Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Purple Fish

by Dan Jones


I recently ran low on reading material and came across a copy of the book Purple Fish by Pastor Mark O. Wilson.

It’s about Jesus and fishing, which means it could have just as easily been titled “Hey, Dan Jones, You Should Read This Book.”

More specifically, the book is about how to share Jesus, which is something I have long thought I don’t do very well at all in person.

Yes, I can write about Jesus, but there is something about doing it face-to-face that’s much more difficult.

Early in the book, Wilson describes a failed evangelism attempt that wonderfully illustrates how we’ve been doing it wrong.

As a youth, he was on a bicycle mission trip in Ohio when he came across a man whose car was stalled by the side of the road.

The hood was up and the man was bent over the engine. Wilson pedaled up and said, “Hey mister, I have something important to ask you.”

“The irritated man turned toward me, holding a wrench in his greasy hand.”

“What?”

“If you died today, would you go to heaven or hell?”

Wilson recounts the man told him exactly where to go-- and it wasn’t heaven.

There are many chapters that recount stories like this, and each one brings us a little closer to honestly shining the light of Jesus.

When I got to Chapter 22, I found a section called “Start With Hurting” that really made an excellent point:

“God’s purple fish--those he treasures most--are lost, broken, and hurting people. That includes everybody you meet. When we engage in spiritual conversation with the lost, broken, hurting people, it’s best to start with hurting.

If you start with lost, then your job is to set them straight. That means you know something and they don’t. In other words, you assume you’re smart and they’re stupid.

If you start with broken, then your job is to fix them. The unspoken message is that broken things are problems, less valuable, and may be beyond repair.

But when you start with hurting, your job is to bring healing.

People resent those who try to fix them or make them feel stupid but respect those who bring a healing presence. That’s what Jesus did. He started with healing, and then moved from there to straighten and repair. The healing came first.”

That’s wonderful advice.

We are called to start with love. We are told that if we don’t have love, we are nothing but clanging gongs or noisy cymbals. So when we address the hurting first, we put love first.

The book goes on from there, giving examples and ideas on how to help people who are hurting deeply.

The book reads easily and quickly, but is also worthy of careful study. I think it would lend itself well to group study in your church.

I give it five spinnerbaits.

Today’s Praise


"But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." Matthew 17:27 NIV

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Bench

by Dan Jones

I’m not a “sports guy” and this is not a sports blog, which is a good thing because one should generally refrain from writing from ignorance.

I was the skinny, uncoordinated kid in grade school that was often picked second-to-last for any given team.  (Okay, sometimes dead last.)

I did have one or two “glory plays” in flag football because I was so un-imposing the offense didn’t bother to block me and I squeaked through the line and sacked the quarterback.

By “sacked” I mean ripped the plastic flag off his belt, not “tackle and bring to the ground” like in actual football. This is not nearly as impressive as a sack in real NFL Sunday Night Football.

Doing a fist-pump dance with the quarterback’s flag in your hand would hardly be suitable for an instant replay right before cutting away to a beer commercial.

Despite all the efforts to create a kinder, gentler society, America still prefers a certain level of controlled violence in its most popular sport.

That having been said, I do occasionally watch the Vikings on TV. (I will pay $100 to watch a football game in person on the same day I can flap my arms and fly there—which, coincidentally, would also allow me to avoid the exorbitant parking fees.)

Last Sunday, I was watching the Vikings play our arch rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

They may throw me out of the state for putting this in print, but I don’t actually hate “The Pack.” They have often been a better team than the Vikings, they are the only publicly-owned NFL team, and they are also the only team named for meat processing activities. (I may not be much at sports, but I can hold my own in even the most gruesome of trivia battles.)

But the main reason I am so often deflated by our namesake Norsemen is a decades-long capacity to give up. I don’t know how many times I have seen them start out with a seemingly insurmountable lead for the vast majority of the game only to suffer some set-back late in the fourth quarter which utterly destroys their attitude just long enough for the opposing team to capitalize on their dashed morale and stomp them into a gelatinous puddle of purple and yellow.

Despite this, I still seem to find myself drawn to watch them in the hope that someday (maybe in my own lifetime) they will get over it, become the winning team they were always meant to be, and their adoring fans will shower them with lutefisk in embarrassing public displays of affection.

