We have just returned from a trip that covered over 6,000 miles, through lands that were densely populated and through lands where there was no person or building for hundreds of miles at a time. We experienced mountains followed by corn fields which were followed by huge ranch areas which had brush, cacti and very few trees. We were in the desert and going through Monarch Pass which registers over 11,000 feet above sea level. It was an incredible feeling to be standing at the Continental Divide, ears popping all the while!
The variety of the landscape is impossible to describe as we traversed from Tennessee to South Dakota, then to Wyoming, on to Idaho, then to Utah, and Colorado, Kansas and Missouri, ultimately returning to home in East Tennessee.
The trip and the thousands of digital pictures will be subject of many future blog posts, I suspect. Suffice it to say today that our overwhelming experience was encountering our marvelous God everywhere we looked. Saint John wrote in the Book of Revelation:
“”Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.””
This is the song that the twenty-four elders sing to our God, and we echoed that song in our hearts as we saw dramatic scenery that revealed His creative power like we have seldom seen. Some examples are the Red Canyon outside Richfield, Utah.
In Indiana we saw the Wabash and Mississinewa Rivers and spent time finding and admiring the Seven Pillars on the river.
And in Wyoming we saw the Grand Tetons looming over the highway, glorious with their snow covered peaks even in the heat of July.
And in Yellowstone, the geyser basins were the source of incredible beauty. The orange surrounding the cobalt blue boiling water is bacteria which thrives in this environment. Watch where you walk, though … the water in these “ponds” is way hotter than the boiling point of water and the ground is very thin. Boardwalks are the only safe way to experience these vents in the earth’s crust.
As spectacular as all this is, God was not only seen in the grand and glorious scenery splayed out before us. His providential Hand was experienced first-hand when we were filling the gas tank in the RV in a very small Utah town. A long-distance truck driver who had been following us for some distance came up to us and said one of the rear coach tires was very low, recommending that we add air as soon as possible.
We thanked him for his kindness and, when the tank was full, we went to the back of the station where there was a three-bay mechanic’s shop. The owner came out and looked at the tires, noting that the tread on one was split and four of them were long past their replacement date. (This clearly was something the mechanic in Tennessee should have told us about, but that’s a different story.)
Needless to say, we replaced four of the six tires on the RV and we were on our way, praising our Lord that He was watching out for us, even when we didn’t know we were in danger.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
We have always known God cares for us and is guiding us with His Hand. But when you can see His Hand working on your behalf, it is overwhelming. The God who created all this beauty cares about us so much that His immutable love is watching each moment, so that His purpose will be fulfilled in our world and in each of our lives.
Keep your eyes open and see His Hand before you. Read His Word and let His Spirit speak to your heart and mind. Bask in the love that our Lord Jesus has for you … He gave His life as a ransom for you. Praise Him all the day long.
Father, I thank You for the marvelous creation of Your Son. I thank You that You sustain all things with the power of Your Word, and yet You even know the details of my life as it unfolds before me. Forgive me when I forget the power of Your Word and when I act as though I am in control. Take my life, Lord, and make it what You want it to be and may the words of Scripture bring forth fruit for Your Kingdom.
After publishing the post HORSE, WAR AND PROVIDENCE, I received a comment from a dear friend at church that prompted the need for additional thoughts about the post.
First. In biblical times, what the king rode announced his intentions. If he came on a donkey, he was coming in peace. In the book of Zechariah we read this prophesy:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Zechariah 9:9 ESV
We know what Jesus rode into Jerusalem during His incarnation. At the beginning of the week we call The Passion Week, Jesus was going into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and knowing that He was going to be charged, convicted and executed for crimes that you and I have done, not for any wrongdoing that He, in His perfect obedience to God, had committed. But, before the crowds hollered “Crucify Him” they screamed “Hosanna to the Son of David”, as He rode into the city on a donkey.
“They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.””
Matthew 21:7-11 ESV
The King of Kings was riding a donkey and this had been foretold by Zechariah long before Jesus was born.
Second. If the king came on a horse, he was coming for war. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the Apostle John had a vision of the end times and in that vision he describes what Jesus will be riding the next time He comes to earth as the triumphant King of King and Lord of Lords.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Revelation 19:11-16 ESV
This has not yet happened, but the Bible says it will, and that which God has ordained will, indeed, come to pass.
