Saturday, November 28, 2015


I pray everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day and got enough under their belt to carry them through till the end of December, when we can do it all over again. And speaking of do-over’s, I’ll be going into surgery again to work on my vocal cords this Tuesday, December 1st. I have a growth that keeps coming back and a different surgeon is going to load up a different laser gun to zap this sucker hoping to discourage it from coming back again. Only time will tell but we can’t wait and let it get a foothold. Hopefully everything will go as well as it normally does and retain my voice.

“The Fellowship of the Unashamed” by David Guinn. “I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame vision, mundane talking, chintzy giving and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power. My pace is set, my gate is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the face of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.” There’s no time for do-over’s.

[Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 12:1-3] Can Jesus pick you out of a crowd? James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, took office on March 4, 1881. On his first Sunday in Washington following his inauguration, a member of his Cabinet insisted that a meeting must be called to discuss a matter that purportedly threatened a national crisis. The President refused, stating that he was already committed to another appointment. The cabinet member insisted, telling the President that the national matter was of grave importance and that he should break his prior engagement. Still, Mr. Garfield refused to do so. Obviously appalled, the Cabinet member remarked, “I would be interested to know with whom you have an engagement so important that it cannot be broken.” Mr. Garfield replied, “I will be as frank as you are. My engagement is with the Lord, to meet Him at His house, at His table, at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning – and I shall be there.” What an example! May we, too, be so dedicated to the worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that we shall not forget that we have a standing “prior appointment” every Sunday morning, the first day of the week, the Lord’s day. In obedience to God’s Word we have a standing appointment to serve one another each and every day with the love of God. Missed appointments rarely come with do-over’s.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Would They Kill Him Again?

Statistically speaking, most of my life has always fallen somewhere in the “normal” range of predicable human reactions by whoever determines these things. Now these same people are the experts that continually attempt to steer the lives of the “normal” people in the direction they want them to go. I like living in the normal realm of lead, follow, or get out of the way, because it tends to give me that feeling of freedom and independence we all crave. I lack any powers or super-powers to limit getting pushed into situations of life I don’t like or disagree with, so like my fellow obedient law-abiding neighbors and citizens I have to accept some things being passed along as “for the betterment of the whole”, not necessarily in a participating manner, but more the “tolerance” mood. Don’t get me wrong here. I buck against the goads every time I get, but it’s the normal gripping and belly-aching most people do during morning coffee or watching the evening news. I generally do cave in to the establishment only because I like my “normal” life and the quiet freedoms I can afford to retain and remain faithful.

I’ve been kicking and screaming since the beginning of this so-called electronic age only learning as I go because by not participating in the flow of “progress” one tends to get left way behind on this new super-highway. Most things today are key-less and wireless leaving me clueless as to how I’m suppose to get it started. I’ve lived in the same place for near 40 years; I drive my vehicles on average of 10 years (used to begin with); I have 2 laptop computers 5 years old, but my workhorse desktops are dated 1998 & 2001. They’re like a pair of old comfortable shoes; like an easy chair with all the lumps and wrinkles that conform perfectly to your body, just right for Sunday afternoon naps. Well, the world evidently has far too many computer engineers with nothing to do except mess with good programming and trashing comfortable shoes. My two faithful workhorses have to go because everything to do with the computer age today has to ride a thoroughbred racehorse of a motherboard and micro-processor, plus, the operating system itself takes more memory than the total my ’98 computer came with (13GB). By the way, my son said I’d never fill it up - ha,ha,ha! I can no longer update these two desktops, they’re at their limit, so, to the closet they go with my worn out shoes. I’d rather take a beating out back of the woodshed than move or update computers, but I have no choice. Pray for me, and my new computer, neither gets hurt.

