Friday, April 30, 2010

Important birthdays remind us of those we cherish.

Good morning and welcome to that longed for day in our society. That's right. It is Friday and it must be a special day since everywhere you go you hear folks thanking God for this particular day. I've not heard folks saying thank God it's Monday, Tuesday, or any of the other days of the week but Friday does get the attention. So here we are, Friday, April 30, 2010. Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandfather's birth, Andrew Rancher McMillan, born April 29, 1900. This was my mom's dad and he became perhaps the most important man in my life growing up. God called him home rather early back in 1971 but I've come to believe with all my heart that his was a reward home going for he had been a faithful servant of the Lord throughout his life. If I had a fraction of his gumption I would be a much better man today, however, I give him full credit for the little that I've been able to contribute to Kingdom business. Surely we have been blessed to have folks like Paw Paw Mac to help guide our lives. May God bless his memory and his testimony that keeps on keeping on today.

Today is also the birthday of our niece Stacy, daughter of our baby sister, Kayla, who passed away, after an 18 month battle with leukemia, back in 1979. Stacy is a wonderful woman today and we are reminded of how much her mom loved her and her two sisters. We will never understand in this life why things happen the way they do but we are thankful to God for Kayla, her remarkable testimony, and how she continues through her children. Happy Birthday Stacy. Finally, today is also our middle son, Jimmy's birthday. He is 42 years old today. Come next year all three of our boys will wear the 40's badge. Now that is hard for me to take in. Jimmy has had a rough time of it much of his life due to a myriad of physical and emotional issues. Yet, he is beloved by his family, and each day we thank God for him and seek God's best for his life. Happy birthday son, may God be with you on this day.

People come and go in our lives but as this blog would indicate, they have an influence, and they make a difference in the living out of our daily walk. We who have trusted God really are only temporary residents of this world. We are essentially marking time until that day when we arrive home. The song says "I've a home prepared where the saints abide, just over in the gloryland; And I long to be by my Savior's side, just over in the gloryland." Some folks may think it best just to sit and wait until they get there but thank God for those who busy themselves pursuing a life of serving God and others, giving us an example on not only how to live, but how to be prepared to arrive in our real home. Birthdays give us that opportunity and today we pause to remember these mentioned. May God help us all to make the best of our travels here while moving each day closer to our heavenly home! Amen. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and we all will have to wait and see what comes up on Monday! .....More later.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

There's a reason smoke is coming out of my ears. I didn't say it was a good reason!

Do you ever feel like we live in an age where we literally know too much? It's called information overload and that's what's cooking inside my noodle on this Thursday, April 29, 2010. The internet and cable news, talk radio, the 24 hour up to the minute or up to the second now of everything, anything, something, all the time broadcasting its intrusion into our space has a remarkable influence and impact on our lives, but the question remains, for good or bad? I like to be informed but how that becomes defined could easily cause one to go way over the top in trying to stay up on every detail that is out there. I am sometimes amazed at myself in how much I know something about. I'm not talking here about skill knowledge, but when someone mentions almost anything, I've either read about it, heard about it, or it somehow got itself into my stream of consciousness. This means I can find myself contributing to conversations about some of the most meaningless details of the most useless topics ever known to humanity. For me, this may come from my concentration on headlines of all sorts. I can pretty well get the lay of the land from the four corners of the earth by logging on and quick hitting a dozen websites that feature headlines. I mean what good does it do to know there are enough gang members in Los Angeles alone to populate a city the size of Alexandria, Louisiana?

I actually know a few people who pay very little attention to trying to keep up and I am usually amazed at even the big stories they tend to know very little if anything about. What is wrong with them? How can they seem to get along so well? They don't even know any of the details about the insurgency and conflicts that continue to plague the Sudan. They are unaware of how China may ease up on their one child policy. They also find little time to focus on the current driver feuds going on in the NASCAR world. For the life of me I can't figure out why they don't even care how many points Labron James scored in the playoff game last night. I really do feel sorry for them. And, it's pretty much useless to tell them about the time I emailed a radio station in Brisbane, Australia because when listening to their broadcast on the internet I heard them make a glaring error in something they said about the Crocodile Hunter series running here in the states. Pitiful. These people who know so very little about what is going on, they seem so happy. Why they don't even pay attention enough to know how unhappy they are. Wow!

I know we all at times have a fear about not knowing enough. This especially happens as we learn on a new job. But it really can become an obsession whenever it has to do with the instantaneous junk that we seem not to be able to live without that occupies so much of our time. I do have to discipline myself because keeping up with all of what becomes tomorrow's trivia most certainly can interfere with time spent with God and especially in His word. I could certainly do more to follow the Apostle Paul's admonition: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8) That's it for today, I have to run because I believe there's a congressional hearing coming on CSPAN that I can stream on my computer and I wouldn't want to miss it. Just joking but I will check the CSPAN schedule to be sure since you mentioned it. Have a blessed day and remember to remember to spend time with God. Amen. .......More later.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Enjoy the cool while you can!

They tell us that we had better enjoy the cooler morning temps because after this two or three day interlude, summer will be here in full force. It's Wednesday, April 28, 2010 and we've been enjoying the low fifties each morning. (It's actually 48 degrees as I finish my blog and that's what I call a blessing to start out the day!) However, they tell us that we will be in the 'feel like' mid-nineties by the end of the work week and for most of us here in this humidity capital of the world, this means that meter affixed to the outside of our house will be spinning like there's no tomorrow. But we get what we get and we deal with it because it is certainly not something we can influence or control. That is, unless we are Al Gore. But whatever it is it doesn't keep us from talking about it, right? I actually heard that Al Gore is so boring that his secret service agents wanted to give him a name that would give him cover, so his code name is Al Gore. Recently Al Gore has said that global warming is actually much worse than originally thought. This is hard to fathom since he had previously predicted that it would eventually melt down the planet. Okay, these are jokes and Al Gore is an easy target. I happen to believe that we should be good custodians of the natural resources that God has entrusted us with but I do not believe in this environmental movement which seeks to empower a socialistic form of control over people's lives. I've been around long enough to know the uncontrolled daily pumping of 35,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is not a good thing and we should remedy this situation as soon as possible. However, the answer is not to stop all drilling everywhere because we need the oil to fuel our everyday lives.

