Friday, June 28, 2013

Voted one of the worst country songs: "You Done Tore Out My Heart And Stomped That Sucker Flat"

Today is Friday, June 28, 2013, nine days since she left me home alone. Nine days. She is headed this way, but it's a long journey. Lord willing she will be home tomorrow evening. Day ten. Back when we were dating and we would break up, she would give me my 8x10 and I would give hers back but by the time I got to the end of their road to make that left turn onto the highway towards home, I was already hurting and humming. Humming Ray Charles. "I Can't Stop Loving You." Sorry. But that's how we rolled back in those days. Brother Ray had some good ones to help drown yourself in sorrow. "Born To Lose." "That Lucky Old Sun." "My Heart Cries for You." Mr. Webb who owned the drive in cafe in my hometown used to tell me I could not play the same song over and over again because it was annoying the other folks there. I thought it was a free country. I had the dimes. I should have been able to play whatever song on the juke box that I wanted to hear. Right? He didn't roll exactly the way I did and he had no problem saying enough is enough. That seems like such a long time ago. You know why? Because it was! That's why. At any rate, I have not been humming any Ray tunes, just waiting for my baby to come home, or something like that.

To be honest, we were so young I had to pretty much make it up as we went along. I had not had too much in the way of training or instruction, therefore, I had to let my heart and instinct lead. I can't remember how long we ever stayed broken up but it was typically no more than a couple of weeks as I recall. That was over 50 years ago and I would need to check with her because she might remember the details better than I. The point I am making is how I missed her back then when we were apart, and I still do today. And, I didn't need to be made aware of the reality of that old saying about not missing the water until the well runs dry. I already know all the things she does to contribute to our home and to my well being. I had to give myself some remedial training on the washing machine but I was able to get the clothes in along with some washing soap and then I messed with the dials until some lights came on and we were off and running. I haven't missed any meals since she has been away but I did have popcorn one evening for my supper. I do like me some popcorn but I would just as soon sit down to one of her home cooked meals, any day. Making the bed immediately after getting up seemed like a waste but since I had written about it earlier I decided it was something I should do. Why not do some of those things when she is here? Have I been meddling in your business? And, after all is said and done I would never, ever, want to deprive her of doing the things she enjoys. You see, that's another one of the ways I roll.

Thanks again for all the prayers for my mom. She is regaining her strength and it is such a blessing to be able to visit with her each day by phone. Looking in my calendar book tells me this has been another busy week. Just like yours. We are busy people. Go here. Go there. Take care of this. Take care of that. I would say we all need to occasionally stop and smell the roses but I doubt that too many of them have survived this heatwave. What? It's supposed to be a metaphorical statement? Good. You mean we should get off the treadmill long enough to catch our breath now and then? Good idea. And, let me just say that I am not really over engaged in the things I have going on. Some days are busier than others but I don't see myself as being overworked, that's for sure. But, I am thankful to have had these times of sharing each day and I pray that you will enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I suppose, Lord willing, I'll catch up with you when you see that subject line in your email next Monday. Y'all take care now, you hear?   ....More later.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I always wanted to be a procrastinator but I just never got around to it.

Hello folks and welcome to Thursday, June 27, 2013. Depending on when you read this, you have the blank page before you to fill in, or, you can look back and see what all has been accomplished. I occasionally get a comment on one of my blogs where the individual says they accidentally stumbled upon it, or they were looking for something else and found it instead. It might be one that was written several years ago but given the right circumstances of the search, they find my blog. It is encouraging when someone further comments that the particular blog they read helped them in some way. Some have said it came at a crucial time and they were able to gain some needed spiritual nourishment. I say a good hearty wow and Amen to that as I count that as a blessing from the Lord. It just goes to show how that God can use anything He chooses to work in people's lives. When we get the idea that it has to be something big or spectacular and it requires some elevated thought on our part, just remember that God spoke through a donkey, and that means He can use any of us when we do what we can to do life His way. (That donkey speaking incident can be found in the Old Testament, in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 22)

This latest episode with the fellow who leaked secret information has been telling in many different ways. He may have given up some whistle blower information regarding issues in how secret information is obtained and used, but that's not the whole story. He could have done that here. He has left our country and taken with him valuable classified information that could be useful to those who are aligned against us. He is now being harbored by those who want to get their hands on any and all information he can provide. The whistle blower status is fully enveloped by his willful breaking of the laws of our nation. I say this as an observer because I certainly do not know all of the particulars. I mention it because for many it is an opportunity to attack the current administration. And that makes it a bottom line matter, for them. End of story. In other words, here's a story that can make life difficult for those occupying the White House, therefore, it is being encouraged and in many instances promoted. What about those wearing the uniform of our country who are in harm's way that may be compromised by someone leaking intelligence information? What about those cooperating with us in covert ways in the name of freedom who may be exposed by this fellow? I do believe this situation calls for a measured response. I, for one, don't believe he is a hero, but I do think the truth needs to be known and any and all who use this situation for nothing more than purely political goals should be ashamed. And, that's the way I see it.

Again, I must add the caveat, subject to change, because I certainly don't know all the details. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my wife's retirement from working in the public sector, as they call it. I need to clarify that because she certainly has not retired from working. This week she is busy working with teens up in Indiana in their effort to reach out to people with the love of Jesus. She has a full schedule of activities that she pursues each week. She has been devoted to our yard and in making our place look attractive. This has made it really tough while she is away. I have this one goal in mind, not to let anything die, at least until she comes back. I mowed this past Monday afternoon into the evening hours. It was hot in the extreme. Our neighbor was concerned because I have not been the one doing the mowing and she thought I might stroke out or something. But, I, for a change, was very careful, taking breaks, taking in plenty of fluids, and I did get the job done. Our entire family has been blessed by having the wife at home now, that is, when she is at home. I used to worry about her being so tired from working in her job. Now I worry about her overdoing it in all the many activities she pursues. Those home cooked suppers haven't hurt either unless you are talking about my waistline. Blessed. Very much indeed! Have a great day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"This snowcone is giving me a brain sneeze. It's when your brain needs to sneeze, but it caint cause its a brain, so it just hurts" Si Robertson

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, and I'm beginning to be just slightly annoyed. I guess some folks enjoy being confused with a popular TV character but in this case, I'm not so sure it's a compliment. It's happened now three or four times. The most recent was the other day at the grocery store and there I was minding my own business, just me and my buggy, when I rounded the corner and a lady was talking on her cell phone. She said, "What am I doing? You mean right at this moment. Well, right now I just happen to be looking at this old dude who reminds me a whole lot of that Uncle Si Robertson fellow on TV." I hope she didn't think my hearing was bad. She was trying to avoid staring directly at me but it was very obvious who she was talking about. I took the photo of myself using the webcam camera on my PC. I had to find a utility that would allow me to use it for that purpose. I did, therefore, you are looking at a very recent photo of me, minding my own business, sitting at my desk. I found the one of Uncle Si on the internet. In this case I will do what Fox News says they do, "I report, you decide." And, I'll leave you with another one of The Unk's good sayings, "Work hard. Nap Hard. Hey, that's what I always say, Jack."

