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)

For Reasons. Some Unknown

Today, I will pack up the rest of the house to move 5 hours away to a foreign familiar land. The place where I grew up and lived over half of my life. The last couple months of this transition I have taken to heart Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is truewhatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  

I turned off the news, I quit reading several blogs and am terribly behind on many, I pray more and go out of my way to really connect with relational starving people.  I had asked God for some type of sign that I really should move back home and begrudgingly put the house up for sale. 48 hours later it was sold. It’s hard to do 2 out of 3 on that one but I wanted another sign..”God would you go ahead of us and help us to follow?” was our household prayer.

On one of my moving expeditions with a huge trailor, a rainbow double was beside the truck for an hour. I stopped at a side road and took this picture. Iroically, when we had moved with the company I worked for almost 7 years ago, a rainbow was arched over the building I would call my work place. I guess we have had several rainbows (literally) in our decision making life (God to angels” if you want Gary to make up his mind. Put out a rainbow).

roads end rainbow eml

“Ok Lord, you got this..um, why isn’t the road paved??” (God to angels “you should not have had that old road graded…it’s too nice).

I resonated deeply with G.W’s post. It’s very much worth the read. https://collinsgw.com/2020/06/20/amazed-a-haiku/

I suspect life will change a lot as I haven’t seen around the next corner of life. 

Neither have you

Jesus has gone ahead. Lets follow. He summons.

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

I Noticed

I saw it coming out of the wind and rain. A sign. An opening in the clouds appeared.

A ray. Slim, tentative, gathering other rays. to speak through the opening. Speak to me?

Just a word for the dark, rainy, windy, angry day. Just a word for the good, bad, sometimes great, beautiful, gloomy, nearing the end game of life.

Just a word gathering past the finale coming from the sun. Just a word coming from the Son. God cares. He really does you know. When you notice, you can feel it inside. It’s bone deep and heart felt.

HOPE

sunlight through clouds 2eml
Picture taken as the storm seemed to be abating this afternoon by GaryFultz

Big storm, small Rays, big sun (Son)

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 2Corinthians 4:7-9

 Sometimes we need the storm to notice the Son. May your clouds part, if only for a small a ray of hope. Remember where those rays come from!

Signiture

The Call

A simple sunset. Predictable. On time. I digress. But, when I stepped outside the house this evening, there was an unmistakable  Call to Worship

colored sky 2eml

colored sky 3

colored sky emlcolored sky 5eml

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2

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

 

 

Love language to a thorn

 

I had to share a picture from our front yard. Such symbolism!

thorns against winter 2eml
Menacing crimson thorns in our front yard. No match for snowflakes!

I often wonder why Jesus took a crown of thorns. I wonder why he took thorny me. 

I marvel at the symbolism of the picture. The thorns are no match for the Christ who died for us with a crown of thorns. Then he takes our heart of thorns and washes us whiter than snow.

Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 118)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Gary