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Making It Count

man with beard wearing brown headscarf

If ever there was a

Time for every house

To be a house of prayer,

It is now.

When I began this piece on Monday I had a definite idea, but it got sideswiped.

My mind being what it is, that’s not difficult to do.

So, where did the idea come from and what does it mean to make it count? In some ways, it could go with the scriptural idea of running a race. The idea of finishing the course. Doing our best in all that we do.

Many is the time that I’ve tossed my washcloth from the tub the few feet across to our sink and thought “make sure you throw it hard enough it doesn’t fall short.” Or at other times I’ll take aim at the trash can and throw something away with the same thought of making sure I’ve made the effort count, of not coming up short.

“1 Corinthians 9:

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

There are those times when I’m conscious of doing my best to make it count. Yet, there are the other days of my life. Far more of those days of my life when I do what needs to be done without much thought. The days that are like being on autopilot. On those days I don’t think, I just act and hopefully, I do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

We have said many times, “Pray as if all depends on God and work as if it all depends on us.” No matter, either way, we need God and we need much prayer.

After the tragedies we have seen in the last few weeks a meme that was on my feed was front and center in my mind.

If ever there was a

Time for every house

To be a house of prayer,

It is now.

The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas hadn’t happened when I began this post. That wasn’t what prompted these thoughts. I’m guessing that all of the facts about that disaster will never be known. That level of ineptitude didn’t happen without agenda.

Howbeit, the off-duty officer was sitting down for a haircut when he received a message from his wife who was a school teacher at the school where the shooter was. The officer grabbed his barber’s shotgun and drove quickly to the school.

He and several other officers evacuated children to safety, and he eventually shot and killed the shooter—but only after 19 children and two teachers were killed.

People are saying the border patrol officer who rescued children and dispatched the shooter should be hailed as a hero. Rightly so, but I’m afraid for the hero. A few years ago there was a church shooting and an armed citizen stopped it from worsening.

That private citizen from a few years ago, as far as I’m aware, was allowed to pick up his life and move on. This new hero is a current border patrol officer. I’m concerned that some of the people in charge won’t take kindly to their plans being thwarted.

But, again, this post isn’t about the catastrophes of this life. It isn’t about the inequalities of life. It’s about making it count. Most of us, we are thankful, will not be called on to run interference for these types of calamities. But day by day we face challenges mostly unrecognized by each of us.

Those challenges are what life is about. Jesus in one of his parables gave us the admonition to count the cost.

“Luke 14:

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

Years ago I read an article concerning a missionary in a communist country. In order for the missionary to go into that country, he had to have a sponsor from the country. The person who acted as the sponsor had to sign an agreement that if anyone preached the gospel the sponsor would be thrown in prison for the rest of his life.

It wasn’t a secret that the sponsor knew the speaker was coming to preach the Gospel. That was the intent to preach the Gospel to the common people. Even though to do so the sponsor was signing his life away. He knew that he would be imprisoned for the rest of his life

As the missionary spent the time preaching, the response from the sponsor, the man signing his life away was, “Make It Count, my friend, make it count.”

“Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Useless Information

close up photo of an aluminum foil

So, even useful and good information if not used becomes useless in the hands of those ignorant and unwilling to use it.

I need a file folder marked Useless information in order to keep this information from infiltrating the important information. I’ve used my useless information as conversation starters because often it’s interesting, but ‘If you can’t do anything with the data, it’s never going to be information.’

For instance, Virginia Hall was an American journalist in Paris who made it on to the Germans’ most-wanted list during WWII for her ability to help in the French underground.

She had a prosthetic limb (which she named Cuthbert) that she would hide information in. When she became a wanted person, she would disguise herself as an old woman with a cane and sit on the train station platform tripping German soldiers as they passed.

You see how it works, unless I can use that information, although it is interesting, it will remain useless.

And here’s another thing we will acknowledge *When you do something that everyone else is doing, you’re likely to get what everyone else is getting. Or as we many times say, keep doing what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

This is also useless information if when you see this you smile, nod, and go back to doing what you’ve been doing and getting what you’ve always gotten. So, even useful and good information if not used becomes useless in the hands of those ignorant and unwilling to use it.

