Friday, September 30, 2011


     Lately, I have had the opportunity to listen to two fine pastors preach on suffering.  Both Dr. R.C. Sproul and Pastor Alistair Begg have spent time discussing the difficulties we face when suffering comes to our household.  There is often no clear cut answer for the "why" except that we serve a sovereign God whose ways and purposes are far above and beyond our understanding.  We simply have to trust Him.   Once again, our son and daughter in law are going through trying times with our oldest grandson Branson.
     In former devotions, I have talked about his very rare birth defect that has given him a set of challenges which none of us reading this have ever experienced.  One issue he is fighting right now is seizures.  He suffered from a serious bout with them in the past and all of us had hoped this would be the end of it for a time.  For a while, that was true.  Then, suddenly several weeks ago, he began to experience a different type of seizure and thus far, no medication has completely controlled it.  As a family, we are praying for the doctors to have wisdom in helping to find a solution.
     When these times come in our lives, it either drives you to the Lord or away from Him.  The Apostle Paul experienced a good deal of suffering in his life and was left with a "thorn" in the flesh which has never been identified.  Paul responded to this by saying:  "Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:8-10).  Paul found comfort in knowing that God had answered Him.  He wasn't delivered from his "thorn", but instead of complaining or running from God, it drove Him to the Lord for the strength he needed.
     Of course, the classic example of someone who seemed to go through a mountain of suffering was Job.  We all know his story and how in a very short time, he went from being a wealthy, healthy, happy man to one who lost his wealth, his children and his health in a short period of time.  He was devastated.  God revealed to us as readers what Job could not see behind the scenes.  It was Satan who wanted to test Job to prove to God that he would curse God.  However, the Lord knew that Job had a heart for Him.
     During all the calamity, his own wife came to Job and said to him:  "'Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die.'  But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?'  In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:9a-10).
     In addition to his wife, he had three friends who came to comfort him but they only increased his affliction with their misdirected words.  Oh, how this stings me because it should remind us all that we need not come to a friend with advice when we really do not know the answer or the full situation.  They tried to find an answer for his suffering suggesting he might have sinned among other reasons.  However, Job boldly spoke to his friends when he said:  "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face" (Job 13:15).  Indeed, Job asked God many questions as many of us would do if we were in the same situation.    The blessing in this story is that God did answer Job by asking him where he was when God laid the foundation of the world.  In asking these questions, He made it clear to Job that He was the sovereign Lord.  God also rebuked his insensitive friends who thought they had the answers.  In the end, Job repented before the Lord for even questioning Him.  Then, God did a remarkable thing.  In Job 42:10, we read:  "And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.  And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."
     One thing both Paul and Job did that is important for us.  They prayed.  This is where I find myself daily.  When one of our family members is hurting, all of us hurt.  So once again, I find myself on my knees in deep intercession for a little boy who, in not quite four years, has seen the hospital more than most of us ever see in one lifetime.  Yet, the smile he wears is a gift from God that touches deep into my soul.  I wish I had the answers, and maybe some of you are struggling in the same way with different challenges in your family or personal life.  Suffering of any sort takes a toll on us physically, spiritually and mentally.  This is when we need to pray as both Paul and Job did.  They both had a reply from God.  It isn't necessarily what they wanted to hear, but they found peace in His presence and assurance of His sovereignty over their lives.  They were able to praise Him in the storms of life knowing that He held them in the hollow of His hand.
     Finally, the greatest example of one who learned to suffer and follow the will of His Father was our Lord Jesus Christ.  He also bent His knees in prayer again and asked if there was any way for the cup to pass Him by; yet, He yielded His life into the Father's hands.  From Him, we have a lesson worth noting.
As we walk day to day, we need to think on the words of St Augustine:  "God had one Son on earth without sin, but never One without suffering."  We are not greater than our Master.  He suffered and told us that we would face tribulations as well.  Therefore, let us gird ourselves in prayer.  Let us fall before our Father who knows the beginning from the end of all things.  He is able to take that which is meant for evil and turn it for good in the lives of those who love Him.  Let us look to Him for guidance, wisdom and strength each day.  Selah!

P.S.  I appreciate your prayers for our little grandson Branson and his parents Reid and Jessica as well as his brothers.  This has been a stressful time for the family.  Thank you all!

I welcome your comments and insights.  May the Lord bless you with encouragement as you read here today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Strong Towers and Mighty Castles

