Saturday, April 1, 2017

Seasons of Change

Solomon wrote in chapter three of Ecclesiastes that everything has a season, a time of purpose under heaven. We go through many seasons in life and some can be painful and unexpected.  Solomon went on to write that there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. He is telling us that every season will change some day and each season is temporary.

Last Sunday afternoon I experienced a painful season change that came as a total surprise.  I was called by a man in my Bible study; someone I have known for twenty five years in which we have prayed together, cried together, and laughed together.  A man I considered a close brother.  He told me we can't be friends anymore or have any contact with each other because of his wife.  The problem is that he accepted Jesus as his savior but she hasn't and has made his life a living hell.  I was so shocked by his announcement that my only reply was I loved him as a brother and would pray for him and the call ended. 

Two of the other men in our small band of brothers received a similar call that he wouldn't be in the study any longer because it upset his wife, but for some reason they are allowed to have contact with him.  This perplexes me even more. 

My hope is that he doesn't deny Jesus  and go back to his old self.  Jesus talked about the cost of discipleship which is denying self, take up our cross, and follow Him.  It is going to be painful at times.  Jesus said " what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul." 

This I know; when God shuts one door another one will open.  A season closed for me but a new and exciting season is just beginning. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Be a good fuit producer, allow some pruning

Spring is slowly happening in north Idaho with the snow melting and some green returning to the landscape.  We have flowers that are poking their heads through the snow in defiance of winter.  The swallows have returned and robins are searching for the right spot to build a nest.  Clients have started calling wanting their trees pruned soon .  Fruit trees are pruned to remove unwanted sucker limbs and weak limbs that would rob the tree of nutrients to produce good fruit.  It is amazing how a tree can produce an abundance of poor limbs in a season.  If fruit trees aren't pruned yearly they quickly become a tangle of weak unproductive limbs.

A few years ago, a property management firm called and said a client of theirs had a rental where the fruit trees needed pruning so I drove there to look at the trees.  Two large apple trees had not been pruned in at least ten years and there were weak limbs everywhere.  It took me two days to prune the trees and I hauled off two big trailer loads of limbs.  Later that summer we had a call from the management firm saying the owner was not happy with the pruning I did in the spring. I asked what was wrong and the reply shocked me.  The owner thought the pruning would reduce the amount of apples the trees produced as she didn't want apples. Now she was very unhappy with an increase in the apples the trees were producing.  I replied that if she didn't want fruit then the trees should have been cut down.  Needles to say, she didn't like my advice.

Jesus said you can tell a tree by it's fruit.  A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  He was using trees to remind us how our life should produce good fruit in abundance.  We produce good fruit when we help other people produce good fruit.  It may take some pruning to get them to the potential they have to produce good fruit.  We all need some pruning from self, pride, anger and many other sins.  Pruning will make us stronger, more productive  and give us Godly wisdom for discernment. 

Don't go out and prune someone unless you have removed all the unwanted limbs slowing you down.  When you do prune, do it with love and humility; be gentle.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Planting seeds

Yesterday Ardella planted four containers of peppers and cabbage in peat pots for our garden this summer.  She planted in new organic potting soil and then put the pots in a tray with a cover to hold in moisture for the little seeds.  They will be watered, fertilized and cared for until June planting.  We look forward to gardening because it lets us get back to the basics of growing our own food.  Yes there will be challenges of insects, disease, and deer all wanting to destroy our garden. It seems like each year there is a new problem but we enjoy the benefits of fresh veggies.

Jesus often spoke in parables about planting, sowing, and reaping.  Planting each seed is more time consuming but the end results are usually better.  Sowing is broadcasting the seed on the ground and not all the seed is going to sprout and reach harvest stage.  There is no harvest without planting or sowing.  These parables are very important for us today in our outreach to people.  God expects us to do the planting and sowing of His word into people.  The Word is like water that will nourish and grow the seeds we planted in people if we use the love and compassion that Jesus showed to the people He ministered daily.  He loved them, fed them, and healed them.  Pretty simple plan for us to follow.

Just as God raises the seed from the ground that we plant in our garden; He to raises the seeds we plant with the word in people.  Some just take longer to sprout than others so be patient.  People don't care how much you know about the Bible; they want to know how much you care first.  Meet them at their needs and plant a seed that will reward them with an eternal harvest in God's garden.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Faith Determines Our Hope

Many people in this country are frustrated and living without hope.  The word hope has been in the news a lot lately with half the country who have lost all hope and half that are overjoyed with hope.  Why the huge difference in these two groups of people?  First of all, anyone who puts their hope in a human being is going to be disappointed.  We all fall short of the glory God wanted us to have because we sometimes listen to the wrong voice. 

Faith and hope are often mentioned together in the Bible.  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  The word substance here means reality or proof.  Colossians 1:27 states that Christ in us is the hope of glory.  Our faith level in Jesus determines our hope level.  The two are inseparable and Jesus is the center of all hope.  The Gospel tells many stories that multitudes of people followed Jesus where ever he went.  These  people had lost all hope in the high religious authorities yet they saw Jesus as compassionate and caring.  He often fed them, healed them, and spoke of a hope they never knew. 