It's all in fun folks, all in fun. Us older folks enjoy a smile now and then. Most of the time we can sure come up with plenty of self induced comedy played out as we try to make the best of it each day. Here's a little story that reflects the premise behind many jokes. ~ An older woman was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store. When she appeared before the judge, the judge asked what she had taken. The lady replied, "A can of peaches." The judge then asked why she had done it. She replied, "I was hungry and forgot to bring any cash to the store." The judge asked how many peaches were in the can. She replied, "Nine." The judge said, "Well then, I'm going to give you nine days in jail--one day for each peach." As the judge was about to drop his gavel, the lady's husband raised his hand and asked if he might speak. The judge said, "Yes, what do you have to add?" The husband said, "Your honor, she also stole a can of peas." ~ He must have been a very civic minded person.

That was a made up story, of course, but, most of the time life itself gives us plenty of irony. My nephew is a motorcycle enthusiast. Yesterday he put up a brief tribute on Facebook to a lady who had passed away. I clicked on her name and there she was, a sweet looking older lady, white hair glistening, standing by her motorcycle. Here's the thing that caught my eye. Her last entry from the middle of June said she had won an upgrade in a jackpot game she had played. That struck me as being appropriate, especially for those of us who are anticipating a big upgrade when we breathe our last here and open our eyes in the presence of our Lord and Savior. That, my friend, is a day worth waiting for! Meanwhile, folks want to be popular here. In fact, there's a big push to gain followers on twitter. I read where one young pop sensation had accumulated 37 million followers but it was found out that over half of them were fake. One music critic commented that the sad part of that story is how that it means that nearly half of them are real. And so it goes, it's a tough world folks. Tough indeed! But take heart. Jesus had this to say about it, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) He's also the one who takes care of that upgrade for all those willing to come to Him. Until next time, may the good Lord bless and keep you. Amen.  ...More later.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless." Billy Graham

It's Tuesday, June 25, 2013, and I bid you welcome to our little time of one way chit chat. Several have asked how my wife is faring on the mission trip up to Indiana. They are having a great time and she is getting close to those in her group. It's ironic that she is there as a sponsor with a teen aged girl and you have my wife who used to make the same type of Church trips many years ago with groups that included this girl's dad when he was a teenager. (That's the girl in green standing next to my wife on the front row.) They do not have air conditioning in the dorm where they are staying. The typical pattern is for it to be slightly cooler there than here and they are predicting upper 80's for highs this week in their location. Some have said the temperature really drops off at night but they have not experienced that in a significant way, except for one night after it had rained. I do have some good news and bad news for them. The good involves the prediction of some mid fifties in the overnights coming up, however, the not so good is the fact that it's not predicted until next Saturday and Lord willing they will be back in the Houston metro area by then, appropriately called the most air conditioned area in the world. You know, it's the area where it is not the skeeters humming on the honey suckle vine, but rather it's the rocking and rolling whirring sound of that electrical meter mounted on the side of the house. Just joking. They used to whir. Now they are digital. This means they are silent. They don't make a noise but that doesn't mean they are not busy. And, they can talk to the home office anytime. Day or night. They can also make those numbers change faster than a speeding bullet. (Superman is popular right now so I threw that analogy in for good measure.)

I had wanted to watch that tightrope walk across an area near the Grand Canyon but it conflicted with something else I wanted to see. (Mystery Theatre on PBS) I did watch portions of the replay available online. Why didn't I DVR it? (Digital Video Recording) Is that a trick question? I've not taken the time to learn how to use that feature. That's why. I think my wife can DVR something. I've seen her working the buttons but I'm not sure I've ever watched anything she recorded. But, I had seen Nik Wallenda do his thing at Niagara Falls, and was very impressed with his tremendous talent and especially his open witness for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This time he walked across without any safety tether. It was just him and his balancing pole. He did it! The winds were gusting up to 30 miles per hour. The dust being stirred up made the cable even more slippery. He crouched to his knee twice to regain his balance but in the end he completed this dramatic and stunning stunt, with a live running commentary of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving to the Lord God of heaven. Not too bad for the Discovery Channel if you ask me. Please don't send me one of those Idiot's Guide to using a DVR. That would only lead to me needing an Idiot's Guide to using an Idiot's Guide, or something like that.

Some of you may be bogged down a little because of these early dog days of summer. Supposedly, the Romans connected dogs and summer due to their association of dogs with the star Sirius. I always thought it was more of how my grandfather used it. It was the summer time. School was out. But if we stayed too long in the bed he would complain, saying we were all laid up like a bunch of dogs. I do know that dogs like to lay in the shade when it is really hot. But, that was back when dogs stayed outside. Back to the being bogged down a little. I have good news for many folks. There's a big happening coming up in July. It's going to be something else folks. Yes. They are bringing back the Twinkies! That doesn't do much for me. First, I am a diabetic. Secondly, I never liked Twinkies. Now those Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, those would make you slap your pappy. Bust open a box of those little goodies and eat them with a glass of ice cold milk, and that my friend gives an idea of that image from the Bible: A land filled with milk and honey. But, there are droves who do love their Twinkies as witnessed by all the hoarding and freezing of the last ones before they were taken off the shelf. Therefore, all you Twinkies lovers, take heart, they will be coming to store near you, soon. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.     .....More later.

