Friday, March 16, 2018

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 67: Wind Unseen

Key Verse

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,” Galatians 5:22 WEB


Can you see the wind? Of course not. Can you hear it? Nope. That might surprise you. We often talk of hearing the wind. In actuality, we are only hearing the affects of the wind. When the wind blows by, the air itself makes no noise. The sound comes from the air interacting with objects it meets. You only hear the affects of wind.

Air can cause sounds in many ways through its interactions with different objects. It can cause a kite to flap making a distinct noise. It can rattle the windows in your house. When the wind blows past your ear or through a whistle it creates yet another sound. All these interactions cause the air to separate rapidly creating pressure waves. These pressure waves are what make the sound of the wind. On its own, wind cannot be seen or heard, but when it affects an object it is quite obvious.

It is similar with the Holy Spirit. It cannot be seen or heard. Its movements are unknown to us until it affects a person. When the Holy Spirit interacts with a person, and that person is receptive, the affects are often quite obvious. Galatians 5:22 tells us what to look for – the fruit of the Spirit. When a person is changed by accepting Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into their heart and begins to make them more kind, patient, loving, joyful, and good. Watch for the affects of the Holy Spirit in your life and those around you.


In what other ways does the Holy Spirit change people?

How has the Holy Spirit affected you?

Can we affect what the Holy Spirit does? If so, how?

Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: @mostafawagdi via

Friday, March 9, 2018

Autumn And Winter


Autumn And Winter


Beautiful Autumn is dead and gone--
Weep for her!
Calm, and gracious, and very fair,
With sunny robe and with shining hair,
And a tender light in her dreamy eye,
She came to earth but to smile and die--
Weep for her!

Nay, nay, I will not weep!
She came with a smile,
And tarried awhile,
Quieting Nature to sleep;--
Then went on her way
O'er the hill-tops grey,
And yet--and yet, she is dead, you say!
Nay!--she brought us blessings, and left us cheer,
And alive and well shell return next year!--
Why should I weep? 

Desolate Winter has come again--
Frown on him!
He comes with a withering breath,
With a gloomy scowl,
With a shriek and a howl,
Freezing Nature to death!
He stamps on the hills,
He fetters the rills,
And every hollow with snow he fills!
Frown on the monster grim and old,
With snowy robes and with fingers cold,
And a gusty breath!

Nay, nay! I shall give him a smile!--
For I know by the sleet,
And the snow in the street,
He has come to tarry awhile.
Ho, for the sleigh-bells merrily ringing!
Ho, for the skaters joyously singing--
Over the ice-fields gliding, swinging!--
So let the Winter-king whiten the plain!
Fetter the fountains and frost the pane,
His greeting shall be--
Not a frown from me,
But a smile--a smile!

  By Mrs. J. C. Yule

Source: Poems of the Heart and Home By Mrs. J. C. Yule
Photo Credit:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 66: Winter Support

Key Verse

“Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 BSB


Where do all the birds go in the winter? It is well known that many birds fly south for the winter. But not all birds do so. Many remain in cold regions and endure the snow, ice, and frigid weather including Cardinals, certain wrens, some woodpeckers and others. It is incredible to think that some birds would choose to remain in cold climates when they can so easily fly south to warmer areas. Perhaps if they all went south there would not be enough food for all of them. So how do birds stay warm in the cold and where do they go if not south?

On most nights birds sleep in a nest or on a tree branch. During cold winter nights birds seek warm lodgings out of the wind. Such places include cavities in trees, tree stumps, vine tangles, upturned roots, old barn roofs, and bird houses to name a few. Birds have been known to stay just about anywhere they can find, including a mailbox. I’m sure that post man was quite surprised. Birds tend to only go out in the cold when the must for food. This is why they are seen less during the winter. They only travel as far as required to find insects or bird feeders to eat.

Birds have other ways of combating low temperatures besides going inside. They will often add insulation to their winter roost with bits of moss, twigs, leaves, and man-made material such as paper. They can also ruffle their feathers up to trap more heat around their little body. Of course, the best way birds use to stay warm is to huddle together with other birds. As many as 46 birds have been documented inside one nesting box!1

Birds know the value of relationships. Having others around to support you when things get hard can be a big help and even save your life. The early Christians realized the benefit of relationships and community also. That is why in Hebrews 10:25 Paul encouraged his fellow Christians to meet frequently so they could encourage one another. It is not safe to be a Christian all alone with out the support of fellow believers. Jesus also encouraged believers to get together when he said where two or three are gathered in my name I am there also (Matthew 18:20). We need each other, especially in hard times, for warmth and support.


What are some things you could do to help ensure birds make it through the cold winter?