Outside Stirling Castle in front of a statue of
Robert the Bruce
     Anyone who knows me very well is aware that I am afraid of heights.  It seems crazy, I know, because I can fly in an airplane, ride in a cable car or gondola and feel perfectly at ease.  I love looking out the windows at the earth dropping far below and think what a beautiful sight it is.  However, when I am standing high on top of a mountain (even if there is a fence all around), I am very uneasy.  Therefore, when we took our trip to Europe, I was faced with some challenges when we went to visit some castles as well as some mountain peaks.  As we would climb another incline and walk many steps up, I heard myself asking my husband, "Why did they all have to build these castles on mountain tops?"  He would smile and say, "For obvious reasons dear.  They were easier to defend."
     Of course, that is the reason that kings chose the side of the mountain for their fortress.  Being high up gave them the advantage of being able to see any attacking force coming towards them.  In Edinburgh, the castle was built up high where there was a view of the harbor.  Any approaching ship could easily be spotted.  As I thought about this, several scriptures came to mind.  
A view from Stirling Castle Wall overlooking the town
and the William Wallace Memorial
     When David comforted himself, he wrote of the Lord's ability to protect and deliver His children.  Psalm 27:1 reads:  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  Verse 5 says:  "For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock."  God is here described as a stronghold, shelter, tent and rock.  He is the deliverer when difficulties come our way.  Just like the castle, God protects those who run to Him in faith.  In fact, He lifts them up on high - above the fight below and keeps His children in the hollow of His hand.  What a comforting thought!  Having seen the thickness of the walls, the moats that surrounded the castles and how high they were built upon the hills and mountains, I now understand the imagery that David uses in a new way.
High above the city of Edinburgh stands the Castle
     Another Psalm of David speaks of God as a Rock.  In verses 2 and 3, David writes:  "....from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint.  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have
At the top of Steep Hill in Lincoln, England stands the castle
been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy."  Again, as in the other Psalm, David speaks of God as a rock and a refuge who stands like a tall tower in which David can take refuge.  Looking at the design of the castles we visited, it is easy to see that they provided shelter for the townspeople who lived below the fortress.  Many of my history courses talked about this very thing.  When a village was under attack, the peasants who lived around the castle came to take refuge in the center of its thick walls to find protection from the enemy.  Essentially, this is what God does for us as believers.  He is the source we are to run to when life's slings and arrows come flying our way.  He is the guard of our heart and the source of our peace.  We only get in trouble when we try to take on life under our own power.  
Heidelberg Castle high above the town
     Proverbs 18:10 reads:  The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."  A great word picture for every one of us.  He is our help, our fortress, our rock, our tower, our castle.  God is not only our Creator but our Sustainer.  We need never fear that His walls will crumble or that He will lack in strength for He promised to never leave nor forsake us.
     Yes, we may have troubles in this life and sorrows.  Yet, our Heavenly Father is the strong tower to which we can run with certainty.  He is our comforter and the lifter of our head.
     Many of the old castles we visited have areas that need some repair or work done on them.  With today's modern warfare, they would not last long under attack.  However, God is not like that for as Jesus told us, His Word will never pass away.  His truth is everlasting and the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.  In this, we can rejoice and take comfort.
High in the Bavarian mountains is Neuschwanstein Castle
     Personally, I still have trouble with high places like castles on the side of mountains.  However, now I look at the experience in a new light as I think on the descriptions written in God's Word.  Isn't it amazing that all Creation...even the castles created by man are pictures of the mighty protection that only God can give to us as we walk in this world.  He IS our strong tower and a mighty refuge in time of trouble!  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights.  Please feel free to leave your comments.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Words Are Cheap

     When I was a little girl, I wanted to learn to play the piano.  I believed I could be very good at this so my mother arranged for a wonderful lady, Mrs. Hahn, to be my teacher.  She was very precise in her methods and in addition to learning a piece on the piano, we also had to memorize a paragraph about the composer.  Most of the music was classical, and I lost interest.  After just two years, I quit my lessons.  I had learned to read music and could play a tune or two, but I had little desire to practice on a daily basis.
Cathedral at York in York, England
I believed I could do it, but I failed to practice and this was my downfall.  Belief plus practice leads to success in both musical studies as well as our Christian walk.
     Recently, I attended an event where I talked with a number of people.  The conversation came around to whether a certain person had faith in Christ.  Someone spoke up and said, "Of course, they are a believer."  I pondered over that remark.  Just saying you believe is not enough.  Life evidence goes along with the belief.  We must practice what we believe or we are just uttering platitudes.  For example, my husband is a practicing optometric physician.  This means he is putting into effect all he was trained to do when diagnosing and treating vision problems.  He also continues to study on a yearly basis so he can grow in knowledge and improve his "practice".  I feel that this is also the way Christians need to think of their walk with Christ.  We need to be practicing followers of the Lord not just "believers".
Lincoln Cathedral Window
Lincolnshire, England
     James writes these words in his letter to the Church in Jerusalem:  "But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.'  Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well.  Even the demons believe - and shudder!" (James 2:18-19).  James then goes on to point out that Abraham was justified by works when he obeyed God to offer up his son Isaac.  Verses 22-24 read:  "You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness' - and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."
     While these verses in James have created some controversy and misunderstanding, I find in them a balance.  James makes it clear that faith motivates us to good works.  Abraham put feet to his faith by obeying God and doing what the Lord instructed him to do with his son Isaac.  Today, "easy believe-ism"
would have us think that putting our faith into practice by doing good works is not necessary.  However, that leads to an empty faith.  As James wrote, "even the demons believe - and shudder!"  It is one thing to say, "I am a believer".  It is another thing to live it out on a daily basis.
     My mother's favorite advice to me was "Actions speak louder than words."  She was right.  What we believe in our heart should be put into practical application in our daily activities.  If we never attend church, do not read our Bible or pray, we ought to ask ourselves if we have given our lives in commitment to Christ.  If we see a friend or family member who says they believe but never demonstrates their faith, then, in love, we need to sit down and talk with them.  Belief in Christ plus good works done as a result of grateful obedience for what Christ has done for us equals a powerful witness that others can see.  We are, after all, to glorify God by our good deeds.
Cathedral at Lincoln, England
     Words are cheap.  it is easy to say we believe something, but so do the demons.  If we claim to be a part of Christ's household, let our actions also demonstrate our changed heart.  Let us practice what we preach!  Selah - Soli Deo Gloria!

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  Please feel free to share with me as an encouragement to me and to other readers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Working and Praying Every Day

