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?)

Advertisements

When The Dust Settles

Aug 2 sun eml

My thoughts as we put an urn of 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 immensly 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 anothet 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. Relationally. 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

 

When We See. Really See

 

Let me ramble a bit about some wilderness wanderings with my family last week. The sites and sounds were awesome! So much of our trip is a parallel to a life with God, pictures and all. Let’s talk about what we see. really see.

Most of us have our wilderness wanderings of the soul as well. One is in the seeing beyond ourselves.

otter 3
3 otter swam by in the wee hours of daylight. It seems they were created to fish and play

Let’s face it. Most of our seeing is positioning ourselves to see. Awareness is another ingredient to seeing. Capturing a photo is another step in seeing. Framing that photo is then important to explain what we saw. Maybe, God shows off sometimes. Just for us?? He loves us you know. Maybe we see (really see) that and know that He is God, Creator of all things. He has framed our world, all the molecules in the universe and beyond. He has framed you.

BWCA sunset Camp cp eml
The rain stopped, the sun came out and set as night came. See the wolf? The sun prevails.
Liz Walleye eml
Our Grand daughters senior dream vacation (A wilderness canoe trip). She will outfish most.  

It’s entirely possible to have a dream vacation and only have an adventure, see a nice sunset, catch some fish, do some exploring and that’s about it if it works out.

There’s a better way. What if we position ourselves to see God’s handiwork in marvelous ways? What if we don’t? What if we spend some alone time with God expressing our wonder at the sights and sounds?

fog eml
Early one morning I waited until I could see through the fog. kind of.

What do you see? Is life just rambling in the fog between storms? Are you positioned to see God’s handiwork all around? How about in your life? God is in the business of opening our eyes you know. I only know about this because He has done it in my life and coutless others throughout time. Like the man born blind and healed by Jesus in the Bible, he knows. He sees John 9:25
He answered, “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. There is one thing I do know: I was blind, but now I see!”

I strongly reccomend some wilderness wanderings. Find someplace to have a long chat with your creator. Check out going to the BWCAW sometime. Watch out for bear! (really).

Gary

 

Mom

veggies-eml.jpgI know you are gone, along with so many others. Bye for now our parting words. I understand I’ll see you at the gate when time is over. Meanwhile, the moms who are here…We are celebrating life and doing something special today for all moms out there. I am also doing something special for the women of my life…Here is to you dear. Our kids even turned out exceptionally well. kabobs em

Just a little something I cooked up if that’s ok. Thank you Lord for the women you put into my life. Help her recover from losing her mom this spring.We miss her..Amen

Gary. 

 

Overheard At Work Today

Speaking of J, the oldest of us, we call him a water spider. Someone who swiftly goes from task to task wherever needed. Today I overheard this conversation.

IW: “Hey J. we need eight twenty eights” … J: “Romans”

A little later

IW: “Hey J: we need three sixteens” … J: “John”

——————————————————————————————————————————–

A little later. J: “I think I’m a mushroom today. My morale is good”  B (with a wry smile): That’s cause your such a fun-guy”


Personally, I think every workplace and every church should have a few people like that; just to keep the rest of us from taking ourselves too seriously.

Gary