Life is like that…

I was asked to share my personal template for my walk with God to our little but mighty church in the north woods of Minnesota. At the very least you will enjoy a personal story at the beginning of my talk. you can skip the music and introductory remarks by starting at 23:53 Watch and listen here

The picture I had put on the screen (unseen in the video) was a hummingbird picture featured in my other blog where I tell how to shoot these kinds of pictures https://garyfultz.com/2021/06/29/fast-photo/

I outline my template for living and growing a personal relationship with stories and scripture. Our little u-tube set up is just a camera on a tripod taking sound from the speakers mic. It works for people who cannot make it to the church service.

Take a Walk

Have a talk

Get Right

Stay tight

I share my heart. I will admit to being a better fisherman than a rusty, sometimes crusty speaker. I felt it worth sharing with you, Some of my side comments have been influenced by recent blogs (possibly yours). Life has been hard lately so I have been off grid a lot. I will enjoy coming back. Till then, I encourage you to know Jesus more and more, no matter what life is like for you these days.

Gary.

Left Out

Scruffy weed

5 words. Clear as could be. Have you ever had a voice speak to you in your head? Did I really hear that? I have been connecting with God in so many ways on this wilderness trip. Analogies from nature like the “knots” I just wrote about. Our wilderness trip group had just waited a couple hours for high winds to lessen so we could paddle in very dangerous winds in big water. God had been with us, I’m sure of it. I didn’t die or even capsize the canoe and nearly die (been there…). Now on a 3/4 mile (190 rod) portage, trudging over small mountains, through mud and up-down stairstep terrain, God says 5 words out of the blue as I step over a small insignificant, growing in the wrong place scruffy plant.

I care about that plant

I can think of a hundred other things I would have liked to hear from God and this?? Sigh…yes I sighed. I knew what He was saying without saying even though He said it long ago. My thoughts immediately they went to Jesus words “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matthew 10:29

“I know Lord” I prayed. “You care about me. You care about our daughter racked with a painful handicap and getting worse. I know you care about my wife 24/7 taking care of her. I know. I know” The world is falling apart Lord and you care about an insignificant plant enough to point it out while I’m carrying a 70 pound pack and running low on energy after an adrenaline laden paddle…”I know Lord, I know…Sigh.

You are God and you care…I know Lord I know”…sigh

Gary

Knot… Priceless

Look at the old rotten cedar log. The screw like structure is a knot. The rings and point are very sharp and hard.
A most scenic restroom.

10 portages deep into the Boundary water Canoe Area Wilderness, we made camp. Designated campsites have a fire grate (usually with a view of the lake) and a latrine back in the woods. Rules of the wilderness allow gathering only dead and downed wood can be gathered for the fire. Many people bring a small portable single burner stove and fuel for ease and in case it’s raining or too dry so a fire ban is in place. We gather firewood and cook over the fire grate or over a little bug fire wood stove Lots of heat for a fifth of the wood or less.

On the edge of this particular campsite was a very rotten cedar log. I have no idea how long it had been there but cedar doesn’t rot real fast. Out of possibly hundreds of campers on this very desirable site over the years, no one bothered to give this log a second look in their wood gathering. Nobody saw any value in the old rotten log.

Experienced campers knowing the ways of wood and the woods have already spotted it. A priceless Knot.

The limb grows out and out and upward in the cedar to find the suns rays. The knot of the branch anchors it to the main tree trunk.

I don’t know all that causes a branch to begin growing out of the main stem of a tree, but the base of the branch tied all the way to the center of the tree begins to build immense strength and structure as the knot may end up holding a huge branch a long ways out from the trunk for a hundred years. It must survive heavy winds and is the only supply line of water and nutrition. The branch must be tied in extremely well to the tree or it will die. This is the priceless knot area. The place where the tree interacts with the branch. The knot is the anchor area of the branch. A priceless area.

Knots don’t rot. Eventually yes but this log was full of extremely hard, loaded with pitch knots. I walked down the rotten log and kicked them out easily. To one who wants fire, priceless!

Solid knot cores. It looks like campers sawed off the branches long ago.

