|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on January 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM||comments (42)|
Early New Year's morning, after we stopped by to make sure the heat was on in Rocky's cabin, Junker drove my brother Chuck and I to the Trailhead near his home in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. For just a few glorious moments I was back on the Appalachian Trail.
As I snapped the photo below, I couldn't help but think that this was the perfect to begin the New Year.
Now that another holiday season is quickly fading into memory, we find our thoughts rapidly focusing on that next grand event on our calendar; the start of yet another thru hike just a bit more than two months from now.
The Trail indeed beckons, but not necessarily for those reasons seemingly obvious to most in the hiking community.
As the snow begins to melt and the calendar once more beckons us to think of Spring, we will prepare to tread this path we have trod so many times before.
The story however, will not be of the trek. It never has. It never will.
Our "story" is about the people God grants us the privilege of calling friends, sharing with them His story, which is the greatest story of all.
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on December 31, 2012 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
For the 54th consecutive year I am home for Christmas, fulfilling a promise I made to my Mom when I was a teenager. I told her then that, no matter where in the world I might be any other time of the year, Christmas would forever be reserved for her. That pledge has not always been easy to keep, but keep it I have, and I am so much the richer for it.
With all the changes life has brought these many years, the Christmas Season has remained a wonderful constant. With that sameness has come many traditions I wouldn't trade for anything this world could offer.
Memories such as shopping in New York City with Merv Wyse, who comes all the way from Upper Michigan each year to do just that. Or Christmas Dinner with my First Grade Teacher Marsha Chin and her husband Tom, who "adopted" our family as their own shortly after my Dad walked out of our lives on Christmas Day 1963. Or the latest one: our yearly pilgrimage to nearby Center City Philadelphia for the Christmas Service at Tenth Presbyterian. This will be our fourth year doing that.
There are many others I could name, not the least of which is Mom's one of a kind lasagna on Christmas Day! But suffice it to say, I am home. and long to be nowhere else until after the ball drops at Times Square at midnight New Year's Eve.
Come to think of it, that would be a fun thing to do again sometime real soon!
Wherever you might find yourself this Holiday Season, take time to pause and enjoy everything there is to cherish, remembering that the best gifts in life come from the hand of the One who gave this world the best Gift of all; His Son -CR
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on December 13, 2012 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
It has taken three days to get to this point, but the tree at George and Naomi White's home is finally decorated. One reason the project took so long was the several "other things" occurring each day that demanded our attention.
But that's not the only reason. It's not even the most important one.
There are just some things worth taking time with.
I look forward to Christmas all year. It is, without a doubt, my favorite season. All too often however, the entire month of December seems rushed, with lots of additions to the daily routine. I had a friend say last year that she wished we could have half of our Christmas parties in January!
Decorating takes time and, as a result, becomes a good reminder to me during this blessed and magical season, to slow down and give it the time it needs.
More than that though, I am reminded to be still and give the One who is the REASON for all this celebration the time He deserves.
Yet THAT is not even for His benefit, but mine. For He knows that is exactly what I need! -CR
For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "...In quietness and trust is your strength." -Isaiah 30:15
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on November 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM||comments (1)|
Musings on Current Events
Written January 2011
... and in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44)
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ... Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 5:2; 6:9-10)
Like so many, I have been mesmerized by the current global scene in the Mideast and the North African upheaval coming through our televisions, only to be driven to the words of the prophet Daniel, written above. At every turn the Bible reminds us that it is the lot of the kingdoms of this world to vie for power. From the squabbles of our little private kingdoms to the clashes of nation-kingdoms, we are forcefully reminded that we have been driven out of Eden. One need look no further than 4,000 years of human history for empirical evidence.
Daniel finds himself exiled and under captivity in Babylon, serving in the court of king Nebuchadnezzar, when he is ushered in at the king's request to interpret a dream. He is to not only interpret the dream but, without prior knowledge, to disclose the content of the dream as proof of his authenticity. Daniel's words still speak to us, presenting us with a dual certainty this side of Eden: 1) the clash of earthly kingdoms and, 2) the certain triumph of God's Kingdom. The bad news of earth's kingdoms seals the good news of God's Kingdom. The intensification of war signals God's coming Kingdom. The greater the surrounding darkness, the more brilliant the dawning of God's Kingdom shall be.
Jesus stood on the prophet Daniel's dual certainty when He urged His disciples to pray to their Heavenly Father, "Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). The kingdoms of this world will rage but God's Kingdom is made manifest in its midst. So it is that the British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge remarks that "Jesus' good news, then, was that the kingdom of God had come, and that he, Jesus, was its herald and expounder to men. More than that, in some special, mysterious way, he was the kingdom."
This paradoxical truth is fleshed out before us on a familiar hillside, as an angel appears to shepherds declaring: "for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." At this announcement the angels broke out in song, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:11-12, 14). The manger is the advent and in-breaking of God's peaceable Kingdom into human history, made incarnate in His Son. The herald of the Kingdom is also its King. But we have chosen to be kings in our own kingdoms and crucified the Kingdom of God.
