Friday, September 30, 2011

Some like it hot, well, I do hope you are enjoying this year!

Supposedly, the weather effect called La NiƱa is the responsible party for this drought and super hot weather. It forces the jet stream north and excludes our region from typical weather patterns. They say it has a potential to make a return visit this year during the fall to further plague us throughout the winter months. I'm trying to stay calm but deep down inside I would like to get my hands on that dude! It's Friday, the 30th, and we have arrived to the last day of September in the year of our Lord, 2011. The good news might be a cool front headed our way in time for the weekend. Might be. That's all we can manage to say given how things have gone this year. I do enjoy looking at those low temp predictions into the mid 50's but I won't add another scoop to the Community and plan on sitting outside in the yard until it actually happens. But, if it does, wowee, zowee! I won't even be upset at the neighborhood kids when I see them bundled up like they are doing a documentary at the North Pole. I have a cousin up in North Carolina who sent up a prayer request earlier in the week that the rain might be stopped. Stopped. Seems like 10 inches in three days was about all they were needing and she wanted the faucet to be turned off. I know the Bible says it comes down on the just and the unjust and right now, here in my neck of the woods, I wouldn't mind even seeing the unjust soaking wet for a few days. Okay. I think that's enough about the weather but this year it has become an even more frequent topic of conversation, even among the children. That tells us something.

A lady in our Bible study and prayer time this past Wednesday was expressing some righteous indignation in how some of our elderly are mistreated in their trying to get their health needs attended to. She talked about a situation where an older gentleman had been somewhat neglected. I couldn't help but feel a sense of concern because I've always believed that how we treat the neediest around us is a barometer of our spiritual health. But, it then dawned on me, I have moved closer to that category myself. Hey. Wait a minute. How did I let that happen? I am at least in the running now to be one of those elderly who is mistreated? Not yet, but I'm certainly headed for that eligibility list. I know she was talking about those who are unable to take up for themselves because of mental and physical frailties but I also know that our God in heaven has a particular judgment for those who mistreat or take advantage of folks in this category. It's a consistent theme throughout the Scriptures. The youngest among us, the orphans, the widows, and the aged, they are precious in His sight and He does not forget those who would abuse them. That's a word of warning because the Bible tells us it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Amen. (Hebrews 10:31)

"That was the week that was" is the name of a British TV comedy program from the early 1960's. And, so it has been the week that was for us as well. Sunday through Friday morning has been recorded and today is the only time we have to do something with our day, today. I am so pleased that my mom is making a little progress in using the new laptop. She reported that two different times this week she accidentally was able to get the Facebook page up that I set up for dad. Accidentally. That's her way of describing it. The friends we confirmed for dad's page are all family, therefore, she greatly enjoyed reading the entries from so many along with photos of the children and other information. I found a little learning exercise to help her to improve the use of the mouse and she has enjoyed working with it. See what I mean? You really are never too old to learn and I couldn't be more proud. I am able to get onto their desktop from my computer and help with any problems and this has greatly assisted in helping us to make this progress. I know how much mom loves family, therefore, I am certain that she will continue to get better and better at using this window into the world of her scattered offspring, along with their scattered offspring, along with their scattered offspring. I know that looks like a whole lot of scattering and I think I could have put in one or two more to be accurate but I didn't, because you might think it would be a little over the top. And, we all know that I would never want to have folks think that about me. What's that you say? Going back to being just a little over would be quite an improvement? See there. It just goes to show you that it is always something. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday and if He is willing, I will do my best to be back on the air next Monday morning, early, of course! Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." ~ Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

We were hunkered down and hovering over the lap top trying to see. It was as if we were tracking some potential incursion from an air raid or something. Nervous. A little excited. What was going on? There was a report of some rain in the area and we were watching the online radar system to see if there might be a drop or two that would land in our area. It came close. We could see it. It was nearly to our street. Then it turned south, without any warning, fanfare, or a how do you do, it turned south. With a deep sigh we then clicked off the radar and returned to watching another episode of Border Wars. Are we really that desperate? That and then some! But, God knows all about it, and we have our trust in Him, on this Thursday, September 29, 2011. I want to give a shout out to a wonderful couple in our local fellowship who gave me a sampler box of Hawaiian coffee for my birthday last month. It actually is more like a case of coffee and I have greatly enjoyed alternating between some of these wonderful flavors and my standard flag bearer, Louisiana Community. It has been a real treat. Speaking of Hawaii, the other evening I watched a short documentary on the USS Ronald Reagan, a mammoth aircraft carrier in our naval fleet. They were out for several months on maneuvers and when they returned they slowly passed by the Hawaiian Islands. As they approached Pearl Harbor all sailors came to the deck in their dress uniforms. Nearly 2500 men and women standing at attention for more than two hours as they slowly passed this sacred place. When they approached the memorial where the USS Arizona went down they all saluted and held that salute for 15 minutes. What an emotional tribute. It showed in a small way what our men and women who wear the uniform of our nation are all about, and at the same time it reminds us of those who paid the ultimate price on that fateful day of December 7, 1941.

That's right. Border Wars. Cops. Frontier Force. The First 48. The Alaska State Troopers. PBS Mystery Theater. Antiques Roadshow. NASCAR. Gaither Gospel Music. Old TV show reruns. These are the shows we watch in the evening when we are home. We are not into network television. In fact, we don't watch any of the 'must see' TV shows that I hear folks talking about. I had to throw in the NASCAR deal because to not include it would be a misrepresentation of the facts. You can pull for my driver, Jeff Gordon, as he pursues a fifth championship this year, if you want to. Or, you can watch dancing with the dummies or any of the other shows that are on. It does baffle the mind when you think how many channels are available and how little there is to watch, comparatively speaking. It's nothing these days to have 150 or more channels but that doesn't mean you can find anything worth your time. I've never been desperate enough to watch a show about desperate housewives. But, to each his own. We've come a long way from the mostly one or two channels we used to get when I was a kid. I used to be a little jealous of some kids that lived on a hill and they could pick up a third or fourth channel and they got to watch programs we didn't know anything about. Occasionally, we would have a cosmic alignment of some sort and suddenly a new channel could be seen. It was a little snowy but the shows were different and it was so exciting. We didn't know that people from Beaumont or Lufkin talked so funny. Okay. So we didn't lead the most exciting of lives but we are so very thankful because that not so exciting life helped mold us into who we are today. Amen.

One of the things that has changed about TV is how that it is now such an integrated part of people's lives. Before DVR came along folks would actually have to make certain they were in their place to watch the next episode of one of those must see shows. That's something we never had to compete with growing up. I'm not saying we didn't watch it if it was on but there wasn't any compelling reason to alter your schedule around TV programming. I do recall how that preachers used to accuse folks of staying home on Sunday evening to watch Bonanza instead of being in their place at the local meeting. Sunday evening? Sure enough. There used to be regular services on Sunday evening and Wednesday evening and even on Saturday evening in the little Church where my future wife attended. Saturday evening. I should know because it was at a Saturday evening service in January, 1964, at New Hope Baptist Church when I came to realize that I was not saved, although I had walked an aisle and had been baptized, therefore, I came forward that night and gave my life to Christ. The preacher was my future father in law and I've been hanging out with his daughter for now over 50 years, 47 of them as a married couple. What if I had stayed home to watch Flipper which was on at 7:30 on NBC on that fateful evening? Just joking. I am thankful that God used all that He used to finally get my attention and while I've been all over the page since then, He has never wavered in His love and care for me. To that I say, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! Amen.             ......More later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The fall picture on my calendar doesn't match anything around here.

