Clippin’ Grace Coupons

The complete life of a believer in Christ is all about grace.  We deserve an eternity in hell because we are sinners under the wrath of God (Romans 3:9-30; Ephesians 2:1-3).  We are totally unrighteous (Romans 3:10).  But when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Romans 10:9-13), God accepts us in Christ by His grace (Ephesians 1:6; 2:8-9).  From that point on, we live by God’s grace, we are sustained by God’s grace, and we are empowered to live for Him by grace as His disciple (Matthew 4:19; Luke 14:26-27, 33).

So, whenever I write this post about clippin’ grace coupons, it is my way of recognizing the truth of Ephesians 2:7, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  God is so very good to us, and sometimes like Andy Griffith would say, “Extreee good!”

Here’s a few grace  coupons God has allowed me to clip in the past two weeks.

Grace Coupon #1:  Running toward the sunrise at the beach

Denise and I love to get up early on vacation and watch the awesome display of God’s handiwork!  She walks, and I run.  What a time we have together!

Grace Coupon #2:  Seeing the elk at Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountain Park

What a special treat to hike this area as well as Big Creek with a dear friend and fellow hiker, Rick Stoner!

Grace Coupon #3:  The Beauty of Cataloochee

Grace Coupon #4:  Singing in the Sun 2017

What a special treat to attend two nights and hear such groups as Mark Trammell Quartet, Brian Free & Assurance, The Talleys, Gold City, and Triumphant Quartet.  Better than the singing was the preaching of Evangelist C.T. Townsend and Dr. Herb Reavis and seeing many souls come to Christ!!  A special thank you to the Life FM for the great seats.

An unexpected blessing on the second night was to sit right behind a young girl from back home, her husband and their daughter.  Then, to find out that a dear friend of mine and his wife were a section over from us!  He and I have shouted, praised the Lord, wept, and rejoiced at many Southern Gospel concerts.

 

Grace Coupon #5:  Worshiping With Our Daughter & Son-in-Law, Whitney & Paul

I Met Jordan

Jordan

Living in the mountains of East Tennessee gives many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving! The scenery changes every day and every season through the myriad acts of God’s creative, sustaining, sovereign hands.  How often I find myself singing “How Great Thou Art,” and “How Great Is Our God!”

Yesterday while driving back from Asheville, NC, I had in my mind to stop along the creek near Rocky Fork State Park near Flag Pond, TN.  Major rains had descended upon us through the night so I knew the waterfalls would be awesome, and it would provide a peaceful place to sit and commune with my God in prayer.

The Lord had other plans for which I am oh so grateful.  When I turned onto the Old Asheville Highway, there was a bearded man with a full pack and hiking poles which immediately signified an AT thru-hiker.  Since I love to hike, especially on the Appalachian Trail, this was a great opportunity in many ways!  Upon offering him a ride, he threw his gear in the back of my car, and we headed for Erwin and Uncle Johnny’s.  What a special treat to listen to his recent weather-related stories as well as the back-story of his life.

The very best part was the joy of talking about eternal life, listening to his answers, caring for his needs and ministering to him Christ Who has finished the work of salvation for all sinners including Jordan and myself.  What a special privilege!!

Please pray for my new friend, Jordan, as he hikes the trail.

Meeting Jordan was the highlight of my day!!

 

Here are two links to his story and the reason for his AT journey:

Jordan’s Story

Jordan’s AT Thru-Hike

 

Here is a video link for you to learn how you can have a personal relationship with God and know for certain your sins are forgiven and that you have a home in Heaven forever.

The Gospel Message

How’s the View?

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Hiking has always been in my blood!  I remember as a six-grader hiking up East River Mountain, Bluefield, WV, on Christmas Day with a foot or more of snow on the ground!  Wow!  I have never forgotten the views, the beauty of the sparkling snow, and the fun of just hiking with family.

Something that beckons me to climb a mountain is to reach the summit.  Why?  Because I am so intrigued by the view, and I want to know what it looks like on the other side.

 

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One of the many blessings of traveling to Israel was mounting the summit of the Arbel Cliffs.  What an awesome view overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  During the early ministry of Jesus, which took place on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, Scripture mentions that He departed into the mountain to pray (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12).  We cannot be certain that the Arbel Cliffs was that mountain, but it sure could have been since it is situated between Tiberius and Capernaum.

Praying takes me to the summit.  There is no higher throne of authority than the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16).

From that summit, I see all things around me through the eyes and wisdom of God.  There, I am taken above my worries, fears, anxieties, questions, doubts, temptations, Satan, old sin nature, and needs.

