Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God cares about even our smallest request.

Okay. I am running about 15 minutes late today. It happens. My late is still a couple of hours earlier than the next fellow, so I guess I can live with it. How in the world are you, anyway? It's Wednesday, September 30, 2009, so welcome to a brand new day! My mom should have slept in her own bed last night and that is a huge reason for praising the Lord. She was on her way home as I was on my way into the metroplex for our inner city Bible club meeting. The doctor said her heart was fine but she does need to see a lung specialist very soon. She asked him what she should do if she has another episode like the one she experienced on Sunday. He told her to ignore it. Ignore it? That sounds like the old Hee Haw routine where the patient tells the doctor it hurts when they do a certain thing and he tells them to just not do it. But we couldn't be more thankful and I know mom is glad to be home, not to mention Dad, who will be most happy to put the helicopter episode and all the other excitement behind him. They are such wonderful people and it's hard to explain how blessed we are to have them as our parents.

At last night's Bible club I had the opportunity to counsel with about twelve boys. As they shared their struggles with us and the prayer needs in their lives, I was struck by their honesty and the simplicity of their requests. One wanted prayer to do better in his school work. Another wanted to not be such a bully. Others wanted to correct one type of behavior or another, to treat others with more respect, and to have a more peaceful home life. There may have been one or two that prayed to receive Christ as Savior. Victory in Jesus comes in all shapes and sizes. He does love the little children of the world and He will respond to their heartfelt requests. The thing that was interesting was how these boys expressed even the small things that concerned them. This is a good lesson for us all. We are instructed: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

We who are all grown up lose contact with this principle about our Great God caring about the small things. We sort through our list and seek His help on the top priorities but He would have us seek Him by faith in everything that concerns us. Those boys laid out the stuff that was on their heart but how often do we hold back when we are praying? God already knows about it all and He must smile as we seek to be so pious in bringing only the BIG items before Him. Often those little things, like termites, can be very harmful if they are not attended to. We all have concerns and needs that are on our mind and we most likely are somewhat fretful over some of them. The key to being free from being anxious has to do with our recognition of God and His willingness to see us through every detail, no matter how small, in the life He has given for us to live. Thank each and every one for praying for my mom and as these boys reminded me, we all have a whole lot of stuff to seek God's help with, every minute of every day. The good news is how willing He is to hear and to help according to His love for us all! Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God uses our hands to touch others!

Hello friends and neighbors and welcome to today's hot off the press issue of another muddied up set of meanderings from your faithful observer here on this Tuesday, September 29, 2009. I have talked to my mom several times and she does have some type of lung infection and will be staying in the hospital for a few days. She does seem to be feeling much better and she is thanking God for all the prayers that have gone up on her behalf. When I first talked to her I told her it was her little boy calling from over in the Houston area. She said she knew who it was and also knew that I would be calling. She said on the helicopter ride she thought she might be dying and she asked the young medical attendant if he would hold her hand. He did and she said it brought such comfort to her. Every day a blessing. Here a blessing. There a blessing. Everywhere a blessing. And, I do give God thanks for His provisions. A touch is such a blessing. We experienced this at the large wedding we attended on Saturday where we saw so many friends that we have known over the past twenty plus years. What a time we had laughing and remembering funny stories and new funny stories and it made me aware of how sweet it is to enjoy the blessing of fellowship one with another.

On Wednesday evenings when us older folks meet together for our regular time of Bible study there is always a time of laughter, sharing, and even a co-mingling of tears as together we make our way through this life God has given to us. Family. Friends. Brothers and sisters in Christ, belonging together in the family of God. The young man who was married last Saturday comes from a wonderful family. His dad passed away eight years ago after several years of battling Leukemia. His dad had held a senior management position with Exxon and was one of the brightest fellows I've ever met. It was my privilege to have him in my Sunday morning Bible Study. Ronnie Paulk was a man with a testimony. He loved God. He loved his family. He loved serving. His testimony overshadowed the wedding proceedings as his widow and three sons all participated in this great event. Looking around that room at all of their friends and family, it was clear that these folks were also our friends and family. Ronnie would have been proud of all that happened. He would have laughed right along with the rest of us. Some believe God allows those in His presence to see the good stuff that happens here on earth. If so, I'm sure Bro. Ronnie was shouting for joy and telling everyone around about the first of his boys to marry.

Touching. Visiting. That's what it used to be called when you sat down and talked forth and back, often for no special reason, with those near and dear to your heart. We sure used to do more of that than we do today. Since we enjoy it so much and treasure our time spent together, why don't we do it more often? Now here's the kicker, we are just too busy to find a reason to get together with those we enjoy so much. Sounds kind of dumb, don't you think? Too busy. Too many deadlines. Places to be and people to see. AND, sadly, much of what we occupy ourselves with doesn't really amount to a hill of beans. Yet, we, like those hamsters caught on that exercise wheel just churn our lives away. We do need to slow down and smell the coffee and share a cup with a friend. It takes a commitment to do it. It will not happen by wishing. I well remember hearing people lament over not taking the time to go and see someone special in their life. They put it off and excused themselves but always with a promise that next time they would go. But that next time didn't materialize and they, we, all of us, are left to bemoan these missed opportunities. I'm not going to tell you I will do better but I am going to tell you that I will think about doing better. Also, lest I forget, I thank the young man who held my mom's hand and brought comfort to her in her time of need. Today's myriad of discombobulated thoughts should give us all something to chew on. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

His mercy endures forever!

