Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Light Shines in the Darkness

It seemed as if every caribou in Alaska had disappeared as we had not seen any for days. But Steve was a patient hunter and remained optimistic. Justin, Steve, and I took the twelve foot Zodiac raft six miles down the lake to see if we could find any caribou since the winds were calm. It was a cold sunny day and we glassed until our eyes were straining but still no caribou could be found. Very late in the day Justin caught sight of a nice bull two miles south of us. This bull seemed to be on a mission as he was trotting fast in a northerly direction. The caribou should have been going south but we decided his job was to come back and turn the lights out for the year. As the bull got closer we could see he was a good trophy class caribou. The alder brush hid him most of the time and we were trying to decide where he would show up when he turned for the lake shore. The big bull came running up the shoreline a few yards away and Steve took a nice trophy. We quickly dressed out the bull and put the meat, cape and rack in the boat. By now it was dark and a north wind had picked up so we were getting sprayed with water. I used a flashlight to follow the shoreline and look for rocks as the wind continued to pound us. Suddenly out of the darkness a light appeared on the shoreline miles away. It was our beacon to safety and gave us a renewed hope. The guides had put out a lantern on the shoreline so we could navigate safely to camp.

Light is good when the night is dark and threatening. Light is good when life is dark and threatening. The apostle John wrote, “The Light shines in the darkness.” Jesus is the only true light that can pierce the black domain of Satan. The tragedy is the many people don’t believe that; they are oblivious of the war going on for people’s souls. We decorate our homes at this time of year with lights and miss the real reason in the message of Christmas.

It is my family’s prayer that you would invite Jesus, the only true light, into your life this Christmas. You won’t be disappointed and Jesus is waiting to have his light shine through you as a beacon of hope in a dark world. Be a light to someone this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Blanket of White

North Idaho has turned into a winter wonderland blanketed by several inches of snow with more on the way. The white cover dramatically changes the landscape. Many things will disappear until spring. Our weather is quite cold too, so the snow helps insulate the plants from damage. Our pansies were still blooming just a week ago.

Some of our winter visitors have showed up to feed. We have many species of birds including about twenty mourning doves that feed daily under the oak tree. Several squirrels built nests in the spruce trees and a few are using the wood duck nests boxes. The deer will soon return as the snow piles up. The neighbor has blocked their normal route with a high fence but I lowered one of ours so they can jump over and come into the back yard.

The snow takes the brown dirty looking landscape of fall and makes it sparkling clean and bright. Jesus does the same for us. He takes all our sins and wipes the slate clean; white as snow. Jesus cares about our heart. This is a great time of year to give our hearts to him. The only true joy can only be found in Jesus and it is a permanent joy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Our family made the annual pilgrimage to find our Christmas trees recently. It is nice when we all go together because sometimes it takes the whole family to find the right tree. Ardella and I actually picked out our tree in October and marked it so we did not have to look for one. Nephew Gary cut one just right for his table and Jolene, Vance, and the girls took a nice tree that we spotted as we were driving up to ours. That left Connie and Thane so it should have been easy but Connie likes to inspect all the trees in the surrounding forest before she chooses the right one. So we went up a road that had several nice tall trees, then we came back down the road to check them again. Some of us wandered around above and below the road to find more selections. Finally as darkness was approaching Connie selected a tree; the first one they had looked at.

Our trees are not perfect as they are just growing wild and we often cut one so another tree will have more room to grow. Sometimes there is a branch missing or a bare spot but after they are up and decorated we forget all about the imperfections. They grace our homes to announce our belief in the true light of the world, Jesus Christ.

We are similar to the Christmas tree because we are not perfect either. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God but Jesus covered our sins on the cross. He did it for everyone who believes in him. Through Him we can shine as a light to this dark world.

If you haven’t accepted Christ into your life do it right now! He is waiting and forgives all sins. Jesus wants to walk with you everyday. Jesus is about a relationship not a religion.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lesson in Tracking

As I glassed the edge of the old clearcut in the early morning light a buck appeared in the binoculars; he wasn’t there a few minutes ago. I put the scope cross hairs on him I and realized that the scope was turned down to three power because the previous day I was hunting thick brush. As I tried to turn up the power he sensed something wrong even though I was nearly two hundred yards away. I saw his tail come up and the buck started to walk away toward thick trees. I put the crosshairs on him but was having trouble keeping steady so I tried to calm down and pulled the trigger. He quickly turned and disappeared into the thick trees and I felt my shot did not hit. There was a thin cover of snow so I walked directly to where he had been walking when I shot but there was no blood or hair. I followed his tracks into the brush field but there wasn’t any indication of a hit so I went back to the old snag where I shot from. Something kept bugging me to go back and look again. I approached the area again and studied his tracks. Before I shot the front tracks were pointed but after the shot they were spread apart which sometimes means the animal is not steady on its feet. I followed the tracks again and just ten feet farther than I had walked lay a beautiful five point buck!

I thanked God for the animal and for prodding me to look again. I usually follow an animal hundreds of yards before giving up. For the rest of the day, it bothered me that I almost made a huge mistake on this buck. It definitely will not happen again.

Reflecting on this has made me aware that I sometimes don’t go far enough when I know someone is hurting or has a need in their life. It is easier to stop and not get involved in their situation. Jesus wants us to minister to everyone, not to pick and choose.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Feast or Thanksgiving

Some of the first Thanksgivings were celebration feasts from bountiful food supplies and did not recognize God as the supplier. One of the first feasts was in Florida in 1565. In 1607 the governor of the Jamestown colony said this day should be kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God. The Plymouth colony started out as a feast until drought hit and after prayers for rain God quenched the parched ground. It was than declared a day of thanksgiving to God.

George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving Day after the British defeat at Saratoga. He recognized the Providence of Almighty God in his victory over the British. He also stated that through prayers God forgives because of Jesus Christ and blots all sins from memory.

It seems that this day has changed significantly from Washington’s day to more of a feast of our bounties. Many Americans are more interested in the parades and football than praising God for his rich blessings. We have been blessed because our founding fathers realized the importance of God in every part of their lives. Millions of families will gather this week to share a meal which is great. Hopefully they will take time to praise God.

Thursday our family will thank God for our homes, each other, and our health. We will recognize God’s love for us through Jesus and his forgiveness of our sins. We put all our hope in Him.

Yes, we will have too much food as all the good cooks bake and prepare the meal. And in usual tradition some of us will spend the morning in the woods deer hunting. This day has often been a blessing to us for a deer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God's Paintbrush

The sunsets this fall have been spectacular with God painting shades of orange and purple across the western sky. I have been in the woods more this fall so I always look forward to see how God will end the day. I find a peace in his artwork; a reminder He is in control. The day’s end is often announced by a pack of coyotes as they prepare for a night of hunting. Once a bull elk bugled in the twilight and I thanked God for this wonderful part of His creation.

In a world spinning out of control, I find strength and confidence in the wild places and animals God created. There is order and harmony in nature because a great God planned it that way. Why can’t people see that creation is so wonderful compared to evolving from muddy goo? The bright colors of a delicate butterfly, how a hummingbird can fly backwards announce a Creator.

Get outside this week and enjoy God’s creation. Watch a sunrise or sunset; take a walk in the woods. Go slow so you won’t miss anything. Set down on a log and listen. You will be in God’s garden where you can talk to Him without distraction.

I know He put deer in the garden but I can’t find them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In a Jam

The familiar drone of the Grumman Goose was heard before we could see the plane as Phil came in low as usual. We had just completed a ten day brown bear hunt with two archers. One client scored on a nice bear the first morning and the other had two opportunities but didn’t get a shot. It had been a sunny morning which made breaking down camp a pleasant task but Phil said a cloud front was coming in fast and we couldn’t get through the mountain pass he wanted to take and drop me off at Kulik Lake for the next bear hunt. So we were going to go out the north end of the lake and up a long shoot between two mountains. As we flew over the north end where a river entered, the water was red with sockeye salmon and we enjoyed seeing this spectacular phenomenon. Ahead of us loomed several glaciers that hung on the mountain sides and we could see the ascent over the mountain range would take a while since the goose wasn’t known for speed but dependability. Dependability would prove crucial very soon. The glaciers seemed like we could almost reach out and touch them when we hit the first turbulent. The old plane shuttered but the engines growled on up the mountain. A few minutes later the plane shook then dropped about fifty feet like we were being push down by a powerful unseen force. The camp gear in the cargo hold hit the ceiling and we braced our bodies to stay in the seats. The sudden drop shut off the engines and Phil was working to restart the plane; we were relieved to hear the engines come to life. This scenario repeated at least three times before the plane topped the mountain range. Minutes later we were landing where I would make camp for the next two weeks. Phil said that was the worst turbulent he had experienced in forty years of flying. Wow, we got to share in that! When I reached the sand shoreline I fell down and kissed the ground.

Things were bound to get better and I had two days alone before the clients would be flown in. Soon I was all alone in the stillness of the wilderness and loved it. I set up the clients’ tent, cook tent, and guide tent. I was in the cook tent putting things in order when a bear growled just a few feet away. I chambered a round in my .338 magnum and poked my head outside. I heard it walking behind the client tent so hollered at it and could hear the bear leaving. Next, I tried to eject the shell which didn’t want to come out of the rifle so I hit the bolt real hard and out popped a shell without the slug. I tore my gear bags apart looking for the aluminum cleaning rod to knock out the slug but realized it was in Idaho. You get creative in these circumstances, like whittling a willow branch to fit down the barrel and several other hair brained ideas that didn’t work. The slug would not come out so I would have to wait until the plane arrived. It would be just me, the bears, and a jammed gun.

