My son-in-law Thomas who is from Liberia became an official flag waving citizen of the United States today. He and Sherri drove up to Portland and he took a test which he passed because he has been studying for it for about 5 months, and then they had a swearing in event and now he is an American. Whoooeeeee. He was nervous before the test but I knew that it would be a piece of cake for him as much as he has studied for it. Most of you know that he had a farming accident two years ago and broke his neck and now he is paralyzed and in a wheel chair. That is a major trial in life for sure, but it doesn’t have to be the end of dreams and goals, just changes course a bit. He has checked that goal off of the list and now he moves on to the next one of getting a good education and figuring out how to use it in meaningful ministry. So many people get discouraged because of difficult events that happen to them and quit dreaming and go into a “coast mode” of living life. That is when someone has the predominate attitude of “I won’t dream or set goals because something might happen to block them from happening so it is safer to just let life come to you”. That is a boring way to live life even if it is “safe”. It is also a guarantee that there will be no significant fruit come from that life lived I can’t think of anything worse then getting to the end of our life and there be nothing to show for it.
It was so hot today and it is supposed to be way hotter tomorrow!! I suppose it has been but I can’t remember a summer where it has been this hot for this long. I suppose this is what is called global warming. Politicians and others who are supposed to know the reasons and answers to such things say that it is man caused. When I was a kid we burned car tires, and now look what has happened!! I was curious about this today as I was cooking in the heat so tonight I got out my handy dandy Bible program that is on my IPad and typed in words like “hot”, “warm”, “scorched” etc and found dozens of verses like Deuteronomy 28:22 that said in part “the Lord will smite you….with fiery heat”. Huh, could it be possible that global warming is God caused. Why would He do such a thing? Many of the passages had statements like, ” I will smite them because they have forgotten me”, ” because they have sinned against me”, “Because they have turned from following me”. And then there was those passages that contained these sad words, “but they refused to repent of their sins”, ” they continued to turn from God”. I wonder if this is just a one year thing and next year will be rainy and cool all summer or if it will be even hotter next summer. If it is indeed God caused one thing for sure is that we aren’t going to fix it except by turning back to God and obeying Him, but that is not likely to happen. I wonder if it is hotter next year if very many will entertain the thought that it could be God caused, and that there is a reason. Just wondering. I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens.
on the wall right next to my recliner is a big clock and all around it are pictures of our eight kids their spouses and our grandkids, 37 in all. Each evening as I sit here praying I start with those on the wall, praying for each one by name that God will bless, protect, guide, and use for His glory. I also include Patty and my Mom in this super important group. I then go to my prayer journal and pray for about a quarter of those associated with JBC, regular attenders, recent visitors, staff, key leaders as well as the JBC player letter. I make it to everyone each week. I also pray for the missionaries that we support. Then I read through the recent entries in Facebook praying for many as I read about their lives, struggles, and trials. It seems like the more I pray that the stronger my faith grows that I am making a huge difference as I intercede for people that God will work powerfully in their lives, and the stronger my faith grows so does the power of my prayers with God. I am a goal setter,a to do list maker, a keep track of everything kind of person who loves to work hard and be doing something most of the time so sitting in my recliner for hours at a time barely moving interceding for people was a huge struggle for me for years even when I was doing seminars on prayer. But now I don’t have the energy I used to have, I ache a lot, sitting down and resting is so nice. As we live life we go through stages and chapters. I am enjoying this chapter I am in now, and I feel more powerful than I have ever felt in my life knowing without a doubt that God hears my prayers and answers them.