It seems that somehow just talking about the weather typically gets me to Al Gore. I can't even guess how those dots connect but when you tune in to this station you typically get whatever I happen to be broadcasting on that particular day. I realize that many of you probably think that when I am lost in thought it's probably very unfamiliar territory. It's gets pretty lonely sometimes being me. It's like one of Yogi's quotes: "Nobody goes where the crowds are today. It's just too crowded." Sadly, that makes perfect sense to me. In our Bible study class we have been working through a verse by verse study of the Book of Genesis. Last week we read about that remarkable audience between Jacob and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Jacob must have really looked old because the Pharaoh asked about his age. He told the Pharaoh that he was 130 years old but he certainly had not attained the age of his ancestors. His dad, Isaac, lived to be 180, and his grandfather Abraham lived to be 175. Then Jacob did something pretty phenomenal, he, the elderly shepherd and clan leader, who had just recently been facing famine and potential extinction, now standing before arguably the most powerful ruler in the world, he actually pronounced a blessing on the Pharaoh. Hello? How could this be? Jacob had every reason in the world to be in a position to bless the Pharaoh and reading all about it is very thrilling. You can find this amazing text by beginning in Genesis 12 and reading through to the end of the Book, in Chapter 50.

But being reminded of growing older is always good for a laugh or two. I have always liked this story about an older couple. The old couple were watching TV one evening, and the husband got up to go to the kitchen. His wife told him to get her some iced tea, and knowing that the years had taken their toll on his memory, she told him to write it down. "I can remember iced tea," he protested. "But I want sugar in my tea too," she told him, "so write it down." He told her he could remember iced tea with sugar. "I want a slice of lemon too." she said, "Just write it down." He left the room grumbling to himself. A few minutes later he came back with a plate full of mashed potatoes for her. "Now look what you've done!" she yelled at him, "You forgot my gravy!" None of us know exactly how many years we have left. At the time Jacob confirmed his age to be 130 he still had seventeen more years before he left this world for his true home in heaven. What we do know is that the amount of years is not as important as what we do with the time we have been given. May God help us all to use our time wisely, for His honor and glory, and in helping others along the way. And, maybe here and there, we need to be able to chuckle about it all. I think that would do each of us a world of good. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You learn to phrase things carefully. When your wife asks what's on TV. Please don't tell her dust.

Welcome to Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Tuesday is that day sandwiched between Monday and Wednesday, named after some mythological god who supposedly was connected to the planet Mars, and we all know there's quite a lot of talk about Venus and Mars and how they reflect upon men and women. I don't need a modern bestselling book written on this subject when we have Creator God's clear representation in the bestselling Book of all times telling us that men and women are different. Visit the average bathroom and you will see that difference magnified. Men have a total of between 5 and 10 items, like razor, shaving cream, deodorant, shampoo, etc., and even his towel may have come from a motel. Women have on average 328 items to account for. Go figure. A woman will dress up before she takes out the trash, goes shopping, or even to go fetch the mail. A man dresses up only for a wedding or a funeral. Here's a really big one: Men can do all their Christmas shopping on Christmas eve in 25 minutes. We are different. And I might add, different by design. It can be summed up with that old joke about why Moses wandered in the dessert for 40 years. According to Mrs. Moses, "He wouldn't even consider stopping to ask for directions."

Yeah. We do look at life differently, don't we? Women report that men are like a Swiss army knife, they look like they do a multitude of different things, but mostly end up only opening bottles. They also say that men are like a zip lock bag because they hold everything in but usually she can see right through them. Women also say that men typically have bad eyesight since they seem never to notice any wrinkles in their clothes. On the other hand, men have their own observations about women. Even the words used by women tell a story. They use the word "fine" but for some reason that doesn't typically mean that anything is fine. Women also like the word "nothing" but rarely do they use it to mean "nothing" because most of the time it really means "something" and that "something" is usually a big "something". Confusing as all get out, don't you think? The young man asked his dad about how it works in native cultures. He said he had heard that in some tribes men never really know their wives until they are married. His dad couldn't help himself, "Son, as far as I can tell, this is how it works in all cultures!"

How in the world can we ever get along if these differences are so entrenched? We are able to love and respect each other when we do life God's way. He tells men how they are to love their wives. He tells women how they are to respect their husbands. He also gives us His Spirit to help us to do exactly what He has instructed us to do. This typically doesn't happen on the first day, or the in the first year, but it can happen if we recognize these differences to be inherent in God's design, and we learn to live and laugh on our journey as we seek to honor Him in our relationships. It's no easy task and there are days when we all find ourselves slip sliding around as we fret and fumble through our conversations and connections. However, recognizing that only God can help us to be who He wants us to be is the best way to start every day. I love the fact that my wife is so different from me and that she accepts me even if I use the lame, "May I help you with dinner?" For she knows what this really means. It means this question almost always comes when everything is on the table. Thank God for the person who coined how it's the thought that counts. Always remember that God's word on every subject is readily available as found in His Book, The Holy Bible. Have a blessed day. Amen. ......More later.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's that Monday Day Blues thing all over again!