Hello world, it's Monday, September 28, 2009 and we are up, going, and still thanking God for His mercy that endures forever. (See Psalm 136) Please say a prayer for my mom. She had a scare yesterday and was taken by helicopter from her home some 60 miles away to a hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana. She thought she was having a heart attack but according to my last report from last night they had ruled out her heart as being the problem. Mom is 85 and is just getting over the flu. She is one of the remarkable blessings God has given into my life and into the lives of many generations in our family. We pray for her recovery and we pray for peace from God and that His will would be done. Dad said he hoped they would release her to return home if not last night, perhaps by this morning. She had prepared a meal to be taken to her step-daughter who is suffering from ALS and just might have overdone it. Now that would be very much in keeping with her inherited stubborn spirit. I suppose my wife is glad that this stubbornness wasn't handed down to me but don't ask her about it because you can take my word on it.

I'm still busily preparing for my upcoming jolly old elf gig. The beard deal is at that point where I look sort of like one of those fellows you live under a bridge but once people know why I look the way I do they nod and say, "Yeah, I can see it now." We were at a wedding Saturday and saw many beloved friends we had not seen in a while. I could tell some of them were uneasy about my appearance but they didn't want to ask. They probably figured I had finally gone over the cliff in terms of my mental status and they certainly didn't want to say anything that might set me off. One fellow persisted in saying I must be playing Moses or Abraham in a play. I called over one of the beautiful young ladies from our Church and asked her to inform him as to my true identity. She said, "He is Santa Claus." If you recall I had been inspired by the testimony of a gentleman who had been a Santa in the children's hospital system for years. He died suddenly and I was so impressed by his testimony of bringing joy to children for so many years. Sunday morning I gave one of my Santa business cards to his daughter. She has three beautiful girls and they always give me a hug on Sunday morning. She looked at the card and asked if I knew that her dad had been a Santa for years before he died. She beamed when I told her that his testimony was one of the reasons I decided to give it a try. If I make it through this year, I hope to be doing volunteer work in the hospitals by next year.

One of the things we all realize is how that we live where we are only one phone call away from a sudden change in our thinking and in our schedules. When we heard about my mom we were frozen while waiting to hear any news. My wife wondered why I was not on the highway headed there but as I told her it was a four hour drive and we would do better to pray and wait before making that decision. I have a great peace about my mom's life and how that God has been so good to allow her to be with us for these many years. I typically talk to mom probably four or more times a week. I call her during the week and we have a regular time slot for both Saturday and Sunday. We had a great visit Sunday morning and she was feeling better and already thinking about all she needed to do to get the food ready to send to her step-daughter. She cooks meals for people. This is one of her things to do in trying to serve the Lord by serving others. She is a special treasure and we pray God's presence will be so very close to her as she recovers from this latest challenge. And, I send out this blog with a prayer for all that read that you would seek God first in all things as you go about your busy week! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Waiting on the weather.

It’s Friday, September 25, 2009 and I have thoroughly enjoyed the down payment of a couple of cooler days this week. Once or twice I’ve seen the Brad Paisley country song video with Andy Griffith entitled: Waiting on a Woman. I watched it because I like Andy Griffith, Mayberry, Barney, Gomer, Goober, Aunt Bea, Opy, Floyd, and the rest of the gang. The song is about how much time is spent/wasted by a man waiting on his woman to do her thing throughout a lifetime, but also how much it is worth it as she is his soul mate for life, or some such romantic notions like that. It’s one of those syrupy sentimental presentations of marital bliss, anticipation, and gushy mushy such stuff like that. That’s all well and good but when I think of anticipation at this time of year it typically involves a hungering for cold fronts and the first frost of the season. While I have enjoyed the mid sixties stuff this week I spotted a 54 on the map as a guess for next week. Now that’s something worth waiting for!

I will readily admit that all the aches and pains brought to me by old Uncle Arthritis makes it a little harder to get as excited, but, thus far, I’ve not let him deter me from getting all worked up about my annual quest for global cooling. Those wanting it to stay warm seem to be on the increase. Even men! For crying out loud! What a shame! Day before yesterday, sitting out on the porch here at the company with a cool breeze blowing and a hot cup of coffee smoking, my older cohort here at work, Bro. Jim, and I did some reminiscing about cool weather memories. I told him about coming in the back door of my Grammy Mac’s kitchen on a bitterly cold day. As a high school senior I only had to go a half-day and she knew I would be coming home early. It would be so cold the grass was just nearly crunchy as I made my way to the door. Once opened, I was hit by the smell of cold weather cooking that still makes my mouth water. All the windows in that old house would be completely fogged up but she would have a freshly baked pile of sweet potatoes sitting on the stovetop. I would grab one and bust it open and fill it up with butter. Talk about good eating, and especially good on a wonderful cold day.

