Archive for the 'Messages, Short Stories and Information' Category

Dec 19 2008

The Excellence of LOVE: Do I Have It? Where Can I Get It?

 

   I want to know what real love is.  I want to know what God says about love.  I want God to bless me with the knowlege of His love and how he wants me to apply that knowledge of love to my everyday life with Him, with my wife, with my children, my grandchildren, my friends and neighbors, and my love for the lost souls of this world. 

   1 Cor. 13 is known as the “Chapter of Love”.  Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Corinth from Ephesus around A.D. 55.  Let’s look at Chapter 13 to get a better understanding of what God’s Word says:

1 Corinthians 13

Love

 1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Or languages
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 Some early manuscripts body that I may boast

 

“Love is…..”   Taken from The Love Dare by  Stephen & Alex Kendrick

Love is patient.  Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.                                                                                                    Love is kind.   Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.                                                                               Love is not selfish.  Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.                                                                                            Love is thoughtful. Psalm 139:17-18 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake,  I am still with you.                                                                                              Love is not rude. Proverbs 27:14  14 If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning,  it will be taken as a curse.

Love is not irritable. Proverbs 16:32  32   Better a patient man than a warrior, 
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
Love believes the best.  1 Corinthians 13:7   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love is not jealous.  Song of Solomon 8:6  6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Love makes good impressions.  1 Peter 5:14  Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.
Love is unconditional.  Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  
Love cherishes.  Ephesians 5:28  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself.
Love lets the other win.  Philippians 2:4   Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Love fights fair.  Mark 3:25  If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Love takes delight. Ecclesiastes 9:9  Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
Love is honorable.  1 Peter 3:7  Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Love intercedes.  3 John 2  Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Love promotes intimacy.  Proverbs 17:9  He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Love seeks to understand.  Proverbs 3:13  Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.
Love is impossible.  1 John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Love is Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Love is satisfied in God.  Isaiah 58:11  The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Love is faithful.  Hosea 2:20  And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.
Love always protects.  1 Corinthians 13:7    It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love vs. Lust.  1 John 2:17  The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
Love forgives.  2 Corinthians 2:10  But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ.
Love is responsible.  Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
Love encourages.  Psalm 25:20  Guard my life and rescue me;  let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Love makes sacrifices.   1 John 3:16   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Love motivates.  Ephesians 6:7  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.
Love brings unity.  John 17:11  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
Love and marriage.  Genesis 2:24 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
Love meets sexual needs.  1 Corinthians 7:3  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
Love completes each other.  Ecclesiastes 4:11  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?
Love celebrates godliness.  1 Corinthians 13:6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love is accountable.  Proverbs 15:22  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Love is God’s Word.  Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Love agrees in prayer. Matthew 18:19  Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
Love fulfills dreams.  Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Love endures.  1 Corinthians 13:8  Love never fails………
Love is a covenant.  Ruth 1:16   But Ruth replied (to Naomi), “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Special Note:  The above information and scripture was taken from the book The Love Dare, by Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick, 2008
Dear Ones,
May you and I find the TRUE meaning of LOVE.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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Dec 11 2008

PLEASE NOTE: Great Outdoor Blessings Will Be Touring The HOLY LAND for Twelve Days in January! Please Look Forward Into January/February For A Complete Web Tour With Pictures!

PLEASE NOTE:  Great Outdoor Blessings Will Be Touring The HOLY LAND for Twelve Days in January, 2009!  Please Look Forward Into January/February For A Complete Web Tour With Pictures!  Please Visit Our Website And Be Our Guest Through Daily Tours and Pictures Directly From The Holy Land!

 Today is January 17, 2009 and the photo journey has begun….see the PHOTO tab for a daily tour with pictures!  

