Monthly Archives: August 2020

Roscoe’s first Day

Roscoe’s first day at the Duke house has been successful. All the grandkids love him, and he has managed well all of the hugs, being hauled around by all the different kids, drug around by his leash, and already being taught a host of ”tricks.”

One of my Pastor friends saw the first picture of him and said, ”whoooeeeeee the Fishman, hunter, mountain climbing Dee Duke has got himself a ”chick dog”! So I was encouraged when Roscoe got to fighting with Sam’s family’s dog who is much bigger than Roscoe, and when I came into our room tonight he growled me at me. I am hoping that the Jack Russel temperament comes out stronger than the poodle. The goal of those who came up with this cross of a Jack Russel Terrier and a Poodle was to have the best of both breeds in temperament. I would say it like this, ”Tough but Nice.”

That is interesting, because I think that is Jesus’s goal for us, ”tough but nice.” Tough in that we manage the pressures of life well, we carry responsibility faithfully, we don’t get anxious or uptight about COVID or anything else life brings us, we don’t grumble or complain about anything but rejoice always, and we never quit.

Nice in that we always speak words of grace to everyone no matter how grumpy or rude they might be to us, we forgive anybody of anything quickly because Jesus has forgiven us, we look for opportunities to help people and meet needs in their life even if we don’t like them, and we never gossip or slander anyone, not even Kate Brown.

I am pretty sure I got me a good dog, ”tough but nice.”

I got me a dog

I am writing this in the waiting room at the Philadelphia International Airport at 3:30 in the morning. At my feet I have a little puppy dog that I just bought from a family in New Jersey.

My favorite dog of all time was ”Russel,” a Jack Russel Terrier. I had him for 14 years before he died, and he was a great dog. I got a second one, and even gave him the same name, but he wasn’t the same. His Jack Russel temperament made him hated by almost everyone in my family, and when he was run over by a car while chasing a cat everyone celebrated. Our son Sam and his family recently got a new dog that is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle. It is a very nice dog, and while I was commenting on his temperament Sam mentioned that they are crossing Jack Russels with Poodles, calling them Jackapoo’s. I was intrigued and started doing research on the ”breed” and the availability of them. I discovered that they must be popular because they were selling them for $2,000 to $3,000. I kept looking and found this one for $500, but in New Jersey. I recently had to cancel an airplane flight to Alaska because of the CORONA thing and they gave me a credit instead of a refund. I needed to use it in the next 3 months or I was going to lose it, so that is why I am sitting in an airport in Philadelphia. So I am the proud owner of a Jackapoo! I thought about calling him Russel III, but am going with Roscoe instead.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep IV

The Bible actually has a lot to say about sleep, but not much about the importance of getting enough but there many warnings about sleeping to much.

Proverbs 6:9-11 How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 19:15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.

Proverbs 20:13 Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

Proverbs 24:33-34 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,”
Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.

One of the facts of life is that if I sleep too much, I won’t fall asleep, quickly and I will wake up often. So if I don’t sleep well I choose to sleep less. Someone came up with the rule that we needed 8 hours of sleep. I can lay in bed for 8 hours but I can’t sleep for 8 hours. I will toss and turn and sleep in fits. If I sleep for 6 hours, I go right to sleep, and I don’t wake up, and I wake up rested. I know everyone is different in their sleep needs, and my point is to discover what the minimum amount of sleep is that you need and don’t sleep more than that.

It is also very beneficial to go to sleep, and wake up at the same time most days. Our body likes routine.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep III

I bought a tree stand for this upcoming archery season and set it up in the tree in front of our house. When I got home from church Sunday I climbed up and sat in it to test it out, and I promptly fell asleep and my daughter Sally took this little video of me sleeping 20 feet off of the ground in my tree stand.

The point is I can fall asleep easily, just about any place, at just about anytime. My first principle of sleeping well was prayer. Choose to be a faithful person of prayer but especially when you lay down to sleep. The gift God promises to us when we pray is peace, and people with a peace so great it is incomprehensible sleep well. Here are a few of my memory verses that I often meditate on when I lay down on my bed or in my recliner.

Psalms 3:3-6 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.

And my second principle is meditate on Bible verses you have memorized well. The power of God’s Word will free you up from the fretful, bitter, angry, anxious thoughts that the devil and his demons plant into our minds and thoughts that keep us from falling asleep.

The third principle is to establish a regular time and routine of exercise into your life. About 6 years ago I started riding a stationary bicycle for an hour almost every day of the week. A stationary bike is super because I can read while I ride, getting two things done at once. A bicycle is low impact and maintains a regular and steady heart rate. I ride with enough resistance and speed to keep my heart rate at 120 bpm for one hour. I have discovered that an hour is magic, that is I didn’t notice a lot of difference until I started riding an hour each day. I am not sure of all that happens inside my body when I ride an hour a day, but I do know that I feel 100 (not scientific) times better when I do. One of the benefits is that I sleep well, I fall asleep quickly, sleep sound and rarely wake up for at least 6 hours. A lot of people have made goals to exercise and haven’t done it. The reason is obvious, exercise is work and we all are naturally lazy. It takes some serious effort, accountability, and planning to become a person who regularly exercises, but the rewards and benefits are 100 times worth it.

