Lessons from Letchworth

Our favorite place to enjoy the autumn colors is Letchworth State Park. It is located in western New York state approximately an hour from our home. I want to share a few lessons I learned from the Lord while recently visiting this scenic wonderland.

Letchworth State Park covers 14,500 acres. It is the largest canyon east of the Mississippi River and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. It is massive! As I survey the height and depth of this canyon and gaze at the tremendous trees, I am reminded of Ephesians 3:17-18. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

We are embedded in beauty. The accumulation of crunchy brown leaves on the ground creates a mattress. As our eyes survey the fall foliage forest on the banks of the canyon, a multicolored patchwork quilt is displayed.

Let me describe this brilliant quilt of colorful leaves. There is an abundance of yellow and gold. Gold is both a color and a commodity. I Peter 1:7 NKJV says, “the genuineness of your faith, is much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Orange swatches are outstanding. The orange leaves remind me of flames of fire. Tongues of fire describe the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:3. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Patches of green are intermingled. Evergreen trees and everlasting life. I John 2:25 says, “And this is what He promised us–eternal life. The reds are not as abundant but still evident. The red leaves are precious similar to the preciousness of Jesus’ blood. I John 1:7 NLT tells us, “the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.Beautiful colors are exhibited and powerful scriptures are interwoven in nature’s quilt.

Although we are captivated by the beauty of the trees, we also watch the Genesee River wind its way along the bottom of this gorgeous gorge. I am reminded of John’s words in Revelation 22:1-2. “Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.The source of the spiritual River of Life is God’s throne. Nature’s Genesee River is a tributary of Lake Ontario and it flows through the park.

Letchworth State Park features three large waterfalls – the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. There was in abundance of water flowing from these falls this year. John 7:37-39 says, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

We were enveloped in a mist of water vapor while standing near the Middle Falls. Suddenly, we saw a rainbow! Water droplets and rays of sun combined to create a bow of colors. God says in Genesis 9:13&16, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. I praise the Lord for His beauty and His promises!

We lingered at various overlooks taking in the magnificent overview of the canyon. We also lingered in the Lord’s presence. Throughout the day, He revealed multiple meandering messages. Let me continue to share a few more mini-messages.

When we stopped at the overlooks to get a better view, we saw a few burning bushes. Moses encountered a burning bush while taking care of sheep. Exodus 3:2-5 says, “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’” I felt like we were standing on holy ground while being consumed with the scenic surroundings.

We observed the massive rock formations creating the canyon’s walls. Time for another scripture. Psalm 118:22 says, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is the rock, the sure foundation of our lives.

There was an abundance of sunshine throughout the day. The sunshine accentuated the beauty of autumn. I use a play on words while thinking of Jesus as the Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus is our Sonshine. He is with us throughout every day because according to Hebrews 13:5 He never leaves us or forsakes us.

Psalm 96:12 declares, “Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.Today, we have heard the joyful song of the trees in Letchworth State Park. We have sung our praises along with the forest. We have experienced the grandeur of the Grand Canyon of the East and the greatness of our God!



A Burning Bush for Moses and Me



burning-bush-with-moese-2 Last week on a sunny autumn afternoon I went for a walk in our neighborhood. A burning bush with brilliant red leaves captured my attention. When I got home I decided to read about Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3. Then I made some comparisons.

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire
from within a bush.
Moses saw that though the bush was
on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought,
“I will go over and see this strange sight—
why the bush does not burn up.”
Exodus 3:2-3

The bright red appearance of the euonymus alatus planting attracted my attention and the bush that appeared to be burning but not burning up caught the attention of Moses. The Lord often speaks to me through the nearness of nature. Today, I believe God wanted me to see His presence in the beauty of a specific shrub. However, I am suspicious that He has more to impart to me.

God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 3:4

Although I did not hear the audible voice of God from my burning bush, I believe Moses did hear God calling to him. I wonder if I am attuned enough to the Lord to be able to hear Him calling me by name. Moses gave a positive response to the Lord. Am I ready and willing to answer with the words “Here I am” if I were to hear His voice? Was the Lord trying to say something special to me when I stopped to look at the vibrant bush this afternoon?

Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals,
for the place
where you are standing is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:5

The holiness of God was evident when God asked Moses to take off his sandals. I, too, must remove anything from my life that might hinder my relationship with the Lord if I want to experience His presence. God is sovereign and I must approach Him with respect and sincerity. I need to alter my attitude to be able to approach the altar of God and worship Him.

Not only was God speaking to Moses through the bush that appeared to be on fire, but God pointed out to Moses that the surrounding ground was holy. God and Moses were in the Lord’s sanctuary of nature that day long ago, and so was I in God’s natural sanctuary this afternoon. I want to see and treat all of creation as holy ground.  I want to see the supernatural in the natural.

And God said, “I will be with you.”
Exodus 3:12

Throughout the remainder of Exodus 3 and 4, the Lord unveils to Moses a task He has for him to do. However, the first thing God did was to reassure Moses that he was not alone. God affirmed this fact by showing Himself in a bush that appeared to be on fire. I believe that God enjoys taking ordinary things and using them for His extraordinary purposes. I wonder what ordinary thing in my life God wants to use for His greater purposes. Is He trying to divulge more to me than simply the beauty of a burning bush? Moses’ encounter with God was the beginning of a new season in his life. For me, I see the changing colors of the euonymus alatus shrub at the beginning of the autumn season. Does God want to begin a new season in my life as well?