 

 

 

 

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Nov 12 2008

“Pistol” Pete Maravich with Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family

Double click here then double click on “A Tribute to Pete Maravich”   http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/media_player.aspx?MediaId={40F2D38C-BA1A-4D1C-81AC-3CBD05821EFE}&FAMILYTYPE=null

Double Click here then double click on “Pistol Pete’s Prayer”  http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/media_player.aspx?MediaId={40F2D38C-BA1A-4D1C-81AC-3CBD05821EFE}&FAMILYTYPE=null

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Oct 29 2008

Is Jesus Christ The Son of God? Who is Jesus?

Christianity differs from all other religions, because it is more than a religion – it is the life of the Son of God  made living in man.  Christ is Christianity, and Christianity is Christ,  HE is the supreme subject of each book of the New Testament, and fulfills all the promises of GOD in the Old Testament, from His incarnation to His Second Coming as “Lord of Lords” and “King of Kings” as found in Rev 17:14:  “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”  HE is the God-man Christ Jesus in glory, exalted above all creatures.  Jesus said in Matt. 28:18 “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth”.  During His earthly ministry, HE claimed to be GOD incarnate (in human flesh).  He is all that HE claimed to be, or HE is less than the least.  Rev. 1:8 says “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Before His claim can be denied, there are several things that must be accounted for:

His Virgin birth;

His holy, sinless life;

His many miracles;

His vicarious death and His bodily resurrection;

THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST:  John 1:1 

The Word Became Flesh    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST:  Rom. 1:3-4 

regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit[a] of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST:  Luke 1:26-35 

26  In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

 35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.

THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST:  Phil. 2:8

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST:  Matt. 28:1-20

The Resurrection

 1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

 11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

 16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

THE ASCENSION AND SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST: Acts 1:9-11

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD:

 http://www.gieson.com/john316/jesus_links.html

 

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Aug 30 2008

Who is GOD?

 

The Bible reveals GOD as the only Infinite and Eternal Being, having no beginning and no ending.  He is Creator and Sustainer of all things.  He is the Supreme Personal Intelligence, and Righteous Ruler of His universe.  He is life, and therefore, the only source of life.  Read  John 5:26.

Man is natural and cannot know GOD by wisdom.  “Can you discover the depths of GOD?”  Read Job 11:7 .  GOD is a person and can be known only by revelation.  In the Old Testament He revealed Himself to and through His prophets.  In the New Testament He reveals Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.  Read Heb 1:1-3.

The Existence of GOD          Read Heb 11:5-6

The Personality of GOD          Read 1 Thess 1:9

The Nature of GOD          Read 1 John 4:8

The Grace of GOD          Read Eph 2:8

The Trinity of GOD          Read Matt 3:16-17

 

A Portrait of GOD:  God is

Blessed & Only Sovereign                                   Control & power are God’s alone

King of kings                                                      No king has more power or authority

Lord of lords                         God possesses absolute superiority over all powers, both human and divine  

Immortal                               God alone has inherent immortality; ours comes from Him

Unapproachable light                                          God’s glory is blinding

Unseen (invisible)                  God is so Holy that no one can see him and live

Worthy of Honor                    God is to be honored for who He is and what He has done

Eternal domination (power)    God’s power continues from eternity to eternity; it has no end    

 

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Aug 14 2008

How to Pray for America (and Website)*

 

Dr. Adrian Rogers said in this message that “Only prayer can hold back the floodtide of sin and God’s judgement and release the cleansing, healing hand of God”.   First, Dr. Rogers said we must “Pray with Serious Concentration”.  Please see Daniel 9:3 .  We are to pray sincerely with every inch of our being as individuals, as a church body, even as a nation.  But not just any prayer, it must be prayer and fasting. 

Secondly, we must “Pray with Sincere Confession”.  Sin brings judgement; confession brings forgiveness.  Daniel confessed his personal sin and the sin of his nation.  See Daniel 9:4-7 and Daniel 9:20.  If we want to see this nation turn towards God, it is vital that each person reading this go individually before God and confess personal sin.  See what He tells us in 1 John 1:9 .  There is no sin-none that is beyond God’s forgiveness.  Every sin is covered under the blood of Jesus.  Daniel also prayed for God to forgive the sin of a nation. 

