November 20, 2011by Diane Berry
for Woodall’s Family Camping Blog
You may see a rainy day while you are camping as a disappointment. However, that rain can make you enjoy curling up on a couch with a good book. Or perhaps you will choose to spend the day playing games inside the camper and use it as a family bonding experience. Another idea, however, is to outfit the entire with hooded rain ponchos and head out for a hike as the rains begin to fall. Pay close attention to the different sights, sounds and smells of the field or forest covered in a fresh rain bath.
Some people find foggy weather gloomy and depressing, I prefer to see it as mysterious and secretive. If you try, you can learn to appreciate the mysterious silence that is the fog and may even find yourself looking forward to getting lost in it. Marvel at how you can only see a short distance in front of you and that many things just seem to disappear before your eyes…
And, is there anything that makes a toasty fire more delicious than a bitter cold north wind and sharp biting ice crystals hitting you in the face? We almost have to experience weather like that to truly appreciate its opposite—a crackling fire in a cozy room with a comfy chair and a window for you to watch outside. We can learn to appreciate these days for the pleasures they help us to enjoy. Likewise, we can enjoy the time spent outside in weather like that, whether it is attending to pets, accomplishing other outside chores or engaging in a cold weather sport, such as snowmobiling or skiing, for the experience awaiting us at the end.
If the thought of snow, in general,makes you cringe because of the shoveling you have to look forward to, think back to a favorite snowfall from your past, perhaps your childhood. I remember a time when I was in college and we lived in an apartment across the road from a gravel pit. One of the small pits they had dug had filled with water and become a pond. Every winter, the pond would freeze over and we would grab our ice skates and head out there as soon as the workers would leave. I have wonderful memories of skating there at dusk on a weekday afternoon when large, fat snowflakes were falling and landing on the ice and my eyelashes. This memory never fails to put me at peace and help me to appreciate even look forward to our next snowfall.
The one thing you can count on in a Wisconsin November is the color gray. In my work as a therapist, I see more people coming more depressed than any other time of the year. Even people who are not diagnosed with depression!
When I complain to my weather-loving husband, my cross-country skier husband says “I just look at November as the predecessor to a winter full of snow!” He walks around the house actually excited that the skies are gray. Even his persistent enthusiasm cannot lighten my mood so if anyone has other ideas about how to appreciate November, I would love to hear them.
And, finally, remember, it’s weather. In most places, if you give it an hour or two, unless you’re talking November in Wisconsin, it will change anyway! For more information about camping, browse additional camping  articles at Woodall’s main site.
reprinted with permission
November 14, 2011by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA
On the other hand, logical reasoning is useful, it should be highly valued, and “critical thinking must be a part of every Christian classroom if we are to maintain our integrity” (“Critical Thinking and the Christian Perspective” by Wendy Dutton, Thomas Hart and Rebecca Patten). For living by faith as a Christian, one useful approach is to combine critical thinking — “the art of taking charge of your own mind [which is valuable because]… if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives” with Christian thinking: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect” (Romans 12:2-3).
Christian thinking requires that we take on the mind of Christ. This is done by learning and understanding the Bible, having a Holy Spirit empowered prayer life, longing for community with other Believers, and ministry that is modeled after Christ’s example which was motivated by love. If our theology and Christian lifestyle is based solely on the aspiration of spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, then we miss an important part of our createdness as image-bearers of God.
In the New American Standard Bible, the word “think” is found 39 times in 37 verses which is an indication that thinking is a part of our existence that God did not intend for us to ignore. Not to mention, we are exhorted if not commanded to study (Ezra 7:10), teach (2 Timothy 2:2), learn (Ephesians 5:10), and examine (Acts 17:11) the scriptures which requires the process of critical thinking in order to train the mind to see the world through the lens of the Bible.
Perhaps the most important reason for Christians to think is this: it is the way we think that influences our actions and develops our character. Our thought processes defines who we really are; therefore it is imperative that we think the way our mouths profess us to be.
Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:2 to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” is not a one time occurrence it is a daily renewal through the study and meditation of the Word of God. That is the way it happens. That is how we learn not only to think but to think as God does.
My dad says, “If you’re not feeding yourself with the Bible all the time, you will be thinking like the world.” In our age of experiential churches and postmodern culture, I would like to amend this quote this way: “If you are not feeding yourself with the Bible, you won’t be thinking at all.”
Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor
November 6, 2011by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late Romans 12:2 Paul challenged the church at Rome with these words, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This challenge applies to Christians living in the 21st century as much as it did to the church at Rome. Our reading materials and TV certainly appeal to all of us to conform to the patterns of this world. The challenge to us is not to yield to that appeal but to seek to renew our minds through filtering out what we allow our minds to absorb.
Earlier in Romans 8 Paul reminded the early church that our sinful nature has our minds set on what that nature desires and is hostile to God. However, as Christians we are admonished to live in accordance with the Spirit and have our minds set on what the Spirit desires.
How do we do that? One of the most effective ways is to spend time in the Bible where we can learn of Christ’s own words and those of the Apostles, memorizing many of them. This will enable the Holy Spirit to recall these to our minds when we need them.
Another way is to control what goes into our minds. The old saying regarding computers applies here: garbage in, garbage out. This takes self-control that we are admonished many times in the Bible to practice (2 Peter 1:5-9).
So, if you wish to renew your mind, take an inventory of what type of material you are reading or watching on TV. Spend more time in the Bible and practicing self-control. Memorize Philippians 4:8 for starters.John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]