U.P. Memories Continued

So, let’s get to the reason for the title of the last conversation we had….

It’s very important that you know that this lake had bloodsuckers in it (yes, leeches are the same thing, but calling them “bloodsuckers” seems far more appropriate for the disgusting, perverted and selfish behavior they exhibit).  I don’t recall anyone informing me of this vital and necessary information until I was waist-high in the water the morning after we all got there and saw one swim by me at a measly distance of twelve inches . That really took any fun I was having in the water and shot it to oblivion. I hate creepy creatures like that and I found out that they were all over that lake.  If you can picture Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes) hovering above the surface of the water with his legs and arms flailing so fast that he’s levitating himself, his eyes as big as saucers as he looks down into the water below him at something that has scared him spitless, that’s what I looked like when I saw that vile creature.  I don’t recall getting in the water much after that.

I remember Cindy and a friend of hers being out on the floating dock one day sunning themselves.  The dock was a good seventy-five to one-hundred yards away from the shore and she eventually hollered over the water’s surface that she really wanted her Dad to come out with the canoe and get them so that they didn’t have to get in the water (because, as you can imagine, the water between the shoreline and the floating dock was unquestionably patrolled on a regular basis by fleets of these life-sucking creatures trolling to and fro, just waiting to engage a helpless victim and drag them to the dark depths of the lake where they could feed at their leisure).  This memory sticks indelibly in my head, because we watched in amazement as he left the shoreline in the canoe by himself and paddled by himself straight as an arrow to the floating dock to rescue his daughter from the evil clutches of those vehement blood-sucking bloodsuckers.  Do you know how hard that is to do?  But he did it perfectly.  We were all amazed and impressed.

One up-side to this cabin was the sauna that it had.  The evenings  in Northern Michigan are typically cool, so we would sit in the sauna and get as hot and sweaty as possible, then run into the darkness from the sauna to the lake as fast as possible and jump in.  Except for me.  I would go to the water’s edge and quickly fling some water on myself to cool off.  If I couldn’t see what was potentially lurking in the water for me, I wasn’t about to give it a free meal. (Jeff and Todd, however, did this repeatedly, which makes me wonder what kind of immunity they had somehow built up in order to withstand the vicious, blood-sucking attacks they must surely have been enduring every time they dove into that dark water.  Absolutely amazing.)

Join me again and we’ll talk about black bears…..

Bloodsuckers And Other Such Memories

Remember that group of family friends my brother and I had growing up that I mentioned a while back?  (If not, go to “The Tire Bulge”, “Ring Around The Rosy” and “The Bus RV” to get brushed up on them.)  One set of Cindy’s grandparents had a cabin on a lake way up in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, about a half hour south of Lake Superior.  This cabin was so remote that it had no electricity, an outhouse for a bathroom and an old-fashioned water pump to get water into the kitchen sink.  My family went up there twice during my childhood, both of those times producing some very interesting memories.  Shall I recount a few for you?  Yes, let’s!

Our first trip up there occurred at somewhere around the age of twelve for me.  We went up for close to two weeks and joined Cindy’s family, Jeff’s family and a couple other families that we all did things with from time to time: one of those families had a son named Todd and the other had two sons named Nate and Jesse.  I remember that we no sooner got up there and Nate and Kelly (Jeff’s younger sister) wanted to fish off the dock while the parents all set up the tents.  (Mind you, this is towards the evening hours after everyone has spent a good six to eight hours on the road to get there.)  It didn’t take long for someone to get hurt and that, in Kelly’s mind, is probably an understatement.  We all suddenly heard screaming from the dock and as we all came running, we saw that Nate, who had been casting his fishing line from the end of the dock, had successfully hooked and landed Kelly.  Or at least her cheek.  Gave it a good yank, too, because as it turns out, she got too close to him as he back-casted his fishing line and drove his fishing hook right into her cheek as he brought the line overhead.  So now the adults had to figure in an unplanned trip to the local emergency room, which for that part of the U.P., was not conveniently located just around the corner.  Needless to say, after that incident not more than one kid was allowed on the dock at any one time when any fishing was going on for the rest of the trip.  And I doubt very much that Kelly went anywhere near Nate and a fishing pole.

Stick around and I’ll share some more next time!

Perspective

Faith.

