MY UTMOST TO HIS HIGHEST

The Theology of Resting in God

Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?  Matthew 8:26

When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable. Yet our trust is only in God up to a certain point, then we turn back to the elementary panic-stricken prayers of those people who do not even know God. We come to our wits’ end, showing that we don’t have even the slightest amount of confidence in Him or in His sovereign control of the world. To us He seems to be asleep, and we can see nothing but giant, breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.

“…O you of little faith!” What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, “We missed the mark again!” And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.

There are times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives, and we do all that is humanly possible. But it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him.

We have been talking quite a lot about sanctification, but what will be the result in our lives? It will be expressed in our lives as a peaceful resting in God, which means a total oneness with Him. And this oneness will make us not only blameless in His sight, but also a profound joy to Him. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 84-86; Romans 12

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Much of the misery in our Christian life comes not because the devil tackles us, but because we have never understood the simple laws of our make-up. We have to treat the body as the servant of Jesus Christ: when the body says “Sit,” and He says “Go,” go! When the body says “Eat,” and He says “Fast,” fast! When the body says “Yawn,” and He says “Pray,” pray!

from Biblical Ethics, 107 R

 

 
 
 

 

 

The Blessing of Peace

 

STEPPING STONE

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.’’”
Numbers 6:24–26

(Learn more about peace, shalom, with our complimentary study, The Meaning of Shalom.)

In the first century BCE, Judea was ruled by a queen called Shlomtzion. Her name had been Alexandra, but because she brought peace to a nation fraught with violence, she became known as “she who makes peace in Zion,” in Hebrew, Shlomtzion.

Shlomtzion’s life, however, was anything but peaceful. She was married to an evil monarch, who had imprisoned his own family, paranoid that they might usurp his thrown. Moreover, the Jewish people were also in the midst of a ruthless internal battle between those who favored a secular lifestyle and those who remained steadfast to following God, His word, and His laws.

When Shlomtzion’s husband died, the first thing she did was free his family in an attempt to make peace. As was the Jewish custom, she married her deceased husband’s brother, but as it turned out, Shlomtzion’s second husband was just as bad as the first. The country continued to be racked with violence and internal strife. Eventually, that husband died, too, and Shlomtzion became the ruler of Judea. For nine years, until her death, Judea enjoyed unprecedented peace.

Queen Shlomtzion succeeded at restoring shalom amongst her people. The Talmud, Judaism’s Oral Tradition that was eventually collected and written down, describes how the produce grown during that brief period of time was unnaturally abundant. Wheat grew to the size of kidney beans, oats to the size of olives, and lentils to the size of large coins.

The blessing of abundance that was showered on the land was attributed to the accomplishments of Queen Shlomtzion, namely, restoring peace in the land. The rabbis preserved some of the produce for future generations to show them what is possible when there is shalom.

This small window of time gives us great insight into what is possible with the blessing of peace. It’s no wonder that the Jewish sages taught that when the Israelites received the Torah, they were “as one man with one heart.”

The greatest accomplishments of humankind occur when we have shalom. When we are united, we are greater, and that is reflected in everything – from our ability to withstand attacks from the outside, to our connection with God, to nature and the animal life around us.

This can explain the Jewish understanding of the messianic era. Many believe that the only major difference between that time and our time is that there will be world peace. On the other hand, the Bible speaks of many miracles that will occur during that time, such as streams emerging where there were deserts and peace between animals like the wolf and the lamb. When we understand what is possible with shalom, we can comprehend how world peace will quite naturally lead to such miracles.

May we all see peace in our lifetimes so that we might live to see the days of the messiah and the blessings that shalom will bring to us all.

Stepping Stone 12: Never give up. Shalom is our destiny. No matter how long it takes, or how hard it is to achieve, we must never stop striving for peace. Whether it is inner peace, peace in our homes, or global peace, peace is possible as long as we never give up.

Hebrew Word of the Day

Hebrew Word Transliteration English Meaning
ברכה Brachot Blessings

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Bible Gateway

 

Buy Now The One Year Holy Land Moments Devotional

Like these devotionals? Ths book collects a complete year of devotional insight by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

 

 

 

EXPERIENCING LIFE TODAY

Taken from Pete’s series Dance Lessons.

Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there’s no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door. — Jerry Seinfeld

Marching is pretty safe. Dancing can be dangerous. I mean, you could trip and fall. Others might point and criticize as you move in new freedoms. It really helps to know that, in Christ, we already have the A. But do we really know this? I mean, is it a deep-down truth in your soul? Paul prayed that it would be!

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)

He clarifies what he prays we will know a couple verses later:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:21-22)

Wow. Talk about a reversal! We once had a big fat F because we were alienated, enemies, and evil. But we tried our hardest and turned things around, right? Nope. We dance freely and safely because of what He did. Oh, the joy of resting in the finished work of Jesus and the ongoing work of His Spirit!

