See Rock City
See Rock City
Today I decided to ride the incline to the top of Look Out Mountain. I then visited Rock City. What a delightful time to meet people. When I got to the top, I walked the 3 blocks to Point Park and enjoyed the beautiful view while eating my picnic lunch. It was hard not to pray as I looked around me.
I had begun this morning by asking God to send me interesting people to meet. I am finding people curious about why I'm alone and it becomes a door opener to conversation. In my morning devotions, a scripture verse warned me this morning to be both shrewd and innocent at the same time.
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matt 10:16 NIV"
The commentary said "innocent" meant unassuming and with guile. We are promised that we can recognize evil and I prayed for both innocence and shrewdness. As I talk to people I'm trying to be shrewd about who I talk to and where I begin those conversations. I promised my mother I would be careful and I am trying to honor that promise. I'm also praying that through my innocence, they will see God and not me.
Riding the incline up, I met a couple. The husband is Roman Catholic and the wife is Protestant. In order to worship together, they decided to join an interdenominational church. What a creative solution to religious differences. They are both Christians. The wife told me she strongly believes that God is always propelling her forward. She agreed that Satan was real and said you only had to look at recent events in our Nation to know that. We rode up and down together. She took my card and I believe she will stay in touch.
A family from England fascinated me. I met a mother, father, and a daughter, and son. The daughter was afraid to ride the incline and I assured her that it would go slowly. She was relieved. She had a very large tattoo on her arm which she assured me was fake. He mother quickly told me her daughter was too young for a real tattoo. The daughter wore a symbol of the Ying and the Yang. I don't know much about it but I do know that is isn't a part of the Christian faith. I realized how many assumptions we make by watching how people dress. The daughter may have been proudly displaying a religious or philosophical belief or she just may have liked the way the necklace looked.
I thought about what I was wearing. I had a bubble necklace around my neck, which entertained both children and me. I use the necklace frequently. Sometimes I wonder if the words "children" and "me" are synonymous. I had on playful earrings, a casual shirt that mentioned a beach, and camouflage shorts. I suppose I'm lucky anyone was willing to talk to me.
I was unable to share my faith with the family from England but know they were listening while I talked to another family on the incline. I gave them a card and hope to hear from them. They seemed to love each other and were having great fun.
There was a place in Rock City that was called "fat man's squeeze." As you can probably guess, the passage was very narrow. I was behind a very large gentleman who was having a difficult time getting through. He was embarrassed and kept joking and talking with his friend and me. I felt for him as he tried to cover his pain with humor and explanations. I wondered if he knew he had a disease called compulsive overeating. I wondered if he knew there was hope. There was a time in my life when that passage would have been very difficult for me. Through the help of God and a loving support group, one day at a time, I easily fit through "fat man's squeeze." I gently told this man that I understood his difficulty. I told him how I found help. I pray that he will find recovery from compulsive overeating.
I watched a father frolic with his two-year-old daughter. Suddenly on top of a very steep mountain, she ran from him. He screamed the words "stop" and she stopped. When he got to her, he paddled her and told her to never do that again. She was so surprised by the paddling. While gentle, it did seem rather sudden and a little extreme. They were having such fun the moment before. As she cried with a broken heart, she kept saying, "why Daddy why?" He didn't tell her why but I understood. He loved her with all of his heart and she scared him. He overreacted out of love. She won't remember that impulsive paddling but she will always remember her father's love. I realized how perfect our Father's love is. He loves us more than that father loves his child and we will never have to forgive an impulsive spanking. God's discipline is always well thought out and perfect.
I was honored to meet a pastor and his wife. They were celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. They were also resting from a successful 2 week revival. He pastor's a 75-year-old Pentecostal Holiness church. He is only the 2nd pastor of this church. His mother founded the church and was the first pastor. Since he told me he has been there 30 years, I'm guessing his mother was their pastor for 45 years.
Their church is thriving church and in a college town. The pastor described it as "on fire." They have 200 in Sunday School each week. His wife plays the piano for the church. What a difference this family is making for the Kingdom of God.
They raised a big family and have multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As I listened to them, I realized how burdened they are for their children. Not all of their children are active in church. I didn't get enough information to know if they are having serious problems or just absent from worship but I could tell the parents were burdened.
Their youngest son is studying to go into the ministry and the father spoke proudly of this son. I asked him about plans for his son to continue the family ministry in that church. He wasn't sure his son wanted to do the very thing his father had done. I could tell it would be an honor and a dream come true if his son could follow him in ministry. I could also tell he was respectful of both his son's and God's will in this matter.
I asked him to look back and tell me if he is glad that he spent his life in ministry. He said he loved ministry and it was absolutely the right choice for him. How wonderful to look back on your life and know you heard and followed the voice of God. How rewarding to see the fruits of your labor.
He has dedicated his life to leading people to God. He feels like God has blessed his ministry. He wants to see all of his children in church. There is a promise in Proverbs that I believe we can claim for this faithful servant of God.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Note that it references a child and their old age. It doesn't mention all the "time in between." As a parent, what I wish it said was "train a child in the way he should go and he will never turn from it." It is so frightening to see all the turns in our children's lives.
Please join me praying that the promise in Proverbs will come true for his children. I plan to also pray a special prayer that they return to the church during this father's lifetime. I follow all of my prayers with "may your will be done" but I believe in letting God know the desires of our hearts.
I watched these families on vacation. They were laughing and playing. The couples were holding hands. Mothers were kissing babies. I believe they were preparing physically and emotionally to have a strong family bond. I believe a regular commitment to family vacation is critical for families. Taking the time to play and rest together bonds families in a way that nothing else does. Part of "loving the Lord our God" is creating a loving home.
The physical shape people were in made a difference in how they enjoyed the vacation. We can "Love the Lord Our God with all our might" by keeping our bodies fit and taking the time to use those bodies to play together.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to
www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Cheryle Touchton at 904-614-3585.
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