Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Happy Birthday to our Jimmy!

The photo was taken in December 2018.
Happy Birthday to our middle son, Jimmy, on this Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Today marks the 51st year of his sojourn here on the planet. We thank God for Jimmy and the children God has given to him, Jimmy Jr., the twins, Alesha and Amanda, and the youngest, Alexander Benjamin. Jimmy has been disabled for a number of years, however, he is able to work some. He currently sells firearms at Academy two days per week. We pray for God's provision in his life and into the lives of his children. Happy Birthday and may God bless! Amen. Our love, mom, and dad.

Mr. Bentley and I do some fair amount of walking. In the afternoons we see the kids practicing on the baseball diamond near our home. One day this week, we saw a fellow with his twin sons getting in some practice before the rest of the team showed up. The dad was very clear on his expectations. He was teaching them technique. How to field a ground ball or judge a fly ball. And, how to get the ball and get it out of your glove and throw it accurately. These boys were maybe 8 or 9 years old. When they failed to follow his instructions, they had to come and sit on the bench for a time out. This got me to thinking. I played baseball for maybe 5 years as a kid growing up. I don't have any idea how I got started or who gave me any instruction. I'm sure the little league coaches did, and, I do remember playing catch with some fellows around the house. I didn't have a dad to show me, but, I somehow became pretty good playing Little League and then Dixie League as a teen. My last year, I made the all-star team for our Parish and played in the exhibition game in Alexandria, Louisiana. I know someone must have gotten me out to the ballpark when I started out, but, I am pretty fuzzy on those details. Maybe I was hit by too many pitches. Wait a minute. When I pitched I was the wild one. I could throw the ball hard but I didn't always know where it might land.

Songs come and go. I heard this one again the other day. It blew up the charts a couple of years ago, but, as I think about the world and all the needs, the lyrics always speak to me:

Chain Breaker
Zach Williams

If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside
There’s a better life
There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker

We’ve all searched for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
And there’s a better life
There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker

Amen and Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Happy Monday and may God add His blessings. Amen.

Yours truly in the red vest standing behind The Wife.
Never fear, I am here. I had expected to have my blog up much earlier this morning, but, as you can see, I am running just a wee bit late. It is Monday, April 29, 2019, and, I do bid each one a hearty and warm welcome. Last Thursday evening I reprised my role as a 72-year-old waiter. This was my second year to wait The Wife's table at the annual ladies banquet at our local fellowship. She and her sister had really done a fine job decorating their table for eight. This was my second go at understanding why this would not be a good profession for me. There were probably 300 ladies who attended. Her table was pretty much one of the furthermost from the food area. This caused me some concern because I don't know why but my greatest fear was that I would stumble with one of those large trays and spill stuff over half an acre. But, we made it, and all went well. I served the eight ladies at The Wife's table and then bid them all a farewell. They finished up with a speaker and other stuff and I headed home to nurse my hurting feet. I know. Just two hours, but, for a fellow who looked more like the Tim Conway 'old-man', I was just glad to have made it without a bobble. (Us men do have trouble with instructions. They had clearly said we were to only use certain doors to come in and certain doors to go out. That didn't work because most of us spent a lot of time dodging each other because we were coming and going using the wrong doors.)

Not Mr. Bentley, but it could be!
The wife's sister came for a few days to be a part of the ladies banquet. She brought her little Chihuahua mix, Dotsey, with her. Mr. Bentley has never been around another little dog. He really didn't know how to react, but, he seemed to be wild and rambunctious. Perhaps he was putting on a show for his new cousin. He has learned to climb. He likes to get up on the recliner behind my neck. Someone suggested we send him to obedience school. Hopefully, he will grow out of this puppy phase where he acts like he has been set on fire, running as fast as he can, here, there, and everywhere. The other day he bumped into one of the end tables and something fell off. It hit the floor and made a loud crash. I thought he had broken something. It was metal, therefore, it didn't break, but, it scared the daylights out of him because he ran and hid, knowing he was in trouble. His little cousin, Dotsey, is so subdued and well behaved. She sleeps a lot and never causes any trouble. Our Mr. Chaos seems to be figuring out his next exploits as the day goes by. Oh well, he at least gives me something to fill in my leisure time. Said no one. Ever!

Since I am running late today and I do have some prep to do to get ready for our senior apartment ministry, I'm going to cut off today's episode like a stick of bologna. I will pick back up next time. Until then, be encouraged because God has it all under control. It may not look like it, but, He does. Have faith in Him and His revealed word. Amen.  ....More later.

Friday, April 26, 2019

"The yo-yo originated around 1000 BCE in China; that it spread from China to Europe where it went by such names as “quiz” (in England) and “bandalore” (in France); that in the 16th century a yo-yo-like weapon was used in the Philippines; and that it was this weapon that American entrepreneur Donald Duncan adapted to create the toy we all know and love." ~ quoted from Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things

I'm sure something important happened on this day, April 26. Wait just a moment. You didn't ask but I delivered anyway: ~ April 26, 1928 - United States Yo-Yo Factory, Pedro Flores, a Filipino immigrant to the United States, opened the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California. By November 1929, Flores was operating two additional factories in Los Angeles and Hollywood, which altogether employed 600 workers and produced 300,000 Yo Yo's daily. ~ I did see other more important things that happened on this day in history, however, there was something about the yo-yo story that rang a bell with me. I will add it to the list of why I became the person I am today. At any rate, I can't promise today's edition will be memorable, but, it is being made available to any and all willing to take a few minutes to read it, on this Friday, April 26, 2019. I remember as a kid, I owned several yo-yos at different times. We would occasionally see someone on a TV variety show doing yo-yo tricks. Here is a list of tricks one can learn to do: 1). Gravity Pull 2). Sleeper 3). Forward Pass 4). Around the World 5). Around the Corner 6). Breakaway 7). Rock the Baby 8). Pinwheel 9). Lindy Loop 10). Time Warp 11). Brain Twister. I worked on a few of those, but, other than picking up a few bruises on my own noggin, and, hitting my siblings a few times, I was never really proficient. As I recall, my mom was very proficient at taking the yo-yo away and in keeping her promise to put her own bruises on my bottom.