Anyway, getting back to Sunday’s game, one of our Vikings players was having a very bad time of it in the third quarter.

Trae Waynes, who is only in his second year with the Vikings, was called for pass interference three times. The replays showed these were not narrow calls made by the officials. It wasn’t because they didn’t like his hair.

Waynes was frequently flailing away at the intended receiver’s face and chest region with no concept of where the ball was at the time. At one point, his flagrant disregard for the rules and lack of composure cost the Vikings 29 yards in a single play!

But here’s the thing:

The coach kept him in the game.

Yes, he was benched for a short series to allow him to rest, but they sent him right back out there.

Even though I have no concept of what it is to play professional football, much less coach it, I could not believe those in charge were leaving this guy out on the field!

“Bench him!” I said as I reached for my iced tea. “They ought to send that guy to the showers,” I said out loud even though the only living being within ear-shot was a nine-pound Chihuahua.

And then, just as Green Bay was marching down the field with only two minutes to go on their way to score the inevitable touchdown and once again cause the Vikings to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Trae Waynes intercepted a pass.

It shut the Packers down, turned the tide, and the Vikings won the game 17-14.

When I tried doing an internet search to verify that his last pass interference call did indeed cost us 29 yards, I couldn’t find it.

All Waynes’ previous mistakes were completely  forgotten by the sports press and every article you can find about that game says Waynes redeemed himself with that one play.

And I would have had him sitting on the bench for that play.

Thank God I am not a professional football coach and thank God that our God never pulls us out of the game while the battle is still going on.

No matter what we have done, no matter how badly we have messed up, our God still has confidence in us. He knows we can do it. We can handle it—with His help. He will give us another chance even if we have messed up and failed at the task every single time we have tried prior to this one last time.

He also knows we can’t do it on our own. Yes, he may send us to the sidelines to rest, but you can bet He will have a Word for us when we are sitting there—if only we will listen.

Trae Waynes didn’t learn to play football on his own. He had numerous coaches teach him. His teammates encouraged him. And so, even though his coaches and teammates will celebrate with him, it’s the team that won, not the individual.

Today’s Praise

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut. 31:8 (NIV)



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Freedom

by Dan Jones


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Those words from the Declaration of Independence are probably the most famous words ever written about human rights.

The history of the concept involved originates with John Locke, an English philosopher and physician, who lived from 1632 to 1704. It was his writings that influenced Thomas Jefferson to include them in the Declaration, but Benjamin Franklin is credited with giving them their final form in his proofreading of Jefferson’s draft.

Locke is said to have derived the concept that we are all created equal from Genesis 1:26-28. He reasoned that because each one of us is created in the image of God, we are all therefore equally free.

Including that statement in the Declaration had earth-shattering repercussions in that if you establish a country based on such a concept, it quickly becomes impossible to justify the institution of slavery in that country.

Just seven years after the Declaration was signed, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that the use of a nearly identical phrase in its Constitution effectively made slavery illegal in that state. By 1790, there were no slaves in Massachusetts.

You may well point out that Jefferson himself (along with many other signers of the Declaration) owned slaves. But what you may not know is what Jefferson wrote in his first draft of the Declaration:

"[H]e [the king of Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

Jefferson is also known to have written that slavery was an "abominable crime," a "moral depravity," a "hideous blot," and a "fatal stain" on the country's honor.

So, why was this cut from the final version of the Declaration?

Well, certainly slavery was a powerful economic force in the Deep South, so there was the economic aspect. The point can also be made that the first and foremost intent of the document was to declare independence from Britain, not to start an abolitionist movement, nor to divide the newly-formed union of states.

Also, slavery as a human institution had existed as a normal part of every-day life for thousands and thousands of years. While Jefferson and many others opposed it, they rightly knew that it was not something that could be eradicated overnight.

Looking back at it now, over two centuries later, it may seem like they were hypocritical, but I see God’s hand in it.

While the anti-slavery paragraph was cut, the concept that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights stayed in the document and formed a country that was based on freedom.

We were about freedom. Liberty was our defining concept.

And, as such, we were a country that could not and would not continue to count some men as property of other men.