I’m wondering about this gem *It’s hard to have insiders if you don’t have outsiders. In my world, there are a lot of outsiders and very few insiders. Not only that but the insiders are dwindling…

Bible—at one time it meant Book of books. Now there are a number of different meanings. However, to me it will always be the Book of books. It gives us useful information, information on how to love ourselves and our neighbors as well.

As I’ve seen written lately, God has had a law in place for thousands of years that tells us how to treat one another and live on this earth. This is hardly useless information.

Now, of course, the problem is God can tell us how to do what needs to be done, but just as when we smile, nod, and go back to doing what we’ve always done, we will get nothing except useless information.

The scriptures can give us above all else heaven and salvation. It can give us peace, prosperity, goodness, and forgiveness. It can be a light to our path and a shield to our head, but if we don’t heed and do what it tells us we make it void and useless—for now.

Biblically speaking we can do nothing against God. As Jesus said to Saul/Paul on the way to Damascus, “Do you find it hard to kick against the pricks?”

(“Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”)

We can ignore God, we can kick against his Word and his will, but we only hurt ourselves. This idea doesn’t acknowledge that God as our heavenly Father loves and wants only our best. Yet, like an errant child, God will allow us our free will.

Ultimately, the most tragic thing is that not only do those who smile, nod, and turn away deny themselves the comfort in this life of the blessings from God, but what they reject now will judge them on the last day. This is hardly useless information either.

“John 12:

48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”

All the Ones Who Didn’t Help

two man hiking on snow mountain

When we focus on the ones who didn’t help, we’re undermining our work. It’s a distraction and a disservice.

Walking on by. We live in a world where many things are on display. Things we would just as soon not see are on billboards, advertisements, public videos, and news clips.

We can view the inhumanity of people to their fellow humans. I wonder how some people can think and do the things they do. I ponder over these things, yet the difficult question is how. How do they get by with the things they do?

“Ecclesiastes 8:

11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:”

There is where part of the problem lies. Wicked people don’t see punishment for their wickedness. If they received punishment for evil immediately they wouldn’t be so apt to perform their ungodly behavior.

Yet we see people who walk on by and do nothing when a bad thing is happening. In one video it is set up as a child is walking down a street and an adult comes from behind and grabs them as if abducting the child. In broad daylight, they drag the child off while other pedestrians walk on by. The fellow passersby do nothing, they say nothing as the child is drug off.

Who knows why—Perhaps they don’t care. Perhaps they’re afraid to speak up. Perhaps it’s simply easier to pretend they didn’t see anything. It appears to be the old don’t get involved syndrome, you might be required to put forth some effort.

Not every situation is like that. Thankfully some people do get involved and some make a difference in the right direction. Life is a series of events, often moving from one scene to another.

As the poet says:

“Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44644/a-psalm-of-life)

Of the few things that are certain in this life, that we all will pass from this life is the most certain, yet it is the one thing most people deny either in thought or indeed.

As one recent meme phrased it, “What we need to be concerned with is not that we all will die, but location, location, location.”

Our focus should be not on who helped and who didn’t help. Those are givens. A good idea to remember is to find what helps. When we focus on the ones who didn’t help, we’re undermining our work. It’s a distraction and a disservice.

In finishing the race we need to do as the Apostle Paul in Corinthians: “1Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”

Throw away all the nick-knacks that stand in our way and run the good race.

“Galatians 3:

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Celebrate Life

man s holding swords clip art

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint.” General Douglas MacArthur

I’ve just been informed of this advice for if you’re over 35 “—Better go pee before you leave, pee when you get there, pee while you’re there, and pee before you leave…” An answering comment was “Wait till you’re over fifty.” My comment is, wait till you’re over sixty.

Life is ever-changing sometimes for the better and sometimes just changing. One thing that is certain is change.

In 1962 General MacArthur was honored by West Point with the Sylvanus Thayer Award. After accepting the award, he gave a speech to the graduating cadets of the beloved school from which he too had graduated. The most famous part of the speech was this:

“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and reechoes: Duty, Honor, Country. Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell.”

I don’t know if MacArthur wrote his own speech or if someone else wrote it. I don’t even have a copy of the whole speech, only this excerpt. What I would say to this excerpt is that it is very poetic, very beautifully, and wonderfully written as it pulls at the heartstrings.