It turned out okay and I enjoyed the two days with just me and God on a beautiful lake He had created. I had no choice but to put my complete trust in Him. I had mixed feelings when I heard the plane approaching but at least they had a cleaning rod to knock out the bullet. Lester had to land in a protected bay about a mile away as a good blow with driving rain was coming down. Welcome to Alaska.

We often get in a jam and want God to bail us out. That wouldn’t be so bad if we had confided in Him in the first place. If we only had the foresight to see these situations coming but often we don’t notice until we are in the jam. For me it is male tunnel vision. Most of us guys think we can do alright on our own without God’s help. I’m slowly learning it is easier to turn things over to Him. Try it; it will save you ulcers and high blood pressure. Reading the Psalms helps me put life in perspective. David was a guy just like us, often trying it own his own. He worked through the problems and realized life went better when he put God first.

Invite God into your life this week. Problems always look smaller when He is involved. Have a great week and don’t get in a jam.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fear Not

A light snow had fallen overnight on the tundra and this was the last day for our clients, two brothers from Wisconsin, to hunt. Caribou hunting had been difficult all week for these two guys so Justin and I teamed up to take them out. We left our rifles in camp to lighten our load; after all what could go wrong hunting caribou? Shortly after day light we were setting on a hill that offered a good view of the valley. Soon a large herd entered the far end of the valley over a mile away and looked like they would skirt the edge of a mountain above the main caribou route so we decided to make a run for it to cut them off. Caribou move very fast at a walk so we took off like high school sprinters. Our course required us to cut through a band of thick alders that stretched for miles at the bottom of the mountain range. I was in the lead as we entered the brush and could hear the three others guys were right behind as we sounded more like a herd of elephants than three hunters’ sneaking on this herd. Half way through the alders I looked down to see a fresh grizzly bear bed in the snow but didn’t slow up. As we broke out of the alder patch a loud popping of teeth sounded behind us accompanied by threatening huffing. We looked back to see a large grizzly sow with two cubs. The hair was raised on her back as she stood on her hind legs and we knew she meant business. I could feel fear building fast as I pressed on to put some distance between the sow and us. We had just looked death in the face and recalled later how fortunate we all were.

There is no mama on earth more protective than a grizzly bear. I have a healthy respect for any grizzly knowing what they are capable to do with their massive claws and bone crunching teeth. I know meeting a bear can be dangerous yet I try to remain calm and assess the situation by reading the bear’s body language. I lived with them for five falls in Alaska and found most of them wanted to avoid conflict. If I would have feared the bears, they would have picked up on that. A calm and confident attitude is best when you encounter a grizzly.

After this week’s national elections, many Christians are in fear that the life style they believe in will come under more assaults. They are probably right but that is no reason for fear to rule their lives. Remember we have a great God and He wins in the end! God sets up rulers and disposes them as He chooses. We just can’t see into the future so we don’t know His plans.

Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. I suggest Christians pray for guidance in these times and for our country. Remember we are to let Christ’s light to the world. Read Ephesians 6:10 to 18 and you will be reminded what our fight is about and how to do it as an effective warrior for Christ.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gone Too Soon

We have had golden retrievers all our married life and our daughters also have had the red dogs in their families. It has been fun watching Cody, Mattie, and Sadie playing in a whirlwind of red blur. Unfortunately, Cody’s life has been cut short from cancer at age seven. How do you explain that to two little girls who loved him dearly. Cody was a lot like our first golden Pal; guarding the family was always a priority. Cody’s first owner was abusive and he ended up in a shelter and was adopted by a loving family. They gave him up to Jolene’s family when they decided to go on a missionary trip for two years. Since Cody didn’t trust men he gave me a very cool reception at our first meeting and I respected him for it. It didn’t take me long to win him over and he would howl and bark when I went to Jolene’s if I didn’t pet him. Cody loved to spend time at our house where he could play with Sadie and swim in the pond. The dog would smile from ear to ear. He leaves a big hole in our hearts.

We were in Sunday school class years ago when a couple asked if their dog which had just died went to Heaven. The teacher immediately went into a long lecture embarrassing the people who left the church and as far as I know still don’t attend a church. I believe their question could have been handled better. This event also has affected my life as I haven’t attended an adult Sunday school class for years knowing it drove two hurting people from church and maybe from God.

Christian author John Eldridge believes there are animals in Heaven. After his golden retriever died, John went to prayer asking Jesus if his pet was in Heaven. Moments later John heard a “Yes”. John then asked what he was doing. “Chasing balls” was the reply.

A friend of ours lost their family dog and his eleven year old son grieved for months about the loss of his dog. One night the son had a dream which I believe only God could give. The boy went to Heaven and was greeted by an angel who showed him many wonders that were too awesome for an eleven year old to make up. He remembered them in great detail. Then he asked the angel if his dog was there and the angel said, “Yes, do you want to see him?” He got to hug the dog again and was very comforted by the dream. I encouraged the father to make a children’s book with his son about the dream since he is an artist. I think this would be a wonderful book for children and adults.

There were animals in the garden before man sinned and all were at peace. I believe Heaven is a lot like the garden full of all of God’s goodness. After all, it wasn’t the animals that caused the earth to go bad, it was man. If God can forgive us, I’m sure He can find room for the rest of his creation.

Dogs are God’s gift to us and leave a huge paw print on our hearts.

Thank you Father for helping me write this difficult message.

Thank you Dr. Bob for being such a super vet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good News Bad News

Several years ago I guided white tail hunters for a local outfitter. The weather was very warm for November so the deer were not active. I was guiding a hunter named John from Indiana. John and I had hunted several areas and tried rattling but never had a buck respond. One morning I put John in a tree stand in a sliver of timber along a lake where a buck had made some ground scrapes and told him I would be back in about three hours. I drove two miles above the lake where a creek meandered through a brushy draw that I knew contained deer. There was a power line that cut through the timber toward the creek and I stopped to check a deer trail about seventy yards from the road. As I got to the trail, some fresh tracks revealed a doe had used it recently. Then I heard a buck grunting continuously as he followed the scent of the doe. The three by three buck and I stared at each other from about fifty feet apart at the power line cut. I had raised my rifle part way to the shoulder but knew I could not shoot this deer so slowly lowered the gun to my waist. The buck immediately lowered his rack and charged. Time slipped into slow motion but it only took him two bounds and he was ten feet away and still coming. I pulled up the rifle to my waist, pointed it and fired. The buck cart wheeled backwards and lay dead. I couldn’t believe what had happened as I looked down at the buck. What was I going to tell John when he had not even seen a deer?

I went back to John later in the morning and asked him if he saw any deer. “No” was the quick reply. He asked how my morning had gone. I said, “Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I saw a buck. The bad news is he charged me and I shot him at ten feet.” I could see that John didn’t believe my story. Unfortunately John went home without a deer and I am sure the bad news stuck with him for a long time.

We sometimes do the same thing with new Christians. We have the good news of the saving grace through Jesus as they enter a new walk with God. Satan does not own them anymore; they are free. Now we tell them the bad news. “You have to take 101, 201, 301, become a member, volunteer for greeter, Sunday school teacher, work in nursery, help with youth group and a host of other mandates. We pile enough Christian material on them to earn a degree. All many of them want is to get to know God and read the Bible. Do you see why many people leave church?

Maybe if we took them along side and helped them grow in Christ before we saddle them with jobs, they would stay excited. Along the way they will find their gifts to serve God. I believe Christ intended Christians to serve outside the church walls more than inside. How else do we evangelize the community?

What is your gift? Are you building relationships outside the church to reach people for Christ? Yes, it is okay if you want to teach Sunday school. Just go out and tell the Good News.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Refreshing the Soul

The realities of life hit the world big time the last two weeks. Stock markets crashed, governments scrambled to stabilize their monetary systems, people have lost life fortunes and many individuals saw their retirement incomes plummet. The news media does a good job of promoting fear and anxiety. What is a person to do?

At times like these I am reminded of Matthew 6: 25 through 34. Most of us should really start at verse 19. When we started the carving business I wondered how we would survive and asked God to show me in His Word. I opened my Bible to Matthew 6:25. That was the signature verse on the back of my carvings for a long time because I thought many other people needed the peace this scripture offers. Have these twelve years always been easy? No, they haven’t but I have grown a lot with the help from God and He isn’t done with me yet.

There is nothing like a walk in the woods to help me clear my mind and refresh my soul. It brings me back to the basics with God. Sunday afternoon I put on my pack, loaded the rifle and went for a walk to search for a whitetail buck. It was a cool crisp day with the sun shining brightly through a beautiful blue sky only God could create. It seemed I could almost touch it. I meandered around checking a few trails and set down on a small timbered ridge for a while and reminisced about the big buck I shot three years ago from this spot. I thought about staying there until dark but I was pulled to my feet by what might be found up on the old road two hundred yards above me. An hour later found me in the clear cut that has been productive for Ardella and I the last two years. The green and gold of the trees jumped off the mountains into the amazing blue sky and I felt worries swept away by God’s artwork. Two Ravens came by playing tag and I was reminded of Luke 12: 24.

About six o’clock a young buck appeared one hundred yards below me and I watched him until he fed out of sight. Slowly the light faded and a beautiful full moon rose over the Trestle Creek Mountains. I put the pack back on and headed for the cabin. Today wasn’t really about deer hunting; it was about refreshing my soul.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can You Hear the Bell

One of my favorite movies is the Polar Express because it is about believing. The children were the only ones who could hear the bell because they believed. People are the same way with God; only those who have faith and believe in Him can hear Him. I often get asked what Into The Wild Ministries believes so I will list some.

I believe in the God of the Bible, Creator of the universe.
I believe Jesus is Savoir and God’s only son.
I believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life.
I believe in the Trinity.
I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and is complete.
I believe God is love and wants everyone to spend eternity with Him.
I believe he gave us free choice.
I believe God wants a personal relationship with us.

