Wednesday, February 17, 2010

View from the Mountains

Here are a few pictures from our recent trip to Gatlinburg. We weren't able to actually drive up into the mountains because of the ice and snow. However, we were able to get a few pictures at the top of the Sky Lift and on the bypass from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge. Enjoy!

This was the view from our balcony. The sounds of the river were like a lullaby.

Above are just a few different views of the mountains.

Finally, just a few odds and ends of some of the beautiful sights we experienced.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Look busy???

We traveled over the weekend to Gatlinburg with my parents. It was a wonderful weekend! Gatlinburg is one of my favorite places. It just happened to have snowed there so it was especially nice this weekend! You know how I love the snow. :)

On the way to Gatlinburg, we passed through some beautiful little Kentucky towns. One of the things I love to see on these trips are the little country churches. Well, as we are passing through one of these small towns, I see one of these churches and the sign catches my eye.

That saying on that sign so disturbed me that I thought about it often while on the trip. It so bothered me that on the way back through, I told Doug I needed a picture because I had to write about some of the things I felt about it. Plus, I'd love to hear what some of you think. This one little saying sparked much conversation in the car between the four of us. Then, when we got home, our family (Doug, Brooke, Blake, Cody, Dale, and I) talked about it and how it applies to us, our church, our family, our community, and so on.

My first thought was, "How sad!" I can't imagine living life and NOT believing in a sovereign God...a God that KNOWS everything...a God that knows what I'm doing and when I'm doing it. I instantly had a picture of my students at school who think I can't hear them when I step into the hallway to speak to a student or parent. When they think I'm coming back into the room, I hear them say, "She's coming. Shhhh...get to work!" This sign has the same sense of "We better look and act like we're doing something so we don't get caught not working." I am saddened to think that people who claim to be Christians really believe that God does not know what they are NOT doing or what they ARE doing?

Another thought was that there are many people or churches that look busy, and actually are 'busy' when you take a look at all the activities on their schedules. But what is that busy-ness leading to? Is it something that brings Glory to God? Is it something that is helping to fulfill the Great Commission? Or is it something that simply makes them feel or look busy?

My prayer is that the message on the sign is just a matter of mixed up words. After all, it is true that faith without works is dead, according to James 2:17. However, I also pray that God will open eyes and hearts to His sovereignty.

18To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!

Have a blessed, snowy day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Be Still...

It seems that at least every other post from me is about snow. Can you tell that I LOVE snow. There is something so peaceful about a snowy day. I love to watch out the front door and just enjoy the serenity of the snowflakes floating down to the white blanket. My family loves to tease me (but for me it is NO joke!) because I do not allow anyone to walk in the front yard when it snows. I don't want the beauty of the perfectly made bed of snow messed up. They can play in the side yards or up on the hill in the back of the house, but stay out of my front yard! For some reason, Major, our big baby of a dog, can't seem to grasp this concept just yet.

The snow seems to bring with it a mood of self-reflection for me. Maybe, it is because I have extended amounts of quiet time in the mornings when we have a snow-day. The kids sleep late. I can enjoy a cup of coffee and take a much longer time for my Bible study and prayer time than on a 'normal' morning. Whatever the reason, I am so thankful that God gives me this time and speaks to me through His Word and the quiet moments of the morning.

This morning, I started a study of Esther. (Our women's Bible Study groups at church are using Charles Swindoll's guide.) My particular group has decided to also do a daily study so that we can touch base daily and be in the Word daily. Then, to go along with this, I'm using the New Inductive Study Series to help me look at Esther more in depth.

This morning's study for me was an overview or survey of the book and reflecting on how life can sometimes be disappointing in that it doesn't always turn out the way WE planned. Still, through every circumstance and disappointment we should seek the Lord. It could be that He will bring us out of the situation completely. Or maybe there is a reason He has us in the difficult situation that is part of a bigger plan for our lives. What I often struggle with is the seeking Him. How? When? Where?

Well, back to the, it doesn't have to snow to seek Him. However, the snow is a reminder of how to seek the Lord.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV) says, "Be still, and know that I am God." To know God and to be able to hear Him we have to listen. To listen, we have to be quiet or STILL. If you walk outside when it is snowing, especially in the morning before others are out and about, it is so peaceful. It is an awesome reminder to just BE STILL! The New American Standard Version says, "Cease striving...." Other translations and paraphrases use words such as "Pay attention, relax, calm down, or desist" to tell us to BE STILL AND LISTEN. We get so busy that we either just get ourselves worked into a tizzy about our circumstances or we just seek the advice of everyone around us when we face problems or we seek the advice from the latest 'self-help' book, but we so often forget to seek the Lord, to search in THE BOOK and be still and listen for His advice and guidance.

My prayer for myself and for anyone reading this today is that we would all BE STILL, CALM DOWN, CEASE STRIVING and realize that GOD IS GOD. He is in control of every circumstance and situation we find ourselves in today. Listen for what He has to say to us.

Lots of love,