I am so very thankful that our first day of fall this year actually saw a fall in the temperature. That’s not always the case in these parts. And, the hot weather has not given up the ghost yet but these little previews sure get me tuned in to wanting to see the full episode when it arrives. I know I go on and on about the cooler weather and no doubt some of you think it to be a little on the silly side. There are those who immediately think snow shoveling and ice storms when they think about cold weather, and that’s not such a great thought to them. But for me, my eldest son, and perhaps one or two others in our family, we have been genetically predisposed to call this our silly season, because we do love the cooler temps and do so much look forward to them. God gave us the seasons and He said they would continue until He chooses to bring an end to all things here on earth. Someone needs to remind Mr. Al Gore about this promise from the Creator. Yesterday morning I stood opening the gate here to our company in a light rain with the cool breeze blowing and it was enough to make me want to do the teaberry shuffle, whatever that is. I hear you: Enough already of this nonsense for one day. You all go on and have yourselves a great Saturday and remember to gather with other believers at the local Church meeting place in recognition of the Resurrection that took place on the first day of the week, Sunday. Until next time, may God bless each one! Amen. ………More later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daring to go where no man should!

It is Thursday, September 24, 2009, and by now, those of you who read my blog should know that I do subscribe to the Yogism (Sayings attributed to Yogi Berra, famous hall of fame catcher for the New York Yankees.) that says: “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Therefore, I am a confessed observer of subjects flying here and there, and everywhere, and where they will land no one knows. A couple of weeks ago a huge study was published with results from the survey of some 12,000 women in 21 countries. The bottom line finding: Women have been and continue to be unhappy. Are you telling me that with all the push for women’s rights, pay equality, and the emphasis on liberation, that women are still unhappy? They sure are and from what I read many more women are unhappy about being unhappy. The survey pointed out that much progress has been made in all the categories mentioned but with all of these freedoms and progress it has not equated to happiness. Maybe it’s the poverty class in poor countries that caused this outcome. Not so, more unhappy women exist in America, England, and all of the other modern nations. Now comes the drum roll because here’s where the assessment begins to get interesting: WHY?

The major area blamed? You guessed it: MEN! Most analyses of these sad statistics say men have adapted to the women’s movement and taken advantage of it to feed their own needs, because recent studies show that men are feeling happier at this time. I, by the way, did not see even one sentence devoted to what God has to say about men and women and how He defines fulfillment for His created human family. The survey indicated that at one time it was thought that men were shirking any help in the doing of household chores and maybe that was a big reason for this unhappiness. Wrong again because they found this has been greatly improved but still we have women as a whole feeling unhappy. The experts surmise that women now have financial means but also carry increased financial expectations and responsibilities. They have more freedoms to become leaders and managers but also now have the stress induced physical issues that come with the territory.

Let’s face facts, the blame game has been around since Genesis. Adam blamed Eve for enticing him to eat of the fruit and Eve was the first to say: “The devil made me do it.” I know you thought Flip Wilson coined that phrase but he was way late on this one. What do I think is the cause of this unhappiness found in women? My first thought is a back to the Bible to find the answer to this question along with any and all other questions that challenge our modern intelligence. What does God have to say about gender distinctions? What has He provided in terms of templates and blueprints for roles and responsibilities as it relates to men, women, boys and girls? I can tell you He has devoted many pages of inspired insight into how the human family should function and it is always when we conform to His word that we find true happiness. It produces a happiness defined by our fit into His plan and purpose and one that brings Him honor and glory. A word to the so-called experts: You completely left out any reference to the Owner’s manual, called the Holy Bible! They, and we, should read it again, for the first time! Amen. …..More later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Give honor to those deserving of honor.

What a wonderful drive in this morning with the windows down and the brisk 65 degree breeze giving me an envigorating start. It is September 23, 2009 and I bid you a welcome to Wednesday, that day of the week where we look forward to gathering this evening with other like-minded believers for a time of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. We look forward to this time each week because those of us who show up know that we need to hear from God and we need each other. Last week I shared about our Bro. Milton and his wife Glenda being honored at their local Church in Florida with a new foyer dedicated to them for their many years of faithful service. This week I listened to a sermon on the internet preached by their pastor and it was very appropriate in terms of calling our attention to those God would have us to honor. He spoke about the privilege of being able to put a plaque on the wall with Bro. Milton’s and Sister Glenda’s names on it. Not only because of their age. Not only because of the great illness they have persevered through. But mainly because of their consistent testimony of living, with God’s help, by the Book in their service to the Lord for these many years.

The sermon spoke about giving honor to our government leaders, our parents, our pastors, husbands towards wives, and wives towards husbands, and to those who faithfully serve, especially those of the household of faith. He then challenged all to consider who it is that they honor in their lives. He talked about how that people on TV, in the movies, or those who are great athletes have folks that follow their every move and show honor to them by their devotion. He talked about how people buy their music, faithfully follow a TV series, go to their movies, or regardless of rain, sleet, or snow, they attend their sporting events. When folks respond in this manner they are showing honor. He then asked if that type of honor was well placed. Many of these elevated people live lives that are wrecked by immorality, drugs, sexual perversion, and worse. However, people, even God’s people often show through their purchases, their allegiance, and their interest, more honor to the so called famous than they do to those who God has called us to honor.