These are the beliefs that guide this ministry but I do have several personal ones.
I believe marriage is to be between a man and a woman.
I believe abortion is an abomination to our country and we will be judged for it.
I believe in the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
I believe shooting an animal inside a high fence is not hunting.
I believe the far left environmental groups will use the liberal court system to slowly choke off our right to hunt.
I believe our country is sliding into moral decay.
I believe many of the world’s problems could be solved around a camp fire.
I believe children raised in the outdoors are better grounded in life.

What you believe is important. Can you hear the bell?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wiley Wapiti

Last week my son-in-law Thane and I archery hunted the elusive elk. We found a small herd on Monday but immediately got hit by a severe thunder storm so we retreated to the truck for a while. Late in the day I heard two bulls bugle. We tried to find one of the bulls the next day so climbed a mountain that has some wallows. As we approached the first wallow, fresh bull tracks gave evidence that the bull heard us coming and ran off through the old timber. Thane and I checked out the other wallow but it had not been used recently. We circled the timbered basin only to find a few single elk tracks.

One day we went high and found a winter wonderland with snow that was frozen so walking around was too noisy. Two moose were the only creatures we could find. Most of the week was sunny warm days so not the best elk hunting but it was enjoyable to spend a week with Thane. God painted some glorious sunsets and we even got Thane a load of firewood.

I noticed most elk tracks we saw were single animals, sort of strange for a herd animal. Have the elk figured out that staying apart makes them harder for the wolves to hunt them? I heard wolves howling on Friday evening.

My season closed today and I thank God for the time I had in his great creation. I enjoyed every moment; even the hawk that thought my camouflage head was something to eat. It pulled out of the dive just inches away and I felt the air from its wings. We had a bear hit our camp twice mainly checking for left over food. That made us keep things cleaned up. My decoy, Henrietta, must think she is stuck with a guy that can’t find elk. There was a cow moose that really did not like Henrietta and roared at her but when the decoy did not move the cow yielded the territory.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dr. Bob

When one of us gets sick and should go to a doctor we say call Dr. Bob. Bob Stoll is our veterinarian and we wish there were more human doctors that were as compassionate and caring for their patients as Dr. Bob is. He has laughed with us and cried with us over our pets. Last week I called him out to look at Capoo, one of the llamas who was having difficulty breathing. Bob found the source of the problem immediately which was a large tumor in his neck that wasn’t visible under all the thick wool. Unfortunately Cappo had to be put down. As this was happening, Bob and I shared some personal things that are going on in our lives. Again his compassion rose to the surface and we did not look at each other as doctor and client but as friends. Bob has a great love for his family and God. He sees God’s hand in all the animals that he treats. Before Bob left he turned and gave me a big bear hug and helped make the day a little brighter.

As I was digging a burial place for Capoo, each of the other four llamas took their turns standing by their friend one last time. The compassion they showed for him was quite moving. After he was covered up they took turns lying by the grave the rest of the day.

I learned that it is important to look for peoples hurts and offer them comfort. Take time to listen to their story. I don’t always have a good answer but I know God Does so pray for them. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we showed more compassion to the people we meet everyday? Be a Dr. Bob this week to someone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alpine Glow

It has been two years since I’ve been to my favorite elk hunting spot. It is a half hour climb from the truck following some game trails and relying on dead trees as my markers to a small bench where cold water gurgles from the mountainside. When I left the truck it was nearly 80 degrees so I only wore a tee shirt for a top. After I arrived and set up Henrietta, I took off the shirt and wiped myself down and put on a clean camo shirt. I set up a ground blind about fifteen yards from Henrietta and sprinkled some elk scent on spruce trees near her.

The smell of huckleberry and spruce filled my nostrils and I took several deep breaths of this wonderful scent God had made. The mountain was alive with color of yellow azalea, crimson red of huckleberry, and the dark green of spruce. Small patches of white pearly everlasting poked their heads among the berries. Many huckleberry bushes still have berries and it was hard to resist them but I stayed in the blind. It wasn’t long and I had to put another shirt on plus a fleece jacket. I have named this place the Icebox. I have seen temps go from 80 to 30 in a just a few hours.

Two ravens flew over the ridge catching the afternoon thermals and one rose high into the air. It folded its wings and dove straight down toward the trees, then leveled off and did some rolls. The other raven seemed to approve with some chuckles. These birds seem to enjoy life. Two chipmunks seemed to accept me and kept busy eating berries.

As the evening progressed I cow called frequently but did not get any answers. About 6:30 some brush broke up me but I never saw anything. My mind flashed back two years to the bear that came rushing in to eat an elk and I was too cold to pull the bow. I asked God to help and he did with a fatal shot that put the bear down. He definitely helped me pull the bow as it came to a full draw with no effort.

I spent much of the evening praising God for the beauty of this place. I feel He made it just for me as I have never seen another hunter there. I have taken Ardella up there a few times and she likes it as much as I do. Being alone on a mountain with God does a soul good and I left feeling revived.

Monday, September 8, 2008

From The Tree Stand

Friday afternoon I arrived by my tree stand at 4:30 and checked the trails for fresh tracks. Only a few elk had used the trails all week but I thought it only takes one. I set up Henrietta. Oh, you haven’t met Henrietta! She is the prettiest cow elk decoy you have ever seen. I’m sure a bull would fall instantly in love with her. I climbed into the stand to be greeted by bald faced hornets which were very aggressive. My hat became a hornet swatter.

At 4:57 a bull elk bugled in the distance but I couldn’t pinpoint his location. Soon after, a pine squirrel spotted me and told me I was intruding on its territory. The little guy was busy cutting pine cones from trees and gathering them for winter. He ran out through the brush and jumped up on a log by Henrietta seeming very surprised to see an elk. Henrietta even startles me once in a while when I look up and see a cow elk and then realize I’ve been fooled by my own decoy.

The growl of an ATV on a closed road system at 5:15 raised my blood pressure a few points. I can understand folks with physical challenges using them but everyone else can walk. If they want to ride something; take up golf. Closed roads provide elk and other wildlife with security to move around without vehicles bothering them. Some people don’t get it or don’t care.

Between hornet swatting my mind wanders to other matters. I think about God and how to serve Him better. Tree stand time is a good time to communicate with the Father and listen for his reply. We all need to have this kind of time with God. I should put one up in my back yard.

Next I consider the importance of the November election outcome. Yes, I too am concerned about rising prices for food, energy, and healthcare, but only one issue decides how I vote. Abortion! Abortion is a plague on our nation which leads us down a spiral of moral decay and self destruction. No country can survive that kills its own people. If we can kill unborn babies than we can find reason to terminate life of old people. What if our government decided that anyone over 87 should report to the closet hospital for a lethal injection? It would be the same hideous mindset as abortion. Scripture says God knows us in our mother’s womb and Jesus warned about harming little children. I guess some of our judges have never read those verses.

Finally around 6:45 the hornets slow down as the shadows lengthen but I haven’t heard the bull again. The next hour is spent in silence, just me and Henrietta. As darkness descends, I climb out of the stand and gather up Henrietta and head for camp. Coyotes howl to the south announcing their hunting plans for the evening.

I arrive in camp and Ardella tells me an elk barked three times very loudly just above camp. That’s why they call it hunting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Redneck Hornet Tennis

Our family spent the last weekend in the woods as three of us pursued the elusive elk. We enjoyed some great cooking; one day was spaghetti, then black bean and lentil soup, followed by jambalaya. The granddaughters love to camp out and find the natural world a source of endless wonder.

I find archery elk hunting the most challenging animal I have ever pursued. Friday I hunted from the ground blind and the elk were at the tree stand on a forested hill, so Saturday I hunted the tree stand. The elk were about one hundred and fifty yards below me walking up and down an old road. Sunday I set up in some big cedars along the road but the elk were elsewhere. Are you sensing any frustration here? God made elk quite intelligent with a nose that can smell humans hundreds of yards away, big brown eyes that detect the slightest movements, and ears that can hear a pine cone drop from a tree two drainages over. How am I supposed to get one within thirty yards?

One thing about camping with our family is that we are always open to a new ways to entertain ourselves. Jolene and Vance brought up a bee killer that looked like a small tennis racket except this one can be electrified. The handle is filled with D batteries to deliver 1500 watts of shock to a hornet. We soon went crazy swatting these pesky critters as they got zapped, snapped, and sometimes just went up in smoke. Many hornets and yellow jackets never returned to their nest. I think this sport could qualify for the summer Olympic Games and Ardella and I would be a mean pair’s team. We are looking for other couples that would like to compete in Redneck Hornet Tennis. The champion hornet killer was our dog Sadie. A hornet stung her on the hip and she declared war on them for the rest of the weekend. Sadie wasn’t content to just snap at one that buzzed her; she would look around for one and run it down.

As our granddaughter Lizzie says. “We were making memories.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Am a Soldier

Exodus 15:3 says, “The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name.” Our God is not a wimp but you will not hear this verse in many churches today due to political correctness. There is a war going on folks and we can not escape it. This war will rage on earth until Christ returns; the Bible makes that very clear. God wants us to be soldiers. The following was sent to me by a fellow soldier in Christ and I thought it worth passing on to others.

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior, of the army of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer. The Holy Bible is my code of conduct. Faith, Prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity, and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity. I will rather retire in this army at the Rapture or die in this army; but I will not get out, sell out, or be talked out. I am faithful, capable, and dependable. If my God needs me, I am there.

I am a soldier. I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up. No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.

I am a soldier. I am not a wimp. I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His Kingdom.