Monday, June 24, 2013

" Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." Arnold Palmer

Good morning and welcome back. It's a privilege to be here again to get this back to work Monday off and running. With this mini heatwave we have going, I can tell you that the water meter and the A/C system are not off but both are running like there's no tomorrow. It is June 24, 2013 and as I so often say, it is what it is, so let's get on with it. What are the odds? We hear that often. I read where a dad and his 13 year old son here in our area both hit a hole in one on a local golf course. On Father's Day. What are the odds? The dad said someone told him it was 17 million to one. I saw a video clip of a fellow who is a devoted animal lover. He had captured a mouse and decided to set it free. He took it outside to the snow covered ground and coaxed the mouse to leave the trashcan holding it. Finally the mouse scoots out and takes off running. The man was very proud of what he did. After about thirty seconds they see the mouse running across the cul-de-sac and a huge hawk swoops down and grabs the little fellow with its claws. What are the odds? We have a friend who had this expression when things like that happen, "Oh well."

We hear a lot about high tech stuff today because our world is driven by it. God allowed us to develop these devices that essentially helps to define life here on the planet. We are not in the dark as it relates to the great evils that some perpetrate using technology. (Child pornography, identity theft, etc., etc.) At the same time we take note of scientific discovery that often leads to amazing results that greatly enhance the quality of life, and in many cases it is used to sustain life itself. The photo is of a little three year old who is the recipient of the first of its kind child brain stem implant that allowed him to hear. The picture shows him hearing his father's voice for the first time in his young life. Things like that make us thankful for those who have committed their talents and abilities to pursuing breakthroughs of this type. I know that many think it is pure science and nothing else. Sorry. I believe God provides and He is the giver of all good gifts. (See the letter written by James, Chapter 1, Verse 17.) Amen and Amen.

The challenge has always been to embrace the potential for good that comes with technological innovation while being steadfast and uncompromising in the fundamentals of our faith. I see folks nearly every day using technology to proffer their hate filled fuming and fussing. Some of this stuff goes way beyond the right of expression and our right to disagree with the direction, policy, and politics of one party or the other. Now don't laugh because it's not funny but many of these same folks sign off with a Bible verse and a logo about God's love. I would say doing those kinds of things is about as wrong as anything I can think of. Saddest of all, they actually believe that God supports what they are doing. Don't get me wrong. I am one who believes in being able to stand up for what you believe and to stand against that which you believe is detrimental to the spiritual well being of our nation. Within that construct we do not have a right as believers to hate those we disagree with. We are even commanded to love our enemies. And, as it relates to those in authority, the Apostle Paul made it crystal clear in his first letter written to his young helper instructing Timothy to tell the local fellowship of believers to make prayer for those holding government positions a first priority. A first priority. (1st Timothy Chapter 2, Verses 1-7) That letter, by the way, is in reality the very Word of the Living God spoken through His designated writer. Something for us all to think about, including me, myself, and I, on this brand new Monday. Amen.   ....More later.

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Thank God I'm a Country Boy!" John Denver

Yesterday our eldest son and his wife observed their 27th wedding anniversary. When he reminded me of it, I told him I had it documented in my calendar book for next week. I had it down for the 26th. He informed me that he should know and the 20th was the correct date and then he explained how that I had done the same thing last year because it was their 26th and I had it down on the 26th last year. Uh oh! It could have been one of those days when I forgot to mark my hands Right and Left. I copied it from last years' book and that's how being wrong becomes institutionalized, in case you wanted to know. We do thank God for our Chris and his wife Sherrie. Happy Anniversary to our children and may God continue to bless is our prayer. Love, mom & dad

Left to right: Layton, Conner, 
and Barrett.
Hello and welcome to the Friday edition on this June 21, 2013. You might recall that I mentioned my nephew and his family are living in South Korea for the next year. He has a big job with an oil drilling company. They have three boys. Three boys from the country. That's the three boys who went turtle hunting in the pond by the big hotel in our area when their daddy was in a conference. They are outdoor boys. They are some of Louisiana's finest. They've only been in South Korea for a couple of weeks and already they have been doing one heap of exploring in their neighborhood area. The other day they had come in from being out in some nearby waters where they had been diving. They had some artifacts including starfish they had found. Our niece put up some photos on Facebook. The starfish were beautiful. One looked very odd. It was blue with a unusual design on it. A friend who had previously been stationed in the same area sent an immediate message that the blue starfish could well be an endangered protected species. She said she remembered some fellow paying a large fine for keeping an exotic protected starfish. I had said when they left Louisiana that South Korea was not even beginning to be ready for these Toledo Bend boys. I love all the photos of the memories they are making, and I do know these guys will come back having learned so much from their home away from home. And, I would almost bet there will be some learning going on by the South Koreans as well. I wonder what 'you might be a redneck sounds like in Korean?'

The South Koreans are very much focused on and sensitive about their culture, respect, and tradition. The titans from the American high tech world have been in South Korea this week mostly to make their pitch to sell even more of their goods and services. Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, Mark Zuckerman, Facebook, and the CEO of Google, Larry Page, all had an official meet and greet with South Korea's new president, Park Guen-hye, the first ever lady to lead the country. One would have thought the media's focus would have been on the technology discussions. Nay nay. They instead examined the appearance and protocol from each visitor and went into great detail to describe how each presented themselves to their President. According to the article I read, the TV crews did close ups of their body positions, their movements, their method of extending their hand and the way in which they actually grasped the President's extended hand. The only one who appeared to have done his homework was Mark Zuckerman who not only dressed appropriately but also had mastered the proper handshake. The media had issues with the others and thought they were less than respectful in not observing these traditional rituals. See what I mean? I can see our three young Louisiana lads responding to culture questions. When asked about culture on TV back home they will likely say they do watch documentaries. Reruns of Hee Haw. (I just threw that in for fun.)

