Monthly Archives: April 2023

Procrastination – Who Me?

I decided that it was time to go for a bicycle ride today in the nice sunshine out on the road with a real bike, and not that stationary thing I have been riding all winter. I got on and headed down the driveway but the left pedal felt funny, and then I remembered the things that went wrong on last year’s bicycle ride from Yorktown, Virginia to home. One of them was that I cross threaded my left pedal into the crank when I bought new pedals that were bigger and had little spikes on them so my shoes would stick better and not slide. As a result I had to have a Helicoil put in the crank so I could thread in the pedal, but the bicycle shop dude put it in crooked so the pedal wobbles as you pedal, not good for riding 70 miles a day for a month. I had forgotten that I was going to fix that this winter. I spent two hours on the internet searching and I finally found a replacement crank, at least I think so. There are so many different sizes and shapes and it is so hard to determine from pictures if it is the right one. When I got a picture I would adjust the size of it so when I laid my old crank on my iPad screen it was the exact same length and then I compared hole sizes and the number of splines. It will be here on Thursday and we leave for Alaska on Saturday. If it is the wrong crank I will need to reorder and put it on during the one day between getting back from Alaska and leaving on our bicycle trip. If that crank is the wrong one I will reorder again and have Patty mail it to me to the next town we will ride through on the bicycle trip and I will put it on during the trip, and if that order is wrong I will pedal with a wobbly pedal and be disgusted with myself every day of the trip for being such a bad procrastinator.

My Dad had a motto that I heard a lot growing up but it doesn’t seem to have stuck with me very well, and that was, “Do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.” If you put it off “what needs to be done” will have babies and you will find that there are now two or three things that need to be done instead of just one.

Do what needs to be done when it needs to be done! Got it! Maybe I got it? we will see, I hope so, anyway! 😩🥺🥵😢☹️

No Fish

I went fishing today with a friend and his son in my boat at Detroit Lake and we caught no fish. We didn’t even have one get-off, not even a little bite, no fish. I was beginning to doubt my fishing skill until we started asking other boaters as they went by us how they were doing and every one of the dozen or so that we asked said, “No fish,”

It is always nice to catch fish when you go fishing, but I determined a number of year’s ago that I was always going to enjoy every fishing trip no matter how many fish or how few fish that I caught. I can enjoy the scenery, the experience, the fellowship, and the relaxation.

It is interesting to note that I can do almost anything if I choose ahead of time how I am going to think, talk and act. Premeditated decision-making about our behavior and response to different situations allows us to think and commit to obeying God and experiencing His power to live righteously.

The Best Hamburgers Ever

Our daughter Sherri lives with us along with her husband Thomas, and their two kids Courage and Praise. They live in the main house and Patty and I live in a little apartment in the back of the house. Meals are kind of a group project with Patty cooking sometimes and Sherri cooking sometimes. Tonight Sherri fried hamburgers and the hamburger meat was very good, Sherri cooked it perfectly, and then on the hamburger were onions, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, avocados, mayonnaise, and the perfect amount of various spices that Africans like. My oh my, the first one was so good that I had a second one. We eat hamburgers a lot in our house so I am not sure why tonight’s were so special, but they were. The problem now is that my expectations have gone up, and I could easily turn into a hamburger snob who is critical, judgmental, and hard to please with average hamburgers cooked by Patty. I know some of you are thinking, “Cook them yourself!” It is too late in life for me to learn to cook, I do cook toast and coffee and I do a pretty good job at both.

One of our biggest problems in our relationship with God is our expectations of Him because of his faithfulness and goodness in the past. We take His provision for us for granted, stop thanking and praising Him for everything and grumble and complain about inconveniences more than we praise Him. The most often given command in the Bible to us is to worship God, praise Him, thank Him for everything.

Thank You Lord for the great hamburgers tonight, and I promise to thank You for all the hamburgers.

I Hate Yellowjackets

In the Bible, the devil is called a lion, and demons are called dogs, and bulls, but if it were up to me I would definitely call them yellow jackets. I am pretty sure that yellow jackets are part of the curse. I don’t believe the devil has the power to create anything, but if he did, I would give him credit for yellow jackets. This time of year they are building nests everywhere, and most of the time they are around places frequented by me so they will see me and sting me. I buy cans of yellow jacket spray, big cans, and keep them in different places, handy to get quickly and spray a nest when I see it. It gives me great joy to totally destroy a nest and all the babies and mommas. I am always on the lookout for them and I try and see where they are flying to and from. This afternoon I some some flying around a rafter on our back deck and I looked closer and sure enough there was a big ole nest so I sprayed them good.