Do we have to be part of a church to be Christian?

Can you come up with some other reasons why it is important to meet with fellow Christians?

What could you tell someone who says they don’t need other Christians?


1 Joe Smith. “How Do Birds Stay Warm on a Cold Winter’s Night?” (JANUARY 19, 2016). The Nature Conservancy. Accessed January 1, 2018 from

Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: christijamin via

Friday, February 23, 2018

Nature's Temple

Nature's Temple

I love to ramble
Through bush and bramble
To the heart of God's creation
In secluded hills
Where the world is still
Beyond modern civilization
I feast my eyes
So mesmerized
By this unhindered beauty
Midst bird and tree
Where heart is free
Beyond the call of duty

The hand of God
Has brushed the sod
With emerald, bronze and amber
Since nature's birth
This niche on earth
Remains an untouched chamber
In reverence now
I humbly bow
Within this sanctuary
These wooded halls
Unbarred by walls
Beckon me to tarry

I love to ramble
Through nature's temple
For as I roam its girth
In this solitude
My heart is renewed
In the God of Heaven and earth
With sapphire and jade
It's heaven-made
Unmarred by our progression
I give to Him
My heart of sin
And He makes intercession
Photo Credit: kareni via

Friday, February 16, 2018

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 65: Cardinal Praise

Key Verse

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV


On a wintry cold December day not too long ago as my wife and I walked through the woods she said, “Listen to how quiet it is.” We both stopped and listed for a few moments, there was complete silence, not a bird or bug, or even the wind could be heard. This is normal during the winter months in most of the world, especially where it gets below freezing. Most birds fly south for the winter to warmer weather. The ones that stay behind and endure the cold rarely sing in order to save their energy. Not until early spring do they begin singing again.

The Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is different. Cardinals are fantastic and accomplished songbirds. They are also hardy and do not fly south for the winter and are able to endure the long cold winters as far north as southeastern Canada. They are undeterred by thick snow, long nights, or biting winds. Lack of food sources does not even drive this small red bird south. Despite all the difficulties faced in the long cold winter they can be heard singing. They are one of few birds that can be heard year-round, even in the dead of winter, offering songs to their Creator.1

What a wonderful example how we can continue to praise God even in the trials of life. God is our fortress in which we can take shelter and find hope in the darkest of times (Psalm 59:17). Because of this hope we can know that God has not deserted us. We can be sure that everything will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). For these reasons we can meet trials with joy as James encourages us to do (James 1:2).

Paul and Silas were missionaries for Jesus. They preached about him wherever they went. In many towns they were told not to talk about Jesus, yet they continued to do so because they knew others needed to learn about the salvation he offers. For this they found themselves in prison chained to the wall with their legs in stocks. Yet in this most difficult time and place, they were able to sing hymns to encourage each other and as praise to God. They, like the Cardinal, held a hope of the coming spring.


What are some benefits of praising God even when we are experiencing trials and may not feel like it?

Does praising God mean we cannot or should not feel sad?

What are other ways we can praise God besides singing?

Why does God allow us to go through these hard times?


1 John Bull and John Farrand Jr. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. (1990): 578. Alfred A Knopf Publishing, New York. Print.

Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: David F. Garner

Outdoor Conservation Ethics Through Time

Mankind has been dependent on his surrounding environment since the beginning. He must be careful to use it sparingly for it it fails he likely will also. Various people through out history have managed their surrounding environment in many creative ways, some effective, others perhaps even more damaging. Each time man has failed to manage the surrounding environment upon which he depends, it has led to valuable lessons painfully learned. These lessons are often transmitted to others in wise proverbs, ethical codes, protective laws, memorable sayings, and even imaginative songs and poems. Perhaps the best known incarnation of conservation language today is the Leave No Trace Center's 7 Principles. Before these were canonized in the early 1990's various people and groups tried to educate others on conservation ethics. Here is a list of memorable and concise quotes and codes from various sources. Please enjoy and share these with others!

Beginning of Time


"God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 (WEB) 


The above verse records the first command given to Adam and Eve after they were created. It describes their role as caretakers and stewards of God's creation with a duty to cultivate and multiply the natural world. The theme of God's followers as stewards runs throughout scripture and did not stop after the fall. Read more about it here.

1700 B.C. (Circa)


"Tear not up by the roots the Kakambira tree: destroy thou all malignity."

This quote comes from a verse (VI-48-17) of the ancient Hindu text the Rig Veda Samhita translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith 1896. Throughout this and several other sacred Hindu texts are commands and requests to protect grass, trees, animals, water, and the entire natural habitat from destruction and pollution. The natural world holds a high place in this ancient religion being itself divine. View here and read more quotes about the environment from Hindu texts here.

