Jumping Bridges

As a crazy 19-year-old, I used to do some wild things with my car.  I am not going to get into all the wild things we did in this post, but maybe I’ll revisit those days sometime in the future.  This post will concentrate on the bridges we used to jump.  You heard me right – jump.

I loved to drive fast – really fast.  On the Interstate, I hated it when anyone would pass me.  It was pedal to the metal all the way.  We were rarely sober too, so that heightened the fun.  A bunch of us would pile in the car and just go.  It didn’t matter what day or what time of night, we were just going to have fun.  We explored the back roads all over central Massachusetts and knew every one of them.

One spot we particularly enjoyed was full of dirt roads that had old bridges which crossed the streams throughout the marshy area.  I had a 1965 Ford Fairlane that I had bought from my Mom for $1.  The reason she sold it to me so cheap was that I had gotten into an accident with it and the radiator needed replaced, plus some body work on the front end.  She bought a newer car and I got the one I wrecked.  I loved that car mainly because 1 could jam 5 other friends in there and we could drive and party.

One night we decided to ride off to that marshy area and just cruise around.  There was one particular bridge that offered the most fun.  The road rose sharply on both sides of the bridge, and the actual wooden bridge was about 25 feet across.  After driving over that bridge a few times, I told my buddies that I thought I could completely jump that bridge!  They all laughed and dared me to do it.

We had practiced similar stunts on a dirt bike track.  My friend went one direction in his VW Bug car, and I went the other,  We sped around that track, passing each other going the opposite direction, over the hills and valleys of a dirt bike track.  There were some close calls, but we always came out all right.

I could not resist such a dare.  We lined up with the bridge as far back as we could. Then I stomped on the accelerator, speeding toward that rise that came before the bridge.  There was absolutely no view of the other side – only the top of the hill and a glimpse of the railing on one side of the bridge. 

Faster and faster we went, the other guys in the car whooping and hollering. Dust was rolling up in the air as we sped up the hill.  We could only hope another car was not coming the opposite direction.  There was no view to see if there was, and once we hit the top t would be too late to back out.  If there was another car, we would have to hope to jump it as well!  (There was little traffic on these roads, so we felt fairly safe)

When we hit the top of the hill, we were going about 70 MPH on that dusty dirt road. The car left the ground for what seemed like 30 seconds (it was actually only 1 or 2).  We were off the ground until all four wheels hit the other side at the same time.  We did not hit wood, we hit dirt. We had made it!  WE never tried that again, though.  The thud at the end was so forceful we thought we would blow all 4 tires, but we didn’t.

Today, daredevils do different things with bridges.  They don’t jump over them – they jump off of them!  That is something I would never do!  With a bungie cord attached, people jump off perfectly good bridges, diving downward just the right distance so they don’t hit the ground below, and then rocket back up to the top again. 

I am not sure the science behind measuring the bungie cord, but it has to be precise. I have seen videos of people jumping off bridges 100 feet or more above the surface below.  Since the cord stretches so much, it must take some real math figuring to know how long that cord has to be before it is stretched out.  These people put a lot of trust in that cord, just as I put my trust in my car to jump over the bridge.

Bridges have much better purposes than this! They are built in strategic places so that two sides of a road can connect once the road is built.  They can be built over culverts, rivers, streams, roads, railroad tracks – anything that would impede the continuous flow of the road.  The can be over the obstacle or under it.  They serve a great purpose in our world.

Just imagine if we did not have bridges!  Commerce would literally stop all over this great nation. All business would have to be done on a local level.  The Interstates would have full access of side roads, and could only travel to the next body of water that crossed it.  Most of us would not drive on vacation like we do now because it would be extremely difficult to get where we were going.  Our little town here has the river on three sides of town – there would only be one road out.  I love bridges!

There is another gap that needs a bridge.  It is the gap between sinful man and a Holy God.  It is a big gap! 

When God came down on the mountain to speak the people, the presence of Him was so overwhelming, the people told Moses they did not want God talking directly to them anymore.  They wanted Moses to talk to God and tell them what He said. 

The Israelites had to offer animal sacrifices to cover their sins, and they still could not approach the presence of God in the Holy place.  Only the high priest, one time a year, could go into that Holy Place.  Even then, as consecrated as he was, they tied a rope around him in case he should die in the presence of God.  The gap is big!

