Archive for 2017

The Ox and the Manger

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests” (Proverbs 14:4). 

In the Hebrew alphabet, the first letter alef coincides with the first commandment, Exodus 20:2-3:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”

The Hebrew word picture for alef is an ‘ox’ symbolizing ‘first and strength.’

The ‘ox’ is ‘the first’, the LORD.   Where there is no LORD God, the manger is empty.

From the ‘strength’ of  an ‘ox’ comes an abundant harvest. 

The ‘strength’ of the LORD is His divine presence in Yeshua.  Through a manger will comes an abundant harvest.

©November 2017 Tentstake Ministries

Another Day at the Office

Morning Fog

Here’s to being a campground host!

Some have asked us, “What do you do?”  Others think we have a great ‘semi-retirement’.  A little background.  We aren’t completely retired.  We are here for a couple of reasons. First, my husband’s job at Cabela’s ended last June and it was time for a new career choice.  Second, our daughter and son-in-law live in Alaska and are expecting their first baby, our first grandchild so we thought it would be a fun way to be here for that event.   Third, my husband would like to work as a pilot so he is continuing that process with actual experience in the area where he would do sight-seeing tours, bringing  guests from Anchorage to Alaska River Adventures, our son-in-law’s business. We have been told repeatedly that it’s an unchartered resource here.  And finally, my husband used  to live in Anchorage and always wanted to come back.  Four-month summer stints seemed to be a good option for Alaska’s long daylight hours while we travel the rest of the year.

Why not campground host?  I have loved camping over the years beginning with my family when I was a child and then with my own children.  My husband was a backpacker and forEVER until this fifth-wheel, we tent camped everywhere imaginable from Glacier National Park to Rocky Mountain National Park to Zion National Park, to state parks in South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado.  We have the blessing to be outdoors and breathe nothing but fresh mountain, sea level air, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Kenai Peninsula, watch for moose, eagles, bear and whatever else saunters along, as well as spend time with family.

Our job is not lucrative though we found that we will earn more than we actually read on the website – a pleasant surprise.  One of our duties includes cleaning the vault toilets.  I start with this because it is essential to me that the toilets are clean.  As I said, we have camped for many years and stinky, dirty vault toilets, well… you get the idea.  There are too many people these days who do not have toilet etiquette and that is sad for the rest of man and womankind.  Consequently, someone, like me, has to scrub and clean the risers, replace toilet paper, and collect the trash bags.  I do wear gloves, YES, I do wear gloves.  And, my toilets will be clean and smell like lavender.

One of the perks of this little job is meeting people from all over the world.  Cooper Landing with the Kenai River  has the world’s best salmon fishing run.  June 11 is opening day and our little campground of 28 sites is going to be bustling with fishermen from probably every state in the U.S. as well as maybe every continent.  We already had visitors from Switzerland; many take scenic float trips down the river with ARA.    We are awaiting the ‘soft opening’ of Memorial Day weekend and the onslaught of people arriving for the three days.

As hosts we are to inform, not enforce rules.  For example, dogs need to be on leashes.  That is a forest service rule.  Also, there is a rogue bear in these parts and for the protection of the dog, it need to be on a leash.  A bear actually destroyed a tent the other morning at a nearby campground. Also, on Cooper Creek the Fish and Game folks put a Rotary Screw Trap.  Without going into all the reasons why (damns ruin wildlife in the creeks and rivers), this trap catches small fish so they can count them and see whether or not the species is growing and returning to their spawning areas.   Any animal, a beloved dog, for example, that gets caught in it will drown.  Of course, even knowing all of these reasons, people still refuse to leash their dogs and then there’s a dog fight!  Alcohol is allowed; drunkneness and disorderly conduct is not.  We have met law enforcement and the forest service enforcer of rules.  Along with them, we have the power to ruin anyone’s fun trip.

