Five Things To Do On Your Manitou Springs Vacation…With Children!

I regret to inform Lao Tzu that our ideas of a good traveler differ much. He refers to a good traveler as one who “has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”  If that is indeed the measure of a good traveler, then I fall under the pictured caption of “epic failure.” I like to make a plan, work the plan, and stick to the plan…with a little wiggle room of course.

When Ron and I were discussing our vacation to Manitou Springs, I scoured Pinterest for the best places to visit, along with reviews from mamas and papas who had traveled with their bear cubs and lived to tell about it. It is with gratitude to those bloggers who have gone before in blazing a well-marked trail, that I present our own. 

Here are Five Things To Do on Your Manitou Springs Vacation…With Children:

1. The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak is known as, America’s Mountain. It is also the mountain view which inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen a poem entitled, America the Beautiful, which we sing today. Interesting to note that America the Beautiful was in the running to become the national anthem, but, as we know, was beaten by The Star-Spangled Banner on March 3, 1931.

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway provides a majestic and entertaining way to reach the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes Peak. Bring extra layers as the temperature drops 30 degrees with your ascent. Bring water to drink on the ride, but be aware there are no bathrooms on the train.

We suggest buying the famous donuts as soon as you reach the summit, heading outside for some scenic views and photography opportunities, then a quick trip to the dwindling lines in the bathrooms before your descent on the train. You will have a total of 30 minutes to take in the sights and re-board.

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Pikes Peak Cog Railway

2.  Manitou Incline and Barr Trail

The Manitou Incline is a converted rail-car track. It is an intense one mile ascent with a 2,000 foot elevation gain. Not for the faint of heart or those lacking determination! We hiked the Manitou Incline with our seven and five year old children. Hydration and a flexible attitude are key. This was an adventure for each of us. Luckily, the kids had no idea how extreme an undertaking this hike was; even though I had repeatedly try to enlighten them. We trained for this hike by walking in the very flat city parks of Florida! Be aware if you should attempt this with small children, there are no bathrooms beside the covering of trees. Come prepared!

We loved this hike and felt a great sense of accomplishment upon completion; however, if you are not in the physical or mental state to attempt this hike, I would not suggest tackling it. This was fourth or fifth hike as a family and, at a total of 5 miles our longest hike to date.

We completed the Manitou Incline and Barr Trail in 5.5 hours. We arrived just before 6:00 AM to park in the upper parking lot of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The attendant said the other parking lot had been full since 4:30 AM. SO…arrive very early. Additionally, we hiked on a Saturday, so the trail was fairly busy. The hikers were friendly and very supportive of our little ones attempting this intimidating hike. One man, Don, even waited for us at the top to cheer us on and take our family picture!

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Manitou Incline and Barr Trail

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3. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is by far one of the most breathtaking views and photo opportunities in Manitou Springs. It is filled with moderate hikes and bike paths plus opportunities for horse back riding in the park. The park hosts thirteen points to park and view named rock formations without the need to make a hike. However, we suggest walking in a bit as you might spot some of the beautiful mule deer within the park. For the uber adventurer, you can obtain a free permit, and with the right gear, even climb these majestic red rocks!

It is worth repeating, arrive early! Being the earlier riser in Colorado means having the parks to yourself. Arrive before the gift shops and nature centers open. We tried to be in the car, or at the location, by 7:00 or 7:30. By 10:30 all the other travelers are beginning to fill the parking lots and diminish the atmosphere and ability to take quality pictures of the scenery or your family.

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Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs

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4. Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls hosts a pleasant hike through the forest with the melodic beauty of a waterfall and stream. We opted to drive to the falls then hiked 2/3 of a mile up a moderately steep trail above Helen Hunt Falls to reach Silver Cascade Falls. This was our kids first waterfall to see in person and they loved exploring along the stream, putting their hands in the water, and watching the water rush by.

