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There is a Price

person holding gold round coins

So this week is almost at a close and I’ve had this piece started since last week. Yes, I am somewhat embarrassed, but not having the time machine, I’m stuck here.

It’s a rainy, almost stormy morning and not entirely unwelcome. We are still experiencing a drought and rain is needed. It’s also cooled off a bit. Being September we are at the point on the calendar where we’re ready for that slightly cooler look.

Maybe not quite the fashion statement, but maybe so.

Of note, the ninety-six-year-old Queen Elizabeth II passed away yesterday. I was sad to see the end of an era, but that too was inevitable. She had lost her husband last year and at that extended age, it was expected.

Still, I kept rooting for her for another day, and another—

The age we are looking at now isn’t pretty. Many things have happened and we’re living in a dream which is more like a nightmare. This is a writer’s page, not a political post page, yet things happen that cause us to ponder.

And rightly so. We should ponder on good and evil, right and wrong, and even moral and immoral. And in reality that is part of our writing. We try to encourage our fellow travelers to make the right choices and live their best life.

We especially, as Christian writers, want to encourage people to believe in God and Jesus, and grab onto eternal life and salvation. And what does that have to do with politics? Or kings and queens, or everyday life?

Satan would like to have us believe that politics, kings, queens, and everyday life doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity. However, that’s not true. We are sent here to make a difference and be a difference.

“Matthew 5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

15  Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house.

16  Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We know this is true. We know we are to be salt and light and this is “Our Father’s world.” But we abdicate our authority to “the god of this world.” We allow Satan free range over everything as if we have no power.

Everything has a price. If you really want to buy something, just keep looking for the right price. It isn’t always true in every case, but in many instances it is. I gleaned that jewel of information, if I recall correctly, from Robert Kiyosaki from the Rich Dad lessons.

Everything has a price and everything has consequences. The second half of that is more true than the first half. Some of the consequences may be good and some may be a learning curve, but consequences there will be.

One of the “old wives sayings” or bits of wisdom I remember from when I was in sixth grade was “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn no other way.”

How much are people willing to pay for pleasure? What is the end goal in life? Sometimes the question is what is your soul worth? To you and to God? Most people sell their souls far too cheap. Especially cheap when you compare what they sell their souls for and what God paid to redeem them.

Several newer words of wisdom come to mind. “You die once, but you live every day.” “Life is short; eternity is long.” Think on these things.

“Proverbs 22:3  A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.

Proverbs 27:12  A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.”

We can sometimes avoid paying that price for foolishness by observing how it works for others. This ties into the idea of wisdom having a price as well:

“Job 28:12  But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.

16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.

18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?”

“Proverbs 17:16  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, Seeing he hath no understanding?”

February 11, 2021 Where Has the Week Gone?

family making breakfast in the kitchen

Then life takes off faster than going down a zip line at a thousand miles an hour.

Where has the week gone? I could use that for the day, week, or month…and come to think on it, in some cases the year. This week our oldest grandson turned twenty-eight. What a shock. The biggest shock is that in a few days our youngest son will turn twenty-eight.

And yes, where have the years gone? Both of those young men ought to still be youngsters. But they aren’t and oddly enough, neither Old Fuzzy nor myself are youngsters anymore.

There are all sorts of funny memes out there and one of them which is not just funny but very succinct is the one that says: I knew I would get old I just didn’t understand how fast.

You know, you begin life looking forward to growing up and being an adult, determining your own future and whatnot. You get to the part of life where you find your life-partner and you get married, begin your family…then life takes off faster than going down a zip line at a thousand miles an hour.

The older people always tell you ‘enjoy your children while they’re little, while they are growing up, while…’ and the next thing you know the old people were right—you look and those rascally children have grown up and are on their way into their own life.

They say to treat your parents well, and the way you treat your parents is the way your children will treat their parents. It would be simple to try to lump everyone into one Tupperware bowl, but it doesn’t work that way. Each set of circumstances is different.