“I am the LORD. I have spoken;it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord GOD.”
Ezekiel 24:14 ESV
We must never ignore or forget that God is totally sovereign over all that occurs in His world. As Ezekiel says, whatever God says He will do, it will happen. When He speaks, He does not lie neither does He forget; nothing gets in the way of what He has planned. He is not powerless when confronted by those whom we consider powerful.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.“
Proverbs 21:1 ESV
Beloved, if you have received the Lord Jesus Christ and have believed on Him alone for your salvation, these words should be of comfort to you. Even though things look dismal, even when many are against you and they have surrounded you with malice, hateful words, threatening actions … you are God’s and nothing will wipe you out of His hand.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 KJV
Are you persuaded? Jesus came the first time as a baby, who as an adult rode a donkey when he came into Jerusalem for the last time. The next time He visits our world He will be riding on a white horse, coming not as a helpless baby but as the living ruling King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Praise His Holy Name!
Father, I thank You that You provided a way for us to come before You through the sacrificial atoning death of Jesus Christ, your Son. Thank You Lord Jesus for being obedient, even to the point of the cross, and thank You for welcoming those who You have called into Your family. Thank You Holy Spirit for convicting us of our sin and for guaranteeing our salvation through faith in Christ alone. And thank You Holy Spirit for indwelling us and for enabling us to become transformed into the image of our Lord. We praise Your Name, Triune God, for You are worthy to be praised.
In recognition of the 2 year anniversary of The Ruminant Scribe, I am reposting the first blog post dated April 15, 2015: VACATIONS AND DIVINE APPOINTMENTS posted April 15, 2015
Sometimes we plan one thing only to find that God’s plan is a bit different than what we had intended. That was our experience when we, and another couple from church, flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an Alaskan train tour!
Day one of the tour was a train trip to Healy, Alaska where, the next day, we would board a bus for a 13-hour tour of the Denali National Park.
This is a view of Mt. McKinley [now known as Mt. Denali] from the train on the way to the national park. God’s handiwork was on display with mountains, streams, lakes, and wild animals that were everywhere to be seen. At lunch, we visited with a family traveling on a mission trip to an Eskimo village. We talked about our faith, churches, missions, and our tour day transformed into a personal time of worship and praise as we thanked the Lord for His goodness and power.
Then it happened – as we were preparing to get back on the bus for the return trip along the 92.5 mile road to exit the park (there is only 1 road in/out) – I fell down three steps onto a wooden deck. Not a long way, but it was far enough to severely break my left ankle. This ended our participation in the tour and it marked the beginning of a marvelous adventure with the Lord and an outpouring of love from Christians we did not know and who, even now, we cannot identify.
Fellow-travelers came up to me as I sat with ice bags on my ankle, and they simply touched my shoulder and said “we’re praying for you”. The mission family repeatedly said they were praying during the balance of the trip. One man who saw me fall said he was praying for healing and for my back and head, due to the severity of the fall.
The park ranger/EMT arrived and tended to my ankle, getting me into the first of three ambulances I would ride to the Park exit. He was a tender, caring young man, notwithstanding his bulletproof vest and sidearm (the ranger also is the law enforcement officer in the park). We spoke of God’s intervention and protection as it appeared that my back and head were not injured.
Over 5 hours after I fell, we exited the Park only to find that the clinic in Healy had a doctor but no x-ray available for treatment so clinic personnel called for a taxi to take us to the hospital in Anchorage (it was either that or Fairbanks as the closest x-ray facilities), and the office assistant promised to pray for healing.
The taxi driver was a wonderful Christian lady who had moved from San Antonio to Anchorage with her mother and sibling when she was very young. We had an incredible time speaking of the Lord’s hand in her life and in ours. We said we would pray for her children and grandchildren and she said she would pray for healing and successful treatment of my ankle. The 6-hour trip through the night was transformed from a mere taxi ride to a time of praise for our Sovereign God.
We reached the Emergency Room at Anchorage Regional Hospital 12 hours after my fall. The ER was empty and we were met at the door by a nurse with a wheel chair. They expertly treated my ankle, contacted a trauma orthopedic surgeon and made a doctor’s appointment for Thursday with surgery the following day. There, too, various persons gave encouragement and promised to pray for us during our time in Alaska. The flight home was scheduled for Sunday.
