I Love You To Debt

I’m an introvert. I may not always act the part but when I see lots of strangers in the big city (for example) I really see a sea of ice. I don’t see “friendly” on faces. It’s a fact, I don’t always like to be around people.

So when I was reading Romans 13 this morning I was nodding my head yes when Paul says to obey authority, pay your taxes and don’t owe anyone anything; I’m good so far. I’m still nodding yes.

Except The continuing debt….. 

(I’m not nodding yes anymore) Romans 13:8 says “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…”    I looked at this twice and said “What? I’m in debt?”

I’m sorry. I’m stuck on this continuing debt thing. If Love is money, say God’s currency, then I’m in debt and cannot get out. In fact there is a daily debt added and I’m in deep. No matter how much I love, show love, pay love money to my neighbor and fellow mankind I have just entered an alternate reality.

A verse popped into my mind “If anyone be in Christ they are a new creation...and have entered into a new reality” (well my remake of 2nd Corinthians 5:17 and I think I was frowning here).

Read on Gary…“for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law”  In other words the currency of love balances the checkbook in Gods eyes.

It’s dangerous to think outside the book but I have questions and you might have some thoughts.

So if we start every day in debt, say $200 in debt and do nothing does my debt compound? Does a smile count for more than a dollar? Do I really have to be proactive today? Do introverts have a reduced debt? Is the national debt bigger than the love debt?

Look where I just went! Am I already trying to game the system? I think so.

  Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. John 13:34

Hey this love God and your neighbor stuff, It’s a really big deal in the market place of the eternal. We have the God Breathed book and the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. Let us be entrepreneurs about loving to debt

Gary

Note: This currency is alive but the wanted poster is out and Satan wants it dead.

Another Language

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Jacob Ba Humbug christmas eml

Don’t worry, We do not have our lights up yet, and will not until December sometime.. I chose last years picture of a grandson communicating without words.

When Christ says “Learn of me”, I often think we who call ourselves “Followers of Jesus” honestly think Christ meant believe the right information and be good people.

I think my grandson in the picture above is going to say “sorry” for something he did. Does anyone here believe he is sorry?

It takes time to learn another language. My second language teacher was really excited when I told her I had a dream in Spanish. She figured The language had finally become me. I didn’t tell her it was more like a nightmare where I didn’t really understand what was being said, and it was all about me…in Spanish.

When we resemble the meek and lowly. When we use our hands, feet, mouth and resources for others that would normally go to taking care of…well us, is that not a part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices?

I don’t have to go far for an example. Marriage, raising a family, neighbors and the work place all saw the language of Jesus in my mom and dad.

Everyone wants what mom and dad had. It was not so much that they had Jesus. Jesus was just the start. Actually Jesus had them and they put each other first. I have stories too numerous to count of people who wanted what they had. I witnessed radical changed lives from these two salt and light people. Neighbors, friends and strangers were attracted to them. This picture says a lot and that’s who they were.

Dad and Mom 62 years e-mail

Do you want what they had? You need Jesus to have you, and He will teach you His language. It’s different, out of this world, counter intuitive, powerful and most of all so attractive people around you will want what you have when you speak without words Christ’s language. Don’t worry, you get to talk when you earn the right to be heard.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

Gary

Sorry, I forgot to mention that there will be trolls, hurtful people and those who hate Christ’s language. It will be worth it though.

please add your helpful comments below.

Shaky Faith

It’s raining said the farmer as he spit into the wind…(An old saying on the farm). Yes, it’s a perception saying.

I took the above picture in the wind on my regular camera settings for still shots. Not very clear is it? In fact I spent part of the afternoon taking high speed pictures and captured some excellent mediocre shots. My subject matter was all over the place, often in the same picture.

black eyed susan eml
I think they all moved slightly

This brings me to some questions we must all ask ourselves if we claim to be people of faith. “Does the subject of your faith change? When you feel like your faith is on shaky ground is it because your faith is really on your circumstances? recent events? other people? your faith community? The cataclysmic event that just happened in your life?Rocks Cry eml I took a picture of a rock in our yard. It doesn’t move in the wind. Awhile back I wrote on it but that’s another time (The rocks cry out one of my first blogs way back).

Here is the deal. When others see us, watch us and take a look at our faith. what people see is a blurred confusing image if the subject of our faith is not Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our salvation. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and put to the side everything that gets in the way Hebrews 12:2 

When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through our storm. 

I put together some pictures taken in high winds from this afternoon. They may not be perfect but each one was in a protected niche from most of the wind. God is our shelter, rock, provide, protector,and I could go on…You get the picture. (Click for slide show)

 

I imagine God shelters us in ways we do not even see or understand. Consider a few lines from the old hymn “He hideth My Soul”

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
A wonderful Saviour to me
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
Where rivers of pleasure I see
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand (repeat)
 
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
He taketh my burden a-way
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved
He giveth me strength as my day 
One more thought: I put my camera on a tripod for getting clear pictures whenever I can. People who watch our lives to see if Jesus is real (and they do) often have enough things shaking their world as it is. Hey, who among us sees clearly? Let’s not present a moving target of faith for shaky people trying to get the picture.
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through their storm. 