God desired to have fellowship with His people, with all mankind, but He would not be around their sin.  So He sent His only Son, Jesus.  Jesus taught us the ways of God and then gave His life for our sins.  He suffered a cruel, torturous death to take the punishment of sin upon himself.  When He died on that cross in our place, He became a bridge to connect us to God.  The gap now had a bridge!

This bridge must be crossed in order to enter heaven.  You must accept the bridge and leave all your sinful ways behind, because sin cannot cross the bridge.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

It’s quite simple. Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, then live for Him and follow His ways, and you may cross the bridge.  If you do not, the gap will remain between you and God and the bridge will not be available.

Those of us who call ourselves Christians must tell others about this bridge.  They must know that the gap is too great for them to jump, to high for them to bungee.  There is only one way to bridge the gap, and that Is Jesus Christ.  No other bridge exists.

Lessons From the Pond

Garside’s pond was a magnet for us as kids. It was a small pond nestled in a grove of trees at the top of the hill above Peter Dees house. It sat on the side of the road right where the road took a bend. There was nothing fancy about it. Definitely no swimming – it was dark and murky. Not much for fishing either – there was a tremendous amount of algae and the growing things that would grab your line. So, what was the big attraction?

First was that it was secluded for the most part. We could hang out there and not be seen. We would play around the shoreline. One of our favorite things to do was to skip stones and see if we could skip a stone all the way across the pond. Not that the pond was that big – maybe 30 feet across. But skipping a stone that far took talent, and we became pretty good skippers! The second test was how many skips you could do with one stone. I can remember several over 10. Another stone related thing we enjoyed was throwing a rock into the middle of the pond and watching the ripples come out. We used to try and make patterns by throwing rocks into different areas. Not as exciting as today’s video games, but it kept us occupied.

Second was the tadpoles. We loved to seek out tadpoles and watch them with fascination. It wasn’t unusual for us to find a nest of eggs and take some home, and watch as they hatched and became tadpoles. I can’t remember if we were ever able to keep one all the way to the frog stage, but I’m sure we tried several times over. It’s a fascinating thing to do, especially for a 10-year-old. The little eggs would first sprout a tail, then some front legs, and then the rear legs. We could watch them for hours.

But the biggest reason we hung out there was the bullfrogs. These beasts were gigantic and we were hunters. Catching a bullfrog was a talent we developed over time. Ordinary frogs were hard enough. You would see them on a lily pad, or along the shore, and you were sure you could sneak up on them, only to have them jump before you got there. It took stealth to capture even an average frog. And we caught plenty of them.

But the bullfrog, now that was a catch that made you special. These bullfrogs would trumpet their presence with a loud Ribbit that could be heard miles away – I’m sure! And you could kind of tell where it came from. Slowly you would creep that direction listening to him bellow out his presence. Then, as you got closer, no matter how quiet you were, he’d go silent. If you were really good, you might get close enough to see him sitting there. But you had to be fast to catch him. And catch some we did. Catching a bullfrog was a badge of honor to us. I will not tell you what we did with these beasts when we caught them, but it was not very humane – not humane at all.

What great memories!

I was back in Massachusetts a couple years ago, and we went by that old pond. It was much smaller than I remembered, almost more like a marsh than a pond anymore. The trees and brush had overgrown much of what was the pond many decades ago. There was no place for kids to play around the shore anymore – there wasn’t even much of a shore. It made me sad to see one of my favorite places become so un-useful.

Jesus told a parable about a sower who went out to sow his seed. Some seed fell on hard ground and the birds just ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground and never took root. Some fell on ground that then sprouted weeds that choked out the seed. And some fell on good ground and brought a good harvest. Then Jesus explained that this was really about sharing the gospel. Some will just not receive it – like the seed that fell on hard ground. Some will quickly accept the word, but the word will never take root in them and they will fall away., like the seed that fell on rocky ground. And some will accept the word, and start to live for Christ, but will turn away because of the cares of this world, much like the seed suffered at the hand of he weeds. And of course, some accept the word and go on to live for Christ and bring forth a harvest.

The pond reminds me how easily the world can encroach on the beauty of our salvation. It happens slowly, as little things start to distract us from serving the Lord. Maybe something comes up on a Sunday morning that causes us to miss church. Maybe our devotional time is disappearing beneath work or family pressures. Whatever it is, our time with God gets the short end of the stick. The world creeps in, just like the plant life crept into the pond. If we are not careful, our spiritual life can become overgrown with those other things, and we will find ourselves mediocre at best.

