Sunday, July 3, 2016

Almost Heaven



For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39
This past week, we went camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As usual it was overflowing with people, but we were there for the same reason, to find some peace from the crazy rat race of work and cell phones and TV's and technology of every description that invade our lives every day. True, without technology, I wouldn't be able to share this with you, but sometimes you do need a break.
When you cross into the park, your cell phone immediately loses signal. It will search until all power is gone, which won't be long, unless you cut the phone completely off. Then to get your pictures you have to go through all the stuff to get it back on and to the camera. Whew! Word to the wise, pack another camera. We camped at Cades Cove. There are no electrical sites, except maybe the handicapped sites, another shut down of technology. I'm not sure if even the generator powered campers had the ability to receive TV and radio signals. Who would want it when you are surrounded by the glory of God's creation.
There is an eleven mile loop that takes you through forest and meadows and leads you to old cabins and trails. The traffic creeps along at ten to fifteen miles an hour with people stopping to view deer and bear. Pull offs are frequent for those wishing to get out and get a closer look or walk through cabins and along trails. You may be accompanied by fifty to hundred people but most speak in whispers, in awe of the beauty that surrounds them. Smiles greet you as fingers point out the wildlife across the meadow or up in the tree. I thought, this is almost heaven. There are no harsh words. There is no hurry. There is no worry. That's probably why so many signs say stay fifty feet back from wildlife! We lose all fear. Peace and calm reign and you wish for the day to never end. 
The highest mountain in the Smokies is Clingman's Dome. For many years it was thought to be the highest mountain in the east until more accurate measurements declared Mt Mitchell the winner. There are also a significant amount of caverns under the Smokies. Most are not open to the public, but there are a few. We ventured into Tuckaleechee with an older guide who knew the cavern inside out. Though I didn't take pictures inside (I didn't know going in I could take my camera), the beauty and magnificence of the cavern was awesome. Stalactites and stalagmites, curtains of formations, underground rivers and a waterfall, amazement at every turn. Then he turned off the lights, but God was still there in the dark, the dark you could almost feel. Here in the Smoky Mountains, we could ascend to one of the highest peaks or descend in one of the deepest caverns. No matter where we were, we were never without God. We could pray at the heights or in the depths and God would still hear. We could still feel His presence. We still had His love. There is no escape from God or His love and why would you want to escape? It's because of His love we have the beauty of His creation. It's because of His love we have salvation through Christ Jesus. God is love (I John 4) in all He does. 
Blessings for a peaceful week,

Hey Kids:
God's creation is so amazing. Have you ever thought that God created all things because He loves us?  From the smallest atom to the tallest tree to the deepest cavern, we can see our amazing God and His love for us. 
Why not take a little vacation from technology this week and take note of something far more amazing - God's creation.
Take pictures or draw or write about something awesome.
Here's some hints to get you started.
Watch fireflies or lightning bugs as they begin their nightly dance. What makes them glow without burning up?
Listen for woodpeckers in search of food or building homes. Why doesn't his beak break or bend?
Check a flower bud for a few days to watch it as it opens. Does it twirl open or pop or slowly, slowly broaden its petals. 
Can you find a way to measure the tallest tree in your yard or neighborhood or park? 
What other things can you find that God has created to bless you with?
Please share your blessings in the comment section below.

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