That would be right, ladies and gentlemen, it is a brand new Monday, here on April 26, 2010, and a brand new work week. Monday's often find our get up and go slightly on the slow side. For me, it's typically because of the busyness of my Saturday and Sunday. I would throw age in there also but that would be a little like cheating since in today's world so many much older than I who wear the badge of white hair are prolonging their working careers. I happen to love the older folks who love their jobs. There are a couple of people who are greeters down at the super duper super center that I've been seeing for at least the last 15 or more years and they inspire me with their warm smiles and genuine hellos. One of them also fetches up the shopping carts and when he is out there on the lot he gets with it. I've actually mentioned to him how that his attitude and commitment is a testimony and encouragement to me. He says what one would expect, "I'm just doing my job the best I know how." Not a bad way to get it done, don't you agree? The other older fellow is a retired Army Sergeant Major and he is not only a war hero to me, he is one of the most decent people I've met, who loves folks so much it shows. I always try to stop and talk to these guys for a couple of minutes because they do what many would think to be a dead end nothing kind of job, but they do it with enthusiasm and grace.

I was in a group recently talking about leadership and we were discussing how you can spot a good leader. Of course one of the obvious ways is to look at those who follow and the influence their leader has on them. A good leader is not good because they carry the title, they have to be able to inspire and elicit the response of those they lead in producing results. I had much to learn about this subject when I started out because everyone has their own style. I settled in on leading by example and I believe it to be best for me because it showed others what I was all about. That's what we all do every single day. We show others what we are all about. That's what those fellows who greet folks and herd carts do, they show others what they are all about. Having a consistent testimony that comes from a genuine commitment makes a difference. It makes a difference in whatever the activity or endeavor being worked on, and it makes a huge impact on others as they observe and are influenced by that testimony.

The writer of the letter in the New Testament, James, said that talk was one thing but action is the true way to evaluate a person's heart. We can talk all day about how hard we work and how tough our work is and how fortunate our company is to have us there. But the real proof of us being a good worker is in the results we produce and in the influence we wield. James said talking about being spiritual is one thing but proving it by loving others, regardless of their station or status, is the best way to show it. Sometimes the kid's songs can be quite convicting. "If you're saved and you know it, then your life will surely show it." Whoa! or Woe! That's one of those that always reaches out and grabs me even on a Monday where things are kind of oozing along. This tells me that I have work to do, every day, and that work is not the other fellow's problem, it begins with me, myself, and I. May God help us all to see that we are where we are doing what we do and He can work through us, if we carry the right spirit and attitude in all we do! Amen. .......More later.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD."

Hello Americans I bid you welcome on this Friday, April 23, 2010. This is a hugely special day in our family. Just so you know, hugely is a very appropriate word, look it up! Back in 1947 over in north east Louisiana, a bundle of joy was brought into the world by some dirt poor farmers who busied themselves each day trying to scratch out a living from their crops. Through a series of God ordained events that bundle of joy became my wife back in 1964. One of the things she has devoted her life to is in doing her best to fulfill that proverb and she has succeeded beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. She is a throw back woman to those days of yesteryear when ladies were trained to become good wives and great moms. She learned to squeeze out homemade biscuits before she was ten and she can still squeeze them off today and they are wonderful, and she can do it with her eyes closed. She grew up in a family where God became a major influence. She grabbed hold of this truth, and today as I pause to wish her a happy birthday, I am once again humbled by the second part of that proverb, to have the good wife I have clearly demonstrates God's favor on me, and I quickly add, undeserved as it is, but what a blessing!

We've been together for a long time. We will soon be able to catch a glimpse of that bridge called 50th not too far up ahead. I tell people how I took her as a child and finished raising her. Of course since I was only 18 and she was 17 she might well wonder who was raising who but we've had an amazing journey together, thus far, and while we've had plenty of hard knocks and heartaches, we've also enjoyed some really great blessings as a couple. She loves the Lord. She loves her family, our kids, grand kids, and great granddaughter, and she loves her brothers and sisters and their families, and my mom and dad and she loves our extended family, our Church family, her many friends, and finally, she actually loves me. I made myself last so that you would see how humble I am but I am so very thankful that she has been such a faithful and loving companion all of these years. We've got one of those growing older together stories and it keeps us laughing as we teeter totter our way through life. There are folks who tell me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful wife. Lucky? I don't think so. Here's the truth: I am Blessed by the Lord God of heaven! Happy Birthday Sweetheart, and always remember this truth: "Baby, you're still the greatest!" Amen. .......More later.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka works for me, how about you?

The last couple of days I've had some sacred Christmas tunes playing in the background on one of the web based ITUNES radio stations. Not a bad way to get some work done, don't you agree? Of course that would seem out of season to many, sort of like the old Bing Crosby tune, Mele Kalikimaka, which is a fine way, according to Bing, to greet you with Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. I started to say yes Virginia there is a Santa but that would remind me that I am still being called Santa by many folks here and there, at work, at home, and Church where little ones aged 1 to 99 like to remember that jolly old elf. But it is a fine day to be reminded of the coming of our Savior into the world to do what had to be done for you and for me. Therefore, if for nothing else, this gives us all something to rejoice over on this Thursday, April 22, 2010. In fact, His coming is what gives us hope, therefore, knowing Him as Savior is the greatest gift we will ever receive, and this causes us to be thankful every day of the year. Now don't go telling me how there might be something wrong with listening to Christmas music in April. We know a lady who has continued to observe the 'no white' after Labor Day rule even though 99.9% don't even know there ever was such a fashion law. Therefore, don't be calling me down for enjoying Christmas music in April and I won't be reporting you to the fashion police for wearing the wrong color in the wrong season. Deal?

