Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Raising A Fawn

The snow is piling up deeper and deeper in north Idaho and we may soon set a new record for snowfall. The deer are having a difficult time getting around so I put on the snowshoes and packed down the trails for them. There are seven does and one fawn feeding in the backyard. I don't know what happened to the rest of the babies; probably coyotes killed some of them last summer. The does are a family group of mom, sisters, and aunts and they stay together for protection. Without them the fawn would not have much of a chance to survive. They all seem to tolerate the fawn and even let it eat with them. The does are teaching the fawn survival instincts it needs to know so the youngster can live long enough to have it's own babies. God instilled in the old does the ability to care for and teach their young so they can survive in an environment that is often hostile .

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Teach a child in the way he should go , and when he is old he will not turn from it." God is telling parents to love and guide their children in His ways not the world's ways. The way of the world will lead a child down the wrong path. Raising a child is the responsibility of both the man and woman. In the world of deer and elk the mom's do it all but God intended for humans to share in the upbringing of their children. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are also responsible to teach the children.

The outdoors is an excellent learning environment for children. The basics found in nature can be a great learning tool and children usually enjoy it. Taking a child fishing, a hike through the woods, and hunting can teach them responsibilities for life. The most important lesson we can teach them is that God loves them unconditionally. He wants to be a part of their growth process. Teach them God is a relationship not a religion.

Monday, January 21, 2008

On Thin Ice

Two fishermen fell through the ice on Lake Pend Oreille last week. Lucky for them the water was only waist deep and a rescue team helped them. Walking around on ice can be dangerous depending on the temperatures, currents, and under water springs. We are in a deep freeze so the lakes will add good ice, but people need to let it get thick enough before venturing out too far. I have had some unexpected cold water baptisms in the winter and a person can develop hypothermia very quickly. I fell in at eighteen below zero and had to walk a half mile to the truck. By the time I got there my fingers refused to work so I could not open the truck door. A coworker started the truck and got the heater going full blast so I slowly thawed out enough to drive home and jumped into a hot tub of water.

In Iowa we would often drive vehicles out on the lakes when the ice got two feet thick. One day a friend and I drove my car out to a fish house we had on a large lake. Fishing was pretty good so we decided to stay after dark and fish for walleye. Later we went to leave and discovered a dense fog had moved in but we were sure finding right spot to get off the lake wouldn't be too hard. Wrong! We drove around and around until some headlights appeared through the dense fog. That guy was also lost but was sure he had figured out where the exit spot was. We decided to follow him and finally got off the lake. We were very relieved to be off the lake as there was a stretch of open water not too far from where we entered the lake due to a rock point that jutted into the lake.

There are times we walk on thin spiritual ice when ignoring God . Going our own way until we fall through and then we holler for God to rescue us. God wants us to walk with him so He can help and direct us around the thin ice. Remember even Peter could walk on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. When he panicked and started to sink, Jesus held out his hand and pulled Peter back up with him. Jesus will do the same thing for us. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus we don't have to worry about thin ice

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Out The Back Door

The world seems peaceful and serene in the back yard as the snow has now piled up about three feet deep. There are a maze of deer trails in the white blanket where they feed on the corn I put out everyday. Several deer now feed every night; some arrive before dark. I have been cutting the tops off the high bush cranberries so they can eat the red berries as the birds don't seem to like them. I tried one and they are very tart.

The peace of the yard has been turned into a scene of terror by a winged predator. I have been finding dove feathers and the birds are often perched in the tree tops looking for this killer. Sunday afternoon I found a fresh pile of feathers and after searching the trees found a sharp shin hawk perched in a cottonwood . I threw snowballs at it and clapped my hands but the hawk would not leave. So I went in and got the 22 rifle and placed a shot about six inches from the bird and it quickly left. I wouldn't mind if it ate a few of the starlings but doves seem to be the daily cuisine. At this rate the forty doves won't last long. War has entered the peaceful life of the doves.

The drama unfolding in the back yard is similar to our lives. The book of Peter says Satan is like a roaring lion going around devouring people and destroying lives. Satan hates God and will do anything to keep us from having a relationship with the Father. Prayer is the best defense we have to thwart the devil's plans when he attacks. He flees at the name of Jesus. Jesus defeated him with an empty tomb and promises to come back again and personally throw him into the lake of fire. In the mean time we are to pray and pray and pray. God will hear us!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Fierce Heart

We have a covered roof that wraps around two sides of our house that I use for wood storage. It is very full of various woods that I will use this winter. The other morning I was heading out to feed the llamas when I noticed a small set of tracks that emerged from the wood pile across the snow and disappeared into some tall grass. The tracks were from a weasel or ermine as they used to be called when their fur was in demand for women's coats and accessories. The little animal was very sought after in the early 1900's but now their pelts bring very little money. I have caught a few when I trapped pine marten as they both use the same habitat. They are a great mouser and will eliminate a population quickly. I'm happy it is here and hope the little guy spends the winter.

If a weasel weighed 35 pounds instead of a few ounces we would be in big trouble. They are a fierce little animal that will take on something much bigger. They are capable of killing a snowshoe hare and climb fast enough to catch squirrels. Several years ago I left Ardella on a log beside a brush pile to deer hunt and she heard something growling near her when a white head with beady black eyes appeared and was trying to chase her from his winter home. The little guy wasn't about to share his space and kept appearing , disappearing , growling his disgust with her. They seem to be an animal with a high energy level like they are overdosed on caffeine.

God put a fierce heart in that little animal so it can survive in a world much bigger. It is that kind of heart and determination that can drive people to greatness and overcome great opposing odds. David had that fierce heart when as a teenager he tool on Goliath. David never once doubted the outcome. Peter had the boldness to proclaim the good news even under the threat of death. Paul's fire of the heart could not be extinguished in a Roman prison and converted many of the prison guards. Jesus had it when he chased the money changers from the temple and as he took on the Jewish leaders when they tried to trap him with various provoking questions.

We should pray to know when to use that same courage in our daily lives. If we stick to the truth of the Bible and not our own feelings, we can accomplish great things in our walk on this earth. God doesn't expect us to be trampled and walked on. But we should let God lead our hearts in all areas of our lives. He wants a relationship with us not a religion.