Being Five

I picked up a small stone and tossed it into the center of the smooth surfaced pond. I began to understand. I waited until all the little ripples had dissipated, the frogs had quit but began to croak again. The surface was once again as still as the morning air. Once again I could see the fluffy white clouds moving in the waters reflection. I picked up a fist sized rock and vaulted it high to land in the center of the pond creating a big splash and bigger waves that eventually swayed the cattails, and small willows on the sides of the pond. Now I understood. I was five.

Maybe mom helped my understanding when she disciplined me for sassing her. Maybe my little brother helped by doing what I did and was disciplined, then I was disciplined again for being his example while mom cried. Maybe the time my little brother killed a chicken with a board; not on purpose but in trying to scare the chickens one got in the way. It was quite small but that was supper. The weight of the board was enough to kill even if it was the chickens fault for getting in the way. I threw another rock in the water, each time knowing and feeling the ripple effect. One thing changes everything. One sin and I can’t seem to quit. One funny thing and everything is funny. A pebble quiets frogs. Think what a monster could do. I’m hungry – I must go home.

60 years later I watched in horror as some watched in glee, as a man signed many many documents changing hundreds, then thousands, then millions of lives. Now world economies and massive gains and losses on many fronts are in the waves. The weight of a signature in the name of ideology has been around for centuries. I watched a squirrel bury an acorn; possibly food for later or a giant oak tree. Cause and effect effect effect effect effect effect …..only God knows. Only God can interject. Only God can keep track of it all. Only God’s signature has more weight. Meanwhile, we are at the edge of times pond waiting.

It’s true from Adam and Eve if you can believe what God said; “eat of this fruit and you will die.” You meaning you and everyone following. You; meaning plants, animals, bugs and all of nature. You; meaning thistles, killing to eat, killing each other (by the first generation). You; meaning decay of the mind, will and emotions inside as well as the exterior. You; wait until what’s bad is good, good is bad, the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. You; declaring rocks are the problem, waves do not exist, you do not matter except to exist as matter. Now we have cyberspace rocks; “Oh Lord Save Us”.

Turns out He did save us; if we can believe God.

So here I sit with my thoughts. How much weight can a signature have? How much weight does God have when he says He signed for us? It’s the gospel truth. He signed with all his lifes blood and that’s as serious as one can get. He promised “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49;16). He delivered. Doubting Thomas like many of us would say “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:25).

(26) A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (28) Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (29)Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

God’s signature is everywhere if you believe. God’s signature is nowhere if you don’t. Oh that we could all be five and understand.

When a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? I say, ask the beaver, his signature is all over it.

These were my thoughts as I Wandered around on foot to the lake and through the woods with a camera a couple days ago after almost 5 inches of rain melting massive amounts of snow….The signature of God is everywhere in nature. I am glad he has inscribed my name on his hands. I believe he honors his word. I understand effect effect…. Maybe it’s because I am walking the same exact land and stand in the same exact places as when I understood. Please understand, because sometimes I am five.

Click to enlarge and for slideshow. 4 of these pictures were taken earlier this spring of the beavers.

Gary

Surviving The Crash

Several of you have wanted to know more details of my cousins daughter surviving a plane crash in Alaska last month. You may have seen something on the news or googled “plane crash on a lake in Alaska”. Notice the open water in the background if you clicked on the link.

Ashley and Glenn talk some about this in their local rural church. It’s very much worth hearing their thoughts then and today. There is a long journey ahead to get back to the top of a mountain.

This is a “before” picture. I hope it can happen again Ashley!

As a backdrop, keep some little tidbits of information in the back of your mind.

This from a text today: “The hardest part about telling the story is that it takes so long to set up the story that many of the miracles were not even mentioned.  Lake Illiamna is the 7th largest freshwater lake in the world. 1) Had the pilot started the turn 10 seconds sooner (which equals 1/2 mile), the plane would have crashed in open water.  10 seconds later and they would have crashed in the rocks.  It was perfect timing to crash onto 30 inches of ice in a bay.  2) The plan crashed in the middle of a turn, hitting wing first.  This caused the plan to cartwheel, which caused the engine and battery to be ripped off, so that there was nothing to ignite the leaking AV fuel.  3) God allowed for one of the texts to make it out, which gave coordinates and situation.  Just that small detail shaved off an hour or more of search and rescue response. 4) There is the triple A battery, that was in someone’s pocket, which was nearly sliced in two,  protecting an upper thigh from a potentially deep cut”

The list goes on and on of seemingly small details of life and death significance.

