A Human God

December 18, 2013

Devotion for Monday, December 16, 2013

Read Luke 2:41–52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:52

 

In “Gods Like Us”, author Ty Burr examines how Hollywood makes movie stars and how the public responds to them. Marilyn Monroe, for example, symbolized beauty for many people, which meant they could never imagine her having bad breath. Contrary to our intention, we do not honor people when we turn people into symbols, for we forget their essential humanity and who they really are.It’s important then to note that Jesus doesn’t symbolize salvation. He is redemption itself. He is not a concept or ideal or value. Scripture shows us that to truly honor Christ we must know His humanity.

Luke begins his Gospel with grand themes, angelic appearances, and a miraculous birth. Now he shifts focus and reminds us of the basic ordinariness of Jesus’ life. We see that Joseph and Mary were observant Jews, taking time to travel to Jerusalem for Passover (v. 42). We identify with their terror Viagra Online at losing their son for three days and easily understand Mary’s frustration (v. 48).

Jesus shows early inklings of His own identity and mission with His reply in verse 49. In fact, Luke uses a Greek construction, the word dei which means “it is necessary,” and he repeats this at crucial points throughout Jesus’ ministry (i.e., 4:43; 9:22; 19:5; 24:7). In some sense,  Jesus’ wisdom derived from the fact that He is the Word of God (John 1:1).

But Luke ends this story reminding us that Jesus was a normal young boy. He obeyed His parents (v. 51). The wisdom He attained did not come fully formed at birth; His wisdom grew as did His stature. Approximately twenty years pass before we read of any other event in Jesus’ life—twenty years of regular life that the Father used to form His Son.

 
 
This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
 
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Ministry At NASCAR

August 25, 2013

August 21, 2013 by raceway

If you’ve been to a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway in northeast Tennessee, you’ve probably seen them.

They give out water and cookies; they drive golf carts and vans and help people get around; they hand out Bibles and religious tracts; they hold pre-race church services at 15 campgrounds that surround the speedway.

Bristol Raceway Ministries’ hundreds of volunteers are at every race. They come from more than half a dozen Christian denominations and some 50 churches – motivated by a simple desire to share their faith, the Kingsport Times-News reported

“There’s a large percentage of NASCAR fans that don’t go to church anywhere,” said David Wilson, director of the ministry. “We take the church to them.”

The ministry began in the early 1990s, when a group from a local Bristol church held a service at the All-American Campgrounds near the speedway, Wilson said. That group, which came from Virginia Avenue Baptist Church in Bristol, Va., got together with another local church group, and Bristol Raceway Ministries was born.

Over two decades, it has grown from a simple sermon to a coordinated operation of more than 300 volunteers serving in more than a dozen different capacities, both inside and outside of the track, on race weekend.

“We do it because we love the Lord and we want to share His love with all the people, and we want to help the people that come to Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Wilson, who does volunteer work for the ministry year-round and also serves as pastor of El Shaddai Baptist Church in Bristol, Va.

“It’s just a blessing to be able to work there and to have the people come to us and have the speedway trust us enough to help them with what we do there.”

All-American-Campground

A portion of the All-American Campground at the Bristol Motor Speedway (in background) during a 2007 race. The Bristol Raceway Ministries was born Buy Viagra at this campground in the early 1990s and continues to serve thousands of race fans.

He said there have been many stories over the years of people whose lives were changed. During last year’s two races alone, 71 people came to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

“One fellow came to me as I was working in the track, the very first race I worked in 2006, and he came up to me and started talking to me about everything that was going on in his life,” Wilson said. “I began to listen to what was going on, and I was able to share Christ with him, and he was able to know Christ in just 30 minutes of talking there on the concourse, under the stands.”

He recalls another man who accepted Christ as his savior during a campground service – and for years came back to that campground on race day to hear the sermon being preached.

