I went hiking yesterday along a section of the Appalachian Trail that led to my favorite waterfall in Tennessee, Laurel Falls.
It was a perfect day to soak up beauty and wonder, from wildflowers—
to sheer rock faces—
From a gently bubbling stream—
to water thundering over a 55 foot precipice—
I hiked along, rejoicing in it all, and thanking God for the glory He displayed in its creation.
But in the midst of that beauty, I was actually admiring and enjoying something even more, something that really blew me away:
My three not-so-kids anymore kids (along with two more friends). As I saw them climbing over ledges and up and down hills, laughing, talking, singing, I thought that even though God reveals Himself through the beauty and majesty of nature, He reveals Himself even more through His children. Isaiah 43:6-7 says,
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
They possess a glory far above even the fairest flower or most majestic waterfall, for each one has been created in the very image of God. God has made each one of them, each one a unique, precious, fantastic creation, for His glory and my joy.
For all my pics from the hike, click here.
Thursday our family went on a little hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Perfect spring day to listen & look at the cool mountain stream, the cascades and waterfalls along the way. We went up to Arch Rock and back, about three miles. All the pictures that I took are here.
There’s a quiet joy during the moments when you realize that your kids are growing up. My youngest led out during most of the hike and didn’t even get winded. I remember the hikes when he was in a backpack carrier— and now he’s leading. Although the Apostle John was using the word “children” metaphorically, my mind thought of 3 John 1:4—
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
There is a joy to see my children walking in truth, walking with God. There’s a joy when we see all our loved ones and friends walking with God. Michael Card wrote of this in an old song that I treasure:
There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
May you have joy in your journey as you walk with God today.
This peaceful spot is in Bartholdi Park, one of two parks that are within sight of the United States Capital. More pictures can be found here.
This verse was inscribed on a rock face near Natural Bridge, VA where we stopped on our way to a family vacation this week at Washington DC and Williamsburg. More photos of Natural Bridge can be found by clicking here
No, this isn’t a cheap shot at making taking a hike spiritual, this was actually the name of the trail that my son Andrew and I hiked today— 4 miles of rugged East Tennessee goodness! Come to think of it, maybe you feel the devil is on your backbone by the time you finish hiking it up and down the ridges with a loaded pack.
To see all the pics taken on my iPhone click here.
Took a five mile hike yesterday to Laurel Falls, a spectacular 50 foot plunge nestled deep in a Tennessee mountain gorge. Besides geting out in a beautiful place, I was anxious to try out my new camera. All of my pics can be found here. While I was hiking, I also used my new camera to listen to a John Piper sermon, check some stock quotes, see the weather report, look at a satellite map of my location, surf the web, read some Bible verses, and, oh yea, talk to a friend. What the heck kind of camera can do all that? Well, this kind can.
There are multiple stories in the Bible where someone got a little refresher course in God’s power by an encounter with the force of water (Exodus 14; Psalm 107:23-32; Jonah 1; Matthew 8:23-27; Acts 27). I thought about those stories when I stood a few feet from Abram’s Falls in Smoky Mountains National Park. You see, hear, & feel the force of the water, force that has been blasting for thousands of years by God’s design, to be a reflection of His power. It does one’s soul some good to just spend some time listening to God’s creation testify to its Creator(Psalm 19). For a few more pics of the waterfall and the trail to it just click here.
Vacationing in the Smoky Mountains and visiting the Rockefeller Memorial at Newfound Gap, my oldest son said, “Look, is that a trail?” And behind the stone monument there was a unmarked trail tracking up the ridge. So the four of us went traipsing up this trail for a few minutes. And what was fun was thinking, “Has anyone been up here in a week? a month?” And knowing we were less than a hundred feet from the Appalachian Trail with its hundreds of hikers, and this was actually a more interesting hike than the Newfound Gap section of the AT. Pretty cool. That’s one thing I want to teach my kids, that God often wants us to take the trail less traveled, the narrow road vs. the wide way, as we journey along in life. For some more pics click here.
Ok, so you might not have recognized the lyrics in the title above, but the sentiment is still there, especially since we finally got our first decent snowfall last night. Enjoy the rest of the pictures from around my house this morning here.
I admire bonsai. Their beauty, shaped over many years, is the result of patience, wisdom, nurturing, and pruning. At first, they look fairly ordinary as seedlings, but gradually they become a work of art. Their glory does not reflect upon themselves, but upon the wise master gardener who has carefully seen his vision come into reality.
This bonsai at The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum was started in 1626. Its beauty has been four centuries in the making.
Is this not the way of God with us? As a wise master gardener, as described in John 15, God nurtures and prunes us. For what purpose? That the art of our life may reflect His glory.
For all of my pictures from The National Bonsai Museum click here.