There is an old hymn that says, " my hope is found in nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness."  That pretty much sums it up.  If you are living a life without hope, Jesus is waiting to give you a new hope that is eternal.  He created hope and died that you might anchor your hope in Him.  It just takes a little faith.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Under His Wings

While working for the Iowa Conservation Commission, I had the privilege to participate in the return of the giant Canada goose in the wild.  This largest species of the Canada goose family was thought to be extinct but a biologist found some in a small wild flock of geese in southern Minnesota.  We also discovered that early Iowa pioneer families captured wild geese and handed them down for generations and most of those were the giant geese which the State of Iowa purchased from many farmers .  I was in charge of a work crew that high fenced fifteen acres around a bay and placed twenty four pairs of the geese so they could safely nest without predators bothering the nests.  We also established a refuge for Canada geese that was ten miles wide and about thirty miles long.  They multiplied into the hundreds then thousands and now millions.  It was a huge success story in conservation.

Mama and Papa geese are a force to respect when it comes to guarding their goslings.  The goslings will hide under Mama's wings while Papa is on the constant lookout and ready to defend his family.  We had to handle the geese to band them for tracking and mortality so found out they can beat you fiercely with their wings and will bite any exposed flesh with a vengeance.  I have seen ears, lips, and hands bloodied quickly and with precision from their bills.

Psalm 91 states that we have a Heavenly Father that will cover us with his wings where we can find refuge.  The psalm tells us we are not to be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor the of the destruction that wastes at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  God says He will give angels charge over us to keep us in all of our ways.  This great scripture has many promises of His love and protection.

The 91st Brigade recited this Psalm daily during WW1 and even though they were in many battles, came through the war with no casualties.  Some Marines have used it in Afghanistan with similar results.  I have a friend who has a son that is a Navy Seal that was embedded in Mosul, Iraq with Iraqi troops  for several months.  We prayed Psalm 91 over him and the Seal Team nearly daily claiming God's promises for them.  They finally returned home recently with no injuries yet were in many dangerous battles against ISIS. His son said numerous bullets whizzed by them, bombs exploding with shrapnel flying and often Iraqi troops being killed next to them ; yet they were never harmed.

What do you think; was this just a coincidence or God's favor.  They were under the wings of the Almighty God who is a loving Father.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Beginnings

It has been nearly five years since I have written on this blog and God has prompted  me, okay prodded me to start writing again.  Much has happened with God and me in the outdoor world, family, and life experiences.  I hope to post at least once a week about what an awesome God we serve and how he wants to be involved in every day of our lives. It is called a personal walk with Jesus as our life guide and friend.  Remember He called the disciples his friends before He left them.

God allows us new beginnings just as the seasons have new beginnings every year.  We have experienced heavy snows since Christmas in north Idaho and finally the last few days some thawing has taken place.  I noticed we have flowers up along the house where the snow has melted.  It is God's way to show us a rebirth of the earth every spring.  The Canada geese are flying around our house in pairs waiting for the ice to melt in the pond in the neighbor's pasture so they can start nesting.  The redwing hawks are back that nest on the mountain across from us and we have robins showing up looking for food.  Seasonal rebirth is starting and nothing can stop it because God ordained it to happen.

How about our rebirth?  Where are you with God?  Have you died spiritually or walked away from God?  He is ready to give you a new beginning.  In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be given to you.  Jesus goes on to say that we being evil , know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those ask Him!

It requires that we humble ourselves before God and come to Him in prayer.  God wants us to talk to Him about everything in our life both big and small.  Too often we see God as a Father ready to punish us for everything we have done wrong.  Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment so we can have God's forgiveness and grace.  Don't let life pass you by denying Jesus: He is ready to give you a rebirth of eternity. It is time for your new beginning!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fierceness of The Father

As we approach Fathers Day, I remember back to my Dad who was very respected in our rural community.  Even though he only went through eighth grade, people sought him for advice and counsel.  He wasn't a man who quickly angered but I always appreciated  that he would stand his ground  on principles of right and wrong.  Thanks Dad for leading our family on Godly  living.

I recently witnessed a father's fierceness of a different kind but definitely put there by God himself.  Sadie and I were taking a walk along the Pend Oreille River and a bald eagle was trying to get a small group of coot.  The eagle had them in shallow water at the boat landing.  As the beautiful eagle dove and was just about to grab a helpless coot, a gander canada goose rose up to meet the large raptor and actually hit the eagle.  The eagle made three more dives on the coots only to be hit each time by the gander.  The gander's mate was nesting nearby on a rock jetty and the goose was going to defend her with his life.  The eagle decided to seek something else for lunch. 

The title "Lord God Almighty" means God of Angel Armies.  God is control of everything and everyone.  His fierceness of fire consumed enemy armies that sought to destroy Israel and swallowed up the Egyptian army with water.  But God gave us his grace and mercy through Jesus and saves us from his wrath.  The greatest gift we can receive is forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus.  It is a free gift for anyone who confesses Jesus as their Savoir.  If you haven't done that yet, do it today and rejoice in your new freedom through Christ.