Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rough Places

           "I will...make the rough places smooth" Isaiah 42:16

Here you see me walking through a vast field of lava rocks.  Thankfully, someone has paved a path through the tumbled rocks and made the rough place smooth -- otherwise I'd either not be able to walk through this field, or it would be exceedingly treacherous and extremely slow-going.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them" Isaiah 42:16.

Aren't you thankful for all those who have gone before us in this journey of faith -- saints who have made a lot of rough places smooth -- sometimes at the cost of their own lives?

I think of Martin Luther, who way back in 1517, took a big risk by standing up against unbiblical practices of the Catholic church.  He knew it was wrong to sell forgiveness, which only God can give and He gives it freely, so Luther made a stand.  As a result he was tried, found guilty and excommunicated, but more importantly -- the Protestant Reformation was begun and our road to freedom of true biblical religion was begun.

Even before Martin Luther made a stand for gospel truth, a man named John the Baptist shook the status quo of the religious community of his day.  He preached repentance through faith in the Savior Messiah and salvation by way of grace rather than works of the law.  The Jewish landscape of that day was a rocky field of laws and hypocrisy, but John himself said he was "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him...The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.  And all mankind will see God's salvation'" Luke 3:4-5.

When we look at the saints listed in Hebrews 11, we see men and women who are basically just like you and me.  They were considered by our heavenly Father as examples for us to follow.  None of them was perfect and all of them had struggles, yet God cherishes every one of them -- just as He cherishes you and me.  These men and women glorified God and smoothed out the path in their little corner of the world and ended by making enough impact to be listed on the pages of scripture for the whole world to see. 

How about us?  Are we glorifying God in our little corner of the world?  Are we helping to make rough places smooth for generations to come?  I love the song by Steve Green that says, "May all who come behind us find us faithful; may the fire of our devotion light their way.  May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe and the lives we live inspire them to obey." 

History is full of stories of men and women who helped make our 2014 way smooth as far as religious freedom and the knowledge of the Truth is concerned.  I shudder to think what the future might hold along this path and how many rocks and roadblocks may spring up, but this I know, God will always make a way and He has promised not to forsake us.  He can and will use you and me to complete His purposes.

I used this same photo in February 2013 with an entirely different message and didn't realize I was using it again until I looked back at some posts and saw it.  This is just one of those examples of how God is constantly using bits and pieces of His creation to offer messages to us on a daily basis -- sometimes from the same bit of creation He used before.  I've no doubt this path through the volcano fields at Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho holds a number of truths God wants us to see.  Try your hand at coming up with what you see in this photo.  Ask God to show you a message geared specifically to your own needs.  May God bless you today!

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