Devotional: Beautiful Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

IMG_2033I’m at Boy Scout Summer Camp this week. We’re camping outside in tents, hiking short distances to the dining hall (which is not air conditioned), and learning many different skills while going without technology. Well, the boys are, I am sitting in the air conditioned Scoutmaster’s Lodge with air condition and wifi.

This week isn’t about me. It’s about the boys. Hopefully, they will come from this camp having learned something new that they will be able to use their whole life. Something that will make them better men, better husbands, and better fathers. Me, I get to sit back and try to guide them on the journey.

Today, I tried to get them to tell me one thing they liked so far. They’re teens, so there wasn’t much of a response. It was more of a mom question than a Scoutmaster question. I can’t hope for too much.

I can say that there are several things I like so far, but I won’t tell you all of them. I will tell you about one. We came a day early because we drove a long distance; almost 7 hours. Once we set up camp, we had to go to the closest town to eat dinner. On the way there, we came around a curve and saw something so beautiful there was an audible gasp from almost everyone. We had to pull over and take pictures.

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I am reminded that God created this. In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that God created the land on the third day. It says, “Then God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1:9 HCSB) God didn’t stop there. He continued by adding plants fruit trees. He says that it was good.

One look at the picture my son took for me and you can’t help agreeing with God. The beauty of the Earth is good. More than good. It’s beautiful.

 

Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful creation we live in. Help us to take care of it so it can be appreciated for generations to come.

Why Have Struggles

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FreeImages.com/Alberto Camin

He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” (Genesis 15:5 HCSB)

“Let it go.”

“What will be will be.”

“It will all work out in the end.”

Have you ever had anyone say these things to you? Do you say this to others? I have to answer yes to both questions.

I know these phrases are meant to be helpful and they are. But, I’m going to be honest and admit that a small part of me find it aggravating. So, I have to ask myself “Why?” The answer; because that small part of me doesn’t want to “Let it go.” I’m afraid what will be isn’t what I want it to be, and it works out all wrong.

Really, those phrases sound like we are leaving it all up to chance. Or, that it all depend on destiny. As a Christian, I don’t believe in chance, luck, or destiny. I believe God has a perfect plan for me but gives me the choice to choice the plan as He has written or to make my own. The problem with me is this; I am not perfect and my plan isn’t going to be as good as His.

So, when I let worry in and I don’t want to “Let it go,” what am I really telling God? The answer: I don’t trust You to work it out and I am impatient for Your promises.

But, why is life such a struggle sometimes?

In Genesis 15, God promised Abram (later renamed Abraham) that he would have offspring as numerous as the stars. Abram and his wife, Sarai, (later renamed Sarah) didn’t have any children at the time. Abram questioned God, but He promised that his descendants would one day own the land from “the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.”

What is interesting is that God tells Abram that he will have more descendants than he can count, but they will spend 400 years in slavery. He was given a promise and was told the struggle that would occur before the promise would be fulfilled.

All he had to focus on was the promise. Yet, he and his wife had to wait for the promise despite not having any kids. Sometimes the waiting is the struggle.

Sarai got impatient. She had a slave named Hagar. She talked Abram in taking her slave as a wife so she could have a family through her slave. Abram did. When Hagar discovered she was pregnant she was disrespectful to Sarai. In turn, Sarai complained to her husband and said, “You are responsible for my suffering!” (Genesis 16:5 HCSB) I find that so hilarious. She was the one who talked him into it but now blamed him.

In the end, Sarai had her son when she was about 90 years old and Abram was 100. It’s hard when we want things to happen now, but sometimes for the promises to be fulfilled, we have to experience the struggles. The struggles make us grow up. We learn from them and become wiser. I’m not sure if Sarai learned anything from the experience but I have. I learned that I need to wait on the Lord and to never doubt. His promises always happen.

Lord, help me to be patient. To work at doing your will and trust that it will work out the way you want. Thank you for the best plan for my life.

Devotional: First Fruits

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalms 121:2 HCSB)

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Kettle corn #strawberryfestival #boyscouts

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This past weekend was phenomenal, but it wore me out. It was my town’s annual festival. It’s a big deal around here. There is family night Friday, a parade Saturday morning, and a race early Sunday morning.

The Boy Scout troop my son is in has a booth. They sell bread and make kettle popcorn. All boys in the troop and parents are needed to make the event successful. The more the boys work the more percentage they will get towards summer camp. And, it’s good for them. It helps them to develop a good work ethic that will carry over to when they are old enough to get a job. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. They also pass out water during the race Sunday morning. The troop is given a little bit of money for helping and we usually put it towards gas for the vehicles going to camp.

Preparations for the festival start a month ahead of time; buying ingredients and supplies, cooking bread, plus cleaning and organizing the trailer so there is room for everything to bring to the booth site. Then, on the Thursday before opening Friday we park the trailer at the site and set up. Many of us are there almost all day Saturday cooking kettle cooked popcorn. Sunday morning, we are up bright and early to help with the race.

The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the local harvest and to give local organizations and groups a chance to raise money. The weather was sunny and the temperature just right which made it perfect for people to come out and enjoy the festivities. It was the perfect time to reflect on God and his provisions.

In Exodus 23:14-19, God told the Israelites to celebrate three festivals to him; the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest (also known as the festival of Weeks), and the Festival of Ingathering (also known as the Festival of Booths).

God used these festivals to help remind the Israel where their help came from and that he is the one who provided for their every need. Some scholars believe that these festivals foreshadowed God’s plan for Jesus Christ. Whatever God’s reasons, every male had to attend these festivals and bring their “first fruits.” It reminded them that God brought them out of Egypt and would always provide for them.

It’s so easy to forget to remember that. Even in the midst of the festival, I don’t think I ever thought about it, but now that I’ve made a connection between the two, I plan to put more of an effort into remembering who my provider is; God, my Heavenly Father.

Father in Heaven, I’m sorry that I didn’t think to thank you for the fruit our local farmers produced, for the festival that brings revenue to our area, and the beautiful weather that allowed us to have a great festival. I thank you now for the provisions you have provided. Help us to be wise in what we do with those provisions.