I guess I can throw my lot in with Mr. Rogers. It has been an interesting week here in the neighborhood. But then again, it's pretty much always interesting around these parts. Speaking of food. (Not every segue can be smooth folks.) I know I wasn't writing about food but it popped into my mind because of me remembering that I will be having to fend for myself over the next few days. The other evening my wife prepared some delicious fried green tomatoes. She had gotten them from her sister. She makes them just ever so slightly on the crispy side. Prepared that way provides just enough acidity to give them some bite. And that's what I did in return, bite, bite, bite. You have to wonder who came up with frying green tomatoes for the first time. Maybe it was someone who likes fried eggplant. I know I sure do like eggplant prepared that way. But, I don't want to turn my daily visits into a can you top this cuisine commentary. By the way, I've never had any fried green tomatoes in a restaurant that even came close to the way we serve them up at home. I think I've done my part to litter up the electronic world with my keystrokes this week, therefore, I bid you a farewell for now along with a sincere wish that you will enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. As for me, Lord willing, I will do the same and then do my best with His help to show up next time. May God bless each one. Amen.    ....More later.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

I bring you some news on this early Thursday morning, June 20, 2013. It's happened again, which implies that it has happened before, just so you know. But it has my friends, it's a fact. My wife is leaving me again. This time she will be gone for ten days. She is leaving this morning with a group from our local fellowship of believers to travel to Brownsburg, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, on a mission trip called City Reach. Groups from all over the country are coming to be a part of reaching out to folks with the message of the love of our Savior. They will be staying on the campus of Butler University. She was contacted at the last minute with a need for an additional sponsor. I was given the right to just say no. After all, she just returned from her get away to Branson. I had to weigh all the issues. It's much more convenient and comfortable when she is here, and the Lord knows I need all the help I can get. (Some facts are indisputable!) On the other hand, she along with the other sponsors and teens could touch the lives of folks who are lost and on their way to hell, or they could be used to lift up and encourage the downtrodden. See what I mean? Plus, she has been thinking about thinking about becoming more active in these types of outreach efforts. I did not have to wait until I saw what was behind door number three to make my decision. I said yes, by all means. At least that's what came out of my mouth even as visions of heaps of clothes and dishes and yard mowing and meal preparations danced in my head. I would ask that you join me in praying for this effort to help the local Church there fulfill their mission which is simply to passionately share Jesus with others in word and in deed.

The word part is just that, they intend to share the message of the Gospel through organized witness activities. The deed part reflects actual events they will be conducting while they are there. These include house cleaning, yard work, serving the elderly, washing cars, and other types of service projects. There will be daily services that promote and provide Bible study and worship for those who make up the team. There will be several hundred people working together in one area to concentrate on sharing the love of Jesus and in meeting the needs that people have. I read recently one pastor's thoughts on how the improvements and convenience of travel has made pretty much the entire world accessible to those desiring to put feet to their faith in sharing Christ and His love for the world. Why did they go to Brownsburg? Why not Africa, India, or some other exotic place? This program is designed to help our kids become acquainted with serving the Lord in different ways. And, the local pastor there asked for help. And, America is a mission field and her cities in particular. Meanwhile back on the farm I will be formulating my own survival plan. Joking only. May God bless them as they go. Amen.

Based on prior experience, I don't think I will starve while she is away. I remember back in the day when I was responsible for a large group of folks. When my wife was away they could tell. Things were not the same. After a few days they begin to ask when she would be returning. They worked for me, therefore, they knew they needed all the help they could get. But they noticed. I happen to think that was a good thing. Not that I was hard to get along with when she was gone, but, that things were out of sync. Out of sync because we are a husband wife team and we operate our lives together. I'm her husband. She's my wife. We've had nearly forty nine years of building our way of doing life. Together. Therefore, when we are apart it doesn't work the same. Nor should it. But, I've said all of that to say this: I'm thankful to have such a loving wife who cares not only for me but for others. She is a hard worker and a great friend to so many. And, as I have explained before, she does know her way around the kitchen. You know, things like teaspoon versus tablespoon. I always have trouble with stuff like that. Look at all those container spoons on that measurement ring. I would never use that little dude to put anything into my tea, and I certainly wouldn't think of trying to use that table spoon to eat with. I guess I will have to go with season to taste and be done with it. Here's all each of us can do with the day that God has given to us: Make the best of it by honoring Him and serving others. Amen.       ....More later.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It seems to me that good times with family is in some ways a foretaste of our fellowship in heaven.

It is Wednesday and still running about 5 degrees hotter than the average for this time of the year. Pretty straight forward, it's another one of those hot June days here on the 19th, in the year of 2013. I would be remiss if I did not thank my dear wife and our three boys for treating me to a most wonderful Father's Day celebration. Everyone knows by now that I am somewhat committed to Community Coffee. Somewhat. Some time ago I wrote about how the Community folks were working on those little cups to be used in those fancy one cup makers. I had said when they came out with them I would revisit consideration of purchasing one of the coffee makers. They did come out with them. My wife and some of the boys had read my blog. Now I have a brand new Keurig maker that heats to 193 degrees and I have a couple of 12 packs of those little K-cups, Community, of course. Now that was a surprise gift and I had to check it out right away. Here's what I have already learned. If you pop in one of those K cups but instead of ordering up the mug size, you punch the small cup button on the machine, bang zoom, to the moon! Strong? You betcha. That first swallow will make both feet come off the floor but talk about taste! As they used to say back home: That's some more good! Thanks to my family and they can be sure it will be used. You know, full mugs in half cup increments.

We also had one of those meals that would literally make Paula Deen run for cover and burn her apron. My wife does know how to put out a spread. I believe all those dads I wrote about would have said to my wife, "Well done ma'am, well done indeed." She served up a slow cooked roast with rice and gravy that melted in your mouth. We had field peas and fried okra. Mixed vegetables. Homemade cornbread and some yeast rolls for the kiddos. Fresh sliced tomatoes. Homemade pepper sauce. I was a little puzzled about how to delve into these delectable delights, however, several of the assembled folks all gave voice to a common sentiment, "Go for it, it is, after all, Father's Day." We didn't record a vote but it seemed to be very much in the majority, therefore, I threw caution to the wind and had myself one great feasting time of it. After all that, she served up hot blackberry cobbler with Blue Bell Homemade for a topping. I only had a sample of that. I know you are not supposed to dream about food but I think that meal will be one that I recall for many days in the future. There was one little hiccup. I kept hearing a vibrating sound but couldn't immediately find it. It wasn't my cell phone. Finally, I located it. It was emanating from my briefcase. Turned out to be my little blood glucose monitoring device. He doesn't have a vibrate setting, so I guess he was just excited about the big number we would be achieving after that sumptuous meal. Yum yum!