These images conjure up the battles General MacArthur was involved in during times past. They call forth from the shadows of yesterday the dreams that were, the memory of wondrous beauty and mournful mutter of the battlefield.

Many of these images I can identify with in our spiritual battles. Although not always on a physical battlefield, nonetheless, the battlefield is real.

“Ephesians 6:

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 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.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor 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;”

The secular world is attempting to downplay the role of good and evil in our world. Things that at one time were boldly declared to be sinful and wrong, are now, if not with approval talked about quietly and allowed as personal freedom. No one dares council someone for fear of “hurting their feelings.”

No, I don’t believe in casting the beam out of a brother (or fellow earth traveler’s) eye so I can throw the beam out from my own. I do believe in honesty though.

Honesty is so annoying. It’s right up there beside hypocrisy. Going along to get along is comfortable. Honesty means speaking up and moving out of our comfort zone.

Hypocrisy says I know we both have glitches, but if you pretend I don’t have any, I’ll pretend you don’t have any, and we’ll all be contented in our sins.

Secularism is “Without God”. Secularists want all of us to view the world as they do. Without God there is no right or wrong, no good versus evil, and if anyone can do anything without consequences then you’re fine and I’m fine, and let’s just be cool.

Everyone can do their own thing, but that doesn’t work well without self-discipline. —And some things are wrong, just plain wrong.

As of now, the shadows are lengthening for me. And the twilight is here—for me. The thoughts I would close with are not “The Corps, The Corps, and The Corps.”

My admonition would be, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:10) … And having done all, to stand, stand therefore… (6:13&14)”

Where Do You Go For Truth

silver cross pendant necklace on brown wooden table

“John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

It has been several years now since our last Vacation Bible School. The theme of the lessons that year was the I AMs of Jesus. I’m embarrassed to admit that off the top of my mind I can’t remember the exact number of I Am that there are. I think I stopped at seven or eight.

On my “news watch list,” I get a number of odd offerings. Some of which I don’t know how they become part of my suggested list. I would say it has to do with the variety of subjects I research and whatnot.

I will put out a disclaimer. I don’t recommend to everyone that they watch all of the weird things that come up on their feed. Some people are drawn into apostasy by some of these kooks and led astray.

I do praise God that I have not been enticed, however, I do pray often against such a thing. As the song says “I’m only human.”

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

This article isn’t written to blow smoke, the threat is real, and we are in the last days. These deceivers have been around for many years. There were all sorts of charlatans written about in the New Testament and Revelations and false prophets in both the Old and New Testaments.

The particular video that came up to me was someone who had spent years in the translation area of scriptures. He had come to realize all of the secret nuances hidden in the scriptures that, I believe he said, were also reflected in the different cultures and their passed down stories.

Some people believe that I personally am a conservative. Some people think that my mind is set in its ways. They believe that I don’t change my opinion nor do I have an open mind.

They are only half right. Because I look so much younger than my ageless age people don’t understand. That is written tongue-in-cheek, of course, but…

They don’t understand that most of these kooky ideas have been around for ages. There are very few of them I haven’t seen in one form or another through the years. Some are just childish stories, most of them are blasphemous, false religions.

This idea seems to not fit here, but it has to do with the video I watched. In this country we have a satellite broadcasting out into outer space, welcoming space aliens. We pay for this contraption whether we agree with it or not.

I heard tell of all those sci-fi movies my sister went to in the 1960s about aliens coming to this world (and even back much earlier to the War of the Worlds). I’m thinking I don’t want to send out a welcome mat till I know who, what, when, and where we are welcoming. Are we stupid or what?

Do I believe in other worlds with life on it in our universe? Yes—but what I believe doesn’t change the truth one way or the other—could be yes, could be no. It also doesn’t have anything to do with what the scriptures tell us, nor about how God deals with us, what he expects from us, and his plan of salvation.

Here are some of my thoughts on the video I viewed. I’m not throwing shade on this man’s qualifications, but he isn’t the only qualified translator through the ages, however, he’s the one who found all these nuances?

And he’s going all the way back to the Creation account to tell his new truth. There have been many Bible scholars and translators. When he calls the God of the Old Testament a monster, I shake my head. That falls into the idea that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are different or that God has changed.

