2016: Page 322

After setting up the display yesterday, page 322 was the actual start of the International Conference on Missions so it has been a full and busy day.  I began by taking advantage of the free breakfast the hotel gave me.  I don’t often eat breakfast, but my schedule when displaying at a conference becomes so chaotic that I’ve learned to eat when I have the chance.  After breakfast I headed over to the exhibit hall to take another look at my display and see if there were changes I wanted to make.  I’m not sure what it means, if it means anything, but I think this was the first time I have left the display alone after the initial set-up.  

With the display ready to go I had the morning free so I headed out for a drive to Natural Bridge State Park to do some hiking and prayer time before the exhibit hall opened.  One of the highlights of the park is the feature it is named for, the natural bridge, but it is filled with wonder and beauty all around that central feature.  My hike to the natural bridge was up a trail with a lot of steps carved into the rock, as well as plenty of wooden steps to supplement the stone ones.  It didn’t take long to remember that I prefer coming down all those steps rather than going up them.  Today’s photo is of a section of those carved stone steps.  I look at that and my mind thinks of the incredible amount of work that it took to carve them into the rock.  And if that wasn’t difficult enough, to come along and put in posts for railing along the rock steps had to be a task like few others.  As I thought about the work that had taken place so that I had steps to climb, I decided the work I was doing in climbing them really wasn’t all that bad.  

Sometimes we all need something to give us a better perspective of the things in our life.  We may think we have it tough in this life when things don’t turn out the way we want them to.  Then I think of Paul’s question of whether I have resisted sin to the point of shedding blood.  When I think of the work that Jesus did in preparing a way for me so that I could reach the heights of heaven with Him, the troubles of this life seem to not be such a big deal.  Without the work of people before my time carving steps into stone, I don’t think I would have made it to the top of the natural bridge.  While it still required work on my part, the way had been made so that I could make it to the top if I wanted to.  Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world but that we should take heart because He has overcome the world.  By His going before us and shedding His blood on the cross as payment for our sin, the path of being made right with God was opened up to all of us.  While we still have to choose that path and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”, being made right with God is no longer an impossibility.  

After my morning hike, I came back to the hotel and cleaned up before heading over to the exhibit hall.  It was good to spend the evening talking with people about prayer and the prayer-based resources God has allowed me to write and share.  I still have difficulty at times explaining what Impact Prayer Ministry is and what it is I do, but today the visible part of the ministry was putting resources into the hands of people who will  use them.  

I pray that you and I would be diligent about giving our best to God without letting a pursuit of perfection destroy our obedience.  I pray that we would recognize the work that has gone on before us that enables us to do what we do today.  I pray that we would accept the way God has made for us through Jesus as we follow the path He leads us on.  I pray that we would be encouragers of one another as we give value to the gifting of God in their life.

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