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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Playing Golf at Fort Carson's Cheyenne Shadows

When asked where I play golf in Colorado Springs, I respond, “Cheyenne Shadows.” Actually, I play wherever I am invited to play, but Cheyenne Shadows seems to top the invitation list.
Located on the Fort Carson Army Post, near the base of Cheyenne Mountain, Cheyenne Shadows Golf Course is accessible only to those who pass through security at Gate 5. Presenting my driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance is a required procedure, as is the ritual of popping the hood of my car, opening the doors, and lifting trunk lid.
After clearing security, I pay a modest green fee at the clubhouse, meet my buddy, and together we load our clubs onto a golf cart and fall into a line at the first tee, where we are often paired with young soldiers. Before long, we tee off, and the adventure begins. Although Cheyenne Shadows is a military course, we don’t hit our golf balls left, right, left, right, left, right—at least we try not to.
The other day, two young soldiers—one from Pennsylvania and the other from West Virginia—joined my buddy and me. They had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and will return to Iraq in six months. Neither soldier complained about having to serve in Iraq, and neither soldier said he wished for an easier life.
Just a gentle reminder—Christians are soldiers—soldiers of the cross—yet many of us want to serve God only as advisers. A far-too-prevalent attitude seems to be, “I’m not available for any ministry that involves personal hardship or takes too much of my time or runs the risk of being unappreciated and unrewarded.” Such soldiers are what C. T. Studd called, “chocolate soldiers.” They melt when the heat rises.
One soldier’s golf game fell apart at the fifth hole, and he became so frustrated and discouraged he retreated to his golf cart and pouted. Only the tactful encouragement of his soldier buddy persuaded him to resume play at the eighth hole. I’m happy to report the despondent soldier played well once again.
Another gentle reminder—soldiers of the cross can become frustrated and discouraged. Some may become so discouraged they drop out of Christian service. However, we can encourage them to “get back into the game.” A pat on the back works far better than a callous rebuke.
“Let us encourage one another,” Hebrews 10:25 admonishes. Let’s spread encouragement around wherever we Christians interact with one another. As soldiers of the cross, we need to buddy up in our constant conflict with evil.

copyright 2007 James Dyet

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Maltese Inherits $12 Million

When I first saw the photo of Leona Helmsley’s Maltese, Trouble, I thought I was looking at my Maltese, Molly. The two appear to be canine twins, but the comparison ends with their appearance. Trouble inherited $12 million. Molly . . . well, that’s a different story. Molly has enriched my life, but I can’t give her anything but love and an occasional freeze-dried liver treat. She seems to be content with that, and I am sure Trouble could get by comfortably on far less than $12 million.
My beneficiaries will not gain a windfall when I transition from this life to the next, but I hope they will feel richer for having shared life with me. If I can leave them a legacy of solid Christian character and memories of good times and laughter, I believe they will feel rich.
And just for the record, while my health is good, I’m going to keep on spoiling my dogs, Molly and Rosie. I think they can look forward to many more strolls in the park, naps at my feet, “good dogs” affirmations, and delectable liver treats.
P.S. My book, Meditations for Dog Lovers, offers fun glimpses of my relationship with my two dogs.

Here’s a sample chapter:

Unconditional Love

I have to be honest with you. I sometimes feel sorry for Molly because Gloria and I are age-challenged. We are what society calls, “seniors.” I’m not fond of the designation, but I can live with it, especially if Gloria and I visit a restaurant that offers a senior discount. However, our senior status means our children are adults. So there are no kids living with us. If Molly wants to play, she’s stuck with two owners who can get down on the floor but take a painfully slow time to get up.

I don’t think Molly understands the human aging process. If she does, she has never come right out and barked, “You guys are old and slow.” She just accepts us—yes, even loves us—as we are.

When I leave home, Molly follows me to the door and gives me that long look that says, “I’ll miss you.” When I return, she greets me. She wags her tail, barks, and jumps around my feet. I don’t have a dog language translator, but I’m sure she is saying, “I’m glad you’re home.” If that isn’t doggy love, what is?

Yes, sometimes I feel sorry for Molly, and I wish she had kids to play with, but she doesn’t seem to fret. She offers unconditional love and shows that is real.

Good Dogma
Have you met people who wonder how God can love them? I have. Some have low self-esteem. Some lug a load of guilt around in an unrelenting conscience. Some think God is too busy to care about them. His time is taken up with important matters like making the world go round, keeping the stars lit, managing angels, and restraining powerful evildoers from blowing up the world. Others believe God’s love is limited to those who have gone to church since they were toddlers. A few are serving time in prison. How could God possibly love felons?

Well, there is good news. God loves everyone without exception. He loves you and me just as we are. He knows all about our weaknesses, our failures, our blemishes, our imperfections, and our sins. He even knows about our baldness or our big nose or our warts or our freaky big toes, yet He loves us. That’s unconditional love, and it’s a treasure!

Now, here’s an amazing phenomenon. Once we recognize that God loves us unconditionally and we believe on His Son as our Savior, He places His love in our hearts so we can love Him and His commandments (Romans 5:5). The apostle John understood this fact. He wrote, “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).

