By Anna & Elisabeth
That is where we began our Big West Trip eleven years ago.
They were a bit younger, I do say!
These are the first-timers. Look smaller? It's the same amount of people as was in the first half! Wait, is there a girl in this photo who was also present in the first half? Yup! Joanna was most certainly along with the original group, though she had not yet made her appearance. She was there, just not born yet.
One game that fills car time is listing all the states in the United States and checking off the ones that are represented on vehicle license plates. I believe there was somewhere around 45 that were marked, as well as some from Mexico and Canada!
What do I spot in the distance?? Our first landmark, the Cross. This stop holds a special place in our hearts. Whenever we pass through, we pause here and remember the Reason we have life. It begins with understanding who we are as mankind, and the Almighty God Who has set forth His righteous, holy laws. These laws are quite unique, for even though they appear as cold and harsh, binding us from doing anything desirable, they are quite the opposite. They have been written by the loving hand of God, expressed through His heart of compassion and mercy, and engraved upon the firm foundation of His truth with the desire that the people He created could be truly free. For to not heed these laws brings bondage, and to submit to these commandments brings peace and joy.(To read a poem that explains the Tender Commandments, click the picture below.)
However, despite all the love that was woven into the Ten Commandments, like the love a father would have when he instructs his child not to cross a fence for the cliff drop-off on the other side, we have been as the stubborn rebel who has refused to heed the commands and have trespassed the laws that have been set. Therefore, we are condemned to destruction, as the child who crosses the boundary set and, consequently, falls down the cliff. "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)
Left to ourselves, we are helplessly headed for destruction--the consequences of our sin, eternal death and separation from God in Hell. Despite all the good works we might strive for, regardless of the noble esteem we might achieve, whether we have committed a criminal offense or just uttered a 'little white' lie, we all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Because God is just and holy, and we have wrongfully transgressed against His law, we are under the judgement and wrath of Almighty God. No worker of wickedness can enter into His holy habitation--Heaven. For the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6)
How, then, can we be saved from so great a condemnation?
"But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
He left His Father's throne above; so free, so infinite His grace.
Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam's helpless race.
Tis mercy all immense and free, for oh! my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldest die for me!
His heart was broken, mine was mended,
He became sin, now I am clean.
The cross he carried bore my burden,
The nails that held Him set me free.
His scars of suffering brought me healing,
He spilled His blood to fill my soul.
His crown of thorns made me royalty,
His sorrow gave me joy untold.
He was despised and rejected,
Stripped of His garments and oppressed.
I am loved and accepted
And I wear a robe of righteousness.
His life for mine, His life for mine!
How could it ever be?
That He would die, God's Son would die
To save a wretch like me.
What love divine, He gave His life for mine!
Song by Rebekah J. Peck
Alas! And did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die!
Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the Light
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there, by faith, I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day.
He is alive! No grave could keep my Lord.
He is alive! New life He gives.
He is alive, He rose upon that glorious morn!
He is alive! My Savior lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!
Because He lives, all fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives!
~ Moving Ahead ~
Loaded up again and moving on to our next destination...
"And thine ears shall hear a word behind
thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye
turn to the left."
~ Isaiah 30:21 ~