Gary

Check out the video of the haven of rest quartet G.W posted in the comments section. “He Hideth My Soul”

Reaching For Good Enough

As a person I’m probably smarter than you may think I am, and, quite a bit less smart than I think I am. I prove the last part of that statement daily and a couple times a year the first part seems proven (to me). OK so I got the first part wrong, moving on…

Take today for example, I refinished an ash table top that we use for a picnic table on the screen porch. The table sits outside all year. Grand kids use that table to play on with toys and sometimes my tools they think are toys. It was really beat up and looked like it was sulking and looking forlorn out there. Here is where I step it up and refinish right? Happy Table right??Black Ash Table eml

I stripped off the old finish, sanded and sanded this table. Sawdust everywhere. I set sanding and finishing records for an old black ash table top. I made it look nice, and it does from a distance. I got the old scars out and put in my own. Argh!..not again! Everywhere. Take a lookBlack Ash Table scars eml

Sander marks from using too course of sandpaper (rookie mistake) and then being in a hurry to put some finish on. Hey, it’s only a picnic table that sits outside so it’s good enough right?

Aren’t you glad God does not treat us this way? Yet some think He does. Do you think Gods version of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) is to reach for “Good Enough?”

Oh He lets us experience all of life’s poundings and we have the scars to prove it. However, God does not abandon us, give us a rough clean up and only make us look nice from a distance. God goes for the heart of the matter. Clean inside first. Our outside might look tough until the inside is so changed it starts showing through (2 Corinthians 4:16)

God is not finished with us yet so let Him do His work. When he is done, eternity will know it. For now the world will be satisfied with seeing a “Love” construction zone in us.

We should be allowing God to produce in us what the whole world wants. 

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Finally: If God can put a flower garden and the horizon into a dew droplet (see header picture) He can put Love in your heart and a bunch of other good things!  

Gary

PS: My wife says “I like it”  This is why we have a good marriage, but that’s another topic (or is it?)

When The Dust Settles

Aug 2 sun eml

My thoughts as we put the urn of Dad’s ashes into the ground a few days ago…

There is nothing worse, absolutely nothing worse than waking up in eternity and finding out you were wrong.

John 14:6 : Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:9 I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.

I don’t know about you but I’m putting all my marbles on the one, the only one who didn’t stay dead.

Please don’t die forever!    

Gary

This is one cool verse

This was a piece of casual conversation with a guy I met recently who claimed to be a christian (I do not know him well but getting there). He is completing rehab treatment and hoping for a job full time soon. Try to get his perspective…and where I fit in??

Me: say, how are you planning on having different habits when you finally move into a place of your own? Him: what do you mean? Me: do you know what the word “trysting” means?  Him: No clue. Me:”Do you have a mentor yet”. Him:”Yes, I think so” (and some fill in on his potential mentor)…

I know, I know. I just kind of dive into peoples lives like this. just read on.

Me: “I hope you get a mentor that can help you read your bible and find a good quiet place to meet with God. He talks to you (mostly through the word) and you talk to him and develop and experience a very close relationship with God. Trysting is a place where two lovers meet. This is in part what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and body. You should have a place you meet with God, just you and God.

Him (excited) : I gotta show you this really cool verse I read yesterday. I told my family all about it and they think I’m nut’s because they are not believers. That’s ok, they are just missing out! (picks up phone, finds it quickly and reads it to me) Jesus said this…

 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38

Him: That’s the coolest verse in the bible. It’s true too!

I walked away with no doubt in my mind that this new believer with tons of life’s baggage had just experienced the same ineffable resurrection power of God in his life that Lazarus did being raised from the dead. He was dead and chained to his drugs and is now experiencing living water in his life and overflowing to those around him. 

Do not let anyone tell you that God is not at work in peoples lives today in miraculous and powerful ways.

Gary

PS: please read G.W.’s post on  ineffable Power. It’s, well, powerful. 

 

Wandering Into Highlight

Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights.  When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.

fire Haze sunset
Wild fires hazed the sky, colored and magnified the setting sun view from our front lawn.

16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!”  A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)

Times are a changing are they not?

 

CP Sunn eml
A hot summer evening watching colors and rays appear, change and disappear.

I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys  in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!

 

Sun Tonight 9 10 18eml
Another Sunset from our yard. Every night is different, every sunset unique

Just a thought:  Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.

   My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.

 Gary

 

 

 

Pushy Discipleship

Dad was known, on occasion, to say or do some unconventional things through out his life. I, being one of his 7 children, sometimes find myself flopping at doing similar things, but doing them anyway.

