Wednesday, May 28, 2008


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.