Woke up this morning feeling fine, woke up with heaven on my mind. That's how the gospel song puts it, and while I didn't wake up that way myself, it's not a bad thought because for those who have placed their trust in God's Son, well, heaven is a whole lot more real than some of the so called tangible things we seek after here in this life. But I did wake up and it is good to know that I was able to roll out of bed and get my stuff together and show up here at the old keyboard on this Wednesday, September 28, 2011. I will admit that I'm still a daydreamer. That used to get me into such trouble when I was a kid in grade school. They used to call it grade school back in the day. Now we have Google to help facilitate our daydreaming. Like yesterday when it was so hot I Googled up the world's temperatures and spotted a 37 in Scotland. I remember being in that same area many years ago and how wonderful that misty penetrating cold felt. I know that particular dream doesn't do much for those who are cold natured. My wife typically takes a sweater or jacket when we go out to eat. If I precede her to my reward then she will likely be able to operate with very little air conditioning and that will save tons on the light bill. That's what they used to call it back home. The light bill. But, that little visit to Scotland gave me some mental relief as I envisioned that wind in my face. Not your cup of tea? Google yourself up some steamy tropical weather and knock yourself out!

I suppose we are living in a time when most folks are sick and tired. Some echo the famous line, sick and tired of being sick and tired. Others use it as a fill in the blank line. Some I found out on the web included: Sick and tired of being broke. Sick and tired of being pregnant. Sick and tired of being a quitter. Sick and tired of being in and out of prison. Sick and tired of being sick. Sick and tired of being treated wrong. Sick and tired of being fat. Sick and tired of being tired. Sick and tired of being called lazy. Sick and tired of being passed over. Sick and tired of being ignored. And, the list goes on, and on, and on. There is a striking amount of 'me' involved in this sick and tired orientation that can easily become disabling in and of itself. We often hear sermons about how that life in God's economy is not about you or me, it's about honoring God and serving others. However, at times it seems that we focus so much on it not being about ourselves that we end up talking mostly about ourselves and how it is not about ourselves. In fact, I'm sick and tired of hearing about how that it is not about me. Just joking. There are times when we all feel isolated and alone but God would have us to know that as His own dear child, we are never alone, and we do have hope, and He will never leave us, and He will never forsake us. That gives us the basis upon which we can focus our thoughts and energy on serving Him by serving others. Someone needed to hear that today. You what? You thought it might be me? Okay. I can live with that because Lord knows how much I need to be reminded of what He would have me to do, every moment of the day. Amen.

I know some folks think I might be a little smirky when I tell them I never know what to expect when this blog thing is being written. I'm sorry but I do think this is one of the things that causes me to get such a big kick out of doing them each day. Sure. There are times when I have a particular subject in mind or some event causes me to write something but there are other times when I give freelance a whole new perspective. It's not as if I don't think about it because you might be surprised how often they get changed. Like the other day I had this great story that was so funny but it kept bothering me that someone might misunderstand it, therefore, I came in the next morning and swapped it out for the one about the man trying to make his wife feel 6 again on her birthday. I mention that only to tell you that I do care what people think about what I write. Obviously, much of it is opinion oriented, therefore, I understand that some will take issue with my points of view. That doesn't bother me too much since that's the beauty of the freedoms we enjoy. However, I never want to use any material that needlessly denigrates are crosses the line in terms of propriety, or as they used to say back home, use only that which is appropriate for mixed company. I'm not sure us guys growing up always lived up to that one. But that would be a story that would likely never make it to the electronic page. You do know what I mean. Right, Vern? Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.             ......More later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trying to find something to smile about in a world filled with tears.

Here it is, Tuesday, September 27, 2011 and I've been busily in search of some funny material to share and one would think it would be fairly easy to find given the trillions of bits of information stored out on the world wide information highway. Right? Sometimes, but not always. Today's humor seems mostly to end up with a twist that we used to not be allowed to say because it was deemed inappropriate.  Here's one I found that is a little corny but it gave me a chuckle and maybe you will smile also: ~ A duck walks into a feed store and asks, "Got any duck feed?" The clerk tells him, "No, we don't have a market for it so we don't carry it." The duck says, "Okay," and leaves. The next day, the duck again walks in to the feed store and asks, "Got any duck feed?" Again the clerk says no and the duck leaves. Next day, the duck once again walks in, and asks, "Got any duck feed?" The clerk says, "I've told you twice, we don't have duck feed, we've never had duck feed and we never will have duck feed. If you ask me again, I'll nail your feet to the floor." The duck leaves. The next day, the duck walks in and asks, "Got any nails?" "No." "Got any duck feed?" ~ Here's one that can also bring a laugh, at least to someone out there:: ~ George was a thoughtful husband. He wanted to give his wife something special for her birthday which was coming up soon. As he sat on the edge of the bed, he watched his wife turning back and forth and looking at herself in the mirror. "Reta," he said, "What would you like for your birthday?" His wife continued to look at herself and said, "I'd like to be six again." George knew just what to do. On the big day, he got up early and made his wife a bowl of Fruit Loops. Then he took her to an amusement park where they rode all the rides. Five hours later, Reta's stomach felt upside down and her head was reeling. Never the less, George took her to McDonald's and bought her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Next, it was a movie with popcorn, soda and her favorite candy.As Reta wobbled into the house that evening and flopped on the bed, George asked her, "Well, Dear, what was it like to be six again?"Reta looked up at him. Her expression changed. She said, "I meant my dress size!" ~

We do need to have a laugh now and then because life can be tough. I've been keeping up with the financial collapse underway in Greece. There has been rioting there by ordinary folks. There are reasons to believe it is going to get worse, much worse. Greece did what many European countries did. They ran up the national debt to astronomical levels to pay out benefits to people who had worked for only a few years to get them. Before the crisis came they were already drowning in red ink. The kind of cuts they need to make will essentially move them back into a third world country status. Serious. Very! Some say it is a warning shot across our bow telling us that we had better get our house in order. The mayor of New York City recently said something had better be worked out soon regarding financial relief before rioting starts in his city. (There's some going on even as I write this in the Wall Street area of his city.) Another commentator advised the rich to go along with paying up in order to protect themselves from angry citizens. It is hard to fathom that we are even hearing these kinds of comments here in our country. But we are. And, yes, we are also in crisis. Sadly, the most important thing to those who are in office is making use of the crisis to score political points, on both sides. Greece has slashed their budgets and laid off thousands but those who lend them money have said it is not even the beginning of what they must do. I pray that we will see folks rise up who will put politics aside long enough to do what needs to be done so that we will not face that type of crisis, for the good of our children, for the good of our nation. Amen.