Finally, “Pray with Spiritual Concern”.  Daniel’s concerns when he prayed were the removal of guilt and the restoration of glory.  See Daniel 9:16-19.  It is prayer time in America and for America.  See James 5:16.  Prayer is our greatest resource, and God is our only true hope.  Will you pray with Serious Concentration, Sincere Confession, and Spiritual Concern?

 

*”How to Pray for America Website”

 

So what is our responsibility to our Lord and to our country?  Now you can find a place to read information from key Christian leaders addressing the issue of our responsibility.  www.howtoprayforamerica.org  is a website designed to focus on this exciting time from a Christian perspective.  Check this website out and sign up to receive email updates on the contents of this site.  Will you join us in praying for America?

 

WWW.HOWTOPRAYFORAMERICA.ORG 

*This article was taken from a message given by Love Worth Finding Ministries with Dr. Adrian Rogers; August 2008 “Ministry Moments”

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Jul 22 2008

Once Upon A Time, I Met Joe “Montana”

     This article was written by John D. Williams for Great Outdoor Blessings 

 

   It was in the early summer of 2008 on a Saturday afternoon in Lowndes County, Mississippi that I explained a technical problem I had with my motorhome parked on a beautiful campsite on the water’s edge of Lake Lowndes.  The gentleman I talked with told me that the fellow across the way from him could help me.  The only problem was he had just driven off in his truck.  I was told that I could not miss him because he was a slim gentleman walking around with the help of a walking cane due to bad knees.  He was a distinguished man with snow-white hair.  The characteristic that immediately gave him away was those suspenders he wore everyday to keep his pants up.  I was told that he was one of the nicest and friendliest men I would ever meet.  I found it to be true the next afternoon when I met Joe “Montana” for the very first time.  

 

   The more I talked to Joe the more I knew he was a unique individual although he was retired and was a “full-timer” in his motorhome.  Joe is twelve years older than me but we share one thing in common.  Joe and I have a genuine love for the great state of Montana.  Joe told me that his love for Montana began when he was a very young lad.  He had always dreamed of living on an isolated mountain in a cabin in the mountains of Montana…not Wyoming…not Idaho…but the mountains of Montana.  My heart longs for Montana just as Joe had a love for Montana.  One day I want to live in Montana and wait for my journey to Heaven.  For Christians, life on this earth is only a part of the journey to our eternal home with God.  I want to live in Montana until I am called home just as Joe lived in Montana for about four years before returning to the south in 2003.

   I talked to Joe just this morning.  He was on his way into town to get a haircut.  Joe didn’t want a massacre with his hair during this session but said that he was receiving a lot of remarks from his wife Shirley about his long curly white hair.  I told Joe his hair looked just fine after all, the blood running through him was that of a Montana mountain man and not of a Mississippi boy who had returned to his home state to possibly finish his years left on this earth.  He later sent me an e-mail saying that he canceled his haircut and didn’t want to cut it.

   Joe retired from the timber business years ago.  He lived his dream of that cabin on a mountain in the Bitterroot Range near the Continental Divide outside of Conner, Montana.  He and Shirley bought their cabin there in 1999.  Their view from their home was that of Shook Mountain and trees, and trees, and more trees.  Oddly Joe said he never saw bears on his place but there was an abundance of wildlife surrounding his home.  Joe, the lover of wildlife and the Great Outdoors spoke of wolves, whitetail and mule deer, moose, elk, wild turkeys, and mountain lions exploring on his property.   Joe was not a hunter.  He loved the creatures and he loved their surroundings.  The moose was his favorite.