It was antithetical to our core beliefs, it was wrong, and the Declaration of Independence clearly made it un-American.

And let us not forget that the Abolitionist Movement to abolish slavery was a Christian movement that gained momentum from English and American Quakers right around the time the Declaration was signed.

All of the northern states of the newly-formed United States of America abolished slavery within thirty years of the signing of the Declaration.
The United States banned international trade in slaves in 1807.

The Abolitionist movement continued to grow and build until, in 1861, the American Civil War broke out.

It was the bloodiest war we have ever fought.

More Americans—of both races—died in the Civil War than all other wars combined.

It was devastating and the effects, good and bad, last to this day.

All of this occurred before I was born, before my father was born, before my grandfather was born, even before my great-grandfather was born.

But that document that declares that all men are created equal continues to unashamedly and defiantly make its point in the face of the evil that would subjugate one man to another.

That concept of freedom was so powerful and contagious that slavery is no longer legal in any part of the world.

Yes slavery does still exist as human trafficking (with an estimated 29.8 million people affected) which shows that we can never stop fighting evil.

But given that slavery existed since before the dawn of written history, its demise as a legal institution is a miracle --and God clearly gets the glory for it.

Today’s Praise

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16 ESV


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's September Survey Time!

by Dan Jones


It’s Kinship Christian Radio September Survey time!

Now is your chance to have actual input into how your local Christian radio station operates on a daily basis.

If you think about it, is there any other radio of television station that takes the time to ask you for input, advice, or comment?

Admittedly, I am somewhat biased.

Actually, I think Kinship Christian Radio is a miraculous, gloriously shining example of the power and love of Jesus Christ.

So, truthfully, I am very biased.  Incredibly biased. Huuuge.

But even with my incredible favorable bias, there are some things about Kinship Christian Radio that could be improved.  (I could stand a bit more Beth Crosby, for one.)

And, as a Christian, it’s important to lift up, support, and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, so telling them that they are doing a great job is important, too.  (Really, you are. Keep up the good work.)

There are even important questions on the survey about what you think are the biggest issues facing our nation, and what Kinship Christian Radio can do to impact the listening area.

Good, constructive criticism is an extremely valuable tool. The survey is sent out to seek the truth in love and make Kinship Christian Radio more effective in bringing the love of Jesus to more people.

It’s important, it’s helpful, it works, and what you put down on your survey could have eternal impact.  That’s not something we can say about most things we encounter on a day-to-day basis.

So, if you did not receive a September Survey in the mail, give them a call at 507-526-3233 or go to kinshipradio.org and drop them an email.

Thanks and God bless!

Today’s Praise

Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. (Proverbs 16:13 ESV)


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Where Does Music Come From?

by Dan Jones


One of the things I really like about Kinship Christian Radio is the music.

Yes, you’re allowed a “duh” in response to that last sentence both because I have written that before and because pretty much everybody likes music.

Well, we all like good music, but we dislike “bad” music just as much or more than we like “good” music. (To this day, my reaction to “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille is as violent as if I had been administered a steaming stein of Syrup of Ipecac.)

The thing is, somewhere there is someone who likes that “bad” music just as much as you like your “good” music and is probably quite convinced that it’s your music that’s the bad stuff and not theirs.

So, what constitutes good music is subjective from person to person and even within individual people.  My favorite song last year is not my favorite song this year. (Granted, some music like “Amazing Grace” is timeless.)

Currently, I very much like “Spirit Burn” by Audio Adrenaline.  When the music swells and the beat picks up, and they sing “Glorify your name!” if I’m in my car, I am singing that line as loud as I can.

I even think it would make an excellent theme song for a revival that would sweep across the whole nation.

“Glorify your name!
Let your kingdom rule over our hearts!
Father, show your face!
Let the light of heaven shine from us!”

It has an emotional impact on me, as well as an intellectual, and a spiritual effect.

But where does music come from?

What is inside us that wants, even needs, to sing?

Music is a human universal. Every culture that currently exists on the planet and (as far as we know) every culture that has ever existed has practiced music.

Disclaimer: At one time, there were reports that a culture called “The Ick” (I am seriously NOT making that up.) did not practice music, but that has since been disproven.