In the big family atmosphere that exists among fans who come back year after year, he said, people who’ve been reached through the ministry’s Sunday services often invite their friends – whether longtime campground buddies or new race-week neighbors.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to share what Christ has done and, in doing that, we have made friends that will last for lifetimes,” Wilson said.

“We are what we are because of Jesus Christ, and we do what we do because he didn’t just love us; he loves everybody. We have the opportunity at the major races to minister to sometimes 300,000 people in a weekend. God brings the mission field to us, and it’s our job and our responsibility as His children to go onto that mission field, and that’s what we do.”

To find out more about Bristol Raceway Ministries, visit http://www.bristolracewayministries.org. To get involved, e-mail through the website. Or call Director David Wilson at (423) 646-3243 or Executive Director Tom Elam at (423)

A tax Collector – Zacchaeus

August 11, 2013

Devotion for Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Sinful Dinner Host: A Tax Collector Named Zacchaeus
Read Luke 19:1–10 cover_sm_2013_08

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
John 13:15

The first Sunday that Kathleen visited church, she created quite a stir. She was wearing sweatpants that looked at least one size too small and bedroom slippers. No one was sure how she had arrived at church—had someone dropped her off? Did she walk? When Kathleen requested prayer, another woman from the church stood with her and held her hand. Over the next few months, Dana befriended Kathleen, who had suffered a series of tragedies and was destitute. Dana helped provide Kathleen with clothes and shoes that fit, made sure she had transportation to church, and invited her to her home. Today, Kathleen is a valued prayer warrior in the church.

Confusion and outrage when someone “undesirable” shows up in church still happens. Jesus experienced that kind of reaction, too, when Cialis Online he addressed Zacchaeus, a tax collector. Did Jesus realize how offensive Zacchaeus was? Did He care at all about His reputation?

Jesus knew that Zacchaeus’s community despised him. He was a pawn of the Roman authority, authorized to extort his neighbors for as much money as he wanted as long as the government got their cut. And though Jesus understood exactly who Zacchaeus was, He did not avoid him. Rather, when Jesus spotted him in a tree, He made a beeline toward him.

Zacchaeus was shocked that Jesus wanted to have a conversation with him. In fact, Jesus insisted on receiving hospitality from Zacchaeus by visiting his home. This relationship with Jesus produced a result that exclusion and shunning did not: repentance! Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his home, and Jesus welcomed Zacchaeus into God’s family.

This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
 
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Volunteer On The Road

August 6, 2013

rogers family

As volunteers at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana, the Rogers’ helped with the Earth Day celebration where HollyAnn Nye Rogers met Vicious, a friendly, hand-raised alligator visiting from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo. Black Bayou Lake has approximately 2,000 alligators, none of which are at all friendly.
COURTESY OF ROGERS FAMILY

Our first year on the road, we were tourists. We explored small towns, national parks, historic sites and the startlingly empty places in between, as fast as we could. We were careful not to leave anything but footprints, but we realized that was exactly the problem.

Our first 15 years of marriage, we had actively given back to the North Carolina communities where we’d lived. I had spent my career in nonprofit management, and many longtime N&O readers will recall Dennis’ columns asking readers to volunteer at the USO or bring a gift to the Wake County Foster Children’s Angel Tree. It seemed like every other weekend he was involved in some crazy fundraiser, from grape stomps to beauty pageants to barbecue judging.

On the road, we missed that sense of purpose.

So when we began our second year of wandering, we joined an organization called NOMADS, a ministry of the United Methodist Church, where small groups of RVers come together for three-week service projects.

As NOMADS, we tore out sliding glass doors and replaced them with walls and windows to make children safer at a homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix. We cooked salsa and hot pepper jelly in Dubach, La., to raise funds for the Methodist Children’s Home’s Outdoor Wilderness Levitra Online Learning Center. In Chatham, Ill., we packed hundreds of plastic bags with toiletries and other necessities for disaster relief sites.

