Archives August 2023

Being full of ourselves

“If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

silhouette photo of person standing in neon lit hallway

Finding meaning in a meaningless world. A week ago Old Fuzzy and I had a moment. No, not a senior moment, we have those throughout the days and weeks. No, we were having a normal morning if such can be said about us. He was getting ready to go out to do chores, and I was preparing to send a message on the computer.

I had turned from the computer, to finish our conversation. I still had my message to be sent on the computer and I was about ready to send it. When we finished our communication Old Fuzzy left the office and went to the kitchen and I turned back to the computer.

I was a bit confused because my screen was not just blank, but black and lifeless. Just a few seconds before it had a message that was three-fourths of the way to being sent. Well, I thought that is strange…

And it was strange. Part of the electricity in the house was working and part wasn’t. At least there was that, but that isn’t good, really. Of course, the source got tracked down and eventually fixed. But in the bit of time when we were without power my mind indulged in ‘what if’ thoughts.

The Bible speaks of the coming troublesome times.

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail.”(Matthew 24:5-8)

Indeed, there have been all of these things since Jesus ascended to heaven. Beginning in A.D. 70 with the tribulation and siege of Jerusalem, many wars and rumors of wars, earth quakes, famines, and nations against nations—these have all happened and still happen.

Yet, here we are in the year of our Lord, 2023. Last year the news suggested at the beginning of summer in 2022 that we could possibly be facing rolling blackouts if the weather careened out of control and air conditioners would overload the electric grid.

Rolling blackouts? In our great nation, and in the Midwest of all places? Impossible thoughts. We never experienced them in 2022 or yet in this year. I’m not sure why. Was it because the weather didn’t careen out of control, or perhaps people adjusted their air conditioners a bit, or who knows? It didn’t happen thankfully.

For years we’ve heard of ‘conspiracy theories’, and many people joke about them. Now most of the theories have come out as bona fide, and when new ones come out we often wonder how soon those will become fact as well. Oddly enough, instead of calling them ‘conspiracy theory nuts’, they are now calling them “Truthers.” I don’t know, just reporting.

Electric magnetic pulse or they call them EMP for short. Our electric problem the other morning was the trigger or the what-if moment. The moment when you realize how fragile and precious life is.

We have also heard stories about preppers, and how we ought to be prepared should the unthinkable happen and our electric grid does go down. I think some people would like to have that come about. I see two types at least who would look with favor on such a happening.

One is the people who sit at the top. In our circle we call them the elites. These are folks who in their own estimation are smarter than the rest of us ordinary joes. They are somewhat ‘full of themselves’, and apparently they believe there would be an opportunity for them to wield more power over the poor joes of the world.

The second type of people are the ordinary joes who are already tired of the elites who view themselves as better than the rest of the world. The ordinary joes who want to live their lives without interference from meddling elites. And they view life as too complex and too demanding. They would like to have some time to live the life they have been blessed with.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

Far from the meddling crowd. That’s where most simple people want to be. Far from the elites that fly around in their expensive private planes telling others to have nothing and be happy.

What does it take to be happy? That’s an interesting question, but the answer is really quite simple… contentment.

“If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain:” (1 Timothy 6:3-6)

In my estimation, a simple life is harder—Physically with more sweat of the brow, but it is also more enjoyable. In listening to a snippet of a Ben Shapiro broadcast he had a very brief interview with Patrick Bet David.

The latter man was talking about an interview he did with a very rich man. The rich man told PBD that in our society he was afraid to get married. It was too risky.

“Behold, this have I found, saith the Preacher, laying one thing to another, to find out the account; which my soul still seeketh, but I have not found: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:27-29)

There are many of both sexes who are untrustworthy, male and female. Men that abandon their families can be found just as women who are entitled and or gold-diggers. People opine about the days when couples married with the idea of ‘until death do us part.’

Yet Patrick Bet David’s answer to the person he was interviewing was spot on. He replied to the man: “Men want to live forever, and the only way to get a glimpse of that is by what you build. You build things, you have kids, you raise them properly, and they continue your last name through them. You write books, make music, make movies—you build things. You make something that outlives you.”

Finding meaning in a meaningless world is impossible if you remove God from the equation. Too many humans are missing the news that we will live forever.

Some have rejected the idea of eternal life altogether or adopted the false narrative that no matter who dies and no matter how they lived, no matter if they believed in God—no matter what, we are all going to end up in heaven when we die. Except for the really bad people…

Because of the Devil whispering the lie, “We’re all going to the same place, just taking different paths.” That lie opens the door for all the other lies that lead people to destruction. The Truth that Jesus said (more than once):

“If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

“Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

“For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in his own glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:24-26)

The Gift

“Over the past couple of years, as time sped forward, all of his journeys abroad just seemed to draw his heart closer to home. The only problem was, he could never really go home—”

Excerpt from “If I Should Die” Book one Ebenezer series Donevy Westphal

brown book page

The day before I remembered, but in the morning as I called my daughter, I had forgotten. At my age, this happens often… Who am I kidding? If I’m being really honest, that has been how I’ve been all of my life.

I think, “Next week is so-and-so’s- birthday”—and I may even do a countdown. Three days left, two days, and tomorrow… only to forget on the very day of the event. I wish it weren’t so but that is the way my brain works.

So, the day of my daughter’s birthday, as Old Fuzzy hollars at her “Happy Birthday” I remember the day and twenty-nine plus years ago. It was a hot July day, sweltering, with no air conditioning. Old Fuzzy (back then he was a much younger old fuzzy) and I were putting up garden produce.

I was grating and freezing zucchini. I had been busily busy that day until a little afternoon when I decided I was tired and feeling out of sorts. At that stage in the pregnancy, I went and lay down.

We had some non-Christian friends whose oldest daughter had offered to stay with our three boys when we went to the hospital. At about eleven that evening, Bonnie brought Penelopy over, and old/young Fuzzy and I left for the hospital at 11:30. Our daughter was born exactly at midnight.

After the tussle the nurse and I had over me using the bathroom or the bedpan, I had just gotten back into bed when the nurse came in with a dilemma. The baby won’t go to sleep in her bassinet…

I told her that baby had been part of my body for nine months and she was welcome to sleep on my stomach. So, they brought her in and she fell asleep listening to my heartbeat. She’s still there—in my heart.

In my heart—I believe one of the greatest gifts we have given our children is each other. I grew up alone with a sister six years older than me. A sister that I idolized, but she was gone before I understood what we were about. And the connection got lost through the years.

My cousin, Coco was closer to me than a sister (she was only a year older than me) but my aunt remarried and snatched Coco away. I had other cousins who were close, but usually only during summer times and life goes on for all of us.

No one knows what the future holds and I do pray my children will always be able to relish their family ties. Even as we all grow older and time washes away memories, may the good we have known remain.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)

If we love God more than “all of these”, we will love all of these more.


“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” ~ D. A. Carson

It is only too easy to convince ourselves that we are gaining holiness when we are in reality only drifting away from it. I don’t know why that is. It could be that as we grow older the fight doesn’t get harder, it is just more difficult to fight. Therefore we slide into telling ourselves little consolations, that are kind of like little untruths.

“And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

“Wherefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)