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.