The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Friends: Frances and I hiked in the mountains of North Georgia last week. As always, such ventures resulted in numerous ponderings regarding the Lord's glory and truth. I plan on sharing some of those thoughts with you in this week's messages. Thanks, Glen).
"Step By Step"
We finally saw a bear during a hike. A bear with a mustache.
If you look at the upper right hand portion of the photograph, you will note the creature I have named "CloudBear." You will also note his mustache. Frances and I figure that since no flesh and blood individual of the Ursidae species seems interested in a meet and greet, the Lord sent CloudBear as a substitute. That's fine with me. I have no great interest in any encounter with a bear on the Appalachian Trail, although it's rare that they become aggressive toward hikers. Moreover, I don't want Frances to have to hurt a bear! So, the fellow in the clouds satisfies any inclination I may have to to meet or greet a member of the Ursidae population.
Before every hike, friends and acquaintances warn, "Watch out for bears!" When we return from our adventure, people invariably ask, "Did you see any bears?" We fully understand the inquiries. When people think of mountains and forests, bears immediately come to mind. They are big, strong, smart, and can be dangerous and even deadly (on rare occasions, actually. On average, only two deaths from bear attacks occur each year in the United States, and most of those are in the West rather than the Appalachian Trail where we hike). So, you sensibly keep your eyes open while in the woods.
The real danger in the woods involves falls. Hikers "bare" far more risk from stumbles and tumbles than from critters of any kind. Steep, rocky, root-strewn trails injure and even kill far more people every year than creatures of the wild. Tens of thousands of steps on any hike present moment by moment challenge, which speaks to to the far greater matter of our walk with the Lord.
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise" (Ephesians 5:15).
Surely we do well to be aware of devils and the world system, as commanded by Scripture (I Peter 5:8; I John 2:15-17). However, the danger that most confronts born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ involves our step by step faith and faithfulness to God. The flesh in which we live "lusteth against the Spirit" (Galatians 5:17). A "law of sin" will remain in our earthly humanity inherited from Adam as long as we remain in our present existence (Romans 7:22-25). Left to itself, this law will always cause us to fall into unbelief and disobedience. Thus, we must keep our body under submission, as the Apostle Paul referenced regarding his own flesh (I Corinthians 9:27). We maintain vigilance regarding the temptations that so frequently confront our confidence and devotion to the Lord. Indeed, if we take the next step, and the next and the next, in faith and submission to the Lord Jesus, we can be confident of His keeping regarding devilish and worldly threats.
I'm glad to have seen CloudBear and to have photographed his presence in the heavens. I'm also glad to have not encountered bears of the more earthly variety. Most importantly, I want to maintain proper awareness that our greatest challenge as believers involves the next step of trust and obedience. Our Lord resides within us by His Spirit to enable such faithfulness. He calls us to remember and affirm His presence, walking in the Spirit and thus maintaining our spiritual footing. Thereby we find ourselves either protected from enemies, or empowered by God's grace in Christ to overcome them.
"He that walketh uprightly walketh surely."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power and godhead."