Songs From The Past

I challenge you to memorize songs you sing today…

Song SheetsElse, they will haunt you in the future with incorrect words!

Preparing to step out with the dogs this morning, a look outside showed filtered sunlight. Probably high clouds with peeks of sun brightening the yard. The dogs are bouncing in their pen, excited they get to chase after a rabbit or two.

Then. Wham! A song of my past literally jumped into my consciousness and I tried to sing and hum the melody while walking through the yard.

Forget about the verses! My dogs had to allow me the opportunity of standing in the cool morning, enjoying God’s beauty, while trying to pull all the pieces together.

Do you remember this one?

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The Language of Science

Tom Swift was the young scientist of my youth!

ScienceA particularly enjoyable series of books during my grade school years. It seemed they were a collection of mystery, science, experimentation and all around good stories. I never owned any of the books, to my recollection, but I remember them at a friends house and in the library.

Of course, they began to be published back in 1910 and as late as 2007, so we know the author was likely a pseudonym for a host of ghost writers. And, if you were to research this very deeply you would find that the same organization was responsible for the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. Who? Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book-packaging firm met the needs of young readers and minds by creating enticing works and selling them around the world!

So. Why is science important? I know I struggled with many of the science classes unless they dealt with hands on activities. Mom got me a dissecting kit during the same years she was enjoying her college classes, and then a better collection of things to dissect for Christmas. I have a memory of a microscope, slides, chemicals, tools, and goodies to put under the knife packed in formaldehyde packages.

Fun. Enjoyable. Smelly. Relegated to a workbench in the garage!

I suspect a couple of enjoyable college course may actually have redirected my career steps, even though I did enjoy a career of building, operating, programming and managing mainframe and PC computers. Most of the education degrees revolved around words like “Computer Science”.

A few years ago the big science news revolved around scientist thinking they had discovered the “God Particle”, I am safe in insisting that even with their remarkable find – we live in a very imperfect world, populated with imperfect people, surrounded by an imperfect knowledge of the universe. Science sets the foundation of knowledge, and then the building of new findings on top of it, generation after generation. The language gets established from those early years, and new words define and redefine.

If I could review my 1,100+ blogs and look for all the science writings and words used, I’m sure I would enjoy building my own book of the various pieces of science that have impacted me. Through the years I’ve been around the various science and industrial industries that shaped my thinking. Some of my favorite writers wrote fiction, but much of what they speculated about were founding blocks of modern day realities. With names like Heinlein, Clark, and Asimov, I learned about things that were accepted long before they showed up in real life!

From portable computers, long before there were “PC’s” in our homes, all the way to communication satellites orbiting the planet, these fiction writers were very schooled in science and possibility. Space ships, orbital mechanics, and how to live in harsh environments, educated and speculative writers laid the foundations for present life.

Just think about Dick Tracy’s watch phone!

My thought sort of revolves around the complicated place we live in that is described by words, ideas and languages that few understand but most accept as normal. Even theological ideas are found in complex ideas and contain their own language of explanation.

All of life is presented to us in images, language and equations we struggle with clear comprehension. Someone who is schooled in the language can confuse the best of us. Maybe the best we can do is to understand the the who, what, where and why, without understanding all the logic.

At some point, there is a measure of FAITH that we all must have that we do not have to understand why things are happening, or even “what” is happening. Simply trust that what IS happening has been going on longer than we can even comprehend.

This is what FAITH is all about. One man painted it as an acronym, “Forsaking All I Trust Him”… Faith in Christ is faith in things we can not see, nor understand. My faith in my next breath does not require me to understand the foundation of life, the inhalation and assimilation of Oxygen, nor how it all works. It really does not require me to believe… It just is how things work!

The author of Hebrews penned it like this, “Now Faith IS…” It is not that I have to understand all the things that faith makes me believe and trust in, Faith simply “is” and I do not have to understand.

We read so little of Faith as a word in the Old Testament. It is only used a couple of times. But one of them was very important and the premise of the language translates it from the Old and into the New Testament.