Our campground has two areas, one north of the Sterling Highway we call ‘riverside’ and one south ‘the mountain side’.  We are in the south campground and all of the sites are reservable.  They are filled for over the holiday weekend with some people leaving and others arriving the same day.  We will be busy cleaning sites from one guest and preparing it for the next.  The north side has seven sites which are all first-come first-served.  These sites are along the Kenai River and have beautiful views of the river.

We are responsible for collecting the money envelopes from the “Iron Ranger.”  That event has been quite humours because it is so difficult to get to the lock from underneath and behind, unlock it, and then re-lock it.  We’re getting faster and think we should time each other.  From those envelopes, we must make sure that everyone in the campground has paid.  If not, we are to remind them that there is a fee for camping in a forest service campground.   We have already learned that the $18 fee isn’t always in that envelope.  Some people put whatever they have in their pockets; others put whatever cash they have in their pockets.  In reality, we aren’t to open the envelopes, but a few have not been closed or marked with “$12.50, Sorry!”  From those envelopes, we have to fill out daily reports of what sites were full, license plates numbers, states, whether or not they have a national park/forest pass, and what type of camping equipment they used (RV, tent or trailer) – all for demographics.

We also sell firewood by the bundle.  We have a little birdhouse for depositing that cash.   It’s cute and I hope to paint it to make it a little more exciting.

After campers leave their sites, we re-rake around the fire pit, check it for trash and other objects, look in the bear boxes for anything left behind, and pick up garbage.  For the most part, everyone is pretty clean.  However, we do find treasures.  I won’t discuss the horrendous ones, but we have found a boomerang, a very nice bungee cord, an entire spool of halibut fishing line (gave to son-in-law), two tennis balls (gave to our ‘granddog’), a small parrot trinket we named Cooper, tent stakes, and a growler.  We learned that we can take the growler to Soldotna, about an hour away,  and get it filled with homemade root beer!

So far everything is going well.  No bear attacks.  No dead dogs.  No stolen wood.  Friendly co-workers from the Alaska Recreation Management team.   Neighborly campers.  And, of course, beautiful scenery and wildlife like moose and bald eagles make cleaning vault toilets worth every minute.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORDfor he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the nations with equity” (Psalm 98:7-9).

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

 

 

 

This Life called BOONDOCKING?

When we first decided that we wanted to campground host in Alaska, we were directed to the Kenai Wildlife Refuge.  All of the information said that we would have to ‘boondock’, a word we had never heard before.  A little research showed us that it meant ‘living in the boondocks with no amenities’ or no water, no power, no sewer.  In other words, ‘off the grid’ in a trailer.

Though we thought we could ‘pull it off’, we decided to apply for jobs that had at least two of those things: electric and water.  When we were offered a job through Alaska Recreation Management that didn’t have those things, we decided once again to ‘go for it.’

(For those who want to know – We got this job because we actually asked some campground hosts at Quartz Creek when we were here last year for our daughter’s wedding, ‘How do we get your job?’  We did not hear back from any places where we filled out applications through Chugach National Forest or the State of Alaska, only from the people to whom those hosts referred us.)

Power.

Our fifth-wheel trailer comes equipped with a 12-volt battery and two 30 lb. propane tanks.  The battery, believe it or not, will run our furnace along with propane.  Our stove/oven and refrigerator are also propane powered.  When traveling, the refrigerator runs on propane, but when we plugged into electric, it ran on electrical power.

Years ago we bought a solar generator in the event we would have to live without power.  It came in handy a couple of times when blizzards blew out our power for hours and even days.  We could plug in our freezer and refrigerator and not lose our food.  So, we at least had that for power, and Alaska in the summer has 20 hours of daylight.  But what if, like today, it is cloudy and rains.  My husband had the foresight to buy a small gas generator that could take over if necessary.  Once we arrived at Cooper Creek, we put our solar panels on the roof of our trailer and the sun did its thing and charged the generator.   Today, however, the gas generator is running while it’s raining.  We are still learning how much wattage we can use with one and the other, but for the solar generator, we do need sun.  We have learned that when the furnace runs on the battery, the generator will re-charge the battery first leaving us with a smaller amount of energy.

