Monday, August 4, 2014

The Grace of our God!

Joseph Herrin (08-04-2014)

Champ Enjoying a Bone in the Shade on a Summer Day in Georgia

Day after day I find myself expressing thanksgiving to Yahweh for His abundant mercy and grace. He is truly a heavenly Father who watches over and cares for His sons and daughters. It is His will that we give forth thanks in all things, for His purposes for all of our experiences are intended for our ultimate welfare.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Yahshua.

I have been especially thankful this past week as we have experienced unusually cool weather for a Georgia summer. The highs have been topping out in the low 80s, and we had a couple nights when the temperature dropped to an unseasonably cool 62 degrees. It is a joy to be outside, and to work in the yard, in this type of weather, and I continually express my gratitude to the Father for this blessing.

I do not doubt that my living alone and having little face-to-face interaction with other people is a contributing factor to my habit of speaking to Yahweh throughout the course of each day. In truth, however, I spent much time conversing with my heavenly Father even when my family was with me and I had regular fellowship with other Christians. The reality of God’s presence with me has only increased since the Father called me into full-time ministry and a walk of faith 15 years ago. Consequently, I find myself speaking aloud to the Father throughout the course of my day. I find much comfort in doing so.

I often speak to the Father about even those things that many Christians would consider small issues, not worth troubling God about. Yahweh is certainly not taxed, or His powers exhausted, by our speaking to Him throughout the course of our days. I believe He would have all His sons and daughters to walk in a moment by moment recognition of His presence. The apostle Paul stated “in Him we move and exist and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

I thought that as a way of encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ to live more in the reality of Yahweh’s presence, I would share some of my recent experiences. This will also serve as an update on my personal life, as numerous readers have expressed that they enjoy hearing the details of my life experiences, and even to keep up with the welfare of my dog Champ.

Although it has been a relatively cool summer by Georgia standards, we have had plenty of hot days. The humidity has been high, no doubt partially due to the abundant rains we have had going back to last year. The spring was very wet here, and the summer has been at least normal, and possibly a little above average in precipitation. We were getting afternoon and evening thunder storms regularly for some time here. Following is a picture of the drive leading back to the property where I am parked. I took this photo about three weeks ago as I was standing next to the front of my bus.

The water was standing several inches deep in parts of the yard, but it quickly soaks in. The abundance of rain has kept the grass growing and everything remains green well into the summer when things are normally beginning to turn brown. I am very grateful for the rain, as there are parts of the United States that are experiencing exceptional drought. The farmers have been having very good crops here, and obtaining local produce has been a blessing.

One thing I have really enjoyed this summer are Georgia watermelons. Until this summer I have only eaten watermelons occasionally, usually when someone else was serving them. For some reason, I have found myself enjoying them much more this year and I have purchased about 7 or 8 watermelons that I have eaten all by myself. I find them particularly refreshing after having been out in the yard mowing grass. They are a great way to rehydrate after sweating profusely while outdoors.

In these modern days of air conditioning, office jobs, and comfortable vehicles, the idea of sweating is repulsive to some people. I learned many years ago to accept gracefully a good sweaty work-out. One of the effects of the hereditary brittle bone disease I was born with (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) is profuse sweating. It bothered me much more when I was in my youth to sweat, for I was concerned overly much about other people’s opinions. Now if someone shows disdain upon seeing me with my shirt so soaked that you can wring the water out of it, I am tempted to give them a big, sweaty hug. (Tempted, I say, but then self-control overrules.)

Sweating is actually very good for you. An article on Fitness Magazine’s website lists seven benefits of sweating.

Eases pain
“Exercise stimulates neurochemical pathways in the brain, resulting in the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers...”
Cleans out your pores
Rids the body of toxins
Controls mood swings
Prevents colds and other infections
Regulates body temperature
Lowers kidney stone risk
“Research from the University of Washington found that regular exercisers sweat out salt and tend to retain calcium in their bones, rather than having them -- salt and calcium -- go into the kidneys and urine where stones form. Frequent sweaters also tend to drink more water and fluids, which is another stone prevention mechanism.”

All that sweating makes a body thirsty. I drink lots of water. In fact, other than coconut/almond milk I use for my cereal, it is usually the only drink you will find in my RV. I quit drinking soda pop when I was in my twenties, and I gave up sweetened ice tea years ago. There are times, however, when a nice big slice of chilled watermelon is called for. Since I don’t own a car, you may wonder how I get the watermelon home. A couple years ago I purchased a trailer to pull behind my bicycle. I posted pictures of it soon after I acquired it.

I no longer have the bike in the photo, having replaced it with a recumbent trike. You may note that the trailer attaches high up on the bike. It was made to attach to the seat post, but because I had a battery on the bike rack I had to modify the hitch to attach it to the back of the bike rack. I used this same method of hitching with my trike.