There are other RV ministries organizing volunteer efforts across the country. We chose NOMADS because they welcome all faiths, even us Unitarian Universalists.

State and federal agencies also embrace RV volunteers and post opportunities on volunteer.gov. Some of our RV-based friends volunteer as campground hosts and greet visitors for the National Park Service, National Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Others mow and whack weeds at historic sites or dress in period clothing to share our nation’s most fascinating stories. Some give directions, start films and clean bathrooms at fish hatcheries, visitor information centers and museums across the country.

We spent our last two months on the road at the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, La., where we opened and closed the gates at sunrise and sunset, picked up litter blown from boats and pickup truck beds, welcomed tourists in the gift shop, and occasionally fed the baby alligators in the Conservation Learning Center.

We were soundly pushed out of our comfort zone when faced with snakes and busloads of small children – both of which scare the beejeebers out of us – but we tried to embrace every adventure.

Most RV volunteer opportunities provide a free place to park the RV, generally with full utility hook-ups and a schedule that allows time to explore the area. Many provide a hat, shirt and name tag; some even offer free or discounted on-site amenities, like canoe rental, fishing or golf. Others allow you to connect, ever so briefly, with another soul.

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Sound Doctrine vs. Legalism

July 23, 2013

Devotion for Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sound Doctrine Versus the False Teachings of Legalism
Read 1 Timothy 4:1–5cover_sm_2013_07

For everything God created is good.
1 Timothy 4:4

Paul didn’t identify the exact heresy he opposed in 1 Timothy, but false teaching has plagued the church for centuries. Irenaeus, a church father, wrote that leaders of one heresy “preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have also introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves ungrateful to God, who formed all things.”

Marriage and food were also at issue in Ephesus. Having established key principles for congregational worship and church behavior, Paul returned to the problem of false teachers with which he opened this epistle (v. 1). From a larger spiritual perspective, the Holy Spirit has warned of false teachings, which originate with demons and lead people to apostasy. This is serious business hgh product reviews!

These kinds of false teachings are spread by “hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared” (v. 2). This means that their moral sensibilities have been desensitized or anesthetized against wrongdoing, as compared to the “good conscience” of 1 Timothy 1:5. They have no genuine understanding of righteousness or holiness.

The false teachers in Ephesus taught against marriage and certain foods, reflecting a mix of legalism and gnosticism (v. 3). They apparently measured themselves by a standard of self-denial and asceticism that became pride and self-righteousness. Even worse, their teachings and actions denied the goodness of God’s material creation (v. 4; Gen. 1:31). Despite our fallenness and its consequences, His creation remains good because it is consecrated by the sanctifying gifts of prayer and the Word (v. 5). These blessings are to be enjoyed with thanksgiving.

 

This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
 
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Waiting On God

July 14, 2013

Devotion for Monday, June 17, 2013

TITW

Read Psalm 40

May those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” Psalm 40:16

Patience. In our life’s journey, we find ourselves in so many situations when we need a great deal of it! Patience, as a Greek word, literally means, “an abiding under.” It connotes a heavy weight that one is forced to bear on one’s shoulders or back. We grow spiritual patience in times of trial and testing, and as we learn to wait on God, we develop a greater capacity for trusting Him.

Waiting on God is not the inactive season we might imagine it to be. Although we may not be making decisions as we wait, we’re not at a standstill. In fact, we can be active in prayer, and God can be doing a work of transformation in us, namely, growing in us patient faith. Spiritual patience is the capacity for sustained hope even when life doesn’t seem to be very hopeful. Notice how the psalmist waits actively on the Lord: he prays, he red dragon electronic cigarette expects rescue, he hopes for solid ground, and he resists false gods.

He also rehearses the beauty of God’s character: that God is faithful, merciful, loving, a help and a deliverer. And the psalmist remembers his own constitution, that he was poor and needy, dependent upon God’s rescue. Patience grants us a willing and humble submission to God’s providence.

