AND IT’S CRAZY OUT THERE FOLKS! ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!

Warning: This is NOT about life in The Kingdom. But it is about life, and death, as it is right now. It may be offensive to some. You have been warned!

Yesterday I was reading some news online from back home when I came across this story, about some locals who were up for parole. In one situation, the inmate up for parole was convicted of manslaughter. His defense for shooting the man was “self-defense”. But get this–he shot the victim 6 times! 3 times in the chest. Twice in the back. And once in the victim’s hand. But–it was self-defense! And as crazy as this sounds, the jury bought hook, line, and sinker the charge of manslaughter, rather than second-degree murder. Three times in the chest, twice in the back–and for it to be manslaughter it means there was no malice aforethought. Geeze, Louise! What’s this world coming to?

I’ll tell you what it’s come to–the value of human life is, for all practical purposes, is worth very little! But then what should I expect when an unborn baby can be thrown away like yesterday’s garbage? The careless monster of callousness gathered steam January 23, 1973 when the Supreme Court determined that “Jane Roe” had the right, without government restrictions, to end the life of a baby. So, it only follows the path of least resistence that when the most vulnerable are considered worthless, it won’t be long until all forms of human life are considered worthless.

It appears to me that Darwin’s Theory of the Survival of the Fittest isn’t an explanation of the past–but a prophesy about the future. And that future is right now. The only human being that other human beings care about is themselves. Freud’s concept of ego and super-ego are tame when compared to the narcissism of many people today. Many want a paycheck but they don’t want the work that goes with earning it. The Zombie Apocalyse isn’t about a bunch of corpses walking around looking for brains to eat. It’s people who have their eyes and nose stuck in their cell phone and pad–checking how many likes and followers they can get. Talk about pompous–well never mind. I won’t use that word. To call them that is an insult to all proctologists everywhere.

Fortunately, I know a lot, I mean A LOT of great and kind people. And reading stories like the aforementioned only makes me appreciate them more. But folks, our culture is in real danger of self-destruction. Only God and His committed people can stem the tide of this disaster. And that’s the way it is, May 24, 2022!

HOW LONG?

On Saturday, a young man, filled with hate, thoughtlessly took the lives of 10 people and wounded 3 more in Buffalo, New York. Sunday, as people were enjoying a meal after worshipping God, a man walked in and thoughtlessly took one life and critically injured 4 more people. At a busy flea market in Houston. Texas, 5 young men had an “altercation” and the result was that 2 were dead and 3 were critically wounded. And these were not the only incidents this past weekend. So, I ask again: How long, o people of God?

  • How long will you choose to turn a blind eye to Satan’s rampant attacks and attack those who have been captured and seduced by Satan rather than fighting the spiritual war that is all around us?
  • How long will you choose to blame this, that, and the other rather than getting involved with the people in your communities by getting to know them? Love them?
  • How long will you cry out for Jesus to return rather than helping others see how much they need Jesus by seeing how much YOU need Jesus?
  • How long will you choose being “comfortable” at “your” church rather than finding ways to relate to the people around your “sacred” building?
  • How long will you choose to be culturally relevent rather than standing on God’s Word alone, even if you are laughed at?
  • How long will you be spiritually lethargic rather than seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to fight against Satan and his minions?
  • How long before you stop quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 and start BEING a 2 Chronicles 7:14 people?
  • How long before you earnestly pray for a great awakening and revival in our land?

How long, o people of God, before you start doing these things, and much more? This morning my heart cries and is breaking for all the victims from this weekend, and every other day. I pray that yours is, too! But having our hearts broken and shedding the tears of grief and compassion is not enough. Never has been enough. Never will be enough. God is in the business of redemption–places, situations, cultures, people! His plan is to make this happen through His People! So, I ask you again: How long, o people of God? How long?

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR DECISIONS?

Making decisions is the most important decision you can ever make! But to make more than good decisions–you need to make GREAT decisions. But to make a decision you need a source that will shape and form that decision. And it needs to be a tried, tested, and proven source; unchanged by time. An ever changing source leads, always leads, to poor choices. This scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade bears it out.

For example, the Supreme Court of the United States. They are preparing to undo a flawed decision made 22 January 1973 with Roe v. Wade. The SCOTUS at that time ruled that abortion was a constitutionally guaranteed right. But there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that guarantees it. So, it is about to be overturned. Now, before my Fundamentalist friends declare that abortion is unconstitutional, that’s not what this Court is about to declare. Their decision, and a right one I might add, is that abortion is a state and legislative issue, not a constitutional issue. Bravo, SCOTUS, bravo! About time the Tenth Amendment is recognized. Enough about the SCOTUS.

Today’s culture wants to make decisions based on feelings and how they think. Forget the proven science–each decision is a matter of personal preferences and how one feels. If you feel a certain way, then you make your decisions based on that feeling or that thinking. Remember my earlier comment about having a source for making great decisions? That source needs to be anchored to an unchanging truth. Feelings are subject to change more than the weather. And about our way of “thinking”? Well, thinking is always influenced by information. Unfortunately many are using flawed and untruthful information. (Go back and watch that scene from the above and what happened to Walter Donnovan)

What about you? What is the source for your decisions? Anything that is tethered to human logic and thinking is flawed. Always flawed. Think about it. Have you ever bought something and when you got home and opened it up, you discovered that it didn’t work! Why do you think there are so many automobile repair shops?

What you need to make GREAT decisions is the most reliable and greatest source ever: The Bible! Not what people say about The Bible. But what the Bible really says. The Apostle Paul reminded young Timothy of this by writing in 2 Timothy, chapter 2, verses 16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

And when (not IF) you can’t or don’t understand The Bible, God has an app for that! It was developed by James, the biologically half-brother of Jesus and the full brother of Jesus by faith. He wrote in James chapter 5, verses 5 and 6: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Remember the words from William the Lion, Duke of Brittany in the movie The Last Crusade: Choose Wisely! And yes, the picture is of my Go-To Bible!

BOOTS!

Blog

This morning The Spirit has me thinking about boots.  To be more specific, the first pair of boots I bought—and the several pairs thereafter.  I was looking primarily at the price point.  Oh, I saw all those others, but I was focused on the price.  That was my focus—forget how they looked.  And forget how they felt on my feet.  Then—then I discovered Ariats®.  The comfort and durability of those boots were amazing.  I could have bought 3 pair of those other boots for the price of that first pair.  Now I have 3 pairs of Ariats.

I have a “Sunday Go To Meeting” pair, an everyday pair, and a pair of hiking boots for those rare occasions when it’s a little cold here in Alabama.  Normally, I refuse to pay high prices for anything!  But we found a great source for boots (and clothes) on one of our semi-annual trips to Florida.  Between Montgomery and Troy, Alabama is a place called Sikes and Kohn.  This was where I discovered the comfort of Ariats® and at a price I could afford!

On our most recent return from Florida I told Debbie that I needed a new pair of everyday boots.  I’ve been wearing my everyday pair for over 7 years.  Though they were still comfortable—still I needed a new pair.  So we stopped.  As I was looking through the Ariats® I noticed another brand, Twisted X®.  A couple of our grandsons wear them, so I gave them a try.  Finding a style I liked (remember, I’m going after comfort AND style, not price), I walked up and down the aisle, and loved them.  So I paid the very reasonable price for them. (see the above picture!)  Now I have 2 brands of boots to choose from.  Sweet!

What does all my rambling about the price, style, and comfort of boots have to do with The Kingdom Life?  Simple!  So many today are seeking what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace”.  Here’s a man who knows the difference between “cheap grace” and “real grace”.  Bonhoeffer was hanged April 9, 1945 in a Nazi concentration camp at Flossenbürg.  It wasn’t long after that the camp was liberated by Ally Forces.  Here’s what Bonhoeffer has to say about “cheap grace”.

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And we see so much of this today.  If I wanted to wear a pair of boots that was comfortable and in a style that looked good, then I had to give up the cheap bargain rack.  And if we want to experience the peace and power of Christ living in us, then we have to abandon the cheap bargain rack.  To be a “Christian”, or as I prefer to say, “a real disciple and follower of Jesus”, then we have to come to Jesus on His terms.  Cheap grace cheapens what Jesus did for us in His suffering and on that Cross.

Cheap grace, like cheap boots, may be affordable, but it fails to deliver the life our heart longs for, and the life Jesus died to provide for us sinners.  Remember, Bonhoeffer died not for cheap grace—but for real grace.  Yes, Jesus paid the full price for our sins.  But if we are going to follow Him and learn from HIM, then we have to also pay a price.  And it’s this:

23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way (that’s cheap grace), take up your cross DAILY, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 

Luke chapter 9, verses 23 and 24 from the New Living Translation

So, love God with all your heart.  Love others the way Jesus loves you.  And make sure all the glory goes to Him!  And cheap grace does not bring Him glory!

RIPPING APART AT THE SEEMS!

The fabric of our culture is being ripped apart at the seems. And please don’t call the Grammar Police that I have used the wrong word. It’s the correct word. I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote. SEEMS! Here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. the fabric of our society is being ripped to shreads at the seems. I came upon this thought through remembering a certain passage from The Bible. In fact, it’s been roaming around in my gray matter for several days. Here is is:

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Proverbs chapter 14 verse 12 from the New Living Translation

Some might think it’s amazing that a book as old as Proverbs can be so relevant to these times. But it’s not really amazing to me. These books of The Bible continue to be both timeless and timely. But let’s get back to those seems. Consider this:

  • It seems right to the LBGTQI culture that if society just accepted them, they would be happy.
  • It seems right to the gay community that if they could just get married like any heterosexual couple they would be happy.
  • It seems right to the project manager since their assistant is so capable to let them do all the work and they take all the credit.
  • It seems right that since that other person is so good looking, that a night in the sack is OK.
  • It seems right that if they child shows up for the games they should get a participation trophy.
  • It seems right that since they have a college degree they should start at the top.
  • It seems right that since that drug helps take away their stress they should reach for it.
  • It seems right that since a child would impede their lifestyle and goals, an abortion is the right choice.
  • It seems right that the government should be responsible for us from craddle to grave.
  • It seems right that if someone doesn’t agree with you that they must then hate you.
  • It seems right ad nauseam…

Now before you Tenured Pew Sitters finish saying, “Amen! You tell them Preacherman!” Let’s look at our church culture.