At the summit of prayer is that quiet place above the noise and distractions below.  There I feel like I could soar like the eagles.

There at the summit, I can see the attributes and character of God, the person of Christ, and the enabling help of the Spirit who draws me to prayer.

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The Psalmist David knew about that summit when he said, From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2).

And when he (Jesus) had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone (Matthew 14:23).

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).

How’s your view this morning, this afternoon, and this evening?

Sabbatical Journey #3 – Time

Beauty Spot, Unaka Mts, TN

We have had several folks ask us what we did on our sabbatical.  Well, here’s a brief look into this blessed 31-day journey.

Going into the month, our goals were, as mentioned in Sabbatical Journey #1, to rest, refine, replenish, recharge and refocus.  My wife and I greatly anticipated TIME . . . TIME to pray, read, seek the Lord, think, prepare, pray, seek the Lord, study, read, pray, think, seek the Lord, etc.  The Lord graciously gave us our hearts desire.  James 4:8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

How wonderful it was to begin the morning meeting with my Lord in such places as our back porch, by a creek near a waterfalls, up high on Beauty Spot, in the sunroom at my in-laws or on the back deck of a lake cottage.  During these days, I read portions of or completed the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. My, how the Lord did speak to my heart!  One of best parts was reading the Truth and then watching the Lord make connections that day either through a book I was reading, situations I found myself in or conversations I had with others. My journal is a treasure to me of what God clearly spoke to my heart!

On August 25th as I sat all alone on the Appalachian Trail with Bible, journal and pen in hand, having just read Colossians 1:24-29, I wrote the following:  As I look down the AT, I see a marker pole with a white blaze, and I am reminded of Jim Eliot’s quote, “Lord, make me a crisis man.  Bring those I contact to decision.  Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”  The more TIME you spend with the Lord, the more you want to be that kind of man.

Thank You, Lord, for TIME to meet with you, uninterrupted and with no time limit.  Eternity will be awesome!!

Attitudes and Altitudes

I love hiking! Since the days of living in Bluefield, West Virginia, which included hiking to the top of East River Mountain and traipsing through the woods hunting, the outdoors are continually calling me.  Last Saturday, I had the joy of hiking Black Balsam near Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This area is known for its balds which reminded me of Roan Mountain.  We stopped for breakfast in Brevard and were greeted with the warm, encouraging sun as we exited the restaurant.  I’m thinking, this is going to be a beautiful hike!  Halfway up the mountain to the parkway, the sky started to grow darker.  When we arrived at the trail head, we were met with ice pellets, blustery winds, and COLD!  Standing at the back of the car, putting on our layers, packing some protein, and watching the clouds hover ever so close, I knew this would be an exhilarating hike!

As we fought the wind up the mountain, I realized I had left my gloves back home.  My hands were freezing!  Rick suggested I use a pair of sox.  Am I ever glad I packed an extra pair in my pack!  The winds howled and the clouds hid the sun and the views.  I remember one major turn in the trail that put us trudging dead center into the wind.  Eventually, we reached an area over 6,000 feet and tucked ourselves down below some rocks to break the wind and to have a snack.  It was still cold, but we were having an awesome time!

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After an hour or more, the clouds started to dissipate a bit and move on.  The sun warmed us and the views were spectacular.  We could see Looking Glass Rock in the distance and Graveyard Fields below.  Looking another direction was Shining Rock.  The hike back to the car involved walking an old railroad bed.  You could see the old bed across the valley on the opposite hill and hear in your mind that steam locomotive climbing the steep grade.

 

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The best part of the hike was the fellowship Rick, Andrew, and I enjoyed.  One very special moment was stopping along the trail to pray for lost family members and friends who need to come to Christ for salvation.  What a blessing to have eyes to see God’s creation, words to speak, a heart to rejoice, and a voice to sing along the trail and to speak to other hikers as they pass.

Hiking is 70 – 80% attitude as you hike changing altitudes, weather and trail conditions.  To keep going through all the challenges on a trail, you must have the right attitude for it will be tested. That is much like life.  Every day our journey Home to Glory is affected by our outlook on life.  For followers of Christ, what attitude should we have on the trail of life?  Let this mind be in your which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).  In other words, your attitude should be the same as Jesus’ attitude.  Furthermore, Hebrews 12:2-3, tells us how to have that Christlike attitude, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Meditate on this today, keep your hiking poles in your hand, and enjoy the view, the journey.

We choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice. ~ John C. Maxwell

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