I am committed. I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around. I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside. I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into this army, I had nothing. If I end with nothing, I will still come out even. I will win. My God will supply all my needs. I am more than a conqueror. I will always triumph. I can do all things through Christ.

I am a soldier. Devils cannot defeat me. People cannot disillusion me. Weather cannot weary me. Sickness cannot stop me. Battles cannot beat me. Money cannot buy me. Governments cannot silence me, and hell can not handle me.

I am a soldier. Even death cannot destroy me. For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me to a captain and then bring me back to rule this world with Him.

I am a soldier, in the army, and I’m marching, claiming victory. I will not give up. I will not turn around. Here I stand.

Will you stand with me?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tracks

Much of my time in the woods is spent looking at the ground. I’m looking for animal tracks to figure out what the critters are doing. From the first time in the mountains in the spring to the snows of late fall, I examine tracks. A footprint can reveal much information for me. First it shows the size of the animal, where it is heading, and maybe what it is eating. Following a track for a while can tell me where the animal may be bedding or feeding. If it is during the rut it can show me where the girls are hanging out. That is a tremendous help when I’m after a bull elk or an old buck.

When I guided in Alaska, we would check the shorelines and river banks for brown bear tracks. We were always looking for those big prints that we could put our foot in with hip boots on, and the bear print dwarfing ours. One evening I took my hunter to the back of a small bay where a creek entered the lake. I looked down to see a large fresh bear print over fourteen inches long that had sunk into the mud several inches with each step. The hunter and I barely made an imprint with our feet. I knew that bear would go over ten feet. We did not find the old boy that night but a few evenings later another hunter in our camp took a ten and a half foot bear in the same area.

Archery season starts in two weeks so I will be concentrating on elk tracks and large deer tracks. I was out to my hunting area the other afternoon and found some cow elk tracks so I’m hoping next time to find the bigger bull tracks in the same area. Most bulls spend the summer in bachelor groups but when the velvet is rubbed off they go looking for their ladies.

We leave lots of different tracks through our lifetime and people are reading them constantly. Some of our tracks wander all over the place like we are lost in the woods. Sometimes we are lost in life with no purpose; a lack of direction. I find my tracks are most clear when I read the Bible regularly, pray, help someone, and stay in touch with my Band of Brothers. My wife, Ardella has always helped me stay on the right path. I also do better when I can look down and see the prints of someone else walking beside me –Jesus.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child


Ardella and I had a booth at the Arts and Craft Fair at the Sandpoint City Beach over the weekend. A terrible storm hit after we sat up the booth but our canopy and display stayed up and dry; some vendors were not as fortunate. One pottery booth was blown down and most of their product ruined. The skies were mostly sunny on Saturday and Sunday was cool and a few sprinkles of rain fell occasionally. People seemed conservative in their buying compared to past years and we mainly sold lower priced items.
Sunday afternoon, a mother stopped by our booth with a three year old girl who had big brown eyes and an equally big smile. The girl was fascinated with our carvings and began to ask questions about the birds and fish. “What’s that?” was her favorite question. She then pointed to the pileated woodpecker and asked, “What’s that bird with the red Mohawk?” Ardella and I burst out in laughter and the little girl certainly livened up our day. I like young children because through their innocence they say it as they see it. They also have a mind that wants to learn.

As we get older we become more cautious after numerous assaults on our minds and hearts. Satan is the master behind these attacks and some of us accept this as a part of life and others just become numb to the assaults. This is not how God intended us to live. We are to live a victorious life through Christ. He won the war for us!

Psalm 121 was a favorite of my Mother and should give us assurance God is watching over us. Psalm 121: I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Plan B

Our men’s ministry group had been preparing for months in eager anticipation to host Larry D. Jones. Larry is well known among elk hunters for his expertise on elk and their habits. Two churches were planning a barbeque and seminar for two evenings. The flyers had gone out, newspapers contacted, our cooking team had gone over all the details, and door prizes had been purchased. Then a phone call from Larry two days before the event put us in a panic. He could not travel because of a fragmented disk in his lower back. What should we do? Lock the doors and say cancelled, try to find someone else, or have a barbeque anyway.

Our men’s team initiated Plan B; have the almost Larry Jones barbeque and seminar. We had Larry overnight mail us a CD of four hunts. We also decided to not charge for the meal and called men to let them know a few changes had to be made. Nearly seventy guys and a few gals showed up to enjoy the evening. We will reschedule Larry when he can travel and now have the opportunity to see what to improve next time.

Many of us need a Plan B in our everyday lives because life doesn’t always go as we plan. I’m getting ready to archery hunt elk in three weeks and even though I have a ground blind ready in my favorite area; I know things can go wrong. Last year wolves moved all the game out of my hunt area and if that happens this year I need to move where the elk are.

Many people treat their spiritual life like they can have a Plan B, C, and D if necessary. They try a little of Jesus but mostly reject his teachings. They don’t need God and He probably doesn’t even care about them. A little mix of religions is okay. Just go with what is coming out of Hollywood, after all they are always right.

If you read the same Bible I do then you know God doesn’t have a Plan B for us. Jesus is the only way to eternal life with God. The whole Bible points to Jesus as our savior and no other. Either Jesus is the savior of the world or he is the greatest fraud to ever live. Who is he to you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer Marches On

After our winter of cold and record snowfalls, folks in north Idaho are enjoying the warmth of summer. With August fast approaching, summer is fleeting fast as a deer running through the woods. Where did it go so fast? I haven’t accomplished half what I intended. We did get the hay in the shed and our garden is doing great. Everyday I check the big tomatoes to see if they are turning red.

We spent one weekend in the woods pulling out firewood with my tractor and probably need to retrieve more so the family has enough for winter. It was nice sleeping in a tent again. I look forward to using the tent in five weeks when archery elk season opens. Wow, I need to practice shooting! So much to do and so little time.

A young father in my men’s ministry group said men with kids don’t have time to devote to ministry programs like older guys do. Several of us chuckled and told him life doesn't get less busy when the kids leave home. I believe we should seek God’s advice on our priorities so we achieve a better balance. Life goes on and races down the track of life like a run away freight train. Our life becomes more productive with God’s help. Our number one goal should be to serve Him first. He will show us how to live a full life and still get the little things done.

Being a disciple should be first on our life list; there are far too many people who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior. There are people dying everyday that never knew they could have had a life changing experience and will spend eternity without the presence of God; an eternity in hopeless hell. There is a saying that goes something like this, “For Christians living today on earth, this is as close to Hell as they will ever get. But for people living today that don’t know Jesus, this is as close to Heaven as they will ever be.” Which group you are in depends on life or death. Go disciple someone.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lost In The Fog

The cold Iowa winters froze the lakes with thick ice, often over two feet deep. I built an ice house and pulled it with my car onto Spirit Lake to fish for perch, northern pike, and walleye. One of my frequent fishing partners was Mouse or Gary as most people knew him. He wasn’t the most talkative guy in the world but we had many fun times fishing. Mouse and I decided to try the evening walleye bite so arrived at the ice house late in the afternoon and fished for about four hours. Around 9:30 I peeked out of the house to discover a thick blanket of fog had engulfed the lake. We were about a half mile off shore so didn’t think we would have trouble finding our exit. The car was parked facing north and we needed to go south to get off the lake, so I drove around the fish shack and proceeded south. Well, I thought it was south but soon discovered an unfamiliar shoreline. Normally that would not have bothered me except I knew there was a strip of open water off Stoney Point due to the rocks close to the surface. I turned the car around and hoped to find the fish shack when we saw head lights from another car. He was lost also but thought he had it figured out so Mouse and I decided to follow him at a safe distance in case his car suddenly disappeared. Finally the familiar exit appeared to our relief and we were on land.

Driving around on a large lake in the dense fog gave me a helpless feeling of which I had no control. A compass would have helped but who needed it to get off the ice. The guy’s headlights brought a wave of relief and following his tail lights was like following a beacon to safety.

Sometimes we get lost in the fog of life not knowing which way to turn. There are financial disasters, broken relationships, job losses, health challenges, and deaths of friends and loved ones that will blanket our life with a shroud of hopelessness. Where do we turn? Knowing Jesus does not guarantee us a life without problems but Jesus is always ready to listen and help us through them. He tells us to bring him our burdens. Many people don’t do that; guys are really bad about turning our problems over to Him. We prefer to work through it alone when just handing them to Jesus would lift such an enormous weight off us.

If there is a fog that has overtaken you ask Jesus what to do about it. Then listen for an answer. Gather some prayer warriors. Don’t face the problem alone.

Contact me and Ardella and I will pray for you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Camp Out

As many Americans, we celebrated July 4th by watching the hometown parade which really hasn’t changed in over thirty years. Then we packed up and the whole family went camping to some remote property in the mountains. The weather was perfect and we had a comfortable camp of two tents and two trailers. Laziness was permitted and everyone had fun with the two grand daughters. Lizzie and Hannah were busy playing in the fine sand, riding their bikes, and keeping the adults busy. I took them on a bike ride with two dogs and they were able to keep up with Grandpa.

We had three golden retrievers in camp most of the weekend and they didn’t get many naps with swimming in the creek, keeping an eye on Lizzie and Hannah, and hoping someone would drop a morsel of food. Sadie came home and collapsed on the floor.

The men took time to scout for elk and deer. Archery season starts August 30th. Now we wait in anticipation and are planning how to hunt these wily critters. I am anxious to try out my elk decoy. There are more areas I need to check out as season gets closer.

It seems that food cooked outdoors always tastes better. I forgot to take some meat out of the freezer and Connie and Thane left a big box of food at home on the table but we had plenty to eat. I always look forward to sipping the first cup of coffee at camp. We perked the coffee but really good camp java is made by pouring the grounds into the pot and let them roll around the brew as it boils. It is even better the next time as you add more coffee grounds.