1400 B.C. (Circa)


"That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my Soul may repose on the branches of the trees which I planted, that I may refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore."


The above quote is part of an inscription on an ancient Egyptian tomb. The translator is unknown but the quote comes from Branches of the Tree of Life: The Collected Poems of Abiodun Oyewole 1969-2013 by Abiodun Oyeole published 2014 by 2Leaf Press pg. 13. View here.

630 A.D. (Circa)


"Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire,"


The above quote is by the Islamic Caliph Abu Bakr. Source: Aboul-Enein, H. Yousuf; Zuhur, Sherifa (2004), Islamic Rulings on Warfare, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Diane Publishing Co., Darby PA, p. 22, ISBN 9781584871774




"By felling the trees which cover the tops and sides of mountains, men in all climates seem to bring upon future generations two calamities at once; want of fuel and a scarcity of water."

The above quote was made by Baron Alexander von Humboldt in , Aimé Bonpland and  Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America: During the Years 1799-1804 pg. 9 published 1852, Vol. 2, 9. Translated from the original in French.View here.





1. Not to drop matches or burning tobacco where there is inflammable material.

2. Not to build larger camp fires than are necessary.

3. Not to build fires in leaves, rotten wood, or other places where they are likely to spread.

4. In windy weather and in dangerous places, to dig holes or clear the ground to confine camp fires.

5. To extinguish all fires completely before leaving them, even for a short absence.

6. Not to build fires against large or hollow logs, where it is difficult to extinguish them.

7. Not to build fires to clear land without informing the nearest officer of the FOREST SERVICE, so that he may assist in controlling them.

This notice is posted for your benefit and the good of every resident of the region. You are requested to cooperate in preventing the removal or defacement, which acts are punishable by law.

JAMES WILSON, Secretary of Agriculture"


The above excerpt is perhaps one of the first lists of responsible campfire guidelines. It comes from one of a series of notices posted in forests by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, directing attention to U. S. laws against careless fire setting. It was originally quoted in
Boy Scouts Handbook The First Edition, 1911 pg 159 authored by The Boy Scouts of America. View here:



"The scout should never kill an animal or other living creature needlessly. There is more sport in stalking animals to photograph them, and in coming to know their habits than in hunting to kill."

This quote comes from Handbook for Boys by The Boy Scouts of America 1911 pg 5 under the heading "What Scouting Means." View here



"On breaking up camp leave two things behind you: 1. Nothing. 2. Your Thanks."

The above quote is attributed to Lord Baden-Powell the founder of The Boy Scouts of America. It is printed in many Scouting publications one of which you can view here, see page 3.




"I give my pledge as an American to save and faithfully to defend from waste the natural resources of my country - its soil and minerals, its forests, waters, and wildlife."

In 1946 Outdoor Life Magazine held a contest for a new concise conservation pledge. The contest was won by L. L. Foreman of New Mexico. It spread rapidly around the US and helped many to understand the definition and importance of conservation of the environment. Read about it here and here.



"As an American, I will do my best to – Be clean in my outdoor manners. Be careful with fire. Be considerate in the outdoors. Be conservation minded."


President Eisenhower challenged the Boy Scouts to raise public awareness of caring for natural resources. In response The Boy Scouts of America published the Outdoor Code in Boy's Life Magazine which is still in use today. The full length includes subtext to each precept that further explains it. View here and here.



"1) Make it hard for others to see you and 2) Leave no trace of your visit."

A joint venture between several Federal agencies produced a national campaign to educate the public on "No-Trace" camping techniques. One small publication titled Leave "No Trace" Land Ethics Produced Cooperatively by: USDA USDI offered the following principles along with several useful and detailed practices. View here.



"Leave No Trace Principles:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Leave What You Find

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts 

  • Respect Wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors"


The above principles were created by a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Outdoor Leadership School and this later led to the creation to the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics which spearheads conservation education to this day. View more here

Written by David F. Garner
Photo Credit: sara-kangas via

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Hiker's Prayer

The Hikers Prayer

Adapted from the 23rd Psalm

The LORD is my guide,

I have all that I need,

He leads me to rest in green meadows,

He leads me along trickling streams,

He strengthens me,

He guides me down smooth trails,

Reminding me of His devotion,

As I hike through valleys shadowed by storms,

I fear no misfortune, for You are my guide,

Your well-worn staff shows Your experience,

And I take comfort,

You prepare a feast for me,

At the end of a long treacherous day,

You sooth me with a hot drink,

Surely Your goodness and care,

Will always be there,

And I will follow in Your footsteps,

Every day of my life.

- By David F. Garner