Thursday, August 9, 2012

Preparing To Hike

My Brother Wil and his Wife join me on the Greenway
I'm so happy to report that I'm finished the Chemo and am now preparing to hike the "Hundred Mile Wilderness" with good friend and fellow blogger, Jack Darnell.  My brother and a missionary friend, Gordon B. are also going with us.  We anticipate a great time of solitude and evening stories around the campfire!
I have been so busy this summer that it was next to impossible to do anything here at the Blog.  Missionary friends were taken up to the cabin, one of my brothers and his wife (Lowell and Janis) were taken to the cabin specifically to pick black berries.  One day Lowell and I dug sassafras roots for tea.  At other times we just went to mow the grass and check for storm damage.

It seems we have had an unusual amount of storms the last couple of years.  Our cabins were spared - but there have been numerous trees that were felled by the winds, clogging the roads.  Our neighbor lost several huge trees.  Power outages were caused by trees knocking down power lines.  But we and our families were spared.  Thank you, Lord!

It seems I have more to thank God for than anyone I know.  I had my last chemo-treatment about three weeks ago.  Then at the CT Scan two weeks ago - the doctor said he could see no more cancer...but...he referred me to another doctor for an ultrasound on my thyroid gland as he thought he saw a nodule there.  I had a call a couple of hours ago from the ultrasound doc and they said "ALL CLEAR" on that!  Ain't God Good?
Through All Kinds of Weather
Brother Wil and I have been hiking on the local hiking trail in anticipation of the AT.  We have been also preparing our backpacks, meals, shelter, etc.  This is the brother that lived in Texas for over 40 years and only recently retired and moved here to our town.  I'm enjoying having him around. 
More Ducks

Missionary Gordon Bloodworth Shows His Strength

Clearing The Trail
I MUST SAY  - Thank You, my friends who have prayed for me so often over the last six to eight months as I battled cancer.  Thanks.
Missionary Jack Morris Takes Aim

Having Difficulty Reading The Bible Through?

For several years now I have made it my personal goal to read my Bible through four (4) times a year.  This requires only twelve chapters per day and twenty chapters on Sunday.  To read it through once in a year only requires three chapter per day and five chapters on Sunday.  (Sorry folks - In this original article I made a mistake and said one chapter per day when it should have been three per day in order to read through once in a year!)
I was a pastor in my younger years (started at the very young age of 22 years) and I felt that it was part of my duty to read the Bible through at least once a year.  As I began, I would do fine until I came to the long lists of difficult names.  I would often come to the end of another year filled with guilt and disappointment because I had read only the Old Testament and sometimes a few chapters of the New Testament. 
It was not easy in those early years.  I had tried from my very first day as a pastor to pray one (1) hour each morning as I began my day – a habit I acquired from watching my Dad who was a pastor before me.  After prayer, I would read the first few chapters of Genesis without great difficulty – but then I would come to the genealogical sections with all those foreign names that were so difficult to pronounce and I quickly lost interest.  Here are some suggestions that I hope will help you if you are one of the few who really want to be knowledgeable of the Word of God
I.                 Know that YOU CAN do it!
a.     Even if you cannot read, you can now get an audio Bible in some form.
b.     You can now have someone read it to you as you read along silently by going to or on the Internet.
c.      You can get a CD or DVD or cassette tape  of the Bible being read aloud.
II.               Know that you should do it! 
a.     Question:  What is prayer?  Is it not conversing with God? 
b.     Question:  What is a conversation?  Is it not when two people speak to each other?  If one does all the speaking while the other only listens and never says anything, is that a conversation?  Of course not.  So I decided to let God do most of the talking.  Yes, I still pray, and at times can get "lost" in prayer, asking God to meet many of my perceived needs.
c.      Question:  How does God speak to us?  Through visions, dreams, prophets, tongues and interpretations, circumstances, and also our feelings?   Yes.  But human lips can make many mistakes.  Paul the Apostle indicates that "Prophecies shall fail and Tongues shall cease - but the Word of God abideth forever." 
d.     Question:  What is the single most reliable way to know what God wants to say to us?  It is found in the written Word of God.
e.     So I am suggesting that if you really want to hear from God – then READ HIS WORD!
III.              Get an easier translation to read than the KJV.  I highly recommend the Living Bible if you want a read that is easy to understand.  NOW - For Bible Study (especially when it comes to debatable points) I prefer the King James Version,  You know – the one used by Jesus and Paul.  (Of course, you know the KJV was not first printed until the year 1611) so that statement was completely “tongue in cheek”.
IV.             Get Started by making up your mind that you will do it.  You will not accomplish anything unless you make a start.
V.               Set a time that is convenient.
a.     Are you a night-owl?  Then make it the last hour before you sleep.
b.     Are you (like me) a morning person?  Set your clock an hour early and spend that first time of the day with your Lord.  You have as much time as the King or a Queen has.  Use it wisely. 
c.      If you work 50 to 60 hours a week, you can still find time to do whatever it is that you strongly desire to do.  It only takes an average reader 15 to 20 minutes to read three (3) chapters.  If you want to watch a movie you will.  Most Americans will watch TV or the Internet or read the newspaper for hours with very little complaint.
d.     Find a specific place that is comfortable and well lit but gives you as much privacy as possible.  Find a place where you can read for an hour without interruption.  This may require spending time with your wife and family and letting them know your plan.
e.     Don’t answer the phone.  Let the caller leave a message and then call them back after your Bible reading time.   Inform your family of what you are doing and seek their cooperation in not disturbing you. 
VI.             Just Git-er-done!
a.     Whatever sacrifices you have to make will be well worth the effort!
b.     Get started NOW.  Don’t wait until tomorrow for tomorrow never comes.
c.      If you find yourself reading and suddenly discover that you don’t understand – DO NOT GO BACK.  Simply focus at that point in your reading and keep moving forward.  Rest assured – you will never understand it all – but as you read over and over each year you will find more and more meaning as you read.
            If you have questions or comments you would like discuss in a reasonable manner, please feel free to post your comments here.  I would love to hear from you, especially if you have discovered a method or some way to make the reading of the Bible easier and more rewarding. 

About Me

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Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton