Saturday, July 25, 2015

Feeling Inadequate?

The deeper I get into all the techno stuff available to play with, of which I know I’m only scratching the surface, I realize I’m getting more done at work, with more efficiency and with greater imaginative end products. Ready to use materials found within programs, on the inter-web and now in every app imaginable, can make simple day to day strugglers like me feel good about what they do every day. Used to be cut and paste was a real physical part of producing shared information. Apps were real news-stand magazines with which one used for current event research and would extract beautiful color pictures with a pair of scissors, or, if you could afford it, an Exacto knife. Then with some orange liquid glue from a bottle with a funny-looking red rubber applicator, some colored pencils and maybe one black clothing-marker pen, one would build their school project/report spending hours going through magazine after magazine to produce the best white cardboard presentation ever. At school my presentation never did look as good as it did at home. When I worked in the advertising department of a food market chain, cut and paste was a real thing. We used hot wax instead of glue whereupon changes could be readily made. Then the finished product was photographed for lithograph reproduction. Simply fascinating stuff in 1967. Today, with two hours of research on the inter-web one could nearly write a book complete with all the color bells and whistles to make any report pop. Save it, change it, add to it, subtract from it, move it around until its pleasing-to-the-eye; click, click, click; tap, tap, tap like magic your project gets printed within seconds or stored on a flash-drive for a power-point presentation. And I still don’t have enough time to get all the things done I want to accomplish in a day. I don’t guess we’ll ever be satisfied with our accomplishments. Bigger, better and faster is the order of the day, the 25 hour day.
A friend of mine was telling about his visit to his daughter’s home on a short vacation. One morning at the breakfast table he asked his son-in-law if he could borrow the morning newspaper. “This is the 21st century!” he exclaimed, “We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can use my iPad.” With a sheepish smile and a little chuckle my friend said, “I can tell you one thing… that fly never new what hit it!”

Two cows were grazing in a pasture when they saw a milk-truck pass by. On the side of the truck were the words… ‘Pasteurized; Homogenized; Standardized; Vitamin “A” Added’. One cow sighed and said to the other, “Kind of makes you feel inadequate.”
[Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 24:3-6; James 1:2-8] The 21st century and life in general has dropped many a humbling circumstance into my life, as in yours. Even though I don’t like it, I find it has been good for me. We rest on our past experience and become complacent, prideful of what we have learned. But when we are in a situation for which we have no answer, our ignorance and inabilities humble us. We all need a lesson in humility once in a while. It drives us to seek the advice of others and to realize how much we need each other. It causes us to search the Word of God for answers. It leads us to pray to God for wisdom instead of trusting in ourselves. It leads us to trust in the providence of God. When you truly ‘let go and let God’ it will amaze you the work God does in your life. Circumstantial accidents your friends tell you. No not at all. It’s God moving in your life, because He doesn’t want you to feel inadequate

Saturday, July 18, 2015

God's Facebook

Spaceship, ‘New Horizons’ has been on a nearly ten year journey to Pluto, the on again, off again planet at the farthest reaches of our solar system. Now described as a ‘dwarf planet’ Pluto is approximately 3 billion miles from earth and New Horizon has been traveling at a neck-breaking speed of 51,000 miles per hour. This past week it has been sending photos of Pluto back to earth with surprising images not expected by scientist of the project. What did they expect to see anyway? Seeing that from Pluto the sun is only the brightest star in the sky I should think frozen rocky mountains and smooth slick typography void of anything would have been their first guess. Personally, I see no value in the trip or the money being spent, but being the inquisitive people we are and always on the lookout for an opportunity to put our Creator in a box, I guess its worth the under funding of cancer research and the continued global suffering of the sick and dying for the simple lack of a pill or injection. Well, my query mind has plunged me deeper into the 21st century, and Facebook. I’ve been watching and evaluating electronic notebooks for some time deciding not to get one because I saw no need for it (I’m already computer poor) and I really didn’t want to spend the money some companies were asking. Well, the perfect fit came along at the right price, so much so, my wife and I each got one. What am I doing!? Now, my wife is not computer savvy at all, but she is learning without too much difficulty. I’ve only had to completely clear the notebook three times to start over again. It’s good she’s messing up because it shows she’s exploring, she just hasn’t figured out how to undo her little mishaps. She brought her book to me to fix the other night showing me her Facebook in Chinese and added, “That’s just one of the problems.” I sank in my chair, but got everything fixed by the end of the night. I’ve yet to see the worth of all this, but I’m in.

