Archives June 2021

They Say A Laugh A Day

a family spending time together

And it is written in scripture A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine.

I get more items in my inbox than I want, need, or is even fathomable. In short, I don’t know where 90% of it comes from or even why it finds its way to me.

However, I do subscribe to a few things and today’s message from Seth Godin had to do with luck. Luck, he told us was not a strategy. In Mr. Godin’s words about how life happens, for instance in the case of the old fart who smokes, drinks, and lives to one hundred and we think: Perhaps they did x, y, and z, and then got lucky. As storytelling creatures, it’s natural to assume that x, y, or z had something to do with it. But maybe it didn’t, you know, living to one hundred was just short of a miracle for them.

So, luck in the true sense can work both ways. If your sitting in your living room and the airplane above your house jettisons its luggage and it comes down to fall through your roof into your living room…well, that sort of luck isn’t helpful.

On the other hand, if you win a 2 million dollar settlement, insurance patches your house good as new, and no one is hurt that sort of luck could work the other way. But I’ve lived in my house for years and not had that sort of thing happen, nor do I foresee it happening so counting on that as a retirement plan is really a poor strategy.

All strategy aside, my mother had a saying that has more truth to it than I would like, it was simply, figure long, figure wrong. This translates into you can strategy till you’re blue in the face but that doesn’t mean it will be helpful. Things don’t always turn out the way you would expect.

As I’ve shared before I’ve had to resort to plan B (C, D, or more) so many times in my life I know about the phrase Well, that didn’t go the way I’d planned. Yet, as I reflect on my life there are several scriptures that come to mind.

For those who say there is no such thing as luck —

Ecclesiastes 9:11  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

we agree the scriptures call it time and chance

Don’t stress about things you have no power to change. Change what you can and leave the rest to God:

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Proverbs 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. 16  Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Taking Time

a deliveryman carrying a package

Our lives come in many different boxes and we don’t always get to choose our boxes.

Back in the day, my daughter read many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. One scene in one of the books has the birthday boy/man helping to stir his birthday cake. There are raisins in the cake back then and he’s told to make sure the raisins in the cake are stirred in well.

The raisins represent life’s good blessings and it is important that the good blessings are dispersed evenly throughout life not only at the beginning of life, nor only at the end of life.

Our lives come in many different boxes and we don’t always get to choose our boxes. What we do get to choose is what we are going to do with our boxes.

Life can be long and hard, or long or hard. Very seldom is it always easy peasy and comfortable for anyone.

We live in a world that looks with envy on others. It doesn’t matter if those looked on with envy have more money or more time or what they look like they have that people want.

We most often hear that the other person has lucked into a better life. It is never thought that maybe the millionaire for example worked hard to get what they have.

No, somehow that millionaire must have taken advantage of others to get what they have. Everyone knows they must have robbed, stolen, and probably committed murder…

My in-laws started out after WWII farming and eventually, they won the lottery…well, maybe not won the lottery, but…it was as easy as getting up every morning at 4:00 A.M. during the summer heat, winter freezing, autumn, spring both with unpredictable weather. The planting crops, caring for livestock, dealing with neighbors and government year-round come what may in the world of unpredictableness.

It’s often written as Farming today has become so easy Farmer Joe (and his wife) can work jobs in town and farm in their off time… Reality is contrary to current reports farming even today isn’t easy. Many farmers must also work a forty-hour-plus off farm job to pay their bills and then spend eighty hours working their farms.

That’s just a small sample of what many entrepreneurs go through to become successful. Whether it’s farming as a small business or a city small business most people are not taking advantage of others to become successfully wealthy. But the demon envy is strong in today’s world.

In so many cases we have become the lobsters pulling others back into the bucket instead of cheering our fellow humans on to success and climbing out ourselves.

1Peter 1:

13  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

The Outside World Will Never Know

brown wooden dock

The tough part is when the inside world doesn’t know either. Each person goes through life—their own story or journey.

We are told and rightly so, we can’t always choose what happens to us, but we do have the choice as to how we react.

Choices how and why do we make the choices we do? Years ago we had a terrible rabbit scourge. They had begun eating my garden off in a terrible way and I had sadly decided we needed to cut down on our rabbit population or we wouldn’t have anything left in the garden.

We came home one evening after Bible Study and there were several rabbits playing tag down on the grass on the lower lawn. It was a hard decision but someone went in and got the single shot with the intent to reduce the rabbit population.

Two things came out of that experience. One, for some reason the rabbits didn’t stop playing tag even though several shots were fired into their midst. To say I was surprised would be an understatement.

I thought, what a bunch of dumb bunnies? Why didn’t they run off? If someone was shooting at me I wouldn’t continue to play tag…but after pondering on the problem, I realized they didn’t have a concept that someone was shooting at them. Neither did they have a concept of danger.