     As I drive to work each day, I pray on the way to the office.  I pray for our patients.  I pray for wisdom and the ability to help others.  I pray for my co-workers, and I pray for my husband -the doctor that he might be guided to make good decisions in the care of his patients.  Then, I get to work and do the best I can to support the business and those we serve.  I guess that is why I am surprised at times when I hear people say that they pray for things but get no results either on the job or in their church.  This reminded me of the Scripture found in Matthew 9 dealing with laborers and the harvest.
     Jesus spoke to his disciples saying:  "...The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.  And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal every disease and every affliction" (Matthew 9:35-10:1).  The Lord could see the need for workers who could bring in a spiritual harvest so He told His disciples to pray to God, and then, He prepared them to go out and work.  There is a twofold call here from the Lord.  Praying and working go hand in glove.
     Often, we hear people talk about how they have prayed for their church to grow and yet, they offer excuses when asked to participate in some area of ministry.  Others pray for their loved ones to come to Christ, but they have never even considered telling them about their own faith in Him.  We pray for our work load at the office to slow down so we can catch up,  then, balk when the boss asks us to work some over time.  It is as if we expect our prayers to be magical and accomplish things for us without us ever being a part of the solution.
     What we often forget is that God may want us to be a part of the answer to our prayers.  He may want us to pitch in and serve as well as lift up the needs.  We cannot expect God to do everything.  He has, after all, called us to be His hands and feet on this earth as we serve others.  Maybe you have never thought of your job as a ministry, but each of us is called to use our talents right where we are  for God's glory.   There is honor in each task when it is done with a heart motive of pleasing God.
     Certainly God wants us to bring our requests to Him daily, but He also has called us to work in this world.  As we pray for our job, it changes how we view the work we do.  We are far more effective when we combine both prayer and work together.    Be willing to put feet and hands on each prayer you lift up to the Lord.  He desires for us to be a light in this world by our words and deeds.  Remember:  "Pray as if everything depends on God; work as if everything depends on you."  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  Thank you for sharing your encouragement.  It is a blessing to me and others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When We Finish our Race What Will be Said of Us?

The cemetery at the Church of the Holy Rood
Stirling, Scotland
     Who would have thought that tombstones and memorials could tell a story?  I never thought so until our recent trip to Europe.  We went to many cathedrals and visited an old graveyard beside a church.  Instead of listing only a name and the dates they were born and died, these folks from long ago wrote about the person who was buried at the site.  I was most impressed with the memorials to those who gave their lives for their beliefs.  In the Cathedral of St. Giles in Edinburgh, Scotland, there was a tomb of a man who had served the king but was ultimately beheaded for his Reformed faith.  Other cathedrals had memorials to women who were listed not only as beloved wives but also as god-fearing women who died in the faith and touched other lives.  What a beautiful tribute to a life, and I thought to myself how much I want that to be said of my life as well.
Archibald Campbell beheaded for his Reformed faith
St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
     When we finish this race, what will be our legacy?  Obviously, the graves of those I observed had made it their life's ambition to live for Christ, and to this end we are all called.  In his letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul uses an athletic metaphor to describe how we are to run with perseverance in our Christian life:  "Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified" (I Cor. 9:24-27).
     Paul's use of this metaphor is effective in that an athlete has to discipline himself/herself in order to reach their goal.  It requires perseverance, single-mindedness and determination.  Our mindset, if we are to make an impact on our world, is to look only at the goal of our high calling in Christ.  With every activity that we do, we need to remember our purpose is to glorify God in word and deed.  The people whose graves I visited lived their lives in this manner.  They made a difference in their sphere of influence, and the testimony is written in stone - literally.
     In his letter to Timothy, Paul further expands on this idea of focusing on the goal:  "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).  This is the testimony which each of us needs to strive for in our own lives.  It is not how we built our business, made the most money, had the biggest house on the block, or became a famous person.  Instead, we are to reflect the character of Jesus Christ in our lives so that others might be drawn to Him.
The tombs of a husband and wife in a chapel wing of the
Church in Stratford on Avon
     We run our race well when we do not neglect three disciplines:  fellowship, Bible study and prayer.  These are the key training elements which we must embrace in order to face the challenges that come our way in life.  Training for a race is not easy.  No one said it would be.  In fact, Jesus said that we would face tribulations in this life, but He also told us to be of good cheer because He has overcome this world.  With the Holy Spirit as our trainer, we do have what it takes to live a legacy before our family, community and church.  As we lift up our Lord before others, He will one day lift us up as well.
     I desire to have my epitaph reflect a faithful life that to the end glorified Christ.  How about you?  May we make it our goal to finish well the race set before us.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  Please feel free to leave your comments.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Knowing Where We are Going