[Psalm 139] There is an old story of a census taker who was making his rounds in the lower East Side of New York City, who interviewed an Irish woman as she was bending over her washtub. “Lady, I am taking the census. What’s your name and how many children do you have?” She replied, “Well, let me see. My name is Mary; and there’s Marcia, and Duggie, and Amy, and Patrick, and…” “Never mind the names” he broke in, “just give me the numbers.” She straightened up, hand on her hip, and with a twinkle in her eye said, “I’ll have you know sir, we ain’t got into numberin’ them yet. We ain’t run out of names!” In a world filled with so many people we sometimes feel so insignificant. Nobody wants to know your name – just your SSN, proof of insurance and your phone number. It can be an impersonal world which leaves us feeling very lonely, even when we’re surrounded by a large group of people. We’re not the family driven society we once were. Families and friends can so easily become separated by a gulf of too many miles to visit and ‘catch up on things’. My family thought Skype was going to be the thing, but time zones keep visiting at bay. I’m willing to give Facebook a whirl with the pics and all, and a lot more people. But in the eyes of God, we are viewed personally. God knows each of us by name. We matter to him. God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God is not on Facebook, but His Book is all over the inter-web. Get to know Him; you’ll love Him.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Don't You Get Stripped Too

When one’s thoughts are being consumed by current events that will surely impact the future of our “Land of the Free”, it is hard to not comment about them. As a part of our freedom of speech, when expressed over a period of time by enough citizens, there comes about an automatic invocation to the representatives of said citizens to apply a measure of checks and balances to correct certain inequalities or wrong doings. In my time I have witnessed Richard Nixon, President of these United States removed from office in disgrace; Baseball great, Pete Rose stripped of his accomplished glory; Multiple time winner of the Tour de France, cyclist, Lance Armstrong, stripped of any mention he even participated in the competition; Scape-goat Joe Paterno, the greatest of college football coaches, was unfairly stripped of his victories resulting from the actions of another (thankfully, his honor and victories have been restored). The flag of the Confederate States has been removed from the sight of those who feel they are still threatened by it and the cause it stood for during the Civil War. I accept that and also hold mixed emotions fearing history will be totally stripped (ripped) from the minds of our future leaders rendering them vulnerable to making the same mistakes. I guess true-to-history, well maintained museums will preserve the facts for those who are interested enough to seek them out. But, I suspect soon there will be no mention at all of that period of our history in our public school curriculum. Kids today don’t even know the names or locations of the 48 states, maybe the other two. I wonder if Bill Cosby will be stripped of his syndicated sitcoms that portrayed him as a righteous husband, family leader, and guide for proper living. (Waiting for the next shoe to drop)

[Romans 12:9-21; Titus 3:1-11] Parents and teachers alike know that one of the hardest lessons for a child to learn is not to return evil for evil. When one child pushes another the typical response is to push back in return. Older siblings have habits of doing mean things to the younger that would antagonize and aggravate them. Of course, when it came time for revenge, I was the one to get caught and punished. Like the football referee, mom never saw the first offence, only the avenging offense. We have the hardest of time understanding that God sees the first offence every time and has His own way of dealing with those who offend others. He warns us: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…” So Tom, what you’re telling me is God wants me to sit back and watch the injustice happen and the unrighteous run amuck doing whatever they want to whomever they wish, right? No my friend, just the opposite. God is telling you that you are on the front lines, His first line of defense. “…Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” “On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’” So, is the law of the land wrong? No, just imperfect. God has allowed the will of evil men to prevail at times, but righteous men, with the help of God, have miraculously turned the tide when all else has failed. God wants us to do what He would do, not what we think we aught to do. Our manual is the BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

250 and Free?

Happy 239th Birthday America! Even with the desensitizing of some of the greatest strengths any kingdom on earth has ever known, it is the freedom of speech and the right to worship without dictatorial interference that has brought about the most satisfied and prosperous of people. As Soviet-born comedian Yaakov Smirnoff often quoted after observing some of the antics Americans engage themselves in without fear of repression, “What a country!!” And that it is! I for one will refuse to allow anyone to suppress my thoughts and ideas in the name of “hate” or “prejudice” calling it a crime. All crime is a hate crime and performed with prejudice. I’m not out to deny anyone their rights as an American but I am getting a little tired of seeing the courts tweaking and adjusting my rights compromising my liberties. Think about it America.