God knew this cutie would one day be mine!
Here's a flashback from 11 years ago about me taking the wife out for her birthday. I'm not sure what restaurant we visited, but, here's that tidbit, written on April 25, 2008: ~ I carried my wife out to eat on Wednesday evening for dinner to celebrate her birthday. If you read my blog that day you will remember it had a funny story about how older people begin to forget things. Hello? We used to patronize this restaurant fairly often. But, after being served our meal we both immediately remembered that last time we were there we promised never to come there again. But we had not remembered that when I suggested we go to that particular place. Guess what? She had the same place in mind! Is this a great life or what? So the food wasn’t great. The service wasn’t great. But the entertainment was wonderful. No, they didn’t have a floorshow; I’m talking about the people who were sitting on both sides of us. One table had four folks about our age but they were all drinking martinis and we did hear some funny stories from that quartet. They giggled and laughed as they told about a variety of medical issues, treatments, and failed prescriptions. We also heard the details of having to endure a wedding out in Vegas of a daughter who married a long-haired, tattooed ‘all over’ young man. You would have had to be there but it was lively, some of it interesting, and to us, much of it funny. On the other side, there was a couple perhaps a little older than us but the man had a voice that you could hear out on the freeway. When the waitress (if that’s what they call them these days) asked him about his steak he gave her a lecture on the meat you can purchase at the local Kroger. He groused about most everything going on in and around him but he didn’t have to wonder if the manager out near the front door could hear him. Everyone could hear him! My wife wondered out loud how his wife could be anything other than horribly embarrassed. I told her that it most likely was one of those things that came with the package. At any rate, we actually had a wonderful time together, enjoying our conversations, punctuated by some real-life funnies going on around us. ~

It was steak and you could hear the fellow out on the freeway. Using a little deductive reasoning, my guess is that it was the Steak and Ale Restaurant in its declining days. We had patronized that place for things like the boys' birthdays and other celebrations. And, it had been a good place until it wasn't. I know. They all are. The place I mentioned the other day has maintained itself throughout our time of going there. The most consistent thing about Gaidos Restaurant in Galveston has always been the food. Super fresh seafood. Well prepared. Back when we started we could get the same wonderful food for a fraction of what it costs today. I think that's pretty much the way it works with everything. Okay. Enough about food. I do hope you have yourself a most wonderful Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I do have some ideas for my blogs coming up next week. I remember. I am supposed to at least jot down the idea. I'll think about thinking about doing that. See you next time, and, may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays." ~ Henny Youngman

Hello friends and neighbors, it's always good to have time to visit. Yeah. I know. This type of visiting is one way, but, it's still good and I thank you for climbing onboard the blogging bus on this Thursday, April 25, 2019. I will be having some dental work done next week. I will be adding another crown to the mix, or, better put, they will be installing one. I've never had a fear of dentists. I just don't like going. Sure. No one cares for the drilling and all the rest, but, for me, it's the confinement. It's being restrained without being tied down. Just laying there. Listening. To all the peripheral chatter as I wait for them to let me up. The people are nice enough. The environment is certainly acceptable. The prices? Unbelievable, but, what else is new? It's like they mostly talk in $1,000.00 increments. That's their rounding approach. The other day I went for my regular check-up and cleaning. I typically get a new cleaning person nearly every time I go. That's okay with me because I'm just interested in getting in there and out. This lady was efficient enough, but, when she was using that power scrubbing utensil she typically had it half on my teeth and half on my gums. My entire head was throbbing with a tickling sensation. It wasn't pain, but, it was about as uncomfortable as you can imagine. It became somewhat of an endurance game, therefore, I held on and made it to the end with only a tear or two to show for it. The Wife asked why I didn't tell the lady what was going on. Really? That's all I would have needed. Get the person with all the power tools agitated so early in the morning. I actually don't think they put people to sleep just to clean their teeth. But, it is something to think about.

Here's a little funny post I saw on Facebook. It was unattributed: ~ A Rabbi went to the barbershop. After his hair cut, he got ready to pay the barber and the barber said, "No Rabbi, I don't charge the clergy for haircuts." So the next morning the barber found a loaf of Jewish rye bread outside of his doorstep. A couple of days passed and a Catholic priest came in to get his hair cut. He got ready to pay and the barber said, "No Father, I don't charge the clergy for hair cuts." So the next morning he found a bottle of wine outside his front doorstep. A couple of days later the Baptist preacher came in to get his hair cut and when he got ready to pay the barber said, "No Reverend, I don't charge the clergy for their hair cuts." So the next morning, the barber found 15 Baptist preachers on his doorstep, ready to get their hair cut! ~ I hope everyone knows that being a Baptist doesn't get you into heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven. But, since I am a Baptist, here are a few more jokes at my own expense. ~ There are three truths in life: Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store. ~ The pastor of a poor Baptist church passed away and the congregation went into town to take up a collection for the funeral. "Would you give $5 to bury the Baptist preacher?" "Here's $10," said one fellow, "bury two of them."~

What do older people do to celebrate their birthday? To honor The Wife, we made a day trip to Galveston. It was an overcast day, but, we had a great time together. We first stopped by a movie theater and watched the highly acclaimed remake of  'Dumbo'. Yep. And, it was good. The Wife shopped for a couple of hours at the outlet mall and I dutifully sat outside each store and waited. I don't really know what she bought but she did have two different bags when we finished. We then drove down to the beachfront and ate a mid-afternoon lunch at one of our long-time favorite places, Gaidos Restaurant. (It has been in business for over 100 years and is still owned by the Gaido family.) We've been eating there for nearly 40 years. Typically, on special occasions. Seafood. She had the fried shrimp. I had the fried oysters. One of the best meals we have ever eaten there. On the way home, we stopped off at another movie theater and saw the latest episode of 'How to Train Your Dragon'. Aren't those movies basically for kids? Probably, but we enjoyed them. We got back home around 8 p.m. and headed up to the hospital where one of our dear sister's in Christ is nearing her home going. There was a large gathering of folks there, some singing, some praying, and some tears. A full day, to say the least. We also ask everyone to pray for our Uncle Waymon and his family as they make decisions regarding his medical situation. He is the last remaining sibling in my mom's family. At 93, he has been a legendary figure and influential example to our entire family. We pray for God's presence, mercy, and grace at this time. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today I address inquiring minds including my own.

