Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Joke: It's hot, in fact it's so hot I actually saw a funeral procession stopped at a Dairy Queen!

Yesterday's blog was number 1,100. That's a lot of wailing and gnashing, no matter how you look at it. But here we are again and this is Wednesday and we welcome Wednesday because it is the last day of August, 2011. Here in our territory, they predict that we will have only one lonely day in August that did not top the 100 degree mark, and we are glad to be putting all of this record setting stuff in our rear view mirror. They tell us that time flies when you are having fun, but, if it's okay with you, I would tell August to just get on down the road. In fact, if I could hit a fast forward button to some of those frosty mornings, I would, but I also have learned that I am not the one calling the shots. The other thing I've learned is that we had all better make the best of it because you, me, all of us, we all wait at the same speed. Now. Thinking about that frost on the ground conjures up so many wonderful memories. I'm thinking that if I had some of that outside my door right now I would run out there and do exactly the same thing the Pope does when he visits a foreign land, I would bend down and give that frozen turf a big old smooch. Amen. Some folks are having it pretty rough. One of my granddaughters told me they had not been using their nice pool much because the water is just too hot. I believe she said it was in the high 80's. Ouch. Thinking about those frosty mornings might just make the temperature feel a notch or two cooler but if you want to make sure that dream becomes a reality you could go ahead and crank down that thermostat!

These are tough times. I hear that FEMA is running out of money and they will soon be asking for more from Congress. The head dude said they would have to slow down some of the spending currently underway in areas like Joplin, Missouri, to divert some funds to those suffering from Hurricane Irene. The senators from Missouri have already chimed in. There had better not be any slowing down of anything going to their states. See what I mean folks? It's nothing but a handout until you are the one receiving it, then, it is deserved, and it's something you are entitled to, and we could go on and on. This is why they can never get anything changed in Washington. This is why they are still paying out subsidies for crops that haven't been grown in years, or for research that has already been made obsolete. My state, my projects, my people, and oh yes, the really big one, my reelection! I know the funds for these recovery activities are likely needed. I also know that the longer they are available and the longer the projects go on, it is the tougher for them to ever be shut down, for any reason whatsoever, even when it is completed! Examples: The so called Stimulus Bill included over $500k to replace windows in a forest ranger station that has been shuttered and shut down for years; A college grant of over $700k to develop a computerized dance choreography program; $2 million grant to photograph exotic ants; $90k to replace sidewalks in a small town that lead to nowhere; and $300k to study dog domestication. I rest my case, that is, until I'm the one in line, then I just might be heard singing, "I've got the hungries for your love and I'm waitin in your welfare line." (Buck Owens) 

I'm not down on our country. I'm not down on our way of life. I'm actually amazed that we have somehow made it to where we are, given all the challenges we have faced. Only by the grace of God. I recently heard from a couple of people who became employed within a government run operation. This program had to do with protecting citizens. They quickly concluded that the folks operating the program were perhaps a bigger threat than the criminal element. Hello? This is why I say, only by the grace of God. Our form of government is messy and in need of a lot of improvement, but, it will never get done until we get over the me first syndrome. It's always easier to raise the other folks taxes or cut spending in the other person's state. Somehow and in someway our government needs to come together for the collective good of the nation, for the good of our offspring, and for the good of becoming once again, One Nation under God! Can it be done? Like always, yes it can, but only with His help. I'll never forget a couple of guys who begged me to keep them on at the big company when we were facing cutbacks. They were nearing retirement age. They were barely adequate performers but they shed tears and I did find a way to keep them on. About a year later I saw them at a shareholder meeting and they loudly protested to me how the Company needed to cut back because their retirement income from share royalties was being impacted. They had recently been prime candidates for some of the cutback that was needed but now they wanted what didn't happen to them to happen to someone else so they could benefit. That's the reality we all must face. We really do live in a me, myself, and I world, and perhaps doing something there is the very best place to start. Enough already. Have a great day and may God bless. Amen.         .... More later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I can see clearly now............ finally!

Good morning and welcome to another tip toe through the tulips here on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Everyone in these parts are on the edge of their seat waiting to see if the forecast for later this week will become a reality. It calls for a break in these record setting high temperatures and for some rain. Typically we don't pay that much attention to anything past a couple of days but given the energy zapping heat, we are reduced to grasping for even a hope of relief. But, that's a little of how it goes over here, how in the world are you doing, anyway? We've all heard the "it was so hot, the" jokes. You know the ones about it being so hot the chickens are laying hard boiled eggs, and trees are fighting over dogs, and the wax in my ears lighted up and started burning like a candle. Those might bring a smile but to tell the truth, the kind of heat and drought we've had has not been anything to laugh about and even the jokes about it seem to be very lame indeed. Oppressive, draining, and maybe even a little exasperating. In the end we send up our prayers because we believe God is our provider. He is who we turn to when we seek relief. Amen.

That doesn't mean we throw in the towel on poking fun at ourselves. When we do that we are on our way to living in drudgery. Last Friday afternoon I went to the eye doctor for what was supposed to be a routine examination, especially to check for any diabetic impact on my eyes. This was my first visit to this doctor under the plan we chose to work in conjunction with Medicare. The office was located on one of the busiest streets in the metro area and by the time I dodged the wrecks and mayhem along the way, I got there just in time for my appointment and most likely needed to see a cardiologist. The waiting room was pretty full. It was a little eerie being there with so many white haired people. The doctor had someone in every examination room. We were being shuttled in and out and forth and back from one phase to the next. They really did a number on my eyes when they dilated them. Big time! After over two hours of playing the game called Medicare Roulette, I came out of the building wearing those flimsy sun screen glasses they give you worn under my regular glasses, and I could hardly see anything, period. I've never been so dilated. I thought about it. I've got to get out there on one of the busiest streets where accidents are a dime a dozen at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon at quitting time. Why not? Maybe having everything be fuzzy might be an improvement. So I did just that and got out there and joined the fray. I did get into a couple of wrong turning lanes but the good news: I did finally make it home but I am not sure I could tell you how, but, I want go any further because my wife is still unhappy with me for even trying. The part about not seeing well being an advantage did not seem to impress her. Know what I mean?

That reminds me of the time I broke my glasses at work in the downtown metropolis. That was back in the mid 1970's and I was riding a bus at that time. My glasses were not wearable and I ended up getting on a wrong bus and ended up getting to a wrong destination and ended up having my wife and kids come to pick me up. See. Last Friday was not my first rodeo. I remember an elderly gentleman I worked with who made the trip from Shreveport to Houston before he retired. Myself and another fellow took him to lunch. He was more or less on a holiday, therefore, when they offered us all a free drink, myself and the other fellow declined, but he partook of all three. When we went into the restaurant it was overcast and cloudy. But when we came out the sun was blazing bright. I suppose the adult beverages had worked on him a little, therefore, when that sun hit him he began to wobble, and I'll never forget what he said, "I don't know if I am blind or drunk but you guys are going to have to help me get back to the office." We did and based on my little foray last Friday I know a little about how he felt. Now I do hope you would learn a lesson from my bad choices. That was like a public service announcement thrown in to make my wife feel better. You all have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.            ......More later.

Update: From the Houston Chronicle,  If no Russian rocket fix, space station could be de-crewed in November. International Space Station chief Mike Suffredini said Monday that Russian investigators are continuing to study the cause of a lost Progress supply vehicle. The biggest issue remains the safety of the Soyuz crew vehicle, which uses a similar launch system to the Progress spacecraft. Suffredini said if the issue isn’t resolved by Nov. 16, that is if a Soyuz cannot be safely flown by then, the space station will have to be de-crewed temporarily. This would be a huge blow to NASA, which just completed construction of the ISS earlier this year, and has continuously occupied the station for 11 years.

I don't make this stuff up folks. My question: "Who's on first?"