I indulged in the ultimate s’mores. Take two graham crackers and lay them on a plate. Put three marshmallows on a fork and roast them to your liking. Place a big double fudge Hershey brownie on the graham cracker, then the toasted marshmallows, and the other cracker. Now open wide and enjoy! You will never use a candy bar again. Remember chocolate is healthy.

The best part of the weekend was just relaxing and enjoying the family outing in God’s great creation. I thank Him for the great time we had making memories with two little girls.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Power Of Prayer

Two weeks ago we went to Whidbey Island with our daughter Connie and her husband Thane and had a great time exploring the island. But the shock of going on vacation was too much for me and I came home very sick. So Most of my week was spent in the doctor’s office as they looked in my ears, took a few blood sample, and x-rays. The more they checked me the more perplexed they became. I was running a low temperature most of the day than in the late afternoon it would climb to around 102. The temperature would rise and fall at night along with drenching sweats. As the week progressed the doctors were working to eliminate various possibilities but the one that continued to dominate the picture was West Nile Virus. There is not an antibody for this virus so it has to run the course which can last several weeks. I had all the symptoms of a severe case which include stiff neck, backache, headache, fever, can’t breathe, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

Friday was the seventh day of a fever and during the morning it was holding at 100.5 degrees. A friend, Ross Hall asked if he could come over and pray for me. I said,”Yes!” Ross came at noon and anointed me with oil and prayed over me as he and my family laid their hands on my shoulders. By that evening my temperature was 97.7 degrees! Praise God!!! I was also on several prayer chains across the country and could feel the support of those prayers all week.

Prayer for others is important and is something most of us could do more often. God hears our prayers. Philippians 4:6 says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We often want an answer right away but everything is in God’s time not ours.

This week I’m trying to remember those in the mission field, people with health issues, our service men and women, those around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, people right here that do not know Jesus as their savoir.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Slug's Pace

We have had backyard visitors for two months. First there were two hen wood ducks that used our nest boxes, and then about three weeks ago a hen mallard brought ten ducklings into the pond. Poor Sadie has been restricted to her inner pen so she can’t bother the ducks. Golden retrievers do not like to share their pond. The hen and her brood left for three days so I fired up the lawn mower and now the back yard looks pretty good. The morning after I mowed, the yard had several mallards strolling around eating duck delicacy, slugs. With all the wet weather and the grass a foot tall the slugs had prospered. They consumed a row of young lettuce and some of the green beans. The mallards are providing good organic slug control on these slow moving pests.

Slugs aren’t the prettiest creature God made. They move very slow but always seem to get where the food is. We have some trophy sized and a few that are spotted like a leopard. It’s too bad they don’t eat dandelions. About all they are good for is duck food.

We are sometimes just like the slow old slug;not wanting to get involved in much but our little own world. We crawl along in life munching on everything in our path but not giving anything back. You know, playing it safe. God had a different idea when He formed us. He made us for relationships! It seems easier to crawl under a rock and forget about anyone, but that makes discipleship sort of difficult. God calls us out of our comfort zone into an exciting service for Him. When we use the gifts and talents He gave us, we can change the world one person at a time.

If you would rather be a slug than a disciple look out for the ducks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Living a Full Life

Many people live to a ripe old age but never experience a full life. Several years ago we worked in a building where a guy had a coffee cup that said, “Life sucks and then you die”. That inscription really fit the man’s view of life. A life without dreams, a lack of any eternal hope, and a life without Jesus. Most people go through life in a survival mode not knowing a ransom has already been paid for them. Even many Christians don’t live the full life that Jesus offered. They believe in the whispers they hear from Satan about how bad they are. “You will never amount to anything” repeats in their mind until they believe it.

Jenny Meyer, age thirty four, went home into the loving arms of Jesus last week after battling cancer for several years. Jenny lived life to the fullest. She was small in stature but huge in heart. Most people would have given up, but not Jenny. She was an encourager to anyone who knew her. Jenny had two priorities that guided her life; God and family. She knew Jesus personally as her Savior and was a great witness for Him. Her hope was for everyone to know Jesus as a personal friend and Savior.

Jenny knew each day was a gift and celebrated it with friends and family. She loved the beauty God had created in north Idaho and often wrote about His glory on her blog. We will miss her smile and the love she radiated to others. I think Jenny’s cup would say something like Romans 15:13. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

What does our cup say?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Peace And Tranquility

I spent three days last week bear hunting with two friends from Indiana. It was an honor to be with these guys and enjoy God’s great outdoors. We walked a few miles and sat for hours watching green clear cuts but the bears won. That’s hunting. White tail deer were abundant and we got a peek at some nice bucks. The elusive elk even allowed us to stop and glass them as they stood like royalty. We saw several cow moose and enjoyed seeing a new born calf following mom up a road. As we observed all this wildlife one would have thought the world was at peace as many of these animals accepted us at close range. But I knew different as we sat on a hill overlooking a recent clear cut where a buck strolled through slowly to bed down in the cool heavy timber. Some where in these woods a lion was killing a deer, a bear eating a newborn, a coyote chasing a rabbit, and a hawk diving for a squirrel. The world was not at peace; war was raging.

Nature knows a war is happening. Why is it that animals know this better than we do. They have a better sense of this deceit and destruction that has raged since creation. If they didn’t, they would not survive.

We have become too comfortable. Our country and most of the world has abandoned God. People think they don’t need Him anymore. Mankind does not recognize the spiritual battle going on for the hearts and minds of people. What is really sad, many churches deny the chaos and have adopted a lukewarm attitude. Better to play it safe than upset anyone. Jesus confronted Satan head on. The Apostles warned us not to be complacent to Satan and that his goal is to deceive mankind. Peter said He goes around devouring like a lion. If you have ever watched a show on how a pride of lions eat their prey you should have an idea how Satan works. Total Consumption!

Author John Eldredge states, “You have an enemy. He is trying to steal your freedom, kill your heart, and destroy your life.”

Here is what Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus is the only way to true peace. He has defeated Satan with his resurrection and through Him we can too. Just don’t forget, we are in a war. The outcome has permanent consequences of where we will spend eternity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Relentless

The cinnamon bear was persistent, relentless in pursuit of the cow moose ready to have her calf. We have seen two moose giving birth to calves but never watched the scenario that was unfolding, even though it happens frequently this time of year to elk, deer, and moose.

Ardella heard some weird noises coming from a small ravine about two hundred yards away while we were bear hunting last Saturday. I could only hear a whitetail deer blowing an alarm. We decided to check it out so dropped down the hillside and worked our way up the far side of the ravine. A cow moose emerged from the ravine and glared at us not to invade her territory. She seemed to be ready to calve so we were going to turn around and let her have some space, as cows won’t hesitate to attack. Suddenly, a bear appeared above the cow and we new what the noise was all about as the cow was trying to fend off the predator from killing her calf as soon as it was born. The bear didn’t care that the cow weighed about one thousand pounds; it closed in the distance and the cow walked off hoping the bear would go away. But the bear persisted dogging the cow, waiting for the birth of the calf. This was an adult bear but we thought a bigger bear was also using the area so at first didn’t intend to shoot it even though the color of the bear’s coat was beautiful. The cinnamon had dark red legs and long red brown hair over the body. As the bear closed in on the cow I told Ardella to shoot. The cow only moved a short distance away and seemed relieved that the bear was gone. I was amazed how the moose suddenly accepted us.

We have a relentless pursuer, Satan. He chases us our whole life trying to deceive us with His lies and He is good at it. Satan whispers that God doesn’t love us, we aren’t good enough, and God doesn’t care. He dogs us continually like the bear, hoping we will lose hope. The apostle Paul was beaten, put in prison, driven from towns, put in chains, falsely accused but never gave up. Paul new how much Jesus loved him and his writings reveal how much God loves us. There is a war raging for everyone’s soul; we can’t escape it. How we face the battle determines where we spend eternity. The Bible says Satan has to flee at the name of Jesus. Pray against Satan in the name of Jesus and we can face life with peace and confidence.

Know this. Jesus didn’t die the horrible death on the cross because he was just a good guy. He died for ALL people who believe in Him. Jesus wants you to spend eternity with Him. How cool is that! He wants to hear from you and if you listen, He will talk to you. It’s about a relationship not a religion. It’s time to face the bear.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Williwaws Blow

The Coleman lantern felt good as it took the chill away in the tent. Steve and I had settled into our sleeping bags hoping for a good night sleep as the pace of guiding clients was starting to tire us. Even though it was cozy in the tent, I sensed something was about to change. The weather was overcast and cold with a threat of snow but that wasn’t unusual. We soon turn off the lantern and snuggled down into the warm bags for the night. An hour later we were jolted awake by a blast of wind that shook the tent violently as it howled past us. Normally the winds came from the southwest so I set the tent up on the north side of a clump of alders thinking we would be safe from storms. As we lay in the sleeping bags a strange howl echoed from the glacier five miles up the river valley above camp. The noise level grew as it changed to the sound of a freight train barreling down the valley and our little tent seemed to be in its track. We were hit with a blast of wind that nearly lifted us off the ground and then it sailed south across the tundra until the wind slammed into the mountain range three miles to the south. There was silence for a few minutes; then the vicious wind came back to life and was headed back north to the glacier so this time the clump of alders took most of the brunt of the beast. As the wind headed home to the glacier it turned back to howling like a pack of wolves on a kill. Then an eerie silence enveloped over our camp and we hoped that was the end of that Alaskan experience. But that was not to be, a few minutes later the howling up the river valley started again. Faint at first, it grew louder as it gathered speed hurtling down the valley toward us. The force hit us and the north side of the tent caved in only to be stopped by Steve and his cot. I was sure the aluminum poles would snap or the fabric would rip apart, but my Eureka tent held together. The wind quieted as it hit the mountain range but a few minutes later revived and wanted to rush back to the glacier. I grabbed some camp cord and tent stakes and put more tie outs on the north side of the tent. About ten minutes later the wind howled as it launched from the glacier and headed toward us. This scenario continued for hours and we finally drifted off to sleep from exhaustion, unable to continue fighting the beast of Nishlik Lake.