Hello and welcome. Today is Wednesday, April 24, 2019. I know many of you have been waiting for me to respond to the Mueller Report. Sorry. I haven't read it. Sure. I've seen the so-called headlines being bantered around. I've seen those who claim this, that, or the other, based on their reading of the report. I said at the get-go that any examination of any political activity in our nation, at the level of scrutiny pursued by Robert Mueller and his staff, would yield the ugly underbelly of what goes on behind closed doors. This report shows the nitty-gritty of how political campaigns unfold. No one expected Donald Trump to be a choir boy as President. (I'll not make excuses for him, but, I would invite anyone to research the highly exalted President Obama and his use of foul/vulgar language when the TV cameras were not rolling.) It's easy to find. The public persona versus reality always yields a different perspective. The thing with President Trump, we did get what we knew he was. Best I can tell, he is not a criminal, based on the jurists who have analyzed the report. His ego and arrogance is very much in view in how he conducted himself. As one prominent law scholar put it, "If he was attempting to obstruct justice he certainly did a poor job of it." Bottom line, this is not going away. We have folks right now signing on to articles of impeachment, stating it is based on their constitutional duty. These are the same people who have shown time and time again they have no understanding whatsoever of the Constitution of our Republic. Sorry for the non-answer answer, but, that's the best I can do at this time.

I will tell you a conspiracy of sorts that I will never forget. When candidate Obama was running for President, it became well known the pastor of his Church, the Reverend Wright, had used his pulpit time and time again to condemn Israel and promote people like Louis Farrakhan, a famous black hater of the Jews. (While that issue did stand out, there were many other radical themes promoted from that pulpit.) The Obamas were members there for over 20 years. According to candidate Obama, he could not recall any of the anti-semitic sermons in the Church where he was a regular attendee. He did eventually throw the Reverend Wright under the bus, but, here's my point. The press gave him a pass on something that would have been a show stopper for any Republican or any other Democrat running for office. Talk about collusion. And, oh, by the way, many of the sermons have been preserved and can be watched or listened to. In context, President Trump, who is who he is, flaws and all the rest, has perhaps 95% or more of that same press working tirelessly against him on a 24x7 basis. They consistently looked the other way when it came to President Obama. If you cannot see the blatant bias then there's really not much I have that can help.

Bias has always existed. We know that. But, we are talking about degrees here. At one time, there was a sense in following the story and letting it speak. For itself. Today, a conclusion is reached and then stories are chased to give a platform for the conclusion to be shared. Okay. Enough of that. People ask me from time to time how retirement is going. Here is something I don't remember doing much of before leaving the workplace. Sitting out in the yard. Mr. Bentley in my lap. A slight breeze with just a hint of cool in an otherwise warm afternoon. Just sitting. He was chilled out and I was too. I could hear the thud like pecking of a woodpecker in the woods next to our house. People were passing by and waving. Most of them. Sitting and waving to folks was like a neat thing to do in the area where I grew up. Sometimes I get out there before dawn, Mr. Bentley in tow, and we just sit, I sip some good hot and strong Community and he mostly wonders if he will get credit and a treat when we go back into the house. I know that sounds rather sedentary, but, believe me, we do have our own busy schedule each week. The bottom line, I'm thankful I have more time to be busy, and, I'm also thankful to enjoy some chillin time. Try it sometimes. It is good for whatever might ail you. Take care. See you next time, and, may God bless. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Happy Birthday to my wife, a Proverbs 31 woman of distinction!

Good morning and welcome. Today, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, is a most significant day for all of those in our family. Today we honor my wife as she celebrates her 72nd year of sojourn on the earth. Here's what I have to say about that: Sweetheart, Happy Birthday! What a woman! What a journey! Every single day I thank God for you, (thus, the calendar). You are a one-of-a-kind blessing to us all and God was so good to give you to us! Baby, you're still the greatest! My love, forever and ever, Amen.

We met in the summer of 1962. We married in December of 1964. Do the math. We've been at this for a while. Because of how God has gifted this lovely woman, I've essentially shared her with countless others throughout the years. First and foremost, she is a woman of God, a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, a true friend to others, and a servant in pursuing Kingdom work. Her calling is simply to be her. Our family and I, as her husband, can very easily identify with the response found in Proverbs 31:

28) Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

29) “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

30) Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31) Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Those words in bold is a quote from the husband. I can say them as well. I'm not going to share any other stories today. I wanted this episode to honor the wife of my youth. May God continue to bless this remarkable woman. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"Scientists Say That Being Forgetful Is Actually A Sign Of Higher Intelligence" Article in the online 'Curious Mind Magazine'

Welcome back. It is Monday, April 22, 2019, and sometime last week I had one of the most terrific ideas for my blog. I had it planned for today's edition. However, I've slept since I had that idea and I can't for the life of me figure out even the subject. No. The wife's dog, Mr. Bentley, did not eat my homework. He is capable of doing so, but, I can't blame this one on him. Frustrating to say the least. The problem with forgetting something like that is when I think of it again, I probably will not recognize it as the one I had before. Yeah. I hear you. I should have jotted down the basic thought. It was such a good one, I figured there was no way I would not remember it. I know what some of you are thinking. Anything would be better than some of the stuff I have been serving up. Well, this one would have blown us all away. You do know that since I can't remember it, but, I do remember thinking it was a good one, I've engaged in a fair amount of hyperbole in writing about it. I'm thinking about finding a prominent place where I can write out in big letters, 'JOT IT DOWN'.

My remembering apparatus is not what it used to be. Something got me going again recently on time travel. Everyone had their escape dream growing up. One of my most vivid was time travel. For those who like to put everyone on the psychoanalysis couch, don't try to read too much into this fascination. And, if you are planning on trying, be sure and bring some of those restraint belts to keep me tied down. You know. Forewarned is forearmed. I think that's how it goes. At any rate, I have had a few dreams of late where I was on two different tracks of time travel. One had to do with an Eyewitness Time Traveler through the Bible. The other had to do with an Eyewitness Time Traveler through history. Please don't send me a questionnaire asking if I suffered much trauma as a child. If you do, include some extra pages. These would be books written that give a first-hand eyewitness account of what the time traveler sees and experiences. I've been working on them some during my REM phase of sleep. (Rapid Eye Movement, not REM, the band.) Of course, I know the Bible is breathed out by God and what He wanted us to know He arranged for it to be written down. My approach would be someone who happens upon the scene. More or less the same thing with human history. No wonder I can't remember the great blog I had in mind. I'm worn out from doing time travel in my sleep. Does that make me a victim? I understand that's very popular today. I report. You decide.

