More Than Pepper and Salt

723buffaloI couldn’t resist the urge, so I took a peak.  Even though I may never float it again, I still wanted to check the river levels on the Buffalo National River and reminisce.

Every time I paddled this river, I marveled at her beauty:  The pristine water is framed by towering limestone bluffs that rise above the river below.

The first night out on the river was often the best because supper would be venison.  As soon as I arrived at the campsite, I would put the venison strips in a plastic bag to marinate.    By the time I had set up the tent, collected firewood, and started brewing the coffee, several hours had passed and the meat was thoroughly seasoned.

In the solitude of this magnificent wilderness, I found it easy to see the beauty of God’s creation.  I also found it easy to reflect of His Word.

One evening after I had finished off the venison, I was reading Ephesians 1:7:  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

It occurred to me that being lavished with God’s grace is somewhat like marinating venison.  When you encounter the grace of God and you are covered-up by its life-changing power, you are transformed:

  • You are holy because He is holy—I Peter 1:16
  • You can forgive because you have been forgiven—Colossians 3:13
  • You can be merciful because you have experienced the mercy of God—Luke 6:36
  • You can live a life of love because you’ve been blessed by God’s—Ephesians 5:2

The riches of God’s grace is more than a sprinkle of pepper and a dash of salt.  When God lavishes you with His presence, you are redeemed, renewed, and refreshed, and you are a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

When The Lights Go Out

lightI spent a few hours late last night sitting beside my water garden. The cool night air, the hot cup of coffee, and the sound of the water cascading down the rock and into the pool beneath made for a relaxing evening. It reminded me of the many times I had paddled my canoe down a river, camped on a rock ledge and listened to the soothing sounds of the river as I drifted off to sleep.

As I sat there last night I noticed what often goes unnoticed—the lights across the street at Forest Park. They were shining brightly—doing their best to dispel the darkness of the night.

During the daylight hours, parents with their excited children rush by the lights without giving them a second thought. The patrons of the pool are so focused on their immediate pleasure, the lights are unnoticed.

How often do you think about the value of the light? You may give careful consideration to its convenience during a power outage. You may wish for a flashlight when you try to find your way through a house that’s so dark its ebony in color. But, how often do you neglect it.

At 12:05 Tuesday, the first 5 minutes of today, Forest Park went black. The lights went out. In the sudden darkness of the moment I noticed what I had taken for granted earlier, the comfort and the security of the light.

As I sat there, I was reminded of a verse from the book of Daniel: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Does this verse remind you of your responsibility to share the light of God’s love, grace, and mercy? When will you let your light shine today? Where is it needed most?

Do you remember what Jesus said? “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light.”