Water.

Our trailer has a 60 gallon water tank.  We traveled most of the way without filling it because of its weight.  However, through Canada, most of the campgrounds didn’t have water as it was still too cold.  Because we never knew what we would find, we kept it ⅓ full.  Now that we’re without a source of water via a hose, we will have to haul water.  We have a 42-gallon water bladder that can lay in the back of the truck so that we can haul it once it is full.  One of our options is the hand pump here in the campground.  Honestly, I can’t imagine pumping 42 gallons of water into the bladder twice a week though I would probably end up with very strong arms.  We can go to a place called Jim’s Landing and fill our water with a hose or we can visit a friend of my daughter’s.  These people live ‘off the grid’ and have a wonderful spring.  They pump it into 50 gallon containers for use in their mountain tiny house.  We have been told we can use that water which we will probably do (and they have chickens where I can buy fresh eggs!).

The next issue will be getting the water into the holding tank.  We have a little pump thingy that should do that for us, but since we’ve never used it, we don’t know how or if that will work.  We learn new things each day; some actually work, some we have to re-invent.  We also have two 6 gallon jugs that we can haul water from the hand pump or the spring.   As for drinking water, I’m weird about where my water comes from.  For example, I cannot and will not drink water from a bathroom sink.  I blame that on my brother who told me when I was little that the water from the toilet flushed into the sink.  Yeah, he does plumbing today.  We buy cases of spring water for actual drinking.

We have a hot water heater.  It runs on either propane or electric.  It holds six gallons of water.  So, showers tend to be short though I’ve never run out and I love to stand in hot water.  Since we will be hauling water, I will shorten my showers because I think hauling water will become tedious.  There is a hook-up for a washer/dryer combo in our trailer, but since we knew we would be hauling water, we didn’t buy one. We have the luxury of going to our daughter’s house and showering.  We will be doing laundry at her house, too. 

Sewer.

This is the biggie.  Gray water is that water that comes out of the shower, the bathroom sink and the galley/kitchen.  We have learned that gray water can be released into the ground.  If anyone has ever tent camped, you know that you can throw your wash water out on the ground.  Well, that’s what we’re going to be doing; it’s just going to come through a hose and we’ll move the hose around and around.  The only rule is that it cannot be released on forest service property so the hose goes out about 50 feet from our trailer.  The hose is brown and camouflaged because we have heard tales about people thinking it’s black water and turning hosts into law enforcement.  

Black water is the water that comes out of the toilet.  When we first asked about the campsite, we were told that we were within 100 feet of the pit toilet.  On the one side of the toilet there is a manhole cover into a septic holding tank that we can open and  dump our black water.  We bought a flo-jet pump or what we call a ‘poop grinder’.  This little mechanism grinds up what is in the black tank, mixes it with water until it flows through a garden hose into that manhole.  Unfortunately, we’re like a million miles from that pit toilet and so pumping to that manhole is not going to work.  The second option we have is called a ‘poop hauler’.  Sounds fun doesn’t it?  This is a huge tank on wheels in which my husband (not me) will dump our black sewage.  Then, he will haul it on the back of our truck that million miles and dump it into septic tank.  

Apart from these three things, it’s going to be a fun summer living in this fifth wheel.  I have hot water to wash dishes.  I have propane for my oven to bake cookies and challah bread for Sabbath.  I have a refrigerator that keeps leftovers fresh; a freezer stocked with ice cream.  I have a hot shower.  I have a flush toilet, but will probably try to use the pit toilet as much as possible.  It will be clean and smell good because that’s part of my job.  I know what I expect in a pit toilet so that is what I will do.  I have a warm bed and when it’s cold, a furnace and the most-necessary propane-powered Mr. Heater.   The lights in the trailer are LED and do not use much power so we added battery operated lights in places where we will need them if and when it ever gets dark in Alaska.

