Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ancient Paths

Old trails and paths in the wilds have always been intriguing and beckon me to follow them. This sometimes leads me off course from my original intentions and has lead to a few nasty inhospitable places. Once in a while the path pulls me to a wonderland surrounded by ancient forests; a place I feel close to God as I admire his creation.

Guiding for brown bear one fall in Alaska, I came upon an old bear trail created by these large creatures over hundreds of years. The trail was about a foot wide and worn into the tundra four inches deep. The old path wasn’t just an ordinary trail as you could see the actual footprints of bears as they walked in each others prints through the years. It was a sight that I will never forget and I remember reaching down and running me hands over the worn footprints. This trail had been handed down from generation to generation by the great beasts as they traveled from a brushy lake bottom to this high pass between two mountain ranges. It was a road map of life for the bears.

As men, we often don’t have such a path of life to follow. Broken homes and fathers too busy working to pass on life lessons are taking a toll on men everywhere. If our own fathers didn’t take time to teach us important steps of life and share closeness, we may think God doesn’t care either. Men and boys desperately need a marked trail, not more rules, formulas, or another list of principles.

Even if you were fortunate like I was to have a father and grandfather to guide me on the trail, we still need guidance from our Heavenly Father to make it through life. God intended that in the Garden before Satan entered the scene and told the universal lie that God doesn’t care about us and he is holding back on us. God developed us for an intimate relationship. Jesus death on the cross opened us the opportunity to walk with God personally. Unfortunately, many churches want men to engage in another class or boring program that is about as exciting as going to the dentist. Men need challenged and engaged in real life situations in their community. Guys do best in small platoons or band of brothers because we are in a war and too many men become casualties without someone to guard their back. I’m blessed to have a great group of men to help me grow and fight the battles.

God is waiting to show all of us the ancient path that leads to a peace this world doesn’t know. I suggest men read some of John Eldredge’s books like Wild At Heart, Way of The Wild Heart, Fathered by God, and Epic. Read and study them with some other guys. Remember, it is important which path you take and where it goes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Peace of Christmas

The Bible states that there will be wars and threats of wars but also speaks of peace numerous times. We certainly are aware of conflicts since our troops are involved in two wars in the Middle East and we have an undeclared war against drugs in Latin America. Then there is the hostile environment created by Iran and other Arab nations against Israel. We know how God will deal with that someday. The Bible is very clear that He will destroy all the nations that go against his chosen people. So, how do we find the peace of Christmas?

Jesus told his disciples about his death when He 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.” Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean our troubles go away. The old ones may but usually we encounter a whole new kind that Satan throws at us to discourage us from depending on God.

Isaiah chapter 9 says,” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government there shall be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

We can find total peace in this chapter if we truly believe in the baby born in a manager over two thousand years ago. It just takes having the faith of a child in our hearts. God made it simple for us to have a relationship with Him but we try to complicate it. The Peace of Christmas is only found in our hearts when we let Jesus in. My prayer this Christmas season is that you let Jesus take over your life. You will not be disappointed as you experience the Peace of Christmas forever.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Against All Odds

The cooing of mourning doves was a sweet sound that I grew up with in Iowa. They are a gentle bird that God designed to migrate since they are seed eaters. For the last few years, we have had up to sixty stay the winter. I try hard to get them to move south and don’t put feed out until it snows. This year five doves showed up as soon as the ground was white. I put out cracked corn and now we have over twenty hanging around everyday. These doves appear to be all males as they have a pink and purple hue on their necks and breast.

Without supplemental feeding many of the doves would perish due to starvation. They also face the perils of winged predators like hawks and owls so they still have many dangers. One year a pigmy owl about their size killed many of them. They soon get used to me and will wait in nearby trees for the corn to be placed in a few spots in the backyard. I am their sole source for survival; they are living the winter here against all odds.

Jesus Christ, the baby in the manager, King of Kings, God’s Son is our only source for survival; without Him we will perish. Why do people have such a hard time accepting that? God provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him through Jesus dying for us on the cross. He created us for a relationship yet people reject that offer and perish. Too many people think about the present life and not eternity. Where will you spend it?

The doves and I have a very limited relationship but God wants a real one with us. He pursues us all through the scriptures even when we don’t deserve it. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock.” Jesus’ whole time on earth was about seeking people’s hearts. He didn’t come to earth to start another religion; Jesus came to offer us peace and the opportunity for us to know Him personally. He was the sacrifice for all the sins of mankind.

Open up the Bible to Matthew and read about the Christmas story. God is offering an eternal Christmas present to you, don’t pass it up. To reject Jesus is to go against all odds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Thoughts

Our house is decorated for Christmas with trees, lights, and garland announcing the birth of Christ. The grand daughters decorated our old artificial tree and they redecorate it every time they are here. We selected a white fir tree this year from the woods that Ardella has nicely adorned with many ornaments that we have had for years. Even my mounted caribou gets outfitted with garland and a Santa hat.

Commercialism has certainly taken over the true meaning of Christmas. The real meaning of this season is all about God’s love for us. He sent his only son to earth so we can have eternity with Him. Too many people do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, our savior. I suggest everyone should watch the Star of Bethlehem DVD which is about an hour long. If you can watch that and not believe in Christ and God’s love for you, then you are without hope.

The greatest gift you can receive is accepting Jesus as your savior and Lord. He wants a personal relationship with us everyday, not just on Sunday. If we let Him, He will transform our lives so His light shines through us to this dark world. You can accept Jesus anytime and anywhere; He waits at the door of your heart.

The most important thing to remember is His great love for you. Jesus is not a religion; He is a relationship because He lives. My prayer is for everyone to have a great Christmas, but don’t miss the real reason for the season.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wise Old Bucks

The phrase, “With age comes wisdom” certainly applies to hunting old bucks. After hunting for nearly forty days and not seeing a buck, I’m reminded and humbled about what I don’t know concerning deer hunting. They outfoxed me at every turn. I still have a seven day archery season that starts Thursday so we will see how that goes. The weather is supposed to be very frigid and standing still with a bow for hours turns one into an ice cube. I have been so cold in the past that I could not pull the bow back.

My friend Jeff slid into a chair next to me on Wednesday men’s group and whispered, “We have to talk.” He later told me that he never got or even saw a buck and wondered what he had done wrong. I told him he should ask our friend Paul since he harvested a deer and I didn’t. Then I remembered poor Jeff had attended a deer hunting seminar I gave last year and somehow got the idea I was a whitetail expert. Boy did I fool him!

God programs a buck’s brain so when they get about three years old it is like their memory bank expands dramatically. They get very nocturnal, change their bedding sites often, and live in thick brush and timber. These bucks know every inch of their home range.

The Bible is very clear that all wisdom comes from God. It says with humility comes wisdom. God also told us that we should humble ourselves and pray and He will hear our requests. Proverbs says blessed is the man who finds wisdom. Wisdom is mentioned in the Bible with words like knowledge, joy, correction, hidden treasures, discipline, and understanding.

I have noticed that some men get old and some men get wise from age. My Grandpa Swartz lived 97 years and was one of the wisest men I have ever known. I don’t think he attended more than grade school so his wisdom was based on his belief in God and it served him well. Wouldn’t the world be better if we could all humble ourselves and ask God to impart some wisdom to each of us.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amoung the Giants

My friend Ken and I recently hunted deer in the Lightning Creek Drainage north of Clark Fork, Idaho. This area was just opened to vehicle travel after being closed for years due to heavy destruction to the landscape after torrential rains fell. Lightning Creek is the wettest drainage in Idaho and has experienced flooding and mass washouts in the past. This generous precipitation lets trees grow old and get very large.

Ken was amazed at the size of the cedar trees; many over six feet in diameter. It was like walking in a garden of giants and we were the ants. We were in awe and realized they had been created by a wondrous God. Looking up at these giant trees is like gazing at night into the heavens and sensing how small we are. We were created by a God who knows no boundaries; His universe is endless.

I believe God didn’t make us to think small, that comes from Satan. God created us to serve Him and help others. Ed Silvoso wrote a book called Transformation which challenges us to take the principles Jesus taught and change the world. I recommend people read it especially in a group so it can be discussed. The principles that Mr. Silvoso writes about could transform lives, wipe out poverty, and change the world. It would put Satan out of business in trade and nations economies. It is already happening around the world, we just don’t hear about it on the nightly news.

What if we let God run our businesses, schools, and government? It would have a profound difference in people’s lives. First we need to humble ourselves before God, make him our partner in all aspects of life. He can run things much better than we can ever imagine. God can grow us like the big cedar trees in Lightning Creek; strong, deep rooted, and reaching toward the heavens.

We only have four days left in the rifle deer season and so far the deer have won. Ardella nearly got run over last Sunday afternoon by a doe that came running down the trail and decided to veer off right by her. She is going shopping tomorrow with the daughters and grand daughters. I told her tonight that a bad day of hunting is better than a good day shopping.