A pitch filled knot will burn a long time and put out a lot of heat. They burn like a torch and the pitch inside boils out before the wood burns up. I found five logs nearby full of pitchy knots I could pull out of the rotten logs. The hardened knots went to the center of the log, formed from the center out, always connected to the flow of sap from the core of the tree out to the greenery on the branches. Even in death they held a reservoir of sap now dry and hardened.

A burning knot will stay burning in a rain. A knot will hold it’s fire and coals long after the rest of the wood is gone. knots can be used as a spare tent stake. Knot ridges are so sharp they can cut a tent cord. A knot could be a dangerous weapon, although I’ve never herd of anything dying by knot (That’s a murder mystery book idea for someone).

Long after I am gone, my hope is in the knot area of my life. The knot that anchored my life’s branch. The knot that embedded deep into the tree of life I was grafted into. The knot that developed and grew with the strength given by the trunk. anchored securely, drinking deeply, and supplying life.

How else can new growth happen? Only from the growing knot anchored (abiding) in the main trunk (the vine)

Just as we can see a tree growing out of a rock and say “behold, the power of a seed”, I believe God leaves pictures and analogies of truth lying in a rotted log on a wilderness forest floor. As I pitched a few knots into a pile some one said “what’s that?” I replied “knot…priceless’

Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The analogy of the knot as an anchor point connecting sustenance and nutrition to our lives in Christ here and for eternity as the knot does for the tree and it’s branches. works for me. The strength of our knots anchor lies in how much time we spend connecting with the savior. This is why we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing” 1Thessalonians 5:17. Never sever our connection to Jesus (That wood rot and lead to “not…priceless).

Gary

To see BWCA Adventure Expectations and this last trips pictures go to my other blog (click here)

Only When the Sun Peeks?

sunlight through clouds 2eml
The Sun Shines through even on an old life battered, seemingly barren tree (even me)

Don Merritt’s post on Praise (click here..great stuff Don) hit my insight bone this morning. I have often thought: “what causes the first frog to croak, or the first cricket to sound off, the first wolf to begin it’s blood curdling moan and all the others join in?

A friend of mine tells about walking out on the dock one frosty morning. The lake was evidently super cooled. The moment he stepped onto the dock the vibrations triggered the whole lake to instantly freeze over in a thin layer of ice. The sound of snap, crackle and pop of a lake freezing over in a couple of seconds will be indented in his memory forever. What causes the first molecule of water in the lake to freeze come winter to ice over the lake in a few moments?

What causes a whole congregation to lift up a raucous praise to the Lord or a moan before the throne in one accord? What causes my eyes to lift to the Lord in a burst of heartfelt praise from depths of my soul? Maybe, when the sun peeks out in my Life after a long storm? When a prayer is answered to my relief? When something works out? When…?

This morning my heart was “super cooled” in a good way. I was ready in my spirit to Praise my Lord and Savior and Don let out the first croak. May all God’s people be ready in their own hearts to join in. May the world hear our sound of unified praise. Oh, it’s not the song leader or the praise band in church (many times they get in the way). It’s God’s people whose hearts are “super cooled” and ready to break loose in praise, in loving God through a kind spontaneous act or smile or something creative. It’s something God has prepared in you because you have been walking with HIM. Daily.

That’s it isn’t it? Our walk with God in obedience. Our Hope in Christ. Our Love for one another. Our eye’s fixed on Jesus as we run this race through life. Our morning coffee time in the Word and prayer. A prepared heart set for whatever life brings each day. Please someone, step on the dock of our little lake. God has “super cooled” my heart (Thanks Don)

May we all be in the process of becoming “Super Cool” before the throne.

Ready for God’s day?

Signiture

Always Amazed

I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to take spring pictures, knowing the best time is when I can. When I will. When I do. Like all important things.

You never have that problem I’m sure. It’s just me??

This morning I walked out the front door with the camera and started taking pictures of whatever seems to tickle my fancy and seems poised for the occasion. 

I was reminded how absolutely amazing life is. The beauty of living things has such a stark contrast to what is dead. 

Take a preview by clicking on any picture, all taken within 100 feet of our house. Most were in the lawn which my wife mows. Kind of. She mows between all the flower patches as she can’t seem to just mow the whole lawn…Yes, your imagination of lawn mower trails through the tall grass are somewhat correct.