   Joe lived only three miles from the Bitterroot River but fished the Big Hole River on the east side of the Continental Divide near Wisdom, MT nearly thirty miles away.  His favorite fishing spot was near the “Big Hole Battlefield” area.  I can see Joe now with that fly-rod in his hand as he makes the perfect cast and that beautiful rainbow tries to destroy the fly that Joe has so carefully placed at the edge of the rocks with only the first cast.  That snow-white hair of Joe’s is very bright in the crisp Montana sun as it is high above the Bitterroot River.  Oh, the water in the river is fresh and clear and is cool as it flows near the Continental Divide.  Joe is doing what he loves to do and where he loves to do it, in the Great Outdoors of Montana.

 

 

 Tragedy Strikes Great Outdoors Blessings that Surrounded Joe

  

   Joe’s neighbor, Dewayne and his wife Paula lived about a quarter mile south across Blind Draw.  Cap and Sharon lived down in the hollow a quarter mile southwest of Joe and Shirley.  Just down the road from Dewayne, a young guy with long black hair and beard named Jody lived under a blue tarp. Then there was Cliff and his two boys who lived close by.  These were true mountain people, “as good as gold” Shirley told me.    The mountain home that my friends Joe “Montana” and Shirley loved so dearly was off of Dickson Creek Road about eight miles from Conner, MT. 

   The early morning sunrise on August 6, 2000 would become a day of heartbreak for them.  According to Michael Moore of the Missoulian News  a significant fire caused by lightning strikes was burning in Gilbert Creek south of Dickson Creek, along with a string of spot fires in Spade Creek. Joe and Shirley’s “mountain people” friends in the area had been alerted to potential danger, but a dozen or so remained in Dickson Creek. Joe stayed behind on their property while Shirley was back in Mississippi checking on her elderly mother.  Joe had called Shirley and told her she really needed to come back home because the fires were getting worse.  After picking Shirley up at the airport they decided they should leave because there was a chance that the fires would rage over their only way out and down the mountain.  By mid afternoon, the temperature was 92 degrees, the humidity was very low and the wind was coming up.  With winds blowing at more than 20 mph, the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley erupted in flame, as fires scorched homes and property in the Laird, Dickson, Spade and Beam creek drainages, Blind Draw and along the U.S. Highway 93 corridor.

   By late afternoon, after the backburnhad been intentionally set by the U.S. Forest Service on the Trinity Ranch near the mouth of Spade Creek, the narrow river canyon and its side drainages raged with fire.  The backburn was an effort to protect some homes on the riverside flats between the highway and the foothills, the Forest Service said at the time.  Residents were out of their homes by that time, but homes and property suffered as the Gilbert, Spade and backburn fires roared through the canyons.  Joe and Shirley said that one of the hardest things was not knowing if they would ever see their friends again.  Finally, late in the evening about 10:00 PM on August the 8th of 2000 they heard from Dewayne and Paula.  They had survived.  Their home did not.  Joe and Shirley’s home survived as did Cap and Sharon’s home. 

   Shirley recalls that “they closed Hwy.93 for several days and wouldn’t let anybody through because of the thick smoke and downed trees that were still burning.”  “Finally we got to go back and words can’t describe what we saw.  It was like going to a dark, gray lifeless other world.  All the beauty was gone; nothing but smouldering ashes, big holes in the ground where trees were uprooted by the tornado-like force of the fire.”  Shirley continues by saying “when we got up to the house it was hard to believe that our house was almost like we left it.  The big American flag hanging at our front door was smoked up.  We hurt for our neighbors Dewayne and Paula.  They had worked so hard for years building that house and it was finally finished.  They were so proud of it.  Everything they had burned; even their snowmobile had melted.”  Joe and Shirley cleaned up their home as best they could.  They tried to get Dewayne and Paula to stay with them but they refused.  They pitched a tent in the front yard of Joe’s home.  It took about two weeks of cleaning and getting things in order.  Joe, Shirley, and “Boo Boo” finally left the house for Dewayne and Paula to live in.  They lived there until the spring as Dewayne slowly built the home back room by room.  To this day they talk with Dewayne and Paula and Cap and Sharon regularly.  They have all remained friends since the summer of 2000.