[Mark 3:1-4; Luke 19:45-48] There is a movement in the world today, especially in this country, to rid the landscape of any reference to the Christian faith. The leaders of Jesus’ day were afraid of him because the people believed in him and their power over the people was waning. They wanted to “rid” themselves of Jesus but were having a hard time plotting his murder, until Judas came along. If Jesus lived a physical life today the federal government wouldn’t have any trouble at all. The FDA could get him for turning water into wine without a license; the EPA could get him for killing fig trees; the AMA could arrest him for practicing medicine without a license; the National Board of Psychiatrists would arrest him for giving advise on how to live a guilt-free life, without the proper certification; the Dept. of Health would fine him big for feeding 5000 in the wilderness without a permit. Jesus wouldn’t stand a chance living in the 21st century. How tolerant do you think Jesus would be toward our liberal society?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just Plow Around It

The world is certainly in a mess and it seems there is a new fraternity of peoples forming every day with new ideals to constitute the perfect world society suitable for everybody. Of course some of these ideals include total annihilation of some other idealistic peoples, so the world has to have a war, or two dozen, going on at any one time just to express and hammer home new ideals. I’m convinced there are three types of people in the world: the ignorant; those educated beyond their intelligence; and those who wish to lead a quiet productive life. Unfortunately, the world powers seem to all be lead by the combined efforts of first two groups while the third group ends up feeding their ambitious endeavors. Most of us on the planet belong to the third group of people and lately if we express our opinions we get labeled “extremists” or “potential terrorists” for wanting to live in a clean, quiet neighborhood. It’s getting hard to deal with some of this ridiculous, self-centered, “disrespect” and “political correctness” bed of eggs we’re being forced to walk on. I can see a lot of broken eggs in the near future of this country and many countries of the world. I’m afraid the yoke won’t be funny.
Some grade school teachers keep journals of amusing things their students write in papers. Here are a few examples (God help us all): * Syntax is the money collected at church from sinners. * The future of “I give” is “I take”. * The parts of speech are lungs and air. * The inhabitants of Moscow are called Mosquitoes. * Define H2O and CO2. H2O is hot water and CO2 is cold water. * The general direction of the Alps is straight up. * The people who followed the Lord were called the Twelve Opossums. * The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. The head sits on the top and you sit on the bottom. * The four seasons are: salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar. * The word trousers is an uncommon noun because it is singular at the top and plural at the bottom. Okay!

[Psalm 11] There are times in life when we find things in our way that we cannot move. Even after persistent, fervent prayer, the cup of suffering is brought to quivering lips and we must drink of it – right down to the bitter dregs. Abraham Lincoln said, “Some troubles are like the stump an old farmer had in his field – too hard to uproot, too knotty to split, and too wet and soggy to burn.” When asked what to do in a spot like that, he replied, “Well, I’d just plow around it.” Some situations are like that stump. They are there and cannot be changed and must be accepted. We pray may God give us grace and strength to accept the inevitable and plow around the immovable.

“In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain? For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” I know the world is going to get very ugly before the Lord returns and in judgment God will destroy what he created – that’s a promise. Until then, or I depart from this life, I will struggle to overcome evil and live a righteous life following Him.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

You Never Know When

Never knowing what to expect in life from one moment to the next was never more apparent than last Friday morning when Mother Nature woke us from our slumber, then shook us out of bed. For me it was a typical morning with a doctor’s appointment in the big city at mid-morning. A large thunderstorm had passed by about an hour before I got out of bed with more rumbling in the distance. The weather radar indicated it was headed our way so I hurried a morning shower and hoped to be dressed before the power went out, sort of an expectant thing where I live. As I was getting my shoes on the thunder roared and the rain came pouring down. “I’ll have to wait to get to my car now” and as I stood in the doorway with visions of a hot cup of coffee waiting for me at the restaurant, where I meet with my “buds” before going to the office, I could hear a few small hailstones hitting my tin roof, not a good sign, and then total silence, in combination, a very bad sign. I listened for the roar of wind, but never heard it. Then I heard what I thought was thunder in the distance and felt relief that the storm was moving past in haste. But in reality what I heard was a tornado tearing through the city about four blocks away, unknown to us for about half an hour, for the electricity went out leaving us in the dark with only cell phone lifelines. It had stopped raining so I went out to see if the whole city was without electric power, perhaps finding a cup-a-joe somewhere else, finding nothing but blackness, so returned home not even realizing I was within half-a-block of the tornado path. Then the text messages started to come in and we couldn’t believe what we were reading. The High School was damaged big time, but students were okay and businesses we frequent were gone. We had little more to go by and people were calling us from all over the country checking on our welfare. (They heard on TV). Sirens on emergency vehicle screamed for over an hour going here and there. I’d only get in the way so my wife I headed off to the big city to give a doctor some more money. We got back home a little after noon and still no electricity so we went investigating the tornado scene, driving where I could then walking to get closer. Emergency personal were still everywhere, cleaning up the main highway of downed power poles and electric lines. To make a long story (day) short there were no deaths and we are quite lucky compared to some of the communities north of us who were also hit hard by the same storm with tornadoes and severe flooding. Praise God!