Helen Hunt Falls

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5. Navigators Creation Tour at Glen Eyrie

Due to flooding a few years ago, the Glen Eyrie Creation Tours had been suspended for safety reasons. It wasn’t until we arrived in Manitou Springs that we discovered they had reopened the tours this summer. Once we found out the tours were back on, the remainder of our trip wasn’t on days the tours are offered (Wednesday through Saturday). Glen Eyrie Creation Tours is a wonderful way for the whole family to learn about creation, the flood, and the reason for the rock formations we see around the world post-flood. I hope that our family can take part in one of these tours the next time we are in the area.

Navigators

Thank you for taking the time to share in our memories of a great trip. May this little guide help you as you take a vacation, a stay-cation, or anything in between in the magnificent surroundings of Manitou Springs, Colorado.

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Preaching the Gospel Through Biblical Marriage

Today we await the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on the issue of the legalization of gay marriage. Will the Justices rule this is a state by state decision to uphold traditional marriage or will they decide to make gay marriage legal across the nation?  You can read more from both sides here.

For most of you reading this particular blog, you understand that the institution of marriage was initiated by God at the first marriage in history between Adam and Eve. Further, you have been taught in church, and  most likely from someone at home, that acting out homosexual desires is sinful by God’s standards. Unfortunately, the narrative towards people practicing a homosexual lifestyle has not always been one of love, nor driven by a desire to share the gospel. However, I believe that narrative has changed in the last year to be more in line with God’s views of people and their sins–at least within the teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention. You can view the recent Southern Baptist Pastors Conference Speakers, particularly Russell Moore’s message on Sunday evening dealing with sexual sin in general and homosexual sin in particular. (click here)

The SCOTUS decision and its political and religious implications aside, Christian, biblical marriages should preach the gospel like never before as they stand in such contrast to the cultural shift of marriages in our day. However, our own marriages need much work to paint the picture of Christ loving the Church and giving Himself up for her. How do we preach the gospel with our marriage? How do we build solid, sanctified marriages amidst our culture?

My husband has a new book filled with practical, biblical advice that I believe will point Christian marriages toward Christ and help them build loving and respectful relationships. It is available on Amazon and soon to be available on your Kindle as well.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Ron’s book because I know that he practices what he preaches. Ron lives a life of authentic humility and faithfulness to God. His background in mental health counseling, experience as a pastor, and time spent counseling couples and families have prepared him to walk in obedience to writing this book.  I hope that you will purchase a copy of Ron’s book for yourself, a friend, an engaged or newly married couple, or a couple that you know needs godly direction in their marriage.

You can watch Ron teach from a few excerpts of his book, alongside our pastor, Willy Rice, here. This message is on your S.E.A.T. and how that affects your marriage.

SEAT- Ron Cooney

Christians must preach the gospel with our words and our actions. Biblical, loving and respectful marriages will stand out in a world of broken vows and empty promises by pointing to the grace and mercy found in Christ Jesus.

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That’s What Summer’s Made Of

Summer Days

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT

Watermelon slices, later evenings riding bicycles and digging in dirt. Swimming all day and going to bed exhausted. Getting our work done earlier so we can play later. Vacation Bible School and road trips. Popsicles and homemade ice cream. Good books and popcorn movie nights. Worms and fishing holes. Sandy shoes and car floorboards.

These are the things of summer.

We are enjoying our summer break already. Last night, I found my son sound asleep in his Spiderman costume. Our daughter recently learned to ride her bike all by herself and doesn’t want to come inside…or stay inside too long.

So the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short.

These are the joyful activities of summer. How are you spending your summer? How are you making memories with those you love?

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Today, in light of the news I will…

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The news has never been a place to run to for uplifting information. Sure, you might catch a Friday concert series or a fashion show on some of the morning news programs, but no real sustaining hope.

As I age and pay more and more attention to the current events in our country and around the world, it seems the news only gets bleaker and more troubling. It is clear our country is divided on so many levels, none the least of which are moral issues and religious professions.

The most recent news facing moral, legal, and red/blue dividing lines are the Baltimore rioting, the Duggar’s past family sins and crisis, and Bruce turned Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender transformation. Each of these issues divide our country’s people, seemingly down party lines. We live in a day of seemingly fluid measures of morality.

Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner was applauded and even alleged to be awarded the Aurther Ash Courage Award at the ESPYS because of his act of “courage” to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. Compare this to  the latest news on the Duggar’s past family crisis (molestation within their family 12 years ago) and the lines are drawn and the hate speech is flying.

In regards to the Duggar’s, no doubt this was shocking information for all. Does it seem plank/speck? Maybe. However, did this family address the situation the best they knew how? Should the whole family’s voice in society be squelched because one of their family members acted in an immoral and illegal way? Did the offender seek forgiveness and rehabilitation/counseling?

We all have sexual sin in our pasts. That does not disqualify those who have sought forgiveness and turned from sin, the freedom of speech against proposed laws which goes against their moral and religious consciences. The LGBT community and its supporters are absolutely outraged that a family who has spoken on behalf of the evangelical community against legalization of gay marriage and against the allowance of transgender citizens the right to use the public restroom to the gender with which they identify and not to which they were assigned at birth. Some pundits have gone so far as to condemn the Duggar’s all to hell! Hate is rampant there is no question of that. Pundits are even condemning people to a place it is questionable they believe in!

I am not defending Joshua Duggar’s actions, and quite frankly, neither are he nor his family. I am simply lamenting the fact that the secular and progressive community is using this news as a war cry against evangelicals and Christians in general. It seems only those with no past sins can speak out about their religious and political beliefs. If that is the case, then the conversation has surely ended for both sides. 

We as Christians need to be careful to address the moral issues of our day with love and respect even as we speak out in favor of laws upholding the Biblical definition of marriage. Our rhetoric must not be hate-filled and neither should that of the people who stand in opposition to the teachings of the Bible. In America, we must uphold and adhere to freedom of speech even as the true Enemy seeks to shut down the message of the Gospel and the liberating mandates of God.

As we continue to respond to this culture war by the spreading of the Gospel, may we not forget that the real enemy is not someone whose political and personal practices differ from our own, but rather Satan himself. The church must speak against all sexual sin. My sexual sin may seem a backpack’s load compared to someone else’s U Haul truck, but the loads were the same weight when Christ carried our sin to the cross.

The backlash on the Duggar family and their handling of molestation within their family, compared to the awards given to Jenner for his  transgender identity is simply astonishing.  There is no war on women in America, rather, there is a war on God’s design and the celebration of God-given life in the form of male and female. 

It is clear that the further we have walked away from the Bible and the message of Jesus Christ as a nation, the worse things have gotten for our country. We are tearing ourselves and our country apart. We are a house divided on every issue by liberal versus conservative beliefs. Now more than ever we hear it is us against them.

May it not be so within our churches, nor the Body of Christ. We are not to be fooled that this is about flesh and blood, it is about evil and principalities in the unseen realms. (See Ephesians 6:12 here.) We must not throw our hands up in despair and forgo this battle.

If we are on God’s side we will come out victorious in the end. The battle of good verses evil has already been called. That statement isn’t a cliche to excuse the church to sit on its laurels and watch as the parade goes by, rather it is a rally cry to remember what is to come.

These troubles and issues do not come as a surprise for those who read God’s Word. Paul reminds Timothy that we must endure suffering and expect a battle, and then, he offers three ways to respond.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. (2 Timothy 2:3-7)

Today, in light of all the news headlines, I must remember and abide by these three truths:

  • Know your Boss. The ultimate Boss whom I must work to please and follow His command is God and Christ Jesus. He will be the One that I ultimately answer to for my behaviors.
  • Follow the laws. We must first abide by God’s laws and then the laws of our country.
  • Work to the finish. There is no crop for the farmer to reap if he quits working. Press on!

We must keep our head up, bend the knee, and work to the finish. Everyday faithfulness to our God and our family will make a difference. Don’t give up.

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Liberty, Freedom, and Love

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For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed  that ye be not consumed one of another.

Galatians 5:13-15, KJV

Liberty…freedom.

These words provoke feelings of patriotism in U.S. citizens, moreover, they elicit relief and celebration in Christian brothers and sisters. For those who live in free countries their hearts can swell at the mention of liberty, but how much more so those who have been set free and liberated from sin and death for all eternity?