For those who read stuff like that and feel a sense of relief that you are not me, well, I have that same feeling from time to time. But, I then realize that I am me and get back to doing my best to cope. That's a joke. Therefore, the collective 'bless his heart' was not necessary. The Wife is not altogether pleased with me referring to Mr. Bentley as her dog. But, there are times when the record must be set forth. Let me work through this one more time. In early January of this year, The Wife told me she might be interested in us getting a dog. Being the hunter/gatherer of the family, I began searching for a dog to fulfill her request. I found a little guy, a Shih Tzu, named Barker, seven years old, who had been rescued. Very cute little dog. I went through the process to try and qualify to get the dog, but, alas, a new home had already been found. I kept looking. One day I spotted a video of a very young Shih Tzu puppy and the lady wanting to sell him was within 20 minutes of our home. I showed The Wife the video. She said, "He's the one!" I made arrangements for us to meet. I gave the lady cash. She gave us the puppy. The Wife said his name shall be 'Bentley'. That was on January 12th of this year and he has been with us since then. I will readily admit that I happily share in helping to take care of him. I am an early person. He is too. As Paul Harvey often put it, "Now you know the rest of the story." Since my blogs are archived, this will become the permanent record of how Mr. Bentley came to live with us. Have a great rest of the day, and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, April 19, 2019

"We understand and acknowledge that the Resurrection has placed a glorious crown upon all of Christ’s sufferings!" ~ A.W. Tozer

Welcome to today's edition on this Good or better put, Crucifixion and Burial Friday, this one falling on April 19, 2019. What makes it good is what He did in sacrificing Himself for the sins of the world. I am, of course, speaking of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. This upcoming Sunday will find many people attending services at a local fellowship who rarely come through the door. That's a good thing. I am thankful those like that will hear the Gospel message when they attend our local Church. We can't save anyone but God has chosen the foolishness of preaching the Gospel to save the lost. (1st Corinthians 1:21) The message goes forth. The heart or the innermost being of the hearer is spoken to by Holy Spirit God. He invites the hearing heart to come and be cleansed from all their sins. A decision is made. Some might say, "But, they come mostly on special days, but, nothing ever happens." That is between them and God. We do know they can respond as He continues to call them to repent and call upon His name. Each time they hear His voice they have the opportunity to call on Him. Yes, we will be celebrating the Resurrection this coming Sunday. We actually do that every 1st Day of the Week we meet. That was the pattern of the early Church. His resurrection is the guarantee of the victory we have in Jesus. Hallelujah, Amen!

Leaving footsteps for others to follow.
Now we look at our flashback segment. Here's one I wrote over 11 years ago: "Leaving a legacy that has an impact for time and eternity requires that we live a legacy before we cross over to the other side. What you and I do today is what others will remember about us tomorrow. The old preacher pretty well summed it up when he said we should live our lives each day so that if we were to die suddenly, the preacher wouldn't have to make up something good to say about us at our funeral service. I think of those who have gone on ahead that did just that. They wore their integrity, faith, commitment, and the gifts God had given to them like the clothes they put on. It was not something they did so much as who they were. None of my personal heroes were perfect. I can think of many areas where they were not always a sterling example, but on balance, they reflected the best of what God would have us to pursue and live out in our time here on the planet." Eleven years later and I am still working on this one. Amen.

Mr. Bentley is now cone free!
I want to close today with an update on Mr. Bentley. This will answer so many who have been concerned about his recovery over the past 10 days. (Not really, but, it sounded somewhat melodramatic, therefore, I threw it in to add flavor.) He somehow convinced The Wife that he should be set free from the Cone of Shame. As you can see, he is now cone free! When that thing came off, he spent the next 20 minutes trying to make it unusable in any future endeavor. And, the Vet Staff were right again. He got over his anger and pouting, and, he is now the wild and crazy, loving, pup we originally bargained for. For the record, he is now 23 weeks old. Of course, it's good that everyone knows he is The Wife's dog. I am just a helper. I do my best. I really do. We are planning, Lord willing, to host as many of our family as can come, after Resurrection Day services, here in our home. Some will not be able to come because of their work schedules and their locations. However, we are anxiously anticipating a time of family, food, and fellowship. Have a great Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. I will do my best to show up again, come next Monday. May God be praised for His provision through His Son our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

“Engage in no pursuit in which you cannot look up unto God, and say, 'Bless me in this, my Father!” ― Legh Richmond, (1772-1827), Church of England Clergyman and Writer

Good morning and welcome. It's good to catch up with everyone again on this Thursday, April 18, 2019. I am someone who enjoys giving to worthy causes. I am. This runaway 'Go Fund Me' culture has made this much more difficult. No doubt, the majority of those I see showing up every day are great organizations, causes, or personal families in need. But, the magnitude of the sheer number being promoted at any given time is mind-boggling. I know the folks who offer the collection service generate revenue from the fees they charge on the donations given. That gives them the incentive to get as many fundraisers out there as possible. Now folks are adding videos pleading for their particular situation or cause. These are people we know. This entire program is beginning to make me yearn for when it was mostly kids coming up to you at Church selling something to support their school. I'm not going to stop giving, but, I will tell you this saturation has really made it very complicated. Like I said, they are worthy causes. I don't have an answer. Just sharing. I do that sometimes. You've noticed? Thanks for hearing me out.

We received a copy of the letter stating our granddaughter, Lexie Dee, will be graduating from her high school class of about 1,000, with the top honor of Summa Cum Laude. This girl has worked so hard and has always excelled in her academic pursuits. She is in all advanced classes. She tutors other students. She has a parttime job. She will start in the fall at the University of Texas, Austin. We thank God for the talent and ability He has given to this young woman. We are thrilled for the potential she has and yes, we are proud of her. We know her parents, our youngest Rodney, and Mitzi, are too. May God continue to work in her life as she makes her way forward. Congratulations to our Lexie. We love you. MiMi and Poppy.

