News From The Ranch – April 2005

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Thoughts on the passing of Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo, a new film to encourage you to keep your eye on the goal called “Footsteps In The Snow,” and Eric’s article in “Decision” magazine.

Footsteps in the Snow

“Footsteps In The Snow”, by Russell Pond, is one of the new films we’ve just added to The Ranch.

Dear Friends,

I remember when Mother Teresa and Princess Diana died within days of each other almost seven years ago. Their lives became permanently linked together, not so much for what they had done with their lives, but by the close timing of their deaths. Mother Teresa was 87, and Princess Diana was 36.

This past week, as we watched the final days for two more people here on earth, again their lives have become etched together in many minds, not so much for what they had done with their lives, but by the close timing of their deaths. Pope John Paul II was 84, and Terri Schiavo was 41.

For all the differences in the way they may have lived and died, I was struck by one similarity they have in common with each other, and with all of us. I was reading a passage this week in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 where the Apostle Paul wrote these words about his own life almost 2,000 years ago:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

We all have physical bodies that will eventually deteriorate. But we also all have spiritual souls that will live forever. Because we live in our bodies every day, we often focus on them. But the truth is that we are designed to live eternally.

To paraphrase the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin:

“We are not just human beings having a temporary spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings have a temporary human experience.”

One of the secrets of living well is dying well, and the way to die well is to know for sure what will happen to us after we die. Jesus tells us we can know for sure what will happen to us after we die, if we are willing to put our faith in Him:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The Apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, put it this way:

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

If we’ve put our faith in Christ, we know that we will live with Him forever. By keeping our eyes on this eternal truth, it can make anything we face on this earth all the more bearable, and not only bearable, but we can live with confidence, certainty, and peace, for we know that there is more to life than what we see with our eyes.

Billy Graham, commenting on the death of Pope John Paul II, said:

“May his death remind each of us that some day we too must die and enter into God’s presence – and may we each commit ourselves afresh to Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation.”

That is a commitment I want to make afresh today, and I pray you will make it with me as well, even right now. Would you pray with me?

Father, I commit myself to You again today. I put my full faith and trust in Jesus Christ, knowing that He died and rose again for my salvation. Thank You Lord for taking away my sin on the cross. Thank You Lord for giving me hope and showing me how to live well by showing me how to die well. Lord, help me live for You today. Help me focus on You in a way that my troubles will seem “light and momentary,” too, just as they did for the Apostle Paul. From this moment on, I commit myself again to living my life fully for You, fixing my eyes squarely on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith. It’s in His strong and powerful name that I pray, Amen.

Footsteps In The Snow

If you need help keeping your perspective, I’d like you to watch a short film that I’ve added to The Ranch this week called “Footsteps In The Snow”. It’s only 2 minutes and 45 seconds long, but it contains a powerful message that will help you keep your eyes on the goal.

This film was created by my good friend, Russell Pond, who sent it to me a few weeks ago to ask for my thoughts on it. I happened to be in the middle of an intense writing project and was getting bogged down in the details. As I watched this film, it cleared my mind and helped me to keep before me the goal to which Christ had called me. I’ve watched it several times over the last few weeks, and each time, I’ve been strengthened in my resolve to keep my eyes on the goaland not get sidetracked by the never-ending details of life. I hope it will do the same for you!

You can watch it here in several formats, or read the transcript if for some reason you can’t see the video.

My thanks to Russ for allowing me to stream it over the Internet at no cost to you! If you like the film and would like to order a copy on DVD for use in sermons, at youth groups, on retreats, or at other venues where it may help to inspire others, just visit Russ’s website at:

“Decision” Magazine Article

Using The Gifts God Has Given You, by Eric Elder

Using The Gifts God Has Given You, by Eric Elder, for Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, April 2005.

I’d also like to draw your attention to an article I wrote for this month’s “Decision” magazine, the monthly magazine of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Because April 24th has been designated by a number of organizations as “Internet Evangelism Day,” the editor at Billy Graham’s magazine called me to ask if I would write about how I share my faith with others over the Internet.

I was thrilled for the opportunity to write to their 800,000 subscribers (!), not just about how I share my faith on the Internet, but how God has gifted each of us to be able to share our faith in unique ways. It’s called “Using The Gifts God Has Given You.”

You can read the article online at Billy Graham’s website at the link below, or look for it on page 30 of the print edition of April’s “Decision” magazine:

I’d also encourage you to read the entire issue of this month’s “Decision,” which features some other articles on Internet Evangelism, as well as articles on Prayer and Hearing From God written by people like Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, Henry Blackaby, Greg Laurie, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz.

To learn more about Internet Evangelism Day on April 24th, visit this link:

Visitor Comments

Back at The Ranch, I thought you might like to hear the comments from a few of the visitors to the website last month:

A woman from Massachussets writes: Your website is beautiful…on the outside and the inside. Thank you very much. I will refer others to it for faith and encouragement.

A man from Canada writes: It’s my first time here, and I think I’ve been waiting for you! I pray a special blessing upon you.

A woman struggling with a lack of faith writes: Hi, thank you so much for responding to my prayer request… It was really helpful to get someone else’s view on this and to be able to be completely honest with God (and myself). … It’s not easy… I’m struggling so hard with this at the moment, wanting to surrender to him, but at the same time doubting even the Bible, let alone his love for me… I’m really torn, but i can’t expect anyone to make this decision for me… Thank you so much again for your kindness…

And a woman from Indiana writes: I just “found” this website when searching for some scripture online. I am astonished…although not sure why…I had prayed this morning for God to lead me to Him and away from my own self-centeredness, and here pops up your site with wonderful content to lead me closer to Him. How incredible to be in this Body of Christ. I’m looking forward to having some time to explore further…. Thank you for this, and thank our Heavenly Father who shows us how to use our gifts to his glory.

Closing Prayer

I’d love for you to pray with me.


  • Thank You for giving us hope that there’s more to this life than what we can see,
  • Thank You for the lives of Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II and for the reminder their deaths give us to keep putting our faith in You,
  • And thank You for people like Billy Graham who can inspire us to do more to reach out to others around the world.


  • We ask that You help us keep our eyes on the goal, and not get bogged down in the details of life,
  • That You would speak to many people through the article in “Decision” magazine, to encourage them to use their gifts to share Christ with others,
  • And that You would help still more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thanks for your prayers! Have a blessed day! Remember, there’s more to life than what you can see!

Eric Elder

The Ranch Fellowship is a non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization whose purpose is to share the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Click here to read more about our ministry.

To give a gift to The Ranch and to yourself, please visit The Ranch Giftshop.
To make a donation without ordering, just click Make A Donation.

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