Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back at the range.

Jim Bridger about 1830
Back in 2012 I was an active instructor at the gun range teaching black powder muzzle loading rifles to the 4-H kids twice a month.  My equipment was all together and organized, lesson plans memorized verbatim and I was ready for any unexpected question or situation that had to do with shooting those old smoke poles. What fun we had!

Then I left the 4h program and the classes stopped. My new job and work schedule just would not permit it longer. So I put it all away, let some of my instructor credentials expire, and just dropped it all until a few weeks ago.

An old friend of mine, Don Richards called me to see if I could and would teach a muzzle loading instructor course.  I cautiously agreed, knowing I would have to do a lot of polishing of my skills and equipment if wanted the class to be a success.  So I did.

In the class that weekend I had six adult students ranging from rookie to veteran, all black powder enthusiasts.   We shot flintlocks, percussion cap locks, shotguns and pistols.  We shot replica guns of Lewis and Clark, Jim Bridger and Buffalo Bill Cody.  We had some misfires and malfunctions, got a little dirty, killed some paper, and all came home safe and sound with smiles from an enjoyable weekend.   We had a ball, and six brand new NMLRA instructors were qualified!

Weeks later, it caused me to reflect upon God and how even though we may leave Him for a while, He never leaves us.  Even though our life’s direction might have taken us from Him for a while, and our Christianity has become a little rusty, we can come back to Him and His open arms.  We can pick up from where we left off.  We can reflect upon our lessons learned, and use those experiences away from Him as a teaching tool for ourselves and others.  Wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes from our successes as well as our failures.

In the 1st Book of John, chapter 1, verse 9 it reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Also, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV).  I like that last line, “riches of God’s grace”!

No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, rookie or veteran, sinner or saint, know that He loves you no matter what, and He’ll always welcome you back with open arms.

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