Monday, August 29, 2011

"The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry."

That didn't take long, did it? We are already back at it on this Monday, August 29, 2011. We actually got some pretty decent rain last Thursday morning. I mean rain rain. The wet stuff, steady, falling from a cloudy sky. For at least a couple of hours. Amen. That old saying about how you don't miss the water until the well runs dry has become an anthem of sorts for this year. Every time we get a sprinkle these days Facebook lights up with folks exclaiming their joy, thanking the Lord, and sharing the good news. Okay. I'm not going to waste much time before I jump right in. President Obama found a way to save money by cancelling the Space Shuttle program which saw a huge number of people lose their jobs. This is all okay because we can depend upon the Russians to take care of our astronauts serving up in the international space lab. Right? Uh oh! The Russians have been gloating over them becoming the sole delivery vehicle but their highly touted first trip since we quit to the space lab has ended in disaster. It was an unmanned rocket loaded with food and supplies but it encountered a little problem on it's way to work. It blew up. They had named the rocket Progress since they would be making some while we would be cooling our heels. Yikes. The folks up in the space station still have plenty of food but I once again wonder out loud if we have the Marx Brothers running our country. Only thing about that is they were always funny and with all that's going on each day, there's really very little to laugh about.

The people living out on the west coast or left coast, as it is often called, are having a big laugh over the way in which the folks on the east coast fell apart when the recent earthquake hit. That little number would have been like a bump in the night to them. Being someone who had never experienced one myself, I well understand the panic. I did think it was overdone a little but let's face it, Washington, D. C. has always led with its own overwhelming sense of importance. Also, given the economic circumstances out in the west, they need anything they can find to laugh about because when you have to start releasing murderers and rapists because you can't house them, well, that says something, and none of it is good. Especially when that is only a sampling of the problems being experienced. I also am glad that Hurricane Irene didn't do as much as it could have. The death toll stands at 21 as of this morning, and no loss of life is insignificant. The property damage will be in the billions, however, that is still small when you think about 65 million people who were in the path of that storm. Having to totally rebuild our home after Ike paid us a visit, we can identify with and sympathize with any who are dealing with the ravages of such a destructive storm. I mention again, droughts, wildfires, storms, floods, and depression like conditions in our economy, does anyone else begin to wonder out loud: Could God be trying to get our attention? America still has an opportunity to mirror the decision made by the prodigal son, as recorded in Luke 15, when he came to his senses and returned to his father. Now that would be a blessing of Biblical proportions! Amen.

I once again thank those who I call my loyal readers. I occasionally hear from some that read my daily blogs and I even have heard them being quoted from a time or two. Obviously I do them because I enjoy the challenge of putting words on the electronic page. What's that you say? No. I am not attempting to see how many words I can use to say so little. I've never dodged the charge of being wordy. God inspired the Apostle Paul to write some of the most astounding truths in our Bible, and many folks say his style is very wordy. I don't claim inspiration, especially in the Biblical context, but I am glad to identify with the charge of wordiness. Just joking. I did elect to get on with the Santa look a little earlier than before. Some days I wear red. Red shirt, red suspenders, and a red ball cap. One person asked me if I was doing that intentionally. Now I ask you, does anyone think I could get dressed in the dark and end up looking like that? Of course I  do it intentionally. And, it works. One evening at the pizza place I was sitting inside waiting and folks passing on the sidewalk outside would go by and then they would return to get another look, or maybe call their children. Also, I get those looks at the drive through and the good news, it almost always produces smiles all around. That's a good thing, even in the sweltering heat of August, and, not bad for a Hornbeck boy. Right? Have a great Monday and may God bless each of us as we seek to honor Him with the life He has given to us. Amen.     .....More later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't ask , don't tell, in fact, don't do anything at all!

This would be Friday, August 26, 2011, and I suppose even in these economically distressed times, many people still look forward to Fridays, TGIF and all of that. Last year during the August recess a large majority of the Congress scheduled town hall meetings to hear from their constituents. These meetings became very interesting with a lot loud complaints from very angry and boisterous citizens. How dare the taxpayers? Who do they think they are? At any rate, this year is a whole different ballgame. It reminds me of that long running skit from the old Hee Haw show. You know the one where the fellow told the doctor that it hurts when he did a certain thing and the doctor responded by telling him not to do that anymore. That's what our elected officials decided to do. Only 50% of the Republicans scheduled town hall meetings, but get this, that's bad enough, but only 32% of the Democrats chose to meet with those who sent them to Washington. I do wonder why? Most likely, a little of last year's experience is still working on them. It's not as if most folks have anything good to say about any of them, all included. Maybe those who cast votes on our behalf feel like there just isn't that many issues to discuss, or maybe they think things are going good. Or perhaps they are just too busy doing whatever it is they do while on their vacation. Does that image of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning come to mind? That's what I thought of but maybe I'm being just a little too pessimistic. That's right. I almost forgot. We will be hearing some concrete proposals about job creation from the President when he returns from his vacation. Don't hold your breath. At the same time, don't be discouraged because one way or the other God is going to take care of it all. That's a certainty you don't have to wait for a speech before you can count on it. Amen. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.

Are you still wondering if I have any opinions about how things are going in our country? I am aware that it is easy to be an armchair quarterback and sit on the sidelines and be critical of those who are out on the field. While that is true, we still have an expectation that those who serve as our representatives will do just that, represent us, our values, and our hopes for a good future for our children. I also know the system is in many ways rigged where once folks get into office it's not always easy to get them out, and while it may sound trite, they really are supposed to realize that we, the American taxpayers, are the ones who pay their salaries. Typically, that should make a difference, however, when it comes to Congress, one wonders if that relationship continues to be understood especially after folks have been there for a while. As a young man I worked in three different areas of the Federal government, therefore, I am very much aware how its bureaucratic inefficiencies take on a life of their own and they become self perpetuating. Am I describing a monster here or our government? Yes. One of the reasons it works this way is the built in expectation within itself where folks never turn over or leave the program. Their livelihoods are directly linked to the continued existence and growth of their area and that becomes the objective regardless of any consideration for its value or contribution. Say what you will but the open marketplace, while often called merciless, it does sort out those services that survive as well as those that get killed off. This is what is missing in the mammoth beast we call our government with its myriad of services, and I'm not sure too much can be done about it except maybe some mostly meaningless window dressing here and there. That's why we sit in our armchair and shout at the players on the screen. They can't hear us but it's pretty much all many of us can do. Know what I mean?

We've come to another fork in the road called the weekend. As Yogi said, when you come to the fork in the road, take it, and I think I will. I don't know about you but I've had a fairly busy schedule this week. Lord willing, tomorrow, a couple of the boys and I are going to travel over to Louisiana for a short visit with Mom and Dad. We will be there on a mission. Dad has purchased himself a laptop and we are going to see about getting it up and running and on the internet. Mom has used her little email appliance for many years, in fact, she wore one out and is on the second one. I just happen to think it's great that mom and dad are still wanting to learn and be a part of this technology driven world. We had pretty much given up on watering our yard after receiving some information about water usage, but then the other evening we saw some folks on the news whose foundations, their slabs, had shifted and cracked due to the drought. Knee jerk. Time to water the slab. Forget about the grass and the trees and plants but we sure don't want, if we can help it, to see one of those huge crews on our property digging down to try and reestablish our foundation. Know what? It's always something, and we can always do what we can do that is prudent and right, and then leave the rest in God's hands. End of the work week, therefore, I do hope you will enjoy your Saturday, and that Sunday will find you and your family down at the meeting place where God's people gather. Have a good one and I'll catch up with you next week, Lord willing. Amen.             .......More later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did you hear the one about . . . . . .?