  • It seems right that Jesus should just come back and take us good ones on to our reward, since this world will never change.
  • It seems right that if the church could just go back to the good old days, we could stop the hemorrhaging members and doors closing.
  • It seems right that if their church started catering to them, then all the problems would go away in their church.
  • It seems right the church’s sole job is to point out the sins of others.
  • It seems right that everyone in their church should dress a certain way, think a certain way, and believe a certain way.
  • It seems right that the church should only help those who deserve it.
  • It seems right that they should only sing the songs they like.
  • It seems right ad nauseam…

It seems that many, too many people, are living by the seems–and life is ripping apart at the seems. And then Proverbs Chapter 14 Verse 12 proves itself to be absolutely true. What seems to be true is proven false by life itself. And things begin to rip apart, at the seems. This is life without God–life without Jesus as BOTH Savior AND Lord. Contrary to the opinion of alleged experts, we are simply not qualified, and certainly not capable, of determining what is right and what is wrong.

But there is an alternative and it’s the only one who will keep our lives from falling apart at the seems. It’s really simple and easy–that is–if we can get over ourselves. We find it in another book of The Bible. It’s in Matthew chapter 11, verses 28 and 29:

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

from the New Living Translation

The word yoke doesn’t refer to the kind worn by oxen and mules. It’s about the Teaching Of The Rabbi. Back then what Rabbis taught was called The Yoke. And if you think the teaching of Jesus is too hard and difficult (because He did say: Be holy as I Am holy), read these words again. But this time from a different Translation:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

from The Message

Be and become whom God made you to be and become, and NOT what seems right to you. You and our society will be and become something so much better. Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!

RIDICULOUS!

It’s a crazy, crazy world! Or is it? Looking at the above snyonyms I am forced to conclude that it’s NOT crazy–but Ridiculous! I mean, how preposterous is it that good olf fashion science has been replaced by feelings? Yet this current culture wants to emphasize feelings over reality! Isn’t it ludicrous to ignore eons of scientific advance in favor of how one feels? How silly is it to abandon the facts of biology and pursue a life built around how one feels? It’s absurd to even contemplate that human beings are more capable to make important decisions based on feelings rather than scientific fact. It’s just plain

We see and hear this every day with increasing frequency! Even the truth can’t be told today without being accused of being mean, vicious, ugly, phobic, and full of hate. Here’s just one example from many that bears this out: Gender! Eons of biological facts have testified and verified that if one has a penis they are male and if they have a vagina they are female! (What? A preacherman using the words penis and vagina? Ridiculous!) This is the way it is–with the rare exception of a genetic abnormality of hermaphroditism, being born with both genatalia. It’s estimated that 1.7 percent of people are born with this condition. This can be blamed on Adam and Eve–along with tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and a plethera of natural disasters. Not only did Adam and Eve fall, so did all of creation! Oops, I am off-track. Back to my original thoughts.

Now days the number of genders has grown beyond two! One site on the World Wide Wacky Web says there are 72 different genders. Now, let me be very, very clear on this point I am making. I do not blame any of those who identify with any of those 72 alleged genders. If anything, my heart breaks for them. You see, they have been lied to! They are being told to ignore basic scientific law and replace it with how they feel. I blame those who promote and encourage this pseudo-science–all in the name of trying to make people feel better about themselves. And this attempt has utterly failed and created a culture of unhappy people that want to and actually blame their misery on us who just so happen to believe in the science and The Bible. (Yes, Virginia, you can embrace both factual science and The Bible.)

So, what are we to do? We who embrace the science and The Bible? We cannot afford to be silent–for the sake of the misguided. We can’t allow being called homophobic, xenophobic, mean, and hateful stop us from speaking the truth–In Love! Face the truth, some people are ugly and hateful towards the deceived. And this must stop IMMEDIATELY! There are ways to be both gracious and truthful–firm and loving–at the same time. Don’t allow their hate to make your hateful. And don’t allow their anger create anger in you! Feelings will never trump truth. Never!

SPEAKER PHONE CULTURE

(Pic from memesmonkey.com)

Annoying, isn’t it! Or is it just me? Whether it’s out shopping, eating, or just walking in a public place. They seem to be everywhere–even in waiting rooms. Excuse me, but neither myself nor the people around you are interested in your phone call. Well, maybe there are a couple of nosey people who want to know. Come to think of it, without a doubt there are some nosey people wanting to listen in–but I’ll save my snark and sarcasm for another blog.

This has become more than an everyday occurence–it’s reached an epidemic proportion. And quite frankly, no pharmaceutical company can find a cure nor vaccine to fight this horrid plague. Why? Why? Why? A lack of thinking through? A lack of common courtesy? A lack of common sense? Or could it be they are just take a sadistic pleasure in the annoyance? Probably all four, with a heavy leaning towards the last reason. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1: “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” (The Message). And as we read that list, you won’t find an opportune time to use that speaker phone in public! OK, so Solomon didn’t know what a cell phone is, but if he did, trust me when I say that he wouldn’t have included the cursed speaker phone in that list.

But there’s another side to this issue that the Spirit has shown me this morning! It has nothing to do with cellularized contraptions. It has everything to do with how we are to live as citizens of the Kingdom. Some seem to think that it’s about looking good and holy on the outside. Can anyone say “Pharisee”? Others seem to think it’s an inward and personal thing to be kept inside. But…Why? Why? Why? Why does it have to be one or the other? It doesn’t.

Ever heard the saying “Actions speak louder than words?” But the opposite is also true–sometimes words speak louder than actions. Sometimes that’s a good thing–when we share the story of God’s Grace in our lives–provided our story is backed up by our actions. There will be moments we need to reveal our Grace Story with our words. But without the obvious actions that accompanies our Grace Story, our words are just as annoying as those poor, pitiful, and pathetic souls who use the speaker phone in public places. Yes, someone needs to hear my Grace Story–AND your Grace Story. Our Grace Story doesn’t have to be a “made for TV true life story”–it just has to be real and genuine.

To be a Kingdom Witness it takes both actions and words! Those first disciples were Kingdom Witnesses because they had their experiences with God’s Grace and they both showed and told with words their Personal Story Of God’s Grace. And their words carried weight because their actions verified what they were saying! So, stay off the speaker phone in public–but let your Grace Story be seen by others–and then you will have the opportunity to tell in your own words, what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your life.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

1 John Chapter 3 Verses 18 and 19 (New Living Translation)

DENSE FOG ADVISORY

Dense Fog Advisory! Sometimes this warning shows up on our weather app; sometimes the local meterologist tells us that; and sometimes–well–it’s obvious! Am I right? Do we really need an app or the local weather person tell us this when it’s so obvious? Are there really people out there who don’t know there’s dense and dangerous fog out there unless an app tells them? (Heavy, heavy, heavy sigh here) It grieves me deeply to say this–But, Yes! Absolutely there are people out there who don’t know there’s a dense fog out there unless someone tells them! There was a season when this thought made me angry. And now? It makes me sad and literally breaks my heart.

It’s not just the weather fog people cannot see–there’s a denser fog out there that’s more dangerous than the fog those apps warn us about; it fact–there’s a myriad of fogs that will cause bigger crashes that the fog on the highways. There’s the political fog that is so dense and many cannot see the danger right in front of us. I’m not singling out “a” political pary–it’s ALL OF THEM! Then there’s that cultural fog where people think they can think for themselves, resulting in norms that are twisted beyond intelligent reasoning. There’s that moral fog that deceives the person into thinking they can do whatever they want and escape the consequences. There’s what I call the family fog–where parents want to be their kids friend rather than their parent–where fathers and mothers are missing in action. I could go on, but hopefully (unless you are in a dense fog of your own) you see my point.

Where do all these fogs come from? Glad you asked this question because I have the answer. It’s that Spiritual Fog! People will disagree about anything and everything. One sees one thing and another sees another thing and another sees yet another thing and–it goes on ad nauseam–and the fog gets thicker and thicker and thicker. Imagine, if you will, morning commuters driving in a dense fog at the same speeds as a bright, sunny morning. The dense fog doesn’t seem to phase them. But sooner or later–more likely to be sooner–what they don’t think is in front of them–IS in front of them–and the chain reaction wreck begins. More cars and trucks plow into the mess–and when the fog clears? Carnage and devastation appears.

Without a set in stone foundation for our lives, what happens on highways and interstates happens to people, families, communities, and corporations. But we do not have to live in a spiritual fog because we have God’s Word, otherwise known as The Bible. Every issue of life is addressed in The Book! But more and more have turned their backs on The Book. Why? Well, The Book tells us why–THE BOOK that so many think is irrelevent and unreliable. The Book tells us in Proverbs chapter 14, verse 12–“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (NLT) The Message makes it even clearer: “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell.” When we think we know everything, WATCH OUT! And when you recognize the dense spiritual fog all around–there’s an app for that–we call it The Bible. Turn to The Book! Run to The Book! And ask The Teacher (The Holy Spirit) to help you–and He will!

READING THE POLITICAL SIGNS

The signs are popping up everywhere–political signs, that is. Here in Alabama it’s campaign season for the primaries. The signs are popping up faster than buttercups this time of year. And all of them are telling us that they have read the signs of government, and that they are the ones to correct the mess. Forget that politicians created our hot mess, still there will be more who will promise to fix the political messes. I’m just a country boy, but isn’t that like hiring the fox to guard the chicken house???

Spin is the trade word they use. Just recently our POTUS declared that the economy is stronger than it’s been in over 4 decades. Excuse me, Mr. President, but nearly double digit inflation, supply chain problems, tons of people who are content to be paid by the government to stay at home rather than work, and gas prices that are rising more than homemade cathead biscuits doesn’t sound like a strong economy. But if a politician declares our economy to be stronger than the past 4 decades–then it must be so, right?

Apparently politicians have a problem reading the signs. They obviously have problems comprehending what is happening. But it’s not just politicians who can’t read the signs. As much as I would love to blame the politicians for this hot mess–the real cause is the voters. After all, they are the ones who put these knuckleheads in office, at least the majority of the voters. Many voters allow the news media determine who is the best poitician. And many simply don’t vote. And now EVERYONE is reaping the whirlwind of leaders ineptitude at reading the signs. As bad as this sound, there’s something even worse–now that ought to scare the you-know-what out of anyone.

Voters will not take the time nor effort to research the candidates for themselves! Folks, stop listening to the dribble of the news media and learn to read the signs for yourself. And all you folks who will NOT go to the polls? Get off your duff and get involved. Support and vote for even that candidate whom the news media has declared doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell! Friends, we have before us the opportunity to right this ship known as the good, old U.S. of A. And if you don’t like your choices at the primaries, then next time become one of those candidates, or encourage someone you think is a great alternative to the sewage that is out there. Only God keeps His promises! And do politicians keep their promises? Well. . .just read the signs!

IF A CLUTTERED DESK IS THE SIGN OF A CLUTTERED MIND, WHAT’S THE SIGN OF AN EMPTY DESK?

