May Praise and Prayer Report
Every time I write this report, I wonder if what is put into words really speaks whats in my heart. My prayer and hope is that no matter where your at in life, in general and spiritually, that you be encouraged by what God wants me to share.
Recently I was watching a Christian TV show, Life Today, which is a ministry the Lord has entrusted to James and Betty Robison, who have blessed literally millions of people around the world. God has used James and Betty in many areas of ministry over several decades, which has probably affected you, your family or your church family in some way.
On this particular show James and Betty were sharing with everyone the trials their family has endured over the past several months. James had undergone a hip replacement, which is very common today. James recovery seemed to be going normal, (as our lives seem to be so often), until the worst happened; Staff Infection. The doctors soon informed James and Betty they were not just fighting to save Jame’s leg, but his life. As God will always do if we are yielded and submitted to Him, He spoke revelation to James, personally and for the body of Christ during these trials. Next James explained about their son who has had serious eye issues. I remember James saying, I said to my son, you are so talented in all you do for the ministry with the computer tasks along with the website, you really need to see. I remember James quoting his sons response, dad I just want to see my kids grow up. Wouldn’t you think that is plenty for a God loving family to endure? A family that has earnestly served God in so many ways, well there’s more. James and Betty’s daughter was struck with a disease that has affected most of us by family or friend if not personally, cancer! They shared briefly of her struggles of this disease which most are related to the intense chemo treatments that are necessary to battle the cancer. I recall James saying that she had lost so much weight that her brother hardly recognized her. The next thing James said I don’t think I will ever forget and is why I have shared the Robison’s story with you. James and Betty shared that throughout this battle every time they received an email from their daughter she would sign it “I WIN “.
What a profound statement! How in the midst of a life or death battle; how when a disease has reduced you to only a portion of who you really are; how when your treatment makes you sick and weak; how when the outcome of the battle is unknown to you or your family; How can you say ” I WIN “. There is only one way to begin to comprehend this statement…..God loves you and me so much that He wouldn’t even spare His own Son’s life and Jesus understanding the depth of that love freely and willingly submitted Himself to God’s plan of the cross….WHY…. so you and I can boldly proclaim ” I WIN “. Our choice to accept the free gift of salvation by grace, through faith ,is the beginning of a relationship with God that He intended in the garden, so we can be all God intended us to be and allows us to say IN HIM, “I WIN”.
To wrap this up I would ask you to define the word WIN. Like so many other words it has been so distorted in our world today. We are told to be a winner in life its about; how big, how much, how good, how many and on and on. Then the word win combined with pride, greed or selfish ambition really confuses God’s true meaning of being a winner. Its much simpler than we have made it, by acknowledging that we need God and pursuing that need through salvation and then daily submitting ourselves to a relationship with Him, which will constantly conform us to a likeness of Jesus, then I WIN and YOU WIN. I don’t know if there really are Pearly Gates, but if there are when I enter them, no matter who meets me there or what question they ask me I think my response will be “I WIN”.
Our first hunt of May was with our friends the Barksdale family from Weatherford. Bruce, Shelia and Douglas enjoyed the blessings of the Harbin Triple Cross Ranch once again. It had began to warm up so the turkey hunting had slowed down a little. The turkeys were scattered more than earlier in the season making Douglas and I learn more about that patience word, you know the one if God gave out grades, most of us would not be passing. After early mornings, late evenings, the heat and a few short power-naps in the blind Douglas was blessed with his first Rio Grand Turkey. After the shouts, the laughs, the high-fives and something I would call The Douglas Dance, I was amazed the double bull pop-up blind was still in one piece. All I know to say is God is good all the time!!! This was an awesome hunt but there is more to do for the Barksdale’s, they need your prayers……Bruce’s emphysema is still progressing and he has eye surgery soon, their daughter was bucked off a horse and had a concussion which left some fluid on her brain that needs to go away and Shelia has some irregular heart issues along with a mammogram that the doctors are concerned about. Please put them in your prayers.
Our next and final turkey hunt was with Brodie Sharp from Aledo TX and Rick King, a friend of Brodie’s since high school came along for the hunt. There are many things that God has prepared me for as a hunting guide but predicting the weather or changing it is not one of them. The rained moved in and kept us from going to the ranch on Friday, mainly due to Brodie doesn’t have a 4×4 wheelchair yet…I said yet. We didn’t allow this to dampen our spirits, we went out Friday night and ate some great Mexican food in FT. Worth and went to Cabela’s on Saturday. One of the blessings for the weekend was Brodie lost his key to his safe, if he hadn’t I assure you he would be broke today. Late Saturday evening we decided to make a mad dash to the Triple Cross. That evening we didn’t even hear a gobble and Sunday morning we heard several birds but it just wasn’t going to happen this time. We were all blessed with good food, good fellowship, with each other and Richard and Myra Harbin (owners or should I say stewards of the Triple Cross Ranch) and some time in God’s Great Outdoors. Some would say our hunt was not successful, no we didn’t harvest a turkey, but a great weekend and great hunt, absolutely blessed!
Our final outing for May was a fishing trip with 6 or 7 boys with learning disabilities that attend a private school in FT. Worth TX. A good friend of mine son was one of the boys. The teacher, a couple moms (one of the moms drove a BMW, pretty sure that’s a first and last for the Triple Cross Ranch), one dad and my friends mom and dad all helped and enjoyed watching the boys catch some perch. After several tangled lines and baiting lots of hooks, we caught lots of perch, many of them caught their first fish ever. Everyone had a great time and the teacher said it was the best field trip they have had in a long time. We have already planned one for next September and again in May. They sent us a thank you card that everyone signed, what an honor and blessing to serve these boys that God loves so deeply.
How do I say thanks to all of you that make what we do at ATO possible? I am so humbled to represent ATO in the mission that God has trusted us to. Please continue to pray that God keep me spiritually alert so I hear and see him clearly. God, as always, has continued to show Himself faithful in what He spoke in ATO’s beginning’s; create the environment and He will bless His people. Jimmy Downe, ATO board member said in our beginnings, Our measuring stick will always be our Obedience. Amen and Amen
We have been blessed with some exotic hunts on two or three different ranches, we are working out details. We also have been invited for two Lake Texoma striper fishing trips sometime this summer. All of these opportunities have facilities for families and they are very excited to team up with ATO, once again, God is good, all the time. Another exciting announcement is we are going to add on to the cabin at the Triple Cross Ranch. A new bedroom with a full handicapped bathroom. I will ask everyone again to pray for Richard and Myra Harbin (Triple Cross owners), they have been so awesome in every way. Their obedience to God for the vision of ATO is unwavering, so believe me when I tell you they are committed and are having a blast as well. We will have our fundraiser golf tournament September 9th and the PA group are starting to sell their raffle tickets for the Steelers football game. Keep praying for these and other fundraisers along with our finances in general. Thank you all for all you do for ATO and even more for your commitment to God’s Kingdom stuff. I pray the eyes to your heart be opened so the revelation of God’s love be contagious to everyone He sends your way. And remember, if you have said yes to Jesus ” YOU WIN “.
As always, it is my pleasure to serve Him with you,