Monday, December 8, 2014

Pearl Harbor

A generation of young men and women responded to this attack by the Japanese.  My dad, William Calvin Burns, who had never seen any body of water larger than a water trough for cows, enlisted in the Navy to "fight the japs".   He served on a Destroyer in the Pacific and could NOT swim. He, and others were rewarded for their service with a great education, via the GI bill. After the war, he returned home to Fence Lake, New Mexico and completed high school and then went to college.  While attending New Mexico State University, he met my mom and when his favorite professor moved to the University of Florida, he and others in his class followed him there to receive their Masters in Animal Husbandry with a vision to "feed the world" through beef cattle production.  He raised his family in Brooksville, Florida at Chinsegut Hill as the Superintendent and main geneticist conducting research on the best breed of cows for beef production.  Another proof of God's ability to turn a terrible atrocity into good.

As we move forward, we don't know what the future holds.  Currently, the Japanese seem to be some of our best friends in the world and Islamic Terrorists are our enemies.  What we can know is this:

Romans 8: 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Could God cause our current enemies to one day become our best friends.  It has happened before and it could happen again.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Race Report from the 50K Portion of the Trilogy

One of the many blessings of trail running is the people you meet.  The choice to use one of the beds in the bunkhouses was a good one.  Not only did it simplify the experience, but also I was able to meet and make three new friends.  We were all pretty well ready for lights out at the same time and slept good enough.  After a good breakfast with great coffee, we prepared to run all day in a steady cold rain.  The RD’s assured everyone that no one would get lost, but… I am gifted.   

After descending cardiac hill, I turned right and ran until connecting to a trail that crossed a nice bridge.  I did not see the trail markers leading up the ridge, but I did see red trail markers down the trail below the ridge, and just kept following them.  I kept seeing red trail markers, so I thought I was good to go.  They marked a trail that included climbing over a fence, but I did not remember the fence crossing from a year ago, and began to wonder.  As I ascended a mountain, two young runners with bib numbers were coming the opposite direction, and politely informed me, that they thought I was running the wrong direction.  Great! I had added a mile and half one way, and as I turned, there were others who had done the same.  There was a new runner among us, and it was a good learning experience for her that this is just part of the possibilities.  After running back to the bridge, we scanned the woods and found the trail markers leading up the ridge.  (We never did run the section that was marked with the red trail markers. I am guessing it was marking the half marathon and the young runners were doing a training run. I think they were angels, as I would have just kept on running and running the wrong direction on the wrong course.)  We made friendships as the five of us, made our way up the mountain, around the mountain, and into the first aid station.  None of us complained, just explained, “all five of us got lost”.  The three RD’s operate the first aid station and the rain was coming down very steady.     

The woods are nice, the weather is cool, the rain keeps us from overheating, and we all get into a steady rhythm.  The rain is making the trail very muddy in places and I almost lose a shoe in one bog, and everything is slippery.  A camouflaged volunteer is directing us across a slippery bridge and let us know the aid station is a few miles away.  The good news it seemed like only a half a mile and provided a little mental boost.  I was pretty much all alone from here on out as the other members of the lost quintuplet had moved ahead or fell back.  Aid Station 3 and 4 doubles as the same station as it is a loop.  It was accessible only by bicycles and was well stocked, including, moonshine.  I appreciated the sentiment, but went for the hot vegetable broth and quesadillas, warmed by the fire.  The loop, for me, was fine except for being so slippery.  Being all alone, I had to take extra caution, as a fellow could get lost and fall off a ridge into the underbrush and never be found again.  A random runner with a bib was coming down the mountain I was climbing, and I thought, “noooooo”.  He did not divulge any information, but assured me I was running in the right direction.   I made it back into aid station 4 and was able to resist the moonshine, and left with a pocket full of banana’s, quesadilla’s and a cup full of hot vegetable broth.  A long ascent and then a very long walk across leaf-covered rocks awaited me.  I had remembered from last year, not to stress about walking for so long, as I could never get into a rhythm with so many rocks.  The nasty ascent was the best views of the day as the ridge across from the trail could be seen between the fog and clouds.  The ascent would eventually become flat, and I just took my time a long time across the rocks.  Fortunately, I had many scripture songs I had been listening to, and the Word carried me when I was weak.  The main one was:

Jude 1: 20But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

So, off and on, mostly on, all day, this verse as well as “praying in the Holy Ghost”, was my main mental activity.  For me, the mental elements are best handled with scripture and prayer.  In extreme limits, this keeps my mind from sabotaging my efforts.  A sweet sight was entering the final aid station, and was able to get some more hot soup, and lots of fruit.  I asked what was ahead of me, and one fellow said, “well, there is the bear.”   

Cardiac Hill awaited, and lots of mud, and though very, very slow, I finally saw the one mile to go marker and not a bear.  I reflected on the recent diagnoses of cutaneous lymphoma that was followed by rituxan chemotherapy and radiation.  Nine days earlier, I had finished the radiation treatments, and I was thankful to be able to give this a shot.  The day before I awoke with a cold and, realized that my voice was mostly gone as I ended.  I had to teach a bible class (1 and 2 Corinthians Potomac School of Ministry) the following day, so I was wondering how that was going to work out.   I also began planning my exit as I wanted to get over the mountains before dark.  I wondered how Rick Gray had done, and renamed his wife, Saint Tammy, as she slept in their van and was planning to run the half marathon.  I was mostly walking any ascent and slow jogging any flats, and was very thankful for a smiling Dan Lehman taking a picture as the clock showed 9:27 and change.  One of the lost quintuplets (I think her name was Carolyn) was finished, showered, and offering encouraging words as I finished.  “We are the ones who were able to have the bonus miles, at no extra cost”. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prayer for ISIS

Sunday Night, I watched a disturbing report on 60 Minutes regarding ISIS.

