Monday, October 7, 2013

God Reveals Himself

Nature. It’s my escape, a soothing balm, a place that replenishes and inspires. I have to run to it now and then 'cause I need it in regular doses.

For the years that I didn’t have access to it, I felt like I was slowly withering inside! Jon would say, “Well, where do you want to go?” His idea was a mountain resort town, complete with shops, restaurants, and attractions, and all I wanted was to lay on the side of a mountain, far away from any town, and listen to the wind blow through the trees. And exhale. I love that Jon has opened up whole new worlds of places for me, but my need for nature-- that one seems persistent.

My kids have developed an appreciation for the outdoors as well. Over time, and without even looking for it, I have come across a wealth of evidence showing the benefits of exposing children to nature. For instance, here are a few points that stand out in my memory just now:

- Creative ability is developed and increases in children who are regularly exposed to nature (maybe because they are spending time doing something other than watching TV?)

- Children with dyslexia, ADD and/or ADHD who spend a minimum of 30 minutes per day outdoors (where there is greenery, not just a cemented area) have greater success at overcoming their challenges

- In so many studies, time spent outdoors has been shown to boost intelligence

- Boys develop courage and masculinity when permitted unstructured outdoor play

- Children who have been abused, neglected, or otherwise traumatized benefit from exposure to nature

- It was noted that the victims of the holocaust recovering in group homes benefited from treatment plans which included planting flower gardens

...And the list goes on. I never see it as a waste of time when I take my kids for a little nature escape. Last week we took a day off from the normal routine of school and chores to do just that. Besides, it only seemed fair to take some time off for rest and enjoyment since we had worked hard to get ahead during the previous days. This time we opted for tide pools, and without all the boards and wetsuits, it made a day trip to the ocean an easy one for me.


My kids spent hour after hour exploring. They found all sorts of creatures, even an octopus (though he only let us see his tentacle from his hiding place).

Sea star  ^

Anemone ^

Crab ^

These are called Brittle Stars, a member of the sea star family. We had to look them up when we returned home. They moved in such a creepy way, which totally fascinated the boys.

A small sea slug/ sea cucumber ^

I love how the scriptures are full of references to nature: the mountains, the sea, the heavens, the fields with its flowers, also trees and forests, streams, and creatures. And in the beauty of God’s creation, the inspired writers of those words always praise God for His power, creativity, and majesty. The beauty of  His creation caused them to praise and lift up His Name.

We have been reading sections from the book of Romans in the morning during breakfast, and recently the section we've been discussing is in chapter 1...

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things."

This is general revelation, and all of mankind stands without excuse. I have tried to draw my kids' attention to v. 21, "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

May it never be that this would apply to us! And regarding this, I pray fervently!!

Throughout our day, at the ocean and at other places, I bring this verse to their minds. "Do you see?" I ask? "Do you see how wonderful God is, and how good and kind? Did you think of Him and thank Him?"

God reveals Himself to mankind! It's an amazing thought! May we be a people who actively and sincerely acknowledge Him by honoring Him as God and giving Him thanks.


Jon is now home from China... We are all very happy for it, and thankful!


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