Still in Control

We are just coming to the end of a two-week vacation. This is not the best of times for me. As I get older I appreciate more the time off with which I am blessed. Going back to my “regular” life gets more difficult each year. Sometimes I have a tendency to forget the blessings I experienced during that time off. So, I have decided to write about those. No, this will not be a travelogue. Just some impressions from what God has placed into my part of his world.

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Sometimes I forget how wonderfully God created this world and how it is still so beautiful. I know that there are issues with how well we are taking care of this world, but somehow it goes on. This is a picture of Ruby Falls in Tennessee. It is a 145 foot underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain. Interestingly, I was told that they know where the water goes after it falls 145 feet, but they have no idea from where the water comes. Hmmm. Seems God can keep things going no matter what we think we know as humans. So who is in control? Thank you Lord, for this wonderful world you created for me. Help me to better appreciate it and tell others about you and your love for us.

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Below is a steam engine built piece by piece from wood patterns made by hand. Today this is all done with computers and machines. We saw this at a museum in Marietta Georgia. What I saw impressed upon me what talents God has given us as humans and also what a work ethic used to look like.

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I am sorry God, that I do not always appreciate or use the talents with which you have blessed me. You gave me recovery from my alcoholism and another chance to use those abilities–even after I need to return to work after a vacation. Thanks.

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The reason we traveled to Orlando was to attend the Lutheran Womens Missionary Society convention. This year there were over 500 Lutheran women (and a number of the husbands who love them as we are called) who gathered to hear from missionaries from all over the world including the U.S. One of the missions this group supports used the slide below to invite people in their community to reach out to their congregation in Tyler Texas for help with addictions.

This group of women have supported missionaries for almost 60 years. Most of what they do is accomplished in an unassuming manner. And yet they have given about  $4,250,000 to support missionaries. What a wonderful tool for God to use in spreading the Word to this world. Lord, sometimes I do not appreciate the evidence of faith in the lives of this group of women. Help me to see how their love for you compels them reach to the unbelievers in this world and the missionaries who serve them. You love all people, Lord, even those lost in unbelief. Use this group to always do your will.

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At first glance, this is a beautiful park-like scene – a perfect place for a family reunion or picnic. In reality, it is the site of Camp Sumter or better known as Andersonville Prison. This was one of a number such areas that housed prisoners during our Civil War. Both the Union and the Confederacy had these camps to keep the thousands of prisoners from that war. At this particular prison, of the almost 45,000 soldiers held here during the 14 months it was open, about 13,000 died, mostly from scurvy, diarrhea, and dysentery.

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Dear Lord, I know there will always be wars and rumors of wars as you tell us in the Bible. War is always a terrible reality in our world. I know it is a result of the sin that permeates our world. I thank you that you have given us the victory over our most dangerous enemy the devil. Through sending your Son to pay for my sins, and those of everyone else, our victory is assured and eternal life is mine. Please use your power to limit the destruction caused by war in the world, until you return, or until you call us all home to be with you.

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This is a picture of the Swanee River made famous by the composer Stephen Foster. He wrote over 200 songs which mostly spoke about relationships and a simpler, more idyllic life. Tragically, he died at the age of 37 due to the results of an accidental fall and an untreatable fever. Life is so precious!

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Lord, I know I take my life for granted. I fully expect to wake up everyday, sometimes even when I am fully ready to leave this world to be with you in heaven. Help me to better appreciate all of this life, the people, the work, all the wonderful blessing you have given me. And then, help me to live out my thanksgiving to you in every day, in every way possible.

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And the last picture from a place in Orlando called the Holy Land Experience. Here I saw and heard about the way the different people and places in the Bible were all woven together to point to the life and work of my Savior, Jesus. What stuck most with me was a particular experience that displayed how the Bible was preserved throughout history so the Gospel message is still there today. The message below reminds me of what is truly important in this life. It is what gives me a hope and a mission.

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Lord, all I can say is thank you. Your Son did it all for me through his life, death resurrection. And you gave me a wonderful vacation too. Remind me of that as I return to my normal life, which is also a great blessing. I love you.

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So that is it. My vacation and my thoughts. At the end of it all I come to realize that no matter what, good or bad, happy or sad, I know that God is still in control. Not everything I saw in this vacation made me feel good about this world and how we as humans have taken care of this gift from God. But one thing I know, he is still in control of everything that happens and he still loves me. What a wonderful God!

Thanks for stopping by. Come on back some time. I will wait you.

 

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