“God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood: “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I worked for all my life; And I had to start again, With just my children and my wife; I thank my lucky stars, To be living here today, 'Cause the flag still stands for freedom, And they can't take that away; And I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the men who died, Who gave that right to me; And I'd gladly stand up next to you, And defend Her still today, 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A. From the lakes of Minnesota, To the hills of Tennessee, Across the plains of Texas, From sea to shining sea; From Detroit down to Houston, And New York to L.A., Well there's pride in every American heart, And it's time we stand and say, That I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the men who died, Who gave that right to me; And I'd gladly stand up next to you, And defend Her still today, 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A. And I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the men who died, Who gave that right to me; And I'd gladly stand up next to you, And defend Her still today, 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the U.S.A.” Songwriters: WEISMAN, BENJAMIN / KARGER, FRED / WAYNE, SID © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group Publishing Group

[Romans 13] In an address to military leaders, John Adams, our second President said, “We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Jay, our first Court Justice stated that when we select our national leaders, if we are to preserve our Nation, we must select Christians. “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President wrote, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” In 1782, the United States Congress passed this resolution: ‘The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.’ In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that Bible reading was outlawed as unconstitutional in the public school system. Has society or our schools benefitted without God’s Word?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Equality For Me Too!

As I contemplate all the facets of justice being tossed about lately, it’s hard to pass judgment on my feelings without looking inward for a closer examination of ones self. Would I forgive a young man for murdering members of my own family, as well as members of my church family, after I sat and shared the Word of God with him for over an hour in Bible study? I believe I could, but really don’t look forward to the opportunity to prove it. I honestly believe that the statements directed at Mr. Roof by the bereaved are heartfelt and truly full of forgiveness. I also believe the same bereaved have turned the judgment of this man over to God, that His will may be done. But, I have a hard time blaming it all on a flag or a gun. Neither have a selfish conscience nor the power to perform any act of violence for the betterment of mankind. I don’t wish to get into a political rant about the direction our government officials are taking this country, but I feel compelled to make a few observations. These United States were founded on the morals and equalities found in the Word of God, the Bible. Reject or deny this premise if you wish, but it doesn’t change the fact that the strength of this country has been maintained by the faithful, God-fearing families and churches, across this nation. As the morals of the people, and the demands of equality based on the continual erosion of Godly morals, are being “justified” by our over-amended and appended constitution, the God-fearing strength of this country is waning. This may be okay with the self-centered, give-me-more it’s my right portion of our populous, but I have to insist upon your observing the condition of our ever increasing criminal status. It’s the results of immorality and the abuse of “anything goes”. The hardest thing for me to witness was the White House cloaked in the LGBT colors as if it represented the approval of all Americans. Mr. President, it may represent your home, but not mine! It may show support to your agenda and the decision of the Supreme Court, but not the majority of the citizens of this nation. Did I just hear another freedom being flushed?

[Romans 1:18 - 2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 7:1-40] If this is still a God-fearing nation, maybe we ought lay the Bible on top of the constitution and review it before making decisions on what is best for the people and the strength of the nation. I’ll almost bet there is more discrimination among our citizens this day than there was a week ago. In one breathe we’re blessing and forgiving one another in the name of our Lord and in the next breathe we’re not sure which flag is going to be run up the pole for us to salute in the name of equality. You can be sure of one thing. God is not pleased with the direction this country is going in. If we continue on this trek, be assured God will turn us over to our own desires and be depraved of His blessings and grace. This country and its freedoms will be lost, taken away, because we have rejected God. Unless the people of this country repent of this rejection and turn again to the upright moral standards of God’s Word, all of God’s Word, what you think is hard times now will get much worse. And after thumbing your nose at God all your life, do you thing Mary Bonauto will take you on as a client when you stand before the judgment seat of God? It will take an eternity for her to be heard in heaven. Call me what you may, that’s okay. Just remember this: I also hold beliefs by which I live; I do not have to agree or engage in your lifestyle; Remember, I have rights also. Shalom!