When this man tells us that we don’t know who Jesus is/was I’m not impressed with his knowledge. It is true, we can study for a lifetime and not truly understand Jesus, but that isn’t what he’s saying.

If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  (John 14:7-9)

More than one question comes to me and I scratch my head when the man in the video says Jesus is trying to ‘distance himself from God,’ Did this person read the scriptures or did he only translate words?

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  (Matthew 7:9-10)

In this passage Jesus is not chastising God for the serpents that plagued the children of Israel in the wilderness.

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.(Numbers 21:6-7)

There was a particular reason for the serpents in the wilderness and they accomplished that purpose. The example in Jesus instance was of a different aim.

So where do we go for truth? The Bible is true. But not some ‘new and modern revelation’. If it’s taken ten thousand years to get to a new, nuanced revelation, it’s taken too long. Too many people have lived and died without help and without hope for too long.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Sooner or later, the story you tell needs to be true.

“Hebrews 13:

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”

No Joke

red and black bird on red flowers

If we observe the natural world we won’t see nature refusing to do what it was created to do and to be.

I can identify wholeheartedly with the thoughts of the writer, Tim Suddeth here when he says: “There is a popular saying that says when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

I hate that saying. When my going gets tough, I want to break for ice cream. Because, truly, I’m not all that tough. When the Lord leads me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I look for a detour sign.”

The older I get the less confrontation, the less hassle, the less drama I want. I’m a cranky old person and if you’ve got issues, my thought is you may take them somewhere else. They aren’t welcome here.

Life is not just good times. As the old saying goes, there is no bad that doesn’t bring some good. I probably butchered that thought, but in looking through even horrible events, there are incidents where something good was shown.

I remember the saying being used in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books when there was a horrendous hail storm that destroyed Laura and Manly’s wheat crop. Someone picked up the ice chunks and they made ice cream.

In dark times is when the goodness and righteousness of people, shines the brightest even if only a few people at the time. There was a movie titled “Shindler’s List” that portrayed a man during the holocaust rescuing Jews.

But there were others, most of them quietly, who actively did righteous deeds at that time. Throughout history, there have been similar examples of bravery and heroism during other events.

But life isn’t a joke. Our pain, our sorrow, and our suffering in this life isn’t a joke, and the downside does happen to everyone.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

The difference falls under the phrase: When the Lord leads me through the Valley… We know, or should acknowledge that when the Lord leads we should follow.

Most of us have a level of rule by Me.

I have read, and I’m not going to attempt to remember where or who, that if we observe the natural world we won’t see nature refusing to do what it was created to do and be.

For instance, you won’t see a tree that decides one day, “You know I don’t think I’ll be a tree today. Or an animal or bird deciding to stop being an animal or bird.”

We don’t see a cow or a horse refusing to go out and do cow and horse things.

To allow the Lord to lead is a monumental task.

“Jeremiah 29:

27 Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you?

28 For therefore he sent unto us in Babylon, saying, This captivity is long: build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

29 And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.

30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:

32 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.”

Feel Bad List:

ancient antique armor armour

When we’re in the fracas of the moment, we don’t have—or take—the ability through our days and nights to step back and look with a more critical, discerning eye.

Time is filled with swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand (Jennie Wilson)—and the idea that time is also an illusion.

I was listening to a speaker and his question was, “What is time?” There are various answers for this and several of them could be accurate. Taking a stab at a definition I would say time is an arbitrary measure of time we choose to use to calculate our lives here on earth.

As I look back on times of my life many things seem like a mirage. I’ve come far enough from anything of my youth or of many people in my youth it feels more like something that slipped away and is gone. Or as a mirage did it really happen?

From my childhood and on I have wanted to keep a diary but I have been so busy it never happened. Now, I would like to go back and slow down certain times taking more important things a bit more slowly.

When we’re in the fracas of the moment, we don’t have the ability through our days and nights to step back and look with a more critical, discerning eye.

We just jump in and live for better or worse, day by day. Only after time has passed do we see more clearly. This is why we have the “I wish I had done, or said, or responded in such and such a different manner.”

Some months ago I received from my friend and fellow writer, Jackie Zack A Year’s Journey of Thankfulness Journal and I’m looking forward to writing in it.