This interview, in their local church, is a part of the palm Sunday service. Pick up the conversation with Ashley at 39:45 and Glenn’s challenge as a father at 57:30. going into this. Understand this is someone with a very recent miraculous survival story. (Scroll to Ashley talking at 39:45 and Glenn at 57:30)

Scroll to Ashley talking at 39:45 and Glenn at 57:30

When asked if there was anything else I should put in this post, Glenn asked for this prayer of encouragement from Colossians 1 :9-11.  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience”

Ask questions in comments, and, yes an account is being set up to help pay emergency evacuation and medical bills beyond what insurance will cover. I will post that later on my regular garyfultz blog

Thanks

Gary

Leap of Faith

My thought from my morning time with God today, and, taking a picture of a squirrel.

An everyday activity if you are a squirrel. Loping up a tree, running across branches as thin as a wire and sailing into the next tree just for the fun of it is a normal leap of faith; if you are a squirrel.

However

If you are a regular human person, that leap of squirrel faith will land you on the ground hurting in places you didn’t know about. I know about this. As a child we siblings, and coerced friends, would climb trees and bend them down to the ground. That got old so the next idea was to see how far through the forest we could go before touching the ground. Leaping does not work, in fact it hurts. Thankfully the idea died before one of us, you know, used dads insurance again.

Let’s say that this kind of leap of faith for a squirrel is ridiculously small. Now, let’s call it small and name it “Mustard Seed Faith”, (because it’s small). Humanities greatest trapeze artists can’t do what a squirrel can do. This is often where I go wrong. I ask the wrong questions and often side-step the important.

I know that God wants his followers to live by faith, walk by faith and emulate great people of faith. But, all too often I skip to the part what faith is supposed to look like (You know…all those fruits of the spirit, miracles and fearless leadership God has called me to.) and somehow think I can shortcut the process of becoming one who intimately knows the heart of God. In my head I know that quality and quantity time spent on one’s knees and in the word results in a small seed. There is a long ways to go being the tree by streams of water with deep roots and lots of fruit.

All these words and a picture just to say that leaps of faith in the spiritual are but a reflection and outworking of who we have become in Christ.

God has called us to become way more than we are. God has called to to more faith than we have. Our part is to being one positioned to hear HIs voice clearly and respond to what he asks. Those around will see you taking a leap of faith and you will land it. Like the squirrel, this is who you, in Christ, have become.

My personal prayer question: Do I have even a tiny leap of faith in me Lord?”

Gary

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ” Hebrews 11:6

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Writers Drift

They do. They drift. Okay, so do I, maybe, I guess…Lot’s of life applications here.

I thought of this while shoveling out our driveway and then three more driveways on our road. The winds created a ground blizzard and made huge packed drifts where cars and trucks once passed through. All our drives are 100 yards long (give or take some distance). At this point I need to show you a picture of my shovel in case you think a retired guy is superhuman. Disclaimer: I wrote that for me as I know it never crossed your mind.

My snow shovel.
Yep, snow piles are everywhere this year.

Think about how easy it is to drift in life. Life’s storms and winds come up and change our direction. things pile up and our energies are used just to cope and get by.

I write this to encourage those of us who write to consider how grounded we are to the message we have set out to get across. It’s easy to drift with the winds and react to the times. If we write just to be read, it is like me shoveling snow (with the skid steer bucket of course) because I like shoveling and piling snow. Anywhere, everywhere. It’s fun! I’m afraid I have accomplished many things in life needlessly.

Truthfully, I have heard many public speakers who just like to hear themselves talk. I have read many a blog with a sigh thinking “and your point, encouragement, entertainment value or motivation is…?”

My last point is a spiritual consideration directed at those who follow Jesus.

I use a skid steer to shovel snow as it’s not humanly possible to move that much snow after a storm with hard packed snow drifts. We have no business tackling jobs without making sure we are onboard with God’s will and God’s power (not from asking God to be onboard with us). This is the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is from a conviction that this is what God wants us to be about. This is from our walk and living relationship with a risen Christ in us.

When we drift from operating on God’s leading and his power, we fall into the big drift of powerless mediocrity.

So, watch out for those prevailing winds of time, the storms and blizzards of life and the drift that so easily happens. “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1

“Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” psalm 127:1

  1. Take a walk 2) have a talk 3)get right 4)Stay tight!

Gary

Dad, I See You Put Your Life Into Words

Each Day With God

By Doyle Fultz

When in the early morn awake, slumber from your eyelids shake.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Begin the day in humble prayer.