Oh Spirit, give me the knowledge of God’s will, through Your wisdom and understanding, that I will really know that by Jesus’ sacrifice I have an A—that I am holy, without blemish, and free from accusation today and always. Amen.

5 Train Routes in the U.S. You Can’t Ignore

DISCOVERIES

Next time you’re planning to take a vacation, why not invest a bit more time and make the journey part of the adventure? Ditch the airport in favor of traveling by rail and you’ll be surprised at just how much more you’ll see. Here are five train routes in the U.S. you just can’t ignore.

Pacific Surfliner

Del Mar Coastline

If you don’t relish overnighting on the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, how about boarding the 8½ hour, 350-mile Pacific Surfliner instead? Hop on in San Luis Obispo in the morning, and you could be in San Diego by mid-afternoon. But far better to stop off a little on the way. The tracks hug the shoreline for a significant part of the train’s route, so think about whether you want to enjoy ocean views or cityscapes before reserving your seat. Highlights along the way include Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano and of course, the City of Angels itself. Whether you alight to surf the Pacific rollers or wander through the gardens of the old Spanish missions is up to you.

 

White Pass and Yukon Route

Alaska White Pass And Yukon Route Railroad Train

In the 21st century, would we attempt something as costly and time-consuming as to build a railway through an environment as harsh as that found in Alaska and the Yukon? Fortunately for today’s rail enthusiasts, the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s spurred engineers on through impossibly challenging terrain and the harshest of winters. Embark on a short seasonal jaunt through wild Alaska from the port town of Skagway. As the train retraces the original route to White Pass Summit, passengers enjoy the sight of glaciers, gorges and waterfalls with evocative names like Dead Horse Gulch and Inspiration Point from their vintage carriages. You won’t need a passport, but don’t forget your head for heights.

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Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon, USA

This round trip departs from Williams, Arizona, around 65 miles south of the Grand Canyon. At first, it’s hard to marry the dense pine forests that surround the train with the desert colors of the landscape that awaits. Eyes peeled for mountain lions, elk, condors and bald eagles, you’ll reach the popular South Rim a little over two hours later. If you choose to return the same day, you’ll have about four hours to marvel at its beauty; it’s understandably tempting to spend at least a night to more fully appreciate this wondrous natural phenomenon.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Scenic Sunrise Landscape at Oconaluftee

Where do you start when there’s so much to see in the Great Smoky Mountains? A couple of rail tripson offer from Bryson City might just provide the answer. Its most popular departures utilize steam locomotive #1702 and you’ll want a souvenir selfie of this historic engine before climbing aboard. The Tuckasegee River excursion opens up the countryside en route to charming Dillsboro while the Nantahala Gorge excursion follows the Tennessee and Nantahala river valleys across Fontana Lake and through the gorge. These scenic routes take around four hours apiece, making the perfect day trip whichever you choose.

Maple Leaf

Niagara falls between United States of America and Canada.

It’s a nine-hour ride from New York’s Penn station to the tumbling cascades of Niagara but the Maple Leaf’s route is one of the most scenic in the country. Winding its way along the pretty Hudson Valley, you’ll appreciate why so many people choose to commute to Manhattan rather than live in the city. Passing through the state capital Albany and the delightfully named Schenectady, the train turns west to pass through the gorges of the Finger Lakes region. It hugs the border from Buffalo to drop its passengers at Niagara Falls, New York, leaving the train to cross into Canada and on to Toronto, as its name suggests.

Enthusiastic advocate for independent travel and passionate geographer, Julia considers herself privileged to earn a living doing something she loves. When not roaming the globe, you’ll find her windswept but smiling, chatting away to her two dogs as they wander the Essex marshes.

15 Stunning Photos that will Make You Want to Book a Trip to Italy (I was born and raised in Italy).

 

Even in Europe, there are few countries that can boast as many stunning and diverse corners as Italy. The center of culture and art since the BCE days, this boot-shaped country on the Mediterranean has long inspired poets, artists, and travelers from around the world. Each ancient brick, colorful coastal town, and turquoise wave crashing upon its shores is steeped in magic. And that’s just what you see – once you touch upon the other senses, Italy is an overwhelming mix of scents and tastes that will entrap you.

If you can’t make it to Italy this afternoon, enjoy these stunning photos of the country that launched a thousand Instagram posts.

Val d’Orcia

val d'orcia

Nestled in southern Tuscany, Val d’Orcia features the rolling green hills dripping with grapes and spotted with neutral villas. Picturesque doesn’t even begin to cover it, and this UNESCO site will leave you feeling find under the Tuscan sun.