Yes, folks, it is me again, and I've been busy just reading the jokes about the earthquake over in the Washington, D.C. area. One said it happened there because it was on one of the Bush fault lines and the President was sure to blame it on Bush. Others talked about it being the result of our founders rolling over in their graves. Some even said it gave the economy a small boost because when they evacuated all the government offices they were no longer there to do harm. And, it goes on and on and on. Well, it is Thursday, August 25, 2011, and you will have to admit that we Americans have a pretty decent sense of humor, most of the time. Making jokes about our politicians, our government, taxes, and all things related, well, it's sort of like an American tradition. Long before Will Rogers and the stand up comedians of our day folks were making and telling jokes about their elected officials. Since we as a nation really are the melting pot of the world, much of the earliest humor reflected on ethic identity and background. Yeah. I know. Today that is all messed up with the politically correct folks who are trying to wipe the smiles off all our faces. But, I've not contributed yet to any of the jokes about this most recent earthquake but I am impressed with the speed of those who have. I might even come up with a good one and if I do, I'll be sure to share it with you. 

The other day when I shared with you the way in which newscasts are invoking the term "of Biblical proportions", I certainly didn't know about the earthquake or the imminent threat posed by Hurricane Irene. Talk about timing! I actually saw some live footage of folks who were on camera when that earthquake hit. One fellow was in the middle of making a commercial for his local business. Hello? While it really was no laughing matter, this taping quickly turned into something suitable for America's Funniest Videos. Others involved news people doing live interviews when it hit. Pretty scary stuff. I should know. I was in San Diego many years ago at a conference when a 5.9 hit. It rolled around enough to cause panic in a huge meeting room with several thousand people out of control. For those of us who had never been exposed, it was about as frightening as it gets. When the ceiling tiles are clattering above you and the earth beneath your feet is rolling under you, it does get your attention. We were blessed that no one was injured although several did experience breathing distress and some even thought they might have had a heart attack. I was one of those who came back to Texas with some chest pains that I didn't have before I left. It turned out to be an inflammation issue but as the doctor said, "Your heart is fine but the thought alone could kill you." That's kind of how folks were processing that earthquake up in D.C. It didn't do that much damage but no one knew at first what it was, another 9-11, or a major pipeline explosion, or what? I can still remember how I felt so I do feel some compassion for those similarly impacted, but that doesn't mean we can't still joke about it. Right?

This past Tuesday evening we had our kick off planning meeting for our inner city Bible Club ministry. This season will mark the 16th year of the Crosstrainers Bible Club. I begin my 13th year of association where we seek to share Christ with many inner city kids. God has blessed. What started with just a very small number of leaders has grown into a tremendous outreach ministry. The True Light Baptist mission had 15 of their leaders at the kick off meeting. What a huge blessing that is. They could easily do without me and some of the others who come from outside the community but we've become attached to them and them to us. I have said before and will say again that participating in this ministry has been one of the great blessings in my life and I count it a privilege to serve alongside Bro. Kim and his people. Many of the children we minister to come from hard to imagine, difficult surroundings. You would have to be there. However, we have seen many over the years who have learned their verses, and then God would take His word and bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Some of those same little ones sat in that meeting last Tuesday but no longer as clubbers because they are now leaders. If you think I'm a little choked up about that, you would be right. Going there each week during the school term makes us to be reminded that the Gospel is for everyone and you can never take it to the wrong address. Please say a prayer for this ministry as we begin again to do our best, with God's help, to make a difference for time and eternity in the lives of these children. Amen.      .....More later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't stay in a rut, it can be like living in a grave with both ends kicked out!

Hello folks, it's already Wednesday, August 24, 2011, and the Lord God of heaven and earth has given us another day and we are thankful. Amen. Last Sunday our pastoral staff decided to stir up some trouble within our normal routine. They first rearranged all the chairs in the main auditorium so that everyone had to sit in a place they normally wouldn't. The nerve of them. Don't they know we all have squatter's rights to our little particular area? Then they scrambled the order of services so that what usually came first, didn't and it was all over the page. How in heaven's name do they expect salt of the earth, God fearing people to sleep during worship time if they are going to mess with that which is sacred, our routine? That, of course, was the message behind the madness. They wanted us as believers to be reminded of how easy it is to fall into a rut, to go through the motions, and in the process to lose out on God's best and His blessings as we seek to live, work, and to serve Him. It did get our attention and I was a little puzzled by it all, but, in the end, it was a point well taken. We should never take God and His will for granted, and we should always seek to be ready, not on our terms, but when and where He leads us to serve and follow Him. Amen

I saw a story this week about a ten year study of the most likely place where you have the highest likelihood to be hit, killed, or injured as a pedestrian. That type of study is not your idea of some interesting bedtime reading? I somewhat agree but at the same time I still think it interesting, especially as you look at the locations identified in the study. Many people in our nation grow up yearning to retire to a sunny climate with Florida being the number one destination. Well, you guessed it, Florida is the most likely place for you to be hit by a car as a person out walking. This issue of people being run over by automobiles is a pretty big deal. At the overall summary level, in the entire United States, we're talking nearly 48,000 pedestrians killed and approximately 700,000 injured during that studied period from 2000 to 2009. Experts call it an epidemic. I know I have this odd sense about things like this but I was immediately reminded of that passage from the Old Testament Prophet Amos where he said these words: "It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him." (Amos Chapter 5:19) I'm all for improving safety and I certainly don't want to be hit by a car, but, at the same time, we need to be aware, that at all times, regardless of whether we live in Florida or Finland, that our life is in the hands of our God. Amen.

That study, just so you know, is based on per capita data, calculating the number of people impacted compared to the population, therefore, areas with larger populations had more deaths but a smaller area may have a higher rate due to their lower population. Are you confused yet? Google it and read it and at the same time keep your eyes on those distracted drivers, especially if you are out walking, jogging, or just trying to make it across the street. We do live in a dangerous world and I am not wanting to add another phobia to anyone's checklist. I well remember the late Dr. Adrian Rogers talking about a fellow who was telling him about how that fate works in terms of God's plan and purpose. He said nothing would happen to him until it became God's timing, period, end of story. Dr. Rogers replied that if he stepped off the platform in front of an oncoming train, he could be sure that he would meet God's timing at the point of contact. See what I mean? We live in God's economy but we also live based on prudent and common sense thinking. The late Dr. J. Vernon MaGee addressed a question from his audience about whether it was right for a believer to purchase insurance since God is responsible for His own. Dr. MaGee said that God would have us to participate in those services that provide for us during our time here and that he thought it not only prudent to purchase insurance but not to do so, if one is able, would actually be something against doing what we can to live our lives securely while we are here. So, there you have it. Another day of this, that, and the other, but one that starts and ends with our recognition that God and God alone is our hope and our provider for this life and the life to come. Amen.                ......More later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a mess and just think, it took some of the mightiest and smartest of people to get it this way!

Hello, it is Tuesday, August 23, 2011 and we are setting heat/drought related records left and right around here. This has been a summer we will not soon forget, and it may go on into October, no one seems to know for sure. Are you as tired as I am of seeing the remake of Conan the Barbarian ads on TV? Some fans have already seen the movie as a preview and one had this to say: “It was like two hours of being punched in the face with someone also screaming in your ear.” I'm not planning on seeing that movie but you have to admire the brutal honesty in that particular assessment. That's not one where you would have to ask how they really feel about it. It would be great if our politicians could speak the unvarnished truth. You thought some of that outlandish stuff being put out by some of the candidates may fit that definition. Give me a break. My assessment is that many of those soundbites sound more stupid than significant. One candidate promised, if elected, to lower gas prices to $2 per gallon. I think if this is a legitimate promise and it sounded like one to me, they should immediately be required to give a specific and detailed plan on just how that will be accomplished. Another indicated they might pursue treason charges against certain federal officials, or maybe rough them up a little if they visit their home state. Sure, I am aware of the use of symbolic language, but these along with many other crazy comments do nothing to advance genuine solutions to the mammoth problems we are facing. They may stir a certain response among a particular audience, but, my way of seeing it says we do not have time for such foolishness. Scoring a few points politically with some, actually zero with me, does not reflect the seriousness of the challenges that our nation faces. You happen to like those kinds of soundbites? That's okay, at least for the time being, because last time I checked this is still America, and it's still a place where we all are free to have our own version of The View From Here.

