God’s Creation

Back a few years when I was a kid I used to go to what I called my summer home. There I would spend a summer month with my summer parents Fonda and Lester Lively. Lester had a three hundred acker farm in the rolling hills of Summers County West Virginia. It was always a good time there on the farm, as there was always exciting things to do that could not be found in the city life. Many a day would be spent bailing hay, cutting poles for pole beans, feeding the chickens and slopping the hogs, shucking corn and milking the Jersey Cow. Then most evenings we’d all play ball at the Church yard. One of the more exciting events of the week was on Friday night we went up to the upper farm and let the dogs run. They were hunting dogs and would track foxes, raccoons and rabbits. Lester had the big dog whose name was Old Bill.

Old Bill was a one man’s dog and didn’t pay no mind to me, Fonda or anyone else. Old Bill came only when Lester called if he wasn’t already in Lester’s shadow. When I went out with the older men folk of Ballengee to run the dogs I could always tell which dog was Old Bill as he had a very deep and long howl when he was on the track of a poor and unfortunate critter.

The first time I ever got to go with the menfolk and Lester was when I was 7 years old. It was then I found out just how smart Old Bill was. We went up to the top of a hill where the ground leveled off a bit and we let the dogs loose. Old Bill was always in the lead as he charged out into the country night and was always the first one to pick up a sent. As soon as Old Bill would catch a good sniff he would let out that deep howl of his and the other dogs would quickly howl and chase along behind him. As the dogs would run the men would give their thoughts as to what they were chasing by the speed and ground they were howling from. If they were chasing a fox they would run across a lot of open ground. A raccoon they would shortly tree him and sit there howling until they became bored and found a new critter to chase. If it was a rabbit they would quickly get into the thick brush and most times lose track of him. It was always interesting to hear the howl by howl commentary of the old men.

But on this first adventure I was pretty green to dog running and always impatient when they stopped howling. Though the howling never stopped for more than a few minutes, still I worried that they had quite for the night and we would have to go home. Most times the old men were ready to go home before I was but then I didn’t have to get up at six in the morning if I didn’t want to. On this first time out for me the dogs were running fast and Lester said it must be a fox that they were after. They had run down the hill from where we were and up on the next which was Turtle Back Mountain. Lester was making a comment that the dogs were getting into some unfriendly country when all of a sudden the evening air became very quiet. It seemed like a lot of time passed when all of a sudden we could hear the dogs howling once again. They had gone way past Turtle Back and were in the valley of the far side.

I was curious as to how the dogs knew the fox had gone that way if they had lost the sent and stopped howling. So I asked Lester how they knew where the fox was going to go and he gave me a surprise of an answer. “Why they never lost sent,” Lester said, “they knew where that fox was all the time.” Well I was really puzzled because they weren’t howling and that was the whole fun of it for the dogs and us alike. So I asked Lester another question, “How come they stopped howling if they were still chasing the fox?” Lester answered the question in a way that sounded like I should have known. “Oh they were on the foxes heels sure enough but they had to stop howling because they were on posted ground.” (Inspired by Jerry Clower “Posted Ground)

Too many Children of God when they leave the sanctuary of their place of worship, leave their comfort zone, they walk in this world as if it were on posted ground. That fire that they had in the House of God dims to a flicker and is barely seen in the world. Somehow that light that is supposed to shine as a city on the hill becomes covered in the brush of a lack of confidence to express openly our testimony. Like Old Bill running across posted ground, they know what they’re hunting but do not shout out their praises of joy to the Heavenly Father. Old Bill is no different than any other dog and who then would know the knowledge he has. So too are we who have the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ yet hide it for fear of the world’s foolishness and mockery. Many will laugh, many will reject, many will mock, and many will persecute the believer but what a small price we would pay for the one who will receive the grace of God. In truth we have no need for a lack of confidence, as our Lord has promised that He will be with us always. We have this promise that in the hour of our need we will be given what to say. “When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11)

We can also build our confidence through prayer, study of God’s Word, and by practice. There are people that the Lord will send into our path that we are to minister to, God Himself has prepared the hearts of these people to receive the seed that we are to plant. I truly believe that on that day we stand before our Master we will be held accountable for each and every soul we denied the truth to. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) What can the world do to us who have a home secured in the Kingdom of God?

This is not posted ground that we walk upon but the gift to man through God’s Creation. It is ground that has been cursed by the adversary but we need not fear him for what power does he have but a deceitful lie. We have free will, I am not naive and know well the difficulty of resisting the evil one, and we must have the will to resist. The example of our Lord is His use of His Word that even the devil himself must respect its power, even far better that we at times. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) We must never forget the truth of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is our Father’s world and it was created for our dominion and to be subdued by us. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) If we are growing spiritually in the image of God then we are also growing in His power as well.

We serve the Lord Jesus Christ and the truth is, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3) This is not only history but it is the today show and it is also a future hope that the Christian holds. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) We do not convert souls into the Kingdom of God and there is not one soul that you and I can save. We are to preach the gospel sharing the good news of God’s free gift of salvation. That is our calling, that is our purpose, and that should be our passion. It is the Lord that calls and changes hearts that are willing to be led to the cross of their salvation. It is the Lord who prepares the way for each and every step we are to take. We follow the Lord, as we can do nothing in any other direction. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

All of God’s creation glorifies Him and if the universe that He created knows Him should we not also glorify His name? The stars in the heavens sing to His praise and the sons of God shout for their joy is found in the Lord. “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!” (Psalm 148:1-3) All creation delights in the Lord except for the crown of His creation man. It ponders my mind sorely that mankind can live in a world so universally knit together that not one degree is misguided, yet they can’t see the majesty of His glory and praise His holy name. They have been blinded in their lust for a fallen world. If they cannot see in His creation should they not see it in His Children? “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11) What a difference the Christian could make in the lives of the lost and searching of this world. The Heavens above us are shouting God’s story where all can see yet so many have not even seen the first verse. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)

The heavens are telling the story and we like Old Bill have the knowledge to know what we are hunting for. It is up to us for the sake of all others to share the truth of the age. “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations.” (Luke 21:25) This is not posted ground this is free ground given to us by our God and the Lord is coming to restore that which is His. Let us strive not to leave anyone behind, as it is His call that none should be lost. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 19, 2014

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