June 2010

Week before last a dear friend of mine from northwest Arkansas and I headed west for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  For many years we backpacked there together, but it’d been around 5-6 years since we’d been able to go together.

So, our anticipation of getting back into that scenic setting was great as we set sail for those beautiful mountains.  After 1 ½ days’ travel across Kansas and eastern Colorado, we crossed over the Continental Divide west of Buena Vista and made our way to Texas Creek—a beautiful, cold, crystal-clear Colorado stream we’d camped on before.

And, after a short hike there we were:  At the same spot we’d camped at several years ago,pitching our tents in the same spots we’d chosen before.  It was as if time had stood still.

During the week we saw a young, bull moose three mornings in a row, as well as several elk. Another day a doe mule deer got to within 40 yards of us as she traversed a creek.  And, another day we happened upon a young buck mule deer with its antlers still in velvet.

We also saw some large bear tracks—bigger than my hand—about one-half mile from the camp, along with a lot of its droppings.  So, needless to say, we prayed each night that the Lord would keep us safe from that/those bear.  And, even if he/she did come into the camp while we slept, that they’d be “Christian bears” and not praying“Thank You, Lord, for this meal I’m about to eat.”

This time around I carried some good books with me to read in addition to my Bible.  Three different days I wandered off in the woods. . .near a meadow. . .close enough to hear the babbling brook. . .and open enough to see the towering, majestic, snow-covered mountain across the vale. . .and sat under a towering spruce true reading those books.

One of them was a book by Randy Alcorn entitled If God Is Good:  Faith In the Midst of Suffering and Evil. Although the book is quite thick and I didn’t get to finish it, I found his comments pretty much on-target (from my point-of-view) and would recommend it to those who are grappling with these issues in your own life.

Another book was Same Kind of Different As Me by Denver Moore and Ron Hall.  Someone had sent me the book a couple of years ago and I’d skimmed through it—promising myself that I’d read it “when I get around to it”(which you know means maybe or never).

But I particularly wanted to read it since Denver was raised in Red River Parish, Louisiana where we now reside.  Born in the 1930’s this black man, who never learned to read or write, but plays the piano well and paints beautifully,shares of some of his experiences while growing up in the rural South.. .his hopping boxcars at an early age. . .spending several years in Angola State Prison in LA. . .and ending up at a homeless shelter in Dallas.

It was there where he was befriended by Ron and Deborah Hall, multi-millionaires who dealt in the buying and selling of expensive artwork.  Through their lives Denver experienced unconditional love and your heart will be touched as you read the book—particularly toward the end where Deborah contracts cancer and dies a slow, agonizing death, but never loses her faith.

Denver also has another book out entitled What Difference Do It Make and I would encourage you to get a copy and read it if you can.

A third book I read was The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, a young missionary to the American Indians in the early 1700’s.  Although he died at the early age of 29-years-old due to consumption (modern-day tuberculosis) and suffered with what we now call bipolar or manic-depression, his faith in the midst of his personal struggles and suffering will certainly bless your heart.  And, I hope you’ll take the time to get a copy and read about this young man who,ironically, died in the home of Jonathan Edwards—the great preacher in the First Great Awakening—and fell in love with his young daughter, Jarusha.

Needless to say, it was tough leaving the beloved Rockies and heading home—partly because of the precious memories we’ve made there and partly because it was snowing when weleft and we knew we were heading to 100 degree weather back home.

Here’s hoping you’ll have some time this summer to get away for a few days of “mountaintop musings” or “seaside surmisings” or “woodland wonderings.”  And, in so doing, may you understand what the Lord meant when He said “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).  God bless you.

(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-maildevotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box582, Coushatta, LA  71019 or e-mail him atpressingon@hotmail.com).