Food for Thought

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                               Scrambled eggs, coffee after a good Time with God by the fire this morning
I heard it….I heard it again…then again….
    How I start my day has become important to me. I have had to discipline myself to listen to all the voices vying for the days attention starting now. E-mails, weather reports, morning coffee, breakfast, and reading my bible jockey for position while I wander around in PJ’s or less wondering where to start.
Me first…
    As I sat up to the computer to read Kirsten Lamb’s Blog so I can learn how to blog.
Me first…Again..It was distinct and I didn’t need to look around. A couple of months earlier I had heard the same thing, same voice, same request, not urgent but a compelling…”Me First“.
    No coffee, no breakfast, or fire in the fireplace; just getting alone with the creator of the universe who whispers “Me First”. I have to admit the other voices are louder and more demanding. I guess I let them do that to me. So I read and wonder if God can communicate to me this morning. Does God need some backround music to set the tone? Do I need the backround music to hear God’s voice? “Me First”guess not!
    What do you do when life seems like a barren  wasteland or frozen lake…dead but for the springs?  Can I really hear Gods voice?

   I had been rereading the passage from last sunday’s sermon from Isaiah 55

Invitation to the Thirsty

 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,                                      
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?                                     
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
   listen, that you may live….
    I never realized how many times we are told to listen and how many ways God talks to people. I am going to spend a season of time in study on the subject but I already get the sense that God feels we don’t listen very well. I guess the “listen, listen” is a clue. I feel like I’m a four year old being talked to.
    So this morning I listened, spent time with the amazing creator, talked a little myself, and then my parameters were reset for the day. Planning my next adventure fishing, reading and exploring the social networking world with the latest greatest book on the subject, and of course making a fine breakfast (pictured top still steaming hot).
    In what ways does God call you? Do you listen? Let me leave you with a song that often comes to my mind…Whatever it takes…Is quite a call…yet probably comes as a whisper.
    So find a spot, take a walk, get alone, listen for God’s voice in his recorded word, Listen for his voice in your busy world, Then invite Him into the rest of your day.
Gary D

>Day is Done by Gary Fultz

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                                                                                         Nice photo Hutch!

    A beautiful sunset marks the end of a perfect evening on the water. You shiver as the big Timbers start to moan at the end of the tamarack swamp nearby. It’s so still that you can hear your fingers squish a couple of big Minnesota  mosquitoes honing in on your face. Down the shoreline some type of animal is wading and splashing the water; probably a coon washing some clams, crayfish, and anything else edible. You long for one more cast with a spook in the reeds for that huge bass that swirls huge water as you drive away.
    Fisherman, adventurer, solitude seeker, beauty connoisseur, and gaggle of other descriptive words come to mind when the universe lines up for a perfect finish…and you are there.

    Some people are never there!

 It takes initiative and sometimes hard work to be in the sweet spot of your passions. I have it easy! I love adventure, wilderness solitude, on the spot breath taking scenery, and the competitive nature of the food gatherer. I hunt, fish, camp, winter camp, bring my camera, and drag a few people with me.  

   One month into 2011…Where have I been this year? Where am I going to be? Are my physical disabilities going to stop me or just modify how I get there? Am I going to just blog or have something to blog about? Well…so far so good! Just to start the year my lovely wife went out on the lake with me..several times! hence the picture.

    I’m thinking a good caption is “I out-fished him!” She is thinking…well she wouldn’t tell me what she was thinking but I know it wasn’t “I hope he teaches me how to clean fish“.
    Back to “being There“…It’s way more than chance as the movie suggests. There is something to Dina Craik’s quote as well “It’s never too late to be who you might have been”.
   Ahhh…We are back to fishing again aren’t we! We fish for goals, ways to accomplish goals, who we want to be, what we want to do.
I’m telling ya…Spend some time on the lake, Spend some time with God walking around in his artwork, set some goals that need a clear vision, good organization, and some steady work to obtain.
   If you want to just fish, I can make it happen…otherwise take some steps toward becoming who you want to be to get to where you want to go. I’m going to say this several more times…
    Take a walk
       have a talk
          get right
            stay tight…If you can do it alone it’s too small!