Add to all that the joy of being surrounded by those I love and you have yourself a day to bask in along with a day to remember. Seeing little Brady and Alex greatly enjoying their cousin play time reminded us of when their dads did the same thing so many years ago. That was back when we could still all join together up at Granny and Paw Paw Mac's where the table was wobbly with so many dishes to choose from. Food, family, and fellowship. I think there's likely a Biblical application about giving honor to those to whom honor is due and in treasuring the family God has given to us. My wife has done her part in keeping that tradition alive. It is an acquired skill. She had a head start in her in-home training but she still had to learn from some of the best and because she wanted to keep it going we still have days like the one I described. I'm not saying it has to be done our way but there does need to be a desire to do something. I thank God for my wife and her willingness to do just that. Now that I have made everyone sufficiently hungry, grab hold of that nature bar and dream about something a tad better. May God bless each one. Amen. ......More later.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"That glistening pinkness beckons me with gristle, fat, and BHT. Oh SPAM, my SPAM - the taste, the smell! The sacred meat product, from Hormel." (copied)

****Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the passing of my brother Donald Abbott. We pause today to remember him, his service to our country as a U.S. Marine, and his family including our mom, sisters, and his children and grandchildren.****

Hello friends, family, countrymen, and everyone else. I do wish you well on this Tuesday, June 18, 2013. I utilize four different personal emails each day. One is associated with the Company I work for. One is used for my Santa enterprise. I have another one that I use for most all of the ordering I do, communications between service providers, and miscellaneous stuff. Then, I have my regular personal email that I use to send out my blog and to send and receive communication with friends, family, Church family, and the like. That's a whole lot of targets for unsolicited emails, or SPAM, as it is called. The story of why it is called SPAM is only connected to the canned meat in an indirect way. It supposedly has something to do with a Monty Python routine where a couple are at a restaurant trying to order but everything on the menu, everything, has the canned meat Spam as a main ingredient. Thus, the repetitive nature of Spam on the menu somehow got connected to repetitive unsolicited emails. Supposedly. At any rate, we all have to deal with these emails showing up. There are laws that attempt to regulate this nuisance but they are hardly worth mentioning. Some days are worse than others. But, here's one for you. I came in the other morning and there was no SPAM to be found. I wasn't unhappy. Just puzzled. I know those spammers do not take holidays but what a surprise. Maybe their SPAM generating utility called in sick or something. A SPAM free day! I could get used to that. How about you?

Many of you know that I read obituaries. I scan maybe 50 on a typical day. In reading them, a common thing that strikes me as both refreshing and encouraging is the sheer amount of volunteerism and commitment to causes demonstrated in the lives of folks who were our fellow citizens. So many have given so much through their Churches or in helping humanitarian causes. Some have worked tirelessly to relieve suffering here and abroad. Many have given their time and resources in supporting educational institutions. Others have left and designated their financial means to continue supporting others after their death. Impressive. It might be a soup kitchen, or an evangelistic mission effort, support for the homeless, and the list could go on and on and on. There is a world index of countries that rank each one based on a number of factors to establish their giving quotient. The United States is near the top. I find it interesting that out of the 153 countries listed, those in the top quarter are all freedom loving developed nations. What does this tell us? That when people are free to manage and do good things with their own personal resources, others will be helped. It's a fact Jack and I am thankful that's the way it works. Amen.

I may finally be beginning to show my age. Just too many people offering to help me. I do greatly appreciate people's thoughtfulness but it sometimes takes me by surprise and I am left to give that puzzled question, "Are you talking to me?" One lady recently stopped gathering the shopping carts and came over to my car. She asked if she could assist me in lifting the case of water into my trunk. Do what? Help me do what? Are you talking to me? I finally put it together. Oh I see. You want to help me. Thanks so much but I can handle it. I do appreciate you offering. Now, if you will go back to your little project, I'll finish mine. I am not ungrateful. I actually offer to help some folks that I perceive could use a little muscle. That's about all I have to offer but I do sometimes. It's a different matter when you become the targeted help-ee instead of the help-er. There's so much to look forward to as I stutter step my way through this last quarter. Let's just hope they don't help me to cross a street that I never intended to cross, or something like that. It is, however, good to know that someone cares enough to ask. And, I'll add my Amen to that.   ....More later.

Monday, June 17, 2013

"It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water." Franklin P. Jones

I came to the keyboard this morning with the phrase from the Johnny Cash song ringing in my head, "How high's the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin..." Only in my case the lyrics go like this, "How high's the temp, Mama? Ninety five and risin...." It's Monday, June 17, 2013, and I bid you welcome to the place where a sauna experience is provided to one and all, free of charge. I recently had some extended exposure to that 102+ heat index. It's not for the fainthearted or those nudging ever closer to the proverbial three score and ten. That kind of heat produces a special kind of suction that seems to vacuum the breath right out of your body. It actually surprised me. I thought I could handle it better than that. No, you don't need to send me the number to that life alert necklace. It wasn't quite that bad. However, those hallucinated images were pretty neat but it's not something I would recommend on a steady basis. A big...just kidding. It was just a little dizziness and so hot I had to borrow and make a down payment just to get the next breath, or something like that. I did learn a lesson. Well, let me put it this way, I should have learned a lesson. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, my advice: Stay cool.

I try to catch the White House press briefings when I can. This is the forum where the press secretary for the President can answer questions on the President's behalf as asked by the so called elite White House press corps. The fellow doing it now is Jay Carney. To be honest, his responses during the last few sessions have been so absurdly wishy washy and sing song, I've had to turn it off and move on to something more productive. I'm not blaming him, he's just the messenger. But it's downright embarrassing that he would be called upon to give up such nonsensical answers to important questions. I heard a joke the other day saying the carnies who work carnivals had requested that Jay change his last name because he's giving them a bad name. I know it's a tough job but lately even the simplest of questions tend to get some vague mystical spin down the yellow brick road instead of information that people can make sense out of. I suppose it does have some entertainment value but I outgrew the Three Stooges style a long time ago and of course with their comedy there wasn't the fate of the free world hanging in the balance. I had to throw that in just to let you know I do have those serious thoughts from time to time. Maybe that's where the headaches come from. (Kidding only!)