A Dozen Daily Disciplines

Several people asked me what my dozen daily disciplines are.

1. Read the Bible. I read approximately 30 to 40 minutes each day from the Bible. 2 chapters each day from the Old Testament not including Psalms and Proverbs. 1 chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. 5 chapters each day in Psalms, there are 150 chapters in Psalms so I read it through each month. 2 chapters each day in the gospels, Acts, and Revelation. 4 chapters each day in Romans through Jude.

2. Work at memorizing the Bible and reviewing verses already memorized. I spend 30 minutes each day on this discipline.

3. Spend 30 minutes in prayer by myself each day. This doesn’t count the many times during the day that I pray for what I see and encounter.

4. Pray my personal prayer of commitment each morning. This is not part of my 30 minutes of private prayer and takes about 5 minutes.

5. Pray with Patty.

6. Write in my journal which includes self-examination and confession of any known sin along with a written prayer for wisdom, strength, opportunity, and holiness. This usually takes about 15 minutes.

7. Write my blog, which usually takes about an hour of thought and writing.

8. Ride my stationary bicycle for one hour. While riding the bike I do my Bible reading and book reading.

9. Read 20 pages in good books in a variety of subjects.

10. Read my goals and do some writing on strategy for accomplishing them. I started the year with 71 goals and now have 50 left.

11. Write a ”to do” list for the next day, and review accomplishments of that day.

12. Record how I spent my time for the day under preassigned areas.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep II

A lot of people during these weird times are struggling with insomnia or having trouble falling asleep at night when they go to bed. I used to have that problem, but now I have several disciplines that have made that problem a thing of the past. In yesterday’s blog I talked about praying and how powerful prayer is to replace anxiety with peace resulting in a very restful sleep.

A second discipline that works as well is meditating on memorized Bible verses or passages. I started this as a result of a seminar that I went to several years ago. The seminar was on “Spiritual Warfare”, the trouble and problems that the devil and his demons are able to bring into our life, and how to overcome them. The devil and his demons primarily work in our life by talking to us. They are spirit beings so we can’t see them, but they are there, all around us, probably most of the time. They talk to us and we hear them subliminally in the form of thoughts. Because we can’t see them we rarely associate various thoughts that pop into our minds as coming from outside our own mind. Have you ever tried to fall asleep while your wife is talking to you, it isn’t easy to do. How about if a bunch of demons are talking to you, and for sure the content would not be “warm fuzzies”. They know how your day has gone, and what the issues are in your life. Their methods are to introduce things into our thinking that are not true and will cause anxiety in our life. The devil tempted Jesus by talking to Him, “If you are the Son of God turn these stones into bread”. Jesus didn’t debate with the devil; He simply quoted Bible verses that He had obviously memorized, and after several more attempts to harass and tempt Him the devil “left Him”. The speaker in the seminar said these words that stuck with me, “If it worked for Jesus it most certainly will work for us, but the problem is that we don’t have very many Bible verses memorized well enough to meditate on for very long as we close eyes to go to sleep”. I have over 500 verses memorized well and I can pull them up in my thoughts and meditate on them, mull them over in my thinking, pondering how to apply them to my life. Whenever anxious thoughts, angry thoughts, bitter thoughts, or fearful thoughts pop into my mind as I close my eyes to go to sleep, I know the source of them and I start in on “scripture meditation”. It works well, it doesn’t take long before I am sound asleep.

How to Get a Good Nights Sleep

Falling asleep at night used to be a major challenge for me. I would lie awake and think about all the things I should have done or that I shouldn’t have done, about the things that were going to happen the next day or that I hoped would happen or hoped wouldn’t happen. I felt so frustrated lying there fretting, knowing that I was going to wake up tired instead of refreshed, and not knowing how to fix the problem.

In 1989 I had a major spiritual awakening in my life at an event held at the Oregon coast called ”Pastor’s Prayer Summit.” As a result of that four day event prayer became the highest priority of my life. I made some very lofty goals in regards to the amount of time that I was going to spend praying primarily for the people in my church. One of the things that would frustrate me was that I would fall asleep while I was praying. It made me feel like a lazy disciple of Jesus. One day I got to thinking about why prayer made me sleepy, was it boring? As I continued to ponder this for several weeks I concluded that when I prayed I relaxed, that when I prayed a peace sort of invaded my thoughts, and the result was I fell asleep. David Brainard, a missionary to the American Indians during the early years of our country was a very committed prayer warrior, and he said, ”the sweetest and most refreshing sleep is that induced by the peace that comes from prayer”. So I started praying when I went to bed. One of the problems with praying in bed is that with no list to pray from your mind will wander, and you will be right back to fretting as before.

What works for me is to memorize several lists of things to pray for and to review the list each time my mind wanders. The easiest list to memorize and to pray for was our kids, their spouses, and our grandchildren. I can lay down and start with Sarah our oldest and all her family, then move to Sandee until I have prayed for all 42 of them, 43 counting Patty. I also have the staff and their families memorized, and the Elders as well. I never get through any one of the lists and I am dead asleep. The biggest challenge I have is trying to remember where I left off the next night.

Aging, Putting on the Brakes

I have a goal of having 700 Bible verses memorized by the end of 2020. I just finished memorizing the book of Philippians which has 4 chapters and 105 verses. I also have a goal of reviewing 100 of the verses that I already have memorized each day. A key reason is the Bible is the Word of God, the mind of Christ, the wisdom of God, the will of God, and it is living, active, supernatural, and guides me into the perfect will of God in my life. Another motive for my memorizing is to keep any dementia and any form of Alzheimer’s at bay, and to keep my mind as sharp as possible. I forget things so easy now, and sometimes find my mind just revolving around and around on some ridiculous subject for no apparent reason. I also read 20 pages every day, without fail, again to keep my mind sharp. I read theology, Bible, Leadership, current events/politics, how to books on building, welding, auto restoring, fishing, hunting, and bicycle touring. I write for an hour every day, which includes, my blog, sermons, lessons, prayers, letters, and strategies for accomplishing my goals. When I go on a fishing trip or some other trip where I will be so busy with activities that I forgo my mental disciplines for several days in a row I notice very quickly my mind losing it’s ability to focus, remember, and reason. I am then very motivated to get back at the disciplines and routines designed to keep my mind sharp.

I also am continually working at keeping my physical body from getting old and wimpy. I ride a stationary bike an hour a day, lift weights, go on annual bicycle trips of several thousand miles, attempt periodic crazy things like climbing Mt Adams, and run a half marathon. I don’t eat any refined sugar or gluten, and I weigh every day.

More important than my mental and physical health is the health and positive growth of my spirit and soul. The Bible talks about those whose devotion to Jesus Christ gets lukewarm, they fall away, others become worldly and Carmel, loving the world and the things in it more than Christ. Back sliding as a Christian is incredibly easy to let happen, especially when you get old and think you are set.

In order to motivate myself and hold myself accountable I have a list that I read and check off daily of my physical, mental and spiritual disciples. There are 12 of them, and I call them my ” Daily Dozen Disciplines” to success, joy, accomplishment, and perpetual youth.

I didn’t write this blog to impress you with myself, but to try and motivate you to pursue these daily routines so that you continually grow as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. The key is routine, no compromise, discipline, and endurance.

Good Friends

I ran into someone today who is a very good friend. I hadn’t seen him for about a year, and we had a great twenty minutes of conversation. It was one of those encounters that was fun, and refreshing and left me smiling and feeling good. A good friend is more than someone you know well, they are someone who you have a high level of commitment to as a person, their success makes you happy and their trials make you sad. Good friends don’t just happen by living life, they are forged over time with sacrifice, and commitment.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Many men don’t have any real friends, just a lot of buddies. Those who have friends are those who have been a friend to others. We always reap what we sow. I feel very blessed in that I have many, very good friends in my life.

John 15:15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Probably the highest praise that Jesus could give to a person was to call them His friend.

James 2:23 And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.

That is what I would like to be, forever.

Dehumanizing and Demeaning others

Even just ten minutes of looking at pictures of the Nazi concentration camps where Jews were imprisoned during the Second World War is incredibly depressing not only because of the experiences that the Jews went through but also seeing and thinking about the cruelty and what people will do to other people.

The Nazi’s had a plan and strategy in mind as they inflicted incomprehensible cruelty on the Jewish people, and that was to get them to feel less than human.

The Roman invention of crucifixion wasn’t just to inflict pain, but to dehumanize a person in their death. Read the words of Jesus on the cross in Psalms 22:6-7,

”But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men and despised by the people.
All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head,”

When I was a kid, I had a dog, and we took her to the vet to get neutered so that she wouldn’t have puppies and be attracting all the male dogs in the area to our farm. To keep her from licking on her wound and taking the stitches out, the Vet put a plastic cone around her neck. When people saw her, they would laugh, and you could immediately see her head go down, her ears droop, her tail go down between her legs, and she would hide under the bed. Even dogs have a sense of dignity and worth that can get damaged.

When I wear one of these darn masks I feel just like my dog, they are dehumanizing. I personally do not believe that most of what we are being forced to do has anything to do with my health and the prevention of the spread of a killer virus. It is all about controlling people, and one of the principles of controlling people is if you dehumanize them they become like sheep.

I know many who are perfectly comfortable with wearing a mask, and possibly would accuse me of being prideful for the way I feel. I am sure that if they were asked to walk around with no cloths on they would refuse because it would be very embarrassing and thus dehumanizing, and it would be very hard to convince them that their nakedness was somehow protecting their health.

This control of people is being accomplished by the very high level of fear generated by the manipulation of information by the media, and others with a motive. The second way to control people is by the same thing that often controls young people, peer pressure. If everybody is doing it, I guess I will do it too.

I carry a mask with me and I wear it when I am asked to rather than create a scene, but I don’t like it, not because I am being forced to, but because when I wear the dumb thing I feel like a dog that just got neutered.