A Stone On Your Head

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In 1834 the following story was written by English historians who were compiling a review of County Crayke. It is the true account of a gentlemen named Simeon Ellerton.

“Simeon Ellerton died here, Crayke, North Yorkshire, England, January 3, 1799, at the advanced age of 104. He was a noted pedestrian, and was often employed by gentlemen in the neighborhood on commissions to London and other places, which he always executed on foot, with fidelity and diligence. He lived in a neat stone cottage of his own building; and what was remarkable, he had literally carried it upon his head!

It being his practice to bring home from every journey the proper stone he could pick up on the road, and place it on his head, until he had accumulated a sufficient quantity to erect his habitation, by which time, although the motive had ceased, this practice had grown so much into a habit, that he imagined he could travel the better for having a weight upon his head and he seldom came home without some loading. If any person inquired his reason, he used facetiously to answer, ‘’Tis to keep on my hat’.”

The article went on to say that local residents all thought he was a “curious fellow”, a bit touched in the head, or at the very least, a bit eccentric. Because of his practice, the term “rocks on your head” began to be used to describe anyone who acted out of the norm, or had behavior considered a bit strange. What is fascinating, is that the term is still in use today. It has come down to us in the form of “rocks in your head”. Yet the fact is, the man it was intended to mock,  actually lived an honorable life. He was trusted and respected by all who hired him, and lived to the ripe old age of 104, during a time when the average person died before the age of 50. Hardly the life of one who should be mocked!

For me this is such a great story. It demonstrates the value of quiet resolve, personal diligence and clear vision, which are so important if you are going to accomplish anything in life. Let’s face it, few people today would stop to ask why a man was walking the roadside with a rock on his head. Most would assume he was mentally unhinged, or an emotional prisoner to some trauma in life. He would most likely be reported to the authorities and locked in some psychiatric ward. Fewer still would have the diligence, fortitude and patience to carry out a practice everyone questioned. The mockery of others, and the sheer magnitude of the task at hand, would simply wear them out.

There is a powerful lesson to be learned from the humble determination of the man who carried a rock on his head. He is the model for all of us who think outside the box. We all live in a world that tries to conform us to it’s way of doing things. Dress like this, talk like that, think like this and act like so. Drive this car, use this makeup, live in this kind of house and dress in these clothes. Conform, or you are an outcast and will have no work! The point is, most people are nothing more than rats running in a social maze and they are too blind, or too scared, to see things for what they really are.

And so, those of us with a rock on our head, who carry this load along life’s road, are doing so because it secures our future.  We are carrying the stones of a place not yet built, where we will live free, think free and enjoy independence from that which influences and manipulates the rest of the world. Run like mindless lemmings, if you so desire, into the sea that this world offers. But, as for me, I will go against that flow every time, and much prefer to be the odd ball. An outcast in some circles, perhaps, but who cares! While they are running like gerbils on their caged-in treadmills, I am having amazing failures and wonderful adventures in the real world that take my breath away!

I, and those like me, are the curious ones that others wonder about, as we serve God, pray and live biblically principled lives. We gladly walk our road with a rock on our head, knowing that in time we will have a “neat stone cottage” approved by God. It may not be tomorrow, but one stone at a time it will be built. As this world goes it’s merry way, deeper into conformity and sin, laughing, mocking and looking at us with curiosity, we will be building a future that will not be shaken, one stone on our head at a time. My question is, what’s on your head my friend, and what future are you building?  If you don’t like what you see, let me invite you to join us on our journey into the presence of God. You won’t regret it! Now go find a nice stone….. and have a great day!

 

Life As A Priority

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In the early 1900’s, life in rural America was so much simpler than it is today. Many, like myself, think this was life as it should be. The steam locomotive, wagon and horse were the main forms of transportation. Every community had a hardware store and blacksmith shop. The general store, post office and barbershop were gathering places for local news. The sawmill and gristmill were centers of community commerce, and farmers brought their crops into town to sell locally. People were happy to depend on each other in times of crises, or to meet basic, daily needs.

