But there was risk connected with everything, and we were hard men bred to a hard life in a hard land, and the lives that we lived were lonely, yet rich with the voice of our singing, with tales told of an evening by the campfire.”
–Louis L’Amour (Killoe)
“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'”
–Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)
Thanksgiving time, for close to fifteen years, has been a time for family camping. Used to be I would cook a turkey over the fire, but that has gone by the wayside. At least I was able to take time, sit around some, and ponder. There was, to an extent, some contact with nature. There is something about going out into God’s great creation that is good for the soul.
I came across the following and thought it was pretty good. Now, the pope and I would not normally agree on most things, especially theologically, but I thought I’d share this with you from John Paul II.
“Here the silence of the mountain and the whiteness of the snow speak to us of God, and they show us the way of contemplation, not only as a way to experience the Mystery, but also as a condition for humanizing life and mutual relations.
Today there is a greatly felt need to slow down the sometimes-hectic pace of our days. Contact with nature with its beauty and its peace, gives us new strength and restores us. Yet, while the eyes take in the wonder of the cosmos, it is necessary to look into ourselves, into the depths of our heart, into the center of our being where we are face to face with our conscience. There God speaks to us and the dialogue with Him gives meaning to our lives.
So, dear friends,…you are, as it were, molded by the mountain, by its beauty and its severity, by its mysteries and its attractions. The mountain opens its secrets only to those who have the courage to challenge it. It demands sacrifice and training. It requires you to leave the security of the valleys but offers spectacular views from the summit to those who have the courage to climb it. Therefore it is a reality, which strongly suggests the journey of the spirit, called to life itself up from the earth to heaven, to meet God.”
I pondered this and realized that most people, and most Christians, prefer to stay in the valley. Life is easy there, the cares and struggles are not so severe. To climb a mountain requires exertion. There may be gorges to cross, swift streams and precarious trails along the way to the summit. This is not the place for the timid. Yet, that is exactly what is happening today; too many Christians are timid. Many of them will not even pick up a knife and fork to feed themselves.
So, don’t just dream of the mountains, don’t just look at pretty pictures that may inspire and give you “wishes.” Be like Moses and seek out the bush on the side of the mountain that burns but is not consumed. It will change your life.
Yesterday, November 19, 1862, a man of faith was given to this world. He was an orphan, worked on a farm, and for a time played professional baseball. Then came the climatic change; he decided to be a man of God. From 1896 until his death in 1935 he was a dynamic evangelist. During this time he preached three hundred revivals with an attendance of one hundred million. This man was William Ashley Sunday.
One of the characteristics of Billy Sunday was his appeal to the common man. He appealed to women as well as men. Some came to watch his “performance” but there were results for the Kingdom. In the cities in which he preached brawls decreased and other crimes declined, as well as creating thousands of converts. To watch and listen to Sunday people saw and energetic, joyful, exuberant preacher for the Kingdom of God.