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM….
“This is my name forever.
Exodus 3:14-15

I think these two phrases are the most important words God spoke to Moses. He revealed himself as the great I AM. When God says “I am that I am,” He is saying “I am everything and anything that you will ever need.”  I like the name I AM for God because this name allows me to fully know Him. I can take the name I AM and complete a sentence by defining God in a specific way. For example, I can hear God saying to me, “I AM your provider” or “I AM your healer” or “I AM your redeemer” or whatever my need may be at that time.

God also assured Moses that His name never changes. His name didn’t change for Moses and it doesn’t change for me. The colors of my burning bush may change, but God never changes. During some seasons of my life, the Lord’s presence may be more vibrant and vital to me than at other times, but He is always with me.

The Lord used a burning bush to get the attention of Moses many years ago and this afternoon He used a burning bush to attract my attention. Thank you, Lord, for seeking me out and speaking to me while I was an ordinary walk. Lord, you turned my ordinary into Your extraordinary through Your presence. So, now, may the fire of a bush set me on fire for You, O Lord!

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Creation in the Canadian Rockies (People)






Last week I shared about the beauty of nature we experienced while on our trip to the Canadian Rockies. This week I am reflecting upon the people who comprised our group of travelers. We enjoyed the beauty of the people as well as the beauty of nature during our ten-day motor coach tour. God is our Creator whether I think in terms of the natural wonders of the world He created or the people He created who live within His world. While reading Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, I realized that our group was a personification Paul’s description of love in I Corinthians 13.  Our group exemplified love in several ways.

Love is patient, love is kind
I Corinthians 13:4a

One of the things that impressed me most about the people of our group was that everyone was always courteous and punctual. Everyone was considerate of those around them. For example, when getting on and off the motor coach, there was no squeezing into line ahead of someone else. However, if one person needed to get ahead of another person, there was no problem to accommodate their need.

(Love) is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant
I Corinthians 13:4b

One of the ways we became acquainted with each other was sitting together around a table sharing a meal. The topics of conversation were significant to me. No one boasted of job or financial success. No one had an “I am better than you” or “Look at me” attitude. Primarily, the discussions were directed toward other travel experiences or life experiences in general.

(Love) does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own,
I Corinthians 13:5a

Everyone was friendly. We were able to talk with anyone at anytime. When my husband and I would go to breakfast, we would be happy to share a table with two, four or six other people. There was one gentleman who was traveling alone and if two or three couples were together and this man came by, we always asked the hostess to add an extra seat at the table so he would not be alone. On the other hand, if a particular group of people wanted to be by themselves for some reason, their wish was respected as well.

(Love) is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
I Corinthians 13:5b

Although I am not aware of any specific instance, there were probably some words spoken or actions done occasionally by individuals that were inconsiderate of another person within our group. This happens because we are all human and we all make unintentional mistakes. If something of this nature happened, it was not evident to me. This makes me think that if a person was offended for some reason, he or she was not provoked to the point of making it known to the whole group. If someone was wronged, he or she must have been quick to forgive because I never heard any gossip about something of this nature.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

I believe faith, hope and love abounded within our tour group. Before we left on our trip, I had prayed that the Lord would place us with the people He wanted us to spend significant time with during these ten days. As we left our hotel room the first evening to go to the welcome dinner, we noticed another couple coming down the hall from the opposite direction. Our first conversation with John and Margaret began in the elevator as we asked each other if they were part of the Canadian Rockies tour. Yes, we were! That was the beginning of a special friendship for the week, and we continue to be in touch today. While sharing one of many conversations over the next ten days, Marge and I found out that both of us had prayed for a special couple with whom to spend time. Our Christian faith was a common bond between the four of us. God’s love was evident.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1
God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Our trip consisted of natural wonders of God’s creation and people who were God’s creation. As well as there being a unique beauty in each geographical site we visited, there was a unique beauty in each person with whom we shared our adventures. I commented last week that I sensed each location of the Canadian Rockies we encountered revealed an aspect of God’s nature to me. This week I want to emphasize that each person with whom we shared the trip reflected particular aspects of the character of God as well. The Hand of God is in the midst of all creation. He reveals His character and nature through all He has created. In nature, God’s character is exhibited through an outward beauty while with people, His attributes are affirmed through their inward beauty. He places bits and pieces of Himself within all of His works whether it involves the formation of land and water or the personalities of men and women.

People are important to God. People are important to me. I want to experience God in everything and everyone who surrounds me. There are times when I get so busy that I do not take time to be aware of God’s presence. When I had the privilege of going on a vacation and getting away from the busyness of life, I sensed His nearness and beauty more acutely. Every mountain and lake we saw was diverse in shape and size and color. Each person we interacted with had a unique personality. No two people were alike whether by appearance or by personality. However, each and every thing and person originated with God. We are all made in His image. We all reflect His glory.

I take time today to ask myself if I will allow my eyes to see Christ in each and every person I encounter within the next eight to ten hours. I also take time to evaluate my actions and interactions to see if others see Christ in me. While pondering these questions, one line of a hymn keeps singing in my heart, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me!” This hymn was written by Rev. Tom Jones and the complete verse of it is as follows: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. All His wonderful passion and purity. O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”

My Reader, how about you? Do you see Christ in others? Do others see Christ in you?


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