One of the things we all learn if we grow to be almost any age at all is how that trouble is no respecter of persons. This economic downturn has crushed millions including some who were previously very wealthy. While those who are poor have suffered immensely, many have joined the ranks of the needy for the first time ever. Tough? It's hard to even imagine how difficult it has been for those who have gone from the pent house to the poor house and who wake up each day with little or no prospects for a return to their previous lifestyle. Eating humble pie is something most of us have had to do but I don't wish it upon anyone, except as God wills for His own good purposes, and even then I pray for mercy and grace to under gird His working. I remember when I left the big company. Before I left I could pick up the telephone and make many things happen. My word meant something. I chose to leave and things changed, rightfully so. But, it still stung whenever those same people who at one time would have jumped in response to my request suddenly couldn't find time to even return my call. I never held that against anyone because that's the way it works out there in the proverbial 'real world'. I read recently about a heiress who has become near destitute due to the destruction of her fortune. According to this article she will soon be close to being homeless in a real sense. Trouble is no respecter of persons.

When we allow ourselves to become so wrapped up in ourselves, our prestige, and our stuff, we lose sight of this universal truth and how it all can be gone in a heartbeat. Therefore, we need God and His provision to give us identity and purpose because it remains regardless of the trouble that comes our way. Some like to joke about how that poor people believe in God because they have so little. Isn't that just like man in his arrogance? If being poor makes it easier for someone to seek and find God, then the poor person is better off than any and all rich people who never find God. In fact, that poor person who is a child of God is assured of eternal riches that transcend any and all of what this world has to offer. I hear people say they know that being wealthy may not be good for them but they would surely like to try it at least once. The writer James in the New Testament was inspired to tell us that it is better to ground our plans for any and all things based on the will of God, because that is best for those who belong to God, without regard to how the world might evaluate station or status. It's finding that place of rest within God's provision that will help us as we too deal with the fact that trouble is no respecter of persons. Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cornucopia of Confusion!

Knock. Knock. Who's there? Cow. Cow who? Cows don't "who" they "MOO". Don't blame me, this is supposedly one of the top ten knock knock jokes as rated by Reader's Digest. At any rate, how in the world are you doing on this Wednesday, April 21, 2010? I am trying to be more spontaneous but I seem to be hampered by all the preparation. If that's not confusing I could say that things are more like they are today than they have ever been before. Or maybe you could use some advice this morning. When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look very worried. I didn't say it would be great advice. Maybe something more profound: If it wasn't for the 'last minute', would anything ever get done? I guess it is appropriate for one to try and try again if at first you don't succeed, and then after that, just quit, because there's no use being a fool about it. Just kidding. One person signed their resignation letter this way: "I've run away to join another circus. " Life can be like a circus at times but it's the one we have, therefore, we need to, with God's help, to make the best of it that we can.

Experts tell us that the cost of funerals have soared by 50%. The blame? The high cost of living! This sounds fishy to me. I don't do well dealing with fractions, in fact, I'm not 1/2 as good as most people. Have you noticed that rarely do you find places where they still give a thumbs-up to hitchhiking? Or maybe something as bad as this quote from a man spared his nearing execution: "No noose is good noose." Then there are those perfectly good phrases suited for a bumper sticker but never used. "If I throw a stick, will you leave?" or "I started with nothing and still have most of it left." or "I'm not crazy, only in a bad mood for 30 years." or "Is it time for my medication or yours?" or "I like cats too. Let's exchange recipes." Cat lovers please don't send me angry letters, it's a joke. Remember this: Never complain about farmers with your mouth full of food. Or perhaps we all should learn to be more flexible since folks who are flexible tend not to get bent out of shape.

Life can be difficult but with God's help we learn that true happiness is an inside job. I will admit that today's blog is all over the place, all over the page, and mostly over the top. But it has been written to people who believe a balanced diet involves having a cookie in each hand or to those who find out their clear conscience is only due to their bad memory. Benjamin Franklin observed that while we all want to enjoy a long life, no one wants to be old. Today I decided to be like the diplomat who thinks twice before saying nothing. But I did put some thought into it and did some reading therefore I feel somewhat vindicated, it's that feeling I have when I take out the trash which somehow makes me feel like I've cleaned the entire house. Let me leave you with a final piece of wisdom for your consideration: Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes, that way if he gets angry, you will be a mile away and he will be barefoot. Have a blessed day and may God give us all something to smile about, today! Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Europe's New Song: "I'm not leaving on a Jet Plane!"

Okay without being sarcastic I welcome you to what many in Europe would call their own special version of ash Tuesday as they continue to deal with the fallout (no pun intended) of the volcano in Iceland. This, my friend, is the way it is on this April 20, 2010. While there are a few more flights being made today, millions of folks are stranded in airports all over Europe. The United Kingdom has had all its aviation shut down for nearly a week. Why? Because of the airborne fine ash originating from the volcano eruption (that continues) and floats all around the world. Some of it has now arrived on the eastern seaboard of Canada and its air traffic is also now being impacted. That airborne ash can get into the engines of a plane and cause malfunction and the results could be tragic. How could this happen in the modern age? One prominent news commentator said Mother Earth was letting us all know that she was the one in charge and we are subject to her dictates as a human race. Mother Earth? I've heard it called mother nature and creation but only the new age folks who worship the earth address nature as a deity. I suppose we all are waiting to hear what Al Gore attributes this eruption to.

The consequences are already huge and growing by leaps and bounds. Businesses are suffering beginning with the airlines. Families are disrupted and travelers who are supposed to be somewhere doing something productive are stuck, waiting to get a flight. I read where one global airline is anticipating the temporary lay off of thousands of its workers since it cannot financially handle this ongoing hold. The numbers will end up being astronomical, in the many billions lost for sure. This particular volcano has not erupted since 1822 but they tell us that its the baby brother to another larger one that could cause even greater problems if it goes off. People scoff at how the Bible describes a coming time of judgment where people will no longer function in their modern ways but they will be forced to revert to primitive forms of operation. I notice that Britain is trying to figure out if they can send ships to rescue their citizens from foreign cities. Others have been forced to find ground transportation, cars, buses, or trains. You would have to admit that we are living in some strange times, right?