It has a line for the week date and then each day of that week has a line to fill in the items of thankfulness. At the bottom of the page, it has a scripture for each week.

I haven’t started the journal yet. I have my reasoning, mostly I want to begin at the first day of the week and encourage myself to fill in the whole week.

A line of poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson comes to mind. “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” And we should be as happy as kings. On the other hand, we aren’t as happy as we should be.

Instead of our thankfulness journey, what happens is our feel bad list. When someone has committed an infringement on us we take it to heart—literally. We put it in a feel bad box and every once in a while we pull it out and feed it.

Or if life hasn’t gone the way it should have, we tend to feed the ill will we have in spite of Jesus warning us “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)”

I can’t think of a scripture that tells us to “Count your blessings.” Nevertheless it is a good idea to focus on our blessings in order for us not to drown in our sorrows.

It’s distracting. All the moments we waste focusing on the feel-bad list simply serve to make us feel bad. That’s the list’s job.

Ephesians 5:

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Information Please

jesus christ stained glass artwork

Mark 9:36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Frustration, I get it. We do our best to communicate the realities of perdition. How horrible hell will be—and it gets blown off by people who most need the lifesaver.

Frustration, we all get it. Sadly, many still fall into the abyss no matter what we do. Friends, loved ones, they just don’t choose to listen. As in the proverbial horse and water dilemma, they won’t drink the water.

When we communicate, what is the real issue? We have all the information. We can tell them what the Bible says and relay the many bits of information that are available.

However, there are at least three forces at work:

Are we using all the information we can and what is our presentation like? (The baker can choose how the store smells and how the display looks). We want to have the right spirit.

Number two, are we showing up with permission, at the right moment? If it’s not the right time it won’t be the right moment. And only God knows those times, and as Jesus told his disciples:

“Mark 9:28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Are we spending enough time centering ourselves in fasting and prayer?

And perhaps number three is the most important: Is there a path to emotional connection and trust?

If you’re trying to push and or shove someone into the Kingdom of Heaven there probably is a breakdown in one or more of these areas.

Mark 9:

33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Having and Getting

low angle photography gray sky

But I know a bunch of people who wonder “What’s it all about.”

Some random thoughts on this morning…

At times I come across phrases. Maybe the phrase is noteworthy in itself, or maybe it triggers a thought. It could be an odd coincidence, or maybe not.

There was an old song I believe it was ‘What’s it all about, Alphie.’ I don’t know any Alphie to my recollection, but I know a bunch of people who wonder “What’s it all about.”

Just today I read a meme that in paraphrase read: Some people believe human nature is good enough to use as a guide for morality. —How shocking is that?

In our neighborhood we do have some nice, pleasant folks, but if you ask them most of them/us are honest enough to admit we aren’t perfect.

A few years ago Old Fuzzy was taking some cattle for a ride and one of the axels on the trailer came apart. There he was twenty miles from home with several head of excited bovine and a what happened next moment happened.

He called one of the neighbors and yes, the neighbor could drop what he was doing and rescue Old Fuzzy. He brought his trailer and spent his time doing a good deed for his neighbor (Old Fuzzy). He was offered remuneration but declined any pay for his effort.

That is the mark of a good neighbor, but honestly, those marks don’t come from internal good human nature. We still have the ethic of Jesus’ teaching; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As the world continues to turn away from the gospel of Christ, that world gets worse. Only through the embracing of God’s Word are humans elevated.

What’s it all about? In this world, it isn’t about having and getting. Although we have been taught that’s what it’s all about. It isn’t.

Life isn’t about getting a great education so that we can get a good job and get money, and get influence and get all that jazz. It isn’t about what we can get like a greedy dog in the manger wanting more and more.

It was a little girl and I’m thinking she was six years old in third grade. She was on the Steve Harvey show talking to him about something she wanted to invent.

It was a robot that could read a child’s emotions by observing their face.

She called it—a friend in a toy—I think. If a child was feeling lonely the robot would play games with them. If the child needed to talk to someone…

Our world is so messed up. I can remember a time back before everyone went to college; A time when young people found employment in their town. A time when if you asked a young woman what was in her future she would say she and her boyfriend were planning on getting married after graduation and settling down.

Now, anyone who doesn’t go to college is considered a loser, or almost that bad. A young woman who wants to get married, and take care of her home and a family is wasting her life.