In the gray dawn light the wind was silent, apparently sleeping in the bowels of the glacier. One of the aluminum poles was bent but the tent had survived the onslaught. Steve and I stumbled into the cook tent anxious to down a cup of strong coffee. As we discussed the winds with Justin, the outfitter, he told us it was a Williwaw wind. Williwaws are strong winds that sail one way only to turn around and hit from the opposite direction. They are usually caused by strange weather conditions. We had experienced another Alaskan weather phenomenon.

We will get hit by Williwaws in this life no matter how careful we are. Here is what I learned about facing a Williwaw. Put out plenty of stakes and hold the tent down. For our spiritual walk that means reading the Bible and believing in God’s word. It is also better if you face a Williwaw with another person. Two are much stronger and can withstand trials better than one. Satan likes to catch us alone. Pray for strength to survive; Williwaws will tire us out. Turn the Williwaw over to God and let Him fight it for you. This way you will get some rest and overcome it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Babes of Spring

Renewal and rebirth are occurring in God’s natural world as babies of spring burst forth on the landscape. Little yellow furballs of Canada geese can be seen with their proud parents. Sometimes two or three pairs of geese get together followed by fifteen to twenty goslings. They know more adult geese can keep track of all the kids better. We have a hen wood duck nesting in box on a cottonwood tree. She has been very secretive of her location but I had the good fortune to watch the hen fly from the nest box yesterday. The drake has been perching in the trees keeping guard.

We have two litters of fox squirrels that are so much fun to watch as they explore their new world. Their mothers allow them to run around up and down trees gaining new confidence everyday. Whitetail does have spread out; soon to drop some new spotted fawns in their favorite hiding place. God gave them a perfect camouflage with a spotted coat and also made the little wobbly legged fawns scent free. How neat is that! A variety of birds from humming birds, chickadees, swallows, finches, to robins are nesting on our property and soon the parents will be busy feeding the hungry little ones. We feel fortunate that so many birds raise their young here every year.

God orchestrated this renewal at the beginning of creation. This isn’t the result of a cosmic accident as some people believe. Too many people have things backwards and worship the creation not the Creator. That’s why our forests are diseased and unhealthy with a terrible fire danger building every year. Trees have become sacred. Many people are putting the wolf on a high spiritual pedestal and are disregarding what one predatory specie left uncontrolled will do to the whole ecosystem. I better leave the Creator verses the creation issue until another time.

Back to renewal. God has set rebirth in the natural world in precise order that repeats like clockwork every year. He offers us renewal through our faith in Jesus. Jesus can strip away all the old baggage in our lives and give us the promise of a new spirit. It isn’t hard but we try to make it that way. Dump it all on Jesus; He is ready to take it. He not only forgives us of ALL past sins, He wipes the slate clean. Jesus said ask and it will be done. Jesus wants to reside in us. How cool is that? If there is something holding you back from a relationship with God, lay it all out there. He knows everything about you but wants to hear it from you. Every little detail. Nothing will surprise Him and you will feel a whole lot better. Don’t wait, do it today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Mother's Day

God created mothers to help us understand His grace, love, and patience. A mother’s day is everyday when they are raising children and training husbands. I gave my Mom plenty of “Mother’s Days”. Not intentionally, just because I was a boy who liked anything that crawled or slithered. One summer, in about fifth grade, I decided to collect some garter snakes. I soon had about fifteen snakes in an old wooden barrel which required feeding so I was busy catching mice and bugs. After about two weeks, I decided to let them go. I should have put them in a sack and carried them a far distance from our house but no I dumped the snakes out right by the garden. This tested my mother’s love. So for the rest of the summer it was my job to pick the beans, strawberries, and cut the rhubarb. When I was in high school, I would often come home stinking of skunk, fish, or covered with mud. Many times Mom made me change clothes in the garage.

Moms love us just as we are. They put our interest above theirs without second thought. Mothers mend, bandage, cook, clean up our messes, and become fulltime taxi drivers without complaint. Moms are Gods special gift to the family. He knew we would require extra grace and Mothers would understand. Take time to thank your Mom and give her a big hug.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

His Chains Are Gone

Last Thursday over 400 people gathered at Sandpoint city square to observe the National Day of Prayer. Fifteen churches in the area were represented. It was great to see Christians put aside their theological differences to pray for our country. It was all about prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “ If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It was also a patriotic time as we honored our military past and present. Singing God Bless America with the sun beaming down and the flags waving in the breeze was emotional. Hearing Amazing Grace played on bagpipes was awesome!

The whole ceremony was great but what occurred just prior to the event was a miracle. Ardella and I met a man named Jon who I hadn’t seen for several years. Jon was very emotional. As Jon arrived at the city park he had a man wearing a back pack ask him what was going on. Jon explained about the National Day of Prayer and asked the man if he believed in God. The reply was “No.” When Jon asked him where he would go when he died, the man answered Hell. Jon asked him if he could pray for him anyway and the man said yes. As Jon was praying, the man stopped him and said he wanted to accept Jesus as Savoir in his life. Jon helped the man through a prayer of forgiveness and asking Jesus to come into his life. The man was about to leave when he asked Jon if they could pray about something else. He just came from the hospital and was diagnosed with cancer. Jon grabbed hold of the man and prayed for his healing and as he prayed felt God’s presence come over them. Jon gave the man his business card and asked the man to call him soon.

God’s amazing grace came down and touched that man’s heart. His chains were gone; he was set free by the blood of Jesus. What happened on that sidewalk in downtown Sandpoint was no accident. God put the man on collision course with Jon. Most of us would not have inquired about the man’s belief in God and he would have just kept on walking without knowing about God’s love. That really haunts me as I’m afraid I would have been in that crowd. What is really great about Jon is that he didn’t give the man a lecture on theology but asked if he could pray for him. God took over and went to the man’s heart. It is not about religion, it’s about a relationship with our heavenly Dad.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

When Life Stinks

Don’t! Don’t! Don’t let the skunk out of the bag! That’s what I wanted to say but my tongue seemed tied and I could only point at the teacher. Then pandemonium broke out in the class.

During my second year in college, the zoology teacher was trying to collect a pelt of each animal specie in Iowa. He enlisted my help since I trapped so my trap line was not only earning me some needed money but providing the school with a great collection of native specimens. It was January and I took the last of my hides to a fur buyer and was planning on calling it a season when the guy asked if I could supply him with some spotted skunks. These miniature skunks pack a powerful aroma. My mother would make me change clothes in the garage in January, talk about goose bumps.

I could not turn down the opportunity since the fur buyer told me he would pay twenty dollars for each skunk and I didn’t have to skin them. That was good money in 1965 and they were easy to catch. When the zoology teacher heard I was trapping, he asked if I would donate one for the collection. I was glad to oblige as long as I didn’t have to skin the stinky critter. One very cold January morning, I caught a nice spotted skunk which I placed in a bread wrapper, tied the end shut, and placed that in a brown bag. After lunch I grabbed the bag and headed for the school. I walked to the teacher’s room and knocked on the door. He seemed surprised to see me and I held up the bag which had a faint odor emitting from it. The bag was grabbed out of my hand fast and he took it over to his desk at the front of the class. The room was full of students wondering about his sudden joy. I thought he would wait until after school to investigate the prize but no, he opened the brown bag and dumped the skunk out on the desk still tied up in the bread wrapper. Not able to contain the excitement like a child on Christmas morning, he tore open the plastic wrapper and the stinky little skunk plopped onto the desk. A strong pungent aroma immediately filled the classroom. Students started coughing and gagging! The odor was overwhelming! Some guys started throwing open the windows even though it was barely above zero outside. Luckily, the bell rang and students were able to escape the confines of the classroom. Their fortune didn’t last long as the forced air system picked up the scent and spread it through the entire school.

I wasn’t the most popular guy in school for a while. The principle was not someone to fall in disfavor. He ruled with an iron hand and didn’t take any pranks or disobedience without heavy discipline, yet he never said anything to me. Not sure how the teacher faired with the episode.

Sometimes we are going about living, working hard, dreaming of new accomplishments, planning the future and life drops a big stink into our laps. We can’t always avoid those times, yet sometimes we cause them to happen. Stinks can be broken relationships, financial crisis, health challenges, job losses, drugs; the list goes on and on. Each person has had at least one. How we handle them is important and determines if we grow through them. God doesn’t cause them, yet we are quick to blame Him. He wants to help us with life when the going is good and bad. Turning problems over to Him is hard for us.

Jesus said he came to carry our burdens so let Him do it; you will feel better. Get personal with Jesus about your problem, even though He knows all about it. He will reach down and touch your heart and comfort your soul. Go to Him in earnest and continuous prayer as He is waiting to listen. Also enlist some people close to you that can be your prayer warriors. Remember you are in a battle so you need a platoon of soldiers covering your back and attacking the problem with you. Confront the attack with the help of God. Losing is not in God’s vocabulary. Don’t let it be in yours.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let’s Take a Shortcut

Those words make Ardella plant her feet on the ground like she is glued there and her eyes pinpoint deep into mine. I can’t understand why! A shortcut in the woods is full of unknown adventure and surprises. It can really liven up a day; create lifetime memories.