All of these events should remind us that we are a frail and needy people. They should point us to the existence of God and our need of Him. Romans Chapter 8 reminds us that creation was cursed because of the sin of man and it too awaits restoration. Meanwhile, it groans as those tectonic plates rub up against each other and we see earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunami devastation around the globe. What is the response of a world that has refused to recognize the Creator? One of denial and rejection of Him and His rightful place as Sovereign Ruler over all things. The steady knock of the skeptics hammer has worn the rock of God's revelation and we see more and more of its results in a worldview that rejects God and His Word. It's not even effective to say we have a Christian worldview any more since Christianity has been greatly infiltrated and polluted by ungodly influences of all kinds. What you need and what I need is to adopt a Biblical worldview. One that lines up with thus says the Word of the Lord. He is our only hope and you and I are to stand up and be counted for God's truth in a world where truth has become in the eye of the beholder. Yes, creation itself, including the volcano in Iceland, declares God and His glory! Amen. Hallelujah. May He be praised. .......More later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Missing from our national debate: Love and Respect, on all sides!

Before I begin my blog for today let me share this with you. We are all flawed. We are all different. Unless you are descended from American Indians, then you, I, and all of us have either come from some other place on the planet and/or we are the children of people who were once known as rebels and revolutionists. It is Monday, April 19, 2010, and this is America, a land where we are privileged to express our heartfelt thoughts, ideas, and opinions. For those who read my stuff on a regular basis, you have no misgivings about where I stand on political issues, our identity as a God fearing nation, and our historical founding that has provided the blessings of God on our land. However, as I talk with folks here and there, and as I listen to what is being said, it is clear that our disagreement with others can often lead us to vilify them and to impugn their character and their motives. Our current President identifies himself as an African American. I believe him to be on the opposite end of where I am in terms of what this country is all about. I oppose any and all efforts to make us into a socialist society. However, I do not reject him as a person and I refuse to entertain racial slurs about him or his family. To me, folks who traffic in this kind of hateful trash embarrass all points of view, they are not reflecting Christian values, and they should be ashamed of this form of personal character assassination.

President Obama is, in my opinion, wrong about what is needed to get America back where she belongs. He is not wrong because of the color of his skin. He is wrong, in my opinion, because he fails to honor the Godly principles that have served us since our founding. It's okay for us to be fierce in our defense of these differences but it is never okay for me to slam him as a man, to make fun of him because of his race, or to poke fun at his family in order to help me win an argument. We are only human and having these strong differences can become heated. That's understandable since the stakes are so high. But when heat becomes hate we have crossed a line that violates God's mandate to us that we are to love our enemies, (Jesus speaking in Luke 6), and to pray for and support the government ordained by God during whatever time period we are living, (Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 13). How can we be clear in our opposition while also honoring the calling God has placed on our lives? We can start by our awareness of how easy it is to cross the line and that we should go out of our way to make clear our position regarding these Scriptural mandates even as we voice our opposition to policies and programs that we believe fail to honor the God who made us the nation we are.

I must tell you that I receive far too many emails that have a denigrating tone regarding individuals with whom we disagree. Please don't send those to me. They do not honor God and they do not advance the cause of our argument against the march of socialistic policies. They end up being mean spirited that are neither humorous nor enlightening. This doesn't mean we should be silent. This does not mean we should be passive. We have been given the responsibility to operate our lives in the time continuum that God has placed us in, with all the rights and privileges He has provided to us, therefore, we should exercise these rights by our voice and our vote in seeking to see our nation be one that acknowledges God. How can we not speak out against the killing of babies? How can we not speak out when laws are established that 100% contradict the clear laws of God? How can we not speak out when our nation adopts a worldview that proclaims there is no God? We can't be silent but we can be light and love into this world of darkness and hate. May God help me to speak out even more but to do so with an understanding that we are all sinners in need of the love and forgiveness of a Holy and Righteous God. Have a great day and go ahead and think about these things, it will do a body good! Amen. .....More later.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Believe me, it's not any way at all to live!

Today is Friday, April 16, 2010 and it is a good day to give thanks unto the Lord. It's a slow day here for news and I'm left to follow the instructions on the frozen orange juice container: Concentrate. You're saying that isn't a suggestion, it has to do with the form of the juice. Wow! You learn something new every day. Okay. Just kidding on that one but life is often filled with riddles and conundrums. We are left to ponder things like why does glue not stick to the inside of the bottle? or Can a fat person go skinny dipping? or Why is the word abbreviation so long? or If a book about failures does not sell, is it considered to be a success? and finally a real dilly: We can calculate the speed of light but why don't we know the speed of dark? So many questions that spin around with the answers ever illusive. We learn over time to never argue with an idiot because doing so always brings you down to their level and then they beat you to a pulp because of their experience. Life is tough, don't you think? But what would it be without a smile now and then? I've known a few folks who tried to go without much smiling but believe me, it's not any way at all to live.

I happen to like funny stories and jokes. One I like talks about the dog that went into the telegraph office and asked to send a message. He gave this message to the operator: "Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof." The operator told him he could add another 'woof' for the same price but the dog responded: "Why would I want to do that, it would no longer make any sense." You may not have thought that to be very funny. It struck me as being funny but that's okay because you may have one that I might not find to be funny either. The problem comes when we can't find anything to laugh about and believe me, it's not any way at all to live. The fifteen year old had this to say about life: "My mom told me that I should live each day as if it is my last. That's why I never do my laundry because who wants to be doing laundry on the last day of their life?" Life is serious and there are times when there's little to laugh about, however, we should never wear a frown as a permanent fixture. Joy is contagious and you and I should be carriers.

"Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you will eventually have to blow your nose." If we are normal we will have plenty of doing both as we make our way through this life. I feel sorry for any of us who cannot think of one or more times when we knew that a situation or happening in our family could have qualified for America's Funniest Home Video. One that always gets a huge laugh for our youngest son is the one he tells about me and the Moon Pie. My wife had me on a diet. I slipped outside one day with a chocolate cream pie hidden in my pocket for a little R & R. When I heard Rodney coming around the side of the house I stuffed the entire pie into my mouth. He claims by the time he got to me I was not only choking but also spraying Moon Pie particles all over the place. His telling of it is greatly exaggerated but I cannot deny the basic facts. He has told that story many times but we all still share a good laugh because it was a funny thing that happened and he tells it so well. One of the things I love about my wife is the laughing we do together. Sure, we have our share of stuff to be solemn about but our time together is just too funny not to laugh as we go on down the road hand in hand. Perhaps your smile maker has been put away for too long and it's time for you to get it working again. My recommendation is to use it and use it often because without it working, believe me, it's not any way at all to live! Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and I'll see you next time, Lord willing! Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You know you have used the internet too long when you sign your name with your log in ID!

Hello again all of you folks who navigate your way from time to time out on the world wide web. That would be a 'www' good morning to you on this Thursday, April 15, 2010. It can be scary using the internet for just about everything. I heard this week that everyone needs to be careful when looking for medical advice out on the web because some of the websites are home grown and do not really have sound information. I am reminded of the story about the lady wanting to get her mom to use the internet. She pleaded with her to just try it. She told her there were utility programs that you could ask any question and it would find the answer for you. As they sat at the keyboard the daughter urged her mom to key in a question, any question at all. Finally, in frustration, the mom came up with something, "How is Aunt Judy feeling today?" And, she most likely got some responses but probably not one about her Aunt Judy. It's a tool. I use it a lot but like any other tool, we must learn how to use it effectively. It's obvious that it can be used for good purposes like staying in contact, exchanging information, and in providing easy access to important data. It's just as obvious it can be used for much evil like spreading hate or seeking to harm children along with stealing people's identity and the list would go on and on.

There is also the issue of using the internet too much. There are folks who they say are actually addicted to the tasking they involve themselves in on their computers whether it is social networking, games, or some other activity. I saw one website that had an article describing this problem and it called it Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). The experts quoted in this article say there are between 5% and 10% of people who regularly use the internet that have some form of this disorder. Treatments vary but there are more and more professionals coming up with ways to adapt psychological treatment plans to try and help people with this problem. This gives us plenty of incentive to pay attention to our own use as well as being vigilant in observing how much time is being spent on the computer by our children and grandchildren. Nearly every tool ever developed that produced breakthroughs has also evolved into something that can bring harm and hurt, therefore, we have to stay on top of it, 24x7, right?

I love the fact that we can share instantly with our loved ones and given that you glance at my blog is a testimony for how we can use this form of communication to inform, encourage, and perhaps even to bring a smile. This is the technology age, therefore, it's interesting to observe the proliferation of devices that crowd our lives. The internet can be accessed now from powerful cell phone devices that essentially operate the same as if you were sitting at your computer. Talk about instant messaging! It is exactly that and more! Texting is now the rage as people talk forth and back through typed in messaging on their cell or smart phones. It's also now being outlawed while driving in many locales after so many horrible accidents have occurred. We don't text. We didn't get that feature. We are considered to be way behind the technology curve at this time. All our children text and many of our grandchildren text. Our friends text. But we don't do text. Many of wife's friends text and since we don't have the feature we encounter a fee every time she reads one. It would appear that to text or not to text is the next great question she and I will have to face. Who would have ever thought that these types of issues would be those that we have to fuss over as we seek to be a part of the mainstream. And, don't get me started on the abbreviations used, that's a whole different matter or perhaps a whole different language. How much can us old folks handle? Have a blessed day any way! Amen. ......More later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Not goodbye, but we'll see you folks later!

It's Wednesday morning, April 14, 2010. Another day has been granted to us. Time is getting away from us all and while you younger folks may not realize it, it is getting away from you as well. Monday evening my youngest son, Rodney, and I attended the viewing for Midge, aged 70, wife of Carl. They are a very special couple who we had gone to Church with some 10 to 12 years ago. They are people who lived their lives out in the open. They are genuine. She developed a fast moving cancer discovered last November. She and Carl are a great love story. Their love for each other was always on display. Carl worked with our Rodney many years ago and they became close. Carl is a man of few words but with a heart of gold. He became a mentor to our Rodney and it made a difference in Rodney's life. These are what might be called salt of the earth type folks, no fanfare or bright lights, just getting up every day and living out their faith as God provides. This is a tough one for Carl and we are praying that God will grant him the peace and comfort he needs to carry on.

Yesterday we attended the funeral service of our former pastor's dad, Darrell Evans. We have known these folks for over twenty five years and at 87, one could see that he had lived a full life filled with love for God and family. When I think of this gentleman the word that comes to mind is 'decent'. We had also attended his wife's home going service some five years ago. They were a gracious couple and he was a man of few words but one distinguished by the love of his life, his family. One could do worse than to raise up children who become servants of God and who raise up their children to become servants of the living God, many called to full time vocation in local Church ministry. Viewing the grandchildren and great grand children and their response to their beloved Paw Paw, it reminded me of how we all felt about my Paw Paw Mac. Nothing spectacular. No special recognitions or worldly accolades. Just the testimony of a life lived in devotion to God and family. Not a bad way to go if you ask me.