In the meantime, I have a wonderful sofa, my Broncos throw, the means to make hot cocoa, a couple of good books along with the Good Book, internet through Verizon most of the time, some herb plants and a few flowers to make this campsite at Cooper Creek in Cooper Landing, Alaska my home for the next four months. 

*Note: Much of what we have invested in came from our wonderful Cabela’s discount that we had for nearly 20 years.

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

Priestly and Bridal Garments

“Therefore, since we have a great cohen gadol (high priest) who has passed through the highest heaven, Yeshua, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we acknowledge as true” (Hebrew 4:14).

The priestly garments, according Exodus 28, were comprised of blue, purple, scarlet, and linen threads.   Yeshua, our High Priest came from heaven represented by the blue and was the royal King of Kings represented by the purple. The scarlet represented his blood sacrifice for the sins of the world while the linen represented his sinless purity.  Woven through the blue, purple and scarlet yarn was gold, hammered so thin, it became a thread.  The gold represented both Yeshua’s divinity as the Son of God as well as his humanity as he was beaten and hammered.

The high priest wore black onyx stones on their shoulder engraved with the names of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el in their birth order.  In Hebrew, the word for ‘engrave’ is charasso and means ‘set free’.   The engraving was done like a ‘seal’ for a signet ring foreshadowing Yeshua who would set his brothers and sisters free from sin and the darkness of the world represented by the black onyx.

Isaiah, in Hebrew is Yeshayahu and literally means ‘salvation of Yah.’  The book of Isaiah has 66 chapters.  The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of Israel’s need for redemption while the last 27 speak of Elohim sending salvation or yeshua to Isra’el.

“I am so joyful in Adonai!  My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10-11).

Isaiah describes the wedding clothing of the bride of Messiah.  Along with the priestly garments mentioned above, the Bride wears a festive turban.  The Hebrew word for ‘wear’ in this verse means ‘to mediate’.  The priestly turban had a gold seal with “Holy to Yahweh.”   Wearing a festive turban, the Bride will be Holy to Yahweh because she has ‘meditated’ on her Bridegroom and was ready when he arrived.

The bride wears several garments.  The first is her garment of salvation representing her faith in the atonement of her Bridegroom.  This is like her undergarment.  It is the first piece of clothing she receives.   Her second garment is a ‘robe of triumph’ symbolizing her victory over sin and death and her righteous sanctified life.  Though there is a positional righteousness given to each of us by faith, there is also the practical righteousness of daily obedience to our Father’s commands.  Yeshua is not looking for a lawless bride who does what she thinks is ‘right in her own eyes.’  Yeshua is looking for a set-apart, holy, sanctified Bride.  This garment of triumph is worn over the top of her garment of salvation.

When our Bridegroom returns, he will adorn his Bride with jewels and give her a new name.  It will be like a glorious crown and a royal diadem.

“Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce.  You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God” (Isaiah 62:2-3).

“Then, when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive glory as your unfading crown” (1 Peter 5:4).

The Bride will be given one more garment, a wedding dress.  It is made of fine linen and stands for the ‘righteous acts of the saints.’  It represents her testimony of the Bridegroom in her life as she onto the commandments of his Father.   She has persevered with patience and is rewarded accordingly.

“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8). 

When the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride arrives, it will be a celebration like no other, an ‘appointed time’ of Yahweh.  In Hebrew, the word ‘bride’ is challah. Every Sabbath evening Jewish families eat a special braided bread known as challah.  It is not called lechem or ‘bread’, but the bride.  This bread makes the Bride of Messiah central to the prophetic vision of the eternal Sabbath where Yeshua is not only present, but rules and reigns for all eternity as King of Kings with his redeemed, sanctified and glorified Bride at his side.

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

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