I hear a common theme from folks waking up each day. "I never dreamed I would live to see such things." Of course we have plenty still here who lived through the Great Depression and were around during WWII and most of them went through some pretty rough challenges. But for those of us who have for the most part lived in the modern era, so to speak, it looks like everywhere one turns the foundations are weakened and many are crumbling. As parents we all will do what we can to protect our children and grandchildren, but it is obvious there are limits to what any of us can do. I can't get out of my mind that image of the Prime Minister of England several years ago when he proudly announced that Great Britain had officially become a secular nation, and he beamed that they were no longer a religious nation. Considering this causes me to remember what God has said in His Word: "The fool has said in his heart there is no God." But America is not headed there, right? I take no joy in saying this but from where I sit I would say, "Not far behind my friend, not far behind." One of the things that is clear is how this current administration would like nothing more than to be able to make that same announcement for our nation, to proclaim that we have joined the enlightened peoples of the world, and that we are no longer a religious nation. Forget about the founders rolling in their graves, because the day we make that proclamation, we had better prepare ourselves for God's response, and we might just be already seeing Him respond in places all over the globe. It's never hopeless for those who put their trust in God. We need to be reminded that regardless of what happens we still belong to Him and He will take care of us, either here or there, and that's a promise we can count on. Amen.      ......More later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My thinking may be a little weebly wobbly but I'm so thankful to be able to get up and go!

How in the world are you doing on this Monday, September 26, 2011? I am thankful to be able to get from point A to point B, and to still have a little bit of a spring in my step. I often find myself taking stock of where I am and what I am still able to do. I then hear about dad, out in the heat, painting the house trim off a ladder. He is past 80 and still going strong. Hold on a second, let me reevaluate how well I am doing. Just kidding. But, I am aware that every day is a gift and perhaps having diabetes keeps me focused a little more on a one blood sugar measurement at a time, a one weigh in at a time, and in general, a one step at a time mindset. The way they calculate the first day of autumn put it on last Friday afternoon, September 23. Our area which has plenty of woods and trees doesn't look like fall, it looks sick, damaged, and starved. The drought has taken its toll. We hit 97 degrees yesterday and are looking at another hot day today. Some have said that if we were to get a hurricane into our area this season there is no way to even begin to guess at how much damage will be done when the damaged trees start blowing around. The way I see it, we have but one choice. Trust the Lord and seek Him as we do take it one day at a time.

I often come out of the weekend with a desire to do better this week than I did the last week. This can be connected to the truth I've learned at the meeting place where God's people gather. God still moves. God still convicts, even those of us who have been His child for a long period of time. That conviction stuff makes us feel uncomfortable. But, what a remarkable blessing to know that God is not finished with us, yet. He is still at work and when it comes to me, myself, and I, there's still a ways to go in terms of me becoming all that He would have me to be. Sure, it can be frustrating not to be able to say I have arrived but I think about what a great example the Apostle Paul was to us all, and yet he had this to say about his own journey, "Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus." (Philippians Chapter 3, Verse 12) Our enemy would like nothing better than for our failures to knock us out of the game of life. So many are defeated by their struggles and they just give up the fight. We don't have to settle for this because God stands ready to provide into us that which we need to pick ourselves up and get ourselves back on the road again, making progress, for His honor and glory. Amen.

It was good to see Herman Cain do so well in the Florida Republican Straw Poll this past Saturday. He is a businessman turned candidate who is articulate and features simple and straight forward answers to our nation's problems. Maybe he can shake things up a little. I believe him receiving the most votes is a vindication of sorts for his conservative message but more importantly, it signals that those choosing a Republican candidate are not satisfied with the likes of Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. I know there are some who will vote anyone but President Obama, however, the truth is, there are not enough of those types of votes to win the election. We need someone who can stand tall like Ronald Reagan and stand up for the America we all hold dear. We heard a dear brother originally from Liberia in our Sunday night Bible class and he was lamenting the changes he has seen in our nation since coming here in 1991. He said he carried a huge burden for the America that has been so good to him and his family. He asked that we become more prayerful as we seek God's help in bringing America to a position where she can be blessed by God again and in turn, be a blessing to the world. His belief is that God raised up America to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that she has done all over the world, but now others are beginning to take up the role of evangelism as our nation becomes more and more self absorbed and self focused. Yes. It was a sobering message but not one without hope. He read from the obscure Prophet Habakkuk in the Old Testament who also was burdened for his nation and he was crying out to God. God's answer came. He is at work. He knows all about it. He is still in control. May God help our great nation return to that greatness as she returns to God. Amen. Have a wonderful Monday and I'll be here somewhere, doing something, you can count on that!            .....More later.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Never too old to learn but it can produce an ouch now and then.

The long awaited Friday, it is here, and I bid you welcome to it on this September 23, 2011. I'm going to try and change the subject today and call it a politics free blog. I'm going to try. That's my objective for today's blog. That is it. Now, the question becomes what to write about. We who are believers know that while the saying that tells us the only things in life we can be sure of is death and taxes is not complete, we also understand what is being communicated. But since death and taxes will tend to tread where I said I wouldn't go today, I will leave that subject for another day. My eldest grandson told me the other day that he had written a paper about how his grandfather mostly treats him like he is two to three years younger than he really is. He said he actually was able to write two pages on the subject which is remarkable since his dyslexia and attention deficit disorder does give him problems in being able to do things like this. It was one of those good news, not-so-sure news feelings. You talking about me? And, of course he was. He is obviously right in terms of how he sees it. At that moment the only thing I could think of was to tell him if I were to treat him like my granddad treated me at 14, then we would both be sweating like there's no tomorrow as we labored over a crosscut saw. Pretty lame? I know, but it caught me off guard. He did agree that maybe the current situation might be an improvement over those wood cutting days, however, I've seen that boy struggle with the blank page and for him to write two pages, I will need to pay attention to how I interact with that young man. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't offended in the least bit because it obviously was important to him, therefore, I will try to do better. Things for me to do: Stop treating my 14 year old grandson like he is still a little kid. Got it!

The Facebook people have gone completely off their rocker. Just about the time everyone gets an idea how to post, respond, and use their system, they up and change the entire format. Maybe it's because you are a little over the hill that you are distressed by these changes. Not even close. People are complaining including the in-the-know younger folks. One website reported that the complaints regarding this latest overhaul of the system may be setting an all time record for complaints. I've always wanted to be a part of setting the record. Where do I sign up? Do I get a T-shirt? Joking only. Thanks to my sweet niece Angela, we finally got the remote support utility function working on mom and dad's new laptop. I can now have access to their desktop and use my mouse to show them what to do when they have a problem. They are brand new to Facebook and now it has changed and I'm not sure how to use the changed version but here I am trying to show my parents how to use it. Did someone send them a memo and ask them to mess around with my mind, or what? Just kidding. Some have commented about it being a free service. Since the folks who invented Facebook are some of the richest people on the planet, there is a huge monetary opportunity in there, somewhere. Advertising, added services, whatever, along with them having the most comprehensive information on some 250 million people, now that my friend, is worth tons. But, in this case, I have no choice. I had said I was going to try and not use this phrase as much as I have in the past but it seems to fit so well: "It is what it is and we will just have to adapt."

