This past week was spent preparing for and packing for the trip to Canada by Amtrak. We left last Thursday morning, and arrived at our destination (train station) at 7 pm Friday night...then we had a four hour car ride up into Canada to the home of our friends.
The train trip was okay. It was going just fine, really, until two people took the seats ahead of us, reclined them, and cut out about one foot of our leg room overnight. It was hard to sleep with cramped leg space. I would say taking the train coach class is okay as long as it doesn't last more than 12 hours or so. Ours ended up being a 34 hour trip, so by the time we arrived at the home of our friends, we were ready to stretch out on a bed. Not really looking forward to our return trip later this week.
The first leg of our journey was only three hours long, from Kalamazoo to Chicago Union Station. We had a two hour layover, so we had lunch there. Then we got on the train for the long haul...all the way to Shelby, Montana. The prettiest part of the trip probably occurred during the night when it was dark and we couldn't see. The train followed the Mississippi River for over 100 miles between Wisconsin and Minnesota, and we were not able to see it. During the day on Friday we went through North Dakota and Montana, and there wasn't much too look at.
We ate in the Dining Car on Thursday night, and we had a hamburger from the canteen in the observation car on Friday. Otherwise we just snacked on the items we brought in our cooler. That worked out fine. I thought the dining car meal was overpriced and not that good. It was nice dining with a new couple and sharing life stories with them.
We are in Rosebud, Alberta, Canada now. What a unique village. It boasts of a population of 100, has one church, no gas stations, no grocery or convenience store. It has a couple of restaurants, and several gifts shops. It's claim to fame is the Rosebud School of the Arts where a four year degree can be earned. There are about 30 students and they have mostly come to learn to perform and produce. The town has an Opera House, and between the students, staff, and towns people, they put on 4-5 shows a year (each show lasting a couple of months). The tickets cost $15 and includes a buffet dinner prior to the performance. Our guests treated us to "Queen Millie of Galt"...very well done, lots of humor. The buffet was very good also!
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. We celebrated it last evening in the home of our friends with six other guests....turkey, potatoes, dressing, gravy, sweet potato casserole, rolls, relishes, cranberries, salad, pumpkin cake and apple crisp...the big traditional meal we are used to in USA. We had been to church (our friend is the pastor) in the morning, and completed the day with the big celebration meal.
Today, the actual holiday, we took a drive to their nearest town where there is shopping...a typical town of 9,000. It's about 20 miles away...Drumhellar. We stopped by the Canadian Badlands Passion Play to see the setting... beautiful...hard to describe. I guess you will have to look it up online...hopefully they have pictures.
We are having a relaxing time, and the weather has been wonderful...in the 60's and sunny. Now let me finish this blog with my devotional highlights from this past week.
The Word For You Today:
1. Stop Hiding!
- when you hide, you become a phony and it will be hard to be honest with God, others, and yourself
- allow God to cleanse you, clothe you, and comfort you so you can be who he made you to be
2. The Importance of Waiting.
- waiting is a time of training and learning
- waiting corrects you and helps you focus on God for your answers
- waiting reveals those around you...trust God, but test others
- waiting forces the truth to surface
- waiting gives God time to solve the problem
3. When Nobody's Looking:
- God sees you all the time
- make yourself accountable to good counsel
- avoid situations giving you too much privacy
- the more open and honest you are, the less likely you'll be to stray
4. Change Can Happen for You
- you don't need to change others to change yourself
- all changes must start by building your relationship with God
- you must change without conditions
- you must let go of the past in order to change
- there is risk in change you must accept
- change will happen if you don't allow failure to stop you
- The Lord said to me, 'I knew you before you were formed within your mother's womb;before you were born I sanctified you and appointed you as my spokesman to the world...for you will go wherever I send you and speak whatever I tell you to. And don't be afraid of the people, for I the Lord will be with you and see you through. (2:4-8)
- Obey me and I will be your God and you shall be my people; only do as I say and all shall be well!! (7:23)
- Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (4:8)
- I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gave me the strength and power. (4:12-13)
- ...for Christ's death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood (1:20)
- ...as a result, Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you---nothing left that he could even chide you for, the only condition is that you fully believe the truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting Him to save you. (1:22-23)
- ...Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory (2:7)
- And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day's problems; live in vital union with him Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done. (2:6-7)
- Let heaven fill your thoughts; don't spend your time worrying about things down here. You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God. And when Christ who is our real life comes back again you will shine with him and share in all his glories. (3:2-4)
- Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don't worry about making a good impression on them but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. Be gentle and ready to forgive, never hold grudges. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. Let the peace of heart which comes from Jesus Christ be always present in your hearts and lives for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful. (3:12-15)
- And whatever you say or do let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus. (3:17)
- Don't be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God's answers and remember to be thankful when they come., (4:2)
- Make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News. Be wise in all your contacts with them. Let your conversation be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone. (4:5-6)
- O God, your ways are holy, where is there any other as mighty as you? You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate your awesome power. (77:13-14)