This week’s protests in Baltimore and surrounding major U.S. cities have evoked different responses from citizens, news correspondents, and politicians alike. One will cry oppression and the next thug. Next the two will mull over the meaning behind the words and continue to put forth his or her views and, if we are lucky, actual facts concerning the situation at hand. Meanwhile, vandalism escalates and police are told to stand down and forget their training which would provide protection to the private citizens and business owners. Gang members gather and pursue face-time as the press seeks to bring us the latest on the breaking news in Baltimore.

Liberty…freedom.

Liberty and freedom ring loudest when the citizens are self-governing their moral and ethical obligations to their neighbors from a contrite heart who knows that it bears the image of God. The Imago Dei. Further that they will give an account of all their actions to their Creator.

Our society has fallen so far off the Biblical path that we are ignorant of the fact that we are created by a Someone, for a purpose, with an eternity after death. Insteadwe have a society largely comprised of people who believe they came from nothing, are going nowhere, and are held to no one’s standards or moral code than the one they choose for themselves.

Liberty and freedom are found at the threshold of obedience and discipline, not the scattered remains of crashed windows and looted goods. 

Government funds and legislation are not the answers to the problems in Baltimore, nor across the U.S. God is the answer to the problems. Once each neighbor realizes that he or she is created by God, bear His image, is held to His standards, will be judged by His premises, and can be saved and liberated from sin by His grace, then prayerfully,  they will live for His glory and obey His commands.

Our response as Christians to all the headlines of today’s news is evangelism and disciple making. Simply put, we are to fulfill the great commission and be ambassadors of Christ in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our places of work. We are to bear the image of Christ and spread His message on all street corners of America and the world.

The inner men must be changed before the outer actions of man become civil and just. Good Christians make for good citizens and good leaders. We must love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves, live within the law, and spread the gospel to stop the biting and devouring of one another in our country.

Another pertinent matter for prayer: in June, the Supreme Court of the United States will make a ruling concerning same sex marriage. Please be in prayer for the upholding of the biblical definition of marriage. You can follow the story from a much more knowledgeable source on legal matters than myself, Dr. Russell Moore, at his website (click here).

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A Lasting Legacy

I often find myself in second hand stores like the Goodwill or our local used library store. I love finding richness and bargains in the items others have deemed unnecessary or no longer useful. It is often a thrill to find a classic book in worn or like new condition.

I say find myself in such places, maybe lend myself to such places is a better way to put it. In any case, I like finding value and bargains in discarded items. The adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is certainly one that my mom taught me.

About a month ago, I was using some alone time to peruse our local Goodwill. I don’t often check out the furniture section, but decided I would. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a stunning, dark wood piano. I heard my breath catch and my coffee cup quickly found its way to a resting place as I eagerly fingered each key to check and see if they worked.

To my delight, each key let out a beautiful note equal to the beauty of the piano. The cost…a meager one hundred dollars. An expense great in some measures, but a bargain in this case. Dare I text my husband to see if I could purchase the piece? I dared… and waited.  While I was waiting for a response from Ron, I lifted the piano bench to find several very old and well-used hymnals. As I already said, I love old books, but even more than old books, I love a life lived worshiping the Lord Jesus. This bargain piano had belonged to a woman named Faith, who had been praising the Lord on this very piano for, as it appeared, quite some time.

A Lasting Legacy

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I wavered a bit between texts with Ron and conversations with the manager about pick up details. Ultimately, I knew this piano was a gift from God. He had seen my sideways glances at our silver keyboard seemingly out of place in our dinning room area. He knew that I would love a piano even though I hadn’t even hoped to acquire one, much less ask. I know it is a luxury item when compared to the poverty stricken world, but a laughable pocket change expense to the richest in our land. Even so, it was a gift of affordable price from the Lord wrapped in the remnants of a life of worship played on its keys for years before.

I find it amazing, that the choices we make in this life echo long after our bodies return to the dust. Faith’s legacy was apparent, in part, by the choices in music she made and the pages of worship she left behind. Our actions preach beyond our present and our legacy lasts beyond our life’s breath. 