Made it to paragraph three and I have not said anything yet about the shenanigans going on in 'you know where'. I do not have plans, that I am aware of, for my Saturday. That may change but it's a pretty good feeling not to have that mental scheduling thingy in my mind working overtime. I will be finishing up my Bible lesson for Sunday and preparing my handout, but, I do that every week, therefore, it's a given. I may sleep late or as I often hear it said, sleep in. I know I heard some of you laughing led by that lady that I've lived with for nearly 47 years. Of course anything past 6 a.m. for me would be like a sleeping medicine overdose. I do have those pesky relatives of mine that sound their own alarm, on their own schedule. Uncle Bursey, (Bursitis), along with cousin Arthur, (Arthritis), they and their many offspring do rattle my bones which works better than an alarm clock. But all of that is rather small compared to so many who have greater challenges in their lives, and, on top of that, God has blessed me to be able to manage all of these things and for this and so much more I give Him thanks and praise. You can do the same. In fact, Lord's Day Sunday will be an excellent day for you and your family to show up at the place where God's people gather to join in praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now that will do a body more good than brand name or generic, or even paper or plastic. I know. That doesn't make sense but it came to me, therefore, I threw it in. May God bless us all until we meet again. Amen.                   ......More later.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I know. It does sound like a one track song. But it's the one I believe I need to be singing!

It's Thursday, September 22, 2011 and just so you know it's only 93 shopping days until Christmas. You should also be aware that Mr. Fact Checker here did not fact check that number. I took it from one of those countdown websites but it looks to be in the ballpark. Being in the ballpark this many days out is okay because at this point and time it is still only a coming attraction. I know most folks would rather not think about the holiday season with all the gloom and doom that defines our news today. However, for those of us who are directly connected, Santa Inc., etc., we have to pay a little more attention as we fill in our scheduled appearances. Speaking of the news, the issues involving Israel and the so-called Palestinians is definitely heating up. Reading articles about this situation, the United Nations involvement, and the way in which nations are aligning themselves, wow, it's almost like reading directly from some of the prophetic passages in the Bible! I believe what the Bible says about the lands that were deeded to Abraham's descendants. I believe in the Creator who has ownership of the earth. I also believe the day is coming when all those borders found in the Scriptures will be occupied by God's chosen people, the Jews. The land in dispute today is a mere fraction of that laid out in our Bible, therefore, these unsettling times where the majority of the world's governments increasingly are hostile towards Israel is also a part of God's plan and purpose being played out before our very eyes. The inspired New Testament historian, Luke, put it this way: "But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)

What's that you say? Things like this is the reason you never watch the news. We are just over 312 million citizens and if you look at the total viewing numbers for news related programming, it is a fairly small slice who actually do try to keep up with what's going on. Here's my concern. There are those out there who will take advantage of the majority who choose to stick their head in the sand. Politicians will, for sure. Unscrupulous business people will also. Therefore, just like in the olden days, we need watchmen on the wall keeping an eye on those who would mount an attack against us. I am pleased that all three of my boys stay pretty much tuned in when it comes to current events, political matters, and other related stories. I'm often told that it is just all too depressing. Much of it is, but hiding from reality will not make it go away and depending on someone else to keep up with things for you, well, that can become a serious flaw as well. After having seen the President's recent speech to the joint session of the Congress, I can well understand why they were nervous about being up against the NFL opener. His speech garnered fairly low ratings but the NFL game set a record for opening night. Being up against football did show us one thing. The President's teleprompter can be forced to shorten its remarks when necessity demands it. For this we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief!

Some of you think I am being too hard on our President? I may have turned the burner up a notch or two but it is only in response to him and his people. They have said they are no longer going to play nice because that time has passed. They are now going to play hardball. The Gallup folks said this week that less than 40% of those polled are impressed with how the President is doing his job. That leaves 60%. Where I come from 60 has always been much larger than less than 40. No wonder they are doubling down and trying to get tough. Even their far left wing base is beginning to waver. This last episode of trying to ignite a class war has not been received well in any quarters, left, right, or the middle, especially those in the middle! Folks see it for what it is. Therefore, since they have announced that the gloves have come off and it's bare knuckle time, well, I will have to become a little more agitated in my responses. I care about what happens to our country. I am well aware there are excesses on all sides. But, there is a core belief system that has brought God's blessings upon our land, and I pray that we will find that place, and run to it, just like that verse from the Old Testament that has been turned into a song, "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe." (Proverbs 18:10) That would be the place to run and hide and it is so much better than hiding our heads in the sand. May God bless each one and may God bless our nation. Amen.                ......More later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If I had to hunt and peck, we might all be better off!

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Yesterday morning as I sat at my keyboard a little after 4:30 a.m., I was sipping on my cup of Community, brewed good and strong, and the thought occurred to me that in many respects, it just doesn't get much better than this. I had to stop and chuckle and send up a prayer of thanksgiving because while it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, it just struck me as being a wonderful blessing. See. I've told you before that it doesn't take much. And, I am thankful that I am thankful to God for the little things He allows me to take pleasure in. Like slamming together this piece of communication that I pass off as me having something to share each day. I will be the first to admit that the keyboard often runs faster than the mental controller who is supposed to be in charge. It shows? I told you. On the other hand, I occasionally find something I wrote many years ago, a report, a Bible lesson, or letter and when I reread it, to tell you the truth, I am somewhat impressed even to the extent of wondering if I really wrote it. Yes, I am very aware that this is certainly not the case on everything I put on paper or the electronic page. I readily admit there are some that meet the test of me having very little to share but it didn't keep me from writing a full page anyway. However, I understand a little about how the process works and let me just say that I am very thankful to have what few gray cells I have left. I am also thankful to share some of how God has worked in my life. Knowing me, I am very much thankful that His mercy and grace continues today. And, as you can tell, I am always thankful for that cup of Community that just seems to help make the day a little brighter.

I suppose if you wanted to have a job with great security you could get one where you spend all day fact checking some of the political stuff saturating the airwaves each day. The recent tirade from our President about how that wealthy people in our country are not paying their fair share just doesn't hold up when the actual numbers are reviewed. According to a variety of sources, currently folks making over $250,000 per year pay on average 25% to 29% of their income in federal taxes. Some pay much more than that and some pay less. That compares to an average rate of 12% for all tax payers combined and there are an estimated 46 million lower income people who pay no federal tax at all. Other IRS statistics show the percentage of all taxes paid by the more well off, and those numbers are also staggering. Of course within the context of the wealthy I am sure there are notable exceptions where someone has found ways within the current tax code to defer or reduce their tax liabilities. There are folks who make a living finding these loopholes. To hear the President, one would think the rich in this country are getting a free ride. Instead of trying to cause a war between the haves and have nots, which is exactly what President Obama is doing, for his own political reasons I might add, he should be focusing on ways to change the tax code so that it is more efficient in how it handles all taxpayers. The chief executive of the company chosen by the President to lead out on job creation and innovation turns out to be the head of a huge corporation that made huge profits last year and because of deductions and deferrals, which were perfectly legal, they paid zero in federal taxes. This is the handpicked example chosen by the President. See what I mean? Maybe you are one that thinks the wealthy should pay 50% or even more. I don't know what the right number is but I am for a total overhaul of the outdated and basically hopeless federal tax system that we have in our nation. The President does not have the will to do it and the Congress may talk about it, but in the end, the loopholes win, and the political games continue, and we, the American people, suffer as a result. Let me say one more time that I detest the President dividing Americans based on something other than the facts, and for him to do this for political gain may not be new, but at a time when we are in such crisis, it does make me sick to my stomach!