Never in a thousand centuries would I have imagined that I would remember anything from one of Dr. Well’s Old Testament class at Birmingham-Southern. Well, it’s not from his class–it was the sign on his office desk: If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what’s the sign of an empty desk? Well, his desk was the epitome of cluttered. But I am not judging him–you should see my workspace! On second thought–you shouldn’t! And this morning I found myself thinking about all the cluttered thinking seen in our culture.

For example, recently a young man choose to carjack someone–who happened to be armed. The young man was shot and killed, and a family member stated on the local news that the driver shouldn’t have shot him and should be arrested for murder. Cluttered Thinking. Parents are allowing, even encouraging adolesent children choose their gender rather than allowing biology to do what it does. Cluttered Thinking.

And in my own Tribe (the United Methodist Church), this year our governing Conference of United Methodists from around the world are to convene and the biggest issue is deciding that it’s time to depart ways–it’s called The Protocol For Separation. It’s been postponed since 2020 because of this COVID mess. But travel from foreign countries is being allowed if the traveler has been vaccinated. Well, in some regions, limited funds have prevented people from being vaccinated. In order to enable UMC delegates from other nations to attend this General Conference, an orthodox group of United Methodists began a plan to vaccinate those delegates–without regard to how they stand on the Protocol issue.

Good thing, right? But our more progressive kinfolk are outraged by this act of kindness. Their thinking says, “No one should be vaccinated until everyone can be vaccinated!” See, cluttered thinking! Why all of this cluttered thinking in every arena of life? Because there is no single standard for The Truth! Everyone is encouraged to choose “their” truth! Without an absolute Truth, human thinking remains cluttered–and it will only get worse! It’s like roadside litter–if someone or some group doesn’t clean it up–it only gets worse.

What I can’t understand is why those with cluttered thinking cannot see the devastation and destruction they are creating and encouraging! It’s like they are saying, “OK, it’s a mess right now–but if we just keep on thinking our way, then eventually we will figure it out!” God’s Word alone–not our interpretations of it–but God’s Word alone must be The Absolute when it comes to how we think. If our thinking is contrary to God’s Word, meaning The Bible, we need to change OUR thinking–NOT what the Bible teaches! To declutter the mind–we need to do a personal inventory on our thinking–and anything that contradicts The Bible needs to be thrown away. I leave you with this thought:

If we allow The Bible to speak to us, rather than us speaking for The Bible, we will be liberated from the clutter of our times.

Going Unnoticed!

image from Power Thesaurus

This morning I am going to be cooking! Not on the grill or smoker–in the kitchen! And it’s not for dinner nor is it for supper. Well. . .unless you like indigenous leaves, plants, and dirt. Yep! That’s what I will be cooking this morning! I will bring the ingredients to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for about 25 minutes. I will strain it into a jar, and then–the excitement begins in just 7 days!

Why am I getting excited? What’s the purpose of such a concoction? What am I talking about? The Why is gun season for deer hunting begins next Saturday. The purpose is to help me be successful in my hunting–meaning meat in the freezer. The Why is the necessity of being Unnoticed by the deer. Deer have a keen sense of smell. They can smell something out of place before they see it. For years I’ve spent good money on this product call odor neutralizers in hopes that the deer don’t smell my presence. The thing about these odor neutralizers is I can’t tell if they are working.

A good friend of mine told me about some dryer sheets that leave an earthy scent on your clothes. And with a little research on my part (and some deep thinking on my part), I discovered I didn’t need to purchase such a product–I can make my own. I will gather up some local vegetation as well as a good scoop of good old dirt–put them in a pot–let those aromas seep into that rainwater–and then pretreat my hunting clothes so that the aroma around me doesn’t attract the attention of those deer. My chances of a successful hunt rise exponentially if they don’t hear me, see me, or smell me. I need to be unnoticed! And what does all this have to do with the Kingdom Life? Glad you asked that question–because I have an answer–and an important point to make this morning.

While being unnoticed by the deer is essential for a successful hunt–being unnoticed as a follower of Jesus is a recipe for disaster. Going to a football game, you need a program so you can know who the players are. But nowadays–when it comes to being Citizens Of The Kingdom Of God–it’s hard to recognize which players are on which team.

The western church, particularly in the U.S. has been attempting, and I might add successfully, to blend in with the culture. The resulting calamity is that in many places the church has gone unnoticed. Churchians, Tenured Pew Sitters, and Aggressive Progressives have successfully sought a path to being unnoticed by the culture. It is no longer seen as a threat to the temporary Emporer of this world. Satan is no longer threatened–and so he is free to roam about, taking countless lives into an eternity of hopelessness.

But this methodology of being unnoticed fails to make this world–and the people who compose this world–any better. It’s a train wreck! Therefore I challenge each and every deeply committed follower of Jesus to become noticeable! Not my ranting and raving! But by becoming the model of the heart, mind, and Spirit of Jesus. Sure, standing out in this culture can make one feel uneasy. But following Jesus isn’t meant to make you feel easy and comfortable. It IS meant to make you noticeable in a good way. The chaos and frenzy that is all around us needs something different. It needs to see Jesus in YOU! The REAL Jesus, who is always radically different from the rest of the world, MUST be seen in you. As I go to gather my concoction, I leave you with these words:

 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

Gummy Adults

Usually, my ruminations begin as I’m listening to my music and worshiping God each morning. But this one began last night as I was preparing to go to sleep. My steps before I climb into bed include brushing my teeth and taking my nighttime pills. I have some prescribed by my doctor and some supplements and vitamins I have chosen. As I opened my pillbox for Tuesday P.M. and looked at my nightly supplements, two words came to mind: Gummy Adults! I know that sounds strange–but remember I am afflicted with random thoughts.

When shopping for my vitamin supplements I’ve noticed (for quite some time now) that there is not only the tablet form for vitamins and supplements for ADULTS, but they also come in Gummy form. Really? What is about to flow out in these next words may sound a bit sarcastic, even snarky. But let me assure you right now–THEY ARE SARCASTIC AND SNARKY! What tha’???? Are there really Adults out there who have the physiological ability to swallow tablets, but just can’t bring themselves to do it, so they Have To buy Adult Vitamins in the Gummy Form? Apparently so, since just about every vitamin supplement comes in gummy form.

One of the major problems–Nay! CRISES–in our culture is there are so many, TOO MANY, Gummy Adults! These are those adults who have refused, for whatever reason, NOT to grow up. And it’s not the fact that they take Gummy Vitamins–that is just one symptom of their problem. The problem is Adults Who Act Like Little Kids! They whine and complain when they don’t get their way. They want and demand attention. They think the world owes them–more than just something– it owes them EVERYTHING!

Adults today–at least it seems to me a majority of them–THINK like a small child thinks. Children rarely think about the consequences of their decisions. That’s why emergency rooms see kids with broken arms because they thought they could fly like Superman, or make that spectacular jump with their bicycle. These Gummy Adults think, process information, and then act from a mindset that is locked into some time-wrap continuum. They not only choose–but they accept and embrace a childish mentality.

Ever read 1 Corinthians chapter 13? Yeah, that one they call the Love Chapter! Well, there’s a line and a verse that Gummy Adults need to read, embrace and become. It’s Verse 11–“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” Did you hear that? Growing up mandates you give up talking, thinking, and reasoning as a child. You’re better than that Gummy Adults! Being “Child-Like” is a requisite for being in God’s Kingdom–having that simple trust in and reliance upon The Father. But ChildISH? That’s a shame and a disgrace; and it’s failing to live up to your potential. When babies drool and dribble it’s cute.

But when an Adult drools and dribbles emotionally and intellectually; let’s just call it what it is: It’s Pathetic And Tragic! No wonder you can’t handle real life. You feel like you must take your vitamins in Gummy Form! Come on, folks! For heaven’s sake–for the sake of our great nation–grow up! Men, grow you a pair! Ladies, put on your big girl panties! Get out there and help solve the myriad of problems instead of BEING the problem. Stop insulting children, and become real Adults! Or has no one told you? Silly adult! Gummies are for kids!

KICKING AND SCREAMING!

Today’s cogitating thoughts are circling around KICKING AND SCREAMING! No, I’m not talking about the spoiled brat of a child of parents who are clueless about being parents who is making a scene at WalMart or McDonald’s. Even though I could write several episodes about this annoyance–I’m staying away from those thoughts. I’m reflecting on my own desire to be KICKING AND SCREAMING–and how I wish others would join me.

Understand what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about being a spoiled and unhappy adult. I’m vocalizing the urgent need for those who align themselves with Jesus–to stop giving up and waving the white flag of surrender! I am hearing so much–WAY too much–from allegedly good Christian folk that this world and culture is so bad–so far gone–that the only thing that will change it is for Jesus to return. I mean–how many social media posts–how many conversations today–are revolving around the thought that the end of time is near! So, come Lord Jesus, come!

There’s a problem with that kind of thinking. And the problem is this: When we conclude and believe that the only remedy for this current mess is the return of Jesus–then we have thrown up the white flag of surrender to Satan! This kind of libidinousness declares that God can no longer work through His people. That God has reached the end of His abilities and capabilities. It’s manifesting that maleficent perspective that we just want to give up and go home.

Granted, to be absent from this body is to be presence with The Lord. And make no mistake about it–I will overflow with Joy to see The One who suffered on the cross for me. But I’m not longing nor am I begging for the return of Jesus–just yet. There are so many hearts who have been blinded by the god of this age who will not experience the Joy I will when I see Jesus face to face. I refuse to give up to the Devil–and I will not abandon a fellow person who is also made in the Image of God.

Kicking And Screaming! That’s what I’m doing! I am going to stay in this fight–and I fight with the living hope that God is going to make the difference in another person’s life–even if so many others have given up The Good Fight Of Faith. What if the Apostle Paul had given up? What if he thought that the Roman Empire was so wicked, so vile and evil–that the only hope was for Jesus to come back quickly? And what if James, Peter, Jude, and John agreed with Paul? What if Timothy and Barnabas threw up the white flag of surrender and defeat?

If that happened, the New Testament would be mighty small. And who knows, you might now even be reading my thoughts right now. I will close with a story about the late Paul “Bear” Bryant. It cannot be verified as being truth–nonetheless it makes a powerful point. One of his players graduated and became a graduate assistant on Bear’s coaching staff. One day he was told to go out looking for potential recruits. But he wasn’t certain what kind of player The Bear wanted. So he went to his office and asked, “What kind of player do I need to be looking for?”

The Bear leaned back in his chair and said, “You know, there’s that kind of player that gets knocked down and stays down. We don’t want him. Then there’s that player that gets knocked down and gets right back up. He gets knocked down again, but he gets back up again. Every time he gets knocked down he gets right back up.” Excitedly, the graduate assistant said, “And that’s the kind of player you want me to get!” The Bear leaned forward, and with a scowl on his face said: “Heck no! Get me that player that keeps knocking him down!”