Perhaps one of the most comforting thoughts in the psalm is that the psalmist, who evidently wrote from a place of desperate trial, might have been the one to blame for having gotten into this mess in the first place. He admits that his troubles might be the result of his sins. But even though he might be the very source of his difficulties, he didn’t despair of God’s rescue and help.

Patience brings us through the worst of times, and spiritual patience is always followed by praise.

This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
 
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Touting “The Good Book”

July 4, 2013

July 1, 2013 by

RVs lined the camping grounds surrounding the Kentucky Speedway near Sparta, Ky., racewaymin_logoon June 28 as fans played cornhole, shared food and sunbathed in the summer heat. Time was spent setting up camp and relaxing before the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 that night, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Racing fan Helen Camplin traveled nearly 10 hours from Toronto for her first Kentucky Speedway race. Camplin, her husband and their son had just arrived at midday on Friday and were settling in for the weekend’s festivities.

Camplin, who was sunbathing outside her RV, said she loves the atmosphere of the RV campgrounds and races. This year, the Camplins have been to the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., and Talladega in Alabama.

“We like the whole experience,” she said.

She said she loves to travel with her family in their RV.

“You can pick up anywhere you want, go anywhere you want,” she said.

Hundreds of people were at the campgrounds Friday. Some people came for the races; others said they were just hanging out with friends.

Most of them made the trip to Sparta on Thursday or Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, the area outside the track started to resemble a small town with rows of RVs, campers, trucks and SUVs.

Three men — Tom Ragland, Bobby Wagner and John Wuertz — wearing matching yellow shirts handed out cookies and water to fans in Millionaires Row campgrounds.

They were also handing out Bibles. The v2 electronic cigarette men are volunteers for Kentucky Raceway Ministries, an organization with the mission of “bringing race fans to Christ.”

Ragland, of Jeffersonville, Ind., is attending the Kentucky Speedway for his third year.

The response to the ministry, he said, is very positive.

“It’s a good reception,” he said. “People are generally appreciative.”

It is the organization’s 14th year at the Kentucky Speedway and about 200 volunteers worked on Saturday, said JT Marsh, executive director of the Ministries.

Part of their efforts this year include a “Kids Zone” in parking lot E. In its first year, the Kids Zone provides an atmosphere for families, where they can come for free games and water.

“We’ll help anybody from jumping cars to helping kids,” said Larry Stone of London, who is the campground director and a chaplain for the organization, which had members working throughout the RV lots and inside the infield.

“We have such a very powerful, good relationship with the track,” Stone said. “We are not threatening. We are not in-your-face evangelism.”

Stone, who has been working with the ministry for the past 13 years, comes out every year to spread the organization’s message and work with the children.

Last year, the group passed out 5,000 Bibles and 10,000 bottles of water to fans. The Bibles, “The Good Book”,  had different themes, such as race cars and trucks.

“People are more interested if it has something to do with them,” Stone said.

On Saturday, they continued to do the same.

 

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RVers Join Disaster Aid

June 17, 2013

manteno_churchExcerpt from The Daily Journal June 13, 2013

Fourteen volunteer workers were in seven RVs on the site of the new Risen Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manteno, IL on June 12 when what they say was a tornado leveled the 5,800-square-foot structure that cost $175,000 to build.

The flattened building was part of the damage left in the wake of strong storms that swept across the Midwest and left 15,000 Kankakee County residents without power.

“The siren didn’t go off, and we thought we were all right,” project manager Tim Brettin said. “But we weren’t all right.”

The new building was 75 percent completed, and the volunteers who call themselves Laborers for Christ were nearly ready to start working on the interior. Fortunately, there were no injuries on site.

A couple miles north, more than a dozen firefighters worked to save trapped horses from a collapsed barn at 1500W and 12000N roads, northwest of the center of town. Those on the scene couldn’t confirm that a tornado touched down, but they pointed to a line of debris that usually indicates a twister where can i find electronic cigarettes was on the ground.