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps
Here’s to walking on water…my sweet spot (Minnesota-February-with a jigging stick)

Who doin it?? What’s your ideal sweet spot?
Please make your comments below

Gary D
          

>Goin fishn…confessions by Gary Fultz

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I’m going fishing” It’s biblical you know...Peter said it a few days after Jesus was crucified. Personally I don’t need any excuse to make that kind of announcement in our house…Amen?
    We all go fishing in one way or another. It’s no different  illustration for our lives than the old “Scavenger hunt” so many youth groups do for a fun time. Are we not always looking for something…bigger? better? fun? challenging? learning? growing? outwitting the competition? enjoying the hunt? …we are fishing! Yes.. you tweeters and bloggers are fishing! (admit it).
    I am a very simple man and getting more adamant about it. Bought the sign and the T-shirt and thinking about the business…”Gone Fishn“.
    Some of us have passions that run deep. Mine do…just ask anyone who knows me (I have a list of those people and everyone else is stretching the truth!). Hi…ummm. I’m Gary and I like to fish.

 It’s taken 55 years to get towards the tipping point where I can sometimes say I am in control of my passions. I am driven toward but not driven by….Fishing, hunting, photography, wilderness adventure, story telling, and hobnobbing with people who do!
     I know that family, jobs, and other relationships are vitally important and it has been my  most important relationship (with my creator – Jesus Christ) which has led the quest to harness (not balance…that tower tipped a long time ago) and excel in the passions I was created to have.
    I have a few roads “not taken” in life but I have to say not as many as most people when it comes to adventure and risk taking ventures in the wild (I have been where that link takes you by the way).This brings to mind one last point before I head out of the house to go stand on the ice and fish with some guys who don’t know yet they need to go fishing today….Why take the easy route? After 55 trips to my beloved BWCAW area (these pictures were taken there), I have learned and relearned the greater value by far lies in going where most people will not (at least 55% of the time).

From this campsite…I have watched the sun rise
   
   
  fog lift…
sun turn to…rain…to sleet…to snow…from 60 degrees to 19 degrees in 48 hours. caught limits of wall hanging walleye, pike, and lake trout, watched a monster whitetail buck jump off this small rock cliff into the lake and swim between the islands and disappear. We were left with what-ever was chasing him. Around the corner a moose charged out of the brush and swam by one of our canoes. Nearby my brother caught and released a 36″ lake trout (his first ever and no camera), notched the paddle to measure later (I’m compiling 4 trips worth of stories from this campsite alone as it’s one of our favorite way-points to many other adventures). Oh…I forgot to mention that there is a little lake nearby with no trail to it (bull through the heavy brush with a canoe in tow) to find more big pike (our smallest is about 8 pounds so far) and another hair raising moose story for another day.
   My wife and I were on a couples trip when 2.5 million trees were downed in 100mph winds.  One of our teen trips rescued a drowning man in a rapids area, A guys trip helped 2 guys out who had stages of hypothermia, lost packs, and a holy (literally) canoe from trying a waterfall (they thought it was a rapids (deadly whoops…). A Youth Directors Training Trip was bestowed huge amounts of food. Seems a couple of guys who decided two days out of their 10 day trip was enough adventure (benefits of four inches of heavy snow mixed with surfers from California)….there I go… story telling again!
    My point is this…harness your passions to accomplish the things God has created you for. To know Him, acknowledge Him in all you do, who you are and who you are becoming, and help others in this adventurous journey we call Life. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the  life…”
    So now I’m Goin Fishn…gonna take somebody along…

you like trout?
Gary D

>Text or Tweet Me (Hezekiah 6:18)… social networking with God? By Gary Fultz

>          Text Me! (Hezekiah 6:18) YA right…go ahead look it up!
                                                                                                              Gray area here!

                                                   Where are you going with this Gary? I want to know now!
It’s all about communication and connecting right? Let’s face it; a whole lot of people send up quick (and sometimes often) prayers to God…about on the level of Tex-ting and Tweeting. The Bible does say “pray without ceasing…” and the every day – moment by moment prayers can not and will not always be all that deep. God really does want us to keep in touch with Him (listen as well) constantly. Yes I am advocating this level of prayer.
    Some will say “I want my relationship with God to be (and it should be) way more than that!”…Go for it!
Others need their fireside chats with God…all alone and contemplative… good to do when you can!
Then there are those who say “we need to listen” as well….It’s true!
    
Nothing we do can frighten God away 
We cannot impress Him either.
So first things first ….Take off the mask    

… And any other disguises
we might have in our closet.
It’s impossible to hide the real “US” from God!                         
Don’t give me that puzzled look…
Let’s talk!
On a child’s level…even better!

There that’s better.
   Take a walk
        Have a talk
             Get right
                 Stay tight

Gary D....Thanks for the flowers gran daughter!

    Add your thoughts on communication with our creator….I only scratched a couple of surfaces!


