Faith Column: Blessed to live here |

Faith Column: Blessed to live here

Pastor Len Browning takes a break in the newly expanded space at The Journey at First Baptist in 2010. The Baptist establishment, which has been in Craig for more than a century, was voted Best Church.
File Photo

It was just barely light out and it looked to be an unusually clear day. Wispy clouds were visible. The smoke from area fires had not yet blown in.    

A walk was in order.  A long walk.  Music was needed.  How about the CARS?  Nothing like Let the Good Times Roll, Shake it Up, and Just What I Needed to get your day going!

As I walked, I was struck with the beauty of the day, I felt like dancing.

The streets were clean, sidewalks swept and flowers galore – nurtured by municipal workers, daily.  Other workers tending to the landscape at government facilities, one of the nicest flower gardens in town exploding with blossoms, buds, and plant life at a senior living complex.  The “community corner” flower bed letting everyone know that we are proud of our place.

Genuinely nice, new signs, directing guests to our area and to the many points of interest we boast.  A display of local club offerings reminding everyone of the service-oriented realty that is our community.

Deer, everywhere.

Time for Sweet Home Alabama.  “…turn it up!”

Life was marching on.  Shop owners readying their businesses, construction workers setting up equipment – tools and supplies abundant.  Nicely dressed men and women making their way to other industries, uniformed medical personnel on their way as well. Friendly law enforcement personnel smiling and waving, ready to serve and protect. 

A stream of other “essentials” heading east and then turning south to advance toward their destination. 

Conspicuously new “curb cuts” make the transitions from sidewalk to street effortless. 

And Deer…everywhere.

Let’s see, Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good to Me So far?  Yes, perfect.

A nice older gentleman, dressed in shorts and a big smile, rounding up carts at a local market.  A younger man riding a bike and talking to himself with brief interruptions to tell someone he knows them…and their birth date, phone number and the names of their children. 

A very friendly lady walking a dog is seen at every corner of the city, stopping only to tell someone that Jesus loves them.  Some scantily clad teenage girls navigating travel on flat boards with wheels, and great balance…I remember those days, long gone now.

Fitness freaks sweating away at the gym.  Insane ones (purposely) running for fun!  Emmet “Doc” Brown and his old west cohorts would be flabbergasted.

Numerous people making their way to catch the regional transit bus, presumably for gainful employ up valley.  A few rougher looking characters out and about, looking confused.  And some living in motels, preparing for life as they know it.

And Deer…everywhere.

Switch to some newer “Christian” music now: O Praise the Name and the new God is so Good (never been anyone like you).

Butterflies swirl, birds chirp, more than a few robins dance about, and even a woodpecker graces my view.  Honeybees and yellowjackets but no mosquitoes – thank you.  Earwigs and ants visible if you look for them, whose idea were they anyway? Cats and some dogs prance about, some alone others with their “pets” in tow.

Manicured lawns, well appointed homes and businesses – this is nice!

And Deer, everywhere.

I’m blessed.  I love living here.

Ending my 3-hour Praise and Prayer Walk I reflect on God’s grace and great love for humanity and His imperative for His followers in the past, when their life was hard and seemingly unfair:

Jeremiah 29: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare…11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD…”

For those who are in Christ, we also have the promise of an abundant life now (John10:10) and an even better promise of an eternal future.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 

Pastor Len Browning is the Lead Pastor at Craig Journey Church and can be reached at

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