When God is in a Simple Camping Trip

If you’re wondering where I was Thursday when the time came to do a blog post…what? You didn’t notice. Oh, well. That’s ok.

Anyway, I was camping. Took four guys and hiked eleven miles into a nearby wilderness area. It’s a terrific wilderness, really, compared to the nearby Glacier Park; far fewer regulations, far fewer tourists, bigger group sizes and no campsite reservations required. (Also, it’s not currently on fire.)

But the fun part was seeing God in it.

There were all kinds of little blessings. For one, there was practically no smoke in the drainage we were inhabiting for three days. The double-cliff bluffs above us were there for the eye-gazing in all their God-given glory, and there were no breathing problems.

For another, I already knew the area because circumstances two weeks earlier had redirected a friend and I to camp there. (That, too, was an excellent trip.) That ended up being an enormous benefit when our original hike (in the park) was snuffed out by evacuation-worthy fires.

We saw a bear and a moose; the moose was trotting across the road as we drove out, but the bear we saw on the trail, darting across a mere 100 feet ahead. It’s unbelievable how something that size can move so quickly. I’d like to say it was a grizzly because that’s a cooler story, and I did get the impression of a humped back, but I couldn’t really tell.

A couple of hiking mishaps (broken pack straps, etc.) were averted by the engineering knowledge of two of our guys and the screwdriver that I’d happened to bring. I initially started packing it to make sure my gun holster stayed tight instead of spinning around on my belt leaving the barrel looking up at me, but it came in handy for different reasons here. Funny how things end up working.

Did I mention the trip happened to come at the tail end of the Perseid meteor shower? We spotted a few great fireballs as we retired to bed for the evening.

But I think my favorite part was the answered healing prayer. My right knee was acting up the entire time, leaving me reliant on Advil, which had the ability to knock the pain down from a 7/10 to a 2/10 but still didn’t leave me very trustworthy of the knee. The four guys said a prayer for me and in the morning, the pain was entirely gone. Even the 2/10 was gone. I didn’t feel a twinge the rest of the trip.

This really blew me away, honestly. I’ve been on a lot of trips and outings where I or someone else had a bugaboo, we’ve prayed, and nothing improved. Seeing my knee healed this time (though the Advil was enough to control the pain) was another reminder of the cynicism I’ve developed towards seeing God come through, of how my “theology of suffering” (the very good Biblical philosophy of how not all prayers answered and we shouldn’t be focused there anyway) might be a little too well-honed.

Perhaps the positive answers to prayer (there have been others lately) is because my attitude towards God has hit a new tier of improvement lately. I posted a while ago about getting past that “mad with God” thing. It’s a hard thing to get past, partially because it’s so hard to diagnose; we don’t dare walk around being consciously and openly mad at God because we know it’s blasphemy. Yet when life “bumps” us, it will surface. Often only then.

So I’ve focused on releasing annoyance towards God over the bad things that have come my way in this life (my family, for instance). It makes a difference. Not just answers to prayer, but levels of daily peace. I recommend it.

Anyway. Just a quick tale on how good even a simple camping trip can be when God gets involved. I’d been worried about it. It felt opposed. Fire activity in the area has made everything uncertain, and several guys I’d invited had been forced to drop out. But we went with the company we could, and it was an absolute blast. Praise God.

Psalm 103: God’s Scandalous Resume

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:1-12)

Book Bible Inside People Man Reading AloneThis is fun.

God, always happy to remind humanity who he is (even though he’s done it innumerable times before and gets rightfully annoyed when we forget) is presenting us with his accomplishments. Not that we’re hiring him. But so that we might worship him.

However, I must admit…there’s always been a little hesitation in me regarding parts of Psalm 103.

“His benefits”?

“Healing all your diseases”?

“Satisfying our desires with good things?”

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Comfort when Justice is Withheld

justiceMost of us are well familiar with Isaiah 40:28-31, the “those who trust in the Lord will renew your strength” passage.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth.

He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.

He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.

Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall,

But those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength;

they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

But I had never, until this last Saturday, seen the context of the verse before it, verse 27, which adds a new dimension: that powerful God arrayed against injustice.

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He Has a Place for You

I’m falling a little ill, so I’m going to content myself with a reblog of a previous post today and hope Thursday brings calmer waters. If you know what I mean…

Brandon J. Adams

Some of us fear being useless.

I’ve known many people who “need to feel needed”.