 
From the Chickadee gathering nest material, the blades of grass moving with a breeze,  to the flowers I didn’t identify, the yard was alive. Amazing how I just take this all for granted and it’s right outside the house.

Did you notice all the dead stuff?      I didn’t either.

This is an illustration of eternity you know. When someone or something dies they are gone and the signs they ever lived begin to fade away. 

I found a very symbolic picture of death, old growth and new growth. It’s always challenging to me when I see the new growth on the ends of trees especially. It makes me ask “am I growing?” Mentally, physically, socially and spiritually, “am I growing?”

old seed cone new growth eml
The old spruce cone is dead, decaying. Seeds inside still. See this years new growth? soft, silky while the old growth is stiff and prickly. “Am I alive?  growing?”

 Consider what Jesus said about life and death:  And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12

This is why it’s important to know Jesus. Don’t wait for the best time to believe and be a follower of Jesus. To be alive and not dead is everything. I took all these pictures today and I am amazed. Again.

By the way, my wife will let me mow the grass in a month or so and it will look like a well manicured lawn again…The flowers will grow back (that’s what I tell her).

Signiture

Mystery Blogger Award

I want to thanks G.W. of His Eye is on the Sparrow https://collinsgw.com/about-me/  for thinking I deserve an award. via Mystery Blogger Award 

A small acquainting with "what's it about" description of the Mystery Blogger Award:

 "The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award also is for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with much love and passion. – Creator- Okoto Enigma"

I’m not much of an award guy but I will take the opportunity to put a link on one of my personal favorite reads from G.W.https://collinsgw.com/2019/03/06/ineffable-power/

I’m also going to use this as a time to post links to some other bloggers that I appreciate for a myriad of reasons (instead of nominating you to do the same). Mostly that they connect with me. For whatever reason, there is a connection. I’m not going to keep the mystery blogger thread going on my part but I will answer the questions given me. First the question and answer time, then some blogger links that you should visit as they are worth the read.

G.W. Asks:

1.What is your favorite pastime ? Me: Fishing (Ice fishing now)Fish (2)

2. What is your favorite book to read ? Why ? Me: The Bible, as it’s the whole story of mankinds redemption and my daily guide to an intimate relationship with My Lord jesus Christ (Who didn’t stay dead after the cross by the way). 2nd would be a good mystery novel.

3. Who do you think will out smart the other the Road Runner or Daffy Duck ? Me: Road Runner

4. What would you be doing on a rainy day ? Me: fishing with my rain gear on and watching for lightening. otherwise I’de be playing keyboard, writing a song or photographing raindrops off the local flora.

5. What is your favorite type of music to listen to ? Me: I like it all except Rap. I do need decent words and a story or message behind it. Deeply felt music is the best.Frost fence 2eml

I will peek through the fence of time (as of right now) and post some bloggers that I have felt connected with in some fashion, all for different reasons. All these bloggers post things that make me want to grow in my walk with the Lord as I age.

Today for example Alan wrote an amazing Blog. I connect with this guy. https://fuelfortheraceblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/asteroid-april-29-2020/

Ron encourages me to write more (which I am bad at because I am fishing or working) and always has a short motivational post…good stuff Ron https://theburningheart.com/gold-finches/

Brother Craig is amazing with words. Take the time to look up his story. His pain is our blessing but I would trade it for his wholeness again  https://brocraigblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/white-wedding/

Sheqo writes some powerful and well thought out blogs. Check this one out on Who needs Jesus https://sheqoz.com/who-needs-jesus-christ/

Stephanie writes from both pain and growth. She offers great insights https://losthomeblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/broken-can-be-beautiful/

Ted Martens helps me be a better public speaker, I have read through some very weighty posts and they are worth spending some pondering time https://rhetoricandhomiletics.org/2020/02/28/rhetoric-homiletics-what-causes-people-to-remember/

Bruce and I could use some camp fire time. We have much to discuss. He had done a life time of study and it shows… https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2020/02/22/negativity/

And Crissy, keep posting heart felt and challenging posts https://livingbyfaith.travel.blog/2020/03/04/memorial-stones/

Looking for a good devotional blog? M Dennis is solid, everytime. https://thosewhosindifferently.com/2020/03/06/what-is-the-standard/

Another devotional plus other good writings from HCCounsels  https://herrychiccounsels.com/2020/02/25/just-a-crack-caution/

 

I could go one for another 20 bloggers who are special to me as well. Thanks people for putting yourself and your time into posting good material. Meanwhile I will keep learning how to write, take pictures and reading your blogs.

