God’s Treasure

Pentecost

 Jewish people commemorate the giving of the Law in the Old Testament on the Feast of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover.  It is still a holiday in Israel, and celebrated by Jewish people around the world.  It is one of seven feasts they honor throughout the year.  I remember discussing Pentecost in a Sunday school class at a Protestant denomination over 40 years ago while I was in Junior High.  We read in the New Testament how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles as they spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem.  I did not give much thought at the time what it meant to Jewish believers.  I just knew it as the day God poured out His Spirit into the world.

            This morning I attended a Protestant worship whose liturgy included readings and a lesson concerning Pentecost as written about in the Book of Acts.  Many in attendance had worn red articles of clothing symbolic of the Holy Spirit.  I had taken with me a small burgundy red blanket to drape over my shoulders during communion.  My way of inviting the Holy Spirit into my life; into my heart.  The readings and lesson reflected on the new law that Christ had brought into the world, a law within our hearts. The written law that the Jews had observed for centuries was not to be ignored but a new law as witnessed by Christ had been ushered in.  One that fulfilled the old law so to speak because all the hopes, purposes, intentions and directions that the old law tried to accomplish in bringing the Jewish people into relation with God were brought to greater meaning with the sacrifice of Christ.  God’s desire for his people, the Jews, to be in relation with him had been initiated with the writings of the Old Testament prophets.  After Christ death and resurrection, seven weeks later on the day of Pentecost, all peoples of the world were invited into God’s Kingdom.  Christ promised his apostles he would send his Spirit into the world to those who believed in him.  Long before Christ lived this had actually been prophesied in the Old Testament in the Book of Joel.

            “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy.  Your old men will dream dreams.  Young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even of servants, men and women alike.”

                                                                Joel 2: 28-29

            The little blanket I took with me to the assembly of believers has some small words embroidered towards one of the corners that reads “Freedom is Not Free.” My Father-in-Law gave the blanket to my wife because he received it as a gift for giving to an organization to help wounded Veterans.  He gives to a lot of charities so he receives a lot of thank you gifts.  I like the little blanket because it not only reminds me of the sacrifice that our Veterans have made for our freedom, but it reminds me of the price our Savior paid for our freedom from sin. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day to commemorate those of our nation who died in our wars.  That blanket will be used again tomorrow.  I also use it many times each week in devotional time as I remind myself of the sacrifice others have made for me, including the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus who won the war over Satan and his Kingdom.   

God’s Treasure

Monument Valley

   The stark monoliths rising out of the expansive desert vista have often been a backdrop in Western films.  I love the rugged mountainous views offered in such movies.  It is not the majestic beauty of Norway’s fiords or Montana’s Glacier Park, but it has an awesome, that is awe inspiring beauty.  I have visited the pretty mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, as well as the rugged mountains of West Texas not far from where I live.  Most people do not realize there are mountains in West Texas, but there are.  The expansive landscapes are also present, but not the distinct monoliths.  One has to travel to either Arizona or Utah to see such stark beauty.  That is just what I did.

            I spent a number of weeks researching my game plan: that is my trip itinerary.  The planning was fun with anticipation as I had always wanted to venture on a journey to see Monument Valley in northeastern Arizona.  My wife left the planning to me and although she was a bit uneasy with the remoteness of our destination, she was open to the upcoming experience.

            We flew to Vegas, rented a car, and immediately set out on our trek.  First stop was the Grand Canyon.  It had snowed a few days previously so the park was not crowded at all.  The wind was chilly but the view was compelling in sheer size of the natural gorge.  Next, we headed for Monument Valley.  We stayed on the Navajo reservation in the View Motel.  It overlooked Monument Valley.  An awesome sunset and sunrise awaits all who stay at this very affordable hotel.  Many of John Ford’s Westerns were filmed in the very vicinity of the View Motel.  A room in the motel highlights these films as well as John Wayne’s many visits to the Navajo lands.  He called the area, “God’s Treasure.”  I do not argue with that opinion.

Valley of the Gods in Utah

 

 

           The next morning we drove through a remote rugged area in southeastern Utah called the “Valley of the Gods.”  The isolated 17 mile dirt road traverses among steep red sandstone monoliths and buttes.  Not as stark as Monument Valley but very quiet.  We saw three other cars in two hours.  That afternoon shortly up the road we visited Natural Bridges National Monument.  The short hikes, just right in length, to view a half dozen of nature’s stone bridges created by an ancient river offered distinct beautiful scenery.  The park is also very isolated and therefore not crowded.  It was my wife’s favorite park on the trip, and many more were to follow.  Next, we headed for eastern Utah and visited Arches National Park just outside Moab.  Arches look like bridges but are formed differently than bridges.  They are both rare and both beautiful in my opinion. 

Arches National Park

 

 

           

      

 

 

 

              

An interesting park we visited one afternoon in south central Utah was called Goblin State Park.  The unique rock red formations ranging in height from 8 to 40 feet were shaped liked either
mushrooms or goblins.  This park off the beaten path was very worth the time.  That night we stayed in a lodge nestled among the red hills of Utah.  We were the only ones in the lodge and were
warmly treated.  The following day we drove through forestry snow covered mountains with desert expanse from the  scenic overlooks.  The views could allow one to see for hundreds of miles.  My
wife loves forests.  We ended the day at the spectacular beauty of Bryce National Canyon.

 

The following day we leisurely enjoyed Zion National Park before heading back to Vegas to fly out the next morning.  All in all, an excellent trip:  good weather, beautiful scenery with open roads.  My
wife is an excellent traveling companion, and I was glad she had a good time.  I always enjoy her company, especially when we experience God’s Treasure together.  I look forward to our next excursion.

 

 

 

Goblin Valley State Park

 

Bryce Canyon National Park