For over ten years before my retirement, I would get a ‘report’ from the IRS stating that I was eligible for no Social Security benefits since I hadn’t held a job since Old Fuzzy and I were married.

The many jobs I have held run through my mind, the least of which are teacher and friend. The fact that Old Fuzzy and I produced seven children who are supporting the Social Security system doesn’t count for anything.

Even though the proverbial two children don’t begin to replace their parent’s income when the parents retire and seven children are a windfall that pays for several people.

If we listened to the scriptures we wouldn’t have so many lonely children who need a ‘toy friend.’ We would have moms and dads and grandparents doing what they are supposed to do—in a more perfect world.

If we were honest with ourselves we would step back enough to realize we’ve gotten far away from the Biblical example.

The example that teaches us to love God, to love our husband, our wife, and our children. To be good neighbors and good contributors to our communities.

What would we find if we looked for scriptural examples? Would we have so many family problems? What about the Mommy Wars?

Life is hard. At times prayer is hard, belief is hard, and taking up the cross is hard. One thing to be certain, life isn’t about the having and the getting.

Life is about the being and the becoming.

One, we don’t see as God sees. Two, even when the scriptures tell us something, too often human nature looks for a way around doing what is God-spoken. Three, human nature wants to be rebellious and it has excuses to do what it thinks is best.

Ecclesiastes 5:

8  If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. 

9  Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. 

10  He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 

11  When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 

12  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 

13  There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. 

14  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. 

15  As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 

16  And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? 

Sunshine and Rain

snowman holding shovel

I asked one of our older members at church if he’d made a snowman before church…

Some call it Easter; some call it Passover, regardless it’s the bittersweet horrendous time when we acknowledge that we are sinners. Today’s post isn’t necessarily about one subject. Especially since it covers two days—at least.

Back two weeks ago on Sunday, I was up in plenty of time to prepare for church. For some reason I was moving at such a slow speed it was time to leave and I wasn’t ready to go.

That set me up for this Sunday. The week before, I had woke up early and thought, no, I can sleep for another thirty minutes easily. Which I did. And even though technically I had enough time. It was the slows that did me in.

This week I woke up more than early and the Lord talked me out of going back to sleep.

Based on the week before, I got up and got ready for church. I also worked a bit at getting ready for the afternoon’s activities.

Passover Sunday is always a free-for-all day. It’s anyone’s guess what the weather will be like, and yesterday wasn’t a disappointment.

It was cold and gray outside. As I’m putting moisturizer on my face in front of my big glass door I think I see something fall from the tree. What, I wonder, was that? It appeared to be a large white item not quite a handkerchief but certainly a slip of notepaper.

I know our squirrels don’t usually drop large white nuts from the tree. Besides, our walnuts have been gone for a long time. Could it have been a Biden bird, dropping what birds drop? Maybe, but…

Shortly thereafter it began in earnest. It looked as if the angels were having a snowball fight with the trees or ground. Big wet snowflakes were thrown at the earth, splat, splat, splat. And it covered the nice green grass and bushes.

I asked one of our older members at church if he’d made a snowman before church and he said he hadn’t and that activity wasn’t on his bucket list.

Our afternoon activity was scheduled to begin at 1:30 to 2:00 and we were pretty close to the start time. We’ve had bigger more fancy meals, but no matter we all had a good time. There was still snow on the ground and I think in the air as the egg-gatherers milled around.

There were several egg-gatherers who went out about forty minutes before the egg-hiders hid eggs. The gatherers didn’t find any eggs at that time. Of course, me being of a contrite bend found that to be hilarious.

All in all, it was an agreeable time for eating and conversation…and gathering eggs.

***

Today we were back to work. The boys were working at, and got the sawmill up and sawing. Excitement is in my air. Yes, there will be a learning curve, but with a bit of practice…

And the sunshine was busy fighting the wind or the wind fought the clouds, or just dried the ground after the snow disappeared. The sunshine looked nice but the wind wasn’t. And April is running out. We haven’t been able to put plants in the cold frame it has been flat too cold.

Our temperature has gone between seasonal to winter or at least freezing. I guess in the words of the philosopher Some days you’ll have that.

Ecclesiastes 5:

1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.