Give up if that’s what you want. That’s your choice. Wave the white flag of defeat and shout it loudly so all of heaven can hear you: “I surrender! There’s nothing else we can do to change this mess! Come Lord Jesus, come!” But me??? I ain’t looking to raise no white flag! I’m 65, but I ain’t dead! And my hope and confidence in Jesus is more alive now than ever! The Good News of Jesus may seem to many to be a foolish way to transform this world with all its messes. But not me! I say to you, Devil–you better run, because I’m still kicking and screaming! And if you ain’t got something to make the devil run–you ain’t got nothing!

What’s Your Motto?

  • Just Do It
  • A Diamond is Forever
  • When you care enough to send the very best
  • I’d walk a mile for a Camel
  • Quality never goes out of style
  • Finger Lickin’ Good
  • With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good
  • Snap, Crackle and Pop!
  • So easy, a caveman can do it
  • The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
  • The Ultimate Driving Machine
  • The Quicker Picker Upper
  • We Bring Good Things to Life
  • The King of Beers
  • Fly the friendly skies
  • Because You’re Worth It
  • Let’s Go Places
  • Have It Your Way
  • I’m Lovin’ It
  • Betcha can’t eat just one!
  • When it rains, it pours
  • Taste the Rainbow
  • What Happens Here, Stays Here
  • When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight

Mottos! Yep! That’s what’s stirring up my gray matter this morning. When it comes to advertising–a great motto helps consumers to remember their product. So, what is YOUR motto? To help you tell me yours, I’ll tell you one of mine: “If you don’t like my sarcasm, don’t ask me stupid questions!”

Even our good old U.S. of A. has a motto: In God We Trust! The thing about mottos is that you gotta back it up–otherwise people just ignore or forget it. Unfortunately, with my aforementioned motto–I back it up with a healthy, sometimes an over-abundance of sarcasm. But that motto on all our currency? That thing about Trust In God? Not a good motto in these times–because it’s not backed up with action.

Before you start ranting and raving about the nefarious cesspool otherwise known as Washington D.C., know I’m not talking about that ash heap. This morning I am talking only to those who self-identify as Christian. I still remember decades ago getting emails about how Madeline O’Hare was going to the Supreme Court in an attempt to get In God We Trust removed from our currency. Now, I would have bought a plane ticket to see that, seeing she had been dead for years!

Christians want it on our currency–but it would be far better for them, for our nation, and for our world if it was just removed from the currency! There, I said it! But before you stop reading this morning’s pensiveness, read what is next. It would be far better for us, for our nation, and for our world if you have a motto that you embody with your attitudes, words, thoughts, and actions.

Yes! we need to Trust In God That’s a no-brainer! But more than saying we need to Trust In God, we need a motto that shows how much we Trust In God! Forget putting it on currency and government seals. Let’s put a new motto on our ordinary, going here and there, doing this and that life. And maybe it’s time I, too, changed my personal motto to one that better suits what God is doing in my life. So, what should it be, America? Hey! I have an idea. What about this one?

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

If we adopt this as our motto it means we would have to stop looking at political parties, the hollow (and I do mean hollow, not hallowed! I said what I meant, and I meant what I said!) halls of academia, and even ourselves in order to see a real transformation in our times; and really live through the strength of Jesus! How strong is Jesus? He carried the weight of all our sins while hanging on the Cross. And somehow, as strange as it may sound to some, I believe Jesus will strengthen us to be a light that brings hope to the hopeless. Call me crazy! You won’t be the first, and I dare say, you won’t be the last!

Sighs Of The Times

Not a misprint–I said SIGHS of the time. I hear of lot of sighs around me. And for some time now–I’ve been SIGHING a lot.

  • I sigh when I hear people say we don’t need to talk about racism–though nearly every day I hear a racist statement or two or three or four…
  • I sigh when I hear people say that anyone younger than them “ain’t got a clue” about life–though they never try to teach…
  • I sigh when I hear people whine and complain that they are not getting their fair share of life–though they are unwilling to apply themselves to the challenges of life…
  • I sigh…when I hear employers complain they can’t find decent employees–though they regularly reject applications of people they think won’t fit in…
  • I sigh when I hear church folks wonder why people don’t come to their church, after all, they are a friendly church–though they take neither the time nor the effort to get to know others…
  • I sigh when I hear people complaining about the government–though they keep putting career politicians back in office…
  • I sigh when I hear people say that Democrats are the answer to our problems–though they have helped create those problems…
  • I sigh when I hear people say that Republicans are the answer to our problems–though they have helped create those problems…
  • I sigh when I hear people complain about the culture–and that’s all they do: COMPLAIN
  • I sigh when I hear people speak hate about other people today because of what other people did 175 years ago–as it they were the cause of poor decisions…
  • I sigh when I hear when folks point out the sins of others–why they ignore their own sin…
  • I sigh when I hear the researchers throwing out their fake science that is ruining so many lives–and vainly believe they are helping…
  • I sigh when I hear self-identified Christians say they want Jesus to come back right how–not thinking about all those who will not be ready for His Appearing…
  • I sigh when I hear me confess my sin–knowing I had the power of The Holy Spirit to successfully resist…
  • I sigh when I hear hate and anger catapulted at those who wear the badge–and don’t seem to care they are human beings who want nothing but to help others and keep us all safe…
  • I sigh when I hear nothing but silence–when it comes to the Truth of God and His Word…

What makes YOU sigh today? I could go on and on and on; and on some more about what makes me SIGH. But I am hit–and hit hard–by the Holy Spirit this morning. He asked me: “Randy, can you kindly tell me what all your SIGHING has accomplished? I mean other than made you feel sad, even an unhealthy bit of despair? After all, any amount of despair ain’t heathy for you.” So, I let that thought sink in a little bit. I refrained from that knee jerk reaction of: “I’m justified in this because that’s the way it is!” As His question marinated in my heart and mind, I finally answered Him: “It would be better for me, and my world, if I prayed instead of SIGHING!” And I could swear that I heard The Spirit say, “Mm-hmm.” Instead of SIGHING today, I’ll pray today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next, and the next… Will you join me in giving up SIGHING and replace it with PRAYING?

HELP WANTED: Signs Of The Times

Help wanted sign in front of store front

Snarky! The dictionary defines snarky as “having a rudely critical tone or manner“. I prefer my own definition of snarky: “it’s the combination of a lot of common sense and frustration fueled by the stupidity of others.” For some snarky is an ability; for others it’s a gift. I have been doubly blessed with both the ability and gift of snarkiness. This is also a curse because I have to fight the battle every day to use it at the most inappropriate moments. Most days I manage to keep Snarky locked up in the closet. But this morning Snarky is banging on that door, begging to be let out. And I can’t keep it locked up. So fasten your seatbelts, it may be a bumpy flight.

There was a season when the signs outside a business said things like: Clearance Sale! Buy One Get One! Inventory Liquidation! Mattresses 50% Off! Going Out Of Business! But do you know the most frequent sign seen today in front of businesses? HELP WANTED! Some are even offering sign on bonuses. What’s happened? Has the pool of available employees been abducted by an armada of UFOs? Nope! And thus Snarky has a message today.

So many people do today not want to WORK! Every day I see a boatload of people who appear able to work, but they aren’t! Those who do show up only want a paycheck. Earning that paycheck for them is as foreign as reading and properly pronunciate the Classical Greek language. The concept of hard work is anathema and they are having no part of it! It’s like 3 day old chewing gum–they find it tasteless.

Why? Why? Why? Would you believe I have some theories kindly given to me by Snarky? One reason is PARENTS! Every day I see some snooty-nosed kid with a $50,000 truck with $3,000 rims and tires, and the front end jacked-up. How do high school kids afford it? They don’t! Daddy and/or Momma wants them to have it, not earn it! I don’t know if they do it out of love or whatever reason. It’s not love giving someone whatever they want. Doing such harms them and takes away from their potential.

Another reason Snarky gives me is the U.S. Government. They reward people for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Instead of giving incentives to become productive citizens, they hand out money as quick as their intaglio printer can spit it out. I’ve heard people laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic say, “I can earn almost or even as much staying at home as I did working.” Now tell me, WHERE IN THE NAME OF GOD’S CREATION DOES THAT ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO WORK? Sorry for the yelling; I momentarily lost control of Snarky.

So what can be done? Well, parents can shut off the muck of showering their love for those kids with money and trying to make it easy for their kids. Life ain’t easy–but it can be very good! I always told my kids: You can work hard, or you can work smart! I still remember to this day back in 1992 at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. My son had just finished Basic Training, and one of the first things he said to me was: Dad, you were right! He may not remember it, but Dad sure does. Parents, teach your kids that work, even hard work, isn’t a curse–it’s an opportunity to grow and improve yourself.

Government can turn off those intaglio presses and remind everyone that nothing important, significant, or valuable is ever achieved without both determination and hard work. This may well be the thing least likely to happened. It seems our government was us to depend on THEM! Seems to me, back in the 1770’s this was one of the things that the King of England wanted–in addition they want money from those who actually worked so they would not have to work.

Finally, for those of us who understand the value of hard work, let’s doing something different. Instead of complaining about all those people sitting at home doing nothing or shopping at WalMart with their government incentives to do nothing when there are all these HELP WANTED signs–we create opportunities for teaching moments. If you’re always telling how useless they are they will not embrace those teaching moments. We need to re-teach people that there is no shame in applying themselves and that hard work is not a curse or a sin. Excuse me, I need to shove Snarky back in the closet!

What Happened?

What happened? Can anyone tell me? Please, I need to know! Can somebody, anybody tell me what happened? Isn’t there anyone out here in the Wacky World Web who can explicate and expound to me what happened? Well…I’m waiting! What? No answers?

Oh, maybe I need to delineate what I’m wondering about this morning. What happened to people thinking for themselves and using common sense? The provocation that started this thought happened last week (not that I haven’t been thinking about why people stopped thinking). But I had a moment when this thought simply erupted in a volcanic type moment.

I went by the local Tractor Supply Store to browse for some supplements for the upcoming hunting season. Before someone accuses me of illegal use of baits, in Alabama we can use baits for deer hunting with the appropriate permit; which I have. I always look forward to this time of year to see what new items are out. Well…I saw this item called Buck Bourbon 110 Proof Deer Attractant. It piqued my curiosity so I read the list of ingredients. Look at the bottom of the list of ingredients. I’ve underlined it for you.