Thank Him for the day at hand, and the sun so bright and grand.

Ask for care through early hour, And for strength and serving power.

The morning hours have passed so soon, now the sun is high at noon.

Hasten to thy closet fare, Sustain the day in earnest prayer.

Thank Him for His care and power, and the peace of early hour.

Ask Him for sufficient grace, to end the day at normal pace.

Oh, the day has passed so fast, as darkness spreads its hovering cast.

Hasten to thy closet fare, End the day with grateful prayer.

Oh, the days they come and go, Peace and war with friend and foe.

But the one who hastens fare, to his closet in petitioning prayer.

Is the one who stands abreast, and wins the victory of trial and test?

Life is one big cross to bear, Bear it strong-in fervent prayer.

I found this poem in dads things. It’s time (after a couple years) to share the thoughts of a man of God trying to grow through all life’s struggles. I still hear his voice sometimes and I turn around in the old shop to ask him where he put….???

This is how I remember my father. I have spent much of my life on my own journey, yet, experiencing the presence, power and sometimes the absence (feeling) of an ever present God who enjoys and rewards one drawing near.

Standing on the promises here in the woods Dad…bye for now. I’ll be along in a while.

Gary

Lavender Morning

It’s still dark out as I try to read the outdoor thermometer. Close to 40 below zero but getting warmer, all is frozen except for some wildlife and birds. I have no idea how a deer’s ears or the chickadee’s feet do not freeze. I park myself in an easy chair in front of the picture window, open my bible and let the Lord speak to me through his word. He does.

In Matthew 19:13-15 I read where people brought their children to Jesus. He laid hands on them and blessed them. In our culture today it would have been a moms club that got together, collected the kids and marched them to Jesus. However it happened the disciples were not in on it as they were rather miffed. Jesus’ time was too important for that. Another flaw in their religious thinking was toppled as Jesus told them that the kingdom of God was made up of children such as these.

I immediately asked the Lord if he would lay his hands on this old guy 2000 years later and bless him. I immediately received a response. “I did that when you were a child, don’t you remember?”

A flood of memories came to mind through the years. Instances of intimacies with the Savior, incidents unexplainable apart from the hand of God. My parents had often presented us (and a slew of other children) to Jesus. “Age aside my child, you can still bring people to Jesus.”

Yes Lord, I am willing to bring someone to you today.

I watched the morning sky lighten to lavender then rose and finally blue. It’s 10 degrees warmer and light enough to take a picture of the thermometer. A deer walking the perimeter browsed on spruce bough ends as the chickadees came to our outdoor-left-over Christmas tree (click any picture to enlarge for slide show)

The phone rings and I get my winter clothes on and go help my neighbor quickly get to Emergency (another ongoing story for sometime).

Beauty in the cold morning as the sun crawls down the spruces

Gary

A Day Away

She volunteered to be with our daughter for an afternoon and overnight. My wife and I were finally getting a mini-vacation from caring for our daughter in one side of a small duplex on the edge of a very small town. Respite was desperately needed as I was working long hours in a new place, my wife was with our daughter 24/7 and we really didn’t know anybody yet.

Just in case something went wrong, bigger than the normal things that go wrong, we found a nice room with a hot tub, ordered a pizza, snacked on people treats, held each other, soaked, talked and found deep sleep.

My phone started ringing at 3:30AM. I couldn’t grasp what it was for a few rings, being in the deepest sleep in a long time. I realized upon answering that something was wrong bigger than the normal wrongs by the sound of her voice. I pieced together that she had stepped outside with the little dog in her PJ’s (shorts and tank top) and bare feet and the door had locked behind her. She knocked on our daughters window to let her know the predicament, but that confused our daughter. It would have been okay in the summer but it was January in northern Wisconsin, the snow had been shoveled but it was all snow and ice and a below zero (Fahrenheit) night.

She assessed the situation quickly. Conclusion: “Not Good.”

A car slowly drove by the driveway on the icy street and turned the corner. She scooped up the little dog on the run, using her previous track skills she sprinted after the car but didn’t catch it before it sped away on the main highway (yes, still in bare feet, tank top and sleep shorts). She was now lost and freezing. Looking around, she spotted a nursing home entrance. Could she be saved? There were lights and people inside. She could be saved! After beating on the locked doors for awhile someone let her in. Saved!

While thawing toes, feet, and really all of her, the story came out. She can be an entertaining story teller and this time she had a lot of material and adrenaline to work with.