   The picture below was taken by John McColgan on August 6, 2000 as two elk take refuge in the East Fork of the Bitterroot River as flames consume a hillside near Joe’s home. 

 

              

   I took the picture below almost 10 years later (April 2010) from the same spot on the bridge at the East Fork of the Bitterroot River near Sula, MT.  Look at the difference ten years will make.  When you examine it closley, destruction is still so evident.

 

East Fork of the Bitterroot River

 

                

  

   This satellite picture covers Joe’s area taken on August 8, 2000

 

 

   After it was all said and done, it was a sad ending to a tragic story.  Joe and Shirley were blessed.  God had spared their lives and had spared their Montana mountain home that Joe had dreamed of as a little boy.  Destruction in the Bitterroot Valley topped $54 million.  Joe’s loss of God’s Great Outdoor Blessings surrounding his home was priceless.  Joe to this day is still saddened by the loss of the wildlife and the trees and the fresh mountain air surrounding his home.  The home still stood but destruction to the environment was extreme.  His cabin on the mountain that he loved had received heavy smoke damage.  With Joe being in the timber business, he knew of the total devastation to that part of the Bitterroot Valley. Joe knew that it would be generations before the trees and wildlife would return as it was before the fires.   Joe later explained to me that when they went back up the mountain to see if their property had survived he jumped on his 4-wheeler in pursuit of his favorite cow moose and her calf.  Joe’s heart was breaking as he came upon them in the burned out forest behind his home.  The cow was lying down along with her calf standing by her side.  Joe could not get close to them but he did notice that the cow had a big burn on her side.  Hair was burned but Joe did not think damage had been done to her hide.  Her calf was fine.  The cow moose had protected her calf from the horrific flames.  God provided a means to spare them.  Still, Joe’s heart was broken as he looked around at all of the destruction.

   Joe and about one hundred others lost their battle in the U.S. Court with the Forest Service.  The young lad, born in Brooksville, Mississippi with dreams of living his life in the mountains of Montana sold what was left of his property and came back home to Mississippi.  Theypurchased acreage in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, nothing to compare to the beauty and magnificent “Big Sky” of Montana.  They have also purchased several motorhomes throughout the years and have done extensive traveling in the years past.  They live and travel with their precious and feisty twelve-year old dog “Boo Boo”.  Joe is quick to share pictures of the summer of 2005 when he, Shirley, and “Boo Boo” traveled throughout Alaska.  This was a very happy time in Joe’s life.  He and Shirley enjoyed three months in Alaska but Joe’s heart belonged in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of Montana.  Joe will never lose his love for the “Big Sky” over Montana.

   Joe’s long-term goals?  I don’t know if Joe really knows what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  He speaks of buying a couple of acres outside of Florence, Alabama and building another home in the Great Outdoors of North Alabama.  Will he ever be happy there?  Yes, I think he and his beloved Shirley will be able to call it home.  I know that Joe wants to make one more trip back to Montana before his life’s journey ends outside of Florence, AL.  Joe’s heart aches for a return to Montana one day.  My prayer for Joe and Shirley is that God will allow them to do just that.   God blessed me the day I met Joe “Montana” once upon a time.

 

 Joe and his beautiful wife Shirley         My favorite picture of Joe \      Rita, John, Joe \

***Information for this article was from interviews with Joe and Shirley.  Reference material was taken from “Montana on Fire!  Summer of 2000”  Montana Magazine and Text by Michael Moore.

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May 03 2008

God Gives Believers (Just Like David) Five Smooth Stones

A summary of one of my favorite sermon messages appeared in The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN  on June 6, 1992.  I have carried a copy of this message in my Bible for the past 16 years.  The sermon, “God’s Select and Courageous Army”  was delivered by Pastor J.S. Ray of All Believers Faith Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  I want to share this message with you!

