The Heights of the Mountains Are His Also

Psalm 95:1-6 – Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

2014-01-13 - The Heights of the Mountains Are His Also (IMG_8368)Early morning view of St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park, Montana.

There are really no words to add, other than to say, praise God our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer!!

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

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

Rivers of Living Water

John 7:37-42 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

2014-01-10 - Rivers of Living Water (IMG_8028)The waters of Reynolds Creek cascade over the rocks just above Deadwood Falls. Glacier National Park, Montana.

I think there are times that we, as Christians in the present day, imagine how wonderful it would have been to walk and talk with Jesus during his life here on earth.  We think to ourselves, if only we could have seen him perform just one of his miracles, how much easier it would be for us to believe.  Not that knowing Christ in the flesh would have been a bad thing, in fact I am sure it had to be an incredible experience.  However, as believers today we have some very significant advantages, or should I say blessings.

First of all we have the full story laid out in front of us in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation and everything in between.  As today’s passage indicates some who encountered Jesus realized he was special, that he was quite possibly “the Prophet,” or “the Christ,” foretold by the prophets of old.  Still, others questioned it because they assumed he came from Galilee, while Scriptures said he was to be a descendant of David from the town of Bethlehem.  Many, I am sure witnessed his miracles, but there were also many who did not.  None of them, though, had the written word of the Gospels to tell them the full narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.  They could not just pull a Bible off their bookshelf and compare the prophecies of the Old Testament to the detailed accounts in the four Gospels like we can.  What a blessing!

Another advantage we have is the interpretive comments we often find in the Gospels.  When Jesus says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,’” I suspect this would have been a difficult saying for many in his day to understand.  For us though, John immediately tells us, “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  For us there is no guesswork.  What a blessing!

Last but not least, we have the advantage of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  For those in Jesus day, “as yet the Spirit had not been given.”  But for the believer today, as we read in Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”  Those who believed in Jesus day could look forward to receiving the Holy Spirit.  For believers today, we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” from the start.  What a Blessing!

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

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

How Beautiful Are the Feet

Romans 10:13-18 – For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

2014-01-06 - How Beautiful Are the Feet (IMG_8226)Taking a break and enjoying the view after the long hike up to Iceberg LakeGlacier National Park, Montana.

Though the nature of my blog tends to focus on how God reveals himself to us through his creation, we also need to be reminded that we are called to a mission of evangelism.  As Jesus command his disciples in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation,” so too are we called to proclaim the gospel to the world.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This is the good news, the gospel, that Christians have been blessed to know and believe.  It is also a message that needs to be shared in order for it to be effective.  Today’s passage reminds us that the only way others will hear of Christ, believe in him, and actually be able to call on his name and be saved, is if there are “preachers” who are sent.

When Paul writes about “those who preach the good news” I doubt that he is only referring to the ordained ministers who get up in front of a congregation every Sunday to preach a sermon.  I am certain that Christ’s imperative in Mark 16:15 to, “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel,” was not just a one-time command that applied only to the disciples.

As Christians we are all sent to proclaim, to preach, the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost world.  Our mission field could be as close as the house next door or as far away as “the ends of the world.”  The next person to “call on the name of the Lord” could be a co-worker in the cubicle across the hall or an orphan in some distant land.  But, whatever your calling may be, make sure that yours are some of those beautiful feet.

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

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

He Went Up On the Mountain to Pray

Mark 6:45-47 – Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

2013-12-30 - He Went Up On the Mountain to Pray (IMG_7683)The setting sun highlights the mountains over St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island.  Glacier National Park, Montana.

This short passage forms a transition between the accounts of two of Jesus’ miracles, feeding the five thousand from only five loaves of bread and two fish, and his walking on water.  As such, it is easily overlooked.  While these two miracles are often mentioned for their clear demonstration of Christ’s divinity, this transitional passage, highlights the fullness of his humanity.

Despite being the one who created the mountains and the sea, Christ was also a man and he still needed time away from the crowds to rest and go to his Father in prayer. “And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.”  This simple verse gives such a vivid picture of our Savior’s own need for retreat, and is an example we would all do well to heed.

For me there is no better time than being in the great outdoors (mountains preferred, but optional) away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, to reflect on the greatness of our Lord, to seek him in prayer, and to listen for his voice in the peace and quiet of his amazing creation.

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

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