So, since every culture on the planet practices music, it’s no surprise that every religion on the planet also involves music.

But that doesn’t answer the question of where it comes from. Why do we do it?

There’s been lots of conjecture by scientists who have desperately tried to force music to fit into the evolutionary mold, but it just doesn’t work.

Mark Changizi has written a book called, “Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man” in which he contends that music evolved to mimic the way we move and impart that information to others.

And, even though Changizi says that in doing so music therefore conveys mood, his explanation and his theory fall flat (pun intentional) because music is much more than simple mimicry of our movements and moods.

There really is no satisfactory answer—not from a purely analytical, scientific standpoint. Music is far richer and more complex than it would need to be to convey the simple concepts Changazi is talking about. And it really would have no clear-cut evolutionary benefit.

At its very core, music is spiritual.

That’s why when Bear Rinehart of NeedtoBreathe sings “God of merrrrrrcy, sweet looooove of mine, I have surrendered to your design” in “Multiplied”, I am with him. I’m ready to surrender to God’s design, too.

“May this offering stretch across the skies—and these hallelujahs be multiplied!”

And when Third Day sings “Soul on Fire” (which I'm pretty sure is the unofficial Allen Jones theme song) I want to be a soul on fire, too.

That’s why when there’s that drumroll as Kari Jobe sings “rolls of thunder” in “Revelation Song” a chill goes up my spine and I am in absolute awe of the God of the universe.

Michael Graziano is a professor of Neuroscience at Princeton University and an admitted atheist who has written an article for the Huffington Post entitled, “Why is Music a Religious Experience?” In it, while talking about Mozart, he comes within half a hair’s breadth of admitting what I’ve been getting to since the beginning of this piece.

In the deep logic of the music, I sense a presence. My brain generates a mind state, a persona, and attributes it to the music. Not the mind of Mozart the man, but a kind of soul that invests that particular piece. The piece has a persona. It has a palpable spirit, and I feel as though I can have a personal relationship to that spirit. The social, interpersonal, emotional machinery of my brain has been recruited.”

Music comes from the soul.

And it makes even an atheist come this close to actually admitting that we have a soul.

We need to sing because we have a soul. Music is our soul crying out and we cry out because God designed us to cry out to Him. We are designed to worship our God and we are designed to worship in spirit and in truth.

And in those songs that connect with our very soul, with our very spirits, true truth can come out and our spirits connect with the Holy Spirit of God.

And that is glorious indeed.

Today’s Praise
Come let us praise Him
Let us kneel at the throne of our God
Through His son our salvation was bought
With mercy and grace
Come let us bow down
In His hands are the depths of the earth
With one voice we proclaim His great worth
Lord our God

And we will seek Him
Our rock of salvation
Morning by morning
With thanksgiving we come
And we will bow down
With creation we cry out
In daylight and darkness
We sing to the Lord

Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God

Lord of all nations
We will stand at the end of our days
In Your courts and declare Your great ways
In spirit and truth
We long for Your kingdom
Bring Your thunder and gather the earth
All who tremble will tell of Your worth
Lord our God

And we will seek Him
Our rock of salvation
Morning by morning
With thanksgiving we come
And we will bow down
With creation we cry out
In daylight and darkness
We sing to the Lord

Great is our God

Come let us praise Him
Let us kneel at the throne of our God
Through His son our salvation was bought
With mercy and grace.

“Great is our God” by Plumb





Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Big Science

by Dan Jones


Science has undoubtedly produced an immeasurable number of benefits for mankind and I am most certainly not anti-science.

After all, countless diseases have been all but eradicated and we enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives than any people who have ever lived on this planet precisely because of science. (Well, except back in the days of Adam and Enosh and Methuselah and Noah. Oh and Shem and Peleg and Nahor and Abraham.)

In 1820, Hans Christian Orsted discovered that a current passed through a wire will deflect the needle of a compass. This became the basis for subsequent discoveries and inventions including the electric motor and (eventually) the very device you are using to read this blog—and the one you use to listen to Kinship Christian Radio.

In 1859, Louis Pasteur conclusively proved that life does not spontaneously generate from non-life, which lead to our current understanding of germs, bacteria, and disease. He is why, to this day, milk is pasteurized before you buy it in the store.