There is much to be remembered from the song “Teach Your Children Well” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Habbakuk 2:

2  And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

3  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Joshua 1:

9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Esther 4:

14  For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Rekeying Life

forest at night

Earlier today Old Fuzzy had to take one of our vehicles to get the key rekeyed. He had to work on the van and when he replaced the item it threw the starter out of the program with the computer.

He had found a wonky way around the problem but it wasn’t a good or permanent solution. Of course, that got me thinking about how easy it is to get away from the program and forget who we are as Christians.

Today was rainy and cool. Even though it wasn’t a perfect autumn day, it wasn’t a bad day either. We’ve needed rain so badly for a couple of years, and having regular rain for the last two weeks is refreshing. Yet, some people get fretful on days without sun.

We have had sunshine and rain intermittently through this rainy time. Enough of both to make almost everyone happy, but there is the rub as Shakespeare would say…

Happiness: “If you see a woman chugging chocolate chips directly from the bag in the grocery aisle, I would advise leaving her alone.”

I wonder about people who don’t like chocolate—what do they use for happiness? Of course, Julie Andrews in Sound of Music encouraged everyone to think of their favorite things. But amongst those favorite things should be something chocolate.

We are told to count our blessings and that’s good advice. Mentally or even on paper listing our blessings can help—focusing on positive things and getting out of wallowing in the negative.

Having friends who look on the bright side of life is also helpful. Thankfully Eeyore had friends that encouraged him in a positive manner. And we need to work at being positive people.

In the words of the song “Living Below in this old world of sin… where can I go but to the Lord?” No matter how good my friends and neighbors are. No matter how loving my family is, the one that is the greatest comfort is God. At times we all need to get in touch with our core.

Ecclesiastes “7:1  A good name is better than precious oil; and the day of death, than the day of one’s birth. 2  It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3  Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad.”

Pushing Buttons

photo of a lighted candle

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

At one time the phrase “You’re pushing my buttons.” Was a clear warning for people to back off. They were getting close to a boiling point.

In a quick article describing how many apps you can put on your phone, which I’m sure once added will be there forever, and they gather on your phone until it has so many add-ons it breaks down…

And apparently, there is an app that has the feature to open your car trunk from afar… What happened to the key fob? With so many of these app things, our lives should be a continuous series of entertainment—A continuous sequence of songs and dances.

Bread and circuses—where have we heard that phrase before? While waiting for some responses to queries yesterday I was listening to speakers and on occasion some newscasters. It has been difficult to focus my mind on the tasks at hand with so many people telling us too many things.

“Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:

Jesus tells us to watch. He tells us to be ready and waiting and we’ll be blessed.

Luke 12:38 “And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39) And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40) Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

I remember reading in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s later books how one of her neighbors was selling out something—perhaps his whole farm—because of political upheavals and the neighbor was certain the whole world was going to end up in the trash heap.

Not being read up on that time specifically and their happenings I don’t know if that was a good move on the neighbor’s part, but I can only wonder how shocked that person would be to see the world we live in today.

I had a real moment when I read that men could get pregnant. I have a husband and six sons. I guarantee you they are not going to get pregnant. And they are doubly not going to give birth. Someone needs a good dose of reality and it isn’t me.

And that’s the good news. Then there is Santi Klaus. He thinks he wants everything we have and we will be happy about that. I don’t think he understands the word happy. Or reality for that matter.

Each day we are inundated with stupid. From our government doing stupid, to the people trying to tell us our government doing stupid isn’t stupid.

Yet, in the midst of trouble and strife, we can draw comfort from the words of Jesus.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

As well as the words of Paul to the Philippians in chapter 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Someone Cares

statue of jesus christ on mount in evening

To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, 

rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care. But the question is, what does care look like?

On this wonderful new item called social media, I’ve gotten this bleeding heart declaration which I’m supposed to sign on to. The article begins with something like, “If I called you at two o’clock in the morning sobbing and…” It ends with the words or idea, “would you be there for me?”

