Adventuring On

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January brought some exciting adventures to the Schell household.

We have journeyed to places we have never been, doing things we have never done. It has been a wonderful experience.

Our year started off with the purchase of a second home in Oklahoma. It was one of those things we knew was right even when we couldn’t imagine how everything would fit together. But there is no adventure in standing still, so we jumped it, and the result was perfect. It’s just down the road from our girls. We have land to grow things on, woods to explore, and a roomy house we hope to welcome lots of friends and family into. To top it all off, our new town, Guthrie, was named the cutest small town in the state.

So what does any sane individual do . . .

when in the middle of negotiating prices, ordering inspections, and signing papers to purchase a home do? They set sail for Central America where they will be totally out of reach, of course. And that’s just what we did. When we planned to travel in January, we had no idea we would be purchasing a house, but the thing of it is—all went on as planned without us. We relaxed and enjoyed our time exploring places when had never been. We met new people and learned of their stories, enjoyed some good food, and saw many interesting things, some of which I’m sure will find their way into future posts on this blog.

Life has a way of surprising us sometimes.

We found that to be very true over this last month. When we headed for Oklahoma to spend Christmas with the girls, we had no idea we would be buying a house, too. And even the plans we had made for our travel were greatly enhanced by the unknown. It was the people and places outside our expected itinerary that made the trip memorable.

We, humans, tend to map out our lives in our perfectly devised plans and expectations, but God often has a very different course that will really wow us. It makes me think of the Yiddish proverb “Man plans and God laughs.” I think He chuckles at us simply because He knows what’s coming and He can’t wait to see our reaction. I imagine our look of awe and wonder please Him much like the pleasure we receive when our children discover something new.

I have said it before and I will now say again—

God has the best adventures.

Everyday contains something He wants us to see and experience. There is something truly amazing about walking with God. He has a way of giving us the best views that have the potential to bring the most impact to our lives. Whether or not it has any effect will depend on our willingness to trust and follow Him. What can we lose? Nothing, and what will we gain? Just an amazing journey through life with the Creator of the Universe.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
“1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

Keep watching for the adventures as they come. You never know what you might experience. Follow me. I’m happy to share mine.

Destination: Peace

mapThe navigator app on my phone seemed to have a poor sense of direction. It commanded in a loud voice to take the next exit to reach my destination that I knew was a few more freeway ramps away. What I didn’t know was an accident blocked the road and Maps seemly all-knowing function redirected me to save time, and most likely, some aggravation along the way.

Oh, man. Don’t ya wish life could have the same guidance system? “In two days, continue forward for six hours, then make a sharp right turn to avoid the. . .” Yep, I think step-by-step, instructions would come in very handy.

Although we don’t have info on the moment-by-moment events in life, we do have directions that will serve us well. They are found in the writings of the Bible and when implemented, they can help us navigate through the unpredictable situations we come up against, many times saving us time and aggravation.

This portion of scripture, Jeremiah 6:16 NET, points out that very idea– “The LORD said to his people: ‘You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls.’”

Those old reliable paths are the instructions God has revealed to us through the Bible. Along with the instructions come examples of experience and the eventual outcomes where choices to follow God were involved. Knowing the stories can help us develop what path we would like to take.

There are times when what God says doesn’t line up with our sensibilities. We don’t understand, or maybe even, we don’t trust God’s word in certain circumstances. It’s like that day on the freeway. It just didn’t make sense to exit until I saw what was avoided. Lucky for me, the navigator app with its insight had directed my path. It’s that way with God. His ways do not always seem right to us at the time but they can be trusted. They are reliable. He sees the big picture. He knows how things will turn out. And if we just listen and follow, He leads us to peace.  

Indeed, my plans are not like your plans,

and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth,

so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NET

Guide me in the path of your commands, for I delight to walk in it.

Psalm 119:35 NET

All In?


E6CAA82218It was a long night spent sitting in cramped quarters. What was I thinking? About half way in, I began to think my traveling days were over. I reached my limit of “discomfort by choice.” And then there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The Hours to Arrival ticked down and anticipation of reaching my destination began to build.  You see, I got on this plane because I believed it would transport me to the place I wanted to go and even in the midst of exhaustion brought on by a long flight, a sleepless night and thoughts of “Are we there yet?” I never lost faith that I would eventually find my way to the Arrival Gate.