 

   After the Crucifixion, the followers of Jesus were devastated, disappointed and in despair.  After the Resurrection and the appearance of our Lord to His followers, a quiet assurance that He is alive began to take over their spirits.  This assurance empowered them!  They were ready to continue His work.

   They were weak, fearful and unlearned in their own power, but in Him they were to become conquering warriors.  They were the army of God, armed and dangerous, as He trained and directed them from victory to victory over sin, sickness, oppression or any attack from the enemy.

   As a local church, we are there to reach into our community and our nation.  We are here as a beacon to bring about a change.  We can and will, if we give ourselves to Him, submit to His training and direction. We are the army of God.  We are accountable for  changing the environment in which we operate.  We must win others to the Kingdom.

   God will take the weak and make them strong.  He is a great change-master.  God chose and anointed David, and David defeated Goliath.  David knew no weapon formed against him would prosper.  You, too, must know and operate in that knowledge.

   God chooses those who will hear and obey.  They are willing to give up personal interest and opt for Divine direction in every area of their lives.  Until we reach this point of yielding our desires, we are not ready for the army of God.  We will not make good soldiers.

   As an army, we must extend the territory of the Lord.  We must go and bring the drug addict, sinner, prostitute, the lonely…..As we gather wisdom and knowledge, our debts become fewer and fewer, our discontent is not as severe as it once was and our despair begins to lift.  We’re working with the change-master!

   David used five smooth stones to slay the giant.  We, too, have five smooth stones.  These stones will defeat any enemy.  Our sling must be FAITH.  Here are our five stones:                                                        Our first stone against any enemy is the NAME OF JESUS – use the name often!                                                 Our second stone is the WORD – use the Word.  Know what’s written in the Bible and where.                            Our third stone is the BLOOD – the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, will cleanse you.                                                  Our fourth stone is the HOLY SPIRIT .  Be filled with the Spirit and overcome the enemy.                                   Our fifth stone is PRAISE AND WORSHIP  – know the power of praise, the necessity of worship.

   Take your weapons, wind them in the sling of faith, and let go!  The giant will fall – you will take his head and have it to show.  Take aim at drugs, sin, debt or anything that keeps you in bondage.  LET YOUR WEAPONS DEFEAT YOUR GOLIATH.

 

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Mar 16 2008

Montana Grizzly Bears…..How Much Do You Really Know?

In Montana, people are blessed to have such a magnificent animal – the grizzly bear. On a good day in one of the parks orbearcan_11.jpg in the forest – and from the safety of your automobile or a healthy distance – you just might catch a glimpse of one, an experience of a lifetime for many of us.  Here is a “Griz Quiz” for you.  Take the quiz then read the “Griz Facts” for your answers.  How much do you really know about Montana Grizzly Bears?

“Griz Quiz”

How many grizzlies roam Montana?

A.  five or six  B.  50-60  C.  500-600  D.  5,000-6,000

The grizzly mostly eats 

A.  Mississippi State Bulldog fans  B.  Elk or deer   C.  Arkansas Razorback fans  D.  Plants and fruits      grizzly.jpg

Grizzly births are usually: 

A.  Single births  B.  Twins  C.  Triplets  D.  Quads

The grizzly can’t climb trees:

A.  more than 10 feet  B.  more than 20 feet  C.  more than 30 feet  D.  at all

When a grizzly stands up:

A.  It’s after you…run like the wind  B.  It’s 6-8 feet tall  C.  It’s getting a better view  D.  both B and C

How many grizzly bears are in North America?