We have our veritable gaffe machine Vice President in China seeing how many different ways he can create a communications disaster. We have candidates here running from place to place scattering nonsense like it was confetti. And, we have the President on vacation. He said he thought it was best that Congress also stay on vacation so they can be told a thing or two by their constituents. His implication is that we would support his plans as opposed to theirs. Fat chance. Meanwhile, the economy is tanking and Congress can't get much lower in terms of what people think of them but the President seems intent on trying to match their bottom feeder approval ratings. I don't know what kind of disaster it would take to bring together on an emergency basis, every influential group from government and business with a unified commitment to do something about the economic situation in our country, because the way I read the tea leaves we are in the midst of that kind of disaster. For some reason the subject makes good fodder for the campaign speech circuit but when it comes to actually doing something meaningful, we see that it is a sad lot in deed, the whole bunch of them, carrying every political banner, but for the most part with nothing but more rhetoric to show for their efforts. Bitter? In many ways, yes. Cynical? Somewhat, and with good reason, as I see it. Defeated? Never! That's because I do not have my hope and trust in what goes on in Washington, D.C. The Psalmist put it this way: "Some trust in chariots, (the Army and its implements of war, representing the mighty power in that day), but we will trust in the Lord our God." (My paraphrase, you can read the actual quote from the 20th Division of the Psalms, Verse 7)

Tectonic Plate Singers
I've heard the really old timers say they do not believe the current generation and especially the younger children could endure another Great Depression. I listen when they speak because they were there, they know what they are talking about. I hear about some of these temperature records and they compare it to a date back in the 1950's or 1960's and I know we were a part of that heat wave back then, and I know we did not have air conditioning but for the life of me I can't remember us kids ever complaining about it. Perhaps it was because we never had it, therefore, we didn't lose it when it got hot, we just endured. And, might I be clear that with many years of conditioning with things like air conditioning, I'm not 100% clear how well I would do without it again. My wife and I did get some taste of what it might be like when we dealt with the personal property devastation from Hurricane Ike, but, a nationwide depression in these modern times would be a whole different issue of a magnitude beyond what we might envision or imagine. I continue to hear from a variety of news sources the term 'of Biblical proportions', I suppose based on the Bible accounts of the flood, the plagues in Egypt, and the prophesied end time events. I've always said that creation itself is very much a part of God's plan. The Apostle Paul in Romans Chapter 8 said the creation is groaning as it too awaits that day when all things will be made right. We might all have to learn how to sing along with those tectonic plates as they present their lamentation far beneath the surface. I've heard that sound and it's a deep rolling rumbling rush melody. They could within their created natural instinct know more about what is going on than most of those who occupy the planet. Something to ponder on a Tuesday morning. Have a great day and read that Psalm I mentioned to encourage you as you go about the doing of your day. Amen.             ....More later.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday lap completed, and my oh my, what a blessing!

Welcome to Monday, a brand new week, and a brand new opportunity to get things in better shape on this August 22, 2011. What a great Sunday we had. It was our own version of “All My Children” and it was a wonderful time of feasting, fellowship, and family. Thanks to my dear and lovely wife for the amount of time she put into preparing our forever favorite meal. Her own special brand of fried chicken, a huge pile of mashed potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, and all the side dishes. Our eldest, Mr. Chris, used to call them smashed potatoes when he was little, and that still comes up every once in a while. But, this one thing is true: As of yesterday afternoon, you can call most of it pretty much gone, and that's what my wife loves and lives to see. She is a legendary cook and when she puts it on, it hearkens back to Granny Mac, my mom, her mom, and others we've known who, more than anything else, found joy in seeing their families enjoy the fruit, or in this case, the fried chicken, of their labors. I most likely will not take a birthday lap that will last an entire week like I did this time, but, then again, you only hit the big 65 once. Yesterday the chatter was loud, the laughter was sweet, and looking at each individual, it made me aware how blessed I am, and how blessed I have been. In the end, it is reason to pause and give God the glory for we read in His Word that every good gift comes from Him. Amen. (James Chapter 1)

Now that you, me, and everyone in the world has had about all we can take concerning my birthday, it is time to move on. My dad told me the other day that waking up the day after 65 is just like waking up the day before, or even on the day itself. That's pretty good insight if you ask me. In other words, we get up and go each day, take it, thank God for it, and do the best we can with it. I am often reminded of Paw Paw Mac and how tough he was and how resilient he was and how much like a rock he was. None of those things seemed to change over the years. Even as he approached 70, he was still going strong. But one day, just three months after turning 71, he developed an issue that required some surgery, then he had a blood clot, and then he was gone. Just like that! Gone! We kids all thought he was invincible but he wasn't, and I am not, and you are not either. That's why it is so important to live in the here and now with an expectation of going 'there' at any time. Yikes! Wouldn't that make one morbid? I don't think so because if we are like my grandfather, then we are on our way there, and some get a better idea 'when' than others, but ultimately that's our destination, and, based on God's plan, He would have us to be not only prepared but also to be looking forward to, yearning for, and anticipating that great homecoming day. See, when you pass that 65 number you begin to think more about going home and without any contradiction, I am certainly closer today than I was yesterday. Amen, Hallelujah, praise the Lord!

Monday. Monday. This is a barely make it, drag in day for a lot of our guys here. They are not alone. It has been that way everywhere I have worked. I try to understand but it still is somewhat baffling to me. I know some of it is real. Folks stay out too late over their weekend, or maybe they party too much. But I also think there has to be a psychological component in the back to work day. Like the old Ernie Ford song, "Another day older and deeper in debt." mentality. Okay, without being a smart aleck, and doing my best not to be condescending, I just don't get it, I really don't. Blame it on Paw Paw Mac or my DNA or something, but I've always seen Monday as the day after Lord Day's Sunday and as the first day of the work week, therefore, it is about as regular as it can be, and I get up and go just like it was any other day. Again, I am not patting myself on the back, I'm just amazed how it works with some people. The other Monday morning a young Hispanic fellow who is a great worker had that 'I don't know if I can make it' look on his face. I hardly know this kid but I walked up to him, grabbed his face with my hands, and said, "What in heaven's name is wrong with you?" He laughed and said he was just so tired and so sleepy. It's 7 a.m., on a Monday morning, time to get going, and this is how you face the new day? Like I say, he is not alone, and yes, most folks think me to be a little on the weird side, but I'll do my best to be more understanding, and pray every day that I do not fall into that same rut. I will admit there are some days when maybe one more hour of sleepy time would be good, but I typically do not succumb to the temptation. One thing is clear. We are all put together differently and we do things differently but we are all loved by God the same and that is something we should rejoice about, regardless of what time we get up to face the day that He has given to us! Amen.          .....More later.

Friday, August 19, 2011

That's right, it's me again, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer!