Ardella and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kissing a Mule

Ardella was gone for three days to a sewing retreat with some friends so I explored the wild side on Friday with a gal that has big brown eyes with dark eye lashes named Blanche. Blanche also has long legs and large ears. I guess I forgot to say she is a mule that my friend Ken owns. Blanche was very pleasant to ride and taught me a few things. Ken rode his horse Firecracker and we spent the day looking for deer as a light snow fell on the mountains. I have hunted for about forty years but Friday was the first time I ever rode a mule to hunt. The deer were not cooperative but spending a day with a friend in God’s creation is always great.

Blanche taught me that God made mules quite intelligent. I tied her to a tree with a slip knot for two hours while we hunted a short distance away only to come back and discover that Blanche untied the knot. She was grazing about sixty yards away and I’m sure Firecracker tried to tell her to untie him too. Sometimes Blanche would stop and I could tell she was trying to figure something out. We were going up an old road with Ken and Firecracker in the lead when Blanche stopped suddenly. She would not move even though her friend Firecracker was leaving her. I looked around and could not see anything unusual but I knew Blanche wanted me to find something. I looked down by her feet to see a large foot print in the snow. It had been made by a wolf that morning. Even though Blanche has never encountered a wolf she knew danger had been there.

God placed the intelligence in animals to sense unseen danger yet we humans often miss it. We downplay Satan’s influence on our lives and many don’t even believe in him. We don’t need to fear him because of Jesus but we do need to recognize Satan is like a roaring lion trying to distance us from God. One of his biggest lies is that God doesn’t care about us. Like the wolf track that had just enough snow in it so the print was hard to see; Satan covers up things to trick us. He uses guilt, ways of the world, and compromise to make sin appealing. Only by putting our faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross can we destroy Satan’s power over us.

If you haven’t put your faith In Jesus, please do it today. Read Matthew 6:25 through 34 to find out how much God loves you. He will take care of you.

Thanks Blanche for teaching me an important lesson about God. When we got back to Ken’s place and were taking the saddles off the animals, Ken said I should give Blanche a kiss on the lips to show her how much I appreciated her hauling me around all day. I had a headlight on my cap and as I went to plant one on her brown muzzle she pulled back until I turned the light off. Then she let me kiss her. I didn’t know mules could be shy about a little kiss.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Roll Call

Last week the nation was stunned by the senseless shootings at Fort Hood that left thirteen dead and twenty nine wounded at the hands of a man derailed by a vicious ideology. My prayers are with those families that at this time they will turn to God for peace and closure. Some may be mad at God and He understands their anger through the grief of the loss they have experienced.

Ardella and I watched some of the memorial service which was very moving. At the end of the memorial a Sergeant Major gave a roll call. He would announce a name waiting for a response. A soldier would yell back, “Here Sergeant Major.” Then He would call out another name waiting for a response that never came; the name of a fallen patriot. This scenario repeated until all the names were announced. It was a reminder how fragile life is.

Christ will come back at the end of the age and announce a roll call. Not everyone will be called; only those who claim Jesus as Lord and Savoir. Many will not hear their name because they rejected Him. Will your name be called? This roll call could occur any moment or it could be years away but that doesn’t matter. Be prepared! Just leading a good life won’t get your name on the list. We all fall short of the Glory of God.

The process to hearing your name called is actually very simple. Go to God and ask forgiveness for your sins. Make Jesus your Lord and Savoir. You are washed clean by His blood spilled on the cross. He took on the sins of the whole world so Jesus is able to handle yours too. Find another devoted follower to help you grow. Read the Bible and ask God for His wisdom in your life. He will change you!

Don’t delay this life changing chance. Jesus could come back tomorrow and give a roll call. Will you hear your name?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Twice Blessed

We felt blessed when Ardella’s elk appeared out of no where; the first elk we saw in the clear cut all fall. On Sunday the 25th we were blessed twice. After leaving Ardella to watch an area that contained fresh deer tracks, I headed over the hill to explore a small part of the clear cut that we can’t see from where we normally stand. It over looks dark timber with a creek meandering along the border of the recent logged area. We have taken deer here before but never any elk. I just had a strong feeling that I was going to see an elk. I remember praying to God about several things and asking for an elk to come out; then I settled back to watch and listen to nature. Some wolves howled in the distance, squirrels busied themselves gathering food for winter, and a pileated woodpecker chattered as it pounded on a dead tree. About five o’clock a bull elk emerged from the creek bottom and ran like a race horse along the dark timber and disappeared. I moved about thirty yards and peered around a tree and could see him standing about two hundred yards away. Then just like that he was gone. I went back and got my pack and slowly started walking through the clear cut when I heard him calling about three hundred yards to my left. There he was on a hillside and I knew I had to shoot or the bull would be gone for good. I raised my Ruger 7mm magnum and fired and missed. The second shot missed but he still stood there. I shot a third and fourth time and the bull went down. On the third shot I asked God for some help. When I dressed the bull out I found out the third and fourth bullets were both killing shots.

I not only believe that God answered my prayer but helped with the shooting. Now why would He do that? Because God cares about every aspect of our lives; even the small ones. God wants to be involved in all of our life; He is a relationship God. He sent his Son to earth to die on a cross for all of our sins. We have the opportunity to bury all past sins with Jesus’ victory, yet too many people don’t believe in God’s redeeming grace.

When I include God in my life, things go much better. Satan likes us to go it alone and distance ourselves from God. He is the one who puts the thinking into our head that God doesn’t care. God does care about us; He calls us to fellowship with Him daily. Remember God is the awesome Creator of everything but He is also our Daddy.

So what would Ardella and I do with two elk? We had the family come over to help cut and wrap the meat and then divided it between Connie and Thane and Jolene and Vance. We thank God for the provision of food to feed our families this winter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Experiencing Autumn

Autumn is here with cooler temperatures and some needed moisture. The wood shed is nearly full which will supply us with warmth all winter. I have several projects to do yet outside before the snow flies, like building Spud a larger shelter and dividing the winter pen so the llamas don’t have to be with him. They do not like the horse. I also need to get two ton of hay to carry them through the winter; hopefully it is not as long as last year.

This year the freezer is full of elk meat which Ardella harvested last week. We haven’t had elk for thirteen years so we are very thankful for the great organic meat. The game we harvest is processed at home so we know the meat in the freezer is ours. It took us two days to cut and wrap the elk with the help of the family. The grand daughters helped by labeling each package so they realize where the meat came from. Hunting is criticized by some people but I believe it ties us back to the land and some basics of life.

Fall is a season of preparation for the long winters of north Idaho. It is my favorite time to be in the woods learning what the animals doing. The white tail bucks are starting to rub trees and paw ground scrapes so the rut is probably about two weeks away. I have located two nice bucks by their tracks that are using creek bottoms grown thick with brush. That’s why they are big and I will spend some time trying to figure them out.

Many people are preparing for winter knowing it is creeping closer and will pounce on them before they know it. Unfortunately, few people prepare their spiritual life by knowing Jesus as their personal savoir. Jesus waits to give them eternal life; it’s a free gift. He bought it on the cross.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frosty Mountain Morning

An arctic freeze plunged northern Idaho to record low temperatures over the weekend. Saturday started the rifle elk and deer season and Ardella has an elk tag so we got up at five o’clock to find a bull elk. We slept in the cabin on Friday night and kept the wood stove full so the cabin was quite toasty. The thermometer registered 14 degrees as we walked away from the warm cabin and the stars were brilliant in the predawn night. A half moon bathed the forest in light so I knew the elk had taken advantage of the moon to feed all night.

We tried to walk silently but the frozen ground was like walking on popcorn. Ardella and I trekked into the north wind as we made our way up an old road in heavy timber then out into a grassy clear cut. We sat down to watch an area where elk have been feeding recently but there was no sign of the tan bodies we hoped to see. The cold penetrated through our clothing and soon our feet were tingling. Some coyotes yapped to the north and later I heard wolves howling about a mile above us. The forest usually gets very silent once wolves announce their presence.

The sun was rising way too slowly on this cold morning. First, the Selkirk Mountains thirty miles west were bathed in light and the sun crept its way across the valley. It was nearly eight thirty before we felt the sun hit our backs and immediately the heat penetrate the cold clothing. As the sun hit the grass in the clear cut, millions of ice crystals danced like diamonds creating a beautiful sight. I thanked God for the glory of the morning.

