Friday, January 30, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Winter can be the time when doom and gloom creep into our lives with the short daylight hours. The everyday events of the world don’t help either. It helps me to just get outside and enjoy the sights of winter. I got to thinking of the blessings God has given me and that definitely cheered me up.

I am blessed because:
God has given me a great wife and family
I have a wonderful view out our front window of trees and mountain.
We have over twenty deer visiting our yard every day.
I have a loyal golden retriever.
I can look in the backyard and see squirrels running around.
I have a band of brothers to support me.
I have a home.
I can go ice fishing.
I was able to experience wild Alaska for five falls.
I have heard the music of bull elk.
I have spent many evenings around a campfire.
I have encountered a grizzly bear at fifty feet and a cougar at less than two feet.
I have seen wobbly newborn calf moose and little furball black bears.
I have seen robins this week.
God healed me of a virus last summer.
Most of all- God loves me unconditionally.

Go ahead and count your blessings, it will brighten up your day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wind On Ice

Since work has slowed down I am enjoying a favorite winter pursuit- ice fishing for perch. The bays of Lake Pend Orielle have about ten inches of good ice so we should have fishing for a while. I like ice fishing because it is simple; a sharp auger, some short poles and jigs are all you need to catch huge perch. I haven’t found them biting crazy yet but I have brought home several meals this week. There can be times when fifty or more perch will be caught as fast as you can pull them in. This year I have pulled up many perch nearly fourteen inches long.

One of the reasons I like ice fishing is hearing the ice talk as the wind blows across the surface and causes the ice to expand. The ice will groan, ping, and crack as the wind works on it. The loud snap of ice expanding can make you jump when it zings past as cracks travel at lightning speed across the frozen expanse. Sadie was with me the other day when the ice was very active and I laughed as she would look down the drilled hole to see what was causing all the noise.

Wind on the ice is similar to the Holy Spirit working on us. The Holy Spirit is often referred to wind in the Bible. You can’t see the wind but we all feel its affects. We have no control over the wind. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has the ability to move over us and change our hearts completely. We are energized by the Spirit for God’s will. This is a hard truth for people to grasp as we want to be in control.

Our prayer should be for The Holy Spirit to mold us, move us, and energize our hearts to new service. We can change this world if the spirit is working in us. The disciples went from lowly Galilean fishermen in hiding to bold warriors of Good News for Christ when the Holy Spirit descended on them. Even death couldn’t stop their message. You can not stop the Wind.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nothing But the Truth

Fisherman and hunters have been known to stretch the truth a little. A four pound bass is soon a six pounder. Hunters are no better, especially with the ones that get away. A buck quickly grows to record book qualifications. I have seen some of those old mossy horned bucks that rattle my mine later. Was that buck really as big as it appeared? I missed a huge buck a few years ago and I can still see him clearly in my mind and as I replay the brain tapes he is still the biggest antlered buck I have ever seen.

People are prone to stretch the truth; often called little white lies. A little embellishment leads us down a slippery path that soon tosses truth out the window. Satan is a master at telling us a little lie won’t hurt. Who is going to know? The world has rejected the truth for lies. It is easier to operate that way. Too many Americans really do not know truth. There is a great twelve part series by Del Taggert called the Truth Project that digs into what is truth. I recommend everyone to see it; you will see truth in a different light.

When Pilate asked Jesus what his purpose was, Jesus replied, “I came to testify to the Truth.” Pilate then asked, “What is Truth?” Pilate didn’t know, neither did the ruling Jewish leaders. Even the disciples had wrestled with the truth. Eleven of them would go on and stake their lives on the truth, most would die for it.

So what is truth? Jesus is the only truth ever to live on this earth, no one else has even come close. He is God and all truth comes from the Father. God encompasses all light, love, and truth. He designed them just for us in a relationship. Jesus is waiting to reveal his truth to us if we let him. Give it a try.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Press On

There were times when getting the client a trophy was extremely difficult. Weather was a big factor in hunting success as storms would roll in from the Bering Sea and pound us for days. Then there were weeks when even in good weather we could not find a caribou; it seemed they had disappeared from the earth. We would persist and press on hard to see the clients had a chance at a good trophy. Most of the time the extra effort paid off.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians about pressing on toward the goal to win the prize. Paul was in a Roman prison yet you would never know it by this letter. He didn’t have an exercise area or three meals a day; it was probably an underground rat infested dungeon.

What was the prize Paul was writing about? He was referring to his citizenship in Heaven through the sacrifice Jesus did on the cross. Even a Roman prison could not hold Paul back from praising God. Remember Paul was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee who had helped put Christians to death until he met Jesus face to face on the road to Damascus. Paul knew his life in prison was temporary and he would soon reside with the King of the universe.

What is your prize that you work hard about pressing on? For some it is financial gain or climbing the ladder of a vocation. Most of us spend our energy pursuing earthly goals and very little time looking eternally. Take some time this week and think about what is really important in life. Paul knew the prize was eternal life through Jesus; my prayer is that you do too.