I was doing some building in our backyard for our grandkids today. In fact we had about 6 of them here and they were helping me with the promise of a big payday for each of them. They don’t know anything about minimum wage so they are pretty excited about a couple of bucks each. We were putting up treated 2×6 borders with big wood chips and 3/4 inch gravel inside of the borders as play areas. It turned out very nice if I do say so myself. While I was screwing a screw through the treated 2×6 boards into long wooden stakes that I had driven into the ground the cordless drill I was using slipped off the head of the screw and the bit that I was using went through my thumb. Whoooooeeeeee that hurt like the dickens. I normally would have said crap with great emphasis, but being aware of all the grandkids around I didn’t say anything. I pulled the bit out of my thumb and wrapped it with the tail of my t-shirt that I was wearing and yelled at Patty to come help me. She poured hydrogen peroxide on it on the top of my thumb and the foam came out the bottom. She put a bunch of band aids on it, told me how tough I was and sent me back out to finish the project. We did get it done and it looks super nice. The grandkids will love it, and there is some of my blood on the boards. It is interesting to me how powerful the desire to be a good model to my grandkids is and how effective that desire is to give me motivation and strength to be super good around them. I want my life to be a powerful influencer on people around me all day long, every day so that they will want to follow Jesus.
God is omnipresent, He is everywhere, considering the size of the universe God is very big. In light of that, there is a Bible verse that I have memorized and I meditate on it several times each day, it is Matthew 10:28-29 where Jesus says, “are not two sparrows sold for a cent and yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Heavenly Father. Also the very hairs of your head are all numbered by God. So don’t worry about things in life, you are worth much more to God than many sparrows”. God knows everything, is every place, and yet he knows me in great detail and I am worth much to Him, very much. I want to believe that to the core of my soul, I want to understand it completely, and I want to live and think always in light of the truth in it. Occasionally I begin to fret a bit about things I can’t control, when I do I choose to pull this verse out of my memory and think deeply about it over and over until it controls my thinking totally and then I have great peace.
A group of 31 of us headed up Mt Adams, (elevation 12,270 ft) this morning at 5 am. It was cold when we started and by the time we had hiked for two hours it was very cold with very strong winds of 40 miles per hour with snow and sleet. The cloud cover was so thick that you couldn’t see more than a dozen feet. We got to the 8300 foot level and hunkered down behind a pile of rocks to get out of the wind, eat a bite, and warm up a bit. Most decided to push on up some more and a few decided to head back down because of the cold believing it was just going to get worse. I was among the group heading back down. The ones who headed up made it to the 11,000 foot level and headed back down. Every one made it back down to the trailhead where our rigs were parked but we were one climber short. Nobody knew where he was as we talked about the last place we had all seen him. On his way back down the mountain he got a bit disoriented and missed the trail that led back to where we all were. He walked 4 or 5 miles past where we were at the cars. Eventually he came out on the road the led up to where we were, and a car came along and picked him up and delivered him to us. In the meantime we had sent 4 of our fastest climbers back up the mountain looking for him and when he showed up we were able to contact the 4 rescuers from our group with a radio that the lost had been found!! We arrived home late and very tired but it was an adventure packed day in spite of not making it to the summit. Next year!!
I got a very big hardcover Cabella’s Fall catalog in the mail today complete with tabs for all the major areas of sporting goods. Because it was the Fall edition it majored on hunting and camping supplies. It totally messed up my schedule that I so carefully thought out this morning and wrote down for the day. After all it takes a couple hours to do justice to such a fine piece of literature. Besides the time that was used up diligently looking through the catalog I found at least a dozen things that I can’t possibly do without if I am going to have a totally succesful hunt and camping experience this Fall. The price tag on those indispensable items is going to make my wife cry or maybe get a little irritated or maybe a lot. Our anniversary is coming up in a month, I wonder what she would think if I got some for anniversary presents! Just kidding, really! In the New Testament Paul said that Godliness with contentment was great gain. I doubt he ever read through a Cabella’s catalog! Paul also said that coveteousness was the same as being an idolater. Whoooeeee, they stoned people in the Old Testament for that sin. Well, I guess I better throw my Cabella’s catalog in the recycle bin before I start sinning to much more. I wonder if there is a support group for Cabella’s catalog addicts?