The pastor went on to say that some of those we honor by our recognition and patronage actually live a lifestyle that God says is an abomination to Him. Many times we honor this type of individual while often we are not willing to give the proper honor to God that He deserves and then to those He has singled out for recognition. This sermon was a very sweet recollection of my thoughts about our dear Bro. Milton. On the other hand it was horribly convicting as I considered those we often place on a pedestal in our lives and in the way we follow after them, how we spend our time, and what we support with our financial resources. I hope we who are believers realize we are surrounded by a modern day cloud of witnesses who have given much into our lives. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing for us to begin to take stock of our value system? For the word honor means just that: Placing a value of worth. Worthy of our best, our first, and our all is our Great God, but He also would have us show honor to Him by valuing and showing honor to those who have served Him faithfully and in so doing they have contributed to our lives as well. This is something for us to think about, pray about, and seek God's direction about. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kicking it up ANOTHER NOTCH!

Okay, whose cuisine reigns supreme? That's the question I used to love to hear on the Iron Chef series before I began my long boycott of the Food Network after they cancelled Emeril LaGasse's daily program. They left me and I left them. I glanced through the list of the 100 plus Emmy award winners just announced and found only one or two programs I may have seen. I didn't recognize the titles but one was on the Discovery Channel, and the other was on PBS. This means I am certainly not a member of the "Must See TV" crowd. I am attracted to the series "The Office" but have only seen a few episodes since it has been on. I think it did win one award. There is something that strikes a cord with almost anyone who has been in the workplace for any length of time in being able to identify with a group or organization where the leader is clueless and actually believes his or her cluelessness to be a sign of their expertise. Been there, done that, too many times to count, therefore, that scenario does make for a humorous setting. It's Tuesday, September 22, 2009, and I suppose I'm sharing a little flashback in how I had to weather the storm of neither knowing or caring about "Who shot J. R.?" We are all different and different things appeal to us. I am not discouraged because of not having a water cooler moment to share with a co-worker from some episode that most of America watched.

What do I like to watch? I typically stay with the historical pieces, the natural beauty of our planet series, some sports, and, you guessed it, plenty of news, commentary, and current event type shows. I like old time radio, therefore, I enjoy some of the older reruns on the TVLand Channel. My wife likes the Game Show Channel and we both enjoy some of the BBC comedies and mysteries shown on PBS and A&E. We are most likely candidates for an obscure survey category: Old Fuddy Duddy. While I may not fit a conventional category, they do recognize who comprises their audience. How can you tell they know? The advertising. Most of the popular hit TV series will not be peddling Polident for dentures, hearing aids, and AARP memberships. Bingo! Therefore, we can be sure that being out of one target group does not take you out of another. After sitting through a night of game shows I might well experience a dream where Santa is being pulled by eight tiny mobility scooters or he no longer sports the gleaming white hair and beard after using a hair coloring product.

How does it feel to be out in left field? How about it being more accurate to say I'm not even in the ballpark? Old people. You have to love us, right? People talk about flexibility and we think about our joints. You hear something about change and your ears perk up because you think they might be talking about a way to help avoid those annoying hot flashes. We are a force to be reckoned with at least as it relates to drug sales and body part replacements. Because I watch one show and you watch another or you like American Idol and I like American history, we all are in need of the mercy, grace, and love of our heavenly Father. Being lost and undone before God puts every one of us in the same survey category: Hell bound sinners! The good news is that God has provided for us to join a new category through our faith in the finished work of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It's the one category that should unite us in our identity in Christ. We can like different things and talk differently but as believers we have a common bond that should oversee how we live each day. The good news is that we can all identify with the commercial that says I've fallen and I can't get up because that's our condition, but God sent His one and only Son to do what we can't do for ourselves! That's a water cooler story that's worth sharing every day of the year! Amen. ......More later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Talking consistent with our walking!

It is Monday, September 21, 2009 and I have to tell you these are some scary times we are living in at the moment. Our nation's politics are charged with acrimony, division, and over the top insults forth and back. I know what it means to be a part of a racially insensitive world. I grew up in that world where folks were accepted or rejected based on the color of their skin. That way of life should be a thing of the past as we learned it was not only morally wrong but certainly inconsistent with the principles of freedom and equality which are pillars of our American foundation. Indoctrinated in the womb with this view of people and then living with it as a daily practice made it a systemic part of the soul of our nation. Many of us have labored long and hard to rid ourselves of this inbred proclivity but obviously one would have to be insane to believe it has been eradicated from our land. I know people who continue to operate as if nothing has happened with regard to the racial situation since before the Civil War. Their view of the world cannot help but be distorted through this lens of racial superiority. Is this dangerous? It's always dangerous when people live on a steady diet of hate.