Of course, if you’re a “friend” you know you ought to answer, “Yes, I’ll be there for you.” I do feel guilty when I get those little ditties because I do want to care, and I hate being so honest at times… but I probably would answer no.

Most of these aren’t sent by my close friends, just casual acquaintances, and why they demand my undying love and devotion I’m wondering. Back in the day when I would do something for one of my children and they would say, “Thanks, mom.” My response always was, sure, no problem. All I ask is your undying love and devotion.

At the time it was meant to be funny, but now that I’m older I realize the value it held. A family tie is different and should not be easily broken. That isn’t a casual acquaintance. I do thank God for my family, friends, and neighbors.

A few years ago Old Fuzzy was taking a load of calves/cattle to a sale barn. Granted it was a small trailer load. He got between towns when the axle started to drop off the rear of the small trailer.

I’ve told this story more than once. He called a neighbor who dropped what he was doing, brought his trailer, and helped Old Fuzzy finish his task. That’s a neighbor indeed. And indeed, there have been several times in our lives when neighbors have stepped in. Sometimes we have been neighbors as well and it works out but…

As the scriptures say, “Matthew 7:12  All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Most of us in this neighborhood have grown up hearing this admonition. At least the older of us, and we just believe that as truth. When I was looking for an editor for my first book, one of the editors gave me grief about the number of ‘flat tires’ I mentioned in the book. I think in total there were three. One was the saggy tire at the beginning of the book, another one was about the middle of the book and one was just mentioned as happening.

Those of us living and navigating the gravel roads out here aren’t impressed by that number of flat tires, but the editor’s complaint didn’t end with the number of flat tires itself. She also complained about the people who had stopped to help their fellow sufferers.

Most of the people were strangers to one another, yet they willingly went the extra mile to be of help. —No, the editor said, this just doesn’t happen.

My daughter at the time of exchange between the editor and myself laughed and told the story of her recent encounter. She and her kids were driving somewhere and had the misfortune of a flat tire. She got out and was looking at the problem when a man pulled up, got out changed the tire for her, got back in his pickup, and left.

She said, I didn’t know him, I still don’t know him, but what a blessing. No money was exchanged, and it sounded like very little conversation happened, yet whether the man was a believer in God or not, he did a good deed.

We do see evil in this world. It seems to be increasing. I wonder if it isn’t a combination of news broadcasting and an increase in happening. Regardless, we are warned of our being in a spiritual battle.

“Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11)  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12)  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

This has been an ongoing battle since the creation of the world. We are told it will continue until the Lord comes back again. “2Timothy 3:13  But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Throughout history, it is shown that even during the darkest hours and during times that had horrendous atrocities occurring, people still did amazingly good things in the ways they could. Even while evil was happening on a large scale there were parts of populations who shielded others, helping them to safety and beyond.

What should be evident is in this world every good thing we have or receive comes from God. Not a god, but Jehovah God. The good that is done, the bravery, the going beyond ourselves everything that is good, comes from God.

The story is told of someone visiting hell and in spite of an abundance of food at the feast, everyone is fighting and starving since they all have long handled eating utensils.

On visiting heaven there is a similar situation with the abundance of food, long-handled knives, forks, and spoons, yet everyone is peacefully feeding others and receiving from others.

But in hell there will be no good thing—there will be no God.

“Revelation 17:14  These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall overcome that are with him, called and chosen and faithful.”

Peace I Leave

white tea cup on gray surface

9  The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Coming from here to there… Two things I’ve done so far this morning—No, there have been more than two things, but besides throwing myself out of my cozy warm bed and making my way, moaning and groaning, to the coffee pot and into the office I’m not admitting to anything else.

Being distracted by loud isn’t helpful. We have a lot of loud these days. I’ve noted that in talking to people such as my father-in-law and his generation when I asked about years gone by he could tell me specific information about specific years.

I often can’t remember what happened last year—sometimes last week. I wonder if we are that way because of the increasing loud that’s beating our drums.

