Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are You Guilty?

Well, I’m far from being a computer expert and it only irritates me to no end that I am being forced to throw away perfectly good equipment because it can no longer be upgraded to more advanced operating systems. I don’t guess the geeks of the world understand what it’s like to wear a comfortable pair of shoes or be happy with a molded car seat and easy chair that fits your butt perfectly. They always have to change things just for the sake of change. I like my computer just the way it is! It’s comfortable! Leave me alone! But, nooo! Big business stays big because they are continually “improving” my life with things I don’t want, yet they give themselves the opportunity to run to Uncle Sam bragging about how they are stimulating the economy and creating new jobs. We’re hooked on our electronics and everybody has a better way of doing things. I guess I’m lucky with the personality of not needing the latest and greatest of whatever, every time something new hits the market. I’m still kicking and screaming fourteen years into the 21st century, having to change my telephone, forced into changing my television, having to convert my interior lighting with energy saving bulbs and having to convert to yet another environmentally safe gas for my air conditioning, along with a host of other used to be practical practices. A man can’t even earn one percent interest on the few dollars he has stashed away in a bank somewhere. If you’re not in debt up to your elbows, you have a terrible credit rating. I guess I could rant for a day, but it won’t do much good. If I’m going to function in today’s society I’m going to have to go for the bait and let them hook me one more time; I just hope I don’t lose sight of the goal.

[Matthew 26:1-4] Would I be called a Christian if everybody knew, my secret thoughts and feelings, and everything I do? Or, would they see the likeness of Christ in me every day? Would they hear Him speaking in every word I say? Would I be called a Christian if everybody could know that I am found in places where Jesus would not go? Would they hear His echo in every song I sing… in eating, drinking, dressing, would they see Christ in me? Would I be called a Christian if judged by what I read? By all my recreations and every thought and deed? Would I be counted Christ-like as I now work and play? Unselfish, kind, forgiving to others every day? If you were arrested tomorrow, accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? If you were arrested, would anyone stand by you and witness for you? Would the judge declare, “Not Guilty” because of insufficient evidence? Of course you would protest, “What about the poems and prose that I wrote? I attend services regularly, and what about the services I spoke at, the times I wept in church and the long, sleepless nights of prayer?” The judge replies, “Evidence that you are a good writer, speaker and actor, nothing more. Continue to develop your theology, and use it to paint pictures of love. We have no interest in such armchair artists who spend their time creating images of a better world. We exist only for those who would lay down their brush, and their life, in a Christ-like endeavor to create a better world. So, until you challenge this system and become a thorn in our side, until you die to yourself and offer your body to the flames, until then, my friend, you are no enemy of ours.” Jesus challenged the system; laid down his life for sinful man, deserted and alone. Are you really guilty of being a Christian?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

An Act of God

I’ve been moving a fence at the house in order to gain a little more secure feeling that my perpetual four-year-old will have greater difficulty escaping her own yard. I’m trying to get this job finished before it comes a big rain; fat chance. Then again, I’m filling the holes with water to soften the soil for removal; crazy, huh? Have you ever had a Chihuahua insistent on helping dig a post hole? It’s a real hoot. And, with the fence down, if she isn’t right under foot, she’s wandered off to where she shouldn’t be. We’ve had to share the shower several nights this past week. I guess she’s only trying to get involved and do her best to make her master happy. She thinks she’s giving 100% of what she has to give, which in reality is just a good laugh, and I love her for it

In conversation the other day, about how badly we needed rain, a fellow suggested we hire a rainmaker like they used to do in the old days. Okay, it’s time to grow our vocabulary. A pluviometer is an instrument used to measure rainfall (a rain gage). A pluviculture is a dude who attempts to induce rain artificially (a rainmaker). Charles Hatfield was known as a rainmaker. He was hired in 1915 by the City of San Diego to fill the Moreno Reservoir to capacity with rainwater, for $10,000. The region was soon flooded by heavy rains, killing some 20 people, destroying 110 bridges, knocking out telephone and telegraph lines and nearly bursting the reservoir dam, causing some $3.5 million in total damages (a lot of money in 1915). When the city refused to pay him (he had forgotten to sign the contract), he sued the city. The floods were ruled an “act of God” excluding him from liabilities, but also from payment. I think we need to leave it up to God as to when and how much rain we get. He doesn’t need any help. Now, that doesn’t exclude prayer. God knows we need the rain, but He still likes to hear from us.