As the sun warms our bodies, the Son of God warms us too. Jesus is the light of the world and illuminates warmth and hope into this cold dark world. Unlike the sun, His light is permanent and available for anyone that seeks Him. Unfortunately, too many people don’t believe in Jesus and miss out on the peace He has to offer. If you have never accepted Christ into your life, take time right now to ask Him in. You won’t regret it. Jesus is ready to forgive and forget anything you have done if you ask Him. Do it now! It will chase away the cold from your soul.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making a Difference

Too many people live a long life but not a full life of helping others. Today’s world calls us to focus on ourselves first. Rick Warren wrote in The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” I have to admit it took me a while to understand that sentence. I find myself most blessed when I focus on other people as God intended us to do. I read an incredible story of a young man in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho whose life involved helping those in our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Josh Wright was born with an illness that took his life recently at age 31. When the war in Iraq broke out Josh tried to enlist in the Marines but was turned down because of his illness. I’m sure Josh was mad that he couldn’t go but found another way to serve. He started gathering and sending personal items to Marines. Over time this grew into an enormous task. He talked corporations to send white socks to our military and wasn’t shy to get other people involved to help his cause. Josh would also spend hours on the internet encouraging those Marines and soon he had a band of brothers half way around the world looking forward to his packages and correspondence. When Josh found out that some wives back home were having a hard time buying diapers he got a diaper company to donate a whole truck load.

Josh got to meet with the Marine general that took Baghdad and during the meeting the general presented Josh the stars he wore on that campaign. Other Marines sent Josh the Stars and Stripes from various parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other items they acquired. Several Marines looked him up to thank him personally. In their eyes Josh was a warrior and fellow patriot.

After reading this story and wiping the tears away I took inventory on how I’m doing helping other people. I found myself falling very short compared to Josh. I feel ashamed that I have only sent one box to Iraq. Then there are people right here in my community that are in desperate need for help. Many are unemployed and there are single moms that need things repaired.

We need more Josh’s in this world. Josh did not expect anything in return; his reward was knowing that he was helping the moral of our troops carrying out a difficult and dangerous assignment. Let’s be more like Josh and make the world a better place.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Climbing To The Top

My son-in-law, Thane and I left the elk trail as it turned downhill because we wanted to go to the top of the ridge. There was a smaller deer trail that went left so I took it thinking it would be a short cut but soon a vertical rock wall loomed before us. The deer trail traversed across the steep face up to a lone pine tree. All I could think about is how many deer bones lay in the brush below for the ones that slipped. I asked Thane what he thought and his silent response was carefully working his way toward the pine tree. I knew then that I was committed to follow so I focused on the ground not looking off the trail. After we were safely on relatively flat ground I remarked, “Sometimes you and I do something crazy when we are hunting and that definitely qualifies.”

The mountain had many surprises for us as we would just get to what we thought was the top of the ridge only to be greeted by another ridge jutting up defiantly ahead of us. To make matters worse, we had to descend into a ravine before climbing up to the next bench. This pattern repeated itself for nearly two hours. When we finally got to the top ridge we took a rest before proceeding into the coolness of dark timber. It was there Thane whispered, “Elk!” I froze and looked just off the trail sixty yards ahead to see the antlers of a nice bull. Three bulls stood in a small swale trying to decide what we were. We cow called and thought they might stay but one bull finally turned and headed downhill. Soon we were left in the silence of the moment savoring what we had just encountered. The rest of the day we poked around a brush field and came across several fresh elk beds but never heard or saw any elk. We descended down through a clear cut as darkness closed the day but the afternoon encounter with three majestic bulls of God’s creation made up for the terrible climb we did earlier.

Life is full of terrible climbs as we go through the years. We try to climb the vocation mountain, the financial success mountain, and the social mountain only to come out battered and weary. Just when we think the top is in reach a ravine comes along. There is one mountain that we can climb and come out on top, the spiritual mountain. When we turn our life over to Jesus we have help to get to the top of life and eternity. God designed us for a relationship with Him so he can help us everyday. Sadly, many people never seek Him. They would rather tough it out on their own. I have a friend and spiritual brother going through a very difficult time financially but he is at peace because he knows the Father. He understands in his heart it is more important to know Jesus than anything else in life. His faith can not be shaken.

Are you having trouble with a mountain? God cares and wants to help. He is just waiting to hear from you. Grab a prayer partner and both of you spend time communicating with the Father. God is the ultimate mountain climber!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bear and The Bees

We have all heard about the birds and the bees but I recently learn some facts of life from a bear and a hive of bees. Last Friday evening was quite warm for September but I headed for an old tree stand that I put up about ten years ago. Even though two well used game trails meet in the small clearing by the stand, I have never seen anything bigger than a pine squirrel.

As I approached the clearing it was very evident that a bull moose had just been there as dirt was freshly dug up and a few bushes received the pounding from his rack. A lovesick bull moose can be dangerous this time of year so I quickly put my elk decoy, Henrietta in the ground and started for the tree. I noticed a bear had also been there as many logs were freshly torn up. I climbed the ladder and had just put the bow on the platform when I heard the buzzing of bees even though my hearing isn’t too good. A glance to my left revealed a hive of bald faced hornets that the bear had just visited. Evidently the bear took advantage of the steps to the stand and crawled up, reached out and swiped the nest; removing the bottom half. The hornets were flying madly around and it is fortunate I blended into the tree enough to fool them. I bailed off the steps hitting the ground running. Then it dawned on me that my bow was still on the platform about four feet from the hornets. All I could do was set down and wait for them to calm down which took nearly an hour; then I slowly climbed up the steps and grabbed the bow. All I could think that this time I would see an elk since my bow was in the tree.

I chuckled as I headed to a different area for the rest of the evening and watched a glorious sunset. This evening reminded me how life can throw us unexpected obstacles and circumstances. It is only by having faith in God that we can deal with them in peace. God is in control; we aren’t. When life deals us a curve we should go to God immediately as He is waiting to help us. Men especially, often want to slug it out on their own which doesn’t work near as good. Grab a buddy and pray together.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Walking In God's Garden

I took off Monday afternoon and went archery elk hunting even though the temperature hovered near ninety degrees. I left Ardella in camp with the Jolene and the granddaughters and off course, Sadie. I left in a hurry and forgot to take any water, binoculars, and my elk decoy, Henrietta. My path resembled the kids in the Family Circus cartoon when they are supposed to go to the neighbor’s house and instead cover two blocks and climb trees and fences to get there. I proceeded up an old road through Vance’s property and discovered the fresh scat of a black bear but my mind was focused on finding elk. I walked the old road out along the top end off a clear cut made several years ago but could not find any elk tracks so I headed farther out along another road that dissects a more recent clear cut still not finding any elk tracks. An old grown in road cut down toward a creek bottom where I had set up camouflage cloth for a ground blind at an old elk wallow; so I turned down it knowing it would be cooler in the dark timber. To my surprise I found the blind fabric strewn across the ground and ripped into two pieces. At first I thought a moose had got tangled up in it but closer inspection revealed a black bear had found it. The bear also dug out some insects at the base of a tree where the fabric was hanging. I hung up the big part and checked the wallow but there have not been any elk use it yet so I proceeded back to the road in the clear cut and soon found some recent elk tracks. I followed the road around the hill where it ended but could not find any more tracks so I headed up a trail that parallels a small creek. I have never been in the creek bottom that tumbles its way through big dark timber and decided to explore this cool area the God had created. I descended into the cool timber where the temperature dropped about twenty degrees. The forest floor was a mat of pine needles and the gurgle of the creek very pleasant. A few ferns grew near the waters edge but other than that it was like walking through a cathedral of old trees I found numerous deer trails and spotted some old four by six beams stretched across some old logs. They were the remains of an old log flume that over sixty years ago carried logs out of the mountains to the valley below where they were loaded on train cars and taken to the Humbird mill in Sandpoint.

I was trying to envision the kind of life these rugged men had living in the woods most of the year when I saw a bone of a deer leg. I looked up and spotted the jaw bone several feet away and picked it up to age the deer by the wear on the teeth and decided that this deer was probably four years old. As I cast a glance to my left, some white antlers caught my eye. There was the skull and antlers of a nice five by five white tail buck. I determined it had been here nearly two years and realized I may have seen this year the year before he died as a nice four by four buck. He was with a huge five point buck and though I could have easily taken him, I choose to wait out the big guy who seemed to have a sense that something wasn’t right and melted back into the brush. A year later I took the big buck but never saw this buck again.

I climbed my way out of the creek bottom and took up a position by an old log pile for the rest of the evening and watched the sun slowly disappear over the Selkirk Mountains. As I walked back to camp in the dark and to lazy to dig out a head lamp I talked out loud to God, thanking Him for the adventure of the afternoon. We all need to get out in God’s outdoors and wander around and thank Him for his wonderful creation.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Honor and Oath

The Bible speaks about honor and oaths many times and how important they were. The two are hard to separate without affecting their meaning. God made oaths to his people and followed up that He would honor the oath. When people took an oath in biblical times, it was like signing a contract and sealed by honor. It was like sealing an agreement with a handshake which is rare these days. I still like to do that with someone because to me it is a binding agreement that I am willing to put my honor on the line. Our Pastor Steve is that kind of guy that believes a handshake is something that seals the importance of the moment. He is someone I can relate to and trust. Oaths are all about trust and belief.

