By: John Houchens
My first encounter with the Appalachian Trail was the spring of 1969. I was 10, and it was an overnight trip to Dragon's Tooth in southwest Virginia. I grew up a stone's throw from the trail and spent my childhood years in its shadow. It was not uncommon to make last minute decisions for a day hike to McAfee's Knob, Humpback Rock, or Mount Rogers. Sometimes things convenient and accessible and easy are taken for granted. But even though the Appalachian Trail was all of those things to me, I never took it for granted. It inspires, motivates, and challenges me. Always has. Always will.
There is a richness to the trail. The breadth of flora and fauna is staggering. The geology is fascinating. The micro-climates are numerous. You see amazing things: Sunrises that pierce the morning fog like beams of light at a laser show. Sunsets that defy the color palette. Waking up to hoar frost clinging to every single branch on every tree on every ridge that makes you think you are in a world made of glass. It's hard to hike the trail and not see the God of the universe in all His grandeur and awesomeness.
But the most amazing thing I ever saw on the trail was in 1985...
This month, we thought it'd be nice to focus on the power of prayer before we get into April's prayer requests.
My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. John 17:9
If ever we feel weak or alone in the work to which God has called us, we can turn to John 17 and read Jesus' prayer. It is a prayer for us—for all believers—and the Son of God does not have unanswered prayers. His will is one with the Father's and His prayers are accomplished. Dwell on this encouraging thought: if you belong to the Father through faith in the Son, the Son is praying for you even now. (from: 365 Pocket Devotions)...
Enjoy a free video session from Detour: Finding Purpose When Life Doesn't Make Sense by Phil Tuttle.
Joseph & His Heart: Joseph's losses, successes, and ultimate reconciliation with his family are some of the most relevant lessons the Bible gives us. They show us a heart that is able to absorb enormous pain and come out stronger and godlier than before. In Joseph's story, we see a beautiful model of the kind of forgiveness and healing that are possible. Those who are able to follow that model will find restoration in ways that only God can provide.