Loud, such as a pandemic. Loud such as global weather concerns. Loud such as floods, fires, blackouts, and doom, despair, and agony… in a word drama.

Drama is everywhere, and we are bombarded by it. Life seems to go faster and faster with little to show for our efforts. As an aside, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, so they say. Jesus says in Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

For a religion of peace that seems wrong, but how do we reconcile the two ideas of peace and a sword? The division comes with being different. Christians are called to be different from the world. As Jesus also says in Mark 9:50 “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another.”

Christians are called to be not just different, but to be righteous. Being righteous (honestly righteous, not just holier than thou righteous) makes other people look like what they are. That could be good if they are good, but if they aren’t good it shows them to be who they are. Many people don’t like to look bad, so they take after the messenger. Hence the sword.

Christians should be peaceful with one another, and the paradox is that even in the midst of strife a Christian can and should have internal peace. “John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.”

“Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9  The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Enjoy the Journey

forest at night

I’ve been listening a lot lately. I have a few websites I like to frequent and one of them is: offgridwithdougandstacy.com

Doug and Stacy have some interesting insights and their thrust is to encourage others to live a more self-sustaining life. In one of Stacy’s videos she is being interviewed by someone and there is a question asked that required some thoughtfulness and retrospection.

The couple, interviewer and interviewee, are sitting at the table inside the cabin and at the end of the answer to the question Stacy admonishes the audience to “enjoy the journey.”

And that is what we are on—a journey, or maybe an adventure. Life is like that with a mix of good and bad, up hills and down. Sometimes we get to choose and make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are good and sometimes they are learning curves.

There is a philosophy of “to thine own self be true…” There is wisdom in that idea as long as—as long as thine own self has virtue and godliness.

Without virtue and godliness, being true to thine own self is just selfish and self-serving. We see much of that these days.

I’ve seen too many people ragging on capitalism lately and they usually pair it with the word “greedy.” There is nothing wrong with honest work being rewarded. If someone produces a product that someone else wants or needs and they both agree to exchange something of value for that product everyone should be content.

That method of existence sure beats the tar out of killing people and stealing their stuff. The raiding and plundering method employed under anarchy and tribal culture.

Virtue and godliness, where do those attributes come from? They are ideas, but they aren’t nebulous. We know them when we see them. We have a list in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

What a noble list: true, honest, just, pure lovely, good report…and if there be any virtue.

There is a quote from the movie Second Hand Lions that I’ve come across lately. I haven’t watched the movie, only bits and pieces, but this piece is somewhat poignant. There are some basic truths and like many things in life, if it isn’t always true it should be.

“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtues mean everything. That power and money, money and power mean nothing; that Good always triumphs over Evil; and I want you to remember this: That Love, true Love never dies. Doesn’t matter if any of this is true or not. You see a man should believe in these things because these are the things worth believing in.” Robert Duvall in “Second Hand Lions”

Psalm 130:1. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Where Does Happiness Live?

close up photo of lion s head

1Corinthians 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

When I was a child, my grandmother would set me on the table in front of her and she would recite every nursery rhyme ever known to our culture.

As I learned to read I took advantage of the books that were present in dusty boxes in our upstairs storage room. I read many stories from that cache of books such as Gene Stratton Porter’s Laddie, and Ellery Queen’s Spanish Cape Mystery, and the third, fourth grade and sixth grade Catholic readers, filled with stories of everything from inventions in the early years of our country and fairy tales.

My children loved to have me read to them those same fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Doctor Seuss was added to the mix and new books with new stories. The Teeny Tiny Woman was my almost least favorite story but one the kids took special delight in as well as The Boy and the North Wind.

In that story, a young Norwegian boy goes to the granary for some meal and the North wind blows it away out of his bowl. After the third happening of the wind blowing the meal (perhaps corn meal, or barley, or wheat flour) the boy becomes angry and trudges off to confront the North wind.