One fall, our son-in-law Thane, Ardella, and I headed into a high basin to hunt. Thane and I had archery tags for elk and Ardella took her rifle for bear. We walked in using an old road that was grown up with alder so it took a while to reach our destination. I think the only game we saw was a mule deer bounding off into the brush and way too soon it was time to leave this remote spot and head back to the truck. As we started to head back down the road I noticed a dry creek bed that dropped off the mountain side and looked inviting. It would save us miles of walking the road and it came out right by the truck. How could we go wrong? Ardella didn’t quite agree for some reason. Of course Thane understood my sound judgment and thought it would be great. Thane took the lead and all went well for about one hundred yards then the dry creek plunged off the mountain. We were soon in a small canyon the stream had cut into the rock formation and the walls crept higher. Ardella was following me and I could hear her mumbling words like crazy, idiotic, unbelievable. I think it was caused by high altitude sickness or maybe because the light was fading and the little canyon getting tighter. Suddenly Thane stopped and told us there was a ten foot drop off which in the spring would have been a great waterfall. He slowly climbed down the rock wall and made it fine. I turned and look at Ardella and decided I should take her rifle for safety reasons. Not hers, ours!

I tried to cheer up us by saying we could proudly claim no other people had probably ever set foot where we were going. It was like making history! Now I know how Lewis and Clark felt. We ran into a pine marten that was very surprised to see human life in this rocky domain. Finally just as the last light was leaving the day, we bumbled out at the truck and a bear greeted us with a loud woof as it rocketed down the mountain side.

Shortcuts can be dangerous too. Late in the deer season many years ago, pre four wheel drive days, I walked up a Forest Service road early one morning. It had snowed about fifteen inches that night so I left the Luv pickup at the bottom along the lake. After walking a mile an a half, I cut some fresh deer tracks and soon took a large doe. I tied a rope around her neck and proceeded to drag her back to the truck. The doe was easy to pull but when I arrived at a curve, the truck was visible straight below me. I decided to take her over the side even though it was very steep, to save a half mile of dragging. Instead of me pulling the doe; she was pulling me and we were soon sliding down the mountain making good time. She hung up on a small tree and I was going to flip her loose when I noticed the slope seemed to change. I let go of the rope and let her go and the doe disappeared from sight. I carefully lowered myself a few feet and discovered she had plunged off a one hundred foot cliff. Had I followed holding the rope, I would have gone with her and been badly injured or killed. I slowly worked my way to the doe and pulled her to the truck without incident.

We are tempted to shortcut many things in life in this fast paced world. Usually it results in a wreck. The worst is leaving God out of our daily life. Most people want Him only when a disaster strikes. Jeremiah says ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it. God is concerned about our path of life and wants to show us the good way. That means there is a bad way, concealed by Satan to look good. Oh, we are so tempted to take those paths, those shortcuts. Ask God to help you with the good path and you will discover He is waiting for you. Prayer is a great way to start. Then listen for His reply.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Walk In The Park

Saturday we went with our daughter Connie and her husband Thane to Farragut State Park. It was an absolutely fabulous day with sunshine and temps in the 60’s. As we ate lunch, a bald eagle soared on the warm thermals above the calm blue waters of Lake Pend Oreille. It is a place of peace and tranquility and many people were like us who brought the family dog along to enjoy the afternoon. In fact, I think it was golden retriever day at the park. Maddie and Sadie enjoyed meeting the other red dogs but Sadie growled at other breeds. Sadie and I walked out on the docks where you can look down and see the bottom of the lake fifty feet below. I felt blessed to live where the water is so clean and clear.

Farragut is a recreational area that draws outdoor enthusiasts from Idaho and Washington. You can mountain bike on miles of trails, bring you horses for trail rides, llamas for pack trips, dogs for walking, fly model airplanes, play horse shoe, camp, boat and fish, and play disc golf. The park’s origin was far different. Farragut was established during WWII as a naval boot camp and training center. Thousands of sailors trained there before shipping off to war. Not much is left of that era; mainly a water tower and a large one story building that was a brig. A memorial has been erected to those who served in the war and as I touched the sailor a realization swept over me that I was touching history. I had the privilege to personally know a few men that trained at Farragut and on Saturday I said a silent thank you to them. Their sacrifices make it possible for us to enjoy picnics and a walk in the park.

I had different plans for Saturday, working in the shop on an order and possibly fishing later in the day. God had other plans for me. He knew it would be better for me to rest and enjoy the warm day with the family. Being a work a holic, it would have been easy for me to come up with some excuse; but I knew God thought differently. I could feel Him nudging me to go. John Eldredge has a new book out called Walking With God. John says we can’t walk with God if we don’t listen for Him. Unfortunately, many of us busy ourselves with work and meaningless activities so we miss out hearing from the Father. Then there are those people who don’t think God wants to communicate with us. He sent Jesus to offer us life; now and eternally. Jesus told his disciples that they would be hearing from the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. They did and so can we if we are tuned in to God! It requires us to take the clutter out of life and really seek the Father. Through quite time, reading the Bible, and prayer we can hear the voice of God. What will surprise you is the voice is like hearing from a friend.

Through a simple walk in the park, I heard from God!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Exploding Caribou and Other Alaskan Phenomenon

Alaska is a vast region of unique people, wild animals, and an environment that can turn hostile in a minute. I thrived on the wildness that was beyond my control. Our society tells us we need to be in control; too bad these people have never experienced a month in the Alaskan bush where time of day means nothing and people are toward the bottom of the food chain. That helps put life in perspective.

Early one fall I was guiding two hunters from Wisconsin so the weather was still warm and the insects wanted to suck out all our blood. On the second day of their hunt a big bull with a small band of cows popped up in front of us about noon. One of the hunters immediately put the bull down so we propped it up for a photo shoot. We took rolls of film from all angles often with the hunters sitting on the bull. Caribou bloat up fast due to the lichen they consume and this one started resembling a balloon that would float off across the tundra. I said we better get to dressing the bull so we could get all the meat to camp before dark. We skinned out one side and were going to remove the legs and loins before I attempted to remove the entrails. I thought I would save the worst for last. As I was working my knife around the pelvic socket the blade point made a small slit in the abdomen. Instantly a piece of intestine popped through and exploded green goo all over my face. Both hunters jumped back and I’m surprised they didn’t crack up and roll on the ground in hysterics. I quickly became a fly magnate and a black swarm followed me all the way to camp. I stripped down, waded into the cold lake, and took a bath. As I thought at least nothing else can go wrong today; a game warden landed his helicopter in camp and wanted to see all our hunter’s paperwork.

Night wasn’t the best time to take a stroll on the tundra especially when there were grizzly bears feeding after dark on recent caribou kills. I was the one guide that usually came in last, often guided by a head lamp. The lichen was snow white because of the high phosphorous content and gave off a glow so we could traverse without lights many nights. A spectacular night show was the northern lights that would dance in green, red, blue, and bright white. We would often bring out chairs to watch this amazing heavenly display. There is something about the earth’s magnetic field that pulls in meteorites in record numbers. One night as we were setting up tents at midnight, a spectacular flash made everything look as midday. We exclaimed, “Wow”!

Unlike much of the lower forty eight states, Alaska hasn’t been tamed. It is big, wild and threatening just the way God intended. God formed wild places because he is a wild Creator. Our God isn’t some phony wimp. Psalm 104 says, “He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations, it can never be moved.” Yes, our God is a wild God! If you want to have a wild life, grab hold of Jesus’ hand and hold on. Peter did and never looked back.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Twelve foot Bear

Sometimes, things are not like they seem. People are known to stretch the truth or create an illusion of the real events. Even my title did; I should have written bear at twelve feet. You were probably envisioning a monstrous brown bear with snarling teeth. But this was a nine foot bear just ambling down the shoreline looking for salmon.

It was early September and I was dropped of with two archery hunters on a remote lake in the Togiak Wildlife refuge who had come to pursue brown bears. I had never been there before so the outfitter told me to set up camp midway on the lake which was about four miles long. I found a fairly level site in some aspen trees where we could blend in without the bears knowing we were there. The only trouble was a well used bear trail went through the camp. I put up the clients tent and set up the cook tent so we could have dinner that evening. Night descended upon us before I could set up a tent to sleep in so I spent the first night in the cook tent. As we settled in to sleep a bear started fishing for salmon just forty yards from the tents. We heard sploosh, sploosh for about an hour as the bear caught salmon. This raised the adrenaline level of the clients as I told them to be very quite so the bear would stay and fish. The next morning those two guys couldn’t talk about anything except the bear. I asked them if they heard the one that came up the path at midnight and woofed at us camped on his trail. Their eyes got big and said “No”! Later that day Justin the outfitter flew in to join us for the hunt which started the next day.

The next morning we were in the cook tent finishing up breakfast and planning the days hunt when the seagulls became very noisy so I went outside to take a look. One hundred years from camp appeared a nice brown bear walking the shoreline. Both hunters were still in their long underwear and stocking feet. I ran back into the tent and whispered, “Bear coming down the shoreline”. They both ran to their tent to retrieve the bows. One guy was so excited he couldn’t get his gear together so the other hunter, Paul got ready to shoot. We positioned ourselves just above the gravel shore as the bear closed the distance. It was walking directly at us so Paul could not shoot. The bear passed under an alder bush beside us and stopped. Paul released an arrow at the bear now just twelve feet away. Our hearts were pounding as the bow launched the arrow into the lung area. We were very relieved when the bear turned and ran off into the brush. An hour went by before we followed its trail. The bear was dead sixty yards from camp.