We’ve all got it and we all use it.  Every day.  Now, you may be thinking, “How’s that??”  Well, you exercise faith every day that you drive your car 55 to 65 miles-per-hour towards another vehicle hurtling towards you at the same speed, believing that the other person in that vehicle will stay in their lane and not hit you head-on.  It takes faith to believe that the plane you just got air-born in will stay in the air and not plummet to the ground.  It takes faith to sit in a barber’s chair and believe that the barber with the sharp razor will give you a clean shave and not slit your throat.  Even faith in another human being whom you are counting on to follow through with something you need them to do for you.  That’s faith.

Can you see it?  It’s called “perspective” and it’s a powerful thing.  One definition of perspective is “a mental view or prospect”.  I imagine that you can already see how we limit, set and change such things in our lives.  I hope that you can also see how important it is that we each have the right perspective.  That line can be hard to draw, but what if we could know what the right perspective is on something, even if we don’t agree with it?  The problem is, if we don’t agree about something, our perspectives are already different and we are already prone to having a wrong perspective.

There’s an angle to this issue of perspective, however, that many don’t appreciate or even see:  there can be more than one right or wrong perspective!  Take an accident scene, for example.  Three different people saw the same accident, but all from different perspectives.  What makes them right or wrong?  They all saw the same thing happen.  What determines who’s right and who’s wrong?  They could all be right, correct?  What the police officer does is take all three perspectives of these three witnesses and put them together to see what kind of a complete picture they make.  What each saw happen and how they saw it unfold will play a huge part in piecing together the events of the accident scene.  Are there aspects of these three different perspectives that are similar or different?  And how important are those similarities and differences?  What about the character of the people with those different perspectives?  Any of them prone to lying or exaggerating?  What kind of a mental state were they in:  depressed and down or excited and upbeat?  So you can see how something as “simple” as perspective actually has many layers to it that can get very complex very quickly.

So let’s keep this focused on faith for just one more minute (and consider this as my perspective).  We’re seeing God move through revival in our local churches and community right now.  Our mayor and two judges are a part of this as well as the local high school football team (thirty-five of which accepted Jesus into their hearts and 13 of those got baptized two days later).  I’ve even been told that in all of the cities that this movement has been in, at some point there has been interaction with angels.  So obviously, there is anticipation of that same thing happening here.  Some people will look at that and write it off as emotionalism or some other “ism” that makes them feel justified in their perspective on this.  But that doesn’t make null and void the experience that these people have had with the living God through Jesus Christ.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with a theory.

Stay tuned!

Potential

With the Olympics underway, it is naturally fitting that something ought to be said about what we are all to witness over the next week or two.

You may or may not know that many Olympic athletes not only undergo intense physical training, but also–and even more importantly–they undergo intense mental training.  Why do I say that the mental training supersedes the physical training?

Because it all starts with a thought.

Everything you do with your life and in your life first begins as a thought; your body simply follows through with that thought, bringing into the physical realm what was first in the mental realm.  Our thoughts define us as human beings.  That’s why there are true stories of twins born in the slums of a city where one chooses to do something big with his life, rising above his circumstances and achieving his Dream, and the other chooses to remain where he is, his circumstances dictating to him a fruitless and pointless life.  You may have heard the phrase, “Either way, you’re right”.  That certainly applies here.

But it’s even more than that.  Listen:  You were created to be so much more than you are!  God sees your potential and celebrates it; Satan sees your potential and fears it.  Why?  Because he knows that you have been made in the image of God Himself with God-given potential and the ability to see that potential through to achieving truly astonishing things; and that if we fully understood what that really means and how successful Satan has been at duping us into believing and accepting as truth the charade that is all around us, he would totally lose the hold he has had on humanity since the fall of Adam.

The sooner you are able and willing to see through the smoke screen Satan has thrown up, the sooner you will be able to fulfill the Big Dream God has put in your heart.  And we all have one!  Some of us are already doing it; others are in the process of achieving it; yet others are just discovering that they have one and can even do anything about getting it.  The amazing thing is, there are plenty of examples of people being successful at what they do without even having a relationship with God.  That shows the innate power to create and achieve that God has put inside each one of us (there are spiritual laws from the Bible that those people are using and they don’t even realize that that’s the source).  But the clincher is those same people could have been far more successful and achieved far, far more had they done so with a vibrant, ongoing relationship with the living God of the Bible.

So where am I going with this?  We will see many athletes achieve some amazing things, some of them fulfilling their life-long Dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics.  But what is your Big Dream?  Do you even know?  Whether you do or not, are you willing to include the God who made you and gave you all that potential?  What you do with your life will take on far more importance and have far more significance with a much farther and long-reaching effect if you do.

That’s truly making an eternal difference with your life!

Try it.  You’ll like it!