[Matthew 24:36-51; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:13-43] I prepared for a night without electricity but was pleasantly surprised when the power lunged everything to life less than twelve hours after the storm. A day without electrical entertainment tends to make one take inventory and be grateful not only for what he has in life, but who he has in life. Several people lost things, but the community rallied to their needs toot-sweet. My wife couldn’t stop crying and praising God for saving lives, especially after the rumor was quashed that our neighbor had lost his life in the storm. He had gotten into the food cooler of the restaurant, saving his life, while the tornado destroyed most of the building. The Lord will return one day, but millions more will meet Him in death before that time. We don’t know when our life will end any more than we know when Jesus will return. Are you prepared or has the world gotten you over-occupied? Love the world, and the things in it, and you will pass away with them (1 John 2:15-17).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Too Soon Old; Too Late Smart

Knowing at the beginning of the week a large scale rain storm was imminent for the weekend, I got out into the yard, with rake in hand, to clean up all the dead leaves the dry weather had produced throughout the summer months. I got two days of yard work in before having to get back to my regular job, and the yard looked pretty good. At work the next day I leaned over to pick up some papers off the floor, and for the first time in a long time, my lower back screamed out a spasm attack sending me to the floor. Oh, happy day!! The older I get the more pain and agony I get to enjoy for three or four days. It’s probably no worse than twenty years ago, but it sure feels like it. At least I don’t have to lean over fenders and grills in this condition any longer and I’m happy for that. I don’t like to think about it but the old body is beginning to talk back at me when I work like I’m thirty again. A lot of punishing miles have been added since.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7] Solomon shares a poetic description of old age (with the purpose of emphasizing the need to start serving the Creator as a youth, otherwise the time will come when it will be too late): "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you say, 'I find no pleasure in them'" "…when the keepers of the house tremble (the arms and hands are often no longer steady); and the strong men stoop (the legs are no longer straight and strong); when the grinders cease because they are few, (the teeth have lessened in number); and those looking through the windows grow dim (the eyesight is now clouded and dim); when the doors to the street are closed (ref; Psalm 141:3 the wise in the Lord have less to complain about) and the sound of grinding fades (the sense of hearing has deteriorated); when men rise up at the sound of birds (one is easily awakened); but all their songs grow faint (this may be a reference to the fact that one cannot sing-along with the same ability as he could as a youth); when men are afraid of heights and of danger in the streets (the fear of falling is ever present and balance is no longer taken for granted); when the almond tree blossoms (the almond tree turns to a silver and then white color when it is almost finished with its cycle; this certainly refers to the changing of one's hair color--to gray and then to white); and the grasshopper drags himself along (even the lightest of activities is now a challenge); and desire is no longer stirred (advanced age and poor health reduce the strong appetites of the flesh); Then man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets (a reference to death and the grief it brings to the living); Remember Him before the silver cord is severed (before life slips away); or the golden bowl is broken (before the mind becomes dull or slow); before the pitcher is shattered at the spring (before the heart is broken or the spirit crushed); or the wheel broken at the well (before death overtakes you) and the dust returns to the ground where it came from; and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (ref; Genesis 2:7). Admittedly, some of these metaphors are difficult to interpret with certainty and are therefore not presented dogmatically. Nevertheless, the picture painted by Solomon is powerful, and the overall message is clear. Old age brings a variety of struggles. The wise will begin seeking God in early life and continue serving Him until death. Those who are foolish put off the pursuit of righteous living until later in life (Acts 24:25). I’ve got the Lord to carry me through.