50th High School Reunion.
I graduated 5th in my high school class. Wow! That's pretty amazing when you say it like that. Right? We had less than 30 in my graduating class. Not as impressive. Big fish in a little pond. Or, little fish in a big pond. Or, if you are our Lexie, a big fish no matter what pond. I do see things posted nearly every day on Facebook by some of my high school friends. They, like me, have a lot of wear and tear. The good news is how most of them post things about their faith in God, their love for their families, and their concern for our culture and our country. I remember us as kids, then teens, and as young people trying to make our way in life. We all have had our sorrows and losses. That comes with life itself. We've also enjoyed the blessings of God. I did get to see some of them at our 50th High School Reunion back in 2014. We are all now well into our 70's. Some have health challenges. Others are dealing with family issues. Most are grateful to God for all He has done. You can count me in all of those categories, but, I am truly fixed on that last one because He has provided for me more than I could have ever deserved. Truly thankful. Yep. Thankful. What say you? Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"My wife kisses the dog on the lips, yet she won’t drink from my glass." ~ Rodney Dangerfield

Good morning and welcome to another day. This one is identified as Wednesday, April 17, 2019. My wife doesn't really care for me making fun of myself for falling while chasing Mr. Bentley. I'm sorry, but, to me, it was funny. He has nearly taken her down a time or two which led me to make this pronouncement: "If that dog ever causes one of us to be hurt he is out of here." Having now fallen with a connection to Mr. Bentley, I have been challenged regarding this statement. More than once. I gave my answer. Mr. Bentley was a party to the accident, but, he was not the specific cause. It was mostly on me for chasing him. Any other questions? I know old people falling is no laughing matter. It is a serious issue. I feel blessed not to have done more damage. And, yes, because we have been indoctrinated with those commercials, I did think about the one that says, "I've fallen and I can't get up." All my laughing was at myself and my situation. Mr. Bentley, by the way, was oblivious to what had happened. He thought maybe I was into playing a new game. One where I roll around on the floor making strange noises. I am well aware the next time it might end up being serious, but, for now, I can't help myself. I am still laughing about it.

A week ago this past Tuesday, Mr. Bentley was in surgery, therefore, I went to the big mall and walked while the wife conducted her weekly Bible study. As I mentioned before, it had been a while since I had walked. The 'regulars' were glad to see me. I can imagine their discussions. They had wondered whatever happened to the short pudgy guy with the Santa Claus beard? I had thought trailing behind Mr. Bentley would have given me more stamina. Essentially, I was out of practice, and it surprised me how often I felt the need to take a break. The 'regulars' would pass by and see me sitting and they had that 'bless his heart' look on their faces. I knew it. He must have had surgery or something." Nope. Just out of shape. Again. Had the wife been with me I would not have taken the breaks. I would have muscled my way through it. Only when SHE needed one, I would concede. We are a strange lot. Don't you agree? When I went to that place with the strange logo that purports to serve coffee, I asked if they had made the strong stuff yet. The fellow grinned and said, "Yes sir, it is ready. And, were my kids here they would be running up to you to say hello to Santa Claus." I gave him my Santa card to give to his kids. He said they were going to be excited. He handed me the strong stuff. I reluctantly handed him $2.50. As I walked away I agreed, "Bless my heart!"

We are excited about Resurrection Sunday services coming up this next Sunday. The subdivision where we live has its own Facebook Page with 2,000 folks signed up to share. I posted the following invitation along with the photo ad on that Facebook Page, "This coming Sunday we will be celebrating The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. Some have the idea that Christians look down on those unlike themselves. Not true. Actually, we are nothing more than beggars telling others where we found bread. You can find THE BREAD at Mims Baptist. Come join us!" I offer this same invitation to any and all who read my blog. When the followers of John the Baptist inquired about Jesus, He told them, "Come and see." (John Chapter 1) That's my invitation to anyone thinking they might come and visit our local fellowship. Come and see what God is doing. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, April 16, 2019. I will confess that I scrambled up yesterday's edition, therefore, it may have been more discombobulated than the normal mix. It was a rare early morning that I could tip-toe around the kennel where Mr. Bentley sleeps and make it up the stairs without him getting all riled up. Maybe that's the application of 'letting sleeping dogs lie'. Most days he is at my feet begging me to quit typing where we can focus on something more important. Him. I do have an injury connected to Mr. Bentley. He gets so agitated and animated when he knows I am getting dressed to leave for Church I finally determined to put him out of our bedroom. Therefore, this past Sunday, being the strong disciplinarian, I decided to put my foot down. I had him out the door but he knew what I was doing so he got back by me before I could stop him. Once inside he used his speed to evade me. I finally caught up with him on the other side of the bed but when I did I slipped, went down on one knee, and locked up my hip. It hurt like old Billy-heck but I was also laughing. Now I feel like Jacob in the Bible when he was given a limp. The wife said my problem is I laugh about stuff instead of being angry. She wants me to get an x-ray. That too is funny. To me. I do hope this stuff you rub on for pain helps. Just joking. Hey, you might as well laugh because there is always time to do the crying. Later. Much later. I hope.

When you think you've pretty much seen it all, hang on. The Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, a physician, was the fellow who gave a detailed description of how to let a baby die in order to preserve the late-term abortion bill. Before a committee debating the late-term abortion bill, he was asked about a baby scheduled for abortion that was born alive. He went into excruciating detail about how that child would be left to die. Six weeks later he signed a bill into law in the state of Virginia with these provisions: ~  Animal Cruelty Law, under the new law, which comes into effect July 1, anyone who "tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain, 'or' cruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims or mutilates any dog or cat" can be found guilty of a Class-6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. ~ I think this is very much a sign of our times. Here's the biblical text that is used by all sides to try to defend their positions: Exodus 21: 22 "If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." The people who are for abortion claim the 'no harm follows' pertains only to the prospective mother. However, the Hebrew language would suggest it has to do with when the child comes forth, therefore, if the child is born and is okay, then the first provision would be followed. If the child comes forth and is harmed then the second provision would apply. God is against the murder of innocent children. I also recently heard the quote from the head of a large abortion clinic who said that babies should not be considered to be human beings until after they have lived for at least 30 days. These are some sad times we are living in.