Not for human consumption! Does not contain alcohol! Why this warning label? I mean, it is clearly labeled as a Deer Attractant! Who would be so stupid as to look at this bag and think: “Gee, golly! I bet this stuff is tasty. And I can get drunk off of it too! What a deal!” I could blame the lawyers for this; knowing how quick they are to pursue a buck (pun intended). But in deep retrospect, as much as I may want to blame the 95% of lawyers who give the rest of them a bad name–somehow people, not businesses and manufacturers, must be held responsible for their thinking!

We live in a nightmarish season where people have stopped thinking for themselves. This has been going on for so long that calling it a “season” isn’t the right word. It’s more like an era! This culture around us wants someone else to think for them. They want someone to tell them how to think politically, economically, socially, and yes, even religiously. Their minds have been at rest–and thus their minds have rusted. An expression often used to describe these “I don’t think for myself” people is: “They’re not the sharpest tool in the shed.” Listen! They don’t have any tools! And they don’t even have a shed!

Babies need to be–must be–spoon fed because they lack the motor skills to do it themselves. Eventually, though we must allow them to attempt to hold that spoon and feed themselves. Otherwise they will never learn how. Granted, it gets messy when they first try–but in time they develop the skill. But spoon fed adults–when it comes to using the old noggin–disgusting and appalling! So wake up! You have a brain–and you need to use it! Rant over!

Apparently There Is!

Listen to the talk at the hair stylist or barber shop. Apparently there is. Listen to the conversations in the break room. Apparently there is. Sit down at the local liars table at the diner or fast food joint. Apparently there is. Listen to the words just about anywhere there are 2 or more people (yes, this includes the local church). Apparently there is. Someone reading this is thinking right now, “What is he talking about? A boatload of hopelessness? A superabundance of stupidity?” While this may seem to be true, it’s not what’s bouncing around in my mind–and my heart. It’s the answer to this question found in The Bible–a couple of times.

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Genesis 18:14 (NLT)

Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change, much less use, the POTUS. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change our culture. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change Washington D.C. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change the hearts and minds of millennials. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change the hearts of the mega-rich. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change pastors. Apparently it’s too hard for The Lord to change how businesses do business. I would expect to hear such things from those who are not Followers And Disciples Of Jesus. They just don’t know what The Lord can do.

But to hear this kind of balderdash and blather from those who call themselves “Christians”? Well, just call me Popeye!

If your “god” can’t use someone like President Biden. If your “god” can’t use someone like Nancy Pelosi. If your “god” can’t use someone like that discombobulation called The House of Representatives and The Senate. If your “god” can’t use someone like millennials. If your “god” can’t use someone like _________________ (fill in the blank of the stupidest person or group you know), then your “god” is way to small–and you need to change to a different “God”!

So, what if–I’m only talking to those who self-identify as Christian–instead of complaining, whining, griping, and yammering about all those “other people”, you begin praying FOR THEM rather than YALPING AGAINST THEM? What if you prayed for the peace of our nation? What if you prayed for those people to have wisdom? What if you used all that time spent bellyaching and sniveling to ask God to help them? Oh! One more thing! Make that TWO more things! What if you became the change you want to see in others? What if you became the model of HOPE rather than hopelessness?

If an old woman and an old man could have a child way beyond those child bearing years–and they did–can you imagine what WILL happen when we believe, act like, talk like, LIVE LIKE nothing is too hard for The Lord? This isn’t easy; I know! Even Jesus understood our tendency to believe more in the impossible rather than in GOD’S POSSIBLE!

Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.”

(Luke 18:27 GNT)

You simply cannot be a follower of Jesus, if anything–I said ANYTHING (remember Popeye’s motto) is too hard for The Lord! If it is too hard, then, in the enduring words of the classic book by J.B. Phillips, Your God Is Too Small! And that makes YOU the real problem, not those people!

What’s Your Sign?

Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery
Breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?

“Signs” performed by Five Man Electrical Band, written by Arthur Thomas

If you were not singing along with the above lyrics, you are NOT a part of the best and coolest generation ever! Yep! I’m thinking about signs today–and the messages they disclose. When I’m on my motorcycle, I absolutely LOVE this next sign! As I recently posted on Facebook, sometimes you need a really crooked road to get your head straight!

There are more signs that just highway signs. Signs of summer:

Signs of fall:

Signs of winter:

And the ever popular signs of Spring:

But I am aberrating. There’s a road sign I’ve seen a few times, and today I started thinking about that sign. Can I be honest with you? It’s a sign that bemuses, bewilders, and stupefies me. And here it is:

I realize that a lot of churches are indeed slow, but I wonder what are the qualifications to receive such a designation? If I was the pastor of the church that had this sign–I would seek a new appointment. If I was a member, I would insist that the highway department take it down immediately. I mean, who wants to lead or attend a slow church? Apparently, there’s a lot who will fit the bill.

I call them Tenured Pew Sitters. The church has been SLOW to realize it doesn’t exist to serve it’s members. The church has been SLOW to accept people who don’t dress, think, or vote like them as people who need God’s grace. The church has been SLOW understanding that our story isn’t the story about the church, but the Saga Of The Kingdom Of God. The church has been SLOW recognizing the it isn’t a building but supposed to be a people.

It seems the church has been SLOW in responding the Great Heresy Of The 21st Century–that of progressive theology. This started back in the 1960’s. Yet Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters refused to believe it would ever gain traction. So…they remained silent.

And now it threatens to ripe apart the fabric of many churches. It’s a theology that depends and relies on human intellect and logic. And that is a train wreck about to happen, the likes of which have never been seen before. In it’s carnage will be victims of both sides–you see falsehood and heresy doesn’t care who it hurts–it will even hurt it’s most ardent supporters. The wake that will be left by progressivism will be a bloody mess of anger, doubt, fear, and broken spirits.

Slowness is killing the church in the U.S. of A. Elsewhere in the world, where the church isn’t SLOW, the Body Of Christ is Alive, Vibrant, and bringing new citizens into the Kingdom of God. Perhaps in the U.S., they should change words to a familiar hymn: Like a little snail, move the U.S. Church. But that’s just how I feel.

One Thumb Down!

Well, yours truly, experienced a moment yesterday that was not even close to my finest moments–not even in same zip code. A friend and I were adding a gate to our chain link fence. It required new post holes. I had 2 options–post hole diggers (which require a lot of physical exertion) or a drill with an auger. The drill and auger was the choice–after all I may not look very bright, but I do have my moments. That choice was my only moment yesterday.

As I was drilling the last hole, THAT’S when my common sense decided to take a break. As the auger was turning it hit a tree root. So what, you may ask. Well, here’s a lesson in physics. Since the auger was NOT turning all that energy had to go somewhere. That somewhere was up to the drill, that I was holding, and it violently began to twist, bending my right thumb in a direction it wasn’t meant to be bent. It wasn’t the drill’s fault, or the tree root–it was my fault. As you can clearly see from the picture below, there are two handles on the drill–one on top and one to the side. And this is why my not so bright moment occurred. I was holding on to the top handle instead of the side handle. Had I been holding that side handle, it would not have given my right thumb this lingering pain.

And now on my right hand, I have an unusable opposing digit. One usually doesn’t think about their thumb–that is–until you cannot use it. Being left handed I do not think much about my right thumb–but this morning my right thumb is saying: “See, you do need me!” Opposing digits, as thumbs are often called, are what make us different from most in the primate family and most of the animal kingdom. OK, what’s my point?

My point today is why are so many basing their beliefs and values on those who act and make decisions all the time the way I made one wrong decision? Look folks, too many who are not the sharpest tool in the tool shed, not the brightest bulb in the box (heck, their bulb hasn’t worked in years–if ever!) are influencing others–and the masses who refuse to think are following their lead.

So, who is influencing you? Who sets the cadence for your life? Who are you listening to? Those who don’t have a clue? Or, those who have the common sense, wisdom, and experiences to know better? Take it from me, if you are using an auger on your drill to dig a hole, make sure that drill has a handle on the side–and use it! This is the voice of experience! I close with this cartoon I recently shared on Facebook:

Near the end of the movie The Last Crusade, they find the Holy Grail–actually scores of them. But only one was the authentic Holy Grail. The Templar Knight guarding it said, “Choose wisely.” The villain in the movie, Walter Donovan, choose what he thought was the Holy Grail. After drinking from the cup–he rapidly and painfully returned to dust. And the Templar Knight said, “He chose poorly.” Yesterday, I chose poorly. Make good decisions–because they do have consequences. Remember Walter Donovan’s choice, and my poor choice. Just ask my right thumb! For a few days now, I’m going to be one thumb down!

New Discovery Brings New Meaning To The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Did you know at one time that each state’s legislature selected their Senators for the U.S. Senate? One contentious battle for that seat happened in Illinois in 1858 between the incumbent Stephen Douglas and this guy named Abraham Lincoln. They had a series of 7 debates, each man hoping to sway the Illinois legislature to select them. And it has been taught that the hot button topic was on the expansion of slavery into the U.S. Territories. But recently an old barn in Illinois was being demolished and a newspaper from a now defunct newspaper, The Roof Leak Weekly, sheds new light on this hot topic button.

According to an article in that recently discovered issue of Roof Leak Weekly, it wasn’t the issue of slavery, rather it was the issue of the Internet. Douglas insisted, at time shouting, “Everything you read on the Internet must be true–nay–IT IS TRUE!” Well, Abe took the opposite view frequently stating, in a small voice, “Now hold on to those reins Stephen. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean there is even a small morsel of Truth. My father taught me that right after he caught me cutting down the cherry tree.” This discord became the single bone of contention between these gentlemen–at times nearly coming to blows betwixt them. This is according to The Roof Leak Weekly–and if The Roof Leak Weekly said so, then it is so! Now you knew the real Truth about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. By the way, in case you did not know, Lincoln won the debates, but lost the election to the U.S. Senate.

Are you scratching your head, wondering if I hit my head really hard yesterday with this opening? Do you think me preposterous, loony, wacky, daffy, dippy, flaky, incongruous, nutty and screwy for such statements? Well, since you’re reading this sentence, it means it’s on the Internet, so it must be true! OK, OK, I said OK! You caught me in a moment of Sagacious Sarcasm. As ridiculous as my nonsensical news about those famous debates sounds, so is a lot of other impedimenta being put out on the Wacky World Web–sometimes referred to as The Internet!

There is a plethora of conspiracies and truths out there hidden behind every tree that the government doesn’t want YOU to know. They are being kept in a secret government bunker under lock and key in a vault and under the control of just a handful of people who are more than afraid–they are TERRIFIED and PANIC STRICKEN that anyone else would know The Truth. Fox Mulder was right–“The Truth is out there!” But alas, do not despair. Remember Stephen Douglas’ assertion on the truth of the Internet! And if The Truth is out there–and it is according to Fox Mulder–some hero will manage in infiltrate that secret government bunker to find it–or find someone with access to that secret government bunker who is tired of lying to the masses and will get The Scoop On The Truth to some Internet Crusader!

