Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

More Lessons from the Island and U.P. July 10, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:28 pm
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002We have just returned from our vacation for seeing more of Michigan’s great beauty. I know I’m a bit prejudice since I live in Michigan but this state has so much to offer. I never grow tired of discovering new things in Michigan.

We basically did the same vacation we did last year. We went to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island (both pronounced the same — Mackinaw — just spelled different) then to Michigan’s upper peninsula and then to visit some friends in Muskegon.

God likes to teach me lessons while I am on the island and this year He whispered some truths to me in other places as well. Last year I did a whole series for you. You can read those by going to my blog and typing in Mackinac Island in the search if you missed them.

I have some new lessons for you and will begin that next week.

Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

Here is a verse I’ve been mediating on recently. It’s great to think about as you fall asleep and before you get out of bed.

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

 

How Mackinac Island is like our Spiritual Lives (Part 4) September 12, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:49 am
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The kids in front of Skull Cave.

The kids in front of Skull Cave.

Sorry for the delay in installments. I came down with a nasty cold last week that had me napping instead of working on my post ūüôā

We have traveled from Mackinaw City to the island. We visited downtown and then rode around the island on our bikes. Now it’s time to go deeper, explore the interior and stop riding around the edges.

The year after Patrick and I rode around the island we were very eager to explore the interior. Here’s the thing, the only way to get to the interior is to climb a hill. Most people take Fort Hill. It is horrible. I mean, truly horrible.

This year we walked up with the kids pushing our bikes (you can’t ride your bike) and we were all huffing and puffing. Someone who works on the island came up behind us and said, “I do this everyday and it doesn’t get any easier.” That made me feel a little bit better. I would not want to climb that hill every day.

But sometimes to get to things worth seeing you have to go up hill to get there. So we did.

Once you are in the interior of the island you can see more beautiful homes, follow many trails (we still haven’t explored them all), you can visit Sugar Loaf (another rock formation) or Skull Cave.

The beauty that surrounds you as you ride around is beyond words. Places man has not touched. Birds singing their songs. I could spend all day there.

So, how is this like our spiritual lives?

Going deeper with Jesus won’t happen accidentally. Just like you can’t accidentally end up in the interior the island you won’t find yourself suddenly in a deep love relationship with Jesus. It takes intentionality and time.

You have to really want to see the interior of the island to climb up that hill. We have to really want to go deeper with Jesus to take the time it takes to get there.

If I’m not willing to spend time in His Word, in prayer, in worship I won’t get there.

It never gets easier to wake up at 5:00 a.m. Never. I am still tired every single morning, just like that worker who said she climbs that hill every day and it doesn’t get easier.

I wake up early to have alone time with Jesus. Each day is a struggle to wake up. But I know it’s worth it. I know the beauty that awaits me as I sit in His presence, as His Word washes over me.

There are still areas I haven’t explored and I never will because our God is limitless. But I will keep exploring and discovering all He has to offer me. I won’t give up.

Just as I said I could stay in the interior of the island all day, I would love to sit in Jesus’s presence all day, but I can’t. However, I take His presence with me where ever I go. I take the memory of the interior of the island with me. And because I remember what it is like I want to go again. I can’t wait to get back.

Once you have sat in Jesus’s presence you will want to go back. This is one addiction it is okay to have. Be a lover of His presence. Once you have been overwhelmed by Him you will want more. Once won’t be enough.

This reminds me of a song, I’m a Lover Your Presence. Use this song to soak in His presence. Click here.

We aren’t done yet. We have once last stop to make. Check back next week to see where we go next week.

 

 

How Mackinac Island is like our Spiritual Lives (Part 2) August 15, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:55 pm
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mackinac-island-visitorsLast week we visited Mackinaw City and saw Mackinac Island in the distance. If you missed that post you can read it here.

Today we are taking the ferry over to the island. As you wait in line to board everyone is happy and excited. Their excitement rubs off and you feel it too. The breeze from the lake whispers across your face, the sun’s warmth caresses you. It’s going to be a great day.

Once you board the ferry you can sit on top in the open air (if it’s not freezing, although some people sit up there no matter what) or you can sit inside. I like to sit by the window so I can get a good view of the island as we approach.

Soon we are moving along, it’s a short ride, about twenty minutes. As we ride the island becomes more clear. The beautiful cottages dot the landscape and the anticipation grows. You see the Grand Hotel, you’ve heard so much about it. The Fort spreads across the green grass.

