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?