This ghastly reality is what the Bible calls the Gospel: Good news. How can this be? The crucified Kingdom, mangled on a cross, opens our eyes to the true condition of our little kingdoms. They are illegitimate kingdoms, rebel states. The King of Kings appeals to rebels, in the strongest terms possible, to be brought under His peaceable rule - not by the shedding of their blood, but by the shedding of His own. God has appointed that rebels such as I be reconciled to Him by the crushing of His Son's Crown.
We do not see our kingship and kingdoms as usurping God until we see the King of Heaven stripped of His robes and majesty hanging like a common criminal. We were created for allegiance to a kingdom, and we cannot have both ours and His. We need to let the prophet Daniel remind us that God will bring His appeal to an end. What He came offering peaceably, He will reclaim by the authority of His own hand:"...it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever" (Dan 2:44)
How then shall we seek the Kingdom of God? ...by seeking its Herald.
Ponder as you hike,
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on November 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Stratton, Maine
I just want to take a moment and thank everyone who has called the past couple of days, wondering how my Mom is getting along in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
East Brunswick suffered a direct hit. Mom's house however, suffered no visible damage or flooding. She spent the night in the basement with my brother Chuck, staying away from the windows, especially while the winds outside were gusting to near 90 mph.
Apart from having no electricity or heat for the time being, she is doing just fine. Gorilla Jim said that SHE ought to be the one called Gorilla!
Speaking of our dear friend, Gorilla Jim underwent major surgery on his bladder yesterday at the Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was still feeling pretty rough when I talked with him a short while ago. We had prayer together before his wife Carol got on the phone.
I assured him that many who loved him would be praying for his full and speedy recovery.
Happy Trails to All, Circuit Rider
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on November 8, 2012 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
Monday, October 22, 2012
I'm headed east. My time in the beautiful southwest is over for another year. As I sit here at a Walmart this morning waiting on the mechanic to finish an oil change on the van, I can't help but reflect on the multitude of memories that flood my mind from these past three weeks in the desert.
Tackling correspondence, camping in the Jemez mountains of New Mexico, meeting new friends at Elephant Butte, visiting lifelong ones such as Marge Maaser in Gallup, Peggy Palmer and her nephew Taylor in Centennial, Colorado, meeting up with "Mom" Alexander in Denver, and spending a week taking in the breathtaking scenery of Utah' s Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and Bryce Canyon, certainly made for memorable trip west I won't soon forget.
But it is now over. The time has come for me to return to "work." By Wednesday night Sherlock and I plan to be in northwestern Maine manning the Stratton Motel and Maine Roadhouse for Sue while she heads south on a well deserved vacation.
I always find myself saying goodbye to the southwest grudgingly. Yet the thought hit me yesterday morning as I was taking time to be still and worship. What I am returning to is what I live for! This is not a job. This is a love affair! I am returning to do what I wouldn't trade doing for anything this world could offer!
Major W. Ian Thomas often said, "The Christian Life should be one 'vacation' after another. In every situation, we should discover that it is He who does the work, not us!"
Isn't that what vacation is all about? We vacate and let someone else occupy our place while we are gone. For the believer, that IS the true Christian experience. We are to VACATE whatever it is that we can't handle (which is just about everything when you think about it), and let Him OCCUPY the hole which we find ourselves in. Anything less or other is a sad and sinful variation.
So this morning I find myself returning to work, but the work is not my own. It is His, and has been for some eleven years and counting.
Little wonder I feel so refreshed.
Happy Trails to All,
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)
|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on November 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
Monday, October 8, 2012
Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico
Joe and Rae Edenhofer are originally from Grand Rapids, but they live here now. They have fond memories of their time in Michigan, for it was there many years ago they came to Christ under the ministry of Pastor John White at the Calvary Baptist Church.
Of course, I didn't know any of this as I pulled into the State Park entrance Saturday morning. I read about this place online the day before and decided to try it out instead of traveling two hours further into the Gila wilderness. It was supposed to be about ten degrees warmer here than in the Gila. That was enough reason for me not to go any further.
As I drove up to the pay window, I was greeted by a very friendly woman who welcomed me to Elephant Butte. By the way, "Butte" is a word that means "mountain that stands alone"', though I'm not quite sure which mountain they are talking about since there seem to be plenty of them around here. Anyway, the nice lady's name was Rae, and she began telling me all about the Park, even offering advice about what was, in her opinion, the nicest place for me to camp. She asked how long I was planning to stay. I told her at least two nights since I was hoping to go to church somewhere on Sunday. She exclaimed, "My husband Joe and I would love to have you join us tomorrow morning!" I told her I would plan on doing just that.
Sunday was delightful. I walked a little over a mile from my campsite to the Church at the Butte. The people were most friendly and made me feel very welcome. The service was rather lengthy, but no one seemed to mind. The congregation was ordaining a new Deacon with a fellowship dinner following. That provided a perfect opportunity for me to spend more time with Rae and Joe. We discovered in the course of conversation that we even knew some mutual friends back east. I love it when that happens!
Hiking back to my campsite yesterday afternoon, I couldn't help but marvel at the reminder that God has His people tucked away all over. Even here in the desert, He has those He calls His own.
Before we parted, I took a picture of my new friends and wrote down their address. I look forward to reconnecting with them again the next time I'm in this area. A grand day indeed!
Happy Trails to All,
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,...
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea (or even in the desert),
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:5-6;9-10)