Once we dock and get off the ferry¬†we enter the¬†downtown area of the island (see picture above). This is the busiest part of the island. Everyone spends time here. The street is lined with bikes (no motorized vehicles allowed on the island), shops and restaurants. The clomp of horses hooves fill your ears and pleasant and unpleasant smells fill our nostrils ūüôā

I spent all of my childhood in this part of the island whenever we visited. I really thought that was all there was to the place. Even when my husband I visited the first few times together we only ventured a little ways away from the downtown area.

Like I said, this where everyone spends the majority of their time and maybe there are even people like me who never moved away from this busy area.

This is like everyone who comes to know Jesus. We are start here, this is the more populated place in our faith journey, the beginning, the place we land. We may venture a little ways from the norm but it can become uncomfortable getting away from everyone else and soon we may turn back around.

This is the place where we are served and eat and shop. Looking for things that will please us, we can take what we want and leave the rest.

When we’re¬†hungry we can find food. When we’re not we can just hang out. We can eat and eat and eat, take and take and take. But if we stay here long we will get fat. We need to exercise our faith and go to the places¬†where we have to rely on God to sustain us. Where we can give back. Where we can truly enjoy His creation.

The other danger of staying in this highly populated area of our faith, so close to the mainland, is that you can still see the ferries. When the storms of life come or the pressures of the world start to burn, we can be easily persuaded to jump back on the ferry and go back to where we came from.

If we travel away from¬†the beginning stages of our faith¬†and the storms come (and they will) we have no choice¬†but to stick it out and find shelter in The Almighty because the ferries aren’t anywhere in sight, we can’t even catch a glimpse of the mainland.

Staying in this populated area of¬†our faith¬†might feel safe but we will never be satisfied and we will miss all that Jesus has for us. There’s so much more to this fabulous island and the same is true¬†of our faith,¬†of loving Jesus. There’s more, but it takes effort, you might have to pay a cost for it, but it will be worth it.

Next week will explore more of the island. See you there.

Where are you? Are you hanging out with everyone else? Do you still feel like you are in the beginning of your faith or have ventured away from those beginning stages to pursue all that Jesus has for you?

 

How Mackinac Island is Like our Spiritual Lives (Part 1) August 8, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:42 pm
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This is Mackinac Island from the shore of Mackinaw City. It's pretty hard to make anything out but the white lines are the Grand Hotel and the Fort.

This is Mackinac Island from the shore of Mackinaw City. It’s pretty hard to make anything out but the white lines are the Grand Hotel and the Fort.

This is a series of articles or devotions I’ve wanted to write for a few years. I don’t know why I kept putting it off but I am writing them now. Over the next few weeks I will share how I believe Mackinac Island, Michigan is like our spiritual lives. Hope you enjoy it.

Mackinac Island, Michigan is my all time favorite place in the world. My husband and I go every year. I went as a child several times as well but it wasn’t until I explored the island with my husband that I discovered this unique place has much more to offer then meets the eye.

This week I will talk about seeing the island from a distance.

If you visit Mackinaw City you can see the island from the shore. The Grand Hotel  and the Fort are prominent white figures that are easily spotted.

Standing on the shore of the city one might look upon the island and wish to visit that seemingly isolated spot. Maybe the onlooker has heard about the island, its beauty, serenity¬†and longed to visit but just haven’t made the trek or time to do it. They see other people boarding the ferry and heading over. Everyone is smiling and looks so excited to go.

This is the visitor at our church. What do they see when they see you, someone who calls themselves a believer? Do they see someone who is excited to be at church or do they see grumpy faces, hear grumbles about the pastor or the music? Are you making Christianity look appealing? Are they longing for what you have?

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This is the Grand Hotel. I never grow tired of looking at it as we cross Lake Huron and head to the island.

Someone who doesn’t know the Lord should be seeing something in us that they want, just like the onlooker wants to visit Mackinac Island. If people didn’t look excited to go, if they didn’t hear great things about this place, they wouldn’t want to visit.

Are we saying great things about Jesus? Or are we just like everyone else in the world? Looking out for ourselves, complaining about everything that doesn’t go our way?

Definitely some things we need to think about, I know I do. Even when we are just getting groceries, are we sharing a smile or so focused on our list we don’t look up to see the hurting around us? Yikes,¬†I do this.

Next week we’ll make the trip to Mackinac Island, hope you’ll join me.

What drew you to Jesus? Did you see something in someone else that made you seek Him out? Was there a church that embraced you? We’d love to hear your stories, share in the comments.