Weather-related Fatalities

I'm afraid this blog has been a weather-related fatality. It's been too nice outside to be focused inside. Spring is here! New life is abounding. Buds are forming on trees. The robins are hopping about, searching for worms. Snakes slither before me as I walk in the slowly-greening grass. I've got part of my garden started indoors. God is good.

We did go see The Passion of the Christ earlier this week. It was good. It's kind of hard to put words to the experience. It brought tears to my eyes. Most of the time I was feeling disgusted at what humanity is capable of doing. It's also amazing how much love Jesus has for us. There is hope. Again, God is good.


Self-dissatisfaction leading to self-destruction

It's been one of those weeks where I'm not terribly happy with myself. Or proud either.

And you'd think that recognizing my short-comings would give me cause and motivation to change my ill-natured behavior. It hasn't.

And it's obvious what the culprit is. I've been neglecting time in prayer and God's word. Why do I do that? I've been in this place before where I skip out on my God-time and I end up suffering. And I don't mean that to say that God is punishing me. Not at all (though I do deserve it). He doesn't need to--we bring far too many bad things on ourselves. No, it's not punishment. It's consequences. God offers me this great relationship with Him and I neglect it. I choose garbage over greatness. Idiocity.

Get on the ball. Do what is right. That's what I'm saying to myself. Remind me about it.


I Dream of Moose

I was just noticing that in my last post I mentioned that we saw no moose. Last night I had a dream about finding a moose in a lake (presumably the lake we live by, but nothing was recognizable). Dreams can be really odd. In the Old Testament, God often spoke through people's dreams. I don't know if He does through every dream. If so, I'm not sure what He's trying to tell me. As far as the moose goes . . . maybe I'm supposed to move to Canada--or just watch more Rocky & Bullwinkle.


Back home

We returned Saturday from our trip up north. It was beautiful. Quiet, peaceful. Surprisingly warm. The broken up ice along the shore of Superior was surreal. We saw deer galore, but no moose. A few loons on the Lake. Pines and birch. Snow and rock. Beauty of God's Creation.


Mountain Lions

It's a random topic, I know. Today at lunch, one of our regular volunteers mentioned how there had been a confirmed sighting of a mountain lion at the south lake in December. Mountain lions are rare in Iowa. Period. They've only been returning within the past year. But to have one within a few miles is exciting to me. I know there's a lot of people talking how bad this is. People are excited to shoot one; no one wants one around--especially if they own livestock. But personally, I think its great that they're back. They're supposed to be here. Now, I'm not going to get off on some animal rights rant--I don't believe animals are worth more than human lives, but I also feel that God put us in charge of things to take care of them and keep them in order. We've done a crappy job of doing that. Sometimes we just need to learn to adapt and let things be.


Miracles & Maturity

On Monday we went to the hospital. We got to see the ultrasound of the baby. It's incredible to see that developing life on the screen. At 18 weeks, I could watch it move around. It's incredible to think that someday it, God willing, will be an adult with a family of its own, too.

Then I think that I'm not ready to bring a new life into this world. I've got a lot of things to work out in my own life. But is anyone ever truly ready? We're never finished until God brings us to completion.

I guess that's part of the point of miracles--we're never ready for them. They're meant to be another catalyst in helping us grow.


Snowfall & Silence

Today is one of those days where we've been getting a steady stream of snow all day (actually, since last night). There is probably about 8 inches on the ground right now. It's a perfect snow, too. There's very little wind, so it just comes straight down, and it's not very cold out. I was out walking in it earlier today--I had to go down to the shop to get some duct tape. There was no traffic, no one out, no noise. It was just me, God and the snow. It's one of those moments that you just wish you could soak in for a while (and I would have, except that after soaking in snow for a while, one tends to get cold). I hope there's a little corner in heaven that's like that.


Faith III

Yesterday I was icing down the toboggan chute. Currently there is a good-sized hole in the lake, even though the rest of the ice is around a foot or more thick. It was fairly cold yesterday so the ice was freezing well. In fact, you could see cracks forming in the ice, just standing there. Other places were pushed together, so the ice rose up. The whole morning it was talking. Now if you haven't been around frozen bodies of water, this doesn't make sense. But as ice expands, it makes noises--kind of a cross between a whale and Treebeard (from the Lord of the Rings) talking. A good amount of faith is required to stand on frozen water in the first place--I've encountered many people who won't set foot on it, no matter how thick you tell them it is. But it requires even more faith to stand out there when you can see the ice cracking and it is constantly talking. At the same time, it's a beautiful moment--especially if its quiet and you're all alone.

I don't think any analogy needs to be drawn to our spiritual faith.


Faith II

The funny thing is, God DOES what He is supposed to. I just overlook it or don't have the patience to wait for His timing. Actually, I think I do have the patience. I just don't like it to come down to the last minute. I guess that is sometimes God's way--sometimes it just needs to be obvious that it was He who did it. Then we've got no excuse. But we often do make up excuses to deny God's involvement. God does say in the first chapter of Romans that people are without excuse for believing in God. He's created enough wonders and done enough miracles that no one has good reason to deny Him. Yet, we keep coming up with reasons for doing so. Sometimes I think it takes more faith not to believe in Him than it does to do so. As for me, I'm happy with the kind of faith I've got (that's not to say that there's not room for me to grow in my faith, but that I survive with my faith in God).



Do you ever just have times when God isn't doing what He is supposed to? I'm waiting for God to provide something for ministry that is much needed in a timely manner. I've been praying about it and trusting Him, but He hasn't shown me the resources I need. Now I know He's not a cosmic vending machine, but I also know that He provides. Then I begin to wonder if I need to do more on my part. Or does going beyond what I need to do negate the trust/faith part and turn it into leaning too much on myself? Sometimes it feels like it can be a thin line to walk. Maybe I've taken the unbiblical notion that "God helps those who help themselves" to heart. I know its not true, but . . . I guess its always better to err on the side of trust. Can you trust to much? I mean I'm not just going to sit in a room and trust that God will provide me with food and water there everyday and not do anything to get it myself. I'm not going to trust that God will get me to work without me biking there or getting in my car.

Well, I'd better get back to trusting and praying.


Still Cold

Okay, so I'm in Iowa. It's going to be cold in January. We expect this. But there gets a point where its cold enough where I'm allowed to complain a little.

Water wasn't cold enough to freeze before hitting the ground yesterday, but it froze within a second afterward. I never heard what the actual temperature got to. This morning, the meteroroligists were saying that they wind chill would be in the negative 20s.

I'm giving up riding my bike this week. Call me lazy, but there are parts of me that I don't want to freeze.

There are a group of inmates from a nearby correctional facility that work out here during the week when we don't have campers around. The amazing thing is that some of them still keep on smoking in this weather. And of course we only allow smoking outside. And they're doing it in this weather. I guess it shows how addictive cigarettes are. I can't think of another reason why someone would voluntarily stand outside for a few minutes in this cold.


Before your spit hits the ground

I've read that at negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, water will freeze before it hits the ground. I don't know what the temperature is outside today, but it feels like water would freeze instantaneously. Curiously, it did look, however, like there was an open patch of water on the lake. I guess it could be from the springs.

We're doing marriage counseling this afternoon again with a couple whose wedding I'll be officiating this summer. Both have worked on summer staff in the past--actually quite recently. I do wish I had more training in that area--but experience helps. Speaking of which, I need to head home soon for that--if I don't freeze before I get there.