>Faith Fear and which to Feed by Gary Fultz

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                                                                                                                           Arizona  Picture By Cheryl

    Ahhh…mornings! What to wear, what to eat, who to call, what to read and write….My tone is easily set for the day by decisions before I’m really awake (it takes awhile). However…If I could watch a beautiful sunrise and then tackle the day with the faith of Abraham (go ahead…click and read it), I should be able to look at the right picture to give me the mood and attitude necessary for the day ahead. Need the eye of the Tiger for the day? Watch the Rocky video…listen to the music and you are set right? Hey…day 1..worked…day 2 worked till noon…day 3 not working….now depressed!
    “Feed your fears and your faith will starve…feed your faith and your fears will“. It’s one thing to design a pill for the day and quite another to develop a proper diet and exercise regarding faith and fear. Does my faith grow by watching the sun rise or by getting away into the remote wilderness (BWCAW)? I would like to think so…but then I know the creator. (Louie Giglio – Laminin).
How long did it take for Abraham to really believe and trust God? Quite a growing / learning curve wouldn’t you say? On the way he claimed his wife was his sister (fear of being killed) at least two times. No it didn’t happen overnight. Read about what is said about him “In hope beyond all hope“.
    The discipline to eat right, the right focus, fixation and finisher of faith verses fear is Jesus Christ himself.
    Yesterday a man at a Camp Lebanon – Mens Advance – came to me and told me his own story illustration
of a song I wrote and recorded (sang at camp) about Fixing My Eyes On Jesus Fixing My Eyes On Jesus. Out of ignorance and arrogance in his younger years he had attempted to drive through a blizzard on roads that were officially closed. As he drove through snow drifts and near zero visibility, the snow drifts became higher and the road ahead less and less visible until he was stopped and stranded. Now humbled and all will power gone he turned to pray. God could have left him there for a while or even a long while but He didn’t. A snow plow stopped behind him because he was blocking the road (good thing the driver saw him). He followed the flag on the back of the truck all the way through the storm. It was the only thing he could see. A few feet closer and he would hit the back of the truck and a few feet further back and he would lose sight of the flag and nothing else was visable. As long as he kept his eyes fixed on the flag…he was OK.

Hebrews12:1-2 is a conclusion for building true faith….way beyond sunrises, great videos, sermons, or any other pills we take to set our tone for the day.

                                                                                      Picture from a Kentucky vacation by Gary D

There is no substitute for building a personal relationship with the one who created us, redeemed us, and wants to spend 24/7 with us. We do this by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. So today (and ever after) lets feed our Faith and not our fears…and go beyond the pills!
Gary D


>whether or not report…Dangerous out there By Gary Fultz

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   The snow is deep here in northern Minnesota. The end of January and it’s supposed to be -7 degrees for a high. some will have -30 tonight. There is one snowbank high enough to climb onto the roof area of the house. The ladder is merely a convenience as one could jump into the snow off the roof anywhere around the house and not get hurt. I do suggest however landing flat so it’s possible to get back out of the hole in the snow. Might as well make a big one! I guess I’m remembering the time I tried to ski off the barn roof as a kid and somehow my skis pointed straight down into the snowbank. I was there till spring (seemed like) before I could undo all six straps of my army surplus cross country skis. Digging out with my mitted hands was the forerunner to the idea behind the fiber optic boring machines.
    lately I have had a hankering for grilled fish as I look out at the grill on the deck. I’ve put that on hold as the grill glares back at me squatting under the snow load. The other day as I looked out the window, the grill sent out a faint shiver and a small avalanche came off the top so there is only a couple feet of snow left. So I have unhooked the propane tank and it’s been quiet ever since
    The deer walk in snow to their shoulders, the grouse fly straight into the snow so it will cover them completely for warmth (their body heat makes an enclosed igloo in the snow), The wolves spend more time  howling a mournful wail that carries forever in the crisp air, and the bear are sleeping it all off under this huge layer of snow insulation. The fish slow down as it’s very dark under the layers of ice, slush-water on the ice (the snow-load weighs down the ice and the lake floods water on top of the ice), and then a blanket of snow that insulates even the slush-water from freezing. Water-plants die and instead of emitting oxygen they decompose and use up the oxygen. Some of the shallower lakes will not sustain life unless we get a good thaw in the next few weeks. Life, death, and danger do not seem to be optional in this world.
        The temperature is dropping and the sun is shining as bright as it ever gets. The snow merely reflects all the heat and light back into outer space. It’s the only way the snow can conquer the sun. Did you know it’s possible to be getting a winter sunburn and frostbite at the same time with exposed skin in these conditions? How strange, wonderful, and creative is the creator. How dangerous to ignore the reflections of truth that nature projects to those who would see and understand. If we think this weather is dangerous…How much more dangerous to be on the wrong side of the creator God?