Even those observers who support the President see through this latest attempt to frame his reelection bid. Instead of a President for all the people we have a Divider in Chief, all in the name of political gain. History will not be kind to this type of divisive fear mongering. But, that's probably enough about that. I am, by the way, for everyone being treated fairly in how the tax system works. And, you don't have to read what I say and believe it just because it's painted on the page. There are numerous newspapers and think tanks and other independent groups who have recently fact checked all of these claims, from all sides, and you can read them for yourself. Like I say, even those supporting the President are questioning his tactics as it relates to stirring up these passions. Facts. Truth. That's what we need. Jesus told His Jewish listeners that knowing the truth would set them free. They immediately were outraged in challenging His assertion that they were in any bondage whatsoever. (That's always been somewhat humorous to me since they were living under the iron fist of Rome when this dialogue occurred.) Of course Jesus was talking about the bondage of living based on wrong information. Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah but they had distorted through their traditions the image of the coming Messiah and they did not recognize Him as their King. See what I mean? Truth matters. In their case it involved their eternal destiny. (Gospel of John, Chapter 8) Just saying that facts matter folks, and we should pursue knowing them as best we can in order for us to not be misled. Amen and Amen.               ......More later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Philippians 4:7: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Hello to one and all on this Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Confession time. Yesterday I came loaded and ready to write another scathing assessment of the woeful weather forecasting here in our area. You know the one where I go off on those big percent rain projections that end up bringing in nothing. I was ready. But I changed my mind faster than I might have believed. What brought on this sudden change in direction? It was that prediction being played out on my windshield, that's what! But don't think that I am ready to cut the local weather prognosticators any slack, I'll just save it for another day, but not a rainy day, just another day, we want to keep as many of those rainy days as we can. Yes. I am well aware there are places in our nation, even as I write this blog, who are praying for rain to stop, for rivers and creeks to subside, so they can deal with the aftermath from the flooding they have experienced. That pretty much reflects the condition we all share. The human condition. Words from a Gospel song we used to sing comes to mind. "Someone will get a blessing as promised by the Lord, Someone will then rejoice and happy be; Someone will be heart broken and crying mournfully,  Maybe its you, and then maybe its me,  Maybe its you, and then maybe its me; who'll be the next to face eternity? When the day has come and gone, He will call somebody home, maybe its you and then maybe its me. Someone will be in sorrow and tears will start to fall, No comfort, peace nor happiness they’ll see, Some one will have their troubles, be filled with misery,  Maybe its you, and maybe its me, Maybe its you, and maybe its me, Who’ll be the next to face eternity, When the day has come and gone,  He will take somebody home. Maybe its you, and then maybe it's me. Someone will die tomorrow, as many have today, This life is so uncertain, we can see, Someone the call will answer, we know not who ‘twill be,  Maybe its you, and maybe its me, Maybe its you, and maybe its me Who’ll be the next to face eternity When the day has come and gone  He will take somebody home. Maybe its you and then maybe its me." The good news? We are in His hands and the Apostle Peter said that we should cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. Amen.  ( See 1st Peter Chapter 5, Verse 7)

Speaking of songs, they were playing some at our house on Sunday that we love dearly. It's the sound of children laughing. And, running, playing, and having a great time. It's the sound of the ladies chattering and the guys giving their commentaries on the football game on TV. The sound of teenaged girls giggling mixed in with the beeps from the guy's playing their computer games. To us, it's the sound of love. The sound of family. And, yes, getting ready for and having a great time together can be exhausting, especially for us older dudes, but, in the end, we sit back and relive the sights and sounds that God has privileged us to be a part of. I told someone at our local Church meeting Sunday evening that our house looked like it had been run over by a freight train, but we were happy that it did. Family. Family matters. Diversity. You betcha! Differing views, differing problems, but we are bound together by the bond of love. We are family. In something as seemingly trivial as us all singing happy birthday to a six year old, we connect into who we are. That little guy matters to all of us in our family just like the rest of our kids, and each other. God designed it that way and we do not take it for granted when He allows us to share a wonderful time together. We give Him thanks because He alone is worthy of all praise. Amen.

I thank God that He allowed me to see our great granddaughter and to observe how she has made a huge impact on our eldest son, her Paw Paw, or whatever she ends up calling him, because right now it's still up in the air. In exactly the same way, her mom gave me my name, Poppy, along with making a very similar impact on my life. It's tough trying to work and raise up children and do all the things that need to be done. But, there's something about that first grandchild that resets the clock and gives one an opportunity to rethink some things and to slow down a little and take the time to soak up the joy that this child brings. I know. My boys wondered when her mom was born where this daddy was when they were growing up. I know his girls no doubt have similar feelings. Obviously, I could have done better as a dad, and I know he feels the same way, but, what a joy to experience it all through the cycles of life that God has given to us. My prayer is that being a granddad has helped to make me a better dad due some to the white hair and the little bit of wisdom God has allowed me to attain. I can still remember when my eldest son and I stood together and we first saw his first little one laying in that crib in the hospital nursery. It was emotional for him and I. We were able to a great extent to repeat that experience with his first grandchild, and all I can say is that God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good! Slowly but surely I am beginning to become comfortable with my status as an older fellow, at home, at work, and in our local fellowship of believers. While I know I am a high mileage vehicle, I do thank God he has brought me this far. Have yourself a great day and may God bless each one! Amen.      .....More later.

Monday, September 19, 2011

“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Job 36:27-28

It is a brand new work week on this Monday, September 26, 2011 and we had us one great time of family and fellowship yesterday as we gathered to celebrate Alexander Benjamin's birthday. We always thank God for our times of being able to be together as a family. I actually drove through a rain storm this morning. Rain storm. That's right. Rain storm. It was raining so hard at times I had the urge to find a safe place to pull off. I was driving and thanking God, driving and thanking God. On Saturday we had a wonderful shower and some of our grandchildren even got out in it and played. Our Alesha, one half of our thirteen year old twins, came into the house and tried to made a funny. She said, "Poppy, there's this stuff falling from the sky, it feels wet but I've forgotten what you call it." You know this drought has been bad when the kids begin trying to do stand up comedy. The Lord God of heaven knows we need this rain. And, so many have been praying for rain. I well understand a fellow I saw on the news who was leading a prayer meeting for rain. The clip showed him crying like a baby. He was sincere as he sought God's intervention. It reminded me of that account from the Old Testament where Judah's King Hezekiah had been given only a short time to live according to the word from God spoken through the Prophet Isaiah. After delivering this message Isaiah left his audience with the king. Hezekiah responded by turning his face to the wall and crying out to God. The Lord then spoke again to Isaiah and told him to return to Hezekiah. Isaiah had a new message from God that told Hezekiah how God had seen his tears and had extended his life. Wow! That's always been an amazing passage to me. God saw his tears. What a thought! God cared about Hezekiah and He cares about you and I today. Amen. (You can read this wonderful account from 2 Kings Chapter 20, and Isaiah Chapter 38.)