The Kankakee County Sheriff’s police reported three tornado sightings via its Twitter account, the first of which, spotted between Essex and Bonfield in the western part of the county, set off sirens at about 6:48 p.m.

Carolyn Werner was at the Manteno church construction site when she said she heard the destructive freight train sound of a tornado.

“At the time, I thought that’s the train,” she said, “and I was standing in the middle and I thought that’s it.”

WBBM Chicago reported a funnel cloud in Wilmington, in Will County, just after 6:30 p.m., and softball-sized hail fell in Limestone and other parts of The Daily Journal coverage area.

Uprooted trees, downed power lines and flooded underpasses were reported on social media networks. At least one car was completed submerged under the Broadway Street viaduct in Bradley.

In Chicago, the storms grounded more than 400 flights and caused delays on the city’s public transportation lines. The Chicago White Sox canceled their game against Toronto early in the afternoon, well before the severe weather even started.

 

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RV Safety Tips

May 20, 2013

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

 RV Safety Tips

It’s a new year and depending on where you reside a new RV camping season is upon us. When you hit the open road one very important aspect to keep in mind is RV safety. Safety is paramount when it comes to using and enjoying our RVs. From pre-trip inspections to setting up and actually using the RV there is always an element of RV safety involved.

Let’s take a look at my top RV safety reminders for a new camping season.

Number one on my list is tires. I could easily write an entire article on this topic alone, but I will try and sum it up in a few sentences. There are many reasons for tire failure on RVs. In addition to overloaded and under-inflated tires there is the concern for aged tires. Tires are designed and built to be used. The rubber used in tires ages faster when they are not in use, so more use results in longer tire life.

The problem is lots of RV tires don’t get used as often as the tires on our automobiles do. When tires are manufactured compounds are added to help protect the rubber from weather cracking and ozone damage. For these compounds to work effectively the tire needs to be rolling down the road, heating up and flexing, so the compounds can work their way to the surface of the tire and help protect the rubber from damage. When tires sit idle for periods of time they start to dry out, causing them to age faster. If your RV tires show signs of weather cracking or checking, or if the tires are more than 6-years-old you should have them inspected by a tire professional. A simple tire inspection could save you lots of time, money and headaches.

Number two is weight issues and concerns. This is another topic I could write an entire book on. Lots of RVs traveling down the road are overloaded, especially older motorhomes. To avoid becoming a statistic in relationship to overloaded RVs it is important that you understand how to properly weigh your RV. Always keep in mind that weighing your RV is a snapshot in time. Weights can and do change according to how you load and distribute the weight in your RV, and based on many other factors. You should get in the practice of weighing your RV periodically to stay within all weight ratings, and whenever an overload condition exists resolve the problem before using the RV.

The easiest way to sum this important safety topic up is to direct you to a site where you can download some informative brochures with easy to understand worksheets on weighing your RV. Go to www.bridgestonetires.com and click on the “Brochure & Catalogs” tab and then on the “For RV Owners” tab. Now you can download the PDF file and head to a set of scales.

Number three on my list is Carbon Monoxide safety. Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas is invisible, odorless, and deadly. Carbon Monoxide is created when any fuel is burned; this includes gasoline, propane, natural gas, wood, & coal. It is extremely serious when combustion by-products are not vented outside. Carbon Monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States each year. As for RVs CO gas can result from exhaust leaks from the vehicle engine or generator, improper use of portable gas powered heaters, improper adjustment of LP gas fired appliances and/or somebody else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close proximity to you.

Some important reminders about Carbon Monoxide:
• Inspect the generator exhaust system before using the generator, every time.
•Avoid leaving windows down and roof vents open when in close proximity to vehicle and/or generator exhaust.
•Follow all directions and safety cautions and warnings when operating gas powered heaters.
•Never use the range burners or oven to heat the RV!
•When cooking with the range burners use the range fan & always leave a window cracked open for fresh air and ventilation.
•Have the LP gas system inspected by a professional annually, or whenever a repair is made to the system playing online blackjack for a living.