The book of Proverbs makes a really big deal out of being a wisdom seeker. It also says that of all the things that we can seek, wisdom is the most valuable. When we have wisdom we will have a good marriage, we will raise good kids, we will be financially secure, we will accomplish a lot with our life, we will have good relationships. The major key to growing rapidly in wisdom is to be teachable. Seems like an easy thing to be, but my observation of people over the years as a pastor is that there are very few really teachable people. The reason is our pride. Pride is almost like this independent being or force inside of us that controls our thinking, words, attitudes, and responses to people. This force that has grown very strong inside of us at a very young age has as its goal to project an image of a perfect self. Attentively listening to, and learning from advice, correction, counsel, and reproof is very hard to do with this force constantly working against it. We have to choose as an act of our will to be seekers of wisdom and very teachable from others especially those unsolicited incounters with people who see us do things and then give advice or correction through out the day. Only very aggressive wisdom seekers will respond with a humble, teachable spirit in those situations. The choosing to be a humble, teachable, wisdom seeker should be an every morning commitment. If we keep making the commitment every morning, pretty soon we start to move gradually in the direction of actually being that kind of person. Pride inside of us is an awefull thing. We must conquor and overcome it.
I am going to pedal my exercise bike for an hour every night this week and also I am going to do 15 squats each night with a bunch of weight on the bar. One reason is that I gained 4 lbs on the salmon fishing trip to the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska and I want to lose it quick, and the second reason is that I am climbing Mt Adams on Saturday and I want my leg muscles toned up for the grind up that 12,700 ft mountain. I am still in pretty good shape from my bicycle trip to Portland, Maine and I have ridden the exercise bike regularly and often since then so I think I am going to make it to the top. I have climbed Mt Adams a number of times over the years, and my observation is that making it to the top is mostly mental rather than physical. Climbing Mt Adams is a choice, but many major challenges that come into our life are like climbing a mountain but we didn’t choose them, they just showed up in our life. Some people conquor the mountains that come into their lives, but most do not, they quit. Just like climbing Mt Adams these major life trials are overcome mostly by the way we think. The way we think when we hit the very steep grade at the 10,000 foot level up to the false summit is what determines whether we make it to the top or quit. Our flesh that is programmed from birth for comfort starts screaming at us in our thoughts as we hit the grind at the 10,000 foot mark. I decide before I start climbing what I am going to choose to think when my flesh starts complaining and whining. “I can make it to the top of this Mountain as long as I don’t quit, just one step in front of another, it won’t be long now and I will enjoy the great feeling of being an overcomer, you can do it Duke, one more step, one more step, be a winner, it will feel so good being on the top knowing I made it.”
I am sorry that I have not written my blog for a few days. I was out fishing in the Kenai in my waders in water up to my waist and I hooked a sockeye salmon. In the process of fighting him and inching my over to the bank where my net was I tripped over a rock and fell in. I lost the fish, got soaking wet, and my IPhone that was in my coat pocket got wet and quit working, and that is what I was doing my blogs on. I just got home a couple of hours ago and I am getting caught up on chores around the house, reading, and writing this blog. The run finally came in and we had one day of hot fishing. We came home with about 40 lbs of sockeye fillets each, which is about 30 lbs less then last year, but we had a great time fishing and falling in the water anyway 😄 We are already making plans for next years trip. The best part of the trip for me was having my grandson Josiah along. Sometimes 14 year old boys are kind of wimpy when it comes to getting up at 2 am and being on the river 16 hours a day fishing hard with few fish to show for it, but Josiah was a trooper and never grumbled or complained once about being tired or bored. He fit in well with the other 9 men on the trip and acted like a mature adult instead of a like a silly kid. He made my grandpa heart proud. One of my character goals for the trip that I wrote out before we left was to act happy all the time even when we only had a couple hours of sleep because of fishing late and getting up early, not catching a lot of fish, and the normal stuff that happens between 10 men living together in a little cabin for a week. I think I did alright, way better than previous years for sure even if not perfect. I discovered that when I worked hard at acting happy, that I felt happy, I felt better physically, and I had more energy. That discovery, if I don’t soon forget it was worth the trip even if I had caught zero fish.