You can tell our country has changed because now two parties need lawyers and written contracts and honor is often thrown out the window. Our elected officials take an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States as do our military. The difference is the military honor that oath but the politicians forget all about after they are in office. We have many of our leaders trying their best to circumvent the Constitution and tell us it is outdated for our times. I don’t think so! It is going to take this country getting back to God to see any of his blessings. Right now I’m not confident that will happen.

It is time for Christians to become active in government and demand accountability from our leaders. We need to remind them of the oath they took which the founding fathers knew was important for this country’s survival. Those men looked for guidance from God everyday with prayer to guide them. How many of our elected leaders do that?

The foundations of this Republic are being shaken and we are close to losing our God given freedoms that so many people died for. We need to pray that our leaders seek the Creator for wisdom and that this country will humble itself before God. He promises to hear our prayers and heal our land. It is an oath He made thousands of years ago.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


August 21 is our 44th anniversary which is getting to be a milestone in today’s world. We are blessed to have two great daughters and son-in-laws plus two sweet granddaughters. Life is sometimes a blur and we have to step back and realize the blessings Gods bestows on us.

Marriage is about teamwork; learning each others strengths and using that to help each other. Ardella balances me out with her peacemaker strength which I often need. I have learned much about patience from her. Fortunately we both like the outdoor world and love exploring God’s creation. Ardella has helped me band ducks in Iowa, climbed numerous mountains in Idaho, and enjoyed the wildness of Alaska as much as I did. She is an excellent shot and has harvested more black bears and elk than I have. She has always been my favorite hunting partner.

Too many couples opt out of marriage because they are not a team. Each lives a life without involving their mate in much of their daily lives. Going it alone will not make a marriage.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Color Purple

The woods of north Idaho are experiencing a bumper crop of huckleberries this year. The purple fruit is highly prized for pies and jam. We like them in hotcakes. It has been several years since there was a good crop so both bears and people are enjoying the bounty. The other evening we drove up Baldy Mountain north of Sandpoint and came home with over four and a half gallons of huge purple berries. I kept an eye out for bears as I picked since they had visited the patch I found laden with big juicy berries. I have never had any trouble with bears while picking but you never know so I carry a can of bear spray. I always leave enough for bears to eat when I’m done as the huckleberry is an important food source to them so they can build up fat for their winter nap.

The color purple was highly prized by the Hebrews as a symbol of royalty. Fabric was dyed various shades of purple from a mollusk that lives along the Mediterranean shores. Solomon had the seat of his chariot covered with purple and the priest used it on their robes. Remember. They put a purple robe on Jesus at his trial to mock him.

Jesus didn’t need a purple robe to show he is King. The empty tomb declares Jesus is our King and Savoir. He will come back with an angel army to gather up his people. Will you be one of them? Spending eternity with Him really isn’t as hard as religion makes it. We need to recognize Jesus as our Savoir, ask Him to forgive our sins, and spend the rest of this life glorifying Him to others. If you don’t know Him, please invite Jesus into your heart right now. He is waiting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Party On

Today is my birthday and we went out for lunch with Connie, Jolene, Vance and the girls. We celebrated Sunday afternoon when the whole family could be here. Ardella and the little girls made me a delicious chocolate cake from scratch which is my favorite. Hannah and Lizzie help Grandma decorate the cake and said it would be the best one I ever had. I totally agree!

Some people think life is an ongoing party and live only for the moment. Unfortunately they don’t see the whole picture and their lives are really hollow shells of what they could be. God calls us to live with purpose. Rick Warren wrote, “Its not abut you.” It took me three times of reading the book to get it. Jesus said we should have a servant’s heart; living a life of helping others.

The real party will be when we enter Heaven where there is no sickness or problems we live with on earth. The Apostle Paul was given glimpses of Heaven but said he could not reveal the glory he saw. I believe Heaven will be greater then anyone can imagine. The God of Creation is going to knock our socks off! Many people will not experience the party because they will not accept Jesus as their savoir. He offers us a free gift and we reject it. If you do not know Jesus this is as good as your party gets; but if He is your Savoir, the real party won’t begin until you leave this world. Which party would you rather be at?

I have a fourteen old cousin that found out today he has stage four cancer so I would like prayers for Trevor and his family. Ardella and I prayed with his Grandma and an aunt and uncle this week for a miracle of healing. We prayed for some of the family members to put their trust in Jesus and accept Him as savior. Pray that God uses this time to change lives for eternity.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's All About Love

My week was going pretty smoothly and then Ardella brought home this wonderful photo our daughter Connie took of the granddaughters loving on Sadie. Sadie loves these two munchkins very much and is always excited to see them arrive at our house. They return the love as you can see in this cherished photograph which I have titled, “Golden Moments." Sadie is totally immersed in the pouring out of their love; receiving it with total gladness.

The photo got me thinking about Luke 6:27 through 36. Jesus starts out by telling us to love our enemies. Now that is a hard commandment for me not to break! He told us to love our neighbor and right now mine are shooting off firecrackers even though it is extremely dry. Love can be hard for me to comprehend and convey; especially after I interrupted this writing to ask them not to shoot firecrackers, they still kept lighting them. My better judgment prevailed and I called 911 instead of going back to persuade them which would not have been good. Please God, give me new neighbors, ones easier to love.

Verse 35 says God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked and I thought how could the God of Creation do that; then realized I sometimes fall into that classification. Jesus closes this lesson telling us to be merciful because God is merciful to us. Jesus showed the ultimate example of love by nailing all our sins with him on the cross so we can be saved by God’s amazing grace. Now that is Love!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rugged Majesty

Last Sunday afternoon we went with Connie and Thane to Farragut State Park where they launched their boat among the many people that were enjoying the great varied facilities the park offers. There were picnics, campers, swimmers, mountain bikers, and boaters spending a leisure day relaxing. During WWII, Farragut was a busy naval training camp for tens of thousands of sailors. I knew a few of them personally so the park holds a special interest for me. They would have rather visited it as a park but never regretted the job they were called to do for us.

I had never been on the south half of Lake Pend Orielle and was captivated by the rugged beauty of the mountains that plunge straight down into the clear depths of the lake. God created spectacular granite rocks that perch hundreds of feet above the lake and descend deep into the clear water. Many times when we were only fifty feet of shore the depth finder measured well over one hundred feet of water below us. One time it measured seven hundred eighty eight feet which is not the deepest part of the lake. Every bend in the shoreline had something great to offer. We stopped one a beach that was all flat skipping stone rocks. The little boy came out in me as I tried to skip each rock a little farther before it disappeared into the depths of the lake. I pictured Jesus and the disciples doing the same thing on the shores of Galilee with Peter boasting he could beat all of them.

As we made our way up the east side many old mining sites are still visible and remnants of some communities remain. Huge ponderosa pines line the shoreline like guardians of the lake. There were several dead twisted junipers that got my attention as I could see neat pieces of driftwood in them to carve fish on. Next time I will have to take a saw. On our return trip back to the boat launch we saw a family of eagles that were learning to test their wings with an adult watching nearby.

Some people would say Lake Pend Orielle was formed by accident due to some natural disaster but I believe God purposely made it for our enjoyment. I think he sat back and smiled. God made it one of the deepest fresh water lakes in the world so it would give the valleys to the south and west an abundant supply of water for crops and cities. Do you think he knew Spokane would develop into a big city someday and need a fresh supply of water? I believe he did just as he knows about our life before we are born.

Summer is marching on so take some time to enjoy God’s creation and praise Him for all the beauty.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Grandchildren can get the grandparents to do almost anything as we found out this week. Jolene and Vance own Fjord horses which are very beautiful animals. This spring they acquired a free ten year old gelding Fjord named Spud. Heidi, our veterinary’s wife says there is no such thing as a free horse and I know she is right. Spud is a little guy in size but thinks he is as big as a Belgian work horse. Their other gelding, Amos is a very big Fjord and wasn’t about to let this new guy boss him so they had to keep them separated by electric fence to prevent one from getting hurt. Vance decided that Spud had to go to a new home and thought a neighbor was going to take him but she backed out probably also knowing there is no free horse.

I didn’t know a four year old and a six year old could devise the right plan to find Spud a home. They each came to me twice in two weeks asking me if I liked Spud. Of course I said yes both times not knowing I was being set up. After the second time I said yes, they said since I liked him so much that I should take him. I told the girls they would have to convince Grandma, which only took a few minutes. So yesterday Spud arrived at our place. I thought he might be afraid of the llamas but they are afraid of him so we keep them in different pens.

Spud has a warrior heart in him not realizing he is small in size. He is a proud little horse that will follow me around the pasture like a dog. Spud seems willing to submit to me and trusts me. Tonight, I threw a pack on him while he grazed and Spud just stood there and let me cinch it up tight.