It would be an interesting exercise to research the original Hippocratic Oath sworn to by those entering the field of medicine as physicians. This document dates back to ancient Greece. More modern oaths have updated the language and often they have done away with the prohibition against aborting babies that was included in the original oath. The original document was a thoroughly pagan view of the doctor's responsibilities, however, even it recognized the sanctity of life. You can Google and read the ancient document, some that followed, and the ones in use today. While we claim to have come a long way in our development, the Bible makes it clear that the fool has said in his heart there is no God. (Psalm 14:1) These are things that swirl around in my heart and mind from time to time. The animal cruelty law is not a bad law. But, protecting animals while advocating the killing of unborn and even born babies, that, my friend, to me, is end time stuff. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but God will not overlook these atrocities. We have His Word on it. May God help us to see what He would have us to do. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." ~ Matthew 28:6, King James Version, (KJV)

Good morning and welcome to my world, one that is a little more in balance now that the lady of the house has returned. It's Monday, April 15, 2019, Tax Day, and I hope this episode finds everyone doing well. Mr. Bentley has pretty much recovered from his surgical procedures but he still hates what is often referred to as the 'cone of shame'. When the wife came home he did his version of being overjoyed. I was still at Church, but, she said he was totally out of control. She had just left her sister's house where her sister's little Chihuahua-mix, Dotsy, was a model of calm and cool behavior. She told me that Mr. Bentely needed to learn how to be that way. Really? I told her he is what he is. I do know he is spoiled. That's pretty obvious. Mostly, because we didn't know much about how to deal with having a puppy. I'm not even sure he is calm and cool when he is sleeping. But, he does need to learn how to behave himself. I will speak to him about it. Soon.

My pick-up truck is closing in on 190,000 miles. It's twelve years old and it ran hot on me last Wednesday evening coming home from Church. It was low on coolant so I put some in. It was close to needing a regular oil change so I had that done. The fellows there said they believed I had a leak in a couple of the hoses coming into the dash. That sounded right to me. I put in a call to our most trusted mechanic. He actually makes house calls. Shout out to my eldest for coming over Saturday morning and helping me with my aging pick-up truck. Using You-Tube to help troubleshoot our problem, we determined the repairs that were needed. We made two trips to the parts store, but, in a little over an hour the hoses were replaced and the coolant refreshed and it seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Another helping hand from our boy. We spent $30 on the parts and my guess is he likely saved us between $300 and $400. That is if the mechanic shop would have diagnosed and fixed the right problem first. Thanks, Chris. It would be great to say he inherited his mechanical inclinations from me, but, that would be a joke to everyone who knows me. And, he has been fixing stuff around the house since he was maybe 8 or 9 years old. Maybe I can get a little credit for giving him some hands-on training.

This is, of course, Passion Week, where we celebrate the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It seems that often we hear mostly about the happy life one can find when they put their faith in Jesus and His finished work on The Cross. The price paid was costly, and following Jesus can also be a life where a cost must be paid. There was nothing easy about His death and burial. And, He gloriously rose up from the grave to demonstrate His once and for all victory over death, hell, and the grave. Amen. Our Bible study class is working through the inspired texts from Mark's Gospel. Mark hit the ground running in his demonstration of who Jesus is. God in human flesh. Miracle worker. Savior. Messiah. Lord. What a privilege we have to honor Him as we consider what He did on our behalf. This is great news. The even greater news is how He is still in the saving business today. May God use His truth to reach many during this time of reflection upon Jesus. Amen.  ...More later.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Happy Friday!

Hello and welcome to Friday, April 12, 2019. I've got my hands full at the moment. Mr. Bentley is still trying to decide if he will forgive me or not, and, the wife left yesterday for a sibling trip to Louisiana. She and her sister, Dorothy, are going to see their older brother Cleon. Me? Home Alone or Left Behind? I report. You decide. Speaking of siblings, this past Wednesday was designated National Siblings Day. I put the above photo up on Facebook with the following information: "Several have posted something about national siblings day. Here is my offering. The bottom row, left to right, is yours truly, still kicking, then mom, who at 93 went home to glory in 2017. Next to mom is our dad who took ill and died in January of 1954, dad is holding our sweet baby sister Kayla who contracted Leukemia and died in 1979, next to dad is our brother Donald, retired US Marine who died in 2011. On the back row left to right is our sister Frances, who currently lives in an assisted living place, next to her is our brother Jimmy who died in 1962, and finally, our sister JoAnn who continues to battle a treatable form of Leukemia. The family photo was the last taken before dad passed away. We were visiting our grandparents in Hornbeck, Louisiana, and it was Resurrection Sunday, 1953."

Here's an excerpt from a very long blog I wrote around this same time in 2008.

Do Any and All for His Honor and Glory!

Knowing as much about what drives you is helpful as you find your place of service in this world. Over the years I have taken a huge number of tests that seek to determine my personality, strength areas, and weaknesses. I recently took one online that had 180 questions. It's called an Enneagram Evaluation. Here I am closing in on my 62nd year of sojourn here on earth and my profile is fairly consistent with those from back in the mid-1970s when I began my management work. The interesting thing about tests like this is that they typically show how one can take any personality type which accurately portrays who a person is, and then demonstrate how that dominant trait can be used in a positive and supportive way.

That blog I wrote included a description of various components where they attempted to describe my personality traits and how they helped to focus my time and attention. The bottom line was and still is, this: God can use any of us and He wants to. He knows everything about us and when we yield ourselves to Him we find our place of serving Him. And, that's a good thing. Amen. The wife is due back Sunday evening. That does give me something to look forward to. The vet clinic called to check on Mr. Bentley. The lady said the doctor wanted to know how he was doing. I told her he was still very angry with me. She said, "Sir?" I said, "Yep he is but other than that he is doing pretty good." I guess people don't often tell her the dog is angry. But he is. I do hope you enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. It is the season, Easter or more aptly, when His Death, Burial, and Resurrection is something folks do at least give some consideration. That's a good thing because He can use even that to work on any heart. See you next week. Lord willing. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

"Congress does some strange things. It puts a high tax on liquor and then raises the other taxes that drive people to drink." ~ copied