This morning, I was wondering how to pray about them, and this is what came to me.  It is a similar situation that faced ancient Israel, and here is the prayer, that we can also pray in response to ISIS.

Isaiah 37: 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

18“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.

Father in Heaven, deliver us from ISIS hands and threats, so that all the kingdoms of this earth may know that you, Lord are the only God.

In Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tooth Pain

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

This week I have suffered with some serious tooth pain.  At times I wasn't thinking straight because of the pain.  I then realized that tooth pain was just one of the pains that Jesus bore on the cross, and "with his stripes we are healed".  I am beginning to set my faith for the healing of my tooth issues (I also am seeing my dentist often), and until I receive, I marvel at the suffering of Jesus.  Makes me love him, that much more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eat, Drink, Enjoy Work, and Accept One's Place in Life

Ecclesiastes 5: 18Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why do we put so much trust in the American Military?

We are hearing reports and seeing pictures of atrocities committed against innocent Christian children that include public beheading.  Question?  Why do we think that the American Military is the answer?  I ‘happened’ to read this today from Psalms 33 (NLT).

16The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
17Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
18But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
19He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
20We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.

As a cancer overcomer, I realize the temptation to put one’s hope in the oncologist, the staff of medical personnel, chemotherapy drugs and one’s health insurance.  I am only suggesting that when problems of great magnitude continue to break upon our lives, that we “put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield”.  This will require a real lean in to “rely” on the Lord’s help.  The Lord’s helper may be the American Military, and it may not.  I would like to rely more heavily on the One who can hurl hailstones onto ISIS, and who also can raise up laborers to preach the gospel to terrorists.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


There are many facets of the causes of depression.  The cure is never as simple as, “put on a happy face”.   There are physical, emotional, mental, societal, relational, spiritual, and even weather related causes.  When a beloved friend, family member or a public figure falls deep into depression we (at least I) do not know what to do for them.  So…just ask.  What can be done for you?  What can I do for you?

Most times the answer has been to just stay close.  To be near with presence.  

Today is a good day to check in with someone whom you know has the struggle of dark thoughts, and dark days.  

Depressed people often cannot articulate what they need, or why they feel so dark, so give lots of grace and freedom while staying close with presence.  I am not a huge fan of alcohol or recreational drug use to lift someone’s spirits.  I am a fan of nature walks or mall walks.

Lord, we pray for the friends and family of Robin Williams, we do not know what it is like to be in their places, and since you do, we ask you for your presence to be very near and close to them.  Help us, be sensitive to anyone that may be dealing with some darkness, and give us your presence within our presence so we can be what we need to be and do what we need to do.
In Jesus name, amen.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Seeing IS believing

Romans 2: 4Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? 

The context is not judging others.  

Romans 2:  1You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad.

I have issues with other people that really disturb me, especially when they influence friends and family to live in destructive ways.  This passage helps me realize, this is a pattern to repent of, and not allow myself to be self blinded and "see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with" me and those whom I consider to be living in deviant lifestyles.

Forgiveness is freeing, and releases a forgiving person to move forward into constant forward motion.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Go Deeper

One of the great aspects of summer is swimming.  This past week, and all summer, we were able to do some great swimming and diving.  For most of our time on the water, we want to stay on the surface and when we do, if we want to stay on the surface a long time, we will put on and keep on these life jackets.  They are especially helpful to keep someone from tiring out and in an emergency, they will keep you from drowning.

All that is great for surface enjoyment.  However, if you want to go deeper down into the water, you have to let go of the life jackets and be equipped to go down and go deeper into the water.

Under the water, is a different dimension than the dimension on the surface.

To go deeper, under water, you have to move beyond survival and barely swimming. 

Going deeper under water is not something we encouraged our grandson Leo to engage in.  We wanted him to stay on the surface. 

We also did not want our granddaughter Bethany to go deeper, for we wanted her to stay on the surface, and with her life jacket on, enjoyed the surface of the water.

For many in the body of Christ, the babes in Christ among us, staying on the surface is what we want you to do.

We, who are older in the Lord, more mature in relationship with God, want you to stay on the surface of your relationship with God, and just enjoy a relationship with God, and stay alive in Christ.

However, there will be times for the mature, to go deeper.  In addition, at times, it will be very necessary for a mature swimmer to go down deep. 

It is both a fun moment and a tense moment, when a young swimmer, takes off their life jacket, and goes deeper under water.  A completely new world opens up. 

At the lake, early in the week, the water was very clear, and with goggles and a mask, one of the first comments, that our son Daniel made, was it was somewhat freaky to have a big fish swim by, and later the next day, our grand daughter Lydia said something similar.

When you go deeper in swimming, as well as going deeper in Christ, it is very possible you will see, hear, and experience things that you did not know was possible.  In addition, for some, a decision will be made to just stay on the surface, but for others, it will increase your desire to know God deeper, no matter what you see, hear and experience.