Equipped for Every Good Work

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2014-01-30 - Equipped for Every Good Work (IMG_8155)The key to being properly equipped for our Christian walk.

If you plan to hike in remote areas, away from civilization where cell phone service is non-existent, or sketchy, at best, it is a good idea to be equipped to handle any situation you might encounter.  In addition to food, water, and extra clothing (weather and season dependent), some of the gear I typically carry, either on my person or in my backpack includes:  a knife (or three), a fire starting kit, a map and compass (even though I carry a GPS unit, it is unreliable in deep valleys with heavy tree cover, and useless when the batteries die), a well-stocked first aid kit, a headlamp and spare batteries, 55 gallon drum liners (emergency shelter or rain cover), rope or paracord, duct tape (many uses, including fire starting), and last, but not least, my Bible.  I have a few other odds and ends in my backpack, but this gives you an idea of some things to consider.

Of course carrying all this gear does you no good if you do not know how to use it.  For example, a topographic map is just a confusing mess of squiggly lines if you do not understand how to read it, and navigating with a compass is not a trivial task if you have never used one before.  Starting a fire is not nearly as easy as you might think, especially in an emergency situation or under adverse conditions.  And, finally, having some basic first aid training and skills practice will make a big difference when you open that first aid kit to treat an injury out on the trail.

In the Bible God has provided us the means to prepare for the situations we will face in our Christian walk, so that we “may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  But, how useful will our Bibles be to us if they sit on the shelf gathering dust?  How much will we profit from the wisdom and teaching of the Almighty God of the universe if we never take the time to study and apply his word in our daily life?  How well equipped will we be if the texts from a Sunday sermon are our only exposure to God’s word?  It takes time, effort, and perseverance to gain a solid understanding of the truths of Scripture.  And, just like wilderness survival skills, you have to practice and train regularly with God’s word to be able to apply it most effectively in times of need.

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

Rising Very Early

Mark 1:35 – And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

2013-12-17 - Rising Very Early (IMG_0350)Early morning, “blue hour” photograph, waiting for the sun to rise over the lake.  Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio.

If you are into outdoor photography or have read any books or articles on the subject, you have probably encountered the term “golden hour,” and possibly “blue hour.” Simply stated, the golden hour refers to the warm, glowing quality of light in the hours just after sunrise and just before sunset which make for much better photography than the harsher light of mid-day.  The “blue hour,” while perhaps not quite as well known a term, refers to the periods just before sunrise and just after sunset, where the cooler blue tones tend to be more dominant, which are also better times for photography than mid-day.

I enjoy photographing sunrises and sunsets for a couple of reasons.  First, there is simply the sheer beauty of it all.  From pale pastels of pink, violet, and blue, to bold reds, yellows, and oranges and just about everything in between, the colors change continuously over the course of a single sunrise or sunset, transforming even an ordinary landscape into a spectacular sight; God’s majesty and artistry are so clearly on display.  The second reason is the peace and quiet I find at these times of day, but particularly at sunrise.  Except for the avid fishermen or hunters, depending on the time of year, there are not too many people up and out before the sun.  Even the most dedicated hikers usually don’t hit the trail until at least a little while after sunrise.  And, of course, the picnickers rarely show up until near lunchtime.

I do not often have the opportunity to get out early in the morning to do sunrise photography, it is only a hobby after all, but I still enjoy this time of day and find it to be the best time for me to go to the Lord in prayer and spend some quality time in his word.  It is a time of solitude, before all the busyness and business of life come blasting in, a time when the house is quiet and my thoughts are still uncluttered by the cares and concerns of the day.

As this single verse from the Gospel of Mark tells us, Jesus also took time away early in the morning to go to his Father in prayer.  I don’t think there is much speculation involved in saying that he probably chose this time of day intentionally, and for many of the same reasons, the peace and quiet, the lack of interruptions, and a clear mind after a good night’s sleep.  Christ in his humanity, and despite his divinity and perfection, still needed to get away, he still needed time alone to converse with his Father.  So we, in our fallen and sinful state, surely need these times far more than Christ did!

Early mornings may not be best for everyone, whether due to inclination or situation; however, I would urge you to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, himself, and find a time and place that you can get away and go to our Heavenly Father in prayer, to study your Bible and reflect on what he is telling you through his word.  Whether it is a few minutes or an hour alone with the Lord each day, taking time away from the noise and clutter of everyday life will benefit your walk with Christ more than you can imagine.

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.