Life was slower, less distracted and more deliberate in those days, and each season had its own necessary preparations. There were family gardens and crops to be planted in spring, structures to be built in summer, wood to be cut, a harvest to be brought in and animals to be hunted in the Fall, and winter was used to mend, fix and prep everything for the next year. Front porches on every house were lined with comfortable wooden rockers that adults sat in during the evening and they shared a cup of coffee and good conversation. Best of all, neighbors looked out after each other on a daily basis and there was a sense of belonging that cemented things into that specific time and place.

The cars, bicycles and motorcycles were novelties, for the most part, and the average person viewed them as toys for the rich. People heated their homes with wood and lighted the night with kerosene lamps or home made candles. Hand made bi-planes crawled into the air under the guidance of inexperience daredevils, who landed them in empty fields that served as airports. Doctors made house calls and left the necessary medicine for their patients, all for a whopping price of $5. Milk and heavy cream were delivered in glass bottles to the front door by local dairy’s along with eggs, cheese and butter.

A “tab” was run up at local stores by most everyone, and this was paid off without interest, at the end of the month. Loans were made, and finances exchanged with nothing more than a handshake and a verbal agreement. No signed contracts were needed, and in many cases, no one wrote down how much was borrowed. People were basically honest, but beyond that, they knew their family name was on the line if they failed to honor their agreement. There was genuine trust and respect that people gave to one another, and nothing less was to be expected.

There was one school in each community and it had locally hired teachers who taught two elementary grade levels in a single room. Each high school grade had it’s own room and teachers specialized in two or three subjects. Elementary teachers stayed with the same class all day while those in high school rotated between classrooms and grade levels to be taught different subjects. Students all walked to school, there were no busses, and they either carried their lunch in a brown paper bag or ran home to eat at lunchtime. The average class size in these community schools was 8 to 12 students per grade level, and that was also the size of each graduating class.

It’s hard to believe, but this is very close to the world I grew up in. Our small village in the northern Adirondacks seemed to have a “Brigadoon” quality about it that resisted modernization. It disliked change of any kind, and each new decade took it further and further out of step with the world that was changing all around it. Quite honestly, we were proud of that fact, and in many ways I still am. Why? Because, I got to live in a world that was quickly vanishing away. I got to know some of the life my father had lived, in the early 1900’s, and it connected me to him and to our family history. I not only heard his stories of years gone by, but I was able to experience some of them for myself, which made them real.

Dad road in an open wagon, and I got to ride in the back of his 1954 Willies truck on summer nights. He swam in Sumner Brook on hot summer days, and 55 years later so did I. I attended the same schoolhouse he did, sat in the same desks and wrote on the same chalkboards. Our family ate breakfast and dinner together as a family every day, and life rotated around when those meals were ready. We adjusted our activities to our family mealtime, not our mealtime to our activities. Eating at my mother’s table was a constant that established our family life and time together.

Now imagine this; when I was 9 years old my father called Cohen’s Hardware Store, just down the hill from our house, and told the clerk to give me two “farmers helpers”. Dad was clearing stumps and rocks from our backfield and these made the job much easier. With $2 in hand I arrived at the store, handed the clerk the money, and he gave me two paper bags. One had sawdust in it and the other did not. He then gave me stern instructions to keep them separate and take them directly to my father.

What was in the two bags? One held two blasting caps with 10 inch fuses, and the other held sawdust that encased and two half sticks of dynamite, called “blanks”. Once a blasting cap was inserted into the “blank”, and the fuse was lit, you were in business to remove any stump or rock that might be in the way. Today people would be arrested for such a thing, but back them it was just everyday life. I had a respect for the power of what I held and I also respected my father. In addition I trusted the store clerk and they both trusted me to do exactly as I was told. Needless to say I did not let them down and the whole system worked fine. There were no permits, no laws broken and no harm was done. It was regulation free and worked for everyone.

We learned respect for authority, obedience to our parents and we accepted the wisdom of common sense. We listened to what would be dangerous, or wrong, and we kept that knowledge close at hand. We took responsibility for our actions and discovered the value of honoring the old ways that served past generations so well. The deep-rooted connection to the life that had always been, was embraced as truth, and it kept us safe, brought focus and connected us together as a community.