Yep. I have taken care of providing my share of the national treasury. I thought you would enjoy my personal touch on the envelope. I'll let you find the irony, and, yes, I did intend it. It's Thursday, April 11, 2019, and I know what some of you are thinking, "What in the world will this fellow come up with next?" I can't blame you because I actually feel the same way. Most of the time. You notice I didn't use the words 'fair share', but, I'm not opposed to paying, I'm mostly disgusted with how it is spent. Since the folks in charge of the budget are elected, why not just get rid of them? That's how it is supposed to work, and, it occasionally does work that way, but, not often. Many of those in high positions within the Congress came there with next to nothing and now they are a part of the mega-rich crowd. Someone explain to me how that works. I guess they end up being in the right place at the right time. Or, something like that. There is one area that has always bothered me. I had a discussion with my eldest recently about me paying taxes on the social security income I receive. Those monies were withheld from my gross pay at a percentage rate. I didn't have use of that money. It was collected. I now fall under their formula for how much I will receive based on what I paid into the system for some 50 years. Yet, because I have other pension-related income they penalize my social security and after waiving a small portion, they tax the majority of it as regular income. I don't know all the reasons why, but, it just doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't. My son tried to give me his take, but, it didn't help. And, I would guess there are many others who would love to have my problem. I get that. However, I still do not agree with taxing the majority of my social security as regular income. It feels like I'm doubling up. That's my thoughts on it. In case you were wondering.

I know some will be glad that I'm done with all my tax talk for a while. However, last week I did receive my new appraisal forecast for my property taxes from the county. Just add another $10,000 to each category and all will be fine. Whatever it was that was frozen when we turned 65 hasn't really done much for the annual payout. I'm not being negative. Just telling the truth. I also have stuck in my head a speech I watched on the internet a few years ago where the tax assessor was talking about people's response to having to deal with paying their taxes. He laughed and said one of the common complaints is how the house and property could not be sold for what the county says it is worth. He more or less said that was inconsequential since the only way to do anything about the increases is to file a protest. He said when a homeowner tells the arbitrator they will sell the house to the county for what they say it is worth, that, by the way, is a non-starter. I didn't really like the fellow's demeanor or his seemingly glib attitude, but, maybe I was thinking about that notice I get each year where you just add $10,000 to every category and move on. Since I no longer drive in to work each day, I can now join my brothers and sisters in the 'fixed-income' coalition. Supposedly, that gives me much more of a right to complain. And, I do believe in exercising my rights.

Mr. Bentley featured as our Conehead Doggie!
I now pause to bring you a medical bulletin regarding the health and well being of Mr. Bentley. I was told that whoever takes him to the vet for this type of surgery will be the one he will take it out on. That would be me, myself, and I. I've heard people talk about something called Mad Dog 2020 and I know that is a type of wine with fortified or high alcohol content. But, we have our own homegrown version called Mad Dog Mr. Bentley. He has to wear the collar for at least 10 days. He can't have a bath for 14 days. By then he will become Biblical in that, like Lazarus, he will already stinketh. He is beginning to show some affection but only when he forgets that he is still mad. But, he's our little cone head, angry, doggie and we will get through this. People sure were right when they said puppies act a lot like children. I told the wife that if we lived through the pain, back in the day, of our Jimmy dealing with his dental retainer after each episode of tightening, I think we can endure a little anger out of Mr. Bentley. We are seeing the Shih Tzu innate behavior coming to the forefront. Okay. Enough about Mr. Bentley. I do hope you have a great rest of the day. And, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"You Can Go Home Again (It's Just Not The Same)" ~ Forbes Magazine Article

Good morning and welcome. It is Wednesday, April 10, 2019, and, I will probably pull the trigger on mailing my tax information today. Yesterday, after I dropped Mr. Bentley off at the vet, since it was not that far away, I returned to the scene of my most recent spate of gainful employment, the Company where I worked for 12 years. My dear brother in Christ and owner of the Company was not there but I did get to see many of the people I had worked with for those many years. It was business as usual as they were engulfed with jobs, deadlines, and trying to juggle all their resources to get the projects done. They eliminated my desk and made it into a storage area. They said they didn't want anyone new coming there. I actually think maybe they did that hoping I would never come back. That's a joke. You know. Like the old days when a kid got to a certain age, the parents would break their dinner plate and send them on their way. I did enjoy my drive up to the place where I spent so much time. It is off the beaten path, a great place to have a small manufacturing concern. My take, the more things change it is the more they stay the same. Thanks be to God for His provision in allowing me to work there for a 12-year run. Thanks be to God for allowing me to retire-retire so I could move on to the next phase of the life He has given to me. Amen.

I heard a fellow on American Family Radio talking about a recent H and R Block survey of Americans indicating how busy they are. According to these findings, Americans, on average have approximately 4.5 hours of free time left over. In a day? No. That was in a week. I have long believed that our adversary, Satan himself, has committed himself to getting everyone tied in knots trying to fulfill everything one can imagine. No time for God. No time for family. The schedule rules the day. When asked what they would love to do if they had an opportunity for leisure, the polling indicated folks would love to be able to go to Disney World, perhaps an international vacation spot, and a host of other amusement types of entertainment. The commentator ended his report by saying that would likely be only a pipe dream with only 4.5 hours to work with. I've talked before about how a sermon back in the early 1980s got my attention regarding the use of my time. It had to do with commitment to the things that matter for time and eternity. He ended his sermon with these questions, "If not you, who? If not now, when?" God used that wake-up call to help me see that I needed to make some changes in my life in order to prioritize spiritual matters. Since that time, I've slipped and slid here and there, but, like the prodigal, God typically reminds me that I need to come to my senses and put Him first. That, my friend, is the only way to live in our busy world. Amen.