This worked fine until I started hauling watermelon in my trailer. Recumbent trikes all experience a certain amount of “boom swing.” The boom is the bar that stretches out in front of the trike with the pedals mounted at the end. As you pedal, the boom tends to swing a little bit from side to side. With a good quality trike, this amount of swing is not very noticeable, and I do have a good trike. I found, however, that a heavy trailer on the back of the trike, if it is mounted at the very rear at a high location, amplifies the boom swing. The trailer begins to swing back and forth, and although it is not enough to make riding dangerous or difficult, I found that the swing of the trailer would cause the rear fender to rub on the back tire at times.

I decided that I needed to correct this issue before it caused problems. Most bike trailers mount lower down and farther forward, either attaching to the spindle that goes through the rear wheel, or somewhere in that vicinity. My first thought was to get a new trailer as the one I had was not configured to attach where I needed it to mount. I didn’t really want to replace my trailer, for the trailer itself is fine, and I found two soft cooler bags that fit perfectly inside of it, keeping my groceries cool when I am traveling the 15 miles from the store to home.

My Soft Coolers in My Trailer

I found a trailer that I thought would meet my needs, and it was large enough to hold my two cooler bags, but they would not fit as perfectly as they do in the trailer I have been using. It is quite common for me to talk aloud to the Father as I am contemplating such decisions. I frequently ask Him to guide me to the perfect solution for my needs. I had some misgiving about the trailer I decided to order, partly due to my bags not fitting as snugly inside of it, but also due to the price. It retailed with shipping for approximately $370.

I ordered from the manufacturers website (Onda), and was somewhat surprised when the receipt listed another company for fulfillment. The company name listed was Boomerang. When I saw the name, I wondered if the Father was saying something to me through this. Would this be a trailer I did not like and ended up returning? Would there be some other issue with it?

Two days after I placed the order a woman who worked for the manufacturing company called me. She informed me that the trailer I ordered was out of stock, and the company was planning to make changes to the trailer design so she had no idea when more trailers would be available. She offered me another trailer that was too small for my needs, so I told her I would accept her alternate offer of a refund. Within the hour the money was back in my account. I laughed when this occurred, telling the Father that I now knew the reason for the name “Boomerang.” I sent them my money and they sent it back to me.

I was back to square one in trying to find a solution to my trailer issue. Because my trike has internal gears in the rear hub, my choices of attachment mechanisms was limited. Many trailers attach tto the rear spindle on both sides of the bike. I could not do this as the right side of my spindle has a cable running into it that is used to shift the internal gears. The derailleur also prevented me from attaching elsewhere on the right side of the bike. I could only attach on the left side.

As I did some searching, I came across an attachment bar that was made for a baby stroller/jogger that would allow it to be pulled behind a bicycle. As I looked at the attachment bar I saw a possibility of modifying my present trailer with this new bar so that I could attach it down low near the rear axle of the trike.

I found a manual for the baby jogger and trailer kit and saw that it would attach to my bike fine, but I did not know how I would attach it to my trailer. The strollers this arm was designed for has a custom slot that the bar is designed to slide into. There was no such receiver on my trailer. As I continued to explore, I came across a receiver for a different company’s trailer arm. It was made to attach to the post that holds the seat on a bicycle. The angle of its design looked like it would be ideal for attaching to my trailer. The only thing I was unsure of was whether it would be the right size for the baby jogger arm to slip into. No dimensions were given for either product.

I had asked the Father to guide me, and I considered that this could well work for my needs, and save me $300 in the process as the arm and receiver together were about $70.

WeeRide Co-Pilot Hitch

When the two parts arrived on consecutive days, coming from different manufacturers, I was delighted to find that the trailer bar was the exact size needed to fit in the hitch that I would mount to my trailer. I did a little modification and it all bolted right up to my trike and trailer.

My Trike with Trailer and New Attachment Bar


I was very happy with the way this worked out. I was able to use my existing trailer, and the cooler bags that fit so well in it, and attach it to my trike in a much more satisfactory manner, eliminating the fender scrubbing that was occurring with heavy loads in the trailer. In a real sense, I felt like the Father and I had done this project together, and I was talking to him throughout the install. I expressed my pleasure to the Father at how well the project turned out. I am looking forward to hauling at least one more watermelon in it this season.

Some time back my daughter ordered some replacement headlamp fixtures for her VW Jetta. The plastic in the original headlamps had so degraded that they had turned opaque, limiting the amount of light her car put out. After hitting a deer one night on her way home (a glancing blow that broke one of her mirrors and put a small dent in the front of her car, she decided she needed better lights. She ordered a pair of replacement headlamp fixtures on Ebay and I installed them for her.