The second thing that came out of the experience was we needed to site that gun in. At that point, those dumb bunnies weren’t in a whole lot of danger.

However, we can be like those rabbits waltzing through life not paying attention to much of anything. Satan of course is always looking for ways to entrap us in his evil snares to take advantage of clueless humans.

We are not dumb animals yet we act like them. What do we want in life? What are we looking for in life? How many people go from day to day searching in all the wrong places for something they just don’t know what?

In watching a YouTube video the speaker had described his journey overcoming grievous addictions and how he dealt with those demons on a daily basis. At the end of his podcast, he said, addictions are born out of pain and wanting, and he posed the question what does the wanting want?

He had turned to seeking spiritual answers in his life as many who make it out of addictions do. I don’t know if it has to do with the God-sized hole as some describe it that nothing else will fill, nothing else will ease.

Regardless, it is a puzzle. Some people never get out of those addictions. They cling to the hurt, pain, and wanting never letting go of them. Then some people never have addictions and never seek God either. They don’t know what they want, and apparently don’t know what they are missing.

John 8:

23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Every Day A Hero

silhouette of soldiers walking

Not all heroes wear a Superman outfit with a cape. Heroes come in all sorts of forms, large, small, male, female, and some are furry and from the animal kingdom.

I tried this topic in my mind at least, this last week. It didn’t come out as I wished it to so I’m trying it again. There were some triggers that brought to mind the idea of heroes.

One trigger was of the war stories I’ve been receiving, but there was a gentle reminder a while back on what is a hero?

There are the obvious heroes who like those who ran back into the burning buildings on 9/11 or the people on D Day who ran onto the beaches in defense of others. These heroes should be remembered and hailed as the outstanding individuals that they have been.

Yet, here are some other individuals who should receive a nod of approval. A young husband and wife who remain true to their commitment to forsake all others until death do us part—daily—in order to live, love, and raise their children especially in the light of God’s instruction.

A father who gets up every day in order to earn a living to take care of his family is also a hero. This is someone who gives not just money but time and care for his dependents putting their needs ahead of his own.

A mother who arises in the morning to take care of others, husband or children or perhaps some other dependent, this is a hero as well.

Or perhaps it’s a grandparent, as in my grandparents, who took care of their grandchildren giving their time and resources to succor the young people in their life.  

Young or old, people who do the right things. These folks often are not seen as great or heroic, not even by themselves, yet they still do those almost mundane acts.

Doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t always win fireworks and accolades but to do it in the first place is noteworthy, and to do so daily is heroic.  

Psalms 92:

12  The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13  They are planted in the house of Jehovah; They shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and green:

15  To show that Jehovah is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

SnapShots

scenic view of sea against sky during sunset

We deny many things but the saddest thing we deny is our Heavenly Father, the very thing that would make us whole.

On my Facebook feed I receive snapshots and short bios on soldiers, mostly from WWII but also from other wars—for instance, WWI, Korean, Vietnam, and more as well. Their stories are amazing to read.

At this time I’m rewriting on my second book in the Ebenezer series, but in the last fifteen years, I’ve continued to work on several different stories. In the first book If I Should Die, I reached back into the Main Character’s past to his stint in the Vietnam war.

But much of the fascination with the war years began with another story I’ve been working on labeled as “Gene’s Story”. That book deals with a young orphan boy growing up during the Great Depression, and of course, his name is Gene.

I do enjoy research and no story of that era is complete without WWII and its legacy. Many refer to that generation as The Greatest Generation in terms of their accomplishments, their grit, and their determination.

It does take uncommon courage to charge into a battle knowing that it will probably be the last thing on this earth you will do. There were others who were not on the front lines as soldiers who were heroic and there were men and women who filled those shoes.

It was during the research for Gene’s Story I came across such organizations as SOE, and people such as LC Wade. SOE was begun as a British undercover organization birthed at the beginning of England’s battle. They trained agents to infiltrate France and Europe to stymie the advance of the German army.

I came across LC Wade partly because my main character Gene’s last name was Wade and I hoped I could connect some dots.

LC Wade was born in 1915 in Broaddus, Texas, a small farming community. He is touted as a ‘muleskinner’ from Texas but he wanted to fly. He’s a poor kid who joined FDR’s youth program the WPA, but found he was assigned to drive mules…but he still wanted to fly airplanes.

He tried to get into flying in the USA to no avail. He went to Canada, made up some wild story about his father training pilots in France during WWI and they accepted him. He became one of England’s most highly decorated flying ace pilots.

His history was fascinating—research, that’s why I enjoy it. So many people and they all have a story. But more than stories research shows much more than that. It shows that the big story, the one we used to call His-story is woven throughout time.