Mr. Bentley made it through his medical ordeal and is now at home recovering. I had not realized he would have to wear one of those little plastic cones but he has one. It is necessary to keep him from clawing at his repaired eye. Since he has claimed some portion of my time and effort each day, I no doubt will keep you posted on his progress. He is still very angry. He doesn't like the cone on his neck. At the moment, he doesn't like us. But, he will get better. At least, that's what they tell us. Speaking of retirement, I saw the photo above being passed around Facebook. One caption talked about how they had worked all their life so they could travel when they retired. Another one simply said, "An expensive nap." That photo of those retirees in Venice, Italy, well, it spoke to me. I suppose I have always thought about traveling the world when I retired. There's certainly nothing wrong with that. However, thus far, those types of adventures have not come up on our radar screen. I'm certainly not unhappy with the opportunities God has given me to serve and to use the time I now have. In the same breath, I would like to think we would make some trips before we end up mostly sleeping. It is kind of funny, or, I think it is, especially for us older folks. Okay. Enjoy the rest of your day and may God add His blessings to it. Amen. .....More later.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did." ~ Yogi Berra

Good morning and welcome. It is Tuesday, April 9, 2019, and we are off and running on another busy day ahead of us. We have the ladies Bible study meeting in our home this morning. That always means getting everything ship-shape and also I need to find something to occupy my time while the ladies do whatever it is they do. The wife chose a very deep theological study for this go around and they have had to burn some midnight oil in filling in their workbooks. The material is all about using study techniques to examine The Scriptures more closely. I have been helping the wife some and it is very good material but takes some study to get it. Mr. Bentley is at the vet today. He has three surgical procedures to deal with. The main one is the neutering procedure. They will also fix his 'cherry eye' and do something about all the hair in his ears. He goes in at 7 a.m. and we won't get him back until after 5 p.m., or later. At least he won't have to camp out with me here in The Home Office, although, he might prefer that option given the day he has before him. I may go and walk the Mall since I haven't done that much at all since Mr. Bentley arrived. He has provided both of us with some decent exercise because he likes to run and when he runs, the one holding the other end of the leash has to jog some as well.

I'm also on stand-by for the closing on mom's and dad's house and property. The lawyer and those handling the financing for our niece are working out the final details and preparing the paperwork. I will then drive over to Leesville, Louisiana, to sign off on the sale. This has been a fairly long drawn out process. But, based on what I hear from others, it's mostly that way with these types of transactions. It will be interesting to see what the final legal costs are. Let's hope we don't get sticker shock on that one. We will see. And, oh yeah, I am still preparing to prepare to get ready to mail my tax return and my check to the IRS. I thought it might be good to check one more time to see if Mr. Bentley can qualify as a dependent. Just joking. I do owe a $109.00 penalty for not having paid more in but I've gotten used to that one. Our profile should change some next year and I will wait to see what impact that has on our filing. My point? Don't think to be retired means you don't have a lot of stuff to do. I've learned this already. And, no, I haven't spent anytime yet in my hammock. Since you asked, I don't even have a hammock. That pretty much takes care of that one.

I was able to fill in the teaching responsibility this past Sunday morning for a different class at our local fellowship. I told several in our class that I had been asked to teach some young people. The class I taught is targeted for those 50 to 60 years old. Their teacher, a retired senior pastor, was away to attend a baby dedication for one of his grandchildren. Our regular class is much older than these folks. In fact, one couple was celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary. I joined in the congratulations, "That's really good, you kids keep working at it." We had a good lesson. The reason it was good is because we studied The Bible, The Word of God. That's right. Straight from the Book itself. Different setting. Different folks. Same truths. You can never improve on the Bible because God Himself through His Spirit provides the application to each heart. At any rate, we finished encouraging these young folks, attended worship, and then drove home in a rainstorm. I know when one drives in a blizzard they encounter a whiteout, but, I'm not sure what you call it when it is raining so hard you can't see much at all. I think I've used the word blinding before. That pretty much described that 30-minute drive. We did make it home, praise the Lord, and a minor miracle was underway. Our satellite was still working and I was able to watch most of the NASCAR race from Bristol, Tennessee. (I missed parts of it when I fell asleep.) Typically, our satellite takes a hike if they even predict partly cloudy skies. I also pause to thank God we didn't suffer the impacts prevalent in this series of thunderstorms where much wind damage and flooding occurred. I did not hear of any injuries but much property damage was incurred. Take care, now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, April 8, 2019

"If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it - young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous - is changed by it." ~ John C. Maxwell

It's Monday, April 8, 2019. Good morning and welcome back. We all need encouragement. We do. You too. I appreciate those who continue to say the stuff I write about is something they enjoy. The other day one longtime reader said this to me, "Please never stop doing your blog." No. It wasn't my mother. I do not receive her emails from heaven, but, you would be right to assume she would say the same thing whether she liked reading them or not. My point? It's like me telling the managers who reported to me and they wanted to be leaders that they should occasionally look behind them to see if anyone is following. It is good to know that someone is reading and getting something out of them. I don't have to worry about the impact when I use the Word of God. He does His own thing when His Word is shared. And, we are promised that it will not return to Him having not accomplished His purpose. That comes from God through the Prophet Isaiah, and it is a favorite passage on how He uses His Word to accomplish His purpose:

Isaiah 55

1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.

5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,

11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Under my desk. Snoozing. The typing must be soothing music.
I included the entire text because that's how God delivered it to us. It had been a while since I had read it. Maybe that's the case with you. Speaking of encouragement, we had our Thursday Evening Gathering in our home last week. This is a time set aside to visit, fellowship, feast, sing, pray, and hear God's Word read. Several who planned to come couldn't because of illness and other issues, but, we had ten of us who had a blast. I mean that in a wholesome manner. After it was all over, I complimented the wife on being a superb hostess. I also mentioned to her that it was so good to hear so much laughter among our brothers and sisters in Christ. We did have some entertainment we saved for the end. Mr. Bentley. He absolutely loves people. He does. We turned him loose and he went wild. He couldn't even get traction under his little paws because he was moving so fast and was so excited. He went from person to person. Jumping, licking, and showing his own special welcome. That ended two hours of sharing, caring and having old fashioned fun. Amen.

I received an email from a dear friend last week seeking urgent assistance. I tracked him down only to find out his email had been hacked and that message had been sent out to his entire email list. That list was extensive including his customers. Folks were calling from all over trying to make sure he was okay. I was suspicious of the formatting of that email and was relieved to find out it was a hacked hoax. What did the hackers want me to do? They wanted me to respond to that email. They can get more information about you if you respond. I'm sure some did. I didn't. I share this as a word of caution to us all as we receive and send information via the internet. Do not open any email that appears to be suspicious. Do not respond to any email that causes you to doubt the accuracy of its contents. One last thing. You can do everything possible, but, always remember the folks out there doing the hacking, well, they do that for a living. This is their job. They are good at what they do. This means we shouldn't be surprised if and when it happens to us. In the meantime, keep up your guard and be alert. Obviously, the technology can be used for good purposes. But, we do have to be vigilant. Have a great rest of the day and may God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.