On the other hand it is sad to see this issue become a trump card used every time people disagree with President Obama's plans and policies. The current climate says that anyone who speaks against a proposed policy put forth by our nation's first black President must be a racist. On the surface this would be laughable but because the stakes are high, I can assure you it is no laughing matter. I do not want a socialist form of life for our country. I am passionate about not wanting this type of government controlled existence for our nation. I am against any and all things that move us in that direction. I exercise my right to state my objections to any and all policies that I believe has this as its goal or consequence. Does my opposition to this President's vision for America make me a racist? Does my exercise of my freedom to speak out on these issues make me a racist? Absolutely not! Are there racists who also speak against his policies? I am certain there are, however, in a free country you can never paint people with a broad brush. I would hate to see this charge of racism silence the voices of those who legitimately disagree with the direction of our nation.
I personally believe in God. I believe our nation has prospered because of its belief in God. I believe that our nation should continue to acknowledge God. Does my opposition to any and all policies that seeks to remove any recognition of God make me a racist? This charge would be ludicrous but I fear that it is the exact thing that is happening. To me the even sadder thing is how it may be this black President's administration who is making this the issue that it is to cover up their missteps and camouflage their real intentions. President Obama said yesterday that he lamented how that race has been focused on instead of the issues. I agree with him but he may need to call off his own spin doctors who may be the very source of instigating this distraction. I know this is not my normal happy go lucky daily blog. It is after all, my view from here, and we don't always live in a happy go lucky world, and what happens in Washington not only impacts me today but it sets the direction for the world our offspring and their offspring will have to deal with for generations to come. I also want to encourage us all to do our very best to not allow our unhappiness with the policies of this administration to lead us into a type of denigration that does cross the line. Parents, you should be careful because your children may not catch the nuance of your expressed opposition and we must always respect the office and the elected leader who occupies that office. We are commanded by God to obey the laws and pray for those in authority. Being angry about changes that will bring harm to our way of life is a good thing. But remember the Bible tells us to be angry but without sinning. May God help us to live out the truths we desire to see in the life of our nation. Amen. …..More later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to our Alexander Benjamin!

It's Friday, September 18, 2009, and today we are thinking about another one of the surpassing joys that God brought into our lives. It all happened the week of another notable hurricane, Rita. We had our work cut out for us in trying to keep our newborn acclimated to his brand new stormy world. He had to be kept under a special lamp and that wasn't easy given the fact that we were without power for several days. Fortunately, our middle son's next door neighbor allowed them to time share his generator and we were able to adequately provide for this newborn bundle of joy. It was a very challenging time for us all but one we will never forget and always associate with our Alex.

Okay, sorry, but I do feel a grandparent gush coming on. Everyone of our grandchildren are so very special to us and this little fellow is certainly no exception. Today I will focus on our grandsons. One of the most remarkable provisions from God is how children come with such innate inborn characteristics. All special, but all very different. Alex has a natural winsome personality and a loving spirit about him. His older brother, Jimmy Jr., our first grandson, now 12, is so very special to his Poppy but he brings with him those traits that are uniquely his very own. Our youngest son's Brady Darrell, three months younger than Alex, is a hoot, and he and Alex together are a double hoot. But these two boys come with their own wiring, their own proclivities, and their own endearing ways. (The photo is of the three dudes together.)

MiMi has rules as to how we should conduct ourselves in our home. They are Poppy's rules as well, most of time, but very much so when she is around to notice. One rule is we do not eat in the family room, however, we can allow the kids to eat there as long as they stay on the old rocker. (That was a last minute substituted amendment pushed through by Poppy.) They know of this rule which is followed, almost all of the time, especially when MiMi is around. The other day Alex wanted me to fix an apple for him. I'm not bragging here but truth is truth and there's just something about the way Poppy does things that his grandchildren like. Don't take my word for it, check it out! I told him to go to the rocker and I would bring his apple to him. When I brought it to him, he looked up at me and said, “No, Poppy, I want to sit in your lap and eat my apple.” That's what grandparents live for. (I did feel it necessary to call MiMi's attention to his request. You just have to do those kind of things occasionally.) How well I remember this exact same sentiment in one situation or another throughout these past twenty plus years going all the way back to our very first granddaughter, Tiffany, and for each and every one of them since then, and this is a huge part of the blessing God gives to a Poppy like me. Happy Birthday Alex! We thank God for you and pray His blessings upon you, on this, your fourth birthday! Amen. ….More later.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Escape to which mountain?

It's a wee bit cooler this morning on this Thursday, September 17, 2009, and I believe every person, regardless of status, standing, background, or circumstance, participates in some form of escapism. Whether it is reading a book, watching a television show or movie, or even engaging in a thought encounter outside the day-to-day grind of reality, people do seek some respite in this form of momentary vacation. I would guess it has something to do with our wiring in combination with the difficult world we’ve created for ourselves, that coupled to the enormous amount of stress we carry each day. I am most likely an example of a long-term escapee, however, as a believer, it is always with the knowledge that I must return to the reality of the life God has given to me. In my case, I find it useful to visit the places I read about in my Bible studies, to picture myself there with the individuals written about, and in doing my best to try and experience some of what they were going through. It has helped me to enhance my appreciation and respect for the folks we find on the pages of our Bibles.