Examine your life, as I have been mine, and see where the world is creeping in. Then start to take steps to clear back the weeds, pull the muck out of the water, and restore the pond, restore your life, to a life-giving force once again. It can be done!

I Am A Blessed Man

The night hair is crisp and clean as I walk my dog this evening. The air feels almost warm at six below zero since there is no wind to chill the soul. The light blanket of snow that covers the ground sounds like Rice Krispies as I walk across the shoveled sidewalk. I look up at the twinkling stars and see the Cheshire cat shaped moon smiling back at me. This is such a beautiful evening to behold. I ponder the day and the week behind me and I realize how much God has blessed me.

I have a wife who loves me. She is hard working and loves to sit beside me and in our Laz-Y-Boy chairs and watch a good Hallmark movie or an episode of a favorite show like Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. She has been a wonderful caretaker to me as I battled through cancer the last three years, always keeping a smile on her face and doing what is best for me. To this day she gets my meds ready every night. Even though she works over 60 hours a week between two jobs, she is still alert and conversational when she gets home. She is well respected in town and is well loved by her children and her husband. She is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 wife and I am a blessed man.

Our little dog, a mix of little dogs, playfully goes between her chair and mine. He picks up a toy occasionally and has us throw it so he can bring it back, tail wagging and a look of anticipation on his face. My wife laughs and watches him playing, citing how much she loves him. He brings the toy up to my leg and squeezes it in his mouth letting out a squeak as he pushes it into my leg, wanting me to take it and throw it again. He always shows his affection to me and I realize I am a blessed man.

My three children are all healthy and moving forward in life. They have different goals and different jobs. They all have a hunger for God in varying degrees and acknowledge Him as the one they turn to in difficult times. They love us and we love them so much. I talk to my daughters regularly and enjoy getting caught up with them on a weekly basis. We see them as often as we can and they always tells us how much they love us. They are a great joy in my life and I am a blessed man.

My five grandchildren are a joy to talk to. They will send stickers on Facebook messenger to let us know they want to talk. Sometimes they will just call and hope to get us. We love talking to them on the phone and they always let us know how much they love us. We have one granddaughter living with us. She is such joy to have around the house. She brings laughter and a sense of the unknown. We have been through these waters before, with a teenage girl in the house. She will do anything for us and is a great help to me. I see her smile after all the difficulties she has had and I realize I am a blessed man.

My writing is ongoing as God continues to inspire me to put together Bible studies, poems, and pieces like this one. He has helped me with the knowledge to manipulate a web site and has given me a good friend who will help me with things I don’t know in that arena. More and more, I see visitors stopping by and taking note of what God is doing with my life and all the various projects he has me working on. I realize I am but putty in His hand, and He is molding me. This humbles me and makes me a blessed man.

There is so much more I could say about my life in it’s sixty-seventh year. There are so many things that I can’t explain, except to say God is moving in my life. He is my rock and fortress, my strong and mighty tower. He is my Savior and redeemer. He is my soon coming King. I lift my voice and praise Him at every chance I get, because He has been so merciful to me. I will never comprehend how much He loves ma and cares for me, yet I will always give thanks for those very things. In all of my ways, He is watching over me and guiding my life. I am a blessed man.

Welcome to my site

This site is a hub for the many different aspects of Psalmist Ministries.  Psalmist Ministries my ministry name as a poet, songwriter, teacher and evangelist.  The name of Psalmist came from a client of his in 2011 and has stuck.  Through the years, the Holy Spirit has inspired me to write Christian poetry that uplifts both the reader and the Lord. Many of these poems became songs that I roughly recorded on my YouTube channel. God brought me through cancer in 2016-2018 and showed His mercy throughout that time, giving His inspiration to over 1,500 poems and teaching in Philippians, Galatians, Psalms, James and in 2019 the Sermon on the Mount.  In addition, I have recently published a book called “The A.S.K. Principle”.”  This book was 30 years in the making and discusses all aspects of prayer.  It is a must read for anyone who desires a deeper and more effective prayer life.

I pray this site will be a blessing to you and will uplift you in your walk with God.  I encourage you to click through to the various websites that are linked to this page and scroll through the archives of the page that interests you the most.  You will find treasures that will certainly enrich your walk with the Lord