I know that folks who regularly watch the White House press briefings are maybe a tad or two closer to being called political or news junkies. I suppose I would be a candidate for that but knowing the stakes, it does add some significance to the effort. Meanwhile, there's no denying that I enjoy watching the forth and back, ups and downs, and everything in betweens involved in the moment by moment playing out of the daily news cycle. That's why I like to watch Question Time from the House of Commons in Great Britain. The Prime Minister stands and answers directly questions put forth by his colleagues both for and against his policies. It can be raucous and loud. It is, however, relevant because our cousins across the pond deal with many of the same issues we face here in America. Government spending. Government intrusion into the lives of its citizens. Social issues. Wars and rumors of wars. I've watched the Australians and the Canadians do their thing because they have a similar Question Time program as well. I know. Most folks would have to be hogtied and forced to watch these types of programs. That's what makes us different. Some people are surprised when I tell them I occasionally listen to liberal radio and TV commentators. They prefer only a red meat conservative diet. While I believe myself to be fiercely conservative, I do like to hear all sides. That's just me and may I tell you that being me is about all I can take care of. Most of you likely have the same experience, and, think about it, God made us and He loves us, and here's a news flash we all can feel good about: His love is without regard to our politics. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, June 14, 2013

"When I was 18, I thought my father was pretty dumb. After a while when I got to be 21, I was amazed to find out how much he'd learned in three years." Frank Butler, Author

Good morning and welcome to Friday where it will be here with us at least until that first tick of the clock past midnight tonight, but, welcome, and I do hope you enjoy this June 14, 2013. The calendar indicates this upcoming Sunday to be that day when we pause to remember dads. The photo I've chosen tells a huge story. First is my dad, Senior, who gave me life, and I proudly carry his name. I know a few things about him but since he left us for his reward in January of 1954, well, so much is shrouded in mystery, but I do thank God for him. Next, is my mom's dad, my grandfather, Andrew Rancher McMillan, who we proudly called Paw Paw Mac. He was the dad influence in my life for much of my formative years. What a man! I just wish in so many ways that I could be half the man he was. God knew what He was doing when he put him in my life. So much of who I am today reflects his impact. Then last but certainly not least, my step dad for these nearly 36 years, Jose Chavez. He is my dad and I proudly call him dad and when I think about him I think about his devotion to mom, and to our huge blended family. I think about the words: faithfulness, honor, and serving. It's a heritage that I carry with me every single day of my life. Thanks be to God for the memories of my real dad and my granddad. And, thanks be to God for my living dad that I am privileged to show honor to, hopefully, much more than just this upcoming Sunday. Amen.

Music is a huge part of my life. Sometimes when I want to remember someone, I call up a song. I've listened to this rendering of the Irish tune, The Old Man, a few dozen times over the years. When I do, I remember my granddad, but you can feel free to remember someone special to you. Here's John McDermott:

My wife is due home today from her vacation get-away to Branson. She and her sister and brothers had a great time. It's always good for her to be home so that we can have our program functioning like it has for these forty nine years. Sounds boring? Not at all. Sounds like home to me. Sounds like the way it should be. It's been good to hear how our dear Brother Milton enjoyed his time on their trip. As so many of you know, he, a man of God, has been through monumental health challenges during the past five years. A preacher of God's Word for nearly fifty years, he has been someone to look up to throughout his journey for the Lord. He also was the preacher boy, who, as a young man, stood before us and pronounced Marilyn and I to be husband and wife. Cleon, the eldest in the family, is known in his community for his integrity and as an ideal neighbor to all. Her sister Dorothy is a living, breathing, Proverbs 31 woman, through and through. I could not have been more blessed to have Marilyn's entire family become my family. Her parents were always supportive and loving. I could easily have included her dad, also a minister, in my tribute to dads. Brother Rawles always built me up and our times of personal interaction and fellowship continue to be great memories that I treasure. I know they had a dog and maybe a cat or two but I can't remember if they were good to me or not. They probably were. I hope so. You know. The full circle of blessing, or something like that. Bottom line: I am blessed folks. Blessed indeed!

The good news is how that my wife connects into my family in exactly the same way, if not more so. Sounds like I am bragging, but I am not. I am thankful because I've heard the war stories throughout the years of people who have conflict and trouble with their in-laws. There's even a genre of comedy that features these aggravations. I've never been able to use any of it, period. I worked with a fellow once that wished they could literally leave the country during the holidays because of the confusion and conflict between their two families. He was serious, and it was on both sides. That has always caused me to be thankful and while some might think it to be a small thing, I know how distressed he was, and I'm sure there are many just like him. Let me be clear: We haven't had a perfect family experience in our home, with my wife's folks, or with my folks, but, we've always had a consistent mutually expressed love and appreciation from all sides and that is the reason for my thankfulness. God is good all the time. All the time God is good. Have a great Saturday and may all the dads be recognized and honored on Lord's Day Sunday, Father's Day. Amen.   ....More later.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"The point is that knowledge of God is not prohibited under the First Amendment." Roy S. Moore, Current Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court

It's Thursday here in the land of the free and home of the brave and I offer you a warm handshake with a southern hospitality welcome here on this June 13, 2013. Land of the free. That's one that's getting a lot of attention over the last several weeks. The graduations we attended expressly stated that the speeches of the students were their own thoughts and the school had not imposed limitations on them about what they could talk about or say. I would guess they no doubt had some general guidelines. However, many folks are upset because a valedictorian in South Carolina threw away his prepared remarks and instead quoted the Lord's Prayer. In doing so he had defied that school system's prohibition against any religious expression. Another scholar in North Texas also set aside his approved remarks and began to speak about his freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment. The school promptly shut down his microphone. In both these cases the students had broken the rules regarding the content of their speeches. I suppose that begs the question. Are these types of limitations on the rights of these kids a good thing or a bad thing? I do know that if a kid had gotten up and given Lucifer the Devil credit for his success there would no doubt be a huge outpouring of response to that. My take is this: Somewhere in all of this maze where political correctness reigns, the fundamental freedoms and values we stand for must be upheld. And, I know that school officials throughout our land do not have an easy job in trying to find the appropriate balance.

At the same time we continue to learn the vastness of our government's all seeing eye, as they, in the name of protecting us, collect more and more personal information including any and all digital communications. I do not know all the details regarding these most recent revelations. But, one thing is clear. The young man who leaked them violated his sworn word to keep confidential these national secrets and many have said that Americans and our friends throughout the world are put at risk as a result of his actions. That means he must be dealt with based on our laws. As to what he revealed, there may need to be appropriate review and where needed, changes made that protect our nation while giving full respect to our inherent rights as citizens. Washington I fear is ill prepared to do this in a balanced way. How do we know this? Most of the Democrats who screamed Big Brother against any and all security provisions put forth by the Bush Administration are now loudly defending the policies of the current administration, (without even knowing the details). And so it goes. Politics rules the day. Supposedly, party affiliation ends when America's vital security interests are at stake. Supposedly. Maybe they, on both sides of the aisle, have failed to remember to remember that one.