Those are fascinating stories that personify objects such as the wind, clouds, or whatnot and like Aesop’s fables, they are designed to teach. Odd how we often find ourselves out trudging from one venue to another looking for things—things such as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in hopes we’ll find what makes us happy.

I’ve wondered if we can trudge off in search of the North, South, East wind, or the Sun or Moon… where does happiness live? Could we just go off on a quest and bring happiness back for everyone?

On a number of occasions I have asked kids “Did you have fun?” And many times they answer yes. My follow-up question is did you put some in your pocket so you can have more fun later? Better yet, did you bring me some?

Someone had to ask those questions and I was the one. Finding fun? Fun is fun, but it’s not happiness. There is a meme that says something to the effect of, I prefer quietness without drama. Scripture puts it this way:

“Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.”

Yet, some people attract drama everywhere they go and seem to enjoy the soap opera mentality. That isn’t fun or happiness. But what rings one person’s bell doesn’t always trigger another person’s buzzer.

Where does happiness live? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

No one is guaranteed happiness, only the license to pursue it within bounds. And therein lies the rub, so to speak. The pursuit of happiness. Some people immerse themselves in work and labor in the pursuit of happiness.

“Eccliastes 4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.”

Some people look for happiness in companionship—“Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”

Some humans travel the world over, some people accomplish mind boggling adventures, some people go to extraordinary lengths in search of fulfillment.

“Job_5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”

Job 5:17 is interesting. The happiness part for me doesn’t always follow. I may count being corrected a blessing after I’ve had time to reflect on the correction part of it, but not usually at the moment of the correction. And I may never count myself as happy.

“Psalm_127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

At one time children were considered a blessing. I should repeat that idea since it is so foreign to our world today. At one time children were seen as a link to the future, a comfort, and a resource for old age. I don’t know when children became a burden, but I’m guessing it came with the shift from a farm/rural society to an urban society.

In a farm setting children were usually seen as future helpers. Certainly, they had to be provided for, but at some point, their labor more than made up for their upkeep.

We have noted that people search for happiness in a multitude of ways and places. I wouldn’t even venture a guess at how many people find the happiness they would like to have. Perhaps what happens is just a conglomerate of little decisions made without a significant goal in mind and at the end of life, it has been what it has been.

There are a number of things in my world that bring happiness, one of which at this moment would be to find the notes that lead to the wrap-up of this post. A few days ago I found an article on end-of-life care.

One of the main takeaway advice given is the rocking chair test. Not finding the notes, I’ll have to summarize. Pretend you are sitting in your rocking chair near the end of your life. In looking back what do you want to be remembered for, what do you want to have accomplished?

In listening to Jordan Peterson talking about personalities and behavior and differences between men and women he had some remarkable insights.

In times past these qualities would not have been surprising. That anyone was brave enough to say them in our society is the surprise today. He was speaking about times past when women with outstanding scholastic accomplishments, through school years, college, and even into the business world.

Young women would get to a certain age, usually about the age of thirty, and they would be looking at entering the corporate hierarchy. Suddenly they look around and realize their life is slipping away and… they don’t especially like where they are, or what life is showing them. They aren’t all that keen on the nine-to-five and busting their tail. The being to work early, staying late, taking work home and in short, their life revolving around their corporate job isn’t what fulfills them.

They want more. It could be the rocking chair test. The idea of sitting in the rocking chair at the end of their life—alone—doesn’t resonate well with those women.

Add to that the problem of women having a biological time clock. There is something tiring about chasing a toddler, and it’s magnified at forty years old and beyond. Honestly, it is easier to mom children at a younger age than when you get older.

Lately, some younger women have voiced the idea that they don’t want children and they are thinking about sterilization so they never have to worry about pregnancy. If they don’t want children that’s the way to go. In my opinion, they won’t find happiness on that path, and their rocking chair test will be lacking, but it is better than the alternative.

Happiness—where to go for happiness? Is it like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz says:  “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!”

When we realize the phrase the best place to be is in someone’s heart, prayers, and thoughts, isn’t just a phrase. It’s a truth.