In 1953, Crick and Watson discovered the helical structure of DNA and opened our eyes to the incredible complexity and the enormous amount of information stored in the genetic code of every living creature from the tiniest virus to the 120-ton blue whale.

Science has been so successful at making our lives better and discovering things that there are people alive today who refuse to believe in God precisely because science cannot prove His existence.
(Although just four years ago, after 40 years of research and an estimated cost of $13.25 billion, science did prove with 99.999% certainty the existence of the Higgs boson, a.k.a. “the God particle”—but scientists hate that name.)

But the thing is, science is a human endeavor.

And science can absolutely verify that human beings are fallible.

We make mistakes. We have biases. We’re easily swayed, deceived, corrupted and just plain flat-out wrong about all kinds of things.

Remember when science told us not to eat butter because it was bad for us—and then later told us to go ahead and eat butter because there was bad stuff in margarine? It turns out that debate was never really solved.

The same thing happened with eggs.

And then, there’s the dark chocolate scam.

Just last year, the media was all abuzz with the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, claiming that consumption of the delightful treat could even help you lose weight!  As it turns out, a scientist intentionally fed the media (pun intended) bogus information for the express purpose of pointing out how easily the media is deceived by junk science.

And then we have the revelation that science is subject to greed and corruption and political pressure just like any other human endeavor and even the peer review process may not be a completely effective way to prevent errors. There is a fascinating article on the subject here: http://theweek.com/articles/618141/big-science-broken

And no one can dispute that despite what many consider our vast and lofty knowledge is but a tiny, perhaps even infinitesimal, fraction of all that there is to be known.

When I consider all the things we don’t know that the God who spoke the universe into being does know, it seems to me that we are like a toddler playing on the living room floor who has managed to stack one wooden block on top of another and proudly proclaimed that he knows how the pyramids were built.

Which is another thing we still don’t know.

Today’s Praise
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7 NIV)





Monday, August 22, 2016

Kingdom Builders by Allen Jones



I often find God’s workings in the most miniscule everyday details.  

Like a Squirrel.

The Gray Squirrel specifically.  Were you aware that the gray squirrel only recovers about 26 percent of the nuts it hides away?  26 percent!

That’s like going to the grocery story, then losing 74 percent of what you just bought!  

Why are these little guys so forgetful?  Well, it benefits the growth of trees for one thing.  Every time a squirrel forgets to dig up a nut, it could become a great, mighty oak.

It's like squirrels are natural little farmers, going around planting seeds...then forgetting about it.

Because of this forgetful habit it allows plants and trees to flourish, expanding forests and the ecosystem.

Yet in terms of survival instincts, you would think there memory would have improved overtime.  But they haven’t!  And unhindered  woods continue to flourish through the help of absent minded squirrels.

I can’t help but see the signs of our great creator in this. The forgetful squirrel creating the expansion of forests, and in fact his own home, by forgetting where he hid his nuts.

It’s incredible!  


"For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,"

Our God has made all things,  and that includes our forgetful furry friends that help provide a home for squirrels and animals alike by growing unintentional trees, that then provide life giving oxygen to the entire earth!

Even the most minuscule of details, screams of the greatness of God when we really look at it!

Even in the everyday occurrences in our own lives, you can see God’s hand guiding (what we may call) the smallest of details.

A chance to open a door for a stranger, that then sparks a friendly conversation, that then leads to you sharing your faith, and BOOM!...a seed is planted.

You thought you were just opening the door, but in fact you were expanding the kingdom of God, little squirrel.

Because of God, squirrels aren’t just forgetful, humorous, little fellows...they’re forest builders.

Because of God, you aren’t just Suzy the shop clerk, or Frank the car mechanic.  Because of God, I’m not just Allen the radio guy...because of God, we’re kingdom builders, and everyday we have opportunities to grow the kingdom of God, in the smallest, most minuscule ways.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reverence and Awe

by Dan Jones



In the heart of Itasca County, in the middle of what most of us would call “Up North,” there is a little lake right up against Highway 38 called Kremer Lake. It’s visible from the road and I’m sure most people winding their way along who are brave enough to take their eyes off the “S” curves are probably aware that it’s a pretty little lake.