Have you ever thought about how that we older folks have our own way of communicating? It's refreshing to me to find someone who actually gets it when I use a colorful expression now and then. "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle." ~ "Faster than a scalded dog." ~ "Slower than molasses on a cold morning." ~ "Lord have mercy." ~ "He can't help it, bless his heart." ~ "Well, shut my mouth." ~ "More slippery than a greased pig." ~ "I do declare." ~ "Heavens to Betsy." ~ "I wouldn't trust him any farther than I could throw him." ~ "Finer than frog hair." ~ "Nuttier than a fruitcake." ~ "I'm fixin to." ~ "Drunker than ole Cooter Brown." ~ "You are a sight for sore eyes." ~ "Living high off the hog." ~ "Rough as a corn cob." ~ "Just hold your horses there buddy." ~ There's many more but that will do for today. And, if the younger folks think these word pictures are somehow locked in the past, just remind them that the generation who use them made it through school without the internet or Google. Until next time, "Y'all don't be strangers. You hear?" May God bless us all. Amen.   ....More later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory." (First letter from the Apostle Paul to the local fellowship of believers located in Corinth, Greece. (Chapter 10, Verse 31)

You have probably seen that commercial where the camel comes into the office asking everyone to say out loud what day it is. The camel is very annoying, but, finally one lady says it, "Hump day." That's American English slang for the proverbial getting over the hump in the typical work week, and, that just happens to be this very day, Wednesday, June 12, 2013. I say typical because in this world where we are essentially wired and working on a 24x7 basis and interconnected all over the globe, well, hump day most likely is everyday somewhere in the world, or something like that. It is good to be able to say hello and welcome to this little slice of life that exists as part of the trillions upon trillions of digital bits and bytes that find their way out on the world wide information highway available to some by direct access and others who just happen to stop along their way to somewhere else. And, it actually occurs at blinding speeds, so much so, that even a tick of a portion of a second slower is noticed even by a novice user. Why? Because of the brain that God has given to us. The human brain is the model that computer designers seek to fashion and even with all the mind blowing technologies available, most would say they have only scratched the surface when it comes to the inherent processing capability of our brains. Do we have a great Creator, or what? Amen.

I know what some of you are thinking. You sure hope they are using a better brain that mine or yours to copy. Don't sell yourself short. Go and read about all the things your brain does just in auto pilot mode. You might just be surprised. Some of us, however, can identity with the old saying, "When God passed out brains, I thought He said trains, and I missed mine." I think we all know we do need to exercise the one that we did inherit. My mom and dad are voracious readers. My mom also loves doing jig saw puzzles and those find-the-word scramble games. She has stacks of books of those word games. My wife plays games on her smart phone and she too enjoys puzzles and word games. Those are good ways to keep the mind sharp and focused. Even something like doing this daily blog can help keep the cobwebs at bay. Another thing I like to do is check out the origin and uses of words and phrases. Take for instance that 'at bay' we've all heard and used for years. The word bay itself is all over the place with about nine different meanings depending on how it is used. The 'at bay' in terms of applying it to humans holding something back can be found as far back as the 16th century. It had something to do with hunting dogs baying and then being held back from their prey at the end of the hunt. Let's hope in my case it can help deal with those cobwebs because there are a lot of them to say grace over. I'll let you look that one up.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that all of the efforts we put forth to stay sharp is of little consequence if we don't know the Creator Himself, and, if we do not use what He gave to us for the purpose He intended. The Bible puts it this way: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Gospel of Mark, Chapter 8, Verse 36) This means that regardless of how high or low our IQ may be, we can make a difference for time and eternity by our response to God in using all that He has given to us for His honor and glory. It has been my privilege in my lifetime to have rubbed shoulders with some brilliant people. Some who likely would have been authenticated as geniuses. I've been in the labs of some of the high technology companies and I've heard from those scientists that were dealing with innovation many years in the future. Yet, my heart often went out to them and others who sadly have lived out the tragic assessment that God has given: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (14th Division of the Psalms, Verse 1) Too many of us use what God has given to us to make a living without ever making the life He would have us to live. Now that is something we all can take and think about, ponder, and yes, even pray over. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.       .....More later.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From the Home Alone movie, Kevin McCallister: [preparing to meet bandits and loading the rifle] "This is it! Don't get scared now!"

Good morning out there in blogger land and welcome to my little station where I transmit a fairly good ration of this, that, or the other each time we visit, and, that just happens to be what I am up to on this Tuesday, June 11, 2013. My wife and her siblings are in Branson to have a good time. They are there. I am here. They had tried to make this trip back in March but it didn't work out so they rescheduled it. I told my class Sunday morning that I was thinking about writing a new series of books called 'Left Behind'. Then I was reminded how that series had already been done. Oh really? It's a joke because when people ask me why I am not with them I give them the answer I think my grandfather would have given. As far as I can tell I haven't lost or left anything in Branson. That's not to say that I would never go there or that I wouldn't enjoy whatever it is they have there. It's just not on my agenda at this particular time. I do, however, think it's a huge blessing for the two sisters and two brothers to be able to be together like this. And, based on the audiences I've seen on TV, they will be in good company, you know, the Metamucil brigade. Just a little funny ditty so don't get all stirred up. May God bless and keep them while they are away. Amen.

Meanwhile, back at that proverbial place where the rubber meets the road, we do our best to carry on. I will also do my best to keep the home fires burning. That figure of speech became popular during World War II when many husbands left our nation to go off to war in far away places. The idea is that those left behind would take care to keep everything in order while they were away. Everything in order. I didn't look that one up because it might imply what it is I'm supposed to be doing while she is away. The other day she told me that her mom had taught her to always make the bed as the first thing you do when you get up. Do what? I guess I had that stuck in my head because that's what I have been doing while she is away. I typically take a more pragmatic approach. You know. It is only going to be slept in again within a handful of hours, so why bother? But, I suppose her mom's words have come back to haunt me. There are applications of the don't ask, don't tell scenario that make a whole lot of sense. Especially when it has to do with keeping the home fires burning.