The scriptures tell us things about happiness. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and it’s also the beginning of finding happiness. All of the searching for happiness won’t bring happiness if we don’t have God.

When we do have God no matter where we are, God will bring us what we need. Contentment is the path to finding the completeness we search for.

“Psalm 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.”

“1Timothy 6:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

These Present Darkness

low angle photography gray sky

These last seven days have been difficult. Not for any one thing to put a finger on. I’m reminded of, I believe it was the first Star Wars movie. At one point Obe Wan Kenobe has been found and I’m not sure at what point the bad star ship vaporizes a planet. Obe Wan comments on the troubling in his spirit when this occurs.

There is a song in our hymn books titled “Troublesome Times Are Here”.

What we must remember is—this song was written many years ago and could have been written in many millennial years ago. In short, troublesome times have come and gone throughout the centuries, yet humanity continues.

Often we believe the times we live in are the worst…

“Matthew 24:

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must 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 pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

In times like these… take heed and let no man deceive you. Do we hear of wars? Do we hear of nation rising against nation? Kingdom against kingdom… famines pestilence, and earthquakes? These have taken place for centuries and yet the ages still roll.

What is a servant of God and Jesus supposed to take away from times like these? First of all, remember we are servants. A servant serves. We need to leave the unshared things in God’s hands. We have a family joke about why God didn’t make woman first—He didn’t want advice.

“Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We serve where our Lord puts us, and not everyone is given the minute details.

Control. Take heed, God is in control and as the book of Revelation shows us, we don’t need to understand all the nuances of everything written in the scriptures for the culmination of those things to come to pass. In other words, whether we understand the times that God holds in his hands, it doesn’t rest in our hands to bring it to pass.

Peace. We can have peace in this present world no matter the times we live in. We are given our sphere to hold, and standing for truth and righteousness is where we must be.

Take heed, Jesus never told his followers when he would return, we are supposed to be busy about the Father’s work. “Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

Take heed that we don’t take upon ourselves those things which belong to the Father. As it says in “Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Don’t become entangled in matters that won’t make any difference. Stand where you are until the Lord comes, or you are relieved of duty.

“Matthew 24:

48  But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth;

49  and shall begin to beat his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken;

50  the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not,

51  and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

To Stand

belief bible book business

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 

I try to begin a new post on Sunday afternoons or Monday as a rule. This week I have been remiss. It’s easy to procrastinate when your world has been effectively shaken to its core.

Last week August 8, 2022, as I was dawdling about on some miscellaneous project, Old Fuzzy stuck his head in my office and asked me if I had heard. Apparently, the FBI had raided President Donald Trump’s home.

That set me off on a trip of valley low, mountain high, moments throughout the week. Now, this isn’t a political post, so I do not intend to go there, but what has struck me is the truth of Jesus’ words.

Luke 12:49-52 ff.

“49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three…”

I have said/written many times in the past when I see non-Christians complain that they will be glad when all those Christians are gone, just what is it about “thou shalt not steal, or kill, or bear false witness, or any other of the moral teachings of scriptures that they don’t like?

Those uninformed people don’t realize if you take the moral restraint away from Christians the uninformed should be afraid. The restraint that keeps us civil tames a beast they would not want loose.

Just today I read a quote and I’m not sure exactly who made the statement. It could have been the current Pope, someone whom I wouldn’t generally follow nor have a quote from. The quote was “There is no path to holiness without spiritual combat.”

Old Fuzzy had a Sunday lesson lately on II Timothy 3:12. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

I read another post on Facebook by a friend. He attributes his story to someone by the name of David Foster Wallace. To paraphrase what he’s said, It has two young fish floating down the river that are met by an old fish going upstream who asks them ‘how’s the water.’ After a bit, one young fish asks the other what’s water?

The author continues that we in this society are living in “the water.” And the water would be the “Judeo-Christian worldview. Its ethics, respect for the individual, and social structure have created the highest standard of living and freedoms that everyone in the West takes for granted.”