Now some may think these farewell events to be morbid. I've been around people who never wanted to even think about thinking about death. Hello? It is as much a part of living as life itself. I had not seen Brother Carl in a long time but our connection formed in our serving together caused us to be able to immediately share our tears and hearts as he mourned this great loss. A couple of months ago I was able to visit briefly with Mr. Evans at a special singing concert at our Church. He had been suffering some lapses in memory but on that evening he recognized me right away and we greeted each other warmly. My thoughts were: What a decent fellow. Folks, people matter. They count. Carl has meant something to us and especially to our Rodney. Mr. and Mrs. Evans gave us the pastor we had for many years. People matter. They count. But these departures remind us that someday folks will view our bodies and they will think about our life and what we meant to them and hopefully how we influenced them for God. We rejoice because these have gone on to their reward and based on their testimony we know that being absent from the body they are now present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) What a hope! You might say you have little in the way of a testimony for the Lord to leave behind at this point. It's not too late for any of us because with God we can start today, or we can start over today, and while we may not be able to change yesterday we can make every day going forward count for time and eternity. May God help us all, including yours truly, to do that very thing! Amen. ........More later.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spreading some Joy today!

Good Tuesday morning. It is April 13, 2010 and we all know how much we dread the 13th, right? Well, that would be Friday the 13th but this week Friday the 13th actually lands on Thursday because that is the 15th and it is tax day in the USA. Confused enough yet? My wife had an interesting comment when she signed our tax return, "I sure hope we don't allow this to happen again." She was referring to our sizable payment we owed this year but the we word actually meant the me word and the me word actually meant me! But I can't complain since I am responsible for that particular piece of business. Since this is such a downer for many as they deal with getting their stuff together for this annual taxing situation, I wanted to share with you something to change the subject, bring a fresh perspective, a big smile, and a warm feeling that can be described as joy, but in this case, it is better defined like this: Our bundle of MADELYN JOY!

These photos were taken on Resurrection Sunday when we were visiting in the home of our eldest son. I have told you before that we are a family wired and pre-programmed to love babies. My wife takes credit for taking the photos. Taking the photos is important and I will not deny that. However, and I wish to make this perfectly clear, the photo can never be any better than the subject being photographed. In these particular shots, while I would never want to be picky, I must point out the unseen prompter of these wonderful shots, that being, of course, yours truly who was in charge of holding our little bundle of Madelyn Joy and encouraging her to produce these poses. People can talk about this, that, or the other when it comes to handling babies but I feel compelled, in my desire for full disclosure, to take full responsibility and plead guilty for these beautiful images as portrayed in the photos. Yes, that is my hand, and yes, I was causing her to smile like that. I have found that confession is good for the soul and being up front about the facts helps to keep everything in its proper place.

My eldest son is now the Paw Paw and from my viewpoint, he sure acts somewhat silly in his role as grandfather to our little bundle of Madelyn Joy. It can be quite embarrassing but he is, after all, still a novice and I know he must grow and develop as he seeks to find his way to becoming sophisticated like his dad when it comes to dealing with grandchildren. When he talks about how great he is at handling our little bundle of Madelyn Joy, especially comparing himself to others, I can't help but remember that I actually changed his diapers, my wife would say very few, and I also changed his daughter's diapers, therefore, on skill and experience, and sheer numbers alone, I would have to be considered as the more qualified expert. But rather than point these things out, I just do my own thing in my own way. What happens when Great Poppy does his thing in his own way? You end up with these beautiful images that helps to share and spread our version of joy to all of you. Okay folks, while most of this has been written in jest, I must tell you that at the end of the day, it's mostly also all true. May God bless and may you get a smile on your face as you share in our bundle of Madelyn Joy! Amen. ......More later.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Words speak but actions tell the real story!

Good Monday morning. I bring you greetings from my world to your world on this April 12, 2010. We never know what a day will bring. Several years ago a man in our Church stood up and shared a burden that was on his heart. A co-worker had been killed on his way to work and this man was impressed to remind us all to never forget to tell those you love that you do, because we never know when it might be the last opportunity to do so. This man recounted how this fellow had gone through his routine just like he did every day but he had no way of knowing that when he drove off that morning he would not be returning. Life is just that uncertain. This is why it is so important for us to respond as God moves, to get up and do what He leads us to do, to say what needs to be said, and go where we need to go, because there will come a day when the time to respond in this life is ended, and we go into eternity leaving behind all that we have done and, yes, all that we should have but didn't, for whatever reason. The Apostle Paul said we should make the most of each and every opportunity we have and the time we are given. Why? Because the days are evil and our life in context is like a puff of smoke that soon fades away. (See Ephesians 5:16 and James 4:14)

My wife and I do try to practice telling each other of our love each morning as I leave for work. We also know that showing love is much more important than speaking love but in combination they are a powerful force within a family. I reject those so-called experts who say we can be damaged if we never hear the words 'I love you'. I believe we can be very much impacted if we grow up where we are not loved and that love is either not shown or withheld. This is based on my own experience. Having lost my dad at age 7 to a sudden illness, I grew up under the influence of my grandfather. If my grandfather ever told anyone that he loved them, I am not aware of it, including my grandmother. That was not his way. Did he really love us? How about showing it in a million different ways through his sacrificial life? Sometimes we can get hung up on formulas and processes without appreciating the truth about God's love and how His love through others can and do make a difference in our lives. Did I ever feel unloved even once growing up? If I did, I have no recollection of it but I do have plenty of illustrations from the family that surrounded me to demonstrate nothing but love.