This owl was not about to leave his kill…After the snow storms mice are under the snow!

    So I leave you with this tidbit from the penman who experienced another side of God “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)”.
   God invites us in from the cold to sit by the fire. It’s not a predator–prey relationship. Some of us are like the struggling rabbits in the snow and leery of anything that moves (for good reason). God loves us very much so set aside your fears and trust His love…Yes it’s as simple as that! 
Gary D

   

   

>T-Shirt Days…Reeling in My purpose by Gary Fultz

>    My T-shirts have upstaged me. Try as I might in this super creative brain of mine to come up with a catchy life mission statement in a few words…My T-shirt motto’s are ahead of me 6-zip. “When the going gets tough…the tough go fishing”…Goal…Goal…Goal…Yes it’s exciting! Who needs a therapist when I have THE T-Shirt; After all.. “Work is for people who don’t fish”…Mmm..I have a job interview coming up…what to wear..what to ware

ALL I NEED TO KNOW FROM LIFE I LEARNED FROM FISHING: 1. There is no such thing as too much equipment.2. When in doubt, exaggerate. ………………………… 3. Even the best lines get weak after they have been used a few times. 4. Sometimes you really have to squirm to get off the hook. 5. The fishing is always better on the other side of the lake.                                     6. Good things come to those who wade.

    I know…I really have to work on my brains default system. Maybe my philosophy of life gained from my teen Sage…is all wrong??? There I go doubting myself again. At this rate I’ll never get a bigger boat.
    So…I call these days when I have trouble getting my “out of the box thinking” going…T-Shirt days.
That pretty much says it all…actually go to the link and see the picture…listen to a few sentences….and it will drive you to your passion quickly…Quit Wishin
                                                        Do a Google search
                                                            Put on the T-Shirt 
                                                                Get a job!

    


        Whoa Gary…Reel? Real? Really? For Real? I can’t focus here and the laptop is slow in the fish house!
               T-Shirt says…”A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work!                            

            Coming up with this Life Mission stuff is like walking on watereasy when the conditions are right!…Ha!             
               Gary D     
     

>Dream…………………a little………….. by Gary Fultz

>There are days when my creativity goes off the charts…literally. I just got off the Internet trying to figure out a way to host a fund raising / fishing trip to Haiti with 50% of the proceeds going to buy fishing equipment for Haitian fishermen who need it to feed their family and expand the infrastructure of the economy in Haiti. I thinks it’s a great dream!
When I come home to roost some days I have not accomplished a thing. It’s frustrating to be a dreamer who is accomplishment and production oriented and find I didn’t initiate steps toward accomplishing  (at least one of the thousand) the vision. Why is it so easy to stand in one spot? Lazy?…maybe. Don’t know what the next step is?…often. Need help from others?…probable. Need more money and time than you think you have?…definitely. Need some encouragement?…yes-always!
    Most of us stay somewhere on the chart between dreams and being an initiator.
             Dreamer———————————————-initiator

                                   How many steps to the peak from here???
    Somewhere between the level ground where we presently stand…and the mountains to conquer in the distance…a thought turns into an idea and grows into a dream. Most of us have dreams that we know deep down will never be realized and we seem to be content with that. The path to fulfilling those dreams is usually expensive, hard, stressful, and probably full of sacrifice. What would it take to reach the mountain peaks from here? What would it take to write and publish a book, travel around the world, visit the child in Somalia you sponsored the last five years, help take shoes to a remote village in the Amazon rain-forest?
    I had the privilege of interviewing a potential candidate as a member of a search team for a leadership position. I was excited by his reply to my question to him “describe your views on…and how you dream and accomplish vision”. No hesitation as he said “Vision is a great thing. It’s a must to reach for the stars. However…one must dream, have vision, get others on board with a shared vision, then quit dreaming…roll up your sleeves and accomplish that vision before you go dreaming again”.
    2011 I am taking all of January to dream. I am using the other 11 months to accomplish those dreams. That’s the plan anyway. Will I have to stop and dig some cactus out of my foot on the way to the mountain peaks?…maybe. Will I have to cross some rivers?…I see one already. Will I get tired?…probably. Will there be sacrifice I don’t even know about?…absolutely. Will I quit and be comfortable with just dreaming?…I better not!
    There is too much at stake not to dream (for those who think they can’t), it’s a lose – lose in life.. Every one lives out their life…might as well be traveling toward the mountain peaks…using trails or breaking a trail for those to come. It’s OK to rest by the camp-fire for awhile but get up and go again. Like the song says “saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to lay

