Easter Sunrise at Chimney Rock 

One of my favorite memories of Easter, is at Chimney Rock Park. It is a beautiful place overlooking the mountains and Lake Lure in North Carolina. I was a part of the Sound of Singing Youth ( yes, it was years ago and if you are wondering…I did not sing, I played bass guitar and worked with the road crew) . We were asked to sing at their Easter Sunrise Service. As the group sang several songs, the sun had not fully come into view. My job that day was to raise the cross up slowly during a particular song about Jesus entitled “When I Think of the Cross”. The sun appeared to rise up exactly isync with the music behind the cross as I lifted it up. The amazing part of this was the fact that the singing group and I were facing the other way in order for the audience to see the sunrise behind us. I didn’t know that had happened until after the service, when people came to me, with tears in their eyes and telling me how it was so meaningful for them to see that during the song. As people like to say today…It was a “God Thing”.As amazing as that was…the first Easter was more than Amazing and still is today. Think about all that happened, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, died on a cross for you and me, to forgive us and give us everlasting life. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. I like to think about Heaven on Easter too…just to think there will be no more sickness, suffering or pain, no hardships or difficulties.  Also, there we will be reunited with those friends and loved ones and many other believers that have died and gone on to Heaven before us, what a reunion that will be… and then to see Jesus face to face..Wow, now that is Amazing, all because of what God did for you and me on that very first Easter!  

 

How to Survive and Thrive in Difficult Places

 Do you feel you like the old mountain saying…”between a rock and a hard place”? Regardless of how we got there, there are times we must learn how to survive and thrive in difficult places in spite of the circumstances. I have often observed that there is a strength to be found in struggle…especially if we look at  it from the right perspective and learn how to adapt and adjust in the right way.Have you ever wondered how a plant, bush or tree can grow in a rock? I have seen this many times, while hiking in the mountains. A little soil and seed, colder and warmer weather, freezing and thawing and water, and the plant takes root in the crevices of the rock and begins the process to grow in spite of the difficult environment. Dr. B. Siege has stated that “if you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.” Here are some things I have learned…

MAKE THE BEST OF WHAT YOU HAVE AND WHERE YOU ARE AT RIGHT NOW. The reality may be there is little you can actually do about your circumstances at the present time. If that is your situation, be encouraged that God is bigger than your circumstances.  Also, remind yourself that He is with you and will help you. I like what Max Lucado wrote in his book “You’ll Get Through This” … “You’ll get through this, it won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naive. But don’t despair either. With God’s help, you will get through this.”

LOOK TO GOD, WHO CREATED YOU TO PROVIDE WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE IT. Plants and trees in the forest have no one else to look to but the Creator who made them, to meet their needs.We are different than the plants and trees, in that we have a choice. Sometimes we seek out bad options to help us to cope and survive which can actually harm us instead of helping us. Why not look to God, who created you and knows you better than anyone else, to help you survive  and thrive in spite of your circumstances? 

Jesus said ” If God gives so much attention the appearance of wildflowers- most of which are never seen- don’t you think That He will attend to you, take pride in you, do what is best for you?” ( Matthew 6: 30). God can do great things in our lives, even in the difficult situations…if we will look to Him. 

 

A Message in the sand…How much God really cares about you!

I want to share with you a message in the sand, that changed my life…Every grain of sand represents how much God cares for you and me… “How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in the number than the sand” (Psalm 139:17-18). Think about that, grains of sand…that’s more than we could ever count. We sometimes need to be reminded of that, especially when our feelings tell us otherwise. In spite our failures, He loves us enough to not only to forgive us but to energize us to be the very best we can be for Him in our daily lives. I knew a lot of information about God but didn’t know Him personally. Then, all of that changed in the summer of 1970 . We had a new Pastor at our church, Dr. Ian Walker, and he spoke about having a personal relationship with God, not just about a religion about God. . I attended a youth camp with our church youth group on the coast of North Carolina. One afternoon, I went by myself for a walk on the beach .I prayed and asked Jesus to become my personal Lord and Savior. I have never regretted that decision I made that day. Through the years, I have been back to that same camp to lead retreats and attend meetings. I always take time to go out on that same beach, just talk to Jesus in prayer and thank Him. I still feel unworthy of His love, grace, and forgiveness …yet I know from His Word it is true. I am still learning more about how much He loves and cares for us.He is my best friend, best counselor, best encourager, I can’t imagine living life without Him. He makes me a better person, spouse, parent and friend for others. He is my motivation, and source of strength each day. Thank you Jesus for loving me and caring for me! Also, since that day, I am  so thankful that I have had the opportunity to tell others about His love and care for them too. Just this past week, I had the honor of introducing Him to a friend of mine who is over 90 years old.

How about you? Do you know Him personally? If not, please talk to a Pastor or a Christian friend. It will be the best decision you will ever make. Maybe you are already a Christian, but somehow you have drifted away and neglected your relationship with Christ. He is just a prayer away, please talk to him today. The Bible teaches us that if we will come near to God He will come closer to us and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is awesome to think that the God who created you and me, and the earth we live in, cares so much for you and me…even more the grains of sand on a beach.