Dolomites Villages

Dolomites Villages

Scattered throughout the towering, rocky Dolomites Mountain range, adventure-seekers can find some of the most charming villages in Italy. Drawing distinct influence from neighboring Switzerland, these towns and villages give off an aura of tranquility, even as the jagged peaks in the background promise grand adventure.

 

Lake Como

lake como

There’s an obvious reason the likes of George Clooney have made their homes in this northern lake region. Pictures just don’t do the sparkling lake, villa-lined shores, and peaceful surrounding mountains justice.

Milan

milan

Often referred to as one of the world’s fashion capitals, this northern Italian city offers much more than runways and shops. Historic corners and stunning architecture abound, tucked in a bustling metropolis.

Amalfi

amalfi

A name synonymous with colorful buildings perched precariously close to a turquoise sea, Amalfi inspires the traveler looking for a quiet retreat. With few attractions, the town instead encourages a relaxed attitude, and you’ll want to do little more than just sit there and look at its spellbinding beauty.

 

Florence

florence

Home to some of the Renaissance’s greatest artwork, Florence defies the notion that a bustling metropolis can’t be pretty. While the towering Duomo church and red-roofed buildings might attract most, it’s the art and history-filled plazas that bring out the heart of the city.

Capri

Capri

If we’re talking photogenic destinations in Italy, there’s no better place to start than the island of Capri. Featuring perfectly-manicured gardens overlooking an impossibly blue sea, Capi oozes elegance and charm.

Sardinia

Sardinia

Of Italy’s many coastal islands, Sardinia is one of the most underrated. Like others, it features turquoise blue perfection and beautiful vistas, but it embodies a series of unique oddities, from 4 million grazing sheep to its own distinct cuisine.

Venice

Venice-Sunset
The entire city of Venice is a whole photo shoot waiting to happen. Each corner is more photogenic than the last, and while the Grand Canal and bustling San Marcos Square may be the most recognizable spots, it’s the hidden corners and narrow canal alleys that entrance visitors.

 

Cinque Terre

cinque terre

The five villages perched along Italy’s northern coast are starting to rival Rome as the nation’s top tourist draw. Each town embodies its own charms, and whether you stick to the harbor of Riomaggiore or hike between them, this area is a worthy addition to your list.

Burano

burano

Colorful and vibrant, the houses in this Venitian island are a photograph waiting to happen. But beyond the brightly-painted facades, this island is world-famous for its lace products and local cookies called “bussolai buranei.”

Civita Di Bagnoregio

Civita Di Bagnoregio

Perched on a mirror-like lake, this hilltop village speaks to Italy’s medieval past. Less well-known than other medieval cities, this city of stone was founded over 2,500 years ago, and remains a hidden gem in the Italian countryside.

Dolomites

Dolomites

Leaving civilization behind might seem difficult in this popular nation, but in the Dolomites, hikers can find true peace. Traversing from Alpine meadows into the craggy grey rocks is not only a challenge, it offers stunning views you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

 

Sicily

Sicily

Strewn with Roman ruins, seaside fortresses, and charming villages, Sicily embodies all the unique features of Italy in one stunning place. Beaches, history, hiking, and tremendous food all make Sicily a true Italian paradise.

Rome

Rome

You can’t leave off Italy’s starring attraction. Rome is home to more recognizable monuments, plazas, and buildings than almost anywhere else in the world. Whether you’re drawn here to walk in the footsteps of Roman gladiators, or to sample the world-class pasta, wine and gelato, the city is teeming with attractions travelers live for.

Since her first trip across the pond Kellie has been a voracious traveler. As the Editor of The Discoverer she is passionate about sharing stories from around the globe and inspiring others to leave their comfort zones. Kellie has her MFA in Creative Writing and in her free time tries (and mostly fails) to cook.

A Beggar’s Request

Anchor

This devotional content is drawn from: Mark 10:46-52

“‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’” Mark 10:51

I get goosebumps reading this story. Here is Bartimaeus, outcast of society, one whom nobody pays attention to except to tell him to hush up. Yet Jesus, surrounded by the mob and His disciples, hears the cry of this blind man. Jesus stops and asks what Bartimaeus wants. He could have asked for food, for money, for clothes. But being tired of going through life blind, ridiculed and despised, he asked for his sight. Jesus simply said, “Go, your faith has healed you.”

Be assured from this story that God is interested in us no matter what our condition. He hears beyond the noise of society to the cries of our heart. Nothing can keep us from Jesus. We can bring all our issues to Him. Out of profound gratitude, we follow Jesus.

You see, it’s not complicated. God desires to hear what’s really on our hearts. Nothing is too big or too small. Bartimaeus was not theologically trained, but he acted on his faith and courage. And just imagine: When his eyes were opened, what is the first thing Bartimaeus saw? Jesus!

INSIGHT:
Never underestimate the compassion of Jesus to walk through life with you.

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