God puts a warrior’s heart in us but many people never find it. Jesus had that heart as did David, Peter, Paul, Andrew, John and hundreds of other people in the Bible. Just as Spud trusts me we should fully trust God in our lives. We are to be warriors reflecting the love of Christ to other people. Christianity isn’t a spectator sport; instead we should be on the playing field, running the ball to the goal post.

I’m sure I will learn much more from Spud in the coming weeks which I can write about. If you have grandchildren just be careful what you say yes to or you might get a free horse.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I have been working at a new home that sets high above the Pend Orielle River with awesome views. It makes the time go fast. I first tilled the lawn area for hydro seeding of wildflowers and also a low maintenance grass. So I set up sprinklers on timers that water the lawn four times a day and today I could see tiny plants emerging. The owners are vacant landowners so I have the place all to my self; except for the deer and turkeys.

Today I decided to declare war on the knapweed that grows profusely in the light soil around the house. Knapweed is a plant that is hard to control and can take over other vegetation in a few years. It has a long tap root that goes deep to suck water in the driest soils. The plant produces multiple flowers and each flower casts off hundreds of seeds. The plant also produces toxins that kill off good plants so pretty soon all you have is knapweed. Because of these toxins it is good practice to wear gloves when pulling knapweed.

Knapweed is similar to the sin we have in our lives. It is often deep rooted and hard to pull out. Sin can consume our entire life and suck out all hope. The toxins of sin will definitely kill us and infect other around people; spreading the sickness over a large area. What are we to do? Jesus is the only source able to pull the long roots of sin from our life. There isn’t a sin that He can’t handle or hasn’t heard of. All we have to do is ask forgiveness and put our faith in Him. Jesus will kill the ugliest of sin in our lives.

Are you ready to get the knapweed out of your life? Go to the Savoir; He is always waiting. Remember He is a relationship not a stuffy religion!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thank You

We had a great family weekend camping and enjoying our nation’s birthday in the mountains. The granddaughter’s find nature so fascinating and come up with various insects. They both rode their new horse and I even got on her and went for a nice ride. Our camp swelled to thirteen people on Saturday.

Old Glory was erected at the camp entrance so we could remember those that have died for our freedoms. My thoughts and prayers were with a Marine Major in special ops that is in Afghanistan and emailed last week that they were about to enter into a new phase of battle. We were also visited last week by a young woman that is in the service with a squadron of top gun pilots and they could be employed to Korea. Her brother is just finishing boot camp in Oklahoma and headed to school for medics. Another young friend is headed to the Oklahoma camp where he will also become a medic after boot camp. We are very proud for these people and the rest of our military and pray God’s protection over them.

It frustrates me how we have forgotten that God lead our founding fathers in forming our country. They sought His guidance in prayer and God answered and blessed us with a mighty nation. We will only be blessed if we seek His face. I’m afraid that Americans have become arrogant and hostile to God and that we are on our way to self destruction. It is very evident that our many of our elected officials and citizens have turned from God and our nation is in a real mess. We can not heal ourselves; only God can do that as he promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

I want to thank our veterans and our current military for their service which has kept us a strong and free nation. They are the best of the best. Thank you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Our granddaughters like to make up knock-knock jokes to tell me. They usually don’t make much sense but I get a good laugh out of them. There is another kind of knock-knock that isn’t a joke. In many countries Christians meeting in homes fear the knock on the door that results in police breaking up their prayer meetings. Most of the time the people are threatened and sometimes put in prison for worshipping Jesus. The Voice of Martyrs is one organization that tracks the persecutions worldwide.

I was stunned recently when I read that it happened in the United States. Christians meeting for Bible study were told by authorities that they were violating the law. When did our Constitution get changed? It was hardly mentioned in the news media. Why aren’t we outraged that our country has forgotten God? Our country has been great because it was founded on Christian principals and we used that as our guide but in the last fifteen years we have rejected God. I’m not sure if this nation can crawl out of the abyss it is sliding down. We have forgotten what truth looks like. As Christians, we need to pray for our nation and the people in leadership that they will seek God.

If we want our cities, states, and nation changed for God it begins with us. Jesus said he stands at the door and knocks. He was talking about the door to our hearts because that is where life has to change first. Jesus wasn’t talking about a new religion; He was talking about a real relationship with Him. Go somewhere this week and get alone so you can hear him knocking. Let Him in and find His peace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Year Ago

This time last year my body was under attack from a mysterious virus which baffled doctors. It started with a weird stiff neck and then proceeded into a headache, hot back spasms, and a high fever. I was poked, prodded, and x-rayed yet the doctors could not find the cause. Blood tests didn’t reveal anything but I believe I had west nile virus. The blood test for that was over $600.00 and there is no cure for it so I opted not to take it. Your body has to fight off the virus. Most people with bad cases of west nile end up in the hospital for hydration but I was drinking water like a fish.

I remembered finding some dead songbirds in our yard about two weeks prior and disposed of them. This made me search the internet about west nile and I had nearly all the symptoms. My doctor agreed but without the expensive test it could not be confirmed and according to the health district no cases have ever been recorded in north Idaho. So the high fever persisted and I sweat buckets of water as my body fought off the virus.

After seven days of fever my friend Ross called and asked to come over and pray over me for healing. I gladly agreed. Ross and some of my family read scripture on healing, anointed me with oil and prayed for healing. Within an hour my fever started to decline and by evening it had completely disappeared. I called the doctor on Monday and told her what happened. She said she believed in healing. Not all people that I have related this story to have shared her feelings. I tell the story to people and let God deal with their hearts. It was life changing for me and I look at life different then I did before this virus hit me. I savor each day as a gift and realize how precious life is.

I am very thankful to God for the healing and give Him the praise and glory. It proves He does want involved in our lives. God definitely got my attention that He is in control. Many people live like there is no God and even many that do believe in Him don’t really take his healing seriously. Jesus healed, the disciples healed, and the Bible says we can be healed too. Why do we doubt? Does everyone get healed? No, God has our life mapped out and He regulates our days, we don’t.

God has done some amazing things in my life the last two years and I wait with eager anticipation wondering what He will do next. We can never out guess God. Give Him praise and glory for your life and live like this is your last day on earth. It will change your life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Landscaping Our Hearts

Since carving orders have been very slow, I have turned to another gift God gave me which is landscaping. I like getting to improve people’s yards and each one offers a new challenge. One I just finished is a large beautiful home on the shores of the Pend Orielle River. They wanted some shrubs and flowers put along two sides of the house. You know the saying about building your house on a strong foundation- they did just that. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I made up a diagram for the owners to see so they could understand what I envisioned. Once they agreed I started digging holes where the shrubs would be placed and dug up shovels of rocks. I than placed about fourteen inches of topsoil over the area marking the holes so I would know where to plant. In about two days the house was lined by many new shrubs that will give them a colorful border to their beautiful home. I placed ground cloth over the new landscape and brought in six yards of fine bark to finish off the new project. When I was done I stepped back to survey the finished project and was very happy that the home looked much more inviting than before. So I left for the weekend hoping the owners would be pleasantly surprised when they came home.

The surprise was on me when the lady called and said the bark was not to her liking. She insisted I remove it and replace it with bigger bark. I explained the reason for using fine bark was because she did not want any border on the beds and bigger bark would not stay in place. That did not do much to convince her and she said they would talk it over. What a way to start a relaxing weekend! On Saturday I attended an Iron Sharpens Iron event and realized I needed to turn the dilemma over to God. I thought that God could handle the situation better than I could You know what; he took control of it and they accepted the fact that small bark would be okay.

That got me thinking about how God wants to come in and landscape our hearts and minds and we often resist. He wants to tear up all the rocks and weeds we grow in our life and make us new and beautiful. Why do we resist so much? We think our life is in control so please God go work in someone else; they really need changed.

Jesus is always ready to step in and make us new. It just takes an invite. Don’t wait, eternity is too important. I find when I let God take over life works better. Let God come in and dig up all the dirt and plant something beautiful in your life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Our yard is alive with birds and wildlife this time of year. A family of robins is nesting in a spruce tree in the front yard and some swallows are using the houses. Baby squirrels are out of the nest and enjoying the corn I put out for them. Mallards and wood ducks are also feeding on corn at the edge of the pond. God created the male wood duck one of the most beautiful of birds. Then there is the male Rufus hummingbird that occupies the front yard. He doesn’t know he is the smallest bird in our yard as he chases other birds that enter his territory. Ardella and I often get dive bombed by him as we water the outdoor plants.

I admire the personality God placed in him; courageous and committed to his purpose. God placed the same courage in David as he guarded his father’s sheep and as he faced Goliath. Then when Samuel anointed David as king, David lost that courage and was pursued relentlessly by Saul and his army. David’s life was in a mess for a while until he fully trusted God and the purpose God had called him. He went on to be a great king and a man after God’s heart.