I prefer historically accurate movies and reenactments. My wife loves the genre of movies called chick flicks. I’ve tried to watch them with her and they are so absolutely over the top they make my head hurt. On the other hand she would fall apart if I asked her to sit through a four-hour portrayal of what happened at Gettysburg during the Civil War. When I point out the absurdity of the obvious quirks in one of her films she no doubt would have questions about how I could seriously gain anything from watching documentaries about things that happened hundreds of years ago. Sure, there is the element of men being from Mars and women being from Venus in all of this, but the bottom line has to do with a momentary excursion away from the demands of the moment and that is typically called escapism.

In some respects the truth teaches us to have our thoughts centered on the unseen reality of a world much different from our own. It is the unseen reality of the Kingdom of God where He rules and reigns as Sovereign and we are first and foremost, His subjects. Now here’s the neat thing about this truth. It is not an escape because it is the actual reality for those who are true subjects, having been born into the family of God (His Kingdom) through the atoning work of Jesus the Christ on the Cross of Calvary. Our citizenship is ultimately not of this world but it is now and forever established as a present reality in the world to be revealed. When we live our lives as citizens of the Kingdom we are already a part of, we live according to Kingdom laws and we follow the direction and leadership of our Sovereign, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now that is a reality for us all to escape to and in doing so it will impact our time here not only in the moment, but for all of eternity. I leave you with this admonition: Think on these things! Amen. ….More later.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brand new 'old' computer!

Thanks to Bro. Ronnie, our owner, who is a card carrying computer geek, for helping to recover ole hp for me yesterday afternoon. Therefore, here we go again on this brand new middle day of the week, Wednesday, September 16, 2009. Most of yesterday I had to sit in my office where not a creature was stirring and especially not even my computer mouse! Every time I looked at that ugly blank screen just sitting there and staring at me my blood pressure would inch up a notch. “Go ahead, just sit there, you sorry outfit, you won't even give me the time of day.” At that point it was nothing more than an overpriced door stop until we did some brain surgery. You thought the CPU was the brain, didn't you? Think again computer Cadet! Without the information swirling on that hard drive that CPU can run faster than a speeding bullet all day long but has no idea where it is going or where it has been!

Guess what? Necessity is the mother of invention as I actually reverted back to writing on paper with pen and ink. I drafted both yesterday's and today's blogs the old fashioned way. It was a real trip to put pen to paper again. I've actually written so much in the last two days that my long standing writing bump on the middle finger of my right hand has come back to make a one time return appearance. It was so good to see my old friend again. He had put up with many of my brain storms and spasms, dealt with endless rewrites, and often had seen his hard work waded up and thrown into the wastebasket. He thought when he handed the baton over to the keyboard that his days were pretty much set for retirement, but thanks to ole hp he had to be called back for some unexpected duty.
Yeah, it is good to have a trustworthy friend on duty since ole hp came down with swine flu or some other supposed ailment. Everybody knows how I hate it when my computer calls in sick, or in this particular case, he called in dead. This reminds me of my famous calling in dead story. I knew an IBM guru who actually did the exact same thing. He didn't show up for a scheduled presentation and the department head waiting for him was livid. She loudly proclaimed, “He had better have a really good excuse!” About that time they received a call from IBM telling them he had been discovered dead from a massive heart attack in his hotel room. Now, that my friend, is what I call the ultimate call in excuse! Our recovery required a restoration of the system back to its original install date. I can't remember the last sounds ole hp made before he gave up the ghost but I do know he's very busy at the moment currently trying to figure out how all this new stuff showed up since he is now two years younger. He wants me to have to reload a bunch of software and in the end he will most likely get his way. I'm thrilled that he's up and running but there was something about the two days of quiet time that was kind of nice. But now it's back to the real world and in a few days he will have all the fixes in place and back doing the stuff that keeps us both a little crazy. He's still a little confused but at least we are talking to each other again. Go ahead and join me in sharing a little smile, after all, it is good for whatever that ails you. Amen. ….More later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not a good way to start any day!

It is Tuesday, September 15, 2009 and it's very early just like my normal day except I am sitting in the shop office doing my blog. Why? I am very glad you asked because it has to do with that wonderful device in my office called the personal computer. It has been feeling very poorly since yesterday afternoon and a good night's sleep obviously did it no good at all! Think about it. We live in an age when it is both horribly inconvenient and also extremely aggravating when you have a serious problem on your personal computer. My unit was doing its thing and then without so much as a how do you do it freezes mid screen. I've seen that before. No problem. I will just do a restart. I did. It didn't. Okay, no problem. I will power everything down and start from scratch. I did. It didn't. Now this was beginning to get on my nerves a little. I know what to do. I will bring it up in SAFE mode. That's what you do when it wants to be persnickety about things. It refused to come up even in SAFE mode. I brought the dude up in recovery mode using the Hewlett Packard utility and after running diagnostics I got about the worst news one can get: Hard drive failure. Now you might think. Okay, a hard drive, no big deal. They are pretty inexpensive these days, right? Yeah, that would be correct but there's that little thing about the 50 gigabytes of data on this now fatally flawed disk drive that has given me some pause and cause to reflect: What a revolting development this is; and another fine mess you've gotten me into, Ollie! (For my younger readers, those two comments come from way back when, the first from The Life of Riley Radio/TV program and the other from the famous comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy. Just so you know.)