This was the life for me during the 1950’s, and when it began to disappear, something in me disappeared with it. The sense of permanence, historical family foundations and the knowledge of knowing where you belonged, began to fade away. Then my mother moved from our hometown at the age of 90, and a few years later Normans General Store closed, after being there for 120 years. With these two events, all connection to who we had always been was gone. Every tie to family history, and the reality that I could no longer go “home” was a shock. It set me adrift, and I felt like I was floating in a sea of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world that clearly would never be the same.

I was eventually able to get my bearings because the core values of that solid, grounded, generational life, served me well. However, many today live their lives with a directionless, rootless apathy. The need for job security often moves families across the country multiple times. Statistics show that people move, on average, every 5 years. Today, huge schools bus children in from miles around, and class sizes average in the hundreds. Millions of dollars are spent on sports programs, free breakfast and lunches and special clubs. Yet with all of this, more children are overweight, the quality of education continues to fall and students are less prepared for the workforce than ever before.

Where is the answer in all of this? Are we to go back to the horse and buggy, the kerosene lamp and the hand pump of 100 years ago? No, but we might do well to go back and revisit the values, the priorities and the heart of those earlier times. Imagine what it would be like to rediscover the art of human connection. Think of how wonderful conversation could be without the constant interruption of television, computer screens or cell phones buzzing and chirping invasively into every moment of the day. How grand would it be to sit around the dinner table and eat a well-prepared meal rather than rushing off to yet another event.

How in the world do you do this? One word: PRIORITIES! The priority you place on things always determines how they fit into the life you live. There is no exception to the rule, and no way to avoid the consequences either. You will always, and I mean always, find time for what’s really important. Tell me your kids are important, yet you are always working and never have time for them; YOU LIE! Say that family is important, yet you never take a vacation together, never do fun things as a family and rarely share your thoughts or feelings: YOU LIE! Say that saving for retirement is important but you constantly go into debt and buy things that you can’t afford; YOU LIE!

Let me challenge you to live a life of priorities. Set a standard that others will be blessed by. Set the wrong priorities and it will become a curse. Living a life of priorities is the only way to live happy and fulfilled. We may not be able to go back to what was, but we can get our priorities straight and capture a better way to live. If you want to recover some of what has been lost, let me encourage you to consider the above. If you will, you can change what is, and those who follow after you will be able enjoy the history you have created. Let me ask you, in the end, what’s that worth!

The Trout Stream Of Life

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“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

The above Scripture is a reminder of the keeping power and blessing that God pours on those who seek Him. It also brings to mind the days of my youth, when I spent so much time in the deep woods of the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. It was a wonderful place to grow up. Dad was an Adirondack guide, and the caretaker for “Forest Lodge”, one of the great old Adirondacks camps that is located on the canoe carry between Upper St. Regis Lake and Bear Pond. I spent many days with my father in that place, and it was there that I learned to love the woods just like him.

The hills, valleys and lakes that surrounded Forest Lodge, were my boyhood haven for exploration and adventure. My single-shot .22 rifle was a constant companion, and more often than not, my trout rod was also in hand as I wandered about looking for another place to fish. Many small rivers were hidden away in the moist hemlock forests. They trickled down the hills and filled dozens of kettle hole ponds that dotted the property where the “camp was located. Every chance I had, I took the time to walk through thick brush and around cat tail swamps, in hopes of finding another river valley that held the next trout stream of my dreams.

Time has slipped by, and finding the best streams today is not easy. I still have to get off the beaten path, where most people will not go, and look with a keen eye, or listen for the sound a bubbling water. I explore old dirt roads on my 1980 Honda CX500 and find hidden, or overlooked streams that others have missed or passed by. Often I hike a mile or more off-road to a promising river valley and am handsomely rewarded with a nice mess of speckled trout. It takes time to walk into those secret places, where valleys come together, and ice-cold water tumbles down over untouched glacial boulders. Here is where hemlock trees hang darkly over deep, clear pools and hungry native “brookies” are waiting to strike anything that hits the water.