“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV) (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 11:38)

The language of what we do, and what we believe in, revolves around Faith. We need to have Faith in the research of old and not going back to reprove it over and over again…unless the results of the what we find in the future proves there is something at fault in our past.

Key point? Let’s have FAITH today! Even if we do not fully understand…

 

What’s Normal For You?

I have no real memory of my first haircut.

2016-07-20 13.59.43I was probably too young for it to make an impression, and I can only assume it must have been a non-event. I do remember sitting on a chair in the kitchen, towel wrapped around my neck, and dad commanding a pair of electric shears attempting to do what is cheaper at home than the buck or two at the barber shop. And, I remember going to a local shop with and without dad. Buzz cuts, straight razors around the hair line, less loose hair and the smell of all the tonics and potions.

Once, I remember an executive experience in downtown Houston. Hot towels. Shoe shine. Manicure. It was an expensive lesson that helped me to realize the fluff of the experience did not advance me at my job.

On the advice of a friend I attempted to go to a small, old time barber shop in Alaska. He cut a mole at the hair line and used hair from the floor to staunch the flow. Emergency doctor visit, and an additional 2 moles removed, and that haircut cost me $172! Never went back.

Through the years I have made it a habit of finding a good barber, and the good experience that goes along with it. Then, sticking with them until a relocation – either them, or me. There was a Super Cuts in Humble, TX that had a tremendously good cutter and I  went to her for about 5 years. Scott, at A Cut Above in Anchorage – about 7 years, and now Shannon at Master Cuts in Olympia…Easily 12 years. Shannon can get the job done in less than 7 minutes!

Often, emergency stops at unknown locations are times that I dread. They seldom understand my needs and instructions and I am seldom happy with the results. No Tip!

Yesterday, I could not wait. Shannon is on vacation. One shop was busy. The other shop had someone I trusted in the past and was happy with the results. If she lasts long in the area then she may be my new backup! She did a good job, if I say so myself! Thanks Ummi!

We experience our “usual” so much that we often are surprised when the ad-hoc experiences are not equally enjoyed. This revolves around restaurants, vacations, churches, doctors, dentists, and even libraries. These unusual experience taint our future choices and it often takes a while before we are able to build up trust with someone new.

Imagine if every time we did a “usual” task the experience was brand new! I’ve been to a Canadian McDonald’s on the edge of the Alaskan Highway that was new and different, and in Israel at the Dead Sea where it was even more different than anywhere else. Yet there was something about that familiar color and shape of the sign that made them worthy of an expenditure of time and money.

That first trip to Alaska in 1977, mom and I stopped at a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) deep in Canada. I ordered a 9 piece all white crispy. They had no idea what I was talking about. “Sir, we just sell chicken!” I had to adapt my expectation to something I had accepted as normal back in Texas.

In Texas, last month, I had to get another haircut out of my normal routine and area. I chose the same company that I use here and now. I explained my needs and desires, only to have them trounced by a cutter that did not really comprehend… No. Maybe she just did not listen good. Regardless. No Tip, and an email to the store explaining what I was expecting was not what I received.

What is your customary experience, and what do you expect, when you visit another place that has the same name and serve the same stuff?

I heard a story about a service man who returned home from several tours overseas. Yesterday, the local news reported about it. He wanted to return to some normality of life, only he was now afflicted with PTSD and a host of other issues. He had a service animal that helped to calm him down when anxiety levels got high. The bartender told him he would have to leave, and a call to the owner at first agreed with the command only to relent a little later. Regardless, the soldier was offended because he could not re-enter life. Life was no longer Normal.

Jesus returned home to Nazareth after his time in the wilderness and re-entered life as he once knew it.

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (Luke 4:16 NKJV)

He was used to following the custom – of law and habit as lived the previous 30 years. The synagogue was always attended on the Sabbath. There was a routine and plenty of customs. Someone always stood up to read the assigned scripture. And the scripture was the same read every Sabbath across the country. The custom was to be on the “same page” as everyone else.