The big advantage that demons have in our life compared with yellow jackets is that we can’t see them so it makes it hard to aggressively attack and drive them away. But the power of prayer is greater against demons than spray against yellow jackets. Psalms 69:4 says that the demons around me are more than the hairs of my head. Jesus taught us to pray “Deliver us from the evil one.” So if there are that number flying around me, talking to me trying to get me to sin, to draw me away from God, to get me to love the world rather than Jesus I better be praying a lot both for myself and for my family and church family.

Anytime I have a negative thought of any kind I assume it is from a demon and I blast him with a prayer to God, often from Psalms.

Psalms 58:6 O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth;
Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.

Psalms 3:7 Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!
For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.

God’s angels can whip a demon any day, but they are sent and commissioned against the kingdom of darkness when we pray, only when we pray, and the more we pray the more that are sent.

Half Way

When I was in high school we used to drive up to Port Angelos, Washington, and fish, it is at the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. It would take my friends and me 4 or 5 hours driving to get there. Logging companies would dump banded truckloads of logs in the ocean, and when they had acres of them they would connect all the log rafts with chains and tow them across the ocean to Japan or China. We would walk out on the logs, jumping from log raft to log raft until we got out to the end which would often be 300 or 400 yards from where they were connected to the dock where we started at. When we got out to the end we would fish for sea bass, ling cod, and other species of bottom fish. We would put the fish in a gunny bag and head back to our rig when the bag was full. Getting from log raft to lag raft was tricky, especially when the tide was going out and pulling the logs apart. We often fell in, and the important thing was not to let loose of the bag of fish or your fishing rod or gear when you went in. The problem that came up often was when you stepped across to another log and it started moving away from the one you were on. Decisiveness was the key, you had to decide whether you were going to stay where you were or jump and if you waited to long to decide your legs would be split apart so much you couldn’t do either so you went into the drink.

I see a lot of people doing that in their faith. They have one foot in the church with Jesus as Lord of their life and one foot in the world. They try to live in both arenas and they can’t, and pretty soon they fall. I know without a doubt that there is a God, He put that inside of me, He put it inside of every person. I am not a dummy, I know how to think and reason, and I know that if there is a God there is a purpose and reason for everything, and that everything points to a very powerful God and a very wise God. Of all the religions in the world the only one that makes sense is the God of the Bible and Christianity.

Therefore the only thing that makes sense is to be 100% committed to serving and living for Jesus Christ. As I have done that and have grown in my relationship with the God of the Bible, my faith and confidence that God is very real, and has a very real plan for my life, has grown stronger and stronger. I have jumped from the world to Jesus as Lord of my life and every day it becomes more real to me. I am going to live forever someplace, and because I am following Jesus as Lord I will live with Him.

There are a lot of people who are being fools, giving lip service to God but living in the world. If Jesus is real, if He is who He says He is, there is only one wise choice, go with Jesus 100%, and don’t wait until it is too late, it is already later than you think it is.

Rejoice Ugh Rejoice

My reading in Psalms yesterday was Psalms 96 through 100.

Psalms 96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;

Psalms 97:12 Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.

Psalms 98:4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

Psalms 99:5 Exalt the Lord our God And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He.

Psalms 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

As Patty and I get older the trials increase exponentially it seems. So we need to make the extra effort to rejoice always, not grumble, or feel sorry for ourselves. I am memorizing these five chapters and meditating on them so I can do as well as she does. She broke or cracked a rib and is in intense pain. It seems almost as painful to watch her in pain as it would be to have the pain. If it were possible I would take all of her pain on myself, but then I would have to work hard at not feeling like a martyr.

God usually doesn’t take away the pain but He does give strength and joy.

Old Man with Lots of Sap

One of my daily disciplines is to read and pray through five chapters in Psalms. There are 150 chapters so I get through it each month. I multiply the day of the month by 5 and that is the chapter that I will end with for that day. Today is the 19th so 19 X 5 = 95, so today’s five chapters are 91 – 95. Psalms 92:12-15 was the passage that I took note of and prayed back to God today.

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

I have been fretting a little bit lately about my health and not being able to do anything significant for the Lord with my life. Feeling like my Parkinson’s was coming on like a forced retirement whether I wanted to or not. So this passage became my faith statement in my praying.

Dear Lord, I am claiming this passage as mine from You, Your promise to me for this time in my life. I don’t know exactly what I will be doing for the next ten years if I am still here, but I believe that I will still be yielding fruit. Thank You for using me and continuing to use me in the days ahead. I trust You and am excited to see what doors open up for me.