Here’s an example: The COVID-19 Vaccine. I’ve had both doses of the Moderna vaccine and as proof I have been and continue to be unaffected by the vaccine, here is my latest selfie:

Seriously folks, there are side effects to every medication. Have your read the warning label on acetaminophen? Or when a physician orders your a prescription do you read about all the side effects? But there are pseudo-scientists and lazy researchers who are experts in their own illusionary world telling us all kinds of things about the vaccine. But hey! It’s on the Wacky World Web so it must be true.

Did you just hear that? In case you didn’t, it was the sound of a heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy sigh from the depths of my mind and heart. It’s not just on vaccines–name any subject and somewhere is an alleged and lazy pseudo-journalist that can find that there the truth is out there–in that heavily secured underground government bunker in an unknown location (which at this time some pseudo-journalist is searching for and will find that secret underground government)!

It seems there are many, too many people out there who are quick to believe in and will pay double the price for the snake oil. I know many of them, and you probably do, too! At the risk of sounding older than dirt–How I long for the good old days when people would think for themselves–and had enough common sense to know what Abraham Lincoln knew so long ago–That Everything You Read On The Internet Isn’t True!

What The What?

Dysphoria–it’s a word frequently used in our culture–especially in the realm of gender identity. And it is being especially applied to children and adolescences. There was a time when Genesis 1 verse 27 was sufficient: “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This was the rule–with the exception of chromosomal abnormalities. Simple, look below the waist–and there’s your gender, period!

But with the inflation and over evaluating of the most unreliable of human sensations–that of ‘feelings’–we now have multiple choices. Gee, whiz! How could God get this so wrong! The term “gender dysphoria” which Child Mind Institute defines is this:

Gender dysphoria was created as a distinct disorder to clarify that being transgender, or identifying as a gender different from the one of your birth, is not in itself a psychiatric disorder. The new disorder was meant to remove the stigma from being transgender, and to shift the concern of mental health professionals to assisting those for whom the experience of being transgender has resulted in significant distress and impaired functioning.

https://childmind.org/guide/guide-to-gender-dysphoria/

Recently in Tuscaloosa, Alabama a father was interviewed about this very issue. He was affirming that his son, now his daughter, has every right to make such a life-changing decision and encouraged other parents who have dysphoric children to enable their children to follow his example. But what IF–the parents said to that child, “Look, we feel like you are more of a daughter than a son. And we want to help you, make the necessary decisions for you to become our daughter. After all, that is how we feel about you.”

Does this really make sense to you? To anyone? Some would reply, “It’s not up to you and how you feel. You have neither the intellect or wherewithal to make such a decision!” But what if their feelings are very real? Shouldn’t they have this right based on their feelings? When one insists that it is legitimate to travel on the road of feelings, this is where that road will eventually AND inevitably lead us.

The real dysphoria of out is not about gender identity–the dysphoria is about the Truth–to be exact–the source of Truth. Do you know what the word dysphoria means? It’s not psychobabble invented by psychiatrists. It means: melancholy, restlessness, despondency. As long as one lives outside The Truth of God’s Design for life–dysphoria is where we will live, and where we will die.

THE DANGEROUS ELMER FUDD

Yesterday I said I would be back with God helping me. Well, He did and here I am. Not all of my reflections are on God’s Kingdom, but they are influenced by His Kingdom. So today I must issue this Disclaimer: This isn’t a spiritual subject I’m addressing today. It is, though, a very human subject that penetrates to the core of our culture in the good old U.S. of A. And if other alleged “experts” can speak into this mess, then so can I; so here goes!

I’m 65 years old. As a kid, I watched Elmer with a gun. But I never shot anyone. I saw Bugs Bunny doing all kinds of violence against other Daffy Duck and others. Yet I never acted violently against anyone. I watch Yosemite Sam’s outbursts and shooting his side arm. But I never went ballistic, shooting up any place. I watched Wile E. Coyote try to catch the Roadrunner. And amazingly, I’ve never ordered dynamite, missiles, or traps from Acme.

Now, if I listen to the dribble being purported as the truth–by now I should be a raging man of extreme violence. According to the “experts”, my wall should be mounted with all kinds of trophies of the people I’ve killed. But the only things I have killed is some squirrels, a few rabbits (NOT Bugs), some game birds (NOT the Roadrunner or Tweety), a few coyotes (NOT Wile E.), and a healthy parcel of deer (NOT Bambi).

We are being told, on a frequent basis, that gun violence is to blame for all those tragic shooter situations. I cannot remember the exact number of guns, both handguns and long guns, that I have owned over the past 65 years. But I do know that not a single one of them ever committed an act of violence. It’s hard for me to believe that of the dozens of firearms I’ve had in my possession, all of them were defective. They must have been, and my current stock of firearms must also be defective, because not a single one of them has ever committed an act of violence. The deer might disagree with me–but the gun didn’t act on it’s own. I had a hand in it; actually my left eye and finger.

And this gets me to my point this morning. Why are people no longer being held responsible for their choices and decisions? Be it violence with a stick, a pipe, a fist, a bat, a knife, or even a firearm–what has happened to personal responsibility? They want to blame everything for this violence–except the person who commits it.

These “experts” want to blame it on cartoons. I refer you back to my second paragraph. And have you ever watch “modern” cartoons? My Dad had a conniption when Clark Gable said “damn” in “Gone with the Wind”. Today’s language is far worse. And the plots of these “kid’s” cartoons promote stupidity to infinity and back. (Sorry, Buzz Lightyear, no offense intended to you.)

And then these “experts” want to blame lifeless, inanimate objects for exerting undue and unnecessary influence on people. This is what the term “gun violence” declares, not implies. What is causing so much violence? Here are a few ideas, maybe some will think the novel or new, but they are tested and proven over the centuries.

  • There is this thing call consequences for choices and actions–and each person makes their own choices–so own those choices
  • Kids not being made to be kind, respectful and courteous
  • Kids being allowed to make decisions that they are neither mentally, emotionally, and intellectually equipped to make (such as what gender they are)
  • Being recognized for just being present; we call them participation trophies (see this previous blog of mine)
  • Giving kids everything but morals and values which put others first instead of themselves
  • Disrespecting the most vulnerable of the human race; it’s called abortion. I mean if they see that babies can be eliminated because they are unwanted or their gender (yes, gender selection is a reason for some abortions)–how can anyone respect the life of another person?
  • And above all these (and the many more I could add to this list), is that this world owes them absolutely nothing–but that they owe the world hard work, compassion, to dream of what builds people up rather than tear them down.

Our problem in this nation and world isn’t a gun problem but a human problem; it’s not gun violence but human violence. Now, you can disagree with me if you want–you have that freedom and are free to make that choice. But disagreeing with me doesn’t make we wrong. You can believe are you right–but you’re still wrong.

The Rich Lighter Life!

I have no clue as to what you are thinking about today’s Title: The Rich Lighter Life! Maybe you thought about a gold plated with diamonds Zippo lighter. Nope, that’s not it. Unless you are from the country, you may not know what Rich Lighter is. Well, I’m from the country. In fact, a friend posted one of those “tests” to see how “country” you are. Out of a possible high score of 30, I scored 28. I could have scored 29 but I have never touched an electric fence. I’m not as dumb as I act.

As you may know now, Debbie and I are on our annual spiritual retreat to the Smoky Mountains. We rent a cabin for a week and only venture out once, twice at the most. The remainder of our time is spent here in this cabin. This particular cabin has a wood burning fire place. Being winter and all, I decide to pack some fire wood to enjoy the fireplace. You know that to have a fire in the fire place, one needs something to start the fire. I could have cheated and went to WalMart and purchased those neat little fire starters. But remember, I’m a country boy.

Before we left I went just to the edge of the woods surrounding our home and found some Rich Lighter. Researching for this post I discovered that some call it Fatwood. When a pine tree is either cut or is knocked over when it is alive, it is filled with sap. The sap, or resin if you prefer, trapped in the stump becomes hard over time. This sap contains  terpene, a volatile hydrocarbon. I know you are not wanting a lesson in organic chemistry, so I will get to the point.

This hardened resin is very flammable. With just a small handful of Rich Lighter, one can easily start a fire. I put some newspaper in the fireplace, added my Rich Lighter, then the kindling and the wood and lit the newspaper. The picture above is the results of my endeavors. And to show you how little it takes, the picture below is how much I used. The Alabama Crimson Tide mug is symbolic of the power of Rich Lighter:

The Holy Spirit prompted me to do some thinking about Rich Lighter and fire places. The question many folks are asking, especially “church folks” is, “What is it going to take to change our churches, our communities, our nation, our world? Things are out of control!” It’s a great question to ask–IF–you are willing to dig deep for the answer. Asking the question in the expectation of someone else answering it is futile, ineffective, and fruitless. Nothing CAN change unless one knows the answer–and I found the answer in a handful of Rich Lighter.

What’s the answer to this “burning” question? YOU! That’s right, YOU! You may be thinking, probably ARE thinking, “How can I change what’s happening in Washington D.C.? How can I end domestic violence? How can I feed all those hungry families? How can I get people to listen and respect each other? How can I keep our church from closing its doors? How can I help people imprisoned by addictions? How can I do this in a way that really makes a difference? It’s really simple, folks. Remember my handful of Rich Lighter.

Just as a roaring fire can happen in a fireplace with just a handful of Rich Lighter, people, places, and situations change–just one person at a time. And YOU are the person that will start that Fire that will bring lasting change. It’s just that simple–not easy–but simple. Decades ago Kirk Kaiser wrote a song that I still sing today. The name of it is Pass It On. The first time I heard it was in 1971. It was a Sunday night Youth Service. I knew God was calling me into a relationship with Him. But I fought it off by holding on to the oak pew in front of me. I held on so tight I know that my fingerprints are permanently embedded in that pew at Green’s Chapel. That’s what it took for me to resist God’s Grace. And I succeeded. But, a little over a year later, in not so dramatic a moment, I finally surrendered to His Grace. And as the saying goes, “The Rest Is History!”