After dad’s memorial service…

Here is a copy of my note to James, a fellow basketball player on friday nights in the old clubhouse for many years (yes I changed the name)…

James, I kind of pulled a fast one on you. I put gobs of thank you cards in the church mail boxs. I saw you did not have a mail box so I took dads mail box ID paper out of his box, turned it over and wrote your name on it and put it into a box where your name should be. So…you are now taking dads place at church and you have a mail box. I told Pastor what I did as well. Anyway, all you have to do to take dads place is sit each morning with a cup of coffee at home with an open bible for a few words from God, and communicate with God about whatever is on your mind. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…No pressure. You meant a lot to dad so consider this dads last basketball move. now you have the ball.����

Maybe this is not taught in discipleship class but just maybe the spiritual war zone for lives has too many sheathed swords on the Lords side. I’m all for being a little pushy sometimes if that’s what it takes.

Gary

PS: check out a compliment article https://garyfultz.com/2019/07/20/filling-dads-shoes/

 

Nature: Gods Living Room

BWCA camping eml

I grew up hunting and fishing the wilderness places where a very small percentage of people venture. Nature in the raw is truely ruggedly beautiful. One can sit on a rock and drink in the exquisite interlocking co-existing life forms  Let me snicker a bit here because I would wager there are a million mosquitoes in this picture waiting for some poor soul to try their hand at communing with the almighty. I know about that as well.House rock eml

Nature truely could be called the living room of God but one will not experience the almighty by simply going there. I sense many think so because God’s handiwork is so awesome and overwhelming that how could we not experience God by experiencing  nature?

I must admit, there are a lot of clues in the wild. One can experience peace in the gurgling brook and the morning sunrise. One’s smallness is real also in the mysterious aura felt around the evening fire as the wolves moan, the frogs croak and a large animal walks in the water. Look at the zillion stars out there from ones tent site; that’s a big clue.

Another Clue: Natures sense of peace is between the storms. God’s peace is in the midst of the storm. 

forest fire damage eml
This forest fire died here. It was a big one.

Visit the wilderness enough and one will experience all that happens in nature. A beautiful sunrise in the east may lure you into the middle of a big lake while the western skies may prepare the storm of the century (I was there). That’s a link worth clicking on. I have a hundred stories where “mother” nature does not care about us. But, God cares.

 Nature is not tame and from all indications neither is God. Evening in the BWCA email

If you want to meet God in nature, just ask. Not to dissappoint anyone but God will meet us anywhere. He is God and calls the shots. Consider what He has promised in scripture.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

There’s so much more if you care to look it up!

I love getting into nature. I still see it as God’s living room (my thing I guess) and I meet him there but only because I have a relationship with my creator. It’s my most important relationship. We talk and I listen as well. There is much to hear and I pray to see and hear and understand. Peace comes from God and not nature, but what a great back drop for allowing God to work on this scruffy specimen of a follower of Jesus. What a great place to fellowship and dine, in God’s living room.

BWCA by the fire eml

Gary

Dying

Dad and Mom 62 years eml

They didn’t make it another year together. Since then Dad has been dying. Slowly. Two immensely strong trees grown together and ripped apart in one of life’s storms (dad’s words).

I mourn for mom in passing. I mourn for dad as pieces of his life pass. He might not fish or hunt again and I mourn. Walking the woods and hunting together is past and I mourn. Eating food is hard and firing up the grill or smoker for dad has lost it’s enjoyment. I mourn that. Enjoyment itself seems to be passing like a salmon arriving at it’s birth place, there is no more will to fight the currents.

The hardest thing for me to see dying is the wilting of relationship. We are turning our heads away from each other viewing the tasks of making it another day, week, month and secretly Christmas. There is a shadow, a dark cloud in the way of supping with one another and I mourn. Dad has turned his head toward eternity. Like a horse headed to the barn (one of his old farm, can’t wait to get there, expressions).

Today, I’ll get in the car and drive a few hours to see dad. It’s possible he may have much or little time left. I may have many or few visits left. I may have a weeks vacation left with him on the old place. I don’t know. All I know is that Dad is dying in dozens of ways, and that’s hard. I mourn.

I do take comfort in the fact that dad see’s eternity and there is light. The door is cracked open enough for light to spill out but he cannot look inside, yet. He seems to be parked by the door and I want to take him for another boat or ATV ride. Oh, he can still do that physically but it’s not the same. He wants to see Jesus and hug mom again. I don’t blame him but I mourn.

This morning I gave him to God. I sat on the screen porch watching the rain in 50 degree weather with the hummingbirds chasing one another and three rabbits in the lawn in front of me and I let a piece of me die. He is God’s you know. He knows. He always was Gods as long as I have known him. I’m dying too, and I mourn that.

dads sunset eml

Dad and I have something in common. We know Jesus. Personally. Relation-ally. We will both live forever. We both know this “eternal life”. Without Christ we would die forever.  

I will give dad a hug, say “bye for now dad” (you know just in case I need to wait for eternity to see him again), get in the car and make the 5 hour drive back home. Man I miss dad! but not forever.

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:12)

Dad and I would really like to see you there, please don’t die forever.

Gary

Update: Rest in peace dad (February 13 1933- July 2 2019)  Bye for now dad. I sure do miss you and mom.