Thanks Tim for taking this picture out the pickup window in Colorado on our elk hunting trip
Please post your dream or just comments at the bottom under comments
 Thank you
  Gary

    

>Of monster Trucks and Joy Juice by Gary Fultz

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     We live as in a fog, only seeing the immediate, yet the universe and beyond is navigable 

     Her face radiated joy underneath a peaceful wrinkled face. Recognizable in the wistful words coming from the upside of the half droopy mouth and a body held partially intact by the shored up wheelchair. It took time for the visiting pastor to get beyond this fragile lump of clay and the waning life within to understand she had become a portal beyond time, space, and matter. He was shaken to the core as he experienced her presence of God. An old women who was far beyond what he had ever experienced.
She was already in the presence of God…connected by a lifetime of relational experience to Her Jesus and and the discipline of “Practicing the Presence of God
To the spiritual underworld she had become a Monster Truck of destruction. This old woman with no obvious potential quality emitted a peace beyond understanding. One felt an eternal presence near her. The lies so many believe and live out in the physical world, were dented beyond repair.
To the nursing home she was the envy of those with no hope or love left in their being. She was hope, love, and Joy as she refused to leave the presence of Jesus to wipe off the spit or do more than cry at the rough hands. In pure blindness some could only explain her radiance by looking for her stash of joy juice.  
    To the heavens she was on display as an eternal living triumph over a mere slow death of clay. The ancient enemy of death was being beaten soundly by one who so entrusted herself to the resurrection power that mightily worked within. The power of Jesus within who overflowed to touch and heal searching hearts drawn. She had joined the ranks of those in whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38).
There was no turning back even given the choice to trade places with any soul on earth. Would she trade with you and your great life; acquiring your health, wealth, loving family, security, conquests and adventures yet to be realized? Sorry but no! Would you trade places with her to stand on the edge of eternity already endowed with elements that cannot be contained in the (average mini-sized over-exaggerated) id’s mistaken for the soul? I’m sorry for those who would say no.
I have my desires ambitions and dreams before I get older but as I evaluate 2011 coming on I want to experience the presence of God. Truthfully I’d like to become a monster truck in the realms of the spiritual. I’d like to make some think I had been sipping on joy Juice rather than a green plum. I’d like to have within me a peace and joy that constantly begs the question “can I have some of what you have?”

>Looking forward to 2063 by Gary Fultz

>    I spend an appropriate amount of time looking forward. The year 2063 will come fast enough. I’m fairly certain I know where I will be and where I won’t be. I am just enjoying the shortest daylight day of the year. Officially winter! I look ahead instead of in the past as I need perspective for today.

    
  I am living through an odd day when the sun is shining through a thin cloud layer while it snows. I am sipping on some strong (just right) coffee and soaking in the beauty of last nights sprinkling of another five inches of white crystals outlining everything in sight. My life is like the snow in many ways and I have had my glimmering moments as well as my meltdowns. I probably have a few more of each ahead of me.
    In a short time the snow will fall off the branches, melt or evaporate. In a short time it will be 2063.
I was in grade school in 1963 and that was a lifetime ago but yet it was yesterday. How time gets compacted can be explained by people who study the brain and it’s perceptions I am told. I sidetrack easy so…whatever!
    2063 gives me an eternal perspective as I look out the window of both our house and my life. I have traveled long enough to know that 2063 is a few bends in the road ahead. Somewhere on one of those bends I will probably change addresses.
    Make no mistake, I absolutely believe that I will be more alive in 2063 than I am now. I have all my chips on Jesus Christ who came as God in human form to bring us back into a relationship with our Creator God.
Because he conquered death, I will live with Him! Far-fetched hope? I don’t think so. That’s the true meaning of Christmas and the hope for all mankind to know this ever lasting God personally.
    I read this morning in Isaiah 40:28 “do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God. The creator of the ends of the earth.He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.” Then in verse thirty “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”  
    In my glimmering moments and in the mud puddles; today — headed for 2063 I can hope in the Lord. Thus I have the parameters and proper perspective for living each day of my life into eternity. I have an eternal promise from someone who can already see 2063 and beyond.
    2063 looks bright even from this distance!