Custom. Habit. Expectation. Normalcy. Isn’t it sad what our new normal is becoming? Think about it. Nothing is the same as it was 40 or 50 years ago. Life has a new normal. Yet, there is coming a time when we will all face a new custom.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1 NKJV)

New heaven. New earth. The former no longer exists. We will have to adapt to the “new normal”… I’m thinking I’m about ready for it because this existing normal is getting to me!

Life is No Softball

Driving home from a Bible Study last night…

LifeI listened to the closing minutes of a radio talk show broadcasting “live from the Republican National Convention” in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s a local station that is setup at the RNC, and then the Democratic National Convention next week in Philadelphia, you know, that city of “brotherly love”.

The last few moments of an interview with an opposition research consultant, a phrase was used that struck me as odd:

Politics ain’t no softball.

True, politics is not a game. We want someone to use the power we give them intelligently. Successfully. Lead very well. Handle the tough calls.  The consulting firm does background reviews to help learn what can be revealed by the politician and help them to build a narrative – “Having a narrative is what all politics is about”. Though not looking for skeletons, each research helps to learn how to approach every potential positive and negative.

But, back to my point. Most of what I’ve learned is that “life” is no softball. It’s not a game. The rules are not soft. It’s all about life. Death. And living successful, even when there is a curve ball thrown your way. There are good times, surrounded by dollops of bad times. Each of us enjoy the good, and struggle with the heartaches.

Our struggles keep us distracted from our real purpose. We try to solve our problems with our own abilities, even when we understand there are better answers than we have available.

There are a couple of scriptures from Paul that I enjoy using to work on keeping my life in balance.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 NKJV)

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV)

Flesh. Carnal. Leads to death. But spiritually minded is life and peace. Even when life is a struggle! “Life” comes from a Greek word meaning “…the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate.” A spiritually minded person has a focus on life and peace. That’s what we all need. In the midst of the storms it is our spirituality that brings us peace. Latch onto that… It’s something to think about.

 

What Have You Become?

I was thinking about who we have become…

Junk Food 001A phrase popped into my mind: “We are what we consume.”

Our identity influences our habit, and our habitual consumption dictates what we become. We have heard it said, we are what we eat… or, we are what we watch on entertainment… or, we are what we imitate… or, we are what we read.

Are you a couch potato? It’s probably because you acted the role long before the label was attached. Do you have a lot of hate and anger in your life? You are probably paying attention to those who are full of hate and anger already. Disappointment? Constant depression?

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Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Why is this important?

Pull string light bulbBenjamin Franklin says, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Today is the opportunity about what you planned from yesterday. Most plans started yesterday, and today represents how well you are able to act from your plan.

Too often what we do today had an inkling of an idea yesterday. Whether right or wrong, good or bad, we seldom do anything without a moments thought about our actions. Words may gush from our quick to speak mind, but actions…well they spend time percolating in our mind.

If yesterday birthed a thought that would require action, then you had the night to sleep on it, and hopefully cooler heads prevail as you rethink your action. Like a word once spoken never returns unuttered, a deed once acted upon is a completed action.

Perhaps it’s like pulling the chain to a light hanging in the hallway – that bulb is just ready to shine and illuminate the unseen. Or that key in the ignition about to start the engine. Is the car ready to go? Or, think before you leap. Dad often taught us to inspect the waters of the creek for unseen objects under the surface before we leap off the bridge. Once you leap it’s too late to worry about what’s hidden under the surface.

Once you act or speak, the deed is done. Your thought about what to say, or do, is something your are in control of!

In yesterday’s post (Click) I referenced a scripture that has stuck with me.  Another translation made me consider it again.