Hello again and welcome to Friday's episode of "What in the world was that dude thinking?" on this August 19, 2011. Some of the birthday greetings I received the other day just knocked me down. While I appreciate folks and their respect and love for me, let me just say, like the Apostle Paul, I know better than anyone that I have not arrived yet. (Philippians 3:2) Again, I appreciate the wonderful words but I am also very much aware of me, myself, and I. For those folks who think you can work your way into heaven, perhaps I could show up with a couple of those greetings and because of those beautiful sentiments, He would let me in. Like a get out of jail free card, or I would get to pass go and collect my $200. Sorry. We are not talking about Monopoly but rather it's eternity, and getting to be in the presence of God doesn't work that way. The Bible clearly teaches that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23),  therefore, we must have a Savior, because we cannot do enough on our own. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Yes. I do greatly appreciate folks and their thoughts towards me. At the same time I also know the risk when me, you, or anyone else begins to think more highly of themselves than they should. (Romans 12:3) It reminds me of that line from the old country tune, "It's hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way." Not me, not now, and not ever in this life, but this doesn't mean that we are not trying. With God's help we can do right. With God's help we can overcome some of our baggage. With God's help, through Christ, we actually can deal with any and all things, good, bad, or indifferent, and still bring honor to His great name. (Philippians 4:13)

My wife often sends me a note to give me a thumbs up on what she calls 'my sermon for the day'. As I tell her, maybe the 'sermon' is more for me than anyone else. Yeah. Personal self help therapy. I think I could get a consensus on me needing some of that, no matter how you define it. And, if we are getting it from God's Word, we can always know it will be the right stuff. Amen to that! I've never watched one episode of the TV show 'Jersey Shore'. I know it's some type of reality deal with a bunch of young adults, and I use that term advisedly, acting up and mostly acting badly. It has been heralded as a cultural phenomenon. However, I did see a headline where a designer had offered to pay the stars on that show not to wear any of their clothes. Here again, I know next to nothing about that program but that headline just seems to make sense to me. We've got this culture in decline all around us and it would seem those who are the most depraved are getting the most press and publicity. I do know there are stories out there all the time about the people on that show. I also know they have huge ratings. But, the snippet I read said the clothing people were concerned that the cast wearing their products would damage their image. Given that the company is Abercrombie and Fitch, that is saying a lot, folks. These are the people who are accused of portraying young people, some very young, as sex objects in the ads they plaster in their stores. For them to say their image could be further eroded, it's time for someone to wake up and smell the coffee! Here's what the reviewer from Focus on the Family said about this show: "This program marks the current low point in the broad genre known as "reality television"—a show so engrossed in its own self-absorbed inanity and depravity as to become a parody of itself and, oddly, a cogent touchstone of the culture at large. It makes Survivor look like Shakespeare, the Osbournes seem like the Cleavers, The Hills appear passably redeemable. Watching it made me want to take antibiotics to ward off whatever infections were being pumped through my flat screen"

This reminds me of a fellow I used to work with who said he actually was able to convince his wife that he should subscribe to Playboy magazine to read the articles. I'm not trying to tell people how to live their lives and what they should and should not choose for entertainment. But, if anyone looks around, we, as a nation, are in pretty bad shape folks. I have said consistently that these daily reports of crimes against children are perhaps the most disturbing sign that something is badly wrong in our culture. These recent riots in England caused a huge amount damage and they have stirred the people there to outrage. The assessment of many of the leading authorities says the young people involved in these crimes, some that cost people their lives, for the most part have no moral compass. I can remember Prime Minister Tony Blair proudly announcing how that the UK had officially reached a threshold of being a mostly secular nation. Meaning? Religion was no longer a major factor in the life of their nation. Scary. Downright frightening. I don't want that for my grandchildren. I don't want that for our nation. It has been said that we here in the states typically follow the patterns first seen in the UK. I pray that God will intervene. I pray that we all will pay attention to these matters because they do matter, not only for today, but even more so as I we make our way forward. I know. You don't tune in to get some alarmist rhetoric that sounds so negative and I try not to dwell on these types of subjects that often. But, I give it to you as it comes to me, each day, and I pray that we all will just do our best to make a better world for those who will live in the future. May God help us is my prayer. Amen.  See you next time and may God bless you and may God bless America. Amen.            .....More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Come on in, I have an all day buffet for you to pick and choose from!

Okay. I'm now on that next chapter pursuit, and I bid you welcome to Thursday, August 18, 2011. They tell us that the first bourbon whiskey in the US was distilled by a Baptist preacher in 1789. Based on what I heard growing up, our Baptist preachers were not kin to that one. Or maybe it was like what our wonderful neighbor, Ellis, said, so many years ago. He went to his reward a number of years ago. He and his wife were practicing Methodists and he knew we were Baptists. He said up in East Texas where he grew up the Methodists would do their drinking on the front porch, while the Baptists hid and did theirs on the back porch. The first coast to coast flight in the US was accomplished in 1911. It took 49 days. I don't have a plane delay story to match that one but I do remember once taking a one hour flight for a meeting that ended up requiring about eight to complete. Weather forced us to be rerouted into a completely different part of the country. Had to wait some time just to get a flight headed in the direction I needed to go. That flight was somewhat memorable. I was put next to a lady who was so large she back flowed into my seat. Her huge arm took up half my chest cavity and I ended up having to synchronize my breathing just to survive. I finally arrived at my meeting, 8 hours late, and in need of CPR. Maybe not quite that bad but that was some day. Believe me. That was some day!

Turning 65 this year puts me, not only on the leading edge of the so called Boomer generation, but I'm also a part of a number of notables who are doing the same. Former Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton turn 65 this year. Also Cher and Dolly Parton. How about this one? Johnny Crawford who starred as the kid in 'The Rifleman'. Wow! The 'Donald' as in Trump also hits the big 65 this year. Pat Sajak, Sylvester Stallone, and Haley Mills. Haley Mills? She's the little girl that played in the original 'Parent Trap'. Right? Are you feeling a little older yet? Steven Spielberg of Star Wars fame, Larry Csonka, the football legend, and Bob Villa, the original home improvement dude, are all a part of this huge audience being bombarded by that endless printing press owned by AARP. I've tried to let AARP know that I am boycotting their services due to their hook, line, and sinker approach to supporting the health care fiasco pushed through by President Obama. That has not kept them from filling up my mailbox, at least once or twice per week. You don't think my little protest is that big of a deal? It probably isn't but there does come a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in. Right? I read the other day about some of these Tea Party freshman in Congress who went there to change Washington but fought hard to keep money rolling into their states, even though the purpose for it has long passed. See what I mean? If you are going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk! But, then again, what do you expect from a place that eventually seems to get to everyone? Here's something to ponder: The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

I didn't mean to turn this into an opinion piece but then again, it is The View From Here. I don't even mind folks disagreeing with me because one of the things we all are entitled to, at least at this time, is our own thoughts and opinions. We are free to express them. However, none of us, not you, not me, no one, is entitled to their own set of facts. The problem as we see each and every day is found in trying to get the facts. This becomes next to impossible because while we like that blindfold worn by Lady Justice, there's no way to get a 100% unbiased report of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, on just about anything, period, end of story. Therefore, in dealing with the issues of the day, we just have to connect the dots the best we can, realizing that we might not always be right, but using our principles as a foundation, we seek to influence our world. Now, having given all of this somewhat negative view on the search for truth, I can happily point any and all folks to the Source of Truth. God and His Word. Now we are talking about something we can believe, embrace, live by, and use as a guide for our day by day living. Sure. The world is filled with people distorting the truths found in God's Word. But His Word is stronger than the errors they are attempting to promulgate. It will remain standing when all else has fallen. Can't seem to find any source for truth today? Trust me. Check out a copy of God's preserved Word. The answer, my friend, is there, for you, for me, and for a lost and dying world. Amen. Have a good one and may God bless.             .....More later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It would make more sense if abbreviation wasn't such a long word!