We go through the same problems in life as David when we don’t believe in God’s promises. You know, it is easier to go it alone. Satan likes us to be separated from God so he can whisper lies to us. Christ is our armor and encourager. Through Him we overcome obstacles and lead the life God intended for us to have. Don’t be robbed of your full potential. Serving God always brings us to a fullness of spirit. The same courage that God put in the little hummingbird is available to us if we seek the Father. It works best for me when I call Him Daddy. Be a David this week and go slay your Goliath.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Restoring Our Soul

The treadmill of life seems to run full speed wearing us down both physically and spiritually. Unless we find ways to slow things down many of us crash and burn. For Ardella and me it can be as simple as spending a few hours in the mountains. We recently went bear hunting one sunny evening and even though we didn’t find any bears, out spirits were lifted up by being in God’s creation.

I parked the truck on an old road separating a clear cur and thick timber so Ardella could watch the road and hillside. About twenty feet from the truck was a muddy area that contained the clear tracks of a medium sized grizzly bear. I cautiously walked over the hill to an old log pile that over looks the clear cut where we have taken some nice whitetail bucks. From this vantage point I could watch along the lower part of the cut where a creek meanders through some old timber. Soon I spotted some movement that turn out to be a doe with her last year’s fawn. They fed in the area for the rest of the evening. Two other deer appeared from the top as did a big bull moose. The bull was enjoying all the new green shoots on trees and was really chowing them down. He looked in good shape in spite of the long winter. One of the does fed very close to him but he didn’t seem to mind. As the sun lowered in the western horizon over the Selkirk mountain range I headed back to the pickup. Ardella had watched four deer too and enjoyed one that came closer to investigate the truck. We went home restored by spending an evening with God in his wonderful creation.

The Bible speaks of our restoration many times. Psalm 80:3 says, “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” We are only fully restored by a relationship with Jesus; without Him our lives are a mess. Jesus speaks of giving us a peace and freedom that come from the Father. Why do we resist that and try to find peace in this world. Have you noticed that there isn’t much peace right now in the world? Instead there are financial worries, wars and threats of more wars, complete breakdown of families, abortion accepted as normal, and many more problems. We look for governments to fix these problems instead of God. The Bible I read says that won’t work. But who needs God?

Take some time to get restored; take a hike in the mountains, go fishing, or spend an evening around a camp fire and let God refresh you. Let the light of Jesus shine again through you to the lost sheep of this world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Freedom Requires a Sacrifice

Freedom always requires a sacrifice. Yesterday our nation recognized the sacrifices of lives that have been given freely so we can enjoy freedoms we take for granted everyday. Men and women of our armed services have laid down their lives, others suffering permanent injury for our freedoms. A walk through a national cemetery brings home the realization how little most of us have given. Clebe Mc Clary, a Marine Lieutenant severely wounded in Viet Nam once said, “You have never lived until you nearly die.” Clebe went through years of surgeries yet never has felt bitter and is a great patriot. He is now in God’s Army and changes people’s lives and gives them hope. You can visit him at www.Clebe Mc Clary.com

I thank all veterans and our present service people for the sacrifices they have done and do every day for us.

Jesus said he came to set us free. What did he mean? Jesus took on all the sins of the world at the cross so we can be set free of all our sins. Too many people don’t believe in Him so they continue to carry the burden of sin. It is like being in spiritual chains. How about it? What is your life like? Are you willing to accept him as your savoir? He made the sacrifice just for you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom's Day

Last Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day with the usual tradition of taking a driving tour at the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge near Bonners Ferry. It was a gorgeous sunny day and our first stop was at the headquarters so the granddaughters could look through the telescopes and find some geese. They also enjoyed seeing a replica of an eagle’s nest and watching hummingbirds at a feeder. As we proceeded through the refuge on the dike road, we were greeted by several broods of new goslings, a turtle, various ducks, and an eagle setting in a tree. We were watching the eagle and noticed the old nest in a large cottonwood was gone but knew the eagle acted like there was another one nearby. Just then we saw the eagle’s mate fly up from some tall grass with its talons full of dry grass. The eagle flew directly over us about twenty feet off the ground and dropped the grass into a nest that contained its young. The parent that had been perched in the tree took flight to hunt food for the family and the other eagle remained nearby to guard the eaglets. That was not only a great Mother’s Day present; it was also a good lesson on raising children. Our tour continued as we watched hawks, deer, pheasants, and a beautiful mountain bluebird.

The whole time we were reminded how important mothers are in raising youngsters whether they are human babies or God’s wild creatures. Mothers shape the lives of their children and prepare them for life. I give credit to Ardella for the wonderful job she did raising our two daughters. Their relationship isn’t just mother and daughters; it is based on friendship and trust. The girls aren’t the only ones blessed for having Ardella as their mom, so am I.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mom's Day

Last Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day with the usual tradition of taking a driving tour at the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge near Bonners Ferry. It was a gorgeous sunny day and our first stop was at the headquarters so the granddaughters could look through the telescopes and find some geese. They also enjoyed seeing a replica of an eagle’s nest and watching hummingbirds at a feeder. As we proceeded through the refuge on the dike road, we were greeted by several broods of new goslings, a turtle, various ducks, and an eagle setting in a tree. We were watching the eagle and noticed the old nest in a large cottonwood was gone but knew the eagle acted like there was another one nearby. Just then we saw the eagle’s mate fly up from some tall grass with its talons full of dry grass. The eagle flew directly over us about twenty feet off the ground and dropped the grass into a nest that contained its young. The parent that had been perched in the tree took flight to hunt food for the family and the other eagle remained nearby to guard the eaglets. That was not only a great Mother’s Day present; it was also a good lesson on raising children. Our tour continued as we watched hawks, deer, pheasants, and a beautiful mountain bluebird.

The whole time we were reminded how important mothers are in raising youngsters whether they are human babies or God’s wild creatures. Mothers shape the lives of their children and prepare them for life. I give credit to Ardella for the wonderful job she did raising our two daughters. Their relationship isn’t just mother and daughters; it is based on friendship and trust. The girls aren’t the only ones blessed for having Ardella as their mom, so am I.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

If My People

About six hundred people gathered at Farmin Park in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho today to observe the National Day of Prayer. We thought it was important even though our president has different ideas about praying as a nation. Our founding fathers strongly believed in praying to God for mercy and guidance. They were men who believed in the saving blood of Jesus.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says if my people pray and humble themselves and seek God’s face he will hear our prayers and heal our land. Right now our land needs a healing by God. We are sliding down the slope of self destruction bent on our own intellect to save us. This nation slaughters unborn children, worships riches, and the government is playing God. The government is trying to push God out of our lives and set their authority over God’s laws. We can only pray that God is able to change their hearts and minds. I encourage all Christians not lose the hope we have in Christ. We know the end of the story and who wins. Just make sure you are on the winning team. Christ is coming!

Several prayers were offered by area pastors for our country. We had a color guard shared by young boy scouts and some veterans of WWII. That was really neat. I believe the most stirring moment was when Pamela Faye Houston was singing If My People with her lovely voice and two bald eagles flew right over the park. They just didn’t slowly fly over but were sparring with each other providing a spectacular sight. Now what are the chances that two eagles would fly over the park at tree top height and especially during Pamela’s song? God is Great!

God has been working in the Sandpoint area the last two years and Christians are coming together like never before. There is a new unity in the spirit. This is the second year in a row that hundreds of people have joined to pray for our country. We had men from ten churches put on a Christian sport show and hundreds of people from various churches went out to do work projects throughout the community. Thirty cord of firewood was collected for needy families last winter and we are looking forward to doing that again.

Changing a country starts in our communities with each of us showing the love of Jesus to others. The first place to start is with prayer to God. He will hear us.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Life Line

During the last thirty three years of living in Idaho I have done several things to put food on the table. I have worked in sawmills, cleaned chimneys, sold feed supplements, owned a janitorial business, landscaping, general tractor work, and wood carving. I tell people that I have done nearly anything legal. Last week a friend asked if I could repair cedar siding on a lady’s house. The siding on some of the second floor dormers had warped and cracked in need of repair before her house could be painted. So I took over all the necessary tools and ladders. Part of the repair was above the metal patio roof which wasn’t too hard until I had to use an eight foot ladder to reach the top boards. The ladder wanted to slide as soon as I started climbing up it. So I got my sweet wife talked into getting on the roof with me to hold the ladder. Ardella panicked a little but tried to hold the ladder for me. It wanted to slide down the metal roof.

The next day I took a young guy with me and he was barely able to hold the ladder but we finally finished the repairs on the metal roof. I told Eddie he could leave as the other repair required a rope thrown over the steep garage roof so it could be tied to a tree. Next I put on a harness and attached myself to the rope and climbed the ladder. I had to slowly work my way up the steep pitch allowing the rope to take all my weight. With my hands free I was able to get the repairs finished sooner than I thought I would. Because I have used the same system to remove snow from roofs at the ski mountain, I felt perfectly safe hanging two stories above the ground. It is amazing to put such trust in a nylon rope and harness.

