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.