It is Wednesday, August 17, 2011. It's over. It's one of those milestone events that I can now close the book on. I will never turn 65 again. It was a great day for me. So many well wishers and such an outpouring of recognition. I honestly had to do a double take to figure out exactly what was going on. But it is all appreciated. And, we still have the big celebration planned for this coming Sunday with our entire family clan. That's always something to look forward to. I Googled "Today I turn 65" and there were a sizable number of matches. Folks typically wanted to wax philosophical in their reflections on what it means to arrive at this age. If 55 is the new 40 which some scientists seem to believe, then using that same metric, my 65 becomes 50, and I still have a ways to go before I need to share some of my profound thoughts.That implies that I have any profound thoughts and it also would suppose that after nearly 1100 of these daily blogs that I have any more to say on the subject. Of course, you do know by now, that not having anything to add has never been an impediment to me going on and on and on. One lady said she never had been 65 before. That's pretty much a no-brainer. Right? But she said she couldn't rightly remember what she felt like when she was 48, therefore, she wasn't clear on the concept of attempting to match her feelings to a particular age. While I may not be able to match a specific age I can certainly remember when I felt differently than I do today. Before arthritis. Before diabetes. But all in all I am very satisfied with my arrival here, but I promise to get back to you if something really profound happens to show up on my radar screen.

Many have inquired about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I suppose the number 65 rings a bell in the mindset where retirement is concerned. That concept, my friend, is becoming more and more of an illusion thanks to the economy and the policies our government has followed. Fortunately, we have God as our Guide, therefore, we seek His direction for our decisions regarding these types of matters. The situation in our nation is grim and almost daily I hear people, especially younger folks, who just want to tune it all out. They do not want to know about the news because they tell me it's just too depressing. That reminds me of our kids when they were little tykes. They thought they could hide and because they couldn't see me, that I couldn't see them. The real world is not going away because we choose to ignore its reality. This attitude is why many of our young adults do so poorly when they are given an impromptu quiz on items pertaining to our government and those holding key positions. I understand their frustration, however, we need everyone to become informed and to become involved in this grand democracy experiment.

As all of you know by now, I was raised up in a  rural town, Hornbeck, Louisiana. Lately, a number of pages have been springing up on Facebook devoted to people sharing memories about their hometown. The name goes like this: "You might be from Hornbeck, Louisiana if you remember....." This gives folks the incentive to sign up and lay out their best stories. There's over 200 on the Hornbeck page with new ones joining every day. Some use the forum to remember a person who made an impact on their life. Others remind the audience of special places like a cafe, a drive inn, a special swimming hole, or some other landmark. This stirs folks up and the memories and recollections flow. Then folks respond to those responses and it goes on and on. That's exactly how it is supposed to work. Sadly, a few only have bad memories and they have some pretty rough things to say about our little town. They obviously didn't get what I did, that full measure of the 'Mayberry' effect. Most of those doing the sharing are much younger than I, therefore, the things they talk about are not of significance to me. But it is still fun to observe them talking up our little town. I'm not saying every memory there was a good one, but on balance, the folks there intentionally worked to influence my life for good, and I feel blessed by God for having been raised there. Excuse my glowing a little but it might be part of that rub off that comes from making it to the big 65. Now it's on to the next chapter where we cannot see what awaits just around the bend. But, you can be sure, I'll keep you posted. Have a good day and may God bless. Amen.   .....More later.

PS: I know Elvis went and died on my birthday and I know there are still fans that flock to his grave on August 16 each year to light a candle. Let me just tell you that the outpouring of expressions of love and appreciation I've received on my birthday, well, they trump any amount on candles on a grave. Know what I mean? Think about it. It will come to you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On this day, commemorating my 65th year, I rise up to give God thanks for His goodness towards me.

Today is my birthday. I'm not going to give that old saw, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." I'm not going to use it because it's so 'yesterday'. Or the one about how that older people tend to read their Bibles more because they are cramming for their finals. Nope. Wouldn't want to use that one either. We all would be bored if I gave you the one about the fellow who said, "Yeah, it's tough to get old because my memory, it's just not as sharp as it used to be, and another thing, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be." Those are just too lame to share. I think it a wonderful blessing that my sisters, Fran and Jo and I could meet mom and dad for a mini reunion down at the Medicare office now that I have joined the ranks of the eligible. It is Tuesday, August 16, 2011 and given the date on my birth certificate, that makes me a brand new 65 year old. I will tell you that I like the words brand new better than the number 65. Just kidding. I've worked hard to arrive at this number, I've been a lot of places, seen a lot of things, done my fair share of messing things up, but, all in all, let me be clear about how blessed I have been by the Lord God of heaven. Much, much more than I deserve, therefore, on this day, commemorating my 65th year, I rise up to give God thanks for His goodness towards me.

Many outsiders look at our family and think about the many losses we have suffered. That is an appropriate assessment but what is also true is the love, warmth, joy, and connectedness we've had as a family. It was tough losing our dad at an early age but despite this and other obstacles, I had a wonderful upbringing. I have the greatest mom in the world, a great man as my step father, and I was raised in a wonderful hometown environment with legendary grandparents, and it was and is a place that I still remember as home. I call that being blessed. I met and married a great young lady. Lord willing we will be celebrating 47 years of marriage in a few short months. And, it's like she said about a big promotion I got one time at the big company, "Not bad for a Hornbeck boy!" Spoken like a true Anacoco girl. My brothers, my sisters, my in-laws, my aunts, uncles, my cousins, and on and on I could go. Blessings galore. Our three sons. Their wives. Their children. Our grandchildren. My grandchild's child. That's right. Our first great grand! My wife and I have been hanging out together as a couple for nearly 50 years. What do I have to say to her about this: Not bad for an Anacoco girl! Yes. Blessings galore. Have all of these relationships, all of these family connections, have they always been smooth and without any issues? Not hardly. But, bottom line, looking back, looking around, and, of course, looking up, on this day, commemorating my 65th year, I rise up to give God  thanks for His goodness towards me. (Note about the photo: It actually came up when I did an image search on Google when I searched on 'our three sons'. How do you like that? It's one I had used in a previous blog. That is our three sons, our two grandsons, and not pictured is another grandson and 8 granddaughters, one grand son-in-law, and one great granddaughter. Wow!!!)

Finally, I owe the fact that I can sense these as blessings because of me being a born again child of the living God. That was something I could not do for myself. God sent His one and only Son to die for the sins of people and I am a people, therefore, He died for me. Recognizing this at a Saturday evening service where my future father-in-law was preaching, I came forward and gave my life to Christ. That happened in January of 1964. This means I've been in this growing process as a believer for many years. They have not always been fruitful years but that was because of me, not because of my Savior. He has loved me and stood by me. He has interceded on my behalf, and there's little doubt that at times I've kept Him busy doing just that. But He is good at keeping His word and He promised that He would never leave nor forsake me. He has allowed me to serve. He through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit gifted me in the area of teaching and He has allowed me to have a Bible teaching role for some thirty five years now. I've worked with some wonderful Godly people and served in some wonderful ministries. I've been privileged to lead others to Christ. Through it all, He has been faithful. One thing is clear, I could not be who I am today without Him, therefore, one last time, on this day, commemorating my 65th year, I rise up to give God thanks for His goodness towards me. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.             .....More later.

PS: This past Sunday morning a group of folks at our local fellowship put on a breakfast in honor of my birthday. This was an humbling experience for me but one I will always treasure. The gifts and the expressions of love and appreciation make it clear that we who are in Christ are brothers and sisters. While I am thankful for their recognition of me as a teacher, it is my great privilege to serve with such a wonderful group of people. We've known some of these folks for over thirty years. Thanks to all who participated in this wonderful time of fellowship and feasting. May God bless you all!

Monday, August 15, 2011

One common trait we tend to all share: At times we can really end up looking silly!