She did not have her phone, so, it took awhile to track down our phone number registered in the office of the duplex we were renting which oddly was attached to the nursing home office (or she might have had to sleep there). We were only a half hour away so I drove to the nursing home, picked her up and let her into our home to care for our daughter until we got back.

Thankfully she had several things on loan (head to toes) from the nursing staff. We also traded the “I’m so sorry” lines as she really really felt bad. She only really felt bad when I told her I had forgot to tell her where the spare key was hidden outside. When she knocked on our daughters window she was close. When she tried the back door (wading through two feet of snow), all she needed to do was look up and the key was taped to the top of the frame. Now she was down to feeling bad. I should have told her where the key was in the first place…sigh. Now it’s my fault.

I drove back to our hotel, my wife was up and packed and we went home with yet another story and more than a dozen life applications.

If you have read this far, you probably have some good ideas on life and spiritual life applications on your own. Read the story to a small group of people and they will find a dozen key principles to remember and live by. Read it to Adam and Eve and they will tell you how one wrong bite changed the trajectory of life and relationships with God and on planet earth for all time.

How many doors have clicked shut behind you with no way to return? Have you told your family, friends and neighbors where the key is to Knowing God’s plan for restoring our relationship with him? Have you ever experienced “being saved?” and can tell the story of life’s icy road and not catching what you thought would help?

There was a light, she saw it, went there and knocked.

Let me show you two pictures of the same thing. One is a view while in the storm while the other is the view with clear weather, after the storm with the sun coming up. Only one picture is crystal clear.

It’s impossible to see things like truth, right and wrong, others motives, and certainly not life’s best pathway in the storms of life. How can we possibly be prepared to storms that take us by surprise? The truth is we find ourselves in our bare feet and sleepwear in the cold of relationships, jobs, illness and loss.

This story happened nine years ago but my pictures were taken this last weekend. I was reminded of this as I read these verses today from psalms.

This is the key!

Psalm 91:1 (amplified) “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty” [whose power no enemy can withstand].

Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 32:7″You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”

Your comments are welcome on all the ways the above story can be used when story telling, speaking, writing and general conversations about life. And…SHE will remain anonymous.

Gary

This story is a follow up to the storm with pictures in my post “Great expectations” on my other blog at Garyfultz.com

What Doesn’t Work

First Ice. Last night I walked out on the lake and took a picture of the sunset. All the migrating birds were gone. It’s winter here. In a couple of cold days and freezing nights the ice will be safe enough to go fishing. I know…I know, “safe” is a word with wide borders for some and quite rigid for others. “Safe” is a here and now word for some and an eternal word for others. “Safe” is a false perspective outside the game of baseball and the gates of heaven.

Three young guys were checking out the thickness of the ice with an ice auger. They are standing on less than three inches of ice. They didn’t fall through so it’s safe ice. How much ice do you need to feel safe?? My siblings tell me I need more inches of ice than thin teenagers in skinny jeans. Technically-scientifically safe? That’s different isn’t it. We desperately want to be safe in this world and it’s prudent to do the best we can but we deep inside know life here will never be safe. Time will prove that statement to be true.

This morning I went down to the lake and there was a single young signet swan on the ice. Evidently it could no longer stay with the rest of the swans. Sometime in the night it dropped out. Left behind it is vulnerable and has a 50/50 chance of survival. The ice is not safe as open water would be much safer. Eagles, big owls, coyotes, wolves, otter, fisher, mink and bobcat would all love a meal of signet. They need to eat to survive as well. I’m rooting for the signet but if it’s too weak to continue the migration with another flock it will die.

My wife and I for 40 years have tried to keep our handicapped daughter safe but we can’t and it hurts. Several Life flights and many many emergency surgeries make one either jaded in life or sure of the bottom line of life, or, both. In Christ we are promised both death and life. We live and then die. We die to live. Both are true but only dying to live is safe. Our daughter knows the score. She is like the signet on thin ice and the world is getting less and less safe for people like her. Several doctors have advised “Let her go” because she is handicapped. We are getting older as her protectors. Her safety and ours is found in Jesus. We talk of these things often. Meanwhile her safety here has been way out of bounds miraculous. Someday her Jesus will say “come home where it’s safe”.

Trying to control our own safety doesn’t work. Like walking on thin ice, it works until it doesn’t.