Without this water that we live in, we would live in a world of anarchy. A world that is predicated upon “the feelings of the moment” by the strongest persons of the moment. Feelings that could change at the whim of the moment from whoever is in charge.

They know not of what they wish for.

The scriptures speak of spiritual warfare. Jesus in the aforementioned scriptures and in other places speaks of this war. The Apostle Paul references this war in his revelations as do the Apostle Peter and the other writers of the New Testament as well. It’s a common theme. Keep running the race, fighting the fight, and stay strong. The book of Revelations is a book describing the spiritual war.

Ephesians 6:12 Tells us our spiritual battle is against the rulers of darkness… “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We fight against things we cannot totally understand, but stand we must.

“Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”

Looking for a Long Shot

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.

close up photo of monopoly game items

I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know what it meant. Not really. It was used to begin stuff I think, as in after four they shot off the starter pistol for the race.

My family has been a horse family as long as forever. My mother and her father (Grandpa Magill) at one time raced horses—Back in the day when every county fair had horse races. My father was a jockey and rode at the big race tracks at one time.

However, somewhere in my life, I got sideswiped. I did have a few wake-up calls and our children did have horse availability but only recently have I realized that the Kentucky Derby is still running every year. I knew it ran, but I had stopped paying attention to it.

I realized how far I’ve fallen when my Adorable cousin told me how close she and her sisters had come to being almost millionaires with the last Derby winner, Rich Strike being an 80 to 1. They almost chose him as their horse. And I wondered at how you would decide your ticket, First place, Second place, and show…

I never did know how to read a racing form. I do remember a few terms that go with racing but very few. My mother loved the races, she read the forms, and she understood the lingo. When it tells how many races the horse started, how many it finished, how many it won…who its sire is, who its dam is. She understood the lingo.

To have a horse at an 80 -1 and choose that horse, how would you even know? Of course, Adorable was putting her finger in the air and guessing. Or perhaps like the man who always put ten dollars on the long shot no matter who the long shot was and he came in ahead by $800. But to have an educated guess is what I would call gob-smacked chance and happening.

There are people who believe that God will make a way for all people to be saved. They have all sorts of hoops that God will provide for unbelievers to become believers and come to salvation. It is one of those things that looks good on paper, but there isn’t any scriptural proof that those hoops are God’s plan.

We do know that God has provided salvation for those who seek, and we are told those who seek shall find. And God will make a way for those who seek to find. Some of those examples are amazing.

One example I’ve used, is of the man quite a few years ago traveling by train in Russia when Bibles were banned and the soldiers boarded the train looking for such illegal things. Before they could get to him he threw his study Bible out a window. It had the plan of salvation underlined and his personal notes—all of it went out the window.

Several years went by when he received a package containing the Bible and a thank you note from the person who had found the Bible by the tracks, read and, studied it, and followed the scriptures to become a Christian.

That story is remarkable, but there are others—less pretentious, yet simple and incredible. The stories of people down on their luck wandering into a church building and finding the answer they were looking for. Or coming across a crowd listening to a preacher and being convicted of the truth as they listened.

It’s a matter of God meeting them where they were at and when they were right, or it was right for them.

It’s almost as huge of a stretch as a young girl living in the middle of nowhere in a state with 99 counties and maybe 50 congregations of the Lord’s church in that whole state and that girl finding that one needle in the haystack.

The long shot of a young girl who didn’t drive or have transportation and was from a non-religious family that wasn’t inclined to help someone inclined toward religion to find or get to the right path.

There are many incredible things that happen in this life. There are several takeaways from this. The first ought to be we get what we’re looking for:

2 Thessalonians 2:10  and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11  And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: 12  that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In other words, if you’re looking for a lie, that’s what you’ll find.

And then there is nothing too hard for God to accomplish:

Hebrews 11:17  By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18  even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19  accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a figure receive him back.

If you are seeking the kingdom of God you will find it.

Matthew 7:7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8  for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.