Our European rental
     As my husband and I have recounted our trip to Europe with our friends and family,  one detail remains crystal clear to him.  He had a nerve wracking first day as he drove in Scotland.  Not only were we driving on the left hand side of the road, but we were not well acquainted with the roundabouts that are common in the United Kingdom.  Here we have four way stops.  Over there, they have a circle which you go around until you find the right road to get off on.  It works very well if you know where you are going.  On that first day, however, we weren't even certain we could program the "Tom Tom".  We were used to our Garmin and the system of putting an address in to find our way to our destination.  In the U.K., you need a specific postal code.  If you put that in the "Tom Tom", you can be directed to the exact location without any difficulty.  We didn't know that the first day.  As a result, we went around a roundabout five times before we could figure out where to exit.  It was one of those white knuckle days even though we thoroughly enjoyed the sights we saw.
     In a similar fashion, many of us "white-knuckle" our Christian walk wondering how secure we are in our salvation.  I had a friend many years ago who did not believe in security in Christ.  She truly believed that if she sinned she lost her salvation and had to start all over.  Therefore, she lived in constant fear that she might do something wrong and be cut off from God.  From a biblical perspective, this is an unfounded fear for several reasons.
The Church of the Holy Rood Stirling, Scotland
     First, salvation comes from God.  We do not save ourselves.  We are brought to salvation by God's regeneration of our dead souls.  He calls us unto Himself and gives us the faith to believe in Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Paul's letter to the Ephesians speaks clearly to this:  "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1-3).  Now think this through with me.  Dead men/women cannot raise themselves.  They cannot do anything for themselves.  We were once dead in sins spiritually and happily followed the desires of our flesh.  However, Paul doesn't leave us there.  He goes on to say:  "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).  Please note that it clearly says "But God" in the passage.  It doesn't say "But God with a little help from us or by our agreement".  He does all the work.  He raises us up from death to life.  It is all of His grace not any of ours because we have none within us.
The Angel's window - The Church of the Holy Rood
     If we continue to read in this letter, we see this famous and oft quoted passage:  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).  It cannot be overstated that it was at God's institution and choosing that we were called from death to life.  There was no work which we did or could do that brought us into right relationship with Him.  We are, as Paul said, His workmanship.  So how does this relate to our security?
     Quite simply, if He called us to Himself and awakened us spiritually out of our soul death, He is able to keep that which He has brought to redemption.  Jesus speaks to this in John's Gospel account:  "All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.  And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:36-40).  Jesus goes on in this discourse to say this:  "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  And I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:44).  Again, in verse 65 of this chapter, the Lord said:  "...This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
     Two things are clear in the passages.  First, Jesus will never lose hold of those who come to Him in faith.  He, being God in the flesh, is able to keep that which we have committed to Him until the time He comes again.  He paid the price in His blood for our redemption, and as Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, nothing shall ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Secondly, Jesus makes it clear that it is God who calls us to come through faith to Christ.  It is not of ourselves.  Therefore, if it doesn't depend upon us and depends wholly upon God, we should feel secure in our calling and election.  Nothing...absolutely nothing can tear us out of the hands of Christ.
     With all this said, we have to add that this does not mean that we will not fall into sin for we are not yet perfected.  However, once we come to Christ in saving faith, we have a choice to sin or walk in righteousness.  When we were dead in sin, we had no choice.  We followed that which we desired in the flesh only.  We did not seek God nor did we love Him.  However, once we were made new in Christ, our hearts were changed and the chains of sin were broken.  If we do sin, we confess it to our Lord and seek His forgiveness by the blood of Christ. (I John 1:9)  Our relationship is renewed through repentance.  We do not lose our salvation, but we do lose relationship until we repent.
The statue and burial place of Ebenezer Erskine the founder of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Stirling, Scotland
     Having security in a relationship brings peace of mind and builds trust.  Only God can offer us this kind of eternal security because He does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever according to the Bible.  What is written in His Word is trustworthy too because He inspired it and we know that not one jot or tittle shall pass away.  If He does not change nor His Word, we can know that what we have believed is true and will remain.  This should be a cause for joy in our lives to know that He has called us, will keep us and will deliver us safe to heaven one day.  What He says, He will do.
     When I look back on our trip, after that first nail biting day in the vehicle, we learned how to use the navigational system.  Each day of driving got easier and better for us.  We felt more secure.  This is how it should be in our Christian walk as well.  When we are new believers, we may have some doubts or feel uncertain.  Yet, as we get into God's Word (our navigation system in this world), we will find greater confidence each day to walk by the Spirit's direction.  We need to understand what the author of Hebrews wrote and make it our own:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Remember...Jesus is the author of our faith and the perfecter of our faith.  With Him, we will never lose our direction. He will guide us home.  Selah!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where is Your Treasure?

Neuschwanstein Castle
     When my husband and I take our walks, we often pass by a vacant lot where a pile of rotting roof trusses lay.  It is a testimony to dreams that never came true.  Who knows why the people never went ahead with their building project.  Perhaps there was a tragedy in the family, or lack of money.  Maybe there was an unexpected medical bill or health issue that came up which prevented any further progress.  One thing is certain, this pile of rotted timbers represents what happens in each of our lives at one time or another....broken dreams.
A portion of the castle at Heidelberg
     As we traveled in Europe, we saw many of the same sorts of things.  The castle of Neuschwanstein was never finished because King Ludwig II died mysteriously at the age of 42.  In Heidelberg, we saw the remnants of the castle there which time had slowly broken down.  Nothing lasts forever....not castles, not riches, nor even the plans to build a house.  There is only one thing which is eternal - the truth of God's Word.  Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Luke 21:33).
     Throughout life, there are times when we face broken dreams, heartaches and disappointments, but if we are believers in Jesus Christ, we have the consolation found in the Bible and in our relationship to Him.  He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5), and He also said that He would never lose not even one that was given into His care by the Father (John 6:37-40).  This is our security!  When all else in this life fails, we have an attorney, if you will, that pleads our case before the Father.  He holds us in the hollow of His hand and daily intercedes for us.
A part of the Castle at Heidelberg
     This life is transient.  It is passing away and so are physical comforts we think we need.  King Ludwig could not take his castle with him when he died.  He left a beautiful place to visit, but he never had time to spend there and finish his work.  At the end of our lives, even if we accumulated all the toys we ever dreamed of, we would still have to leave them behind.  The key is not to invest ourselves in things but in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.  He is worthy of our time, talents and energy in this life for we will spend eternity in His presence.  What we do to bring glory to our heavenly Father will stand the test of time.
     In His discussion of end times, Jesus gave these words of wisdom to His disciples:  "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-38).
Remnants of a tower in Heidelberg
     Rather than focusing on the things we cannot have or did not get,  the boat we wanted, the car that was so good looking, the house that was big and beautiful, we need to direct our thoughts towards the Lord.  In Him, we will not be disappointed.  In Him, we have life, godliness and purpose.  Laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven where nothing can corrupt it brings far greater rewards and fewer broken dreams.
     Jesus said, "For where your treasure is there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34).  If our treasure is in earthly things, we are bound to be disappointed.  However, if we sow to the glory of God, we will reap a harvest of joy one day.  Remember, the things of this world are temporary, but the things of God will last for eternity.  May we choose to invest our lives in Christ who will never disappoint us.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights.  Please leave your
comments to encourage others.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child