We are not “safe” people. Jesus is not “safe” to follow, yet safety is ultimately only found In Him. This is campfire talk. Deep talks. Time to think of the realities beyond just living each day out. Time to really know our creator now rather than meeting his refusal at the gate. “Safety First” should include “Safety at last”

Gary

Context: Cut A Hole In The Wall

What great lengths are you willing to take to live the life for which you were created?

Cut a hole in the wall, frame openings and put windows in your life. Get a big window, not a peep hole. Know what’s happening outside your space. Next: open the window and throw any insulting parrot voices out and close the window (Not your spouse or kids, but perhaps your television).

Build a deck to sit on and watch the world in it’s context, go by. Meditate on the words of Jesus because they have the substance of life. The words of God give us the context wherein (and within) we were created to live, wherever we happen to reside, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.

Take walks in nature. It’s as close to God’s garden as we can get, understanding that nature is not God but it’s a great place to meet and talk with him. There are overt hints of God’s character, creativity and lessons of life and insight to gain from God’s creation. Take a peek at some of my nature and deck views this autumn. This is often my physical context. Sometimes God’s context for me is seen through the camera window framed.

All nature is in context with God’s word

Click on any picture for a slide show and to enlarge smaller pictures. I tried some catchy captions which will appear at the bottom of each picture. You might come up with better ones.

These were my thoughts as I spotted a deer peeking at me through a hole in the woods (header picture). All of nature is in the moment. No matter the season or food source or conditions, life is moment by moment. As the leaves fall outside, I am reminded that my life is like a vapor that appears and then disappears (the big context James 4:14). In the moment I want to be in context of God’s words to me through Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I want to live in God’s context. On the deck, at home, driving down the road, in the grocery store, talking with the neighbors and in anything I may post or read online. The life and words of Christ in me is the context which begs me to cut a hole in the wall. His love within me compels me to view the world as needing his love.

Gary

ps: I posted some pictures for free download on my unsplash site here

Eye Confusions

My thoughts as I took these pictures

I tend to believe what I see. In eye I trust. In brain I trust. My interpretation I trust. It’s a natural default without thinking about it. I have just exposed a weakness towards the reality of the real truth, have I not? I only believe what I see in my frame, just like my camera. What may be missing is a whole lot of unseen context outside my frame.

I could really concoct some stories out of this picture. I won’t of course. It’s a piece of exoskeleton found near a known UFO sighting, It was even on the news (that’s a hint it’s believable). Um, we found this secret cave when we were lost. Before we could scoop up what looked like diamonds on the floor of a deep shaft lit by my cell phone, we heard bear sounds and got out of there. We have never been able to find it again. I admit it was quite a traumatic dream and I can’t figure out how this picture got on my cell phone?? (It will be in my next book).

Would you believe that electromagnetic currents around the earths surface can be detected by satellite? Side note: I didn’t know either. This a simulation picture of it as hacking in to the feed would be discouraged (wink).

De Ja Vou. I think I saw this when I was 6 years old. My brother found a horse shoe, wound up and threw it. It landed on my head. That’s it! this is what I saw!!

I found the gold! See, Pictures!

I contemplate how little it takes to help people believe partial truths and outright lies. I think often how much our life’s framework, relationships and emotional disposition makes our decisions for us rather than seeking the truth in it’s entirety. Lies always have a blanket over them or made in the shadows. The eyes and ears have been tricked starting with Adam and Eve. It feels like the whole world is askew these days.

I even have a picture of me in deep contemplation!

Yep deep thoughts going on!!

Confessions: None of my picture explanations are true by the way. I stuck the camera over the edge of the boat in six feet of crystal clear Lake Superior water and took a lot of shots. Between the sun glinting, water ripples gathering little light shafts and seeing the bottom through refracted light in the waves, this is how the pictures turned out. Sorry, no gold.

 “The Lord knows the thoughts of man that they are futile. Blessed is the man You discipline, O LORD, and teach from Your law”…Psalm 94:11

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10

How about we know Jesus and thus know truth. He is the author of all that exists (Colossians 1:16-20) “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but through me” (Jesus) John 14:6

Another Truth: Everybody knows that trees grow straight up!!

This makes me think there is hope for everyone of us. Ever feel like this tree? Look up!

Gary

I had an aunt who believed everything. one day Uncle and aunt drove in the yard and saw her brothers car. The backend was lifted and the nose down like a street rod back in the day. She said “honey, why is my brothers car so high in the back and low in the front?” Uncle answered “Your brother wants to get better gas mileage because this way it’s always going down hill!”. Auntie, bless her gullible heart, shook her head in wonder and said “Wow, isn’t that something!”