GOD saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil–evil, evil, evil from morning to night. (Genesis 6:5 MSG)

They “thought” evil. Yesterday’s thought produces today’s action. Living with the thoughts continually imagines greater evil. You are never satisfied with today’s action, you keep living the thoughts that only produce a greater evil. Evil. Wickedness. Sin. Keep living in the thought of these things, and they only grow and become more evil. More wicked, More sinful.

What gets planted in your mind, germinates, and produces a fruit.

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (James 1:14-16 NKJV)

Desire. Sin. Death.

I love the words of David. Important words that helps me change from where I was headed to where I should be at.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV)

We may never understand a deceitfully wicked heart. But God does.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV)

God can know my heart in a way I never will. He will reward according to my ways. So, I must let God change me. Search me God. Know my heart. Cleanse me from all my sin. Point me to the righteous direction. Please God.

 

What Madness. Such Sadness.

Its been a crazy few weeks…

CrazyProbably a crazy century if we would broaden our view.

It seems like madness has griped our planet. It’s not isolated to a single place or people. Rather the madness spreads like an epidemic into every corner of every continent.  With a broad stripe we attempt to paint labels on cowardly and invasive acts, but it’s so ineffective. Labels do not fix the problem. I’m pretty sure none of us have the solution.  Least of all the politicians, or leaders we look to for guidance.

In some countries, the problems stem from social, political and racial unrest. Centuries old animosities are alive as if the grievance occurred yesterday. Some of the troubles relate to religious intolerance. Many problems relate simply to how we chose to, or chose not to, get along with humanity.

We all struggle to determine a solution.

There is no easy answer. It seems like there are seasons of peace, and seasons of pain. We are walking in a deep rift of pain right now.

Scripture tells us of a time when the wickedness of man was at an all time high, and God was grieved.

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7 NKJV)

It must have been pretty bad. I can imagine the wickedness of humanity, because I see it alive in modern times. Today, not due to war, we see unprecedented violence against each other, and even against the unborn innocent in the womb. Atrocities done in the name of God, no matter what word you use to call your holy one are simply wrong actions!

Back in Genesis, what did it take for God to find a solution? He found Noah.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8 NKJV)

Grace? What’s that? In laymen terms we call it the “unmerited favor of God”… A Just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

Wait a minute! What does this mean? Perhaps a few sentences of how it appears to this writer…

He followed God, and God’s command of living, even when the wickedness prevailed. He rejected the madness and wickedness of his generation. He listened to God when God spoke to him of a plan. He took ownership of God’s pattern, and some have figured it took nearly 150 years – maybe even to the planting of saplings until they grew large enough to be harvested for the ark. He preached a message of deliverance even as he was made a laughingstock. Finally, he entered for the last time that final place of safety before total destruction. 

There is not one single record of him doubting, or even questioning God’s word. He was covered in Grace, and Walked by Faith. How do we know the Faith part? Faith in God seemed to be in short supply by the masses, but Hebrews 11 paints a picture of leaders and everyday people who lived their life by faith!

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab the Harlot, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets…

…who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:33-40 NKJV)

Their faith was what made the difference in each of their own lives, and even to those they were responsible for. Faith to stand up. Faith to fight when needed. Faith when trials came, and yes, it was even Faith that kept them in prison and when they were slain.

Perhaps what this world needs now is not a look of grief stricken sadness, rather, we need to look and live with lives of Faith. Live by the unadulterated Word of God. Love. Peace. Joy. Faith. Hope. Do not lose these. They are what makes our world a better place to be!

There will come a time that the final door to that final “ark” will be closed. Think about it…

But concerning the times and the seasons,
brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them,
as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.
And they shall not escape.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day.
We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
But let us who are of the day be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love,
and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
For God did not appoint us to wrath,
but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,
just as you also are doing.
And we urge you, brethren,
to recognize those who labor among you,
and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren,
warn those who are unruly,
comfort the fainthearted,
uphold the weak,
be patient with all.
See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone,
but always pursue what is good
both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophecies.
Test all things; hold fast what is good.
Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body
be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Brethren, pray for us.
Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Amen.
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-28 NKJV)