A Bible Treat
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man. Though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die, but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7, 8).

—From Meditations for Dog Lovers, by Jim Dyet (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN) © 2005

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September Preaching Schedule

I will be ministering . . .

September 9, 6:00 p.m. at Rustic Hills Baptist Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado
September 16, 10:30 a.m. at North Federal Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado
September 23, 10:30 a.m. at North Federal Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado

I will also be speaking to a Woodmen Valley Chapel home Bible study group Sunday evening, September 16.

If your church needs a guest speaker or an interim pastor, please contact me.


Labor Day Ushers in Changes

Labor Day stands out in my thinking as an annual turning point. School is back in session, and daylight hours begin to shrink. Here in Colorado, daytime temperatures hover around 90 degrees, but nighttime temperatures drop into the fifties and forties, while the aspen leaves begin to trade their green for Rocky Mountain gold. In a couple of weeks our mountains will be crammed with lookie-loos and photographers, all of whom want to catch sight of shimmering–gold aspen against the backdrop of purple mountains and deep blue sky. By October, aspen gold will fade away, and snow will cover fallen leaves with a white blanket.
It may seem somewhat trite and obvious to say it, but with each passing Labor Day we get older. For some of us, the summer of life has yielded to fall, and winter will arrive as surely as snow settles on Colorado’s downed aspen leaves. The older we grow, the more health issues we experience. The passing years take their toll on our strength and durability. Now that I am two months shy of 72, I find I can’t drive a golf ball as far as I did several years ago.
What changes do you see taking place around you and in your own life?
We may not see some changes as positive, but we can feel secure in the knowledge that God doesn’t change. Nor do His promises change! The passing of a thousand Labor Days would not weaken His love, grace, mercy, truthfulness and faithfulness. His character and purpose for our lives are constant.
Here are a few passages of Scripture that encourage and comfort me in the midst of swirling changes—physical, political, social, religious, and technological.

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear him” (Psalm 103:17a).

“ . . . his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22b, 23).

“I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

“”For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Peter 1:24, 25a).


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Monday, September 3, 2007

Jesus Cares about Our Future Comfort

Jesus Cares about Our Future Comfort

“In my Father’s house are any rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

My wife and attended a very impressive open house in our neighborhood. First, it expressed a couple’s deep love and concern for the husband’s aging parents. The couple had hired a professional contractor to transform their sizable basement into an apartment for the parents. Secondly, the remodeled basement epitomized comfort, attractiveness, and convenience. It even included an elevator!
Before Jesus kept His rendezvous with death, He gathered His disciples together to comfort and instruct them. Knowing they would miss His companionship, He told them He would return to Heaven, prepare a place for them, and come back someday to escort them to Heaven.
We may not be able to afford a multi-million-dollar house down here, but our heavenly accommodations will outclass even the most luxurious dwelling down here. After all, Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, is preparing it. Its beauty, comfort, and design will thrill us, and it will be maintenance free forever. It will never need a new roof or a paint job or window replacement or any other upkeep expense. We won’t have to deal with mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities bills, or homeowners insurance. As for an elevator, we won’t need one. If we have to climb stairs, doing so will be a breeze. We will have left every physical distress behind—even those aching knees.

INSIGHT: We do not know when our final moving day will be, but we know it will be to the place Jesus is preparing for us.

—“Jesus Cares about Our Future Comfort” was written by James Dyet and was published by Haven Ministries. Copyright 2007. Used by permission.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Podcast:Ninety-nine and Still Walking

Gabcast! Ninety-Nine and Still Walking #1

Ninety-nine and Still Walking
written by James Dyet. Copyright 2007, James Dyet.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless “ (Genesis 17:1).

Walking is a significant form of exercise. It improves our cardiovascular system, combats depression, reduces weight, and builds muscle tone. Also, it is affordable. We may have to purchase a comfortable pair of walking shoes occasionally, but we don’t have to buy any hard-to-assemble gym equipment or the kind you fold and store under a bed. Some seniors stride up and down shopping mall corridors before stores open. The location allows them to avoid bad weather, and the early time allows them to avoid shoppers.

But as we get older walking becomes more difficult. Some days just getting out of bed is a chore. When we start the day, our muscles and bones are about as limber as a steel beam. It takes awhile to get mobile. Abram, at age 99, must have felt stiff and sore, nevertheless he received a command from the Lord to walk. If you and I live to the ripe old age of 99 and can stand, we will be happy, won’t we? But if we can walk, we will be hilariously happy. Walking at 99 is an outstanding feat.

But the Lord commanded Abram to do more than walk. He told him to “be blameless.” This was a tall order, but for the most part Abram exercised the kind of faith in the Lord that enabled him to maintain a sterling reputation. He did slip, however, soon after receiving the command to walk before the Lord and be blameless. He laughed when the Lord told him his 89-year-old wife Sarah would give birth to a son (Genesis 17:15–17).

How would our faith survive under similar circumstances? Don’t worry; it isn’t going to happen. But can we trust the Lord to keep all the promises He has made to us in His Word? Will we walk before Him and be blameless?

What test of faith will you pass today?

“Lord, help me to walk by faith and to live in such a way that my reputation as a Christian will be beyond reproach.”

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