Number four on my list is RV fire safety. For starters it’s a good idea to have more than one fire extinguisher available in your RV. I keep an additional fire extinguisher in an outside compartment of our RV just in case. Try and get in a habit of inspecting your fire extinguishers periodically and before each trip. Look to see if the arrow is pointing in the green area in the sight gauge. If it reads empty or needs charging replace it or have it recharged immediately. Inspect all components of the extinguishers to make sure they are in proper operating condition. Inspect the safety pin, handle or trigger, sight gauge indicator, inspection tag, hose or nozzle, tank, and labeling. Once a month you should turn dry powder extinguishers upside down, tap on the bottom of the extinguisher and shake it so any powder that settled on the bottom is released. If the powder is packed in the bottom of the extinguisher it may not discharge properly, or at all, when you need it.

Some important reminders about RV fire safety:
• If a fire starts get everybody out of the RV and away from the fire safely and have someone call 911 for help.
• Most importantly, do not risk your personal safety. If you cannot extinguish the fire in the first minute or so let the professionals handle it.
•Remember the word PASS. PASS is an easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher, especially during an emergency. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
• In the event of a fire always remember you save lives first & property second!
• Test smoke alarms monthly & before each trip.
• Replace the battery in smoke alarms twice a year when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
• Instruct everybody in the RV on an emergency escape plan in the event of a fire.

Number five is LP gas safety. Your RV has an LP gas leak detector to assist in leak detection. LP gas leak detectors are located close to floor level because LP gas is heavier than air. Before each trip make sure the LP gas leak detector is operating properly.

If you ever smell LP gas or if the leak detector audible alarm goes off you should:
• Extinguish any open flames & pilot lights.
• Do not smoke or touch electrical switches.
• Evacuate the RV & turn off the main gas supply.
• Leave the door open & do not return until the odor clears.
• Have the system checked out by a qualified technician before using it again.

Number six is your emergency escape plan. What do you do in the event of an emergency and everybody has to get out of the RV quickly and in an orderly fashion. The National Fire Protection agency requires that RV’s have emergency escape windows. Make sure everybody knows where the escape window is located and how to use it. It’s a good idea to practice using it so you are familiar with how to get out of the RV in case of an emergency. You should have an emergency escape plan for the front of the RV and the rear of the RV.

Emergency escape plan safety reminders:
• Time is your biggest enemy. It only takes one minute for smoke to fill the RV.
• Design an escape plan specific to the needs of the individuals in the RV.
• Sketch your plan on paper and indicate which windows and doors can be used to escape.
• Review the plan with everybody.
• Instruct people on where the emergency escape window is located and how to use it.
• Practice your escape plan so everybody can get out of the RV in case of an emergency.
• Designate a meeting place outside where everybody will meet.

Last but certainly not least you need to thoroughly understand and practice these safety tips and reminders. In an effort to assist you with your RV safety training we are offering everybody a free 13 minute RV safety E-Course. Click here to access the free online RV safety training program.

Happy Camping,

Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
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Mary’s Song

May 13, 2013

TITW

Devotion for May 13, 2013

Worship: Mary’s Song
Read Luke 1:39–56

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Luke 1:42

Today we start a section on worshipful prayer in the New Testament by looking at one of the most beautiful and joyful passages in the entire Bible. Elizabeth and Mary were women whose lives were undergoing massive tumult as the result of divine activity. When these two cousins met, they worshiped God.

Mary departed quickly to visit Elizabeth, giving the impression that there had been time for little or no communication before she arrived in Judea. One can imagine Mary wondering how on earth she was going to tell her elderly cousin that she was going to bear the Messiah. It must have been an incredible blessing when, prompted by the leaping baby in her own belly, Elizabeth confirmed everything the angel Gabriel had told Mary.