The bottom line for me is a reminder that while we can mimic words, it is so much harder to live out the truth of those words as we go about our busy lives. The biggest hindrance for most of us has to do with somehow getting over the 'me, myself, and I' preoccupation that dogs our steps from the inside out. That battle has to go on but we can win the victory by seeking God's power to help us deal with this issue. How else could we as husbands be called to love our wives in the same way that Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for the Church? (See Ephesians 5:25) Most of us realize how totally impossible this is from a human, fleshly viewpoint. Good that we see it this way because that is exactly the truth. Only the power of God living in us will ever provide us with the heart and means to accomplish this calling. For many of us we must start with our 'want to' in order to see this need and seek His help in achieving it. Meanwhile, saying it as we part company is still an appropriate thing to do because we never really know what a day will bring. May God help us all to be who He would have us to be for His honor and glory and for the good of those He has placed in our lives. Amen. ......More later.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cleaning up our government begins very close to home!

Good Friday morning! It's April 9, 2010 and we are actually enjoying some mid forties for our morning start-ups. A jacket felt pretty good in the wee early hours of this brand new day. I consider these last few cool mornings to be like handfuls on purpose for us to enjoy as we will soon be in our hot and humid season. You will have to give our President credit for being true to his vision for our country. He continues to pursue some scary changes that will impact us for generations to come. He was right. Elections matter and we are seeing what happens when people embrace hope and change without clearly understanding what the change stuff is all about. This administration may recognize that come the fall their prospects might look different, therefore, they are doubling down on getting as much of their agenda crammed through as they can. To many of us that agenda is very radical in terms of moving us ever closer to a socialistic welfare state and a weaker force for good in the world. President Obama has recently singled out people by name, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and has said their rhetoric is inflammatory and out of hand. Meanwhile, at the same time, he has instituted a redefinition in how we define the terrorist threat we face, removing any mention of how radicalized Islam should be singled out, tracked or monitored in a special way. One might think this time in our history to be just one more Twilight Zone episode but it's not, and we are only beginning to understand the magnitude of how these changes will reshape who we are as a nation.

There's no doubt that the razor thin victory in the recent health care bill has emboldened this team but as they push hard their far left programs it is clear that we the people are not going quietly. The left leaning media has given up defending themselves as being unbiased. Many of the so-called mainstream pundits have recently screamed how that the vocal opposition to this president may end up endangering him personally. While they go on and on about how hateful the dialogue is concerning President Obama, I am reminded that these same hypocrites were not concerned at all when they proclaimed President George W. Bush to be a war criminal and joked about him being assassinated. Never in our history has this bias on all sides been more obvious. I have never believed there is such a thing as there being a source where just the facts and nothing else is reported. Everyone comes at every story with some baggage, thoughts, and ideas. While some may do their best to not allow this to interfere with their reporting I have contended all along that it's just inherently impossible. Fair and balanced? I don't think so. Everyone is selling something.

This being true, sounds like we should just throw in the towel and move up into the mountains and forget about it. NOT!!! That would not solve anything and it would also go against our calling to do our best to make a difference in the world God has placed us in. We cannot change President Obama's world view that informs his approach to governing but we can work together to change who sits in the oval office next. We cannot guarantee that a flawed system operated by fallen and flawed people will ever produce results that are just or fair but we can do our best to support those who have a claim to the higher moral ground. In other words, we can, with God's help, do what we can do, and then with prayer and thanksgiving, allow Him to accomplish His purpose in the 'all things' that define our time here on the planet. We can also seek to mirror in our own individual lives the character traits, behaviors, and disciplines that we say we wish to see in our government. That, my friend, gives me as much to work on in my own life while calling for a return to the God honoring principles that has made us a blessed nation in the past. Don't be downcast, look up and seek God's help as we seek to see God honored throughout our land. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and may God add His blessings on you and yours. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Death, taxes, and the pills that help get us there!

One good thing to report: We made it to Thursday, April 8, 2010. I am still in the process of doing our taxes. We owe a fairly large amount (for us, anyway) but I am at fault, therefore, while it is grievous in some ways, I have no one to blame but myself. I had pulled the trigger on some retirement distributions and did not have enough withheld. I could jump up and down and join those who want to revolt, but in my case, I can look in the mirror and say with confidence, I have met the enemy and it is I. I have corrected the problem for next year but that will not eliminate the sting when I write the check. The statement about the only things certain in life being death and taxes was made popular my Benjamin Franklin but it had been around long before he used it. My guess is it has been around for as long as folks have paid taxes. The Bible would give a different perspective in that God's message as to those things which are most certain goes like this: "It is appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

One day this week I heard an interesting tidbit on the Wall Street Journal early morning radio report. It was about the huge problem that exists with folks who have chronic illnesses but fail to regularly take their prescribed medications. There are many tools available to try and help this situation. Vibrating watches that remind, glow caps that flash, and special calendar boxes to separate dosages are all out there as ways to get folks to take their drugs. However, there's a new one in trials at this time that really got my attention. They are working on a pill that has a tiny transmitter that operates on a timer and it will signal an alarm box to remind someone to take the other pills. This has to be one of those: What will they think of next? deals. You know how my mind works. What will they come up with to make sure someone remembers to take the remembering pill? I told you it's not easy to get older and I have the pills to prove it!

They have recently reported a huge increase in sales for Toyota. This is despite the lack of definitive information to prove they have the unexpected acceleration problems fixed. How did this happen? Huge discounts and interest free financing is the most likely reason, although some say that many folks are unhappy with how our government has handled this case, especially given the government's ownership of GM and Chrysler. I heard one fellow proclaim that it says much about the American mindset when we are willing to buy a car at a good price with good financing without regard to whether it is safe or not. It just goes to show us all that we can never be sure about anything in this life as it relates to products, services, and stuff. Every day people follow proper instructions like roadside signs but if those have been altered in any way, it can end up in tragedy, even though the rules were carefully followed. This is why we need to solidify our trust and confidence in God and His Word alone. We are told that His word will never pass away and that is something we can stake our very life on, each and every day. (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35) Amen. .....More later.