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In Genesis 8:22 God promised us, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." This was given after the Great Flood covered the earth. It obliterated most of the earth as people knew it then. The great catastrophe was due to the sinful fallen state of man. Yet when it was all over, God said that it will not happen again.
This morning, at 5 o'clock, I was walking to the back pasture to bring my buggy horse into the barn. My family wants him to make a trip to a family workday. All was quiet. The birds were singing their songs. The heat of the day is not yet begun. It is a perfect 64 degrees with a slight dew in the air. The sky is a clear canvas spread out with dashes of light scattered across its starry expanse.
As I approached the horses, I saw their dark silhouettes. They were still laying in rest. They stood up and our 3-month old colt, Fritz, came ambling over to greet me good morning. He is an amiable-natured young stallion. I was fortunate to be able to handle him within a few hours of birth. Fritz follows me and my sons around the pasture like a puppy wanting to play. All three horses were standing around me and I had to think, "What a peaceful day."
I know that in a few hours the sun will heat up the air to a balmy mid-80's temperature. The daily grind will begin and my mind will be in high gear the rest of the day.
However, for a few moments, it is only God and me.
I remind myself that despite the heat, we can appreciate the gifts that God has given us. We are in the middle of a "drought." This whole summer, we got some rain but not a lot. If you travel Holmes County, you will see stunted sweet corn in tassel already. Our second cutting hay crop was small. However, God has blessed us. This past week he opened the heavens and gave us over 4 inches of rain. This rain came at a very crucial time. What a blessing. Our grass and the crops are once again growing.
We are entering that time of year when life speeds up. There are garden goodies to process and farmers have crops to harvest. These will all be stored up for use in winter when they are needed.
Another crop that we are spending about every spare moment with is FIREWOOD! Yes you read right. Behold the winter will come! I know, the temperature today does not give one mood to cut, split, and stack firewood. However, what better time than now? The ground is dry and we can get around without mud.
It is as the wise ones of old told us, wood heats us three times. When you cut it, split it, and then when you burn it. It can also be a great job for the family to work together. It is a tremendous lesson in perseverance for children. Our boys enjoy the feel of wood heat. This allows them to be involved in the actual work of it.
It is also an avenue for my father-in-law to de-stress from his workday. The grandchildren love to spend time with Grandpa cutting firewood. My father-in-law has gained a reputation in the community. The locals admire the loads that he manages to haul. They also appreciate the cleanup that he provides if a fallen tree needs to be removed. Hence, the phone calls and impromptu woodcutting projects for our family. But, as they say, if it's free you better get it. This is truly recycling. One person's waste heats our homes.
Looking at his woodpile reminds a fellow of the old story from frontier days. It was October and the Indians on a remote reservation asked their new Chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.°Since he was a Chief in a modern society he had never been taught he old secrets.°When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.°Nevertheless, to be on the safe side he warned that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.°
But being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked,°"Is the coming winter going to be cold?"°The°meteorologist°from the weather service confirmed that it was going to be quite cold.°So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.°
A week later he called the National Weather Service again to inquire if the winter was indeed predicted to be cold.°"Yes,"°the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."°So the°Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.°
Two weeks later the Chief called the National Weather Service again.°"Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"°The man replied,°"Absolutely. It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever."°The Chief pressed the°meteorologist°to inquire what made him so sure.°The weatherman replied,°"We're sure it's going to be cold because the Indians are collecting firewood like crazy!"
We may laugh at this°humorous story. Let us ask ourselves, how often do we look at our neighbors to determine our own choices in life? If we make this mistake, it might cost us more than the sweat equity that the Indians put into their collection. At least they would be prepared no matter what weather came for the winter. All was not lost. We may laugh at this humorous story. Let us ask ourselves, how often do we look at our neighbors to determine our own choices in life? If we make this mistake, it might cost us more than the sweat equity that this settler put into the woodpile. He at least had wood for a few years. All was not lost.
If we do as another story went, it might be worse. In one particular town, a factory had a noon whistle. They always set the whistle by the town clock's striking. Finally one day the two parties in charge of the whistle and the town clock met. They were both pleased to meet the other. The whistle blower thanked the clock man for his accuracy with the clock. He said that he always times his whistle with the clock. The clock man got a look of surprise and said that he always set the clock by the noon whistle.
Let's ask ourselves, if we look at life, what do we use as our guideposts to stay on track? Are these guiding beacons a solid enough foundation that we are willing to risk our future on? Are the people we look up to truly worthy of the respect that we give them or are their motives purely selfish and ulterior?
There is one guide post that we can rely on. If we follow the principles found in the Bible we will not be disappointed. An old Amish minister, now passed on to his eternal reward, used to preach this message, "If it were not even for heaven or hell, I would choose the life of a Christian because of the peace that it gives me."
As America approaches another presidential election, it appears to be one of the most tumultuous campaigns that I recall. I believe that the best that I can do is pray that our leaders return to the roots that our nation was founded upon. It was founded on the very principles that the Bible teaches. You need not believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God as I do, but we can conclude that the daily living principles taught in it are a solid guide to a good life.
That is where we can ask ourselves these questions. Am I doing to others as I would want them to do to me? Am I looking to the choices that are a betterment to our society? Are the decisions I make today providing security to our family and community spiritually, morally, ethically, physically, mentally, and financially? If everyone lived as I do, would there be resources for us to live off of? If everyone chose my work ethic, would there be a workforce worth having? If we all live with these questions center in our life, I believe we can influence this world for the good.
If we use these principles as the guideposts of our life, we will be a better family. This creates better communities which makes better nations. Let's ask ourselves these questions in our everyday life and live by them.