My most memorable days have been spent on secret streams with my trout rod in hand, nightcrawlers I picked off my lawn, and a small thermos of hot coffee tucked into my ancient wicker creel. The smell of cool, morning mist rising off the water, and the sun streaming it’s golden way through scented pine branches, just thrills my soul. I feel the peace of God, and His pleasure, in these peaceful, quiet places. Why? Because I alone have taken the time to seek them out, discover and enjoy such beautiful places, which God created. This is my forest sanctuary where I carefully walk the stream bank and catch trout, meditate on His Word, delight myself in Him and feel the joy of life that this stream brings to everything it touches.

Especially in the grip of a brutal August heat wave, these wonderfully-cool places, deep in the forest, remind me of God and His ways. He is always there, ready to refresh all who come. When I find such a stream, I cherish it and keep it’s secrets all to myself. Each time I go there, I am amazed that everything near it is still green and flourishing, regardless of the dry conditions that may be all around. Berry bushes on it’s banks are lush and full of fruit, and trout are still swimming in it’s cool, dark pools. The tracks along it’s banks testify to the fact that birds and raccoons, foxes, deer and an occasional bear have all come to this holy place to drink, and they have satisfied their thirst.

This is a stream of living water, and just like being in God’s amazing presence, I have the endless pleasure of being here in the magnificent solitude, and enjoying it any time I so choose. There is nothing to hear but the stream itself or the call of birds and the wind in the trees. All of these calm my hurried thoughts. Best of all, there is no other human for miles, and that is just fine with me. I came here to fish, hear the whispers of God, and thank Him for this sacred place. It restores me in ways I cannot describe, and with a depth that only God can accomplish. I am humbled by all of it, right down to the very core of my being.

When I am rushed, when I am feeling pressured or worn out, all I need is the Lord and time alone on a trout stream. No matter what life has thrown at me, or how people have disappointed me, here is where I find rest for my soul and peace of mind. Worries fall away, the pull others have on me gets left for another day, and I find real peace. All I need is to sit on the bank of a trout stream and enjoy the sun filtering through the trees. Let me feel a pine-scented breeze gently caress my face, and I am happy. I hear the sound of water bubbling over rocks, and in that moment God is near, and I know that life is more than good, it is wonerful!

Let me encourage you to take the time to find your place of rest. It may be on a trout stream, a park bench, a favorite spot by the lake or alone in your own bedroom. Wherever it is, you need to go there by yourself on a regular basis and meet with God. Let Him come to you, direct your path and bring you to the place of living water. There, you can be like that bush on the bank of my trout stream. No matter what’s happening all around you, you can still be full of life, and give that life away to others.

 This is what life in Jesus is all about. He is the stream, the answer you have been looking for! My question today is, “why not let Him help you find all you have been hungry and thirsty for”? Sit down by this stream of life, and trust me when I say, you will not be disappointed. In fact,  He is more than you could ever imagine!

All you who are thirsty, come to the waters of life 💦 and drink your fill.. His love for you is more than enough to quench your deepest thirst and calm your greatest fear. He is with you always and He will give you rest!

Circles Of Life

concentric-circles-in-powerpointIn this season, God has really been dealing with me about my life’s work and my calling to develop others.  I have begun to realize how precious the time is that I have left, so what I do with that time, and who I invest it in, is extremely important. We are placed here by God for a reason, and that reason has a two-fold purpose. Number one, to accomplish our own destiny, and number two, to impact and influence the destiny of others. When those two purposes intersect, it is invigorating and life-changing for everyone. However, when relationships exist where the dots just don’t connect, these become a distraction that short circuits the purposes of God for everyone.