Some people are happy that all the news on the economy is bad and getting worse in nearly every category. They feel this way because of their opposition to President Obama and they think the worse it gets the better chance an opponent will have running against him. In fact, some are so opposed they find themselves cheering for the piling on of one bad report upon another. I couldn't disagree more. There are probably very few, if any, areas of thought and philosophy where I would be in agreement with the President, yet I do not wish for more misery on the American people who have and are continuing to suffer in this catastrophic economic collapse. This leads me to my first point and it has to do with an overwhelming persuasion that I would never vote for President Obama's reelection, however, I am not so inclined as to make my vote worth more based on the increased misery of my fellow citizens. Secondly, I remind us all that it will require an opponent capable of beating the incumbent president and thus far I've seen very little to give me confidence in any of those running for the Republican nomination. To those who appear to relish and applaud the pain of others for the so called greater good, I remind us all that behind the woeful statistics there are real folks, moms, dads, and children who are struggling every day just to survive. That's my thoughts about where we are and I felt like it would be good for us all to think some on this matter.

I'm not able to put a disclaimer on my views. You know like the one they use on television. "The information shared on this program does not reflect the views of this station." I also can't add one of those exception comments like they do at the end of a drug commercial. When the exceptions are longer than the ad itself and the voice over has to read it at a minimum of 100 miles per hour, that could really cause one to wonder. No. These won't work on this blog because here you will find what I think on any number of subjects. There are folks who do not share my views. You would have never guessed that to be so? You do need to get out more is all I can say. And, even closer to home, you may be one of those who have a different view based on your own experiences and deliberations. Welcome to America, where we can do just that. Examine, investigate, evaluate, and come to our own conclusion. Yes. I believe in God's truth being the final arbiter of truth but not everyone does and for even those who do, they might see it applying in a different way. There you have it. Thoughts, ideas, and opinions from where I sit and I can assure you that I really do try to make it 'The View From Here'. I am so thankful for the freedom of speech and I know that God has given our nation the opportunities and the privileges we have. Thanks for tuning in and may God bless us all as we continue our journey forward. Amen.         ....More later.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday to our Alexander Benjamin!

Today is Friday, September 16, 2011, and I bid you welcome. This upcoming Sunday is another one of those special days for us in our family. It is the birthday of our Alexander Benjamin who will become a six year old. If you haven't noticed, our grandchildren are special to us. Hey, and I am glad to say that they are, for the most part, all characters, and that my friend, is one of the things that distinguishes our lineage. That's right. We all are a bunch of characters. Alex is the baby boy of our middle son Jimmy. I looked over the toys recommended for his age group. Sorry. He has played one too many video games with his brother for any of that stuff to make sense. Those items for the 6 to 8 year old category would be like getting him crib toys at this point. I'll have to settle for the games rated for Everyone, ten and above. When I was six there's no telling what we were using as toys but I can assure you it had nothing to do with computers or video games. Watching Alex figure out a game he has never played on his MiMi's laptop is amazing to me. He cannot read yet but he has played enough computer games to get the hang of it pretty quickly. He also has a built in support line with his brother and he does use it from time to time. We do thank God for this child who seems suited to bring joy wherever he shows up. God knew this Poppy would need to be ministered to by an abundance of grandchildren and we love them all. Happy Birthday Alexander Benjamin. Love, MiMi and Poppy.

Here's some 'GRAND' quotes that I thought were interesting. Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. ~ Author Unknown  What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure. ~ Gene Perret    Grandmothers are just "antique" little girls. ~ Author Unknown   Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. ~ Welsh Proverb   A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television. ~ Author Unknown   Never have children, only grandchildren. ~ Gore Vidal   Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you're just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. ~ Pam Brown   Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is good because granddaddies have only so many horsey rides in them. ~ Gene Perret   Grandmother always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. ~ Marcy DeMaree   Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies. ~ Author unknown   Grandmothers hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. ~ Author Unknown   If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I'd have had them first. ~ Lois Wyse   My grandkids believe I'm the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too. ~ Gene Perret   If becoming a grandmother was only a matter of choice, I should advise every one of you straight away to become one. There is no fun for old people like it! ~ Hannah Whithall Smith   It's such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother - that's why the world calls her grandmother. ~ Author Unknown   Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old. ~ Mary H. Waldrip   You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother ~ Proverb

Time flies when you are having fun is the way the saying goes but it also flies when you are, you know, busy. And, today's blog ends another active week of busyness where we seemed to always be on our way to the next thing on our schedule. That's the way it works for everyone? Good. Then we are not alone? I'm just joking because we are so thankful to have things to do and places to go and people to see and activities to participate in and schedules to keep, and sometimes we all get a little winded in the process, however, it's still a blessing because often I enjoy what I call a good tired. A good tired comes at the end of a day where you have put forth your best effort, or maybe helped someone out, or you accomplished an important task. That good tired leads to a good sleep and I, for one, do enjoy that outcome. I know. Many folks have trouble sleeping and I'm not bragging because I don't, I'm just saying how thankful I am that typically there's not too much time between my head hitting the pillow and when that far away place of deep sleep takes over. My wife says it can happen in mid sentence and it amazes her. While science still tries to figure out why we need sleep, I know that God designed it into our make up, and here's what Solomon recorded in Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet." I do pray that you and yours will have a good Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. May God be with us until we meet again, here, for another ride on the old Blogmobile. Amen.       ....More later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You know you're old if they have discontinued your blood type. PHYLLIS DILLER

Good Thursday morning. It's September 15, 2011. I do find more and more that the number one source for laughter in my sphere is none other than yours truly. I must be one of the most forgetful people I know. Just the other day I came up to a door, saw my reflection and immediately stepped to the side so I could open the door for that elderly gentleman. Duh! It was little ole me! The sight alone was enough to throw me off track. See what I mean? I know that I will eventually get used to being a full fledged member of the club but right now I have trouble seeing myself in that distinguished group of older folks. Even when folks do show particular respect and recognition for my age, it is foreign to me to the extent I initially wonder why they are being so nice, and then it dawns on me, it's because of the white hair. Oh my! I'm not saying it happens all the time because our society pretty much erased that part about respect for elders, however, there are some out there who buck that trend and while I appreciate it very much, surely there are others that are more deserving. You know. Those old folks that are more aware of their position in life. Perhaps in my case, ignorance, while not bliss, it may be the only thing keeping me from showing my Medicare card to anyone willing to look at it. Excuse me while I pull my pants up under my chin as I practice for that time when it will become habit. Just joking. You can laugh. It is permitted on this blog.