Often called the Magnificat or Mary’s Song, Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting has been repeated in Christian worship for centuries. Mary’s words echo Scripture, drawing deeply from the language and theology of the Psalms and providing a parallel to Hannah’s song live online blackjack in 1 Samuel 2. Mary’s praise begins with her own experience, but quickly links this with God’s character and actions in the past and then with His promises regarding the future. Instead of focusing on the child she was to bear, Mary focused on the Father who was working this miracle within her.

Mary’s worshipful song is exemplary. We can see Mary’s familiarity with Scripture and her spirit’s joyful submission to God’s will. She also demonstrates the posture of worship—looking beyond one’s own experience to focus on the big picture of what God is doing. In this case, she looked beyond her own impending parenthood to the good news Jesus Himself would bear.

Elizabeth’s praise encouraged Mary, just as Mary’s praise encouraged Elizabeth. Worshiping with others can be a faith-building experience. This can happen between two friends who spend time worshiping God together. Congregational singing of hymns and praise choruses is another excellent example of the benefits of public worship.

This article was taken with permission from the April 2013 issue of Today in the Word.
Today in the Word is published by Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL.
1-800-DL-MOODY | www.todayintheword.com
 
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10 Most Visited National Parks

April 24, 2013

Grand-Canyon3

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.
© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

by Rex Vogel
Vogel Talks RVing

More than 282 million people visited America’s national parks in 2012, an increase of more than 3 million over 2011.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.

It was the sixth highest annual visitation in the history of the National Park Service, despite nearly 2 million fewer visitors as a result of park closures caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Since 1916, the National Park System has recorded more than 12 billion visits.

“The National Park Service strives to represent all that America has to offer,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“People come to national parks for many reasons—for recreation and to learn about American history by strolling through a battlefield. They come to listen to a park ranger at Independence National Historical Park and marvel at the Continental Congress. And people come to national parks for old-fashioned enjoyment of the great outdoors.”

National parks capture the story the United States, from its earliest days to the modern era.

Jarvis said, “The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial and the opening of the César E. Chávez National Monument in 2012 help us to continue to explore how our nation of many faces and many voices has developed.”

The challenges left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will become part of American history, too. The storm slammed into 70 national park sites from North Carolina Pokies to Maine. Some parks closed briefly, others for weeks while the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York remain closed for repairs.

Camping at Arches National Park, Utah.
© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“The Statue of Liberty will reopen by the Fourth of July,” Jarvis said.

“It’ll take longer at the Ellis Island Museum. As we rebuild we keep sustainability front of mind. It is clear that our changing climate will bring more severe weather events, especially to coastal areas, and we must repair our iconic national parks to survive future storms.”

There are familiar park names in the Top 10 lists.

Gateway National Recreation Area in New York lost nearly 1.2 million visitors from 2011 because of Hurricane Sandy yet still made the Top 10 list of most visited National Park Service sites.

Most Visited Places of the National Park System (2012)

1. Blue Ridge Parkway (15,205,059)

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (14,540,338)

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway (7,425,577)

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (6,285,439)

6. Lincoln Memorial (6,191,361)

7. Natchez Trace Parkway (5,560,668)

8. Gateway National Recreation Area (5,043,863)

9. Gulf Islands National Seashore (4,973,462)

10.  Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (4,970,802)

 

Most Visited National Parks (2012)

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)

2. Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352)

3. Yosemite National Park (3,853,404)

4. Yellowstone National Park (3,447,729)

5. Rocky Mountain National Park (3,229,617)

6. Zion National Park (2,973,607)

7. Olympic National Park (2,824,908)

8. Grand Teton National Park (2,705,256)

9. Acadia National Park (2,431,052)

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (2,299,722)