The truth is, we must know where people are in our circles of life, and then devote our time, and invest our lives, according to the circle in which they fall. If you have set your life up correctly from the beginning, you are already in good shape. You, and those in your circles, are reaping the rewards of being correctly aligned. Your time and energies have been invested in the right amounts, and in the right people, which set you both on a collision course with destiny.  I have seen this working seamlessly in some mighty men and women of God, and it is amazing to behold. I have also seen the opposite happen in my own life, and it was heart breaking. Time and energy was poured into individuals who were living in my outer circles.  They were far removed from the purposes of God in my life, either by choice or by chance, but I missed it. This was not only a distraction for both of us, even more tragic, it robbed others in my inner circles, of the time and personal care I should have been investing in them.

God showed me that the circles of my life are concentric rings of influence that surround me. The closer they are to the core of who I am, the more important they are to my destiny and well-being, and the destiny and well-being of others. Those circles closest to me must always be my personal priority.  My time, attention and care must always be devoted to them first, and these people must know they will always be in my line of sight. As I move outward from those primary circles, things change. How much time I devote, how available I am on a regular basis, and how much they may influence me, all becomes relative. Basically, the further someone is from the purposes of God for my life, the less vital that relationship is. I will always care, but the outer circles should never get my time, or availability, designed for those in the inner circles.

Circle 1 for me is my personal relationship with God. This is always the top priority if I am to stay healthy and balanced in life. Circle 2 is my wife and family. No matter what, I am ready to help, serve and be available for them any time of the day or night. In circle 3 are those who are the real doers in our church, and fellow ministers I work with. They are with me, have my back, help carry the vision and help carry the load. They joined up and hook up all the way and they serve with good hearts. I am always ready to hear them and serve them. When they call I pick up the phone. When they need me I am there. When they want to get coffee or spend time with me, I am available. The point is, our destinies, vision and service are all interconnected on a very personal level. These are my ministry companions and others are my sons and daughters in the faith who will get an inheritance, and be part of my legacy, when I am gone. As it has been said, “they will carry on when I am carried out”!

Those in circle 4 all are part of my church. They help as they can and are more-or-less faithful in giving and serving in any assigned responsibility. They do what they can, when they can, and for the most part I can depend on them. Some may not show up at the last minute, and others may have to cover for them. In circle 5 are those who come to church but never become a part of it. They may or may not give. They may come for work days or men’s and women’s meetings, but they are basically long term visitors. It is nice to see them, but I don’t depend on them to be on time or carry any of the load. There will be no training for these people, they will have little growth and I don’t expect them to do much more than show up when it works for them. They like the blessing and benefit of our church, but don’t like responsibility and don’t want to submit under authority. These people will never really find their place or do much in the Kingdom.

Finally, we have those in circle 6. This is the outer ring and the resting place of everyone else. They are basically just out there doing what they do. These may be friends or acquaintances, or those who simply intersect my path periodically as I am living the life God gave me. They come and they go, but they really are more like shadow figures who are not going where I am going and have no clear direction in life. Some are there to be evangelized, while others are those behind the counter I am kind to and want to bring to Christ. Those in circle 6 don’t ask deep spiritual questions and they don’t really want to know what is going on with me. They contribute nothing to the real purposes of God for my life and I an able to put very little into theirs.

What are your circles of life? Are they clearly defined for you and for those who surround you? If not, then you are probably doing what I did for way too many years. You are wasting the treasure of invested time, personal care and spiritual commitment on those who are not intimately connected to the purposes of God for your life. They may invade your space from time to time, and when they leave nothing has really changed. Love everyone, serve all those you can with a good and honest heart and be kind. However, when you give the right stuff to the wrong people, you are selling your greatest treasure to the lowest bidder, and that hurts everyone. If it continues, you will not fulfill the purpose of God for your life, and neither will they.

Let me encourage you to get your circles of life in order. They are like a “bulls eye” that every thing will be focused on. if you make them clear it’s easy to hit the mark and move forward with life. If you don’t everyone will suffer. Why not begin to day to clarify your circles of life? You will feel the pleasure of God in all you do. Trust me when I tell you that there is no better way to live life, and no better way to help others do the same!