I give you my permission to laugh at my antics because, brothers and sisters, you have not even heard much of a sampling but I'll save the really good stuff for my memoirs. And, while we joke about the medicinal value of laughter, it is an established fact that a laugh a day does help our bodies, therefore, I suppose there is some merit to the adage that it will keep the doctor away. Some have said good hearty laughter increases blood flow as much as a 20 minute walk. Here's a little story that I thought was funny. "A Polish man moved to the USA and married an American girl. Although his English was far from perfect, they got along very well until one day he rushed into a lawyer's office and asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him. The lawyer said that getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and asked him the following questions: Have you any grounds? Yes, an acre and half and nice little home. No, I mean what is the foundation of this case? It made of concrete. I don't think you understand. Does either of you have a real grudge? No, we have carport, and not need one. I mean. What are your relations like? All my relations still in Poland. Is there any infidelity in your marriage? We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player. Does your wife beat you up? No, I always up before her. Why do you want this divorce? She going to kill me. What makes you think that? I got proof. What kind of proof? She going to poison me. She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom. I can read, and it say: 'Polish Remover'."

It beats listening to the news. Right? That's the program where they always say good evening and then for the next 30 minutes they tell us why it isn't good at all. But, I watch it anyway because I want to know even if it is a little depressing from time to time. I watched the entirety of the Republican debate Monday evening, 2 hours, except for the 30 minute nap I grabbed midway through one of the long answers. That's the one thing age has brought to me. The ability to nap. I've never been much of a napper. I well remember how funny it was to watch Paw Paw Mac dozing in his rocker. Now, my grand kids get to enjoy watching their Poppy snooze a little here and there. Oh but I was not really sleeping, I tell them, just resting my eyes. Then a voice is heard from the kitchen, "Poppy, don't be teaching them to lie. You were sleeping and they all know it!" The five o'clock news is not the only source of getting it straight. But, we also all have a good laugh. I tell them I wish they wouldn't be so noisy when they doze off and they all protest and point the finger at me. Now Paw Paw did not like it when we laughed at him but so far I get a big kick out of them having fun, at my expense. I stress the so far, because that is subject to change, if you know what I mean. If none of this brings a smile then commit to finding something about today that you can laugh about. It will do a body good. Amen.     ....More later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Son, quit leaning on the saw, you know better, I didn't eat your breakfast so don't make me carry it too!"

It is Wednesday, and I bid you welcome here on September 14, 2011. When I was a young lad this was the time of year Paw Paw Mac went out to gather firewood for the upcoming winter. My grandfather did not have much in the way of formal education but there was not much he couldn't do with his hands and using his head, as he would say it, for something other than a hat rack. We used the old fashioned crosscut saw. That's the one you see with a painted farm scene hanging in people's dens. But we used it to fell many a tree and then cut it up into appropriate lengths for the fireplace. If it had been left up to me I would have probably voted to wait until it became a little cooler but with the cooler weather came the wet weather and some of the areas where we cut wood may have been inaccessible. I can see that now. But as a young teenaged boy, it seemed like mighty hard work out in the heat. In one of the lives that God had given to me in the business world, I had to do a significant amount of planning for the future. I often thought about my grandfather and how he prepared for the winter. He would painstakingly get everything ready before we left for the woods. He would check and recheck to make sure we had everything we would need including backups if the primary didn't work. He had to make sure the old pickup was serviced and ready because it would be coming back home loaded down, and I do mean loaded down. Lessons in life are not always taught in the classroom, many of them are caught on the fly. Thanks to my grandfather and many others for preparing me to have a fairly decent run in the management game in the high tech world of communications and computers. 

Looking back. That's not a good thing for some folks since they have so many bad memories from their past. I have many regrets but not so many bad memories and I count myself to be blessed to be able to greatly enjoy a walk down memory lane. Sure. At the time I was involved in many activities I had no clue they would end up being a special memory, later. The good news for me is that I did come to realize this at a fairly young age. I thank God for this because I did try to show my appreciation to those who had poured so much into my life. It was later than it should have been but the fact that I did it at all is a blessing because I've had so many special people who contributed to my life. In my family and in my extended world in our community, folks that went out of their way to make a difference in my life. You never had it that way? I'm sorry. Maybe some had it better than they think but they've never been able to see it that way. Whatever the case, we know that God ordained that we should help one another as we make our way in life. I've not done as much of that as I should but I do recognize it as both a privilege and a responsibility. And, if I need to know if it can really work, I can always do myself just a little remembering of those who did it for me. May God bless their memory. Amen.

Can I conjure up some really bad stuff from the past to agitate about? I could and most likely I have but that is about as useless as a screen door on a submarine, which used to be a funny, that is, way back in the day. We've all got some scars and I know some people who are still fighting battles about perceived slights from people who have many years ago gone on to their reward. I'm not being critical but I just can't see anything positive at all that can come from that kind of thinking. And, as I have told others, no one is having trouble but the individual who dwells on such matters. When I've heard some of what really bothers folks, it isn't big, in my way of seeing it. I know. Different strokes for different folks, but I just hate to see people lose out on the good memories that can become islands of refreshment and they truly can become, as the song tells us, Precious Memories. No. I am not working to replace Dr. Phil. And, no. I've never watched Dr. Phil but I do know who he is. At the same time we can always encourage one another and that's what I am desiring to do. Have a good day and don't forget to remember the good things from your past. Amen.     ....More later.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I may not know about today or tomorrow, but I know the One who does!

Made it to Tuesday and it is another day here in the neighborhood, on this September 13, 2011. I suppose we all should be happy the superstition landed on Friday the 13th and not just the 13th or we would all be wringing our hands every month. Joking only. I have been surprised over the years at the number of people who are superstitious. Even among the family of believers. I've even heard preachers say something and then pronounce a 'knock on wood' comment on it. Maybe it was just a figure of speech. I do hope so. It has been ingrained into our psyche from our earliest days and I will be the first to admit that the knee jerk is there when the black cat races across in front of my bumper. Thankfully, it is only a fleeting thought as faith always supersedes silliness. But it is sad that some folks, even believers, still read their horoscope each day, for fun they say, but when they act upon what they read, well, that's another story entirely. The New Testament writer, James, thought to be the half brother of Jesus the Christ, he said that believers should seek each day with an appreciation for the Lord's will. ("Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." Chapter 4:13-16) That's where our confidence comes from, when we say it and mean it,  'Thy will be done.' 

We offer thanks to God that the most significant exposure from the recent wildfires here in this area has now been greatly reduced. This was accomplished thanks to the tireless efforts of local firefighters, volunteers, and units that have come from all over our country. Many residents, displaced for 8 days are more, are now beginning to be able to get back to their homes. Our county lost eight dwellings and another fifteen structures. Compared to the huge potential for loss, this is a small number, however, for those who have lost all their belongings, it is about as huge as it gets. Thus far, we have had no loss of human life in our area. The loss of homes in neighboring counties has been much greater. The huge fire that raged for days up near Bastrop, Texas goes down as one of the most destructive in our nation's history. I've seen those faces on the news at night. It puts a knot in the belly just watching. We are blessed to have both firefighters and law enforcement people in our local fellowship. Many of them have been on the front lines throughout this great challenge, often working with little or no sleep. I pause to recognize their efforts as well as to offer a prayer for their safety and well being.