It is Monday, August 15, 2011, and I could tell by the huge numbers illuminated on that clock on my nightstand, that it was time to get up, get ready, and go. I am an early person. I am known for being an early person. Guess what I have learned about being an early person? It doesn't really mean much. In fact, you can take your early person status and about $3 and get a small, and I do mean small, cup of coffee. It's easy for us to assign some type of superiority to almost anything associated with how we choose to do things, but again, that's about as foolish as it gets. I know some folks over in Louisiana who used to be the most die hard Dallas Cowboys fans imaginable. They operated their goings and comings around the Cowboys football schedule. The Cowboys, after all, were America's team. They were at times almost obnoxious because of this infatuation with a Dallas team. The Cowboys began to falter some and the New Orleans Saints began to become a factor and eventually became champion. Now these same folks are by the Saints like they had previously been by the Cowboys and perhaps even more so, if that's possible. Guess what? I can't see how their choice of teams has really made any contribution to anything other than some of the dollars they have spent on team garb, but it does show just how fickle we really are. All those years the Saints struggled as a home state team with no love from those devoted to the Cowboys. Since becoming a winning franchise they now have this unprecedented support and following, even devotion, from folks who once wouldn't even talk about them. See what I mean? We are some really messed up folks. Don't you agree?

That's only one example and if we are true to form, you and I will probably do something silly at some point and time in our schedule for today. This means we shouldn't take ourselves serious to the extent that we fail to recognize that we too carry some quirks of our own, even though we may not recognize them the way others do. I didn't say we shouldn't be serious about life and the living of it, but as it relates to ourselves, we need to do our best to see it for what it is, and to laugh along with others who also see what's really going on. I remember once when I was with the big company there had been a change at the top of our food chain, senior level management. The new group vice president decided to interview all the senior managers in the organization. Everyone was nervous and intimidated since the scuttlebutt said he was going to shake things up. My turn came. I was responsible for delivering computing and telecommunication services throughout the corporation. He quizzed me about my approach. He then asked me a very silly question. It made no sense but he seemed very serious. What was I to do? When in doubt always tell the truth. That's what Paw Paw Mac would have advised and that's what God expected as well. I essentially told him as politely as I knew how that his question was foolish. Later I heard through the grapevine that he decided I was good for the organization because I was the only one who stood up to him. How do you like that? By the way, he was serious in the question that he asked me, but it was still a silly question. That same dude later signed off on my promotion as a department head and I am thankful that on occasion I've remembered some of that which was poured into me from those who taught me that honesty is always the best policy.

That fellow was very well educated and highly touted as a polished professional. But he was still capable of asking a really dumb question. How is that possible? The same way it is possible for you and I, that's how. No one likes to be embarrassed but the older you get it is the more you realize that some of the stuff you thought to be embarrassing was really just being human, just being silly, and mostly it wasn't that big of a deal. Oh, I know, that at the time it may have seemed to be a big deal and I've worked with folks who could not even tolerate the thought of them not having it all figured out every moment of the day. Guess what? They didn't and their efforts to convince others that they did, well, that turned out to be pretty funny. We really do need some big picture thinking here. You might be surprised to learn that I flipped off the platform at our local fellowship while teaching my class. That was embarrassing and scary. But once everyone learned that I wasn't seriously injured I regained my footing and continued my teaching, only later to learn that I would need surgery for a busted knee. I didn't say silliness didn't have consequences but it is common to us all, 100%. God used even that little fall of mine to move me forward and today we can still laugh about it. I will tell you that I've never been happier that we didn't have the video recorder going for my class. I prefer to enjoy a private laugh on that particular one, if you please, thanks. Big picture. In the grand scheme. How big? For us who are believers, it's as big as eternity as in never ending. That typically makes most of what we fret over nothing larger than a blip on the radar screen of life. The breakthrough comes when we can begin to see it that way in real time, as our life unfolds. Okay. I'm tired and you are too, that is, if you stayed to the end. Have a good one and I'll see you again soon. May God bless. Amen.          .....More later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm trying to get my internal clock to get reacquainted with my routine. He is still a little testy from me having jerked him around.

My mom continues to recover and she is making good progress. She may go home today. Thanks to all of you who have thought about and prayed for her. Hello Friday, it is so good to see you, I do wish you had brought a little rain with you, but the Lord knows our situation, and as I was reminded the other evening in our Wednesday prayer meeting time, it doesn't take long watching the news out of places like Somalia, to know that even with all our troubles, we are blessed beyond measure, and that's something to mediate upon as we seek to get our day started here on the 12th day of August, 2011. I'm still trying to catch up with myself after that wonderful adventure over to Louisiana on Wednesday. Turn around trips can be tough but when I think about how mom and dad did it so many times when my brother Donald was ailing, it does two things. First, it causes me to be knocked down by their perseverance, stamina, and by the way that God has allowed them to keep on keeping on. Secondly, it gives me a good insight into where I fit on that 'keeping on' grid and I'm not ashamed to say they are a hard act to follow. I did get back from being there with mom in time for our Wednesday service. My wife reminded me that no one would think anything less if I cancelled the service due to my schedule, however, I wanted to be there, to exchange prayer requests, and to share truth, one with another. I may still be dragging a little from that car ride, but my spirit has been refreshed by the love and care shown by others. Thanks to my little class for being there for our family and for just being there, period. You all are a blessing to so many! Amen.

We all are collectively hurt over the deaths of so many of our finest warriors last weekend in that shoot down of the helicopter. I do hope there will be an investigation as to whether the enemy knew that some of our most elite special operations troops were on that plane. One of the things that concerned many security experts when Bin Laden was taken out was the amount of information this administration chose to share about that operation and those on our side who were involved. The secretive component of how these special operations function is huge in terms of their effectiveness and some experts believed back when this all happened that their cover was blown by a President who was looking for some traction in the polls. I am not saying that was the reason because I do not know but if anyone revealed information for political purposes that compromised the effectiveness of our covert operatives, then that, in my opinion, is unconscionable, and it should not go unpunished. I know some legitimate experts are connecting these dots and I will say that I can think of nothing more insidious than politicians of any stripe that seek gain from the exploits of our bravest and in so doing they cause harm to those who wear the uniform of our nation. The very thought makes my blood boil!

Quite a week, but then again, most of them are, for nearly every person, just in different ways. That is something that we all need to remember. Most folks are pretty much alike. I'm not saying that we don't have differences in our heritage, our skin color, our economic and social circles, our religion, or any variety of other distinctions. However, we do, at the basic level, function as part of the same family, the human family. This means that pain is experienced the same regardless of where you happen to live. Seeing those heartbroken moms holding their malnourished children reminds us that the love of a mother for their child is universal. We are that way because we are the creation of Almighty God. Many folks may not accept that but one thing we learn about God's word on any subject, people's embracing of it one way or the other, does not change the truth. And, as I am often prone to say, it is not proper to say, God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Why? Because it just so happens to be this way: God said it, that settles it. Whether you, I, or anyone else believes it or not. I heard Jane Fonda explaining what it meant for her to become a Christian. She said she does not accept the born again label because it is associated with a type of fundamentalism that she detests. She can detest what she wants to detest but Jesus told Nicodemus that unless one is born again they cannot see the kingdom of God. (Gospel of John, Chapter 3) See what I mean? I'm not saying she isn't saved but rejecting the truth of the new birth because you don't like those who teach it, well, that could be dangerous. Not only for Jane, but for you, I, and for everyone. I suppose that's enough for one week and I bid you a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and may God add His blessings to us all! Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mud wrestling to be the main feature of next year's presidential election!