Caught In The Grip Of BI

Over the years I have witnessed many different levels of, and reasons for, ignorance. Some of it was induced by multiple generations of a welfare poverty mentality, and some came because of high school drop-out followed by the inability to get a good job. Some came through drugs and alcohol, while others embraced ignorance because of rebellion to authority. This was usually punctuated by a lifestyle of crime and repeted stays in jail. Whatever the reason, there is yet one more occurrence of ignorance that is most tragic of all. This is BI – Blind Ignorance!

The grip BI  has on those who are mindlessly following, and emotionally manipulated by it, is extreme. This crippling ideology is painfully evident in those who lost the last presidential election. The inability to coop with or face life, irrational fear of elected officials, public displays of despondency and confusing truth with unfounded rumors are all part of this new bizarre malady. Grown adults need comfort pets, play dough therapy and child regression sessions in order to return to work or college classes, and get through their grieving process. Why? Well…  things didn’t go their way and they don’t know how to accept it….. REALLY??!!

BI afflicts the well educated and the uneducated. It infects those who have been taught selective US history rather than documented historical truth. It invades college campuses through liberal professors, and is found in high school classrooms that exchange traditional education for social indoctrination. It is evident in liberal courtrooms where frivolous lawsuits are accepted as a way for “victims” to rake in millions of dollars rather than do an honest day’s work. It is seen where activist judges of lower courts stop an entire branch of the US government and hold the country hostage by keeping it from protecting it’s citizens of the invasive  aggression of a violent religious ideology . Youth sports programs promote it when they incorrectly assert that every kid deserves a trophy, no matter how mediocre their skill level or uncommitted they were to the team.

Saddest of all, it arises in emotionally driven mobs who take to the streets without really knowing why. These groups accept any information from any source that supports their current emotional state. Being so openly distressed and driven by a herd mentality, they refuse to look at the actual facts that might unravel their newest cause. They scream their latest mantra while blocking traffic, and wearing pink “V” hats that represent female genetalia. Keep in mind, this is the same group that claimed they were ready to run the nation. How scary is that??? 

When we observe those who are driven by B I , we see logic, honor, compassion, free speech and the rule of law all get thrown to the wind. The collective mindset becomes the ruling force, and the raging voices suspend the legal rights of  those not in the flow. Celebrities chime in as “experts” to be reckoned with, and the news media jumps in with one overblown report after a another to verify the “crisis” and vilify any opposition. Basically, B I  means things revert back to what ruled during the French Revolution or the slave trade of Africa. This is the idea that “might and misinformation makes right”. If you are well funded,  loud enough, violent enough and disruptive enough, long enough,  you MUST be right.

Does this kind of disruptive socialism sound strangely familiar? It should, because it’s what started happening since the historic election of President Trump. It is world history on rewind. In fact, historical truth is full of clear examples provided for us by Marks, Lenin, Alynski , Mau Tse Tung and Hitler. All of these used the same pattern of social unrest, mob rule and B I  to force their utopian ideals on an unsuspecting and uninformed public. Once emboldened by lawless unrest, that goes unpunished, the ideology spreads. When it comes to illegitimate anarchy, B I is the preferred weapon of choice because it works at a gut level on uninformed, emotional mobs. Most importantly,  emotionally driven mobs identify with B I  rather quickly and react to it with unisoned ease.

So what is the solution to a world that is being swept up and carried away by one blind, emotionally ignorant, deliberately planted, half-truth after another? As people march, and burn, and shout their way past reason, free speech and free elections, what is the antidote to such viral, misinformed stupidity?  Very simply put,  it’s truth…BIBLICAL TRUTH! Fresh relationship with God and His Word, can rescue nations. Teach it, embrace it, dig for it, hold on to it and don’t move until you know you have it.

In addition, go back to the roots of real journalism and let investigative reporting uncover the documented facts. Learn what was actually said or done, and by whom. Expose people to the context, not just the content  of statements. Interview who was actually present as an eye witness at the time, and print their observations, rather than what sells copy. Honest, genuine journalism. Imagine that! The evening news actually containing factual news of interest like it did when reported by Chet Huntly, David Brinkly and Walter Cronkite.