Our Grandson Aiden at Disneyworld
     This past week following our European anniversary trip, we went to Disneyworld with our grandson Aiden, his parents and his other grandparents Joy and Rob Davidson.  We had a wonderful time because we had a chance to look through the eyes of a child as he discovered the magical world of Disney.  Watching him hug Pinocchio, Buzz Lightyear, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were worth every moment in the hot Florida sun.  Jet lagged and all (six hour time difference between Zurich and Orlando), we delighted in his eyes filled with wonder.  We have seen this childlike look of amazement in our other grandsons as well, and it reminds me that we are to have this same simple faith of a child when it comes to our Lord.
Meeting Minnie and Mickey for the first time
     Unfortunately, life has a way of jading us.  As we grow older, we forget to keep the childlike wonder in our hearts when it comes to our faith.  Maybe it is the bumps and bruises of life that cause us to develop  a hard shell around our souls, but Jesus told us to humble ourselves like a little child.  Matthew 18:1 reads:
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'"  So what is it about a child that we should imitate?
     Certainly, children are not innocent for all are born with the sin nature, and this is evident if you have ever been around children when they choose to disobey.  However, in the passage quoted, Jesus is speaking about how children depend upon others and accept, willingly, what they cannot provide for themselves.  They are not haughty and above receiving from their parents.  Their faith is simple and their trust in their parents is unquestioned.  This is how our hearts are meant to be when it comes to our relationship with God.  We are meant to depend upon Him and not in ourselves.
     Our world calls us to be self-reliant.  Being a self-made man/woman who pulls themselves up by the bootstraps is admirable and worthy of praise in our culture, but not according to Scripture.  In the Bible, we see what self-reliance did for mankind in the Garden of Eden.  It brought in sin and death because we leaned on our own understanding rather than depending upon God and His provision for our lives.
The Electric Light Parade is a highlight
     When we entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He gave us a new heart.  He made us a new creation and restored us to a right relationship with God.  This new life brings with it an opportunity to once again see through the eyes of a child.  The new birth brings new wonder, new faith, and a new mind in Christ.  According to Paul, we are to put away the things of the flesh and the old life that would hinder us in our walk (Romans 12:1-2; Gals. 5:16-25).  Only as we walk in the Holy Spirit's power are we able to have the a heart that is humble and dependent on God.  For this, we were bought with the price of God's only Son who died for our sins.
      Going to Disneyworld was fun as we watched our grandson's reaction to the characters, the fireworks at night and the Electric Light Parade.  However, it also spoke to me about how we need to recapture our first love for Christ - our sense of wonder and faith even as a child.  Jesus said our hearts need to be humble and dependent as a child's if we wish to see heaven.  So my prayer today is that we all will seek to develop that childlike trust in God our heavenly Father that will carry us through life into His loving arms one day.  Selah!
Outside Mr. Sander's House in Pooh Land

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  I hope you will leave a comment and feel free to share this with others as well.  I write to encourage and lift up others in our faith in Christ.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tour Guides Do It...Why Don't We?

     During our two and a half weeks trip to the United Kingdom and Europe, we listened to a number of tour guides.  These were dedicated people who knew a great deal about the area we were traveling too and were ready to share their knowledge.  Most, of course, were natives of the country.  In addition, most of them spoke several languages so they could meet the needs of all the tourists on board their bus.  Our last tour guide was fluent in German, English and Spanish.  I was amazed at her ability.  It is rare in America to find someone who speaks several languages.  Of course, this is important in Europe where countries are in close proximity to one another.   Certainly, our trip was enhanced by listening to these guides who knew their country far better than we did.
     Upon reflection, I couldn't help but think about the similarities between the job of a tour guide and our job as ambassadors for Christ.  Aren't we supposed to be sharing what we know about our Lord and Savior with others?  Who better to broadcast the Good News than those of us who have received God's mercy and grace?  Yet, why is it that many of us do not do so?  I believe there are several reasons that hold us back.
     First, we are afraid we will be rejected in what we have to say.  Everyone wants to be liked and accepted by others; so when we come to topics like politics or our faith, there is a hesitancy to open our mouths and speak what we know to be true.  Psalm 118:6 reminds us:  "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?"  Again in Hebrews 13:6 we read:  "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mortals do to me?"  If we know we are backed by our Creator, none of us should be fearful of what our fellow man thinks of us or how he may react to what we say.  Instead, we need to be confident in telling others about Jesus Christ.  After all, this is what the Lord, Himself, instructed us to do before He ascended into heaven (Matthew 28:18-20).  It is far more important to obey God rather than to be afraid of how others react to our message.
     A second reason we tend to hold back in sharing our faith is a concern that we will not say the right thing.  Once again, Jesus spoke to this concern when He reminded the disciples that in the hour of their need the Holy Spirit would help them speak the right thing.  Luke 12:12 states:  "....for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."  God always comes through in this area.  There have been numerous occasions when I wasn't certain how to answer some one's question about my faith, but I trusted God to give me the right words, and He has never let me down.  We need to believe in His ability...not our own.  There is a saying that goes: " He doesn't call the equipped.  He equips the called."  I firmly believe that.  God wants us to rely on His wisdom as we share.
     Finally, we have to consider how laziness plays into our inability to share the Good News.  It is so easy for us to push the responsibility of telling others about our Lord by making excuses such as:  "It's the pastor's job to tell people" or "I'll get around to it one day, but today I just don't feel like it."  Jesus called us all into the priesthood of believers.  All of us serve Him as ambassadors of the news that He has come to forgive us our sins and provide salvation to those whom He has chosen.  A good ambassador doesn't push the responsibility off onto another nor does he postpone delivering a message because he doesn't feel like it.  Imagine what would happen to the job of a foreign ambassador if he/she used either of these excuses?  Certainly, their job would not last long.  Each one of us has a story to tell of how and when we came to salvation in Christ.  It is not hard to talk about what we have personally come to know; therefore, we need to put aside our excuses and laziness and make known to others what Jesus Christ has done in our lives.
     As I look back at our tour guides, none of them was afraid to share the information they had about their country and the sights we were seeing.  None of them worried about what to say.  They merely told the story of their land with passion and interest.  Last but not least, they were not lazy in sharing.  They invited questions which they tried to answer to the best of their ability.  We are not unlike a tour guide either.  We know in whom we have believed, and we should be able to tell others without fear what He has done to change our lives.  Whether our testimony is simple or elaborate, it makes no difference because the results are in God's hands.  He is the one that calls, regenerates the heart and convicts another of sin.  He asks us only to serve as His ambassadors to this world in need.  He will do the rest if only we will share what we know.  Let us be bold in Christ to share our faith with others.  After all, someone told us and God did the rest.  Selah!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Last Adventure in Zurich