[Romans 5:6-8 & 2 Corinthians 5:19] “…at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. …God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can never give more than God. We can never please God by trying to do His job, or by trying to improve on His perfect work. Okay, here’s a little mathematical formula to prove it. Assign numbers, 1-26 to the letters of the alphabet, A-Z. Now, let’s look to see what kind of answer we can come up with. 
K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E (11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5) = 96%. H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K (8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11) = 98%. A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E (1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5) = 100%. L-O-V-E-O-F-G-O-D (12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4) = 101%. I think we can conclude that while knowledge and hard work can sometimes make us feel like a god, and the proper attitude can bring us to God, it is the love of God that will save us from ourselves in the end. It is sad when we think that “an act of God” usually denotes some kind of calamity, such as a hurricane or tornado, a flood or an earthquake. Lifting that phrase to a higher level, one can see the Gospel compressed into one sentence: “…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” That, my friends, is an act of God! Reconciliation was not something man was seeking, or capable of bringing about. Our sins separate us from God, but God steps in to heal the breech and restore us to a right relationship with him. How? In Christ! “…for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ” (Galatians 3:22-28); “…And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 3:38), another act of God.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Priceless Heavenly Treasures


World conditions are getting to a point where a man can’t make up his mind what to invest in anymore. Interest rates on secure principles are virtually zero forcing one to essentially gamble in unstable commodities and institutions. Vladimir Putin evidently believes the best investment still available is real estate, but as we have recently witnessed in the state of Washington, even that’s not very stable either. I’m not making light of that terrible disaster, only looking at the fact that we have no idea what will disrupt our life tomorrow or the day after. Because mankind has the individual desire to live as one sees fit, to attain that goal, too many are turning to a lifestyle of greed and theft all the way from the top to the lowest of the humanistic food chain. The world is diplomatically dealing with two neighborhood bullies, one trying to destroy the capitalistic way of life and now the other standing on the doorstep of divide and conquer. Like I’ve said many times before, the one with the most toys doesn’t win.

There was a man, neglectful of his family and a real miser, who worked hard all his life and saved a ton of money. He loved money more than just about anything. He had instructed his wife, “When I die I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I want to take my money to the afterlife.” So he got his wife to promise him this with all her heart, that at his death she would put all his money in the casket with him. Well, one day he died. He was stretched out in the casket; the wife was sitting there in black next to her best friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertaker got ready to close the casket, the wife said, “Just a minute!” She had a shoebox in hand and approached the open casket where-in she placed the box. Then the undertaker locked down the casket and rolled it away. Her friend said, “I hope you weren’t crazy enough to put all that money in the casket!” The wife replied, “Yes, I promised. I’m a good Christian and I can’t lie. I promised him I would put that money in the casket with him.” The friend asked in disbelief, “You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in that casket?” “I sure did,” said the wife. “I got it all together; put it in my bank account, and wrote him a check for the full amount.”

[Matthew 6:19-24 & Colossians 2:1-4] Jesus said, “Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And like the commercial says, “Everybody knows that!” But did you know there is a heavenly treasure you can possess on earth? Paul, writing encouraging words to the Colossians said, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” Jesus, the Word of God (John 1:14), is the heavenly treasure we can enjoy here on earth. Through God’s Word, we have a treasure of wisdom and knowledge unsurpassed by anything man can present as a perfect lifestyle. “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you…” (Matthew 6:33). Love, wisdom, knowledge and a firm faith in Christ, are priceless treasures.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Perpetual Four-Year-Olds