Until we remove political agendas, deliberate slanting of information,  blatant bias and “leaked” misinformation, designed to incriminate the opposition, there will be no return to civilized life as we know it. News agencies and reporters need to stop editorializing, stop demonizing and  stop criticizing. Investigate, uncover the truth, factualize and confirm the information you have collected. Only then are you fit to  report those findings to the public. Any personal commenting beyond the unvarnished facts is NOT your call, and does not help the nation.

Finally, we must embrace our foundational faith in God once again. That means we must face the reality of what does not work. Religions, cults, livestyles and political ideologies that are incompatible with, resistant to and hostile against a Biblically sound lifestyle must go. If it is in conflict with God’s word, then it’s not for us. We are a constitutional republic with a governing body that set in place clearly defined laws, courts and law enforcement. These were all built on biblical principles, and were established to protect the honest, support the helpless and punish the lawless. 

 Move away from that truth and this system will degrade, continue to falter and ultimately fail. Our founders knew that such an experimental system would only work in a society of godly, moral and honest people. As we have slipped from these foundational moorings, we have lost the very anchor that brought stability, clarity and vision that made our nation great. 

So in all this,  what is the real enemy we should be fighting? It’s BI, blind ignorance, that inflames ignorant, emotional activism. If we dedicate ourselves to unfolding the truth, and expose this generation to historical facts, rather then selective history, the nation will find healing. If we defend biblical morality rather than embrace the personal preferences of every broken soul, the nation will find direction. If we honor one another with honest communication, rather than take to the streets screaming down everything in opposition, the nation will find peace. 

My question of the day is quite simple, are we willing to lay aside our own agendas in order to obtain what this nation needs? Are we willing to look to Him who can rescue us from our own depravity? That answer, my friends, is within your heart and held in hands. Perhaps it is time for us to all be silent, let faith, prayer, biblical  truth, reason and the rule of law guide our actions once again. Who knows… God may yet deliver us from ourselves, and restore this nation we love called America.

Leaving It In God’s Hands

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Ranked among the luckiest people in the world, Alan E. Magee survived a free fall of almost 22,000 feet from a B-17 bomber during a raid in WWII. On 3rd January 1943, Magee got into a Flying Fortress bomber on his seventh bombing mission. He was 24, and was one of the ten-man crew of the bomber. They took off from Molesworth, England, and their target was a German submarine port in France. In total, there were 85 B-17s involved in the raid, along with some fighter planes escorting them.

When Magee’s  B-17 reached the French town of St Nazaire, it came under heavy fire from German anti-aircraft guns. The bomber took a couple of nasty blows on its wing and engine.It soon started spiralling downward towards the ground and was spinning at a very high rate of speed. Magee had no idea how to control the plane but he did see a small opening,  which he quickly jumped through. Once in mid air, he realized he had actually jumped out of the plane… but without his parachute!

Magee plunged almost 22,000 feet, and went unconscious just before his body crashed onto the roof of the St Nazaire railway station. The thick clothes he wore and his hit on the soft wooden roof between the rafters cushioned his 160 mph fall and he landed on his back in a pile of shingles, wood splinters and boxes on the station floor. He regained consciousness, as the Germans were taking him to the hospital. His only words were, ‘Thank God I am alive.” His only injury was a sprained shoulder and bruises on his back and legs.

Magee was only willing to tell his story a total of 3 times during the rest of his life. He was an intensely private man and looked at his escape from certain death as a miracle from God. He said that even his German captors treated him with great respect, knowing the details of what had happened to him. During one of the interviews he gave, Magee was asked what went through his mind as he was falling towards the earth without a parachute. Magee simply said he was strangely at peace because he knew he was in God’s hands, stating, “In a situation like that what else can you do? ”

When asked, doctors said the one big thing that saved his life was the fact that he was totally relaxed when he hit the roof. Had he been awake, his natural reaction would have been to tense up and brace for impact, which would have killed him instantly. However, in his relaxed state his body acted like a fluid and was able to distribute the shock of impact across his entire body. That dynamic capacity of fluids to dissipate shock waves is one of the things that spared his life