With our trip to Mt. Pilatus on Monday, I confess I was too tired to even share until now about our last adventure in Zurich. Once again, we boarded a tour bus on Tuesday, September 6th for a tour of the city and surrounding area. It is amazing how much we had a chance to see during this four hour travel around the community.
There are many old historic buildings in Zurich and we stopped at the Church of St. Peter's to examine its beauty. Many of the places we toured do not allow many pictures as was the case here. The church was at one time a convent but later became a Reformed church during the Reformation era. Remarkable stained glass windows, high arched ceilings and a magnificent pipe organ were part of this old church. One feature that made it stand out in the city was the huge clock on the steeple which resounded around the community at each hour. It is the largest clock on a steeple in Europe.
After leaving this stop, we moved on to make a trip to Felsenegg a location reached by a gondola high over the city. Once we arrived, we walked to a restaurant perched high on the peak from which we could view not only the city but also other mountains of the Alps. We enjoyed a warm Apple Strudel and then, we began a walk back up to the gondola. It was a steep incline so we took our time heading back. It was a clear, sunny day and the cool air felt so good.
Upon returning to the bottom of the hill, we took the bus to a ferry to cross Lake Zurich. I have never been on a ferry especially with a full sized bus, but it was a great trip across the lake. On the other side, the bus headed us back to our original starting point. We walked from the bus station to a lovely fondue restaurant to enjoy a traditional Swiss meal of bread cubes and small potatoes dipped into the best cheese mixture we have ever tasted. A salad was included with the meal to complete our final day there.
On Wednesday, we arose in the middle of the night to travel home. The first flight took us from Zurich to Dusseldorf. Then, we flew from Dusseldorf to Miami. After going through customs, we prepared for our final trip to Orlando. All in all, we spent nearly 14 hours on our return trip on aircrafts. Fortunately, our luggage made it safely with us all the way.
Picking up our car and going to a local hotel in Orlando for our Disney adventure was the next order of business. We had tried to sleep on the plane as much as possible but we were very tired when we got in that evening. It was wonderful to join our son, our daughter in law, grandson Aiden and her parents.
Our last two days have seen us travel to Disneyworld and Disney Hollywood Studios to celebrate Aiden's third birthday. To see him smile, enjoy the characters of Disneyworld, and have a good time has been a blessing. Family fellowship is always rich and full. What a great way to end our long adventure!
Tomorrow, we finally return home to sleep once again in our own beds. Believe me, that will be a good feeling! We have been so many places and seen so many things. I hope you have enjoyed my little travel series on this blog. When I get all my pictures organized, I will post them on Flickr and send a link to my blog so you can look at them. Thank you for your prayers and friendship. I love your comments so feel free to leave them. I shall return to more sharing this coming week and I pray God's blessings on each one of you!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Top of the World - Mt. Pilatus near Lucerne

Yesterday, my husband and I spent four hours on a train traveling to the city of Zurich, Switzerland. I find the train system here very efficient and fast. We were also able to see the beauty of the countryside as we rode along. After settling into our hotel, we prepared for the 9 and 1/2 trip today to Mt. Pilatus.
According to our tour guide, we would travel by bus to Lucerne going through the beautiful Swiss countryside. Then, we would take a short walking tour of this historic city followed by a trip up the mountain Mt. Pilatus at 7000 ft. After we had spent time on the mountain, we would return to Lucerne for a one hour boat ride across Lake Lucerne before boarding the bus back to Zurich.
Unfortunately, the day was rainy, cool, and not too pleasant. However, we were prepared with our umbrella and rain ponchos. We walked to our meeting place and joined 22 other people for this adventurous tour. Our guide told us that rain or shine they go to Mt. Pilatus. In fact, once we arrived, we found out that 60% of the time, the mountain is socked in with clouds and often rain.
Our stop in Lucerne took us first to a monument to fallen soldiers who had fought for a king over a cause that did not gain anything. Only 35 soldiers survived this battle. A great lion carved into stone stood in somber remembrance of those fallen in battle. Then, we took
a walking tour of the old city of Lucerne. We walked across two wooden foot bridges that have been in existence since Medieval times. One river we crossed had beautiful blue, pure water flowing in it, and we saw dozens of swans who make their home here. How graceful and beautiful are these snow white birds!
Following our walking tour, we had a short time to go and enjoy some delicious cappuccino in a local cafe. We also had a chance to do some window shopping. The cost of things is very high in Switzerland. A cup of coffee from McDonald's cost about $3.50 per cup (small size). However, the coffee and chocolate in Switzerland are outstanding!
We boarded our bus again to make our trip to Mt Pilatus. After a short ride, we prepared to ride part way up the mountain in cable cars that seat four people. We were lucky to ride with our tour guide so we were able to learn even more about Switzerland. It was so amazing as we climbed higher and higher over the city of Lucerne into the mountains of the Alps. Our guide told us that farmers bring their cows up into the mountains (high up) for at least five months during spring and summer. The grazing is better for them here, so the farmer stays with them alone in small cottages. Bells are put around their necks and we could hear the cows as we ascended the mountain.
We rode the cable car up to a second station and changed to a Gondola that held all 22 of us. We stood the rest of the way up...a steep climb to be certain and a breathtaking view. When we reached the top, clouds obscured any and all views. Some of our group had come to hike down the mountain but decided against this due to the inclement weather. Since there was little to see and it was VERY cold outside, we settled in to enjoy a Swiss macaroni dish with apple sauce in the restaurant at the top. There is also a hotel at the very top of the mountain...what an interesting place to stay!
Just before we were to descend, there was a brief clearing around the top where we could see some of the view. It was beautiful and awe inspiring. We were grateful for this moment. Then we boarded the world's steepest cog wheel train for our descent. This train goes down the mountain at a 48 degree slope. When you board, it is like boarding a stair step seating arrangement. The views were sensational. Unfortunately, my new camera decided to die at just this time so we were not able to take as many pictures as we wanted to. I am not certain what happened but we believe it should hold out for one more day here in Zurich before we return home.
When we reached the bottom of the mountain, we boarded a lake cruising boat and took a leisurely hour long trip across Lake Lucerne. It was peaceful and the sky was beginning to clear. We spent our time on the boat having a great conversation with a couple from Ohio our former home state. They were traveling Europe too and we had a wonderful time getting to know Tom and Carol Coco. God is so good to give us the opportunity to make new friends as we have traveled.
Tomorrow, our final day in Zurich, we will tour this city and see the sights. It is a half day trip which is good for us because we must be up and ready for our flight home at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday. It has been a whirlwind trip in many ways and one we will never forget. I will write more tomorrow evening if I have the opportunity. Again, I have posted pictures on Facebook. When I return home, I will upload to my Flickr account to share with you all.