Sorry about not having my blog up yesterday. At the last minute (literally) I decided to drive over to Alexandria, Louisiana to be there for mom's surgery. I got to bed just before 11 p.m. Tuesday night and was off and running or driving at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday. Got there about the same time mom and dad did around 5 a.m. I was able to hold her hand and have a prayer with her before they took her to the operating room. The surgery went great and we thank God for that. I ask that you continue to remember her because recovery is always a big deal to her since she is somewhat fragile. One thing you all should know: Our family  greatly appreciates the prayers offered up on her behalf. It is Thursday, August 11, 2011 and once again I bring you greetings from our world to yours. Get ready for one of the dirtiest campaigns on record. That's what we are hearing from the campaign strategists, especially those working to try and reelect President Obama. The experts are convinced that he cannot run too much on his record because of the way everything has fallen apart. Of course they do not take the blame for this but it still is a present reality, you ran on a platform of hope, and for the most part, folks have mostly experienced hopelessness, therefore, they are going to move to Plan B. That would be a scorched earth campaign where they obliterate any and all rivals. In other words, they intend to paint their adversaries as being the worse case scenario while making the President appear to be a more reliable choice. They already have folks doing the negative research so that they will be prepared to body slam anyone who gets the nomination. I would say this is a sad and sorry state of affairs but let's face it, they didn't invent this style of politics. It has been around ever since humanity fell into sin, therefore, we have this to look forward to, a huge negative and hateful campaign, while ordinary folks are already beaten down by the horriffic impact in the soured economy and dim prospects for any relief soon. Whatever works is their mantra and we will all see if the American people will buy what they are selling. My advice: Buyer Beware!

I wish I had a strong feeling about any of the candidates who are running to obtain the nomination. For nearly every reason one could imagine, I will not be voting for the incumbent, however, that doesn't mean I am excited about any of the others at this time. I keep hoping that someone will step up and give us some fire in our belly in terms of rallying support. While I had many issues with President George W. Bush, I never had a problem in voting for him. The same with President Reagan. The field today does not inspire and that is something they must overcome if they hope to have a shot at what will likely be one of the most well funded campaigns in the history presidential elections. I'm not saying that this slate of candidates are bad folks, but, I just don't see that there is a whole lot of there, there with any of them. America needs a Commander and Chief that will immediately reflect a sense of calm and assured leadership in the midst of world turmoil. President Obama has been too busy running for reelection ever since he took office to demonstrate this to the extent that Americans feel confident in our short term prospects and in our future. President Carter used the word malaise and while it tended to bring our country down as we wallowed in our shared depression, it might well describe the mood of the country today. That's not the optimistic fervor that has defined who we are as a people of commitment and resolve. I pray that God will provide us with the leadership that will return us to greatness for His honor and glory, and for the good of the entire world. Amen.

There are plenty of unknowns and we even recognize there is a fair amount of the unknowable. But, the good news is that we have a faithful God who will see us through to the end. It may not be the way we envision it because we do know from history that God's people do not always live out a fairy tale existence, in fact, they mostly do not live out a life of ease and comfort. One of the reasons is that believers are not of this world. Those who have been changed by the power of God belong to a homeland and every day brings us closer to being at home. President Obama may be reelected. The world may continue to falter. Things may become even worse in terms of the quality of life here in our nation. I don't say this to get us down but rather to point us up. We do not operate based on the stock market or what the money managers have to say. When we are connected into the will of God and we walk with Him, we operate on the basis of the unseen sureties that are ours in Christ. Unseen to a lost world but visible only through the eyes of faith. This is well stated as a fundamental truth in 2 Corinthians 4:18, " we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal."  We know the reality of life here is perplexing and often we are impacted by these winds of uncertainty, however, that's not where we have our trust. Some live and die by the stock market, their 401k, or the price of a particular commodity. You and I as believers are not to be like the world because we have the Lord God of heaven who moves and works to accomplish His purpose, and we are the objects of His plan and purpose. That's not only wonderful news, it should encourage us all to set aside our worrisome and fretful spirit as we look up and seek the assurance that comes from our Father in heaven. Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For believers, death is not a period but it's only a comma in the continuing story of life.

Hello friends and neighbors, howdy do to you all. It is Tuesday, August 9, 2011, and I am glad to report that I survived my meeting with my new doctor. As initial visits go, I thought it went well, except for the fasting they asked me to do which turned out not to be necessary, (No Community until nearly 11 a.m., I ask you: what is this world coming to?) and the forty minute wait in the examination room, but I always read everything on the wall so I didn't waste the time and had I known the nurse's password I would  have spent a little time checking out their system. The doctor is young, quick, seems to be very intelligent, and as we talked he keyed in information into his patient database. I felt like we covered quite a bit of territory in just a few short minutes. It is, after all, the brave new world where this computer talks to the other computer and they figure out what should be done with you, or to you, or maybe, even, for you. You prefer the old fashioned way. I can actually remember when Doctor Stephens did make house calls back when I was a little dude suffering from the flu. That style of doctoring pretty well went the way of the buffalo a long time ago. And, here we are in the so-called information age and my new doctor is making referrals online even as we talked and when I walked out the door they handed me some reports that indicated all that had been accomplished in my visit. The nurse was pleasant except for when she told me she would be giving me my 5 year pneumonia shot in the fatty part of my arm. Fatty part of my arm? Hello? How about the pleasingly plump part of my arm? Or, the part with the most muscle mass? What's that? Be glad she didn't say the flabby part of my arm. Thanks. I suppose that makes it better. By the way, a five year shot to protect from pneumonia? Five years? I can only imagine what my billions of cells thought when that five year vaccine started showing up. "Look who showed up Ma, they said they would be hanging out here for the next five years!" But it was a good visit and now back to the other stuff that has made its way to the front burners on my stove top, you know the proverbial stove top of life.

I know that my daily dishing is primarily about me. That's typically because when it comes down to it, that is what I know the most about. I try to not let it be an ego trip because, believe me, I've been around long enough to know what happens whenever folks become a legend in their own minds. While you might not believe it from reading my blogs, for the most part I'm considered to be a fairly serious person, even too much so. Maybe the writing helps me to be channel a lighter side and to reflect a little less solemnity. Truth is, we all have the mundane to deal with every day but that doesn't mean we have to be mundane in response. Blogging has helped me to be on the look out for a good story. Where there are people, there are stories. The nurse in the doctor's office was a sweet lady. She began apologizing for the wait before it was even past my appointment time, and that puzzled me, but later I realized she already knew how far behind they were, hence, the forty minute time they left me unattended in that exam room. While I didn't open any drawers, that may have been on the agenda next had the doctor not knocked on the door. Yep. He knocked on the door. What else could one do but to say come in? Awkward to say the least. The nurse had me get up on their scales. The number was insane. I had just weighed at 3:30 a.m. before I left the house and I know I hadn't gained 12 pounds on my way there. She asked what I had weighed and said she would put that down because their scales were only a cheap bathroom scale to begin with, and worn out anyway. This is one of the most highly touted, major medical facility networks in the Southwest and they can't afford an accurate scale? No. I wasn't fudging on the number either. I had checked my home scale by my mom and dad's digital unit when I visited them weekend before last. I will tell you this, I must have gotten up and down off those scales a half dozen times while I was waiting, but they still gave the same reading even when I held on to the table. It is a funny world, don't you think?

When I finally left that place I went to the nearest fast food joint. Why? It had been about 14 hours since I had eaten anything and I needed They delayed my order for about 10 minutes to wait on a fresh batch of biscuits to be ready. The lady that took my order said she didn't want to serve me a hard biscuit that had been under a lamp for a while. I thanked her but to tell the truth a hard biscuit, any biscuit, would have been helpful at that particular moment. I gobbled it down and felt refreshed. I thought about going back over to that examination room to see just how much that sausage biscuit would have added to the number on  that cheap scale. Maybe I will take my personal scale with me next time I go. On a more serious note, our dear mother, 87 years young, is scheduled to undergo some bladder repair surgery early Wednesday morning over in Louisiana. That may seem like a minor deal but at her age she is rightly concerned, therefore, I would ask each of my readers to whisper a prayer for her. She is our family champion and we thank God for her every single day. You don't know my mom? Google 'World's Greatest Mom', and her photograph will come up. Okay. It may not come up because those Google people don't know the half of it, know what I mean? She does comes up as being the greatest to all of us kids, and we are pleased at any time and on any occasion to rise up and say so. May God bless and take care of our sweet mother, and may God bless each one. Amen.     ....More later.