I've withheld comment recently on the machinations coming out of our nation's seat of government. One thing is clear: America is changing. I, for one, do not believe that many of the changes are good. Why? Because as I see it they undermine the foundations of who we are and why we are who we are. I don't know if any of the mud being slung around by all sides will end up sticking, but, it does give us all the opportunity to think seriously about the health of our nation. I'm not talking about the economy. It's stagnated at best. I'm talking about the fabric that is woven into the definition of who we are as a people and what it is that we stand for. Our motto may be In God We Trust and our children may be taught to say we are One Nation under God, but, it is the reality of our connection to the presence of the Almighty as defined in our founding documents, in our founder's actions, and in the history of our Republic that has always under girded our identity. Yes, it does come down to Who we believe has led and guided us, and yes, that does put us in opposition to those who think God to be irrelevant in our history and in our current experience. The psalmist put it this way: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." (33rd Division, Verse 12) Amen.        ....More later.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." William Jennings Bryan

Welcome. It's Monday, June 10, 2013, and I'm most happy to offer up a hearty hello from the ole blogger ranch to wherever you happen to be. I don't know if the two mega high school graduations we were privileged to attend qualify as cardio workouts, but they should. Walking, stair climbing, and good old fashioned close communion among fellow graduation attendees was the order of the day. The one last Thursday saw more than 700 graduates cross the stage. There were perhaps between 8 and 10 thousand people there to cheer these achievers on. It's pretty heady stuff folks when you consider the magnitude of the learning opportunities our kids have today. And, may I just say a word about cultural diversity. Kyleigh's senior class voted for the teachers given the privilege of calling out the names. Talk about some tongue twisting names, from every ethic and language heritage. My youngest son remarked how that while having the honor of reading those names as they received their diplomas was a really big deal, that was one challenging assignment. But, this reflects our progress as a nation of immigrants and many of those students with odd sounding names graduated with honors. Both graduations were impressive. We have some impressive kids stepping forward to contribute to and shape our nation, and I pray that God will help them to apply themselves for the good of us all. Amen.

One of the young ladies who addressed the audience talked about the many changes of significance that had taken place since they all walked through the door as freshmen some four years ago. As she pointed out, the technology changes have been astronomical. She talked about how their class would be the most well equipped in history in terms of technology and social media use. While that is no doubt true, it will be even more so for the next class, and the next class, and the next, and so on and so forth. You get the idea. With the mind boggling speed of technological change comes the unprecedented increase in the speed of life. The technology planners talk about a day very soon when literally anything and everything is immediately at your disposal, 24 hours a day. This means just that. Anything. Any media of any kind, no matter where it exists, will be accessible on demand using a handheld device. Breathtaking increase in the speed of technology. Breathtaking increase in the speed of life. What is not apparent is how this will play out in terms of impact. That is yet to be seen but something we should all take note of is this clarion call from our Creator: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 40:10 from the NIV) Amen.

Those wonderfully talented kids that will be the leaders of tomorrow need the wisdom from those who have been there and done that. They most likely think that we who wear the white hair would be the last place to seek out guidance. However, the Bible is clear about the priority of wisdom connected to age. The older folks may not be able to give input regarding technological matters. What they can contribute is much more important, they can offer up insights and understanding regarding life itself. My advice to the younger generation is for them to not let this Biblically ordained foundation get away from them. There is plenty of evidence that many have already looked to themselves only but my fear is when they do, it will take many hardships and hurts to remind them of this need. But, that's just an old dude sharing his heart for these rich lives filled with such great potential. God does have the answer as given in this verse: "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." (Psalm 119:9 from the NIV). Amen.  .....More later.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday. The golden child of the weekdays. The superhero of the workweek. The welcome wagon to the weekend. You know it's the famous one we thank God for every week. (Adapted)

Well, well, well. We made it to another of those proverbial end of the work week days for celebration. That would be Friday of course and it just happens to land on June 7, 2013 for this week. I appreciate all who take the time to stop by for a visit and I do hope that in our time together something will encourage and bring a smile. People are funny. I know that you knew that. The other evening I bumped into a pastor that I had not seen in maybe ten or more years. I stood talking to him for a moment or two but I could tell he did not have a clue as to my identity. I reintroduced myself and he exclaimed how the beard had thrown him off. I gave him a couple of my Santa souvenir cards and he seemed satisfied that I had not become a derelict or street person as they are sometimes called. I just imagine he had in mind to go back to his congregation and tell them about the interesting conversation he had with this person he had met, you know, ministry and all, but, alas, he ended up sitting in my class and hearing me teach the Wednesday night lesson. I hate to mess up a good testimony but that's the way it goes sometimes. Right Vern?

We had visited his Church many years ago, and our eldest son and his family had attended there for a few years as well. He had come to our fellowship with his young people who were participating in our youth activities. Those of you who visit with me often know that our participation as members of our local fellowship of believers is a priority in our lives. I am well aware that being faithful in Church attendance no more makes one a Christian than standing in a garage makes someone a car. However, if we have been saved, that is, if we have placed our faith in God's provision through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, then we should want to know how He would have us to conduct ourselves in our time here on earth. I very much believe His plan includes His called out assembly, that being the local New Testament fellowship of believers. Why do I believe this? Simple. The kids song says it best: The Bible tells me so! I am thankful for the example of my grandfather who made his service through his local Church a priority in his life. I highly commend it for anyone who desires to seek God's best for their life. Amen.

I'm not sure that paragraph qualifies to be called a sermonette but I had it on my mind and decided to share it with you. Many think that those who are faithful think themselves to be better than others. That's mostly an old canard because if folks are sincere in their faith, they know exactly who they are and they realize they too continue to be in the struggle each and every day. Those senior saints did show up last Wednesday evening. Seeing their faces light up in their singing, their tears, their sharing hearts, and in their response to the truth, well, I just don't know why anyone would think a service like that to be unimportant. I do know this. It was a huge blessing to me, and trust me, I need all the help and blessings I can receive. I also need the love, support, and prayers that come from my brothers and sisters in Christ. That's part of that knowing who we really are. God knew what we needed. He provided for us, and, it's up to us to respond. Okay. I suppose I could call that sermonette, part two. And, I'm sure that should be enough for one week. I again commend you to having an enjoyable Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will, Lord willing, see y'all at this same location, come next Monday. May God bless each one. Amen.   .....More later.