Please feel free to leave your comments. I always enjoy reading them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles of a King

Our ten hour tour today took us to the two castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Our bus left around 8:15 a.m. for the 1 and 1/2 hour drive to our first castle. With a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, we learned a lot about this area and the castles that were built. The thing we have been enjoying about these tours is the new acquaintances we have met along the way. A gentleman from India took pictures of us together. A couple from Scotland sat across from us and we had a chance to converse with them as well. I guess you could call our tour a friend making tour and we have enjoyed it. I do believe the largest group of English speaking tourists here are Australians though. We have met some on every outing.
On the bus, the guide told us about King Ludwig who was born in 1845 and died in 1886 under mysterious circumstances. He very much favored the French Kings Louis XIV and Louis XV and when we looked around Linderhof Castle we could see a mini version of Versailles. Once again, the castle was decorated with gold leaf ornamentation in the Rococo tradition popular at the time. Every ceiling was decorated with gold leaf and pictures painted by local artists. High bed canopies were decorated by special stitching and around and above each bed was the gold filigree work. Most of the castle still contained the original furnishings which have been well preserved. The throne room was magnificent in its beauty. While the king had wonderful builders and planners who worked for him, he led a lonely life. He never married nor did he have children to follow him on the throne. He would entertain people in his castle but most often dined alone and spent a solitary life.
Once our tour was complete, we purchased some postcard pictures of the interior as we were not allowed to take pictures in the castle. On the road again, we traveled a short distance to the town of Oberammergau where every ten years the town holds a passion play. It is a small beautiful village of 5,000 souls. Pretty shops lined the streets and flower boxes hung on many window sills. We were there long enough to shop and relax for a time before moving on
to Neuschwanstein.
Back on the bus, we traveled for 20 minutes more to reach this castle set on a mountainside. It is the real Cinderella Castle from which Walt Disney must have gotten his inspiration. We rode a winding trail to a village area and then took another smaller bus up the mountain to the castle. Even then, we had to walk a way before reaching the courtyard. We were, once again, blessed with blue, sunny skies over us. High above the castle we could see hang gliders over the top of the mountain along with a glider. Quite a sight!
Once inside, we then entered the castle and climbed a total of 221 steps up (all together) to see the three levels that were completed. The second floor was not finished as the king died before this castle was done. It took ten painters 4 years to complete all the paintings on the wall. In this residence though, the king went with a Byzantine theme and the walls were done in many beautiful colors. The floor tiles were done in mosaic size and style.
Since he loved the composer Richard Wagoner, he dedicated the castle to him. Many of the scenes painted on the walls were from his operas. It was unbelievable!
The kings bedroom had a canopy over the bed that took fourteen wood carvers four years to finish. The canopy cover resembled a cathedral and other woodwork done in the room also reflected this theme. Off of his master bedroom, he had his own private chapel. He never lived long enough to have a larger chapel completed. On the third floor, we also saw the kings throne room. It was magnificent with gold filigree and portraits of Christ and the sainted kings who had preceded Ludwig. Christ was portrayed above the throne as King of Kings. The chandeliers in all the rooms were amazing and weighed thousands of pounds. The fourth floor had the largest room which was the proposed performance room for Wagoner's operas. No performances were ever held as the king died before he could arrange this.
Since it took 221 steps to reach the fourth floor, we also had to walk down the same amount on the spiral staircase. Then we had a 20 minute downhill walk which challenged our ankles, knees and feet. There wasn't a soul who returned to the bus who wasn't thoroughly exhausted.
On the return trip to Munich, we again had the chance to look at the green beautiful Bavarian country side filled with corn fields,cows and beautiful homes. It had been a wonderful day for us, and we finished it off by visiting the famous Augustiner Biergarten. It is a huge meeting place for people and their food came highly recommended. We shared our table with four young German men who were celebrating the impending marriage of one of them. Only one of the men spoke English, but he was most gracious and friendly as they all were.
We have tried our German phrases when we have needed too and everyone was patient with us in trying to pronounce the words. I can honestly say we have really enjoyed our stay in Munich.
Tomorrow, we travel by train to Zurich, Switzerland our last stop. We will have a chance to sleep in tomorrow (the last two mornings we got up at 5 a.m. in order to make our tours...I am not a morning person) as our train leaves later. While in Zurich, we are to see the Alps and take a city tour before flying home.
I will give you an update as we continue our travels. Also look for pictures on Facebook. As I mentioned, we were not allowed to take pictures inside each castle, but we have many of the exterior. May you be blessed!