For various reasons we needed much more than merely medical assistance. For example, we had hotel reservations for that evening in Anchorage, but since we were on a train tour, we had reservations at different hotels at the various stops along the tour. It was obvious that our tour was over. Thus, we had no hotel room for the rest of the week before our flight home, and no rooms could be found in the Anchorage hotels since we were there at the height of tourist season. But God was in control.
The nursing supervisor saw us sitting in the hallway and asked if she could help us. She was able to arrange for us to stay at the Alaska House, the 7th floor of the hospital which was available for families of patients who could not get home due to the long distances involved in getting medical care in Alaska. (Remember, 6 hours away from the national park!) When we checked into the Alaska House on August 6, we found out that the program was being eliminated on August 30. God was in control, even over the contractor’s schedule so that the room was available when we needed it!
Multiple people we met offered assistance and said they would pray – the family on a mission trip, a minister friend of our son-in-law’s brother who lived in Anchorage, a young server at a neighborhood restaurant who gave my name to her mother’s prayer circle and then asked permission to do so, the counter clerk at the Subway in the hospital cafeteria, to name just a few. In short, what started out as a simple vacation turned into a series of “Divine Appointments.”
On Saturday, before our Sunday flight, we drove along the Seward Highway in an attempt to salvage some sightseeing during our visit to the state. The sky was overcast and there had been rain along the way. As we rounded a curve, we saw a beautiful landscape rainbow. The clouds were above the rainbow and the ground was beneath: it appeared to be hovering over the ground. Bill stopped the car and grabbed the camera, as we looked out the window in awe at the beautiful display of God’s handiwork. He took the picture and it appeared that the rainbow was around the next curve as well. We drove to that spot but it was not visible; when we returned to the place of this picture, it was gone.
When I saw the rainbow, my spirit soared. It was as if God had sent that bow in the sky to remind me that there is no place that escapes His presence and to also remind me that He was present in my accident, pain and confusion. Further, He was providing an illustration through His creation of His protection for me. Yes, I had fallen and broken my ankle; that is the rain cloud. But, He was between me and the cloud – His protection was covering me so that I did not receive significant back or head injuries. It was yet again further confirmation that He is in control and I am in His care, no matter how the circumstances may appear.
In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus said: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” David says: “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” In Psalms 139:4. If you want to know whether God cares about you, just ruminate on these statements from Scripture! (Even I don’t know every word before it is on my tongue! Oh for the times that I have spoken without thinking of the words I was saying …, but I digress!)
When the rainbow disappeared, it was a reminder that God’s presence is always with us, even though it is not always obvious to us at the time. The rainbow did not need to be stationary for a long time to accomplish God’s purpose – it just needed to be visible when we rounded the corner.
Often we tend to look at our situation in our microcosm of life and our focus is limited to that which we see here and now. We work and are active in our assigned tasks but we do not see what God is doing elsewhere. Praise the Lord – He is alive and well and His church can be found all over the place, even in the “wilds” of Alaska. Praise the Lord that we had our eyes open to see His visible promise of protection. If we had been drowning in self-pity, we would have missed His beautiful presence. He knows where we are and what we are doing, and He will send His messengers to give comfort and reassurance to us, even if that comes in the form of a rainbow.
What my husband and I saw of Alaska was beautiful; but what we experienced through God’s Divine Appointments was enriching beyond measure. Praise the Lord!
I pray that no matter what you are going through at this moment, you will be encouraged by the knowledge that He will be your strength through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Open your eyes, you might just see a rainbow sheltering you from the storm clouds of life!
Father, two years after this was originally written, this is still my prayer. Thank You for loving us and for sending Your Son so He could prepare the way for us to live with You eternally, through faith in Him alone.
When vacation time comes, we plan where we are going, what we will do, where we stay and when we will leave. We don’t plan on having any problems.
We took an RV trip this summer and we prepared for months. We had the vehicle checked out by a mechanic who gave it a clean bill of health. We filled the enormous tank with gas, to the happy dance of the gas station attendant. We charged the GPS and had our campground confirmations stowed in the vehicle. We purchased food so that the kitchen of the RV was well stocked, the refrigerator and freezer budging, and the counters laden with bread, chips, donuts, etc. And we arranged to take two of our grandchildren with us while the other family members would join us a few days later.