A.  3,500  B. 35,000  C.  100,000  D. a million

Grizzly sexes are:

A.  Bull and doe  B.  Bull and cow  C.  Boar and sow  D. other

The females give birth and nurse in a den without eating, drinking or eliminating waste for:

A.  three or four weeks  B.  three or four months  C.  five or six weeks  D.  five or six months

If a bear attacks at night when you are in a tent,

A.  it is looking for a snack of trail mix  B.  it is looking for Don Denton  C.  fight back vigorously  D.  play dead

Except while hunting, your best defense in the woods is to     

A.  make a lot of noise  B.  Carry bear spray  C.  Pray a lot  D.  travel with a slow companion 

“Griz Facts”                                                                                                                                                       grizzly-bear.jpg                                                                                                                 

How’d you do on the quiz?  Here are the answers.  

Scientists estimate that 500 to 600 grizzlies roam Montana, eating mostly plants and fruits the year round.  Of course winter-killed game is popular among bears, and you always hear about the attacks on livestock, pets and people.  Speaking of which, people have a part to play in not putting out foods that attract bears.  Pet foods, bird feed and garbage can bring bears into contact with people.  Often that means the bear will have to be killed.

Bears usually bear twins.  Triplets are not uncommon.  When bears stand to their full height of 6-8 feet tall, it’s not a sign of aggression, just a move to get a better view.  And this might be a good point to mention that you should never run from bears, because running triggers a predator’s chase response.  Sorry to disabuse you of the myth that it is safe to climb a tree, but grizzlies can reach 10 feet into a tree without climbing and can climb some trees up to 20 feet.  Oh, and if the tree is only 20 feet tall, the bear could shake you out of it anyhow.  North American grizzly estimates, including Canada and Alaska, come to 35,000.  More than 100,000 grizzlies are found in Asia.

We call them the boar and sow – no wonder they always seem to be angry.  Not to make you queasy, but the sow in birth years dens for five to six months.  If a bear attacks your tent at night, it’s looking for food, and you are in no position to serve a nice dish of trail mix.  Fight as if your life depended on it, because it probably does.  By day, grizzly attacks are usually by threatened bears, and as a last resort, you could play dead, but don’t forget to pray.  Bears will avoid human contact, so if you make enough noise…then again, it’s conceivable that a bear can be hungry by day, too.  Always carry bear spray into the woods.  As a last resort, you won’t have to outrun a bear if you take a companion that you can outrun.

       from RURAL MONTANA MAGAZINE March2008

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Mar 12 2008

“Campin’ Kitties” – Their First Camping Trip

Campin’ Kitties – Their First Camping Trip

Prissye and Pete were not “Happy Campers” at the beginning of their first camping trip.  We loaded them up and strapped them into their travel-carriers and down I-55 South we went. Pete handled the trip fairly well.  Prissye meowed every mile of the entire trip.  She wanted out of that carrier and into her Mama’s lap.  Finally we arrived at Percy Quin State Park in McComb, Mississippi.  Our campsite was right on the shores of Lake Tangipahoa (about 700 acres) within the State Park.  Our cats were in for a new experience. After setting up the motorhome we freed the “campin’ kitties” from the captivity of their travel-carriers and the seat-belts that tied them down. We had already prepared their litter box so we pointed them in the right direction.  Then it was time for something to eat and fresh water.  We did not feed them or let them have water during the trip because we did not know how they would handle motion sickness.  We were prepared to make ice chips available to them should motion sickness become a factor.  Ice chips are recommended by KOA for traveling with your pets.  Fortunately our cats did not need this remedy.  You cat owners know what was next…it was time to explore their new surrounddcp00589.JPGings for the next five days.  The two new beds we bought for them were never used.  They only wanted to sleep right beside their beds on the couch or either on the bed in the bedroom.  They were really anticipating a great first night of camping.  The next several days were pure pleasure for us.  Prissye and Pete slept most of the day, ate and drank water freely and explored more and more.  One of their favorite places was in the big window of the windshield of the motorhome where the sun shines in bright and warm.  They overdosed each day on absorption of their Vitamin D in the sun on the dash.  As you can tell from the picture, the camping trip wore them out.  The trip home was peaceful and non-eventful.  They were ready to get home.  We can’t wait for the next trip when we take them into the “Great Outdoors”.                                             

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