My good friend Brother Jim here at the company said he tried to use Tonto's signature phrase "Kemo Sabe" in talking with some of our younger workers and they didn't have a clue as to what he was talking about. He mentioned the Lone Ranger and his famous sidekick but none of it registered with these guys. Man, this makes it hard to figure out how to carry on a decent conversation with these dudes. Where was I? Yeah, back to our program which was already previously interrupted by a hard drive error, or maybe a lost segment needed to boot up, or any number of other things that Hewlett Packard should be ashamed of. I ran the error code down on another pc attached to the internet and believe me, it is a well recognized error. Sadly, it is usually fatal in terms of its long term recoverability. Shucks, I would at the moment, just like some short term recoverability! Reading some of the comments from those reporting this same problem was very educational. Some expressed a desire that both HP and Compaq would immediately evaporate off the face of the earth. Others wanted to get their hands on the engineer responsible for choosing this hard drive. Then you had those wanting to see the company executives lined up and whipped in public. And, those were the ones I could share in my family friendly blog.

Okay, I exaggerate some here but this "HD521-2W" error has stirred up a hornet's nest for me. I finally decided to go for the big gun. I called my own private consultant who typically can deal with almost any kind of computer issue. It's my eldest son Chris. He finally consulted his sources and came back with a few things that might bring it back to life but without a whole lot of confidence since this is a serious hardware issue. I have a fallback recovery program but it will take the system back to when it was first installed over two years ago. That's a scary thought but one I will have to seriously consider. Realizing the huge significance of this problem, my wife asked last night, "But what will you do without a PC?" Good question. I am still thinking about it. Thus far all I have is: What a revolting development this is; and another fine mess you've gotten me into, Ollie! The good news? God is still on His throne and He is still our Father who cares. Have a great day and may God bless one and all! Amen. .....More later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jesus didn't say "if" the storms would come, He said "when" they come!

In the wee hours of September 13, 2008 we heard this huge crash. We said to each other it must be a really gigantic limb. It was gigantic but it wasn’t a limb. It was an entire tree that Hurricane Ike helped deposit into our home. I’m not even sure how many hours before we knew it was a tree. I’m almost certain some knew what it was before we did. We were sheltered in place downstairs for several hours before venturing up to begin checking things out including that super loud noise caused by the impact that shook our entire home. Being ‘sheltered in place’ is one of those phrases you become very familiar with when you survive a hurricane like Ike. When water started leaking in most of the downstairs and you live in a two-story house, okay, we were probably stunned, but we eventually snapped to the fact that the water had to be coming from somewhere. When I finally made my way up the stairs and opened the door to our eldest son’s bedroom, Chris’ room is what we still call it, we had a brand new view of the street and the water was pouring in. (I heard last night that the name 'Ike' has been retired from ever being used again as a named storm because of the huge devastation it caused.)

One year later on this Monday, September 14, 2009 we are first in line to be thanking God for helping us get through this great challenge in our lives. Most of you know the story. The house was gutted and my wife’s brother, Milton, suffered a catastrophic heart and stroke attack while helping to rebuild it. Rather than rehearse the innumerable details reflecting the anguish and pain involved in dealing with this event, perhaps it is better to consider lessons learned. Having insurance is a good thing. Having to use insurance in dealing with a major loss? I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, however, we ended up okay. The local stations have been playing special reports all last week to revisit Ike and my heart is broken for those they have interviewed who are still fighting to get the first dime out of their insurance companies. Many of them have abandoned their homesites because they have no funds to rebuild. Throughout this trying time we also exprienced first hand God’s help provided to us through the generosity and kindness of family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and so many friends and neighbors who gave of their time and resources to help us through this season of testing.

One year later we live in our rebuilt home that is nicer than we would have ever thought possible. Just two weeks ago I finished up with what I hope will be the final transaction with my insurance adjuster. It involved a damaged computer. My final email to him was one where I thanked him for his assistance and I wished a blessing from God upon himself and his family. He sent me back an email and said that I was due a lot of the credit for doing my part, down in the trenches, and that he was happy to have been able to have helped, and that he too wished me and my family God’s best. Other than our ears perking up any time we hear about a depression forming off the African coast, I think we have settled back in pretty well. We still have one room filled with boxes that have not been unpacked. We still have my office and my wife’s office to complete. But, on the other hand, we still have our dear Brother Milton to be able to visit with. We still have folks we see who will always be close to us because of their caring. And, one year later, we still have God to thank for His blessings on us. Amen and Hallelujah, praise be to His Holy Name. …..More later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering to remember. And also a thank you to those who slog through my blog each day!

Today is the anniversary of one of those days that changed us forever. None of us will ever forget where we were eight years ago when we first heard about or saw those planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Our prayers go out to all those impacted by this act of cowardly terrorism. This includes all families associated with the immediate victims as well as the cascading casualties in the first responders, and the many brave ones who have died throughout the years of wars orchestrated to defeat this evil. We remember.


