a Mormon. Click here to read the blog post.
Do you have a holey gospel?

“Not only is that a catchy phrase it also describes a serious condition many believers have. What exactly is “a holey gospel”? It’s when people either don’t see or fail to apply the awesome truth that in a very real way Jesus sacrificed his life twice for us. Every believer knows about Jesus’ dying to pay for their sins. That is the basis for every believer’s hope of being accepted by God. We cling to Jesus’ cross for dear life’s sake. Many fewer believers, however, realize the significance and thus fail to derive comfort from the fact that Jesus not only died for us, but he also lived for us. That’s the hole in many people’s gospel.” (Mark Cares)

To read more from the article “Is your gospel holey?” click here

How the comfort of Christ can overflow in our lives

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)

Faith receives the benefits of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf.

This truth resonates with the heart of every Christian believer. As this reality sinks in the depths of our soul, the fruits of joy, peace, patience, and comfort become a part of our life. We forgive because we are forgiven. We exercise patience because the Lord is so patient with us. We proclaim peace because the King of Peace has announced our pardon. All of these blessings come together and flow into our lives like a swollen river. The force is unstoppable. Lives filled up with the presence of Christ can’t help but to crash into others who don’t know Him yet. It’s God’s force of nature colliding with the world. And he uses Christians as his spirit-filled ambassadors to live and proclaim the message of reconciliation as a result of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf.cool picture

Ahhh…. comfort.

The desire for comfort prompts most people to desire riches. The need for comfort also prompts those seeking inner peace. People envy the rich, but they also envy those who have spiritual comfort and peace.

Christians receive the benefits of Christ’s comfort typically during times of suffering and trial.

The Bible promises that God will comfort us in every difficult circumstance. For every trouble, worry, or anxiety, Christians are encouraged to trust God and take Him at His Word. Difficult circumstances become opportunities to grow in the faith, to experience His comfort, but also to exhibit His comfort to others.

A life in Christ can see trials in life as not burdens, but opportunities to share the message of salvation with others.

I remember receiving the opportunity to grow in my trust in God’s promises when I was laid off from work. With four young children at home and my wife staying home full-time to care for them, it was a scary proposition. Yet, the Lord provided comfort during this time of uncertainty. Our next-door neighbors, Bob and Jan, took notice of how our family was responding during this trial. As a result, they began investigate Christian churches in the area without our knowledge. Eventually, they received the gospel and trusted in Christ. By faith, they received and experienced the same comfort and peace.picture three

Faith receives the benefits of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf. It is during these opportunities, we can remember five key blessings and benefits:

#1        Difficult circumstances in life can keep us closer to God.
#2        Troubles in life grant opportunities to experience God’s presence.
#3        Difficult circumstances in life invites opportunities to share His Word with others.
#4        Troubles in life builds endurance to overcome anything (2 Cor. 1:6)
#5        Difficult circumstances forces us to rely on God, not on ourselves (2 Cor. 1:9)