That is indeed what first caught my attention about Kremer Lake, but I was further intrigued when I found that it's managed as a trout lake.

You see, even though it’s only 76 acres, Kremer Lake is 86 feet deep.

Most trout species perish in water temperatures above 77°F and they are said to be unable to grow in temps above 68°F. The optimal temperature for trout to thrive is right around 60°F.

So, because Kremer is deep and clear and cold, trout survive and grow there.

Access to the lake is by foot only. The trail is not long, but it is steep and twisting and there is a small area at the end of the trail where people fish from shore.

I tried that last year.

The technique involves light line, a pretty heavy slip sinker, a plain hook, a nightcrawler, and the longest possible cast one can make without flinging the bait off the hook.

Then you sit and wait.

While you wait, you wonder if you’ve cast out far enough to get your bait into deep enough water to be in the right water temperature and whether a trout will find your lowly nightcrawler lying on the bottom.

In the meantime, you do get to admire the beauty of the lake.

Because Kremer Lake is surrounded entirely by National Forest, there’s not a single cabin on the lake. All 2.17 miles of shoreline is dominated by towering White Pine, enormous Norway pine, and majestic Balsam Fir.

I did not catch a fish out of that beautiful little lake last year, even though I sat and enjoyed the view from shore for nigh unto three hours.

So, in my vacation preparations this year, I resolved to take my kayak along as doing so would allow me to fish a much greater area of the lake and hopefully catch a trout.

Now, I have not used the kayak since approximately 2011 because I am (to be quite frank) growing old and fat and lazy.

There’s no other way to look at it, folks. It’s what’s happening.

The temple of the Holy Spirit I am supposed to be stewarding as for the Lord is sagging and in need of some rebuilding.

I’ve started exercising and I am making a concerted effort not to eat myself to death, so dragging the kayak along fit into my “new, healthier me” plans.

Plus, there is just something so wrong about not being able to fish effectively because I am too fat. Priorities, boys and girls. Priorities.

So, yes, I wrestled that kayak down that twisted path and over the roots of the pine trees and plopped it beside the shore of that lake. There were a half-dozen folks (some wearing Hawkeyes hats) shore fishing who witnessed me do it and repeatedly offered to help out of what I initially considered kindness but now upon reflection surely could have been sympathy.

Then, I made another trip for the fishing pole and the bait.

And another trip for the paddle.

And, after some grunting and shoving and what I could feel as open-mouthed staring at me, I was out paddling on the lake!
 
For about 45 seconds.

Then, it was back to shore, back up the Trail of Tears to the truck for the life jacket I had forgotten, back down the trail, and more grunting and shoving and flailing with the paddle until, YES!! I was on the lake and actually ready to fish.

About the time I made that first cast, I noticed the Hawkeye fans had packed up and were leaving.  Again, upon reflection, this was totally understandable because after a show like that, why would they stick around and risk possibly having to swim out in that cold, cold water to rescue the fat guy upside down in the teeny plastic boat?

Well, I did not tip over.

And once I got situated and comfortable, I noticed something.

Kremer Lake wasn’t just pretty.

It was gorgeous.

The water I was literally sitting on glowed this indescribable clear blue-green-aqua-turquoise-emerald color. The clouds puffed along in wisps of brilliant white in a bright blue sky. And those pines and firs stood in utter majesty around that lake guarding it like dark sentinels that whispered of the ages they had spent sinking their relentless roots into the rocky red soil.

I felt like I was sitting in the middle of an enormous 76-acre emerald set 86 feet deep into the throne of God.

And I realized He had created all this.

God spoke all of this into being.

This was not something that just accidently turned out to be grand and glorious and marvelous and awesome beyond words.

And I knew that life teemed in the waters below me and in the forests around me and in the air above me.

And all that life was dependent and reliant and intertwined with all the other life around it.

And it was no accident.

It was for His glory.

All of creation does testify to His glory.

Everything that has breath does praise the LORD!

And then the tip of my fishing pole twitched a little bit, and I let some line out, and a few moments later I held in my hand the gift of a silvery rainbow.

And there is reverence and awe.


Today’s Praise
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, Hebrews 12:28 NIV