It is Friday, September 11, 2009 and as for today’s page, I welcome one and all to the 600th edition of my daily musings called The View from Here. Thanks to my mom who made this possible or I think that’s the way people talk on important occasions. Important or not, six hundred is a pretty big number when you think about all the gray cells lost in the effort, especially when you have a limited reservoir to draw from to begin with. I’ve enjoyed doing these each day and to a certain extent they no doubt have produced some cathartic benefit as I have ranted and raved about this, that, and the other. Some of them, if not most of them, have been very personal in nature but that’s the point of a personal blog, right? I would never expect that even my most faithful readers would agree with me on every single viewpoint or opinion that I hold. I’ve learned from experience that we all change some of our views as we live out our lives here on the planet. I’m also aware that my idea of something that is funny may not be funny to someone else, but again, it is a personal blog and the good news is that it takes only a second to hit the delete button and move on to something of more interest.

Hopefully, at one time or another I have been able to inform, encourage, give some spiritual guidance, and show forth a sense of my love for the Lord, my family, and the life He has given to me. Six hundred blogs for me reflects over two years of my life in dealing each day with whatever it is that comes down the pike. I am honest in saying that some of my walks down memory lane have brought tears to my eyes as I have remembered people that were and are so very special to me. There are days when I finish writing and say, “Thank you Lord, that will be of help to someone out there.” Other days I ask myself, “Hey buddy, what in the world were you thinking?” In either case, I typically hit the send button anyway. I’ve heard people comment on the discipline it must take to do one of these every day and even to a fellow who tends to overflow in his wordiness, I must confess there are days when it seems like the mental ink well is down to its last drops.

I’ve read some of the last blogs written by other folks when they determined it was time to shut down their daily updates. Often they indicate they have come to the end of all they know to share or perhaps they feel like the usefulness has outlived their time and effort. I typically get feedback from a few of those on the distribution list and that helps to encourage me to keep on going, at least, at this time. After all, that delete option is there for one and all and it is a very effective guard against me becoming too intrusive into your schedule. My boys read them off and on. They occasionally call me and ask what it was that I was referring to in a particular paragraph and I tell them it was something mentioned in a previous day’s episode, but they want me to tell them rather than going back and reading a back issue. I know how they feel. When I am in a waiting room I almost never care about a magazine that is out of date. Forget about it. I would just as soon watch people instead and find new things to fill up my daily dish of dialogue. Six hundred days of digging into my view of the world is a lot to ask folks to endure. One lady sent me an email wanting to know exactly how I put my images together. While it is certainly not rocket science, I told her it would be next to impossible to begin to explain the myriad of variations of how, when, and where I find the ones I use. And, that explanation just about sums up the whole deal in terms of how all of this eventually finds its way to the published electronic page. Thanks for tuning in and may God bless you and may He be honored in all our lives. Amen. I wonder what number 601 will have to say? Since Sunday is the 1st anniversary of our now famous tree in the house story, I’m sure I can think of something to write about. But until then I leave you with this promise or threat, there will be: .......More later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rise and shine and give God the glory!

Hello again. It is Thursday, September 10, 2009 and I bring you greetings from my view of the world to yours. We received some photos this week of our dear Brother Milton and his wife Glenda as they attended a Church facility dedication ceremony. The Church they attend in Florida added a new foyer and dedicated it in memory of the nearly fifty years of faithful service by this called out couple. Seeing those pictures caused my jaw to drop once again in recognition of God’s provision into Bro. Milton’s life. I was there when the doctors said several times that they saw little to no hope in his survival. I was there when they said he would probably be unable to ever function again. I was there as his family balled their eyes out. I was there in the restrictive ICU for days upon days with his very life ebbing away. Is it a miracle? It might not be in the sense of how Jesus used His hands to actually touch the eyes of the blind man, BUT, it is just as much a direct provision of God, regardless of how it was accomplished!

I know enough about the study of theological matters to understand that a technical definition of a Bible miracle has to do with God setting aside the physical laws of nature in order to accomplish the impossible. We studied last week about God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that she would conceive a child. He would be 100 and she would be 90. Was that impossible? According to the text she was past the age of childbearing, therefore, she, by the physical changes experienced, was no longer capable of producing a child. However, God touched her body and she and Abraham conceived a child. This is an example of a miracle. There was a time in my life when I would split hairs over these precise definitions. But you live and learn. What way can we explain Bro. Milton’s stunning recovery and his remarkable personal testimony? Rise and shine and give God the glory!

We may not know the ‘how’ in terms of being able to pinpoint his response to this treatment or that treatment but we have heard more than one doctor call his recovery a miraculous situation. Bottom line: Rise and shine and give God the glory! It was God, and His workings are marvelous in our sight. I, on the other hand, do not subscribe to the use of the word miracle to describe a team winning a game or something stunning and unexpected that happens. Some folks tend to live in a here a miracle, there a miracle, everywhere a miracle miracle kind of mindset. At the same time, when we consider the revelation God has given of Himself in the Book He has preserved for us, it is obvious He is a supernatural, miracle working God. He is also Creator of all things, therefore, when we encounter life each day and see Him at work, how is it that we should respond? Rise and shine and give God the glory! Amen. …More later.