If you have the Holy Spirit inside you, (you do if Jesus is your Lord and Savior), that Fire is more than enough to start the process of transformation in people, places, and situations. Just as Rich Lighter easily ignites and spreads its fire to other wood, YOU can spread the Fire that will make the difference. But changing the world will never happen as long as you expect someone else to answer the question. I leave you with two songs–one is for me because I am a country boy–the second one is for YOU, Just listen to it:

The Three Most Important Words. . .in times like these

(Picture at Fort Morgan Beach, Alabama)

The greatest generation ever was those who fought in World War II. I would like to think that my generation was the second greatest generation. Why? We spent more time outside than inside. We had sweat beads around our necks in the summer. We could turn the right stick into a Thompson sub-machine gun. We didn’t think much about stepping in cow manure. We drank water from the hose pipe. We jumped off of bridges into creeks. Best friends could have fights and after the fight, still be best friends.

We watched violent cartoons with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd, the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote, yet we never had the desire or even urge to to shoot someone or order bomb making materials from Acme. Oh! One more thing–we had the very best music! Country music was COUNTRY Music and rock-n-roll was ROCK-N-ROLL. One of our songs was “What The World Needs Now Is Love”, recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1965.

And now it is 2021, and the question begs to be asked and answered: What Are The Three Most Important Words For Right Now? I have been listening, and have advanced to the level of Intermediate Noticer. Based on what is being said and shouted, here is my comprehensive yet incomplete list of what different people are thinking is the answer to the 3 most important words needed for these times. In no particular order they are:

  • We need Trump
  • We need Biden
  • Ban all guns
  • Need more guns
  • Prayer in schools
  • Bibles in schools
  • Close the borders
  • New American revolution
  • End foreign aid
  • Drain the swamp
  • More government aid
  • Congressional term limits
  • Less on defense
  • More on defense
  • Change your mind
  • Change YOUR mind
  • We need love
  • We need peace
  • We need hope
  • Have judicial reforms
  • No more racism
  • New political party (I must say this, “Really??? Aren’t political parties part of the problem??? And you want to add to the sewage?”)
  • We need kindness
  • We need determination
  • Deport all Republicans
  • Deport all Democrats
  • New moral values
  • Old moral values
  • Legalize more drugs
  • Government medical care
  • Defund Law Enforcement
  • Something, Anything, Everything

There are more to add to this list. Some “imagined” solutions are more complicated than three words. As if our world isn’t complicated enough. There are no simplistic solutions to the problems our culture and nation are facing. But. . .the solution is simple; just that simple. This list reflects groups of people–group mentalities. Group mentalities tend to produce complicated, complex, and irrelevant solutions. The answer–the simple but not simplistic answer–is found in three words:

I Need Help!

All of the fake solutions to our issues are focused on what others need to do–never on what the individual needs to SAY! To say “I NEED HELP” is to acknowledge that NOTHING–NO THING OUT THERE–can help heal our brokenness and help us navigate this total mess. If nothing OUT THERE (I refer you to the above list as being “out there”) that can help and heal us–then the answer must be UP THERE! I’m talking about the One Constant in an ever changing universe and culture–the Throne of God.

To end this madness, the place to begin is with the person in your mirror–that’s YOU! To say “I Need Help” is to admit the limitations created by sin and the Hope found only when we surrender completely and unconditionally to God. My best days happen when I begin the day, end the day, and admit every moment between beginning and ending, “I Need Help!” My worst days happen when I fail to say it. My mediocre days happen when I forget to say it throughout the day.

It’s simplistic to approach life saying that others need to change. Simplistic solutions have never worked. But solving this crisis is really simple. Admit your own need for God and trust God to both change and guide YOU–not “them”! Let your words be the words of the Psalmist:

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

Psalm 121 (NLT)

And The Verdict Is. . .

As of last night the CDC reports there are 122,653 of confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC or tested at CDC since January 21, 2020 in the United States. This number is up from Saturday evening’s number of 103,321. People in the U.S. are panic buying. It started with toilet paper and hand sanitizer and now it’s milk, bread, eggs and God knows what else. People are scooping up self-rising flour who have never made a biscuit in their life! And the jury has reached a verdict.

Most people in the United States are found GUILTY of Having No Common Sense And Are Acting Stupid! It took the jury only 3 seconds to reach this verdict. When you consider the evidence it is no surprise at all. Just look at the evidence:

  • You ask a student “You have 3 apples and give 1 apple to your friend, how many are left?” and rather than the student imagine 3 apples, take away 1 and count what’s left, which is 1 then 2, 2 apples left, they have replaced it with common core math. To find the answer you take the circumference of Saturn, divide that by the number of species of ducks, multiply that answer by the temperature on the surface of Mercury, then subtract the number of Wal-Marts in the world, divided by 7.68345690 and subtract the number of people who will buy eggs today and Voila! The answer is 2!
  • Participation Trophies! You have achieved greatness by simply being present. Forget effort. Forget skill and ability. Besides, it’s plain meanness to reward success!
  • Entitlement has become the norm. Who needs perseverance? What’s the value in trying and learning from failure? You exist therefore you deserve!
  • Administrators tell teachers, “You have to teach for the state tests. Forget knowledge and wisdom–it’s the scores on those tests that matter most. NOT the students needs, but OUR need to score high on those tests!”
  • Many school systems have taken out vocational/technical schools because it’s more important for the students to go to college in order for them to ask “Would you like a fried apple pie with this order?” The number of high school students who receive a college degree looks great on the paperwork!
  • Speaking of college, OY VEY! Professors have concluded that they are the experts in their fields and are the sole depository of knowledge, and expect their students to be their little minions who perpetuate their jabber and twaddle. (if you don’t know the meaning of twaddle, look it up!) Cemetery Professors, excuse me, that should have been Seminary Professors, are the absolute worst!
  • And parents? OY VEY! OY VEY! OY VEY! They want to be their child’s friend! Great gobbledygook! This is enough evidence by itself to arrive at that Guilty Verdict!
  • Morality, what is right and wrong, good and bad, is determined by the individual rather than proven standards, such as the Bible. They even encourage their children to find their own gender rather than accept what nature gave them.
  • Consequences? What’s that? People are protected from the consequences of their choices and actions. There is always someone else, something else to blame. Oy gevalt! Bupkes! That’s mishegas! It’s bupkes! Go ahead and kvetsh if it makes you feel better! (I love Yiddish!)
  • And finally, it’s more important to be kind than truthful–especially when truth hurts. A president once challenged this nation to be a kinder and gentler nation. Well, people accepted the challenge, and look at the mess we’re in!

Look at this nation now. More and more people are thinking more and more about themselves while thinking less and less about others. I heard one story of a shopper who was buying up milk. The business only allowed 2 gallons to be purchased. So she bought 2 gallons; then went back in a went through the self checkout with 2 more gallons. This continued until she had her minivan full of milk. Another shopper was doing the same with toilet paper until an astute associate saw what she was doing and cut her off!

There was a time when you didn’t need a declaration from the government to stay at home if you were sick. It was called Common Sense and Decency! There was a time when people cared more about others than themselves. There was a time when valor and restraint were considered virtues. There was a time when hard work was noble and the dream people held dear. And there was a time when it was appropriate to call out, in a kind way, stupidity in others. Well. . . what can I say? Too many people are null and void when it comes to common sense–and are stupid, I say, absolutely stupid! They make the 3 Stooges look like clones of Albert Einstein.

GUIDE TO MANAGING AND MANEUVERING THROUGH COVID-10 CRISIS–ALL You Need To Know

I’ve made many satirical and snarky comments and analysis about the current News Media fed panic about COVID-19. Some of those comments were made in private conversations among friends and family, and a couple of snarky comments via social media (see the above graphic as an example). But today, though I usually reserve Friday’s for something funny, I want to be serious, transparent and truthful.

Here is your complete, yet simple GUIDE TO MANAGING AND MANEUVERING THROUGH COVID-19 CRISIS. For this to effectively work, you must first take a moment to breathe in deeply. Hold that breath and imagine it’s everything you’ve heard, been told, or assumed about COVID-19. Now exhale and as you do imagine that everything you’re heard, been told, or assumed is leaving your mind with that breath. Have you done that? If you are still have any of what you’ve heard, been told, or assumed still in your mind, repeat the process until you reach ultimate Zen. OK, let’s get going to the truth:

1. Understand the difference between a PANDEMIC and an EPIDEMIC

This is absolutely the first step, and the longest section of this blog. Without this knowledge you will dive deeper and deeper in fear and chaos. The word PANDEMIC is being tossed around like a football. I call your attention to that famous line from The Princess Bride:

According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia a PANDEMIC “refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people”. Do not panic at the word EPIDEMIC. By definition (of the CDC as well as epidemiologists) an EPIDEMIC “refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected”. Stay calm because we need to understand these definitions and their appropriate applications.

Look at this part of the definition of EPIDEMIC: a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected. To help, I’ve emphasized those last 2 words. Here’s an example and application. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control normally expects 3 cases of Spotted Zebra Measles (not a real disease). In 2018 they had exactly 3 cases. Normal, right?

But in 2019 they find 6 cases of Spotted Zebra Measles. By definition, since the number of Spotted Zebra Cases have doubled, from 3 to 6, we have an EPIDEMIC. The 6 cases were not normally expected. Are you with me so far? Good. Now let’s imagine that 2 of those 6 cases were in 2 other countries. You now have a PANDEMIC. Remember that a PANDEMIC refers to an EPIDEMIC that has spread over several countries or continents, USUALLY affecting a large number of people. Two is not a large number–however it does fall outside the parameters of NORMALLY EXPECTED. And notice that word in the definition of PANDEMIC: USUALLY affecting a large number of people.

Not always affecting a large number of people; just usually. And what defines a large number of people? Now apply all this to COVID-19. Less than 1 out of 500,000+ people world-wide have had presumptive positive tests for COVID-19. Only 1 out of 500,000 isn’t a large number. BUT, because of the first case of COVID-19 exceeded normal expectations, you have an EPIDEMIC and because it’s been found in other countries you have a PANDEMIC.

Let’s put all this in PERSPECTIVE. Since 29 September 2019 there have been 207,466 confirmed cases of Type A and Type B Influenza in the United States. Can we agree is 207,466 is a large number? Presumptive Positive cases of COVID-19 are minuscule compared to 207,466. In the same period there have been an estimated 16,000 deaths from Types A and B Influenza in the United States, primarily among young children, elderly adults, and those with chronic health issues. Yet, there is NO Epidemic because these numbers have not exceeded what has been established as NORMAL.

I’m not insisting that you go forward with reckless abandon and ignore potential dangers. That would be like seeing decaying boards on a swinging bridge over a 5,000 foot deep crevice and saying, “Oh, those decaying board will hold me up!” But there are some simple guidelines you can follow.

