God & The Great Outdoors

written by Lt. Colonel Kathy Steele, Communications Department, USA East

My husband and I love when the summer months come, and we can spend time outdoors. Being immersed in God’s creation renews and refreshes my spirit. One of the ways that we enjoy the outdoors is by camping. It’s something we’ve done for years, starting out tent camping and now graduated to a hard-sided pop-up camper. Yes, we are getting older so sleeping off the ground is a necessity!

This year, while being outdoors, God has reminded me of a few simple truths that apply to daily life. I want to take this opportunity to share those truths with you.

Sometimes you must swim against the current.

We had the opportunity to have a camping spot on a riverfront. This river had a strong current that many people enjoyed by riding tubes downriver—going with the current. One morning while I was sitting, enjoying myself watching the river and looking at the beauty of God’s creation surrounding the river, I noticed a family of ducks. Seeing ducks and geese was not unusual, but this particular family of ducks were swimming upstream against the current.

As Christians, we are called to live a different life from how the world lives, and sometimes we must go in the opposite direction of where others are going.

We have to take a stand in order to oppose the evil that surrounds us. These words from Titus 2:11-14, NLT, sum up this spiritual truth: “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

If you want to keep warm, you need to stay close to the fire.

As I am writing this, we are going through an intense heatwave, so it’s a bit hard writing about keeping warm. However, when we were camping, the weather was cool, and on a couple of nights, it was downright cold. On one of those cold nights, God reminded me that to stay warm; you need to stay close to the fire. Spiritually, if we want our spiritual life to remain strong, if we want our lives to reflect the love of God to others, if we don’t want to grow cold, we need to stay close to God.

There is a simple verse found in James 4:8 that says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

To draw near to God is to simply open our hearts to Him. Each of us has to find our way to draw near to God. There are many ways and many opportunities for us to draw near. The list is endless: Read the Bible, pray, attend church, fellowship with other believers, listen to Christian music, and avoid those influences that distract us from the Lord.

God Cares for the Smallest Creatures

As I sat around our campsite, I was able to observe many small creatures. Some enjoyable to watch, like the chipmunks and birds, and some not so enjoyable – like mosquitoes! Again, I was reminded of a very familiar Scripture portion from Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

In closing, please enjoy the following song from Cory Asbury titled “Sparrows.” My challenge to you is to spend time with the Lord and always be on the lookout for the simple lessons He wants to give you.

written by Lt. Colonel Kathy Steele, Communications Department, USA East