People are as a whole deniers. Folks seek everywhere for the things that will make them whole. We deny many things but the saddest thing we deny is our Heavenly Father, the very thing that would make us whole.

Psalms 68:

3  But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God: Yea, let them rejoice with gladness.

4  Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: Cast up a highway for him that rideth through the deserts; His name is Jehovah; and exult ye before him.

5  A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, Is God in his holy habitation.

6  God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

And The Sign Says

Back in the 1970s, there was a song that contained the words, And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said “You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do”
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin’ for you!”
Whoa-oh-oh

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

clouds

Everywhere you look there is a sign mostly telling you things that you… mostly don’t want to see or hear.

There were several other stanzas in that song but that’s the gist of the message. Everywhere you look there is a sign mostly telling you things that you mostly don’t want to see or hear.

I’ve read that people that have a reading room in the bathroom are smarter than…I don’t know who—Just smarter than, I think. I’m not putting on airs, but we have reading materials in our potty room and the other day a paper caught my attention.

Before I spill the beans on what the sign on the paper said here are a few things that are going on in our world since January 20, 2021.

Fuel prices are up. We had a Russian hacker hack one of our fuel pipelines. Gas price was $2.89 in our capital city yesterday. We found a cheaper price at our Costco store but there was quite a line waiting. We’ve had a hacker hit several of our meat suppliers and meat and food prices are up. Last year there were shortages in stores due to covd. This year there are shortages just because. A local school was planning on building a sports facility until they got the price bids. Lumber and building supplies have increased over 100% in the last few months (this is barely June). Jobs are coming back slowly although some are finding it more profitable to remain on unemployment.

We have a government telling us we need to get a vaccination not just in our country but people across the world or else. And we have people with bona fide questions that go unanswered.

Old Fuzzy went into a local store the other afternoon. There has been a sign to ‘mask up’ until recently when our governor removed the mandate. Even before that removal some of the patrons didn’t mask up, but now, as I was waiting for him to come out, there was about 1% who had a mask. One person out of most of the patrons had a mask.

I have wondered why so many wore masks before whether they were in agreement with the policy or not. In our family, unless absolutely necessary we did not wear the mask. The reasons are varied from some of us have had the disease, some have problems with the mask, and some of us have read the information pro and con and didn’t believe it was beneficial.

During the last few months we’ve seen so many signs from the higher prices, to the pandemic, and now just this week we’ve seen the demise of some of the top leaders on this subject become subject to criticism due to their lies.

Even Kermit the frog got in on the signs when he decreed in a meme, Here’s a little song I wrote called Your conspiracy theorist friend was right and you owe them an apology.

And it is a bit strange when we see some of the people who believe they are very smart doing very unsmart things. Just like the sign, I saw when I was reading the paper in the potty room that said BARGAINS.

I suppose it all depends on perspective. In a few months, gasoline that is almost $3.00 a gallon may seem like a bargain. The food in that grocery add may in a few months seem like a bargain and so forth. We don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future, but…

Jesus gave us a number of generic signs such as here in Matthew 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.

6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.

7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.

There have been wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes…and many other disasters since Jesus ascended into heaven. Often with the rising wickedness of society people opine that perhaps it’s time for the second coming, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Each decade, each century we see ungodliness increasing, as it were waxing and on occasion waning. And we are in uncharted waters with governments putting our money where their desires are.

Recently I came across the thumbnail description: Tucker Carlson; Stupid people took control of our country. It would be funny if it weren’t true. My mother used to refer to some college-educated people as book smart without a lick of common sense.

We all know and probably have seen those kinds of people. It goes beyond people like Albert Einstein and G.K. Chesterton who were sometimes so forgetful people had to keep track of them.

No, we’re talking about people like Karl Marx who had enough intelligence to make up theories that sounded good but theories that were very bad for common people. Those sort of people were charismatic enough to dupe the unsuspecting public into following unscrupulous leaders down the daisy path to their doom.

I suspect one day we will look up and beyond a shadow of a doubt add all the signs up and see the picture as clear as day. We will be astonished at how blind we were because it was just as plain as the noses on our faces. We’ve been fighting the one world order for many years and those jokers are still out there. Yet even with all of the cards in their hand, we see God’s omnipotence.

Pray—no matter how smart or powerful any of us are as Jesus said about the evil spirit, some of these things are only overcome by spending much time in prayer.

Are we indeed in the days of the second coming? With the amount of evil I see all around us, I would say yes, but I’m not a prophet nor the son (or daughter) of a prophet. I have personally been preparing for life beyond this realm for a very long time. Everyone out there should also be preparing for that same journey whether it involves the second coming or not.

Revelation

13:17  and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name.

14:9&11,16:2, 19:20, 20:4