This fall has been crazy busy, but again and again I found myself standing on the back porch just drinking in the beauty around me. I sipped coffee, yes, of course I had my coffee cup in hand, as I begged the leaves to stay put! I wanted to say to them, “Do not fall away! You’re so beautiful.
We hiked through the beauty.
As often as we could, but not nearly often as I would like, Wayne and I hiked trails through the woods. One of my favorite trails is along the Swannanoa River that courses through the park and campus at Montreat College.
Below are a few pictures from my back porch. The tree in the last picture is my favorite.
It’s a noisy hike in the fall.
Have you ever noticed how loud dry leaves can sound? The rattle of dry leaves flapping on the ends of thin branches in the gentle breeze is a call for me to stop and watch. Squirrels and even lizards moving in the leaf piles at the foot of tall trees make them sound much bigger and more threatening than they are.
Or the sound of leaves dancing around in a whirl of dizzying wind, a tiny whirl-wind that blows out as quickly as it comes.
And the voice of the water as it tumbles over rock piles, gurgling and laughing as the path twists around and over the rippling stream. These are the peaceful, wonderful and soothing sounds of fall.
I watch the leaves tumble, in a hurry to get somewhere or floating aimlessly to the ground. Other leaves put on a show for me, whirling and twirling as they leave the tree where they’ve worked making food for the tree since spring. Sometimes the wind catches the leaves, blowing them off the trees until it looks like it is raining leaves.
Falling is funny, but it’s not fun!
But if you are an adult, falling isn’t fun because it can mean bruises and broken bones. It’s funny to someone else, but it’s not fun. Just a side note, why is watching people fall down so hilarious? And I’m not the only person that laughs when someone falls. America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) celebrated 500 episodes and 22 years of laughing at people fall; which only proves falling is funny, as long as they don’t get hurt and it’s not you!
OK, So falling isn’t FUNNY! (Hee Hee)
But, far too often falling isn’t funny and people do get hurt. Ask my friend that broke her wrist from a recent fall, or my neighbor that was holding a ladder for her husband. When he missed a rung on the ladder, he tumbled down, onto his wife. While it was a soft landing for him, it was a broken leg for her. Falling wasn’t funny to either of them.
So my advice—don’t fall!
Are you thinking, “Yeah? And how am I gonna keep from falling?”
So glad you asked! While carefulness and determination are part of surefootedness, you need more. You can get hurt if you fall physically, but you can hurt your testimony and yourself worse if you fall spiritually. By falling, I mean fall into sin, fall into rebellion or depression or even resentment.
The Apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith…” 1 Timothy 4:1a And that’s a scary thought. But, I’m so thankful that the Apostle Peter offers some powerful God breathed advice on how not to fall.
I don’t know if you do this, but sometimes I’m in such a hurry to read through a specific portion of Scripture that I just run past the diamonds that are strewn throughout the verses. I don’t want either of us to do that in these verses. So, I broke them into little, bitty steps and added some comments. There’s no guard rail to hold onto, so go slow and think about each step.
Get a pencil and take notes. I’d love to hear what God is saying to you. And remember Ariel Sharon’s quote, “The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory!” Pat Holland says, “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory!”
As I break the verses into steps, I’m going to talk to ya. You didn’t think we could take a climb together without me commenting did you? My comments are in black and the brown part is Peter in the Bible talking.
2 Peter 1:5-10 NLT(OK! Here we go!)
So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life.
(Did you see that? God’s not gonna do it all, we’ve got to do our part!)
Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. (Hope you got your climbing shoes on!)
A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.(I want that!)
6 Knowing God leads to self-control. (That’s hard! OK, I need to pay attention here.)
Self-control leads to patient endurance, (That word is not even in my vocabulary! Help me, Father!)
and patient endurance leads to godliness. (I think I’m gonna have to sit down on this step and catch my breath)
7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, (Amazing!)
and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. (Look at that progression…never saw that before)
8 The more you grow like this,
the more you will become
productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Yeah! Let’s do the happy dance!)
9 But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. (Ouch!)
They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. (I don’t ever want to forget!)
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard (There’s a four letter word
every young person should use!)
to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. (Called and chosen. Now that will preach!)
Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away.(YEAH!)
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! (Quoted- Source is widely argued.)