After a few weeks the low beam quit working on the passenger side. Only the high-beam would work. I thought perhaps the bulb had blown, but a second bulb produced the same results. I noticed the socket the halogen bulb plugged into was scorched, and suspected a short. My daughter ordered a pair of replacement sockets and I wired one up and put a new bulb in it. The dim worked for a moment, and then quit once again. Only the high beam worked.

I was at a loss as to the cause. My next step would have been to replace the entire headlamp assembly even though it was nearly new. My daughter traveled out of state with a friend yesterday and left me her car. I told her I would try to figure out her headlamp problem. I prayed as I was driving to town and asked the Father t guide me to a solution for my daughter’s headlamp issue. As I drove down the main road (5 lanes) in the town I was in, I inadvertently missed the auto parts store I intended to stop at first. I was thinking about turning around when I saw another auto parts store just a block further down. The thought came to mind that perhaps the Father wanted me to miss that first store and go to this next one.

Inside the store I was assisted by a very knowledgeable employee. He looked up the price of replacement headlamp fixtures for my daughter’s car. The cheapest one listed was $99 and it was not available. The lowest priced one available was over $200 for one headlamp. Although that was high, it was a bargain in comparison to the price the VW dealer quoted my daughter to replace her headlamp ($500). After the sales clerk told me the prices of the head lamps, I asked him if there was an auto repair shop that handled electrical issues that could look at the car before I spent significant money on parts. He immediately told me that there was an auto shop just up the road that could do the work, informing me that he worked there as well. He told me the location, and the next morning (today) I drove there.

The same man who I spoke to at the auto parts store was the mechanic who worked on the car when I brought it in. He began checking the wiring, and found that when he moved one wire around that the low beam would cut on and off. He determined that the problem was in the socket. He bent one of the connectors on the bulb that did not appear to be making good contact and then plugged the light bulb back in. It worked fine. Problem solved. The store manager told me that the work on the car was so insignificant that she was not even going to charge me. They were very nice people to work with, and my daughter’s car now has both low and high beams. Once again I sensed the Father had answered my prayer and directed me to the place I needed to go. His grace is truly great.

One event that I did not mention occurred yesterday afternoon as I was returning from the auto parts store. I was driving down the Interstate, and had just turned my blinker on to get off at the exit that leads to home when I heard a noise that sounded like something had been thrown off of one of the rear tires on my daughter’s car. The ride then felt a little mushy and I suspected that I had a flat tire. I pulled over and looked, and the tire was indeed flat.

The blowout occurred at a good location. There was little traffic on the exit ramp, and it moved at a much slower speed than vehicles on the Interstate highway. There was plenty of room so that cars did not drive close to where I was pulled over. My daughter had a good spare tire in her trunk, and the tire tools and car jack needed to replace the flat. Although it was the middle of the afternoon, it has been a cooler week than normal, so the circumstances could hardly have been better to swap out a flat on the side of the road. In about fifteen minutes I had the tire swapped out and I was back on my way.

As I was changing the flat I was talking to the Lord. I mentioned to Him all the things I just wrote about the circumstances. I thanked him for having all that was needed to replace the tire, a good place to do it, and nice weather. My daughter also has a road hazard warranty on her tires, so it would be repaired, or replaced, at no cost. I did not know the reason for the flat tire, but I have heard people testify of having a flat, or even losing a hub cap, and the delay slowed them down just enough to avoid being in a terrible traffic accident up the road in front of them. We do not always know why things occur, but it should not be our default response to grumble about experiences that many consider nuisances, or inconveniences.

I was thinking about this as I returned home. When I checked my e-mail I had correspondence from a sister in Christ. She shared that she flew into Boston last week to visit her mother. She stated that her plane was delayed for three hours in Las Vegas. The delay kept her from driving through Revere, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, at the very time a tornado struck the area. Instead, she drive through shortly after the tornado struck and she could see the aftermath of its destruction.

Yahweh is good all the time. Whether He is showing me how to correct a trailer towing problem on my trike, guiding me to a solution for my daughter’s headlamp problem, or giving me an opportunity to replace a flat tire on the side of the road, He is always good.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Yahshua.”

Well, I hear that last piece of watermelon in the refrigerator calling my name. I think I will go sit outside and enjoy it while I talk to the Father about how good He is to bless us with such wonderful things.

Heart4God Website:    

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063


crimson covered said...

What a blessing, thanks so much for posting it.

Gwen said...

I had been wondering how you're doing (Champ too!), and in particular, how your faithful companion's snake bite location was healing and his overall health after that encounter. I was hoping this update would include that, although I suspect that photo tells me all I need to know!

Joseph Herrin said...

Hello Sister Gwen,

Champ has healed fine from the snake bite. In fact, just a few days after he was bit you could not even tell he had ever been bitten. He is full of energy. He always wants to play catch with the tennis balls I keep out in he yard for him.