I got to thinking about how God wants to be our life line; not just when we are in trouble but everyday. We can put our entire life in his hands and know He will keep us safe. You know what the trouble is? Many of us refuse to let God be our life line. Especially guys; now men you know what I’m talking about. Men want to do it their way; I have tried and have often fallen off the roof of life. Why do men have trouble letting God into their daily activities? For some it is pride, others may have had problems trusting their earthly father so why trust God. I’m afraid for many it is just plain arrogance, a hard heart.

Jesus taught his disciples they should call God Abba Father. What that means in Hebrew is Daddy. If you have never addressed God as Daddy, try it. It will break down the religious dogma that many of us learned when we were young. God wants to be a relationship to us not a religion. Our prayers do not have to be eloquent; just keep them from the heart. God hears us from our heart. I can tell you firsthand that keeping God as a religion for so many years in my life was a big mistake. MY LIFE WAS DULL AND BORING! When I realized that God wanted to take part in every day of my life; my life was transformed. That doesn’t mean all my troubles disappeared but now I know I have a life line.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Living in a Tent

Throughout our marriage, we have owned several tents. I have always liked camping and I still have a wall tent that my parents had sixty years ago. Ardella and I have set up tents and camps in Idaho and Alaska. Our elk camps usually had three to four tents and some falls the camp would be used for nearly a month by different family members and out of state friends. One of our most cherished tents is an old wall tent that a friend gave us after his father died. They had used it for many years and I knew if the tent could talk it would have some tall tales. We are looking forward to using it this summer and then our granddaughters will be a new generation to enjoy the old tent. Memories will be made.

Tent camping in Alaska took on a whole new dimension due to the weather and large bears. The first night I spent in the Alaskan bush, I realized how fragile a tent is in a raging storm. We were set down as a storm was brewing and only got two tents up and a few supplies inside before it hit with a vengeance. The bulk of our supplies for the next month were covered with tarps which were secured with rocks. Both tents shook violently all night but stayed up. In the five falls I guided, tents would be flooded, tent poles would snap like tooth picks, and sometimes we would keep someone in the tents to make sure they stayed in place.

When there is a large brown bear outside the tent at night, you realize how vulnerable and dangerous sleeping in a tent can be. I had a bear run into the tie down ropes and then slam against the tent wall, shaking me awake very fast. I didn’t go back to sleep and at daylight the bear was fishing for salmon about fifty yards from camp. While we never had a bear rip into a tent it happens often in Alaska every year. The thin fabric slices like butter in their claws. Ardella and I found a camp a bear had hit and evidently the campers jumped into their boats and left, never coming back to retrieve anything. The bear had ripped and chewed on every item. We were camped about a mile down the shoreline, not too far for a bear to travel. So we slept every night with that on our minds. I would always sleep with my rifle and flashlight beside me. When I had a bear problem the rifle was loaded as I sat up and then I would grab the light. I would let the bear know that I was in the tent, like it didn’t already know that. My advice for anyone camping in bear country is to sleep lightly and have a big gun. Tent walls don’t offer much safety.

Our lives are like living in a tent; fragile and vulnerable to this world. Storms will come and blow hard; shaking our foundation and sometimes our beliefs. The only way to stay safe is to rely on God for wisdom, guidance, and protection. Our Heavenly Dad wants us to communicate with him all the time, not just when life is going bad. We can do that through prayer, reading God’s Word, and having a band of brothers, or sisters for women, to help us. God says if his people humbly pray he will hear their prayers. That doesn’t mean God will give us everything we ask for: He knows what we need better than we do. John Eldridge of Ransom Heart Ministries wrote a book called Walking With God which is a great book about talking to God and hearing back from Him. John’s writings made me realize how much God wants to be a part of our everyday lives. Why do we put God in a box instead of enjoying a life with Him? Everyday I see people with empty helpless lives because they don’t know how much God loves them. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you.” Only Jesus can give us true peace when there is a storm shaking our tent.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Plane is Coming

Alaskan bush pilots are known for dropping their passengers and cargo in a hurry; then off they go. One reason is the pilots are usually fighting the weather and have to deal with storms on a regular basis. On my first time dropped off in the Alaskan bush, another guide and I were flown into a remote lake as a storm was approaching so the pilot wanted to get unloaded and out of there. I remember waves splashing cold water over the top of my hip boots as I help unload a small mountain of gear and food. It is always nice to start the hunting season with wet boots.

I learned that waiting on a plane in Alaska was normal. We knew it would arrive sometime between sunrise and sunset. It wasn’t too bad when we were just exchanging clients but sometimes the whole camp had to be moved. That required taking down the tents and packing up all the gear and food so we would be ready for the plane. Remember the Alaskan weather wasn’t always nice to set out on the shoreline waiting for the sound of a plane. One time we had the whole camp down and under tarps when a snowstorm hit and the pilot was turned back by the weather. We had to set up two tents and dig out a stove while six of us endured a cold night hoping the weather would improve. The next morning we ate and took down one tent. When we finally heard the airplane approaching the other tent was taken down quickly. Six tired and cold guys were happy to get on the plane. The pilot was in a hurry as he had several other remote flights that day.

There is plane coming for us some day; are we ready? Jesus Christ will come back when we least expect him. Many people will still be in their sleeping bags of life not ready for a glorious reunion and a fantastic flight through crystal clear skies. None of us know when Jesus will return and many don’t believe in him. How about you? Do you have your bags packed and camp torn down? Instead of having all our physical gear ready we need to have our spiritual gear ready to fly at a moments notice. We can dump all our old baggage and garbage we have spiritually accumulated right now at the feet of Jesus. He will be glad to throw it away for you. Just ask him in a simple prayer for forgiveness and make him Lord of your life. Then you will be ready for the Heavenly Plane.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

From Lamb of God to Lion of Judah

When I was a youngster many farmers in Iowa raised several kinds of animals and most had a few sheep to keep the weeds down around the buildings. One of my favorite chores was to bottle feed a lamb as they were nice to hold with the soft wool. Lambs always seemed delicate and innocent as I held them.

Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God because He was the sacrificial lamb for our sins. He went to the cross willing and silent much like a little lamb would. Jesus was nailed to the cruel cross to take on all the shame and sins of all people for all time. I shudder to think that I have a responsibility for the pain he endured. I wish God could have had a Plan B. You know, just squish Satan like a bug on concrete. Instead, Jesus was mocked, beaten nearly to death and then endured the horrible agony of hanging on a rugged cross for hours. He was the true Lamb of God.

Three days later Jesus emerged the victorious risen savior and changed history forever. Jesus died the Lamb of God but came back as the Lion of Judah. He is the King over all nations and will come back to judge unbelievers. Those who have asked His forgiveness and live a new life do not have to worry about judgment or the wrath that will be poured out on the people and nations who mock Him.

A lion is a fearful and terrible animal that rules it’s kingdom as the supreme ruler. It fears nothing. I once was face to face with a cougar, so close I could have kicked it in the nose. Instead of being afraid I could only think that I was glad it wasn’t an Alaskan brown bear. Meeting an African lion face to face would mean certain death. I believe a male lion is one of God’s most beautiful creations in the animal kingdom; flowing dark mane, rippling muscles and a roar that proclaims his supremacy.

Jesus will come back with a mighty roar and everyone will proclaim his Holiness. But for some it will be too late. For us who believe we wait in great expectation for that day. At the rate prophesies are being fulfilled that hour could be very near. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior, the Lamb of God for your soul, please do it today. He is waiting and is ready to forgive you completely. Sins gone and forgotten. Then Jesus will be your Lion of Judah.

Friday, April 3, 2009

No Fooling

God pulled an April fool’s joke on us yesterday by giving us a blanket of snow and it is still snowing this morning. Yes, global warming is very bad in north Idaho. I saw robins with coats on today.

My dear wife pulled an April fool’s joke on me when we were in college. We had only dated about a month and a half so Ardella caught me unaware that she would pull a prank on me. I had a report paper due in a class where the teacher had no sense of humor and it was a required subject so I was trying to bear through the boredom. The paper was to have a title page followed by three typed pages. Ardella volunteered to type it up as I typed at thirty five words a minute and she did one hundred and twenty. The paper was due April 1 so I met her outside the school just before my class to get the report.
As Ardella handed it to me I could see it wasn’t three pages and then to my horror it had mud all over the front page. She said that she had just dropped it in the mud. I slowly opened it up to read in big letters, April fool! Then with a big grin she handed me the real report.