I had forgotten about the joys, the fun, the laughter and the frustrations that come with raising a child, I mean puppy. At seven months, Bella, my little Chihuahua, is going through some major changes and it’s a riot watching the transformation. She’s been losing her baby teeth for about a month now with only one canine to go, which I can tell is a little painful. A definite personality is emerging with little dances of excitement when heading for the door to go outside in the yard. This is her first spring and every trip out of doors is a new adventure filled with sights, sounds and smells for the senses. A short trip around the yard takes forever now with all the new smells. The yellow dandelion that drew her attention for several days had turned white ready to expand its territory with floating seed, just needing a little nudge to get started. Bella’s curiosity was that motivation when she bumped it with her nose. Some of the seed started to float off the plant and some stuck to her wet nose. She then decided to bite the white fluff and the game was on. At the end of chasing the floating seeds around, signs of defeat for dandelion reproduction were evident, with mouth, nose and eyes each containing feathery white seed stuck to the moist areas. Each new bird call turns her head and she even appeared to be frightened with all the commotion in the trees the other day. Of course play-time is the best. Running back and forth along the fence with the neighbor dog is a favorite. Sometimes she’ll fetch a ball and at other times she just likes to run wide open expelling all that stored up puppy energy. I have a theory that, compared to children, dogs are perpetual four-year-olds. They are totally dependent on you, yet are ready to conquer the world. They look to you for protection and fully trust you. They know there is right and wrong, and insist on pushing the envelop, all the while looking at you to see if you’re going to scold them. Bella meets and greets us at the door; ears up = good; ears down = she’s done something she shouldn’t have while alone in the house, generally torn-up some paper. Puppies are, like four-year-olds, not fully attentive, and do in fact ignore you when the feeling strikes, unabashed, unafraid and always testing the teacher’s patience while testing the waters of independence. They want to go everywhere you go. They love you in spite of the discipline and can’t wait to be with you at every opportunity available to them. Love is a wonderful thing.

[Matthew 18: 1-6] …Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” As we spiritually mature, in some ways we need to become perpetual four-year-olds in our relationship with God. We must realize everything comes from God and we are totally dependent on Him for our every need. We should look to God for protection from the evil one and fully trust in His Word to guide us throughout our life. We are not perfect for we all sin (disobey), and when we do, we need to meet God at the door of prayer with our head hung low and ask for forgiveness. We may get disciplined for our wrong-doing, but remember, God still loves you. Is it okay to explore and launch out into something new and different? Of course; but remember to always look to God for that sign of approval by searching the scriptures and learning what pleases Him. (2 Timothy 3: 14-17) Leave your inhibitions behind and submit to the Lord your God.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Where Are The Wise?


Oh boy! I can’t wait to find out how I go about applying for overtime under the new executive power legislation of forced law coming from our present administration. I figure my salary aught to more than double next year. Full time employment is going to drop from forty hours a week to thirty hours a week, so that means my typical sixty hour week is going to pay off big time. Of course that’s all just a dream, because I’m still self-employed, and I don’t get paid hourly. Then again I’m probably better off. All I can see coming in the future is more loss of jobs and/or cost increases for finished products, which includes your hamburger, soda and fries at the drive-thru. A sizable increase was noticed at the last minimum wage raise and a definite increase will be felt at the consumer level when the minimum wage goes up and contract labor overtime is initiated. The oil companies are probably already calculating how much more money they can squeeze out us. The neighborhood small business is doomed for sure now.

One corporation is thinking of re-writing some of its office policies to counter some of the new labor laws. DRESS CODE: You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary. (1) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially, and therefore you do not need a raise. (2) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. (3) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be, and therefore you do not need a raise. SICK DAYS: We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you can go to the doctor, you can come to work also. PERSONAL DAYS: Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays and Sundays. More changes are forth-coming including restroom and lunch breaks. Management expects full cooperation from all employees as they struggle to comply with new labor laws.

Plato said,”…like man, like state.” He argued that behind political problems lies the nature of man. “…governments vary as the characters of men vary; …states are made out of the human natures which are in them; …the state is what it is because its citizens are what they are. Therefore we need not expect to have better states until we have better men; …till then all changes will have every essential unchanged. How charming people are! Always doctoring, increasing and complicating their disorders, fancying they will be cured by some nostrum which somebody advises them to try, never getting better, but always growing worse.” And again, “We cannot build Utopia with young people corrupted at every turn by the example of their elders.”

[Romans 10; 12:1-2 & Acts 28:23-27] Plato believed that a nation cannot be strong unless it believes in God. He reasoned that a mere cosmic force, or first cause, that was not a person, could hardly inspire hope, or devotion, or sacrifice. It could not offer comfort to the hearts of the distressed, nor courage to embattled souls. But, a living God can do all of this! If you would like our nation and the world to be better, become a better you. James writes about wisdom (James 3:13-18). “…For when you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” We need leaders with true wisdom.