A Great Pastor

Charles Stanley died today. He had been pastoring for over 50 years and had an amazing ministry. He spent most of his ministry years at 1st Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He had a huge impact on my life and is a key reason why I am still in ministry. The first thirteen years I pastored at Jefferson Baptist Church were very hard years in that I kept doing and saying dumb things resulting in conflict and disunity in the church. Somewhere in the early 80’s things were at their worst. The annual State meetings for our denomination were scheduled to be held at 1st Baptist Church in Salem, Oregon and Dr. Charles Stanley was the featured speaker for the meetings. I don’t remember what he spoke on the first night but I do remember that I was in a major emotional turmoil when he finished. Not positive emotions, I was super convicted about my pastoring methods, attitude, and motives by what he preached. The next day he spoke several more times and again I felt like I was the only person in the room. It was our annual meetings and much of the audience were pastors so he was preaching right to us, and he wasn’t trying to win any popularity awards with his audience. I had never felt so beat up by a speaker in my life. One of his messages was entitled “Don’t Bad Mouth the Sheep.” That isn’t the exact title but that was the message and it came through to my heart like a jackhammer. One of the lines I wrote down during one of his sermons was, “It is easy to blame all the problems in your church on the people you are pastoring. Only weak, irresponsible leaders do that. It makes you feel better but nothing will change in your church if you insist on ducking leadership responsibility by continuing that chicken-hearted way of leading. You are the shepherd, every problem is your problem, own it and God will change you and use you to do great things for Him.” I wrote a personal commitment on a 3×5 card from that sermon and I read it every day for over a year. “I am the pastor of JBC and every problem that pops up in the church is my problem, no one else’s, I will own it and I will fix it, and I am trusting the Lord to give me the strength, the humility, and the wisdom to do just that.”

Dignity or Pride

I think most guys like to be thought of as tough as opposed to being a wimp. I fish and hunt, I have run 12 marathons and 24 half marathons, climbed Mt Adams dozens of times, bicycled across the United States three times, and restored half a dozen old cars. So I have this image of being a tough guy that I am trying to hang onto as I descend into the hole of being a wimpy old man.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog I have started to fall down periodically. Sometimes I trip over the edge of the carpet and sometimes I trip over nothing. The other day I was working with some other guys at JBC remodeling the racquetball court into a chapel for the kid’s ministry and I tripped over an extension cord and fell flat with a loud thud. It isn’t too big of a deal when I fall at home but when I fall down and a bunch of guys are witnesses it is embarrassing and very hard on my image. What makes it worse is when they all go into a semi-panic asking if I am alright, trying to help me up.

I remember when my Dad was dying of liver cancer, how he would always get up, get dressed, and come out and sit in his recliner whenever anybody came to visit even though it was terribly exhausting for him to do so. I wrote in my journal, “the last thing that will die in my Dad is his sense of dignity.”

A positive thing in my life right now is my wife, Patty who seems to have shifted her already strong habit of affirming my macho manliness into high gear. It is very nice to have a wife who is constantly making me feel like John Wayne in spite of how many times I fall off of my horse.

I wonder often what the Lord thinks of my mental struggle in this area of my life right now. I also wonder what my Dad thinks as he watches me from heaven, probably having a good laugh!

The Past is Past

For some reason, I remembered and got to thinking the other day about practicing for the high jump when I was an eighth grader. We had two poles, actually, I think they were broken shovel handles, driven into the grand a little bit, and then we had a straight willow limb sitting on top of the two poles. We would back up enough to get a good run and jump over the willow limb without knocking it off of the poles onto the ground. We used the old style of high jumping where you kicked your leading foot and leg up over the bar and rolled over the bar, in our case, a willow stick, belly down. The reason that came to mind was I was thinking how falling down is a continual danger now and when I do fall down I almost always end up with a significant bruise and a very painful “owie.” When we were practicing the high jump we were jumping over a limb about four feet off of the ground and landed on the ground on our back or shoulder. We would practice for hours and I don’t remember that we ever complained about the hard ground or about being sore from our landings. If I were able to do that now after landing on the ground it would knock the wind out of me, it would then take two people to help me get back on my feet, I would not be able to walk the next day, and I would be taking four Ibuprofen tablets every four hours for days after that successful jump! What changed? Old age. Learning to live with accelerating limited physical abilities is a way of life now. The biggest challenge is adjusting to this change with grace and joy. It is a whole lot easier to preach about doing it than it is to do it, for sure. But I think about and daydream about heaven and my new glorified body more and more with every passing day.