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Proverbs 20:11, KJV

Our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions; but in the One who possess our very souls. We labor and toil and worry, and are liable to miss the point if we aren’t seeking to live the crucified and resurrected life of Christ. Yes, this means possessions will come and go, but how we use them, and for whom, is more the point.

For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

Ecclesiastes 2:21, NIV

It is a misfortune if the only reason for which we have toiled is to acquire or to satiate our selfish ambition in this life. If we have toiled to bless and to be an instrument of God’s glory then we are working for eternal riches to be realized in heaven for eternity. As David Platt says in his new book, Counter Culture, we aren’t working for twenty years from now, we are working for twenty million years from now. Solomon wrote the above verse in light of the temporary. When we work for the eternal, then our work is never meaningless and whatever remains for others to use is not a misfortune. The rewards that matter most comes from work that is lasting and ultimately realized in heaven.

Some of the greatest composers of all time were men who loved God and penned lasting music for God’s glory alone, Soli Deo Gloria. Consider:

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.

Johann Sebastian Bach

What will those after us find when they open the boxes of our left behind possessions? Boxes filled with worldly remains or the remnants of a life well lived? In all that we say and all that we do we strive to do it Soli Deo Gloria. For the moments we fail there is grace found in faith through Jesus Christ. 

Praying we live a life of lasting legacy,

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Parting Words: Until We Meet Again

Parting Words: Until We Meet Again

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The wonderful part of looking at the parting words of Christ, is that Jesus did not ultimately say goodbye. Rather, He said, until we meet again. Essentially, Jesus parted with a promise and with directives and encouragement for His disciples. For all who would follow after Him. That’s the beauty of celebrating Easter, it is a reminder of the promises of God through Christ Jesus.

Easter is a reminder that the work of Christ is finished but the work for His Kingdom continues.

His finished work established our life’s work.

His purpose fulfilled, birthed our purposes revealed.

I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:12-13)

His ascension was God’s plan to prepare a place for us and grow His Kingdom and message of redemption all over the earth. Does Jesus really need time to prepare a place for us, unquestionably no. However, this is part of making everything beautiful in its time. His time.

For those in Christ Jesus, no parting words would henceforth be forever. A reunion of saints now awaits after this life. What joy! Promised joy and a weight of glory unimaginable. He came and conquered death and He is coming back…next time as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords not as a suffering servant nor sacrificial lamb.

This life’s temporal goodbyes which separate the living from those in eternity continue to sting, but joy filled reunions will resound in heaven for those in Christ Jesus. Take heart and press on until such time.

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Parting Words: Jesus to Judas Iscariot

Parting Words: Jesus to Judas Iscariot

 

Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me; one who is eating with me. Mark 14:18

Friend, do what you came to do. Matthew 26:50

Judas was proactive in his betrayal of the Son of Man. (See Matthew 27:3-10)

The betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot reminds me that we will only be betrayed by someone in close proximity to us. We don’t call malice from an outsider betrayal; only that from someone close.

Jesus ate, slept, traveled, taught, and ministered beside Judas. Why would we think that couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to us? If it hasn’t happened to you, the probability is high that it will. If it has, then would you like to respond even more like Christ the next time? Me too. Additionally, I would like to see the warning signs earlier so that I don’t open myself up to as much hurt in the future as I have endured before. (See this great post here via iBelieve.com.)

For those of us without omniscience, which is all of us, we may have entertained the Judas unknowingly. That is, until the moment our betrayal was at hand. We may have postured for a Jonathon’s embrace only to be met with a Judas’ kiss. On the other hand, we may have simply been reluctant to see the warning signs and forged ahead with toxic relationships, that upon their end we wished we had never begun.

Christ knew that He would be betrayed by one of those closest to him. For him, it was only a matter of time. Yet, he chose to invest in Judas anyway. Why? What can we learn from that? What were his parting words to Judas?

  • Jesus parted without malice. We see no record or indication that Jesus slandered Judas or cast judgement on him. He warned him, however, that it would have been better for him that he would have never been born. (See Mark 14:21)
  • Jesus spoke the truth over the situation. (Mark 14:17-20)
  • Jesus’ omniscience ensures that he fully expected and anticipated betrayal and accepted that as the path towards the fulfillment of his life’s purpose.
  • Jesus continued to call Judas friend. (See Matthew 26:50)  Judas’ final act did not negate or erase the relationship that Christ had with him up until that point.
  • Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus, being fully human and fully God, hurt just as we do when someone hurts us. His heart was not protected from pain any more than ours. Yet he did not retaliate against Judas.

When someone with close, intimate proximity to us stings us with their malice, acts of betrayal, or apparent apathy, we can rest assured that Christ empathizes with us, sees our pain, and will one day bring justice to the situations we experience. Further, Christ provides an example of holiness for us to pattern with our parting words.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will. That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. ~Reinhold Niebur

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Parting Words: Jesus Before the Cross

The Garden

It probably seemed a hairs breadth time between the calling and the cross for Peter, James, and John.

One day Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John were finishing an all-night fishing trip with no favor, when Jesus tells them, Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. (Luke 5:4, ESV) That was the fishing trip that would change their lives. No longer would they be fishing for fish; they would become fishers of men.

It’s funny how we never know what hello will change our lives. What new acquaintance will be a God-appointed friendship waiting on which to embark. Luke 5, and the other gospel accounts, is epic in our view because we know the outcome. But, did the disciples feel in their souls the gravity of that day’s events as they unfolded? It’s impossible to know.

Spring forward three years, and we once again encounter Jesus and three of his first-called disciples sharing a world-changing moment together. However, this time, the setting is a garden, not the sea, the food is bread and wine, not fish, and the task is to watch and pray, not to cast their nets to the waves.

Sometimes watching and praying can be much more challenging than working and casting. The sleepy disciples bear witness to this. There is a weight in the waiting.

Jesus had finished his final Passover meal with his disciples. He foretold of His betrayal, his death, and his resurrection (See Matthew 26) and commenced to sing a hymn and depart to Gethsemane. In these final parting moments with his friends and disciples, Jesus behaved in certain ways that we can pattern as we draw to transition points in our own lives:

  • Jesus drew close to those closest to Him. Jesus took all the disciples to Gethsemane, minus Judas who was too busy betraying Him; however, He drew even closer to his three friends: Peter, James and John. Jesus took them further into the garden and shared more of Himself with them.
  • Jesus shared the burdens of His soul with trusted friends. Jesus’ future was not veiled to any of the disciples, but the agony with which He faced his destiny was shared with a chosen few. He confides in Peter, James, and John:

My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me. (Matthew 26:38)

  • Jesus drew closest to the Father. While Christ invited His friends and disciples to share in His burden through prayer, He petitioned His Father alone further still into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked for the cup of God’s wrath to pass, yet ultimately he petitioned for the Father’s will to be done. We too can portray only so much truth to our closest friends and family–God is the only one who knows in fullness our joys and our sorrows.
  • Jesus used his fleeting time to continue to instruct His disciples concerning:

Their duty. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

God’s power. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)

God’s will. …all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. (Matthew 26:56)

It is comforting to me that even in partings, Jesus provides the way in which we can do so with the greatest impact.

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Parting Words: An Easter Series

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Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8,ESV)

Good-byes are difficult. The good-byes of life: the dorm room, the parting of child from family at the alter of marriage, the distance of a move, the deathbed…many moments in life involve parting words. As we enter into the Easter Season, I want to focus on the good-byes of Jesus and of Paul. What did the Savior of the world want to leave as parting lessons with his disciples–with us? How did Paul part with Timothy? What were his final instructions to the young man he mentored in the faith?

I believe that our good-byes can be strengthened by looking at the good-byes of Jesus and Paul. In the next five weeks leading up to Easter we will delve into:

  • Paul’s last words to Timothy
  • Jesus’ last words to the Apostles
  • Jesus’ parting words in Revelation

I look forward to learning how to say meaningful and lasting parting words in this life so that the hellos of eternity will be all the sweeter. I certainly need these lessons, and I eagerly anticipate learning them alongside you this Easter Season.

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