2. Practice Good Hygiene

Regularly wash your hands using both soap and water. This ancient practice (FYI–it was given to the Hebrews as a law from God) is time tested and a proven method for remaining healthy. In addition to soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer during the day. HOWEVER avoid using any of the online HOMEMADE VARIETIES. Unless the alcohol contention is greater than 60% they are not effective. You cannot know this unless you have a degree in chemistry and a lab at home to test it. If your local store has sold out of hand sanitizer because of the rush of idiots, you can use undiluted Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or undiluted hydrogen peroxide. Both are proven to kill the COVID-19 Virus as well as both Type A and Type B strains of Influenza.

3. Keep Personal Spaces Clean

Put tissues in the garbage can and don’t leave them on a desk, table, vehicle, or chair. Wipe areas down regularly. Again, simple soap and water does the trick if packaged wipes are unavailable. Remember rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.

3. Stay Home

If you have sniffles, cough, body aches or fever–don’t share your marvelous presence under any circumstances. I missed my last family Christmas with my Mother before she died because I had the flu. I also missed the first family Christmas after she died because of the flu. Don’t consider it just a simple cold or allergies. Go to a clinic or doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Don’t trust self-diagnosis. This applies to you, your spouse, your significant other, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins all the way to your 7th cousin twice removed, as well as the stranger within your gates. And please don’t expect your pastor to pay you a visit!

4. Don’t Visit Others Who Are Sick

This step is for you compassionate folks. Whether someone is isolated at home, or especially in a hospital don’t go visit them to show that you care. You can call them (letting them know why you are not there in person), send flowers or a fruit/snack basket. If they are at home and you want to bring them over a meal, call ahead and let them know what you are doing and when you get there, ring the doorbell or knock on the door and leave the food in a designated location. Add a nice handwritten note as well. Avoid nursing homes as much as possible to avoid spreading the Influenza or catching Influenza. As much as you may want to see a family member who is sick, show them how much you care by waiting until they are well.

5. Carefully Plan Your Shopping

This step really makes sense. The more often you are in a public setting the greater the probability you will come in contact with someone who has the Flu and has chosen to have no respect for human life and ignored Step 3. Don’t go to a store each time you need something. Change your menu, or adjust your plans as much as possible. Make a list and go once a week or every other week if possible. Some businesses will allow you to order online or with an app and you can simply drive up to the designated location, or walk to a specific location and everything is ready for you.

This is neither Rocket Surgery or Brain Science folks. Simple precautions and a hefty dose of common sense will begin to ease both the panic and stupidity that is currently in over-abundance. You are going to be perfectly alright….unless you see this in your neighborhood…

Outcomes Matter, But Not Intentions–Throw It Out There Thursday 5 March 2020

(This is NOT a political post, though it addresses politics and other matters. I remind you that if you cannot think for yourself, or respect a person who has different views than you, then Reader Discretion is advised. Any resemblance to any political party or theological view past or present, is strictly coincidental. After all, it’s not my “intention” to offend you.)

Ever since the final results of the 2016 election were announced, there has been a movement by a group that shall remain nameless, to undo the results, and are even attempting to change our current form of government that they consider unfair because their candidate didn’t win. By the way, it’s a process that has served this nation well since 1804. Then this unnamed political movement attempted to unseat the winner of the 2016 election with an impeachment movement. Since November 2016, this unnamed political party has espoused nothing but disdain and hatred for the POTUS. All this hate against one person has created a culture of hated and disrespect. Here’s a couple of examples.

February 10, 2020 Gregory Timm drove his van into a voters registration tent in Jacksonville, Florida because of hate. Mr. Timm had no regard for the safety or life of these volunteers who were simply exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right. His hatred for the POTUS turned toward people engaging in our Democratic Republic. Hate consumed Mr. Timm.

Then on February 28, 2020 Denver, Colorado Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca declared that if she ever contracted the Coronavirus she would attend every Trump Rally. Deep is the hate that would cause Councilwoman CdeBaca to want to infect people–mothers, fathers, children–with the Coronavirus because they have a different political view. Really Councilwoman CdeBaca? You want the Coronavirus to spread even further?

The outcome of “not my president” and “impeach Trump” is that people desire to harm, even kill anyone who doesn’t agree with them. At one time this unnamed political party cared about all people. Now this unnamed political party only cares about those who agree with them. This unnamed political party has created an outcome with the environment of hate.

Now, those of you who support that unnamed political party will vehemently disagree with me. You will tell me, “We didn’t produce this outcome of hate and disregard of human life because that wasn’t our intention. Our intention was to make our nation stronger and better.” Well, guess what Snowflake–Intentions are NOT the same as outcomes. If I offended anyone by calling you a Snowflake, that wasn’t my INTENTION. Don’t blame me or say I’m being divisive or ugly. Remember, that’s not my INTENTION.

You see, your beliefs and your attitudes about your beliefs regardless of your intentions produces OUTCOMES. Those Outcomes then take on a life of their own. Think of those Outcomes as making a snowball at the top of a peak overlooking a town. You wonder how big that snowball would get if you rolled it down that slope. Then you roll that snowball and it begins moving down the slope. It gets bigger and bigger and obliterates the town below. Don’t act surprised that your little snowball destroyed that town. You didn’t INTEND to destroy that town. But the Outcome remains–you were responsible.

Intentions will hide the truth; but Outcomes will always reveal the truth.

So, in the future, don’t think about your intentions, because the road to hell is well paved with intentions. Think about OUTCOMES. Outcomes requires that you look beyond the immediate–beyond what you want–beyond what others tell you what you want. Intentions won’t change the direction of our great, but sinking nation. By working together on a set of Outcomes that shows respect and dignity for everyone we can see real culture change. Outcomes that will build people up–not run over them with a van or wish they had the Coronavirus are what we need.

Double Down–Monday Musings 10 January 2020

When playing blackjack, there’s a certain set of conditions when you want to “double down”; or so I’m told. The reason is to have an opportunity to double your winnings, or so I’m told. Today’s Monday Musing is about doubling down but not at the blackjack table–but in one’s spiritual life. Now here’s the passage I’m looking at this evening–James 3:10–12

10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

The context of these words of James is about our words. And I would never take Brother James out of context. But. . .there is a principle that is also present. Principles work in every situation. The Principle that Brother James applies to the “tongue” is verse 12. It’s a basic principle from nature: Something designed to produce only one thing, cannot produce something different.

Yet, there are many today who have forgotten this most basic Principle. So they have doubled down and actually think it works. We are seeing a culture of people who are trying to navigate life by doubling down. Unlike in blackjack where there are certain card combinations you would NEVER double down on, there are those who double down with the wrong “cards”. They live and operate with a double heart and a double mind.

They do this by mixing Biblical Truths with Cultural Values, with Cultural Values being the “Wild Card” that overrides Biblical Truths. They embrace their Cultural Value and then find a Bible verse to support it. And the verses that don’t support that Cultural Value–they either find an excuse why the Bible is wrong, or they simply ignore it altogether.

Truth is you cannot follow Jesus by trying to align the Bible with Cultural Values. Remember Brother James’ Principle: Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. You simply cannot align Biblical Truth with some Cultural Values. But you can do this: You can transform Cultural Values by faithfully living by Biblical Truths. You can try to Double Down with Cultural Values AND Biblical Truth–but The House will win every time, and you will lose.

When Hate Is Allowed And Acceptable–Throw It Out There Thursday 6 February 2020

After watching the evening news yesterday, there was no doubt about today’s Throw It Out There Thursday! There were 2 events that prompts more than just “Throw It Out There”–but this definitely qualifies as a rant. So please put your trays in their up position, have your seat in the upright position and buckle your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Tuesday evening Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear was shot and murdered while on duty. I once served the Kimberly Community and my heart breaks for them. You can read about it HERE. Officer O’Rear had a family, 2 children and one on the way.

And on Wednesday, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock was gunned down when he stopped to assist a disabled motorist on Interstate 95 at a rest stop in Martin County on Wednesday. He was shot and killed by a person who was with that vehicle.

In 2019, 48 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty. This number does not include those morons who weren’t paying attention while driving and “accidentally” hit an officer with their auto. So far in 2020 there have been 12 deaths. I have many friends in law enforcement. And I have a son who is law enforcement. And it seems that a certain segment of society has put a target on anyone and everyone who carries a badge. And now, I have placed the Throw It Out There Target on that certain segment of society.

I’m not going to call out by name a certain political party, so I’m only going to refer to them as the FAH Party. FAH is the acronym for Fear, Anger and Hate Party. They are influencers of our culture creating, you guessed it, FEAR, ANGER AND HATE! Their recent debacle in Washington D.C. is not even the tip of the iceberg of chaos they are promoting. This has been going on for some time.

I never joined the AARP because of their use of FAH. Years ago I let my NRA membership lapse because of their use of FAH. The FAH influencers have turned this nation into a culture where the value of human life means nothing, especially towards those in law enforcement. The FAH Party has nurtured and promoted the value of distrust of authority beyond the level of the 1960’s.

Everyday that Deputy Matthew Burbank and those who wear the badge with pride and dignity goes out to Serve and Protect, there’s someone with a smartphone who wants to take out of context what he HAS to do in order to Serve and Protect. Everyday someone who distrusts authority is out there who would like nothing more than to end his and his brothers and sisters existence.

And the FAH Party followers even target innocent people simply trying to live their lives. FAH Party stirs up jealousy against those who work hard. Heck, we can’t even worship in peace. I am doing something I never thought I would have to do. Each and every Sunday I carry a concealed weapon just in case a FAH follower decides they don’t like what we say or do.

FAH blinds people to the consequences of their actions. It causes them to whine and throw temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. Those operating under the influence of FAH believe they are right and the rest of us are not just wrong–we are mean racists, sexists, bigoted, misogynists, and are the problem. If we would just become FAH Believers then everything would be hunky-dory!

Not to minimize the tragedy from the Coronavirus, but FAH is doing far more damage to the fabric of human civilization than any disease or virus. So to the FAH Party Members I say:

  • Thanks for putting my son in more danger than he was in the hell holes he went to as a committed member of the U.S. Army.
  • Thanks for creating the fog of chaos that is blinding people.
  • Thanks for pointing out imaginary problems.
  • Thanks for always pointing out what’s wrong but never offering solutions.
  • Thanks for nothing!

But what can be done to end this vile, lecherous, odoriferous plague set loose upon civilization by the FAH Party? We can refuse to Fear, be Angry, and we can certainly stop Hating. We can be examples of courtesy and respect, especially with those with disagree. We can pray for ourselves to become the best examples for the human race. We can not give money to any organization that promotes Fear, Anger or Hate. And in the good, ol’ U.S. of A., we can vote!

And it’s on this last point, voting that I encourage you to PTPPray, Think and Participate by going to the polls to vote. Don’t let polls and the FAH news outlets determine who to vote for. Speaking from experience, sometimes the septic tank needs to be pumped out and cleaned.