In short, it was our firm intent to have fun because we had planned and we thought we were ready for anything. … God must have smiled at our childish ignorant arrogance!
On the day of our departure, it was raining rather heavily but we were going merrily on our way down the interstate, towing the Jeep behind us, heading for Myrtle Beach. We had stopped at a rest area in North Carolina for a break from driving and a time to walk outside and stretch.
When we began to leave the rest area, my Husband stepped on the brake: no great emergency, he just wanted to slow down a bit before getting onto the highway merge ramp. The brake pedal went clear to the floor without breaking a sweat and, more to the point, without stopping the vehicle, but we weren’t going fast so there was no danger. We came to a rolling stop and he pumped the brakes a bit thinking that, perhaps, they had gotten wet from the rain.
Then we slowly started off again, and while there was some stopping power, it was painfully obvious that we had a serious problem.
We limped up to the next exit ramp, which “happened” to have a Cracker Barrel with elongated RV parking spaces. We pulled in, and came to a stop at the same time I got in contact with a 24-hour repair company I found on the ole’ Internet. The man said that he would come to assist us as soon as he finished up the job he was currently handling. So we waited for the expert who was going to identify and then, hopefully, solve the problem so that we could continue on to the campground 140 miles further down the road.
After couple of hours, he came in his truck with all sorts of equipment. The jacks raised the front of the vehicle and, after looking under the RV in the very steady rain, the serviceman climbed out holding the brake line that was in two separate and distinct pieces, a situation that clearly was not good. In short, the brake fluid could not get to the brakes if the brake line was in two pieces! His telling comment was “It is clear that ‘the Man upstairs’ was taking care of you.”
We agreed with this comment, and further noted that the Lord had certainly been gracious in preventing what could have been an incredibly horrific accident, given the propane gas and gasoline that had just been put in the vehicle’s tanks.
The serviceman exerted heroic efforts on our behalf. He identified the problem, drove over 75 miles after calling three different places trying to find a hydraulic line that was long enough to install in the RV. The third place he called had a line that was the right length and the store attendant agreed to stay late that Saturday night to accommodate his after-hours arrival. Back in the parking lot, he worked until almost midnight to insure that the braking system was completely repaired and working properly.
After sleeping in Cracker Barrel’s parking lot, we got back onto the Interstate and a couple of miles down the road, long before there was any other exit, a sign informed us that there was a 7% downhill grade. We were heading into the Green River Gorge, where the highway twisted and curved through beautiful, rugged mountains.
Going down that long grade without working brakes would have been … bad, really, really bad. After reading that sign and after shaking off the chills that ran down my spine thinking of the possibilities of riding that road without working brakes, I looked at my husband and said “Isn’t that just like God … perfect in His timing and provision! Fixing a problem before we knew we really needed it!”
I should not have been surprised. Scripture tells us that God will do this.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
In our worldview, none of this was luck. We believe that our God knew what was going to happen and He protected us from the injury that surely would have come from driving down the steep highway without brakes in a motor home.
Our faith in God, however, is not a good luck charm nor is it a ticket to a Walmart in the sky! God is not an indulgent grandparent that allows misbehavior because it is cute. Indeed, we know that God does not always prevent injury, illness or even death to His own people. He has His plans and purposes above our limited understanding. The biblical book of Job is an outstanding example of this.
What we do know and believe is that He will supply that which we need most … eternal salvation through our belief in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. THAT is what is needful. All the rest is temporary and fleeting.
The Providence of God surpasses any planning that I could do or even conceive of … He is the Author and Creator of all. Praise His name for His goodness to His children. Not just in helping with a broken brake line, but in providing His Son for our salvation, for granting us eternal life, for making us His children for all eternity.
“to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Thank God for His wisdom and providence as you listen to a song from Truth Sings the Word, as they present Philippians 4:19 in a song entitled “My God Shall Supply”.
Father, I cannot begin to comprehend your omnipotence and omnipresence. I believe these truths, but I cannot comprehend them. I know You are with me each moment of the day and that nothing happens to me that is outside your plan, but when You present yourself in such a visible, incredible way, in such a minute activity for an all-powerful God, I am humbled and once again come to you, crying Abba Father. I love You, I am in awe of You, and I praise your holy name.