Please feel free to leave your comments. I welcome them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

History Revisited at Kehlsteinhaus (The Eagles's Nest)

Today was another busy day of touring for us as we took a bus trip to see one of history's most famous sites Kehlsteinhaus. This was built for Adolf Hitler by the Nazi party in 1937-1938 as a tea room and gift for his 50th birthday. It was a place for him to meet with heads of state. However, Hitler was afraid of heights and only made a few visits to this place.
Our trip took about three hours as it was in the southern most portion of Germany known as Obersalzberg. By good fortune, we had a very knowledgeable, funny and friendly guide. He is actually retired but only works two days out of the month. I am so glad that we got him. He spoke English well in addition to his native German plus he even speaks Spanish. It is so interesting that many Europeans know several languages. I realize their countries are close together and it is to their benefit. However, it makes me sad that we in America don't learn at least one additional language well.
Thus far on every trip, we have met Americans as well as many Australians who are traveling this summer. We have had some great conversations, and it makes the trip go by more quickly.
Once we got to the mountains, the only song I could think of was from "The Sound of Music". In fact, this area of Germany which borders Austria is where the film was made. The green valleys stretched below us as we made our winding ascent towards our goal of "The Eagle's Nest" which sits atop a mountain 5,500 feet above sea level. The views were spectacular. We almost felt as if they were not real because the scene was so larger than life. It makes you appreciate God's creation all the more as you look at the beauty He has made.
Part way up the mountain, we came to a level area where a special bus was waiting to carry us to the top on a one lane road that hugs the mountain. I am afraid of heights so this whole trip was a challenge for me, but we had a good tour guide and a good driver. Furthermore, the weather was perfect. It had been predicted that we would have rain, but instead, God blessed us with sunshine and cool temperatures.
Arriving at our top level, we were instructed to quickly walk through a tunnel to an elevator which would take us up 400 more feet to the Eagle's Nest. The tunnel was the original one built by the Nazis as was the elevator. They spared no expense to build this facility. Once we reached the top, we stepped out on a high level space fenced all around for safety. We could see for miles. The city of Salzburg looked tiny by comparison from our perch. On the other side of the top area, we could look at the mountains of Germany and a beautiful lake far below. The two boats on the lake looked like little ants moving across the water.
Instead of preserving the Tea House for historical purposes, it has become a restaurant at the top. We were able to take pictures of the building on the outside at least. Then, for
those brave enough to walk it, there were steps to the highest part of the peak where a cross stood. My dear husband made a climb half way while I remained on the main platform. It was challenge enough for me to walk to the fence for a picture.
After spending 45 minutes at the top, we came to the intermediate level for a ride back to tour base area where we were to meet our bus. I was thankful we were riding instead of walking. Nevertheless, we saw hikers making the walk up to this high location. I guess I am beyond that type of work out...not to mention the height issue.
We had lunch at our tour base area at a great outdoor cafe, and then took a tour of Hitler's underground bunkers built to protect the leaders from air attacks. The Allies were never able to demolish Eagle's Nest although they hit other houses of officials built at lower levels of the mountain. All in all, it was a very interesting tour and as our German guide said, "It was a black time in German history."
On our return trip, the guide had the driver take is on back roads where we went through the small Bavarian villages built in the mountains. They were beautiful and every village had a church. Here is Germany, church bells ring several times a day. I remember a time in our country when church bells were rung each day. Now, however, we do not hear it very often. Our guide told us that the people in the villages are very involved in their churches. This was a blessing to hear. Once we got back on the Autobahn, most of took a nap. It had been a long day.
This evening, we took a stroll to an outdoor cafe for a great Bavarian style meal. I wish I could say it had no calories in it...but it was delicious and a perfect conclusion to a great day. We only had slight rain on our way back from "The Eagle's Nest" but after that, it was sunny again.
Tomorrow, another long day....10 hour tour to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles. I cannot wait to see these beautiful places. As always, I will share our adventure with you tomorrow evening. Please check Facebook for pictures. When I get home, I will be able to upload pictures to Flickr for all to see.

I welcome your comments so feel free to leave them here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Munich's Treasure

Today, we packed our bags once more and moved on leaving Frankfurt behind. We traveled by train to Munich. Our train experience was interesting. We learned that you have to move
fast to find a seat and get your luggage put up. Otherwise, you are caught in the aisle unable to move with people filling all the space with their suitcases all around you. I think we will do better the next trip.
On the train, we had the fortune of meeting a nice German gentleman who could speak English.. He tried to assist me in connecting to the internet on the luck...but we made a friend. He is a web designer for a corporation and was going to visit a friend. We really enjoyed the time we spent in discussion. He parted company at Nuremberg while we were going on to Munich. I am always blessed by the way God brings new friends into our lives.
When we arrived at the train station, we were supposed to be greeted by a driver. However, the driver never came. So we called our travel agency and they had a cab come and get us. After getting settled in our hotel, we decided to take a trip to the palace of the Wittlesbach family who ruled Bavaria for hundreds of years. Rick Steve's had recommended this and we had the time to do it. I am so happy we did!
Munich has many wonderful places we can visit, but this was the best choice for us. We went through the extensive treasury of this royal family. Gem laden crowns, jewelry and broaches filled their treasure house. Scepters, swords, hand painted china from the Ming Dynasty and many other valuable pieces of art were displayed.
Beyond the treasury, we entered The Residence as it is called. We walked from room to room bedazzled by the gold gilded walls. The furniture, woodwork, pictures and decor kept us amazed at this wealth. It rivals the Queen's own palace in London. I posted many pictures on Facebook but hopefully will soon be able to share more on Flickr when I return.
After our tour, we walked the streets in the center of Munich. People were shopping,eating at street cafes and enjoying the cool temperature. Naturally, we wanted to visit the Hofbrauhaus Biergarten which is very famous. A live German band plays while whole families enjoy fellowship. We knew it was a tourist type of place so we left to find a nice
quiet Bavarian restaurant.
We found a spot on a side street that was empty when we entered. It had come recommended and we were not disappointed. Our sizzling hot skillet came with pork, leeks, sliced potatoes and a fried egg on top. The dish was excellent and we left quite satisfied.
Now, we need to turn in to prepare for another busy day ahead...a ten hour trip to Berchtesgaden and Hitler's Eagle's Nest. We will have a chance to see some history. I am praying that the weather report is wrong as it calls for rain. Again...I will let you know what adventures we encounter.
I welcome your comments here and I hope you are enjoying the updates.