Some events took place this week that I was hoping were April fool’s jokes but unfortunately they were not. The first one is our Secretary of Treasury told congress that he was opposed to the one world currency being proposed by Russia and China. Less than twenty four hours later he spoke at a news conference where he said it might be best to evolve into that system. I’m wondering why he told a lie to congress. Next is the appointment of Harold Koh to be the top legal advisor at the State Department. Mr. Koh believes we should be obligated to international law rather than those set up in the Constitution. So we would have the rest of the world deciding if we can own firearms, how to raise our children, and be subject to their pagan morals. Congress should not confirm him and send a message to the President to leave the Constitution alone. Then in Kansas an abortion doctor was acquitted on sixteen charges brought against him for practices not acceptable under Kansas law and those laws a very liberal.

There is hope in all this and that is God’s prophesies are being fulfilled quickly. Israel has a new prime minister that could really irritate the Arab world and Iran’s nuclear ambitions may be targeted for destruction soon. I believe something significant will happen yet this year between those two countries. The Bible says God will destroy Israel’s enemies and the whole world will know he is God. It will be spectacular! I don’t think our nation plays a part of importance in the end times. But there is hope and joy for those who believe in Jesus. Do you believe?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Children

Our granddaughters came over and stayed yesterday so our house was filled with laughter and shouts of glee. They never cease to amaze us with their questions and how they look at life. Of course, Grandpa likes it when they turn their attention to the birds in our yard and ask questions. We spent some time watching out the window at the songbirds hopping around the front yard looking for food. The deer seemed to know they were here so they came in very early and entertained the girls. More questions were asked about the deer family with the girls especially concerned about the babies.

Our world would be better if we had the same view of life as children. When Jesus rebuked the disciples about letting the children come to him, I believe Jesus was talking about all children for all time as they face death and suffering at the hands of adults. Many cultures have practiced child sacrifice and unfortunately we still do. It is called abortion. Abortion isn’t any different than the hideous child sacrifices practiced since the beginning of time. Children are innocent whether they are born or unborn. They are living breathing humans that respond to pain.

Some friends of ours recently had their first child that was born with bruised big toes. The doctor concluded that little Jake had sucked on his toes while in his mother’s womb. I wish I could be that limber, not to suck on my toes but just to be able to bend like that. Jake, Mom, and Dad are doing good and he is experiencing lots of love. That is the way God intended life to be.

Our new President seems on a mission to liberalize abortion and destroy the lives of millions of innocent children. The government has not only replaced God, they are mocking Him and coming up with their own sets of truth to satisfy their pagan desires. Our founding fathers warned us that government should always seek God’s guidance and keep Jesus Christ in the fore front of our country’s foundation. We instead have chosen a path of self destruction which will result in God’s judgment and wrath poured out on us. I believe God shaking our financial institutions was just a wake up call but I think most Americans missed it.
Pray for the little children everywhere and pray that our nation comes back to God.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is in the Air

It has been a long winter in north Idaho and residents are looking forward to spring. Well, today is the first day of spring on the calendar and feels like it has arrived. I noticed a difference this morning when I fed the llamas as the air was warmer. Just a week ago we were experiencing record low temperatures and have had snow nearly everyday. But today the sun came out and the temperature hit sixty degrees. The snow finally started to melt.

I also saw something that is a sure sign of spring; swallows sailing through the air in search of insects. When we see them it shows God’s promise of spring. The western towhees are arriving and so are more robins. Our mother squirrels seem to be close to having babies. The wild hen mallard has returned with a drake and eats corn every evening as she has done for years. Now if I can only convince the thirty deer to leave before they devour the new emerging flowers. The other evening some of them were playing tag in our neighbor’s field chasing each other back and forth. It was great to see they felt good after months of snow.

God orchestrates the seasons in perfect harmony and nature responds to it in obedience to him. The birds and animals prepare for their young as God plants a season of plenty for them. They respond to the orders of the Creator. Why can’t we have the faith the birds and animals have in God?

God gave us a choice in life and often we mess things up. We messed things up so much that God had to send his son to die for our sins. Even then many people reject Jesus as their savoir. Being saved from our sins is a free gift; all it requires is our confession. Many people are too proud to ask forgiveness and unfortunately others feel they are not worthy. We are all made worthy through the blood of Jesus. If you haven’t asked God for forgiveness now would be a perfect time. You will have a clean slate; all your mistakes will be forgotten. It is like a breath of spring air in your soul!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Real Stimulus Package

The world economies turned upside down recently and now all we hear from our government is about how we will all be saved by the stimulus package. I’m not a financial guru but how do you tax yourself into prosperity? Small businesses are the backbone of our economy yet our government wants more tax dollars all the time. If they really wanted to create a healthy economic environment they would free up useless regulations and taxes so small businesses could prosper.

We could save millions if our elected officials in Washington lived like we do. I would like them to take a huge pay cut and provide for their own health insurance. Traveling at our expense should be cut off. Taking money from outside interest should be punishable by prison. The American people should be outraged by how corrupt our elected officials have become. They have forgotten how our founding fathers wanted a government based on the moral law of the Bible. Also forgotten is the importance our first leaders placed on their belief in Jesus Christ. You will never hear that in school.

So what kind of stimulus package does this country need? It needs one based on the authority of Jesus Christ. We need to put him first in all things. What do you think would happen if this country; every man, woman, and child got down on their knees at the same time and prayed to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says he would hear our prayers and save us. Why don’t we believe that?

Instead of believing in Wall Street we need to believe in the God of creation. Instead of the government being our savoir we should put that trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible should be our law book. Life would go easier.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Puppy Love

Everybody loves a puppy. When Sadie was a few month’s old we went shopping in Spokane. I sat outside the mall with Sadie while Ardella shopped. Many people came by and wanted to pet the puppy. I would guess if I was the only one setting on the bench their reaction would have been different.

Last week Lizzie and Hannah stayed at our house while their mom and cousin went to Libby, Montana to get a new puppy. They didn’t know anything about it. On their way home Jolene called and we could hear some yipping over the phone. We asked Lizzie what that noise was and she stared at the phone and said, “It sounds like a puppy.” We told her that was her and Hannah’s new dog. We could tell she couldn’t believe it. Later they sent a photo of Rosie and then the girls realized they had a new dog. Jolene and Gary arrived with a little ball of fur with big feet and the girls were overjoyed. Rosie won’t be small very long as she is a cross between a golden retriever and a Newfoundland. Jolene is not getting much sleep trying to train the little girl.

Our relationship to God is similar to a puppy. We make messes, don’t listen, and generally seem like we will never learn. God is patient with us and wants to be a loving Father. He forgives all our short comings and sins in a blink of an eye. God wants to scoop us up in his arms and comfort us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dream Big

These are fish our Granddaughters caught at the Sport Expo.

Have you ever had a dream to do something and wondered how it could ever occur? I want to tell you about one of mine that was fulfilled beyond expectations. About five years I could envision a family based sports show put on by Christians at our fairgrounds. I had no idea how to get it launched into reality. What I didn’t know was a guy named Dave Lotze who had moved to this area also had the same dream. Dave and I kept the dream alive in our hearts knowing God would bless it at His timing. About two years ago God wove our paths to cross and we found out that we both held the same passions for outdoor based ministry plus having the vision of a sport fair.

God then moved to pull men from different churches in the Sandpoint area to work and pray together. The past year has been awesome! Men became excited to reach out to families in new ways. Last summer about thirty cords of firewood was cut and stacked for needy families. God created a new era in Sandpoint with men from different churches praying together; walls of religion fell and Christ was exalted in a new spirit of unity. A core group of men began to meet to plan and pray about a sport expo. The Lord honored those prayers and things began to fall in place. We still knew the task before us was huge. Were there obstacles? Yes, there were many but God removed them all and opened up doors for the show to move forward.

Saturday morning, Dave and I were like two kids on Christmas morning, eager with anticipation. I hardly slept the night before. Over sixty vendor booths lined the main building representing north Idaho outdoor sports. We had hunting, fishing, boating, horse packing, archery, all terrain vehicles, snowboarding, sled dogs, artwork, outdoor photography, and several more outdoor areas represented. There were seminars on hunting, fishing, and GPS use. Nationally known Archery Hall of Fame Larry Jones spoke and had a booth. A twelve foot fish pond was filled with nearly seven hundred lively trout, some up to seven pounds. The fish pond was the center of attraction for the show as youngsters pulled in trout with shouts of glee. A photo shop was set up so they could get their pictures printed on a cover of Field and Stream Magazine to take home.

The show was started with a prayer and the national anthem rang out as I had never heard before from a woman healed by God from cancer. Her name is Pamela and many people’s lives were blessed by her story this weekend. The Sunday morning service brought a real life message about using a bow to hit a target and our relation to God. Our Cowboy church played the music. God is amazing!

Through a simple sport show we were able to show that Christians can work together to impact their community. A portion of the profits will go to Love Inc. which is a faith based local charity that helps needy families. As men, we grew a little in our walk with God and are anxious to do it again next year.

I thank God for letting me dream big!