I can tell you this. We, like most places, go through periods of fire danger each year, but no one would have ever predicted this season's destructive fires. It had never happened before. This has been some summer and it's not over yet. We have a day sometime next week with an over 50% prediction of rain. Next week folks. I've never heard so many people talking about that day. With all due respect, they have trouble with next day but folks are rallying behind a prediction for next week. This shows how desperate we are here in these parts for rain and it also tells us how dependent we are as people. We've always prided ourselves on being pretty much able to take care of our own business, reliant, and sufficient. Hurricane Ike helped strip away any sense of our being able to take care of business by ourselves. God would have every person to know that we need Him. We need Him in our personal walk for salvation, and we need Him in our daily walk to help us through the unexpected challenges that will, that's right folks, that will come into each life. May we find this truth early and not late is my prayer for this Tuesday. May God bless each one. Amen.    .....More later.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Monday and time to get up and get with it!

Hello, it is Monday and back to the grind, as they say, on this September 12, 2011. No grind for me, just a great place to come to each day and help out where I can. That's not to say that I don't know what a grind is like because I have many years of some up close and personal experience with those 70 hour or more work weeks. I am pleased to report that mom and dad are well. They celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary last Friday. Talk about a blessing. Our mom and dad have been there for all of us kids from the get go and in mom's case she's been at it now for over 75 years. We kids do take a lot of care and feeding, if you know what I mean. I was able to visit with them again this past Saturday. While I was there I tried to configure their new laptop so that I can log into it and be there with them remotely as they continue to improve their use of it. It didn't quite work out but we have not given up yet, meanwhile, I made some additional changes to help make their usage a little easier. It was a joy to be with them and to enjoy the big breakfast dad always fixes when we visit. I know. Some of you thought 'prepares' would have been a better word but remember we come from a place where nearly everyone talks about how they are fixing to do something. If that usage passes itself off as communication, the other will have to do as well. 

I did watch the President's address the other evening. I was tuned in to hear something really meaningful because why else would he call for both houses of the Congress to meet. I listened to what he had to say. It didn't take me long to come to a conclusion. This was nothing more than a campaign speech and in particular a way to try and bolster his chances in 2012. The tone. The substance, or lack thereof. The threats. The teleprompter. It all seems so same old same old to me. I don't think too many of the nearly 20 million folks either un or under employed came away impressed or inspired. After he finished the pundits took off with those on his side spinning like there is no tomorrow and that might be exactly true, when you think about it. With his approval numbers so low, it's hard to know how to take his threat to take his proposal out to the public. The folks he has are going to be with him, no matter what, so getting them to agree with him seems pointless. The other 60% who have soured on his ability to get anything done, well, I didn't hear anything in his speech that is going to get them running back for more. No wonder the markets tanked. No wonder we all are left wondering. What a mess, what a mess!

Dad touching the name of his son.

I'm channeling William Bendix from the old Life of Riley series, "What a revolting development this is." But, these past couple of days did tend to reignite our sense of what it means to be an American as we all paused to reflect upon the attacks made on our nation 10 years ago. That patriotic spirit on display at the NASCAR race, the special commemorations in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and in that field located in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and in all the NFL openers, it was refreshing, it was humbling, and it was needful. Our sermon on Sunday emphasized the word picture of those first responders running into the World Trade Center while others were running away. The point was that, as believers, our faith should cause us to take action to make a difference as we see towers crumbling all around us, in families, in individuals, and in the principles that define us as a people. Gripping stuff. Convicting stuff. Enough so that I am driven to seek God's help that I might be one who would act upon the faith I have in Him, that I might be used to help someone along the way, and make a difference for time and eternity during my sojourn here. It also makes me aware that we need to pray for our government leaders, specifically, that God would direct and guide them each day. May God bless our nation again is my prayer. Amen.            .....More later.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"O Lord heal our land, ..... heal our land."

Good morning and I bid you a hearty welcome to this only day that we have to do something with, Friday, September 9, 2011. This coming Sunday will usher in the 10th anniversary of that fateful day back in 2001. Each of us remember what we were doing when we found out about the attack on the Word Trade Center in New York City. I was sitting at my work station actually listening to the BBC news from London on the radio when they interrupted to report a plane crash in New York City (8:46 a.m.), only to report the second crash moments later, (9:02). We then learned about that plane crashing into the Pentagon, (9:37 a.m.) Finally, that last plane was crashed into that field in Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. Bewildering. Chaotic. It was a confusing and fearful feeling as we all reeled from the blow struck by those who hate us and our way of life. Yes. It did change us all. Yes. We are still paying for it in dollars today. Yes. We will never be the same, but at the same time, we are also, by the grace of God, still standing, standing tall as a beacon for freedom, still waving Old Glory, still pledging allegiance to our flag, and still proclaiming to one and all, friend and foe, that we here in America are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! I pray for the families left behind who still mourn the loss of their loved ones murdered in this series of cowardly attacks. I pray for those who are still dealing with injuries suffered in the attack. I pray for the emergency response teams that faced the aftermath with not only loss of life but many injuries that carry on today. I pray for the men and women who wear the uniform of our nation who now face each day in harm's way. I pause also to remember those heroes that helped take down that flight in Pennsylvania saving countless lives in the process, in so doing, they not only gave their lives, but they exemplified the American spirit. And, finally I pray that America, we, the people, would somehow regain that flag flying spirit that led us to crowd into our places of worship where we prayed together to seek God that He would guide and protect us, through the night with the light from above. Amen and Amen.

I know plenty who will be attending special commemorative events around the country. I think that is wonderful. For us, we plan to, Lord willing, to join with our local fellowship of believers on this upcoming Sunday, as is our practice, and we will no doubt offer up prayers to God, as is also our practice. Freedom. It's not always easy and it certainly can be dangerous as we saw on that fateful day. And, we also know it isn't free. You and I are free today because of those throughout our history who shed their blood. Of course the ultimate freedom that each heart yearns for is found only in Christ. That freedom certainly was not free in that He gave Himself up for us all. It is really wonderful to live in the land of the free. But, folks, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36) Coming to know Christ is the freedom that counts not only for this time but for all eternity and may God help us to share that message with a lost and dying world. Amen.

Some have expressed concerns that we might come across too patriotic in our observance of this anniversary. They think we might further provoke our enemies. It's hard to imagine that we still have folks who think we can appease our way into favor with those radically opposed to the very founding principles of our way of life. But they are among us and our freedoms allow them to have their say, and I am glad they can do that very thing, here, because they couldn't exercise much freedom at all in the lands where our enemies plot our destruction. Yes. There is a struggle here to protect our individual freedoms while taking necessary actions to guard against future attacks. That balance is precarious and it is one that is worth the time and effort because when we give up our individual freedoms we cease to be the America of our forefathers. Having that tension is a good thing and we can be thankful for those who stand guard over our liberty. We, even as a fairly young nation, are still a work in progress, but one that God has immensely blessed. We have some huge challenges on our plates right now but I believe that God can still bless our great land, and I ask that you join me in seeking Him to direct our way forward. Amen. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday, and I'll see you next time.     .....More later.