We propped the bear up to take photos and a video. By now both hunters had dressed and collected their equipment. Paul wanted us to video him as he explained how he harvested the bear for promotional purposes. First he said the camouflage scent lock clothing worked great as the bear never smelled him at close range. When Paul shot the bear he was wearing blue long johns and wool socks. He said the broadhead performed great by penetrating deep. It was an expandable head which on contact with the heavy hair slowed the arrow down and only about one third of the arrow made it into the chest cavity. He brought out some other gear that supposedly was used to harvest his trophy. Even the manufactures of the products he was promoting wouldn’t know the story wasn’t true. The video made it look like the truth.
Truth is hard to come by in today’s world. We become so accustom to lies and half truths that soon people believe just about anything. Politicians tell us what we want to hear to sooth our minds. Hollywood wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them on the rear. Unfortunately, some churches even conceal the truth so they won’t upset their members. They water down the Bible to make it sound good. Others completely dispel parts that are hard to accept; like some of the miracles and teachings of Jesus. Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way, the originator of truth, and life without Him is like a dead man walking. Jesus has a deep compassion for us and wants to reveal what an amazing life we can have with him. The Bible uses the word truth over two hundred times because God is Truth. Let God fill you up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pandemonium

Guiding at caribou camp could get repetitious and slightly boring ; taking out two hunters then two more, then two more and some weeks caribou were scarce to find. It was common during the first two weeks to spend hours, day after day, looking through binoculars hoping caribou would appear on the horizon. The weather was usually warm and the insects’ horrendous if the wind wasn’t blowing. One fall we arrived at camp without a shovel which would prove foolish in a few days.

Our first group was an interesting mix of people. We had three Italians from New Jersey who may have had ties to the mob. One day in the cook tent I heard Little Tony ask Big Tony what he was going to do with the truck load of butter. Then there were the three rednecks from Montana and a truck driver from Pennsylvania. It was an interesting mix of cultures. I figured the Italians definitely weren’t hit men as they couldn’t shoot accurate enough to inflict any damage on a four hundred pound caribou. It took all week before they harvested a bull and then I had to get them within forty yards. Big Tony brought one cooler full of home made sausages and one of fresh vegetables from his garden so we were enjoying some good food.

Everything seemed pretty normal; then a three day storm hit. Alaska storms can last for days with winds over sixty miles an hour and inches of rain per day. Our camp was on the north end of the lake and the storms came from the southwest so we really received a pounding. The only shelter was some alder and willow bushes that stood six feet high. In front was the six mile long lake and behind was a huge impoundment of water formed by a series of beaver ponds A river flowed into the lake nearby so as the lake rose over two feet, the river spilled over into the beaver ponds and was rapidly rising toward the tents. At dark the water was just inches from us and we started checking the level frequently with flashlights. Justin, the outfitter, told everyone to put their belongings on top of their cots to keep dry. This was the last straw for Little Tony; he came completely unglued and started yelling, “We’re going to die!” This wasn’t helping the moral of the rest of camp so we tried to calm him down as the furry of the storm seemed to increase with his shouting. We decided to try to dig a channel from the beaver ponds to the lake at midnight with some empty coffee cans, pans from the cook tent, and an axe. All the guides and some of the Montana hunters pitched in and after an hour we had a small stream of water draining into the lake. We hoped for the best and went to bed. At daylight we checked the work area to discover the little stream had widened to several feet wide and three feet deep. We were saved! Life at camp returned to normal and so did the weather.

I always looked at these storms as great adventures and put my trust in God to keep us safe. I was usually the only one in camp that thought like that. There is a big difference when life is handing you a storm on how you face it. If your relationship with God is right, you will feel His strength to calm the storm. Remember how the disciples were amazed when Jesus rebuked the wind. The Lord is our rock and salvation and wants to be in our lives to help us. Satan is always looking for ways to send arrows at us so know God is there to help ward them from us. One of the best ways to face the storms is to find some prayer warriors who will lift you up to the Father. A grove of trees can withstand strong winds because their roots intertwine to hold each other up; but remove a few trees and several will blow over. Christians are similar to trees in the storms of life. Pray, pray, pray to the Father; pray with others and meet the storms head on.

Hey, it is snowing outside on this March afternoon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Where"s The Body ?

It had been a weird week in Jerusalem but finally that Jesus guy was dead and sealed in a tomb . Guards were placed at the tomb so the disciples couldn't steal his body and claim he came to life. They didn't want that rumor going around with all the people in town ; that might energize his followers and create new problems for the ruling council. Yes, things would get back to normal at last after three years of dealing with that nut and his disciples. There were some strange events that took place at his death which were hard to explain but the people would soon forget them. You know, the earthquake that shook the temple and tore the curtain from top to bottom. Oh well, that curtain was getting old and needed replaced. Not sure why it got so dark on Friday afternoon but the weather has been normal since then. How do we explain the dead people who came out of tombs that many people recognized and have been seen walking around the city? Some of the population must have celebrated the Passover a little too much.

Then there is the biggest question of all. Where is his Body? The soldiers said some guy in a shining white robe came by and rolled the large stone away. They came back to the temple terrified; like they had seen a ghost! But the guards were paid a large sum of money to say his disciples came and stole the body during the night. If Pilate hears about this heads will role as he didn't want Jesus killed to begin with. This has to be kept very quiet or those eleven guys might cause an uprising yet. Why can't things just be like they used to ?

They never can because Jesus came to change us from the inside out. Once Christ is in your heart you will be ever changing. It is a life long process for all of us. The empty tomb is what separates Christ's believers from other religions of the world. Those other people who claimed they were the way to eternal life are Still in Their Tombs! Jesus was seen by over five hundred people after his resurrection and all but one of his disciples died a cruel death because they knew and believed without a doubt who He is.

The most important question to ask yourself is who do you think Jesus is?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Announcement of Spring

This has been a long hard winter for people and wildlife in north Idaho. Several roofs collapsed and folks had to deal with snow daily for two months as it piled up to near record levels. Wildlife suffered from deaths on highways and train tracks and from starvation. Over one hundred seventy five moose were killed in our county and no one knows how many deer perished to vehicles. We are glad to see the snow melting and winter fading away.

Ardella and I went to the Clark Fork River delta this week to pick up driftwood that was caught in the holding basin last summer. We always look forward to these trips to hear the melody of spring in the air. There were thousands of waterfowl congregated in the shallow bays waiting to push their way north to their nesting grounds. A constant noise filled the air with geese honking and swans trumpeting with their deep voices. Mallards quacked and a large flock of pintails whistled over us. A group of blue herons wer standing in the shallow water as if they were discussing the best fishing hole. This great display of nature always lifts our spirits and gives us the promise of spring.

God orchestrated the spring rebirth at the time of creation. He knew how much we would enjoy the season change from winter to see green grass and flowers poking through the ground. Our lives under go seasons of change both physically and spiritually. Without our focus on Jesus we are spiritually dead and live without hope. Jesus died on a cross and was buried for three days but by the power of God was resurrected to life eternally. Through our faith in Jesus we are offered the same miracle; a rebirth from winter to an eternity of sunshine with the Father.

If your life is like an endless winter , then it is time to ask God to help you come to life and bloom again . He can make all things new, a springtime of endless flowers and green grass , just for you.
God is waiting for your communication with him so He can shower you with blessings. He wants a personal relationship with you . Just ask Him

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fishing With Grandpa

Recently we took the granddaughters ice fishing as they had been asking to go for quite some time. It was a nice sunny afternoon and they were excited to be pulled in a sled across the ice to where their dad was fishing. Vance had been fishing all morning and had around one hundred nice perch . I bored some new holes and set down to catch some fish but the fishing had slowed down. After catching six perch I decided to try some other holes nearby. Lizzie and Hanna were patiently waiting to catch a perch. Lizzie finally caught one and her excitement could be heard by everyone on the ice. I started catching perch from one hole about twenty feet from Hanna and Lizzie. I could look down the hole into three feet of water and see nothing but swirling perch. Fish after fish soon lay on the ice. Lizzie was watching me and slowly pulled out the line from the hole she was fishing and came shuffling toward me. Even though she never said anything, I could see by her expression that she wanted me to share some fish with her. I told her to get ready so when I caught the next one ; she could put her line down the hole. When she caught one I would put mine down. Soon Lizzie was shouting with glee as we had fish flopping all over the ice. In about a half hour we caught nearly sixty nice perch. Hanna even caught two on her own as she patiently set on a sled and fished.

I noticed some other guys catching fish and they were soon swooped down upon by two other fishermen like hungry vultures. Some guys are so brazen that they will drop their line down your hole when you pull up a fish. Two days later I went fishing right away in the morning hoping the early bite was on. I took our dog Sadie along for company and she enjoyed playing on the ice. Soon I caught a nice perch which really entertained Sadie by flopping around on the ice. One of the vultures was fishing about one hundred yards away and immediately grabbed his gear and headed toward us. I kept on watching the pole as the man approached. Sadie sat down and fixed her eyes on the approaching fisherman who was closing in fast. Suddenly a deep growl emerged followed by a very loud bark. The fisherman quickly turned and went past us , heading for another section. He definitely knew Sadie wasn't going to share our fishing spot. The funny part is that was the only perch I caught all morning.

God and Grandpa's are very much alike. Grandpa will always hand down blessings to the granddaughters ; reading their favorite stories , sharing fishing holes, buying their first bow. All they have to do is ask in a child like manner and it is Grandpa and Grandma's pleasure to fill their request. We have a loving God who blesses us with the same child like requests.

Mark 10 :15 tells us to receive the kingdom of God like a little child. It is saying to have the faith a child has in their parents and grandparents. Anticipation of love and security; trusting in them for everything. As adults we aren't too good at relying on God , instead we often try to get through life without Him. He waits patiently for us to communicate with Him. Remember God wants a relationship with us every day. He will even let you fish out of His favorite spot , be prepared for a tremendous catch of blessings