Frosty twig eml
Every frost flake counts

Gary

 

So Much

Awhile back (yes a few years) I met with a group of guys weekly for prayer and accountability. we met in a local church, played some basketball in the gym, laughed, talked about life, shared dreams, prayed together and helped one another on various home and vehicle projects. Life was good for most of us. We were concerned for one of our younger guys (lets call him Fred).

Fred fit in well but gave off signals once in awhile that he wanted more than life was giving him. He seemed almost jealous of, well, most things the rest of us had. I wish we had really seen the depths of his dissatisfaction. Fred needed to mature, be a husband and be a dad.

One Sunday after church, Fred and his young family was spending the afternoon at one of his wealthy friends place and commented how someday he would own the same size monster fishing boat as soon as he could save up the money. His friend smiled and told him it was nothing but trouble to him and rather than letting it sit in the barn he told Fred if he wanted it it was his. So Fred got his dream boat, after going to the bank to borrow big money to buy a vehicle that could pull the boat. Was Fred now happy?

I still think back to when we begin to walk out of the church, Fred would ask me to sit down to the piano and “Play that song ,uh, SO MUCH, I need to hear it” he would say. So I would play and sing a song I had written, it seemed, for him. He would cry, wipe his eyes a few times, sniffle, mumble sorry guys and walk out. YA, it was a big clue.

SO MUCH

  • I remember a time, when I was so close to you

We’d sit and talk for hours upon end

And I remember thinking how you must love me

SO Much

  • I remember all the things we did together

I never went anywhere without you

And I remember thinking how I loved you

So Much

  • I remember when my friends got tired of listening to me

Cause all I ever talked about was you.

And I remember telling you, I love you

So Much

Chorus) But here I am, I’ve drifted away

I’m so sorry I must say, I’ve been living without you.

Here I am, I left long ago, and I’m out on my own

Yet I know that you love me,

So Much

  • Just the other day, I heard a little knock on my door

I said, go away I want to be alone.

I thought I heard a little voice whisper “I Love You

SO Much

Bridge: I listen to the echos in the chambers of my heart

Oh the emptiness that lives in my soul

I see the hollow eyes watching me from the mirror

These eyes need love again…they need you again

Repeat Chorus

End: Oh- I know that you love me

Yes I know that you love me

So Much

Words and music by Gary Fultz (1997)

Down the road of time, Fred walked out on his family and his God who still loves him

SO MUCH

Some day I will record this song, just in case there is another Fred out there. Maybe you need to know that God wants an intimate relationship with you. He loves you

Add on:I just recorded it. Click here…  https://youtu.be/-5XgJcrKdmA

SO MUCH

Gary

Continue reading So Much

Sun Rise in the Western Sky

Wow, God dressed up the western Sky in the Sunrise this morning!

This Sunday morning worship time with the Lord, before worshiping with others, I was facing west from our kitchen table, the opposite way to watch a sunrise. It took a half an hour for the sun to dress the morning. The western sky was really getting dressed up for this day. Random thought here: Which special saints are you bringing home today Lord?

I was reminded that God can take anything or anyone at hand to serve his purposes, communicate His truths or just get our attention. He has mine.

He loves us so very much and He seeks us, woos us, whispers on the wind and shouts from the skies. It’s all there in His word and in the hearts of his children who have found Him.

It’s possible that in the next 24 hours, millions of people will see some aspect of a beautiful sunrise around the world. Each one of us will have our own unique perspective point of the same event. Each of us has our very own unique relationship with God. I am merely sharing a small slice of mine with you.

Today: Let God speak to your heart his love, His Grace. Share this love, this Grace with someone else.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

 I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

Gary

 

 

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.

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?)