I guard myself against the motive as best I can, for I know it’s inappropriate to seek good works and ministries just to fill my own voids. For one thing, it’s not about us. We’re to do things for God’s glory, not our own fulfillment. For another, work is a harsh mistress. It lets you down, fails despite your best efforts, withholds the kudos you may well deserve. If you’re looking for your fulfillment in work, it will let you down.

But sometimes, my need shows through.

So I turn to God’s Word instead.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

And I’m reminded that God instilled us with a desire to contribute so that he could fulfill…

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5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress

I realized recently that the blogging community is an ever-shifting thing. Boredom and busyness shoot many of us down from this beloved hobby, leaving only the grim, scraggly survivors. The landscape is different than what it was when I first started spewing my thoughts back in…2015, was it? Goodness. How time (climbs into an SR-71 Blackbird and) flies.

In light of the fact that I have so many new followers, I thought I’d offer some humble thoughts on how to blog best as a Christian. This 5-part series is a fusion of conventional blogging wisdom I’ve picked up (e.g. pick a good title, visit other blogs, don’t like your own posts because it’s really tacky, etc.) plus some kingdom thoughts on how to do this as a Christian. Because naturally, once you bring Jesus into something, everything changes.

I hope you get something out of this today.

In the meantime, would you mind saying a quick prayer for me this weekend? A friend of mine are going on a three-day hike in a nearby wilderness; safety and strength would be nice.

Brandon J. Adams

The sequels to this post can be found here, here,here, and here.

Trying to draw more traffic to your WordPress blog, Christian? For those trying to build a larger audience (say, to snag a potential publisher), here are five things I’ve found helpful.

1. Go to them

So you start a blog. What then? Drop it in front of Facebook friends and sit back, counting on them to bring you newcomers? That might not work. Your friends are loyal, but not necessarily doctrinally compatible, voracious readers, or oozing spare time out the ears. To widen your base, you’ll need to find new “regulars” who are. And you aren’t going to find them by waiting for them to stumble upon a blog they don’t know exists. You’ll have to go to them.

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Darwinism is Failing, Failing, Failing…

Evolutionary scientists are admitting that Darwinism need to evolve. It has failed to account for the diversity, ingenuity, beauty, and sheer imagination of plant and animal life in our universe. They still refuse to consider intelligent design, but let us pray that they get closer. The love and forgiveness of Christ awaits them and all who will assent to removing their junk-science blindfolds.

Reasoned Cases for Christ

dna

What the vast majority of the information that is provided below focuses on is the conflicting beliefs that all that we see and all that we can scientifically investigate in our world and the universe, either points to having been created by undirected random chance (Evolution) or an unidentified intelligent causal agent (Intelligent Design). Intelligent Design does not specifically identify the intelligent causal agent as God and consequently is not based on Biblical sources. Where Biblical sources are taken into account would be where Creationism comes into consideration.

We live in a materialistic world, where what we have been taught in school and in many universities is the prevailing materialistic worldview. Materialism is the view that everything is ultimately material in nature. At the most fundamental level, everything that exists consists of nothing but matter and energy. Everything is governed by the basic laws of physics and, in principle, can be…

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“Your Prayer is Awaiting Moderation”

waiting“Your post is awaiting moderation” is something we bloggers see a lot.

Basically, when we comment on someone else’s blog and they have a particular setting turned on, our comments have to wait for their approval before they’re displayed.  I personally do not have this setting enabled (haven’t needed it yet – don’t make me change my mind), but there’s no doubt it’s a handy little tool for the internet which, as you can imagine, is hardly lacking for spam and ill will.

Ever felt like your prayer is awaiting moderation? in heaven? For, like, decades?

Prayers have four answers: Yes, wait then yes, no, wait then no. In descending order of fun. It’s one thing to get a “no” right off the bat. At least you can deal with it then, get past the disappointment. But much of the time, God requires us to wait for the answer.

I once found it tempting to think that at least “wait” didn’t mean “no” yet. But I then found that waiting and then getting a no was even worse.

I’m committed to the idea that God cares about our heart’s desires. A responsible pastor won’t necessarily preach that too much on Sunday morning when he doesn’t know the spiritual maturity of everyone who’s walked through the door; this is stuff better left to one-on-one discipleship. But God does care. When we read stories like the twelve-year wait of the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9), or the one crippled by evil for eighteen, or the man invalid for thirty-eight (that’s longer than I’ve been alive, people), you remember that God’s miraculous gifts can still come for you, even now.

But even if the answer is a no, we have a choice over how we live up until the “no”.

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