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RV Exterior Maintenance

April 12, 2013

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

 mark washing mh

If I said it once I said it a hundred times, RV’s are a major investment like your house or automobile. To protect your investment and get many years of reliable service, and use from your RV, there are certain measures you need to take. One important measure is maintaining the exterior of your RV. As time passes the roof and exterior of your RV begins to show signs of wear caused by constant exposure to the elements. Ozone in the air and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun start to take its toll, which is first evident by signs of fading paint. The ozone in the air also causes products like rubber and vinyl to dry out, crack, and begin to deteriorate. The UV rays from the sun make this aging process happen quicker. If at all possible you should try to keep your RV covered when not using it, to help protect it from Mother Nature.

Maintaining the exterior of you RV contributes to extending the life of the RV and protecting your investment. If you let your RV go, without cleaning it for periods of time, it can be very difficult to get that new look back again. Maintaining the exterior of your RV primarily consists of routine inspections, and cleaning and lubricating items on the RV.

To extend the life of the exterior wash the RV frequently using a mild soap and water solution. You should always try to wash your RV after returning from a trip. Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners. When washing the RV avoid spraying water directly into any appliance vents.

Metal sidewall finishes require routine maintenance to keep black streaks cleaned from the surface. If black streaks remain on metal sidewall finishes for prolonged periods of time it can be extremely difficult to clean or remove them. Use a commercial black streak remover. NOTE: Test all cleaning solutions on a small portion of the RV’s graphics before using them.

Waxing the exterior of your RV can be a difficult job, but it will help extend the life of your RV. Wax the exterior with a quality wax formulated for the type of exterior surface your RV has.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Exercise caution when waxing around graphics on the RV. You should wax the RV when water no longer beads on the wall surface.

Water damage on an RV is similar to progressive damage to a tire. The outside of the tire looks fine, but the internal damage over a ong period of time causes the tire to fail without any warning. The outside of your RV looks fine but the internal damage caused by water over a long period of time can result in the entire roof, floor or wall rotting away without you knowing it. Inspecting any and all sealants can help prevent expensive repairs caused by water damage.

You must look very closely for any cracks, gaps, and loose or aged sealants. Inspect the roof, sidewalls, end caps, moldings, windows, compartments and anywhere the manufacturer cut a hole in the RV. Inspect the interior for any signs of water damage. Look for discoloration or wrinkles in the wall panels or wallpaper and feel for any soft spots on the walls, around all windows, doors, vents, slide outs, or any other openings that were cut in the RV sidewalls.

NOTE: Always use the proper type of sealant to make repairs; if you’re not sure what type of sealant to use talk to an authorized RV repair facility. Have any water damage repaired immediately.

RV manufacturers use different materials to construct RV roofs. Consult your owner’s manual for the type of roofing material used and for the type of soap or detergent required to clean the roof. Keeping debris such as leaves, tree sap and branches off of the roof will help to the life of the roofing material. You should clean and inspect your RV roof several times a year.

Caution: Exercise caution whenever you are on the roof of your RV. A fall can result in serious injury or death. For RV roofs not designed to be walked on it may be necessary to use 2’ X 4’ or 2’ X 8’ pieces of plywood to help distribute your weight evenly across the roof rafters. If you are not comfortable working on the roof of your RV, have your roof maintenance performed by an authorized RV service center.

When cleaning the roof keep the sides of the RV rinsed off to avoid soap residue, streaking and any damage to decals, graphics or the paint finish. Never use containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric based acids on rubber or vinyl roofs. Cleaning the roof is only part of maintaining it. Every time you clean the roof you need to inspect the sealants around all of the openings and the seams on the roof. Water will take the path of least resistance and if there is the smallest opening it will find it. You need to thoroughly inspect the roof sealants for potential leaks and reseal any areas of the roof seams and around openings where you suspect a leak. Check with your RV dealer for sealants that are compatible with your roofing materia

Happy Camping,
Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
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