What is your definition of faith? Webster’s defines faith as:

a firm belief in something for which there is no proof

COMPLETE TRUST

something that is believed with a strong conviction.

It is something believed but not only that. Webster uses words in this definition such as firm, complete, strong when it comes to that belief.

In air travel you cannot “sort of” get on the plane. One foot on land with the other in the air is just not going to work. You have to get completely on the aircraft to reach your destination. That is also the way with faith. You have to be ‘all in’ to get where arrive at the place God is taking you.

There is, however, an element of faith that is also a continuous journey. When flying, there are always a few fellow passengers wrought with anxiety. They believe with certainty that this time may just be the time they will crash and burn. They pace the aisles or pop a sleeping pill just to get through. This may not be too far from the truth in how we treat our own lives. We get up each morning and tentatively set our feet in route to see if God’s promises still apply to today’s set of problems and worries. We struggle with the pain and discomfort as we wonder if this part of this trip through life will ever end. And then, as promised we see the glimmer of hope that God is indeed delivering us safely to our appointed destination.

I think that destination just might be a complete faith; one that firmly, completely and with strong conviction puts our confidence in God’s word and his ways. I believe God is developing in us a habit in which we trust him on everything. He proves Himself over and over that there is nothing outside his power to bring the best possible outcome in us. As we go, we develop more and more assurance in Him with a confidence that He will do He says he can do. Each day that we plant our both feet firmly in that confidence brings us closer to arriving at Complete Faith.

In Romans 4:18-23, Abraham is described with the words “against all hope…he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.”

It goes on to say, “This is why ‘it was credited to him righteousness.”  These words ‘it was credited to him righteousness’ were not written for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him…” [Emphasis added.]

Righteousness. Now, that’s a pretty great perk. Let your faith grow. Be “all in” when it comes to trusting the Lord. You do not want to miss out on what God has for you.

As for me and future travel? I will continue. Living would not be as satisfying if not for the lessons God teaches through the sights and sounds of this great excursion called life.

 The Lord will indeed give what is good…” Psalms 85:12

You count on it!

A Change in the Landscape

“For I know the plans I have for you. . .”  Jeremiah 29:11

In the early morning fog, heavy equipment moves the earth making ready for a new neighborhood.

In the early morning fog, heavy equipment moves the earth making ready for a new neighborhood.

Huge earth movers circled around and around re-positioning the soil and rocks on the hillside. Water trucks followed wetting the earth for another pass by the big tractors. A surveyor placed stakes to show exactly what the designer had in mind when he drew up the plans for this new neighborhood. Roads had to be constructed, houses built and landscaping planted to create an environment just as he envisioned it would be. But first, the work of moving “mountains” had to be completed.

Life can sometimes resemble a terrain that is less than suitable for habitation. Piles of dirt and rubble are everywhere. Just as we navigate one mound, we find another in the way. Most of the barriers come from the deep pits we dig for ourselves. The more concentrated our digging, the deeper we go, the higher the piles. At some point we realize the predicament we are in. By then the only direction we can see out is straight up.

And up is good. I always picture this point when I finely throw down the shovel and investigate my surroundings, there is God’s face peeking over rim of the hole I created. His lips form into a smile as He sees I’m ready to stop the struggle and allow Him take control.

Now, for the real work. Moving all that dirt around isn’t easy. It may be necessary to bring out the heavy equipment to accomplish the task. The rubble needs to be leveled and the dirt sculpted to provide an environment a little less precarious and much easier to move across. As God cuts and positions things just where He wants them, it might get a little rough. He may even have to go over the same area many times before He has it just as He planned.

But in the long run, it will be worth it. God’s design will turn us into something pretty incredible. When He is finished, our lives will no longer resemble the original landscape. What happens next is even more amazing. The bare ground, caused by all the moving around of dirt, will begin to sprout growth covering it with a freshness of new life. Eventually, the growth will be followed by fruit. And fruit. . . well, that’s something pretty sweet.

Whether we are in the digging stage or the fruit stage, there is one thing we can count on—God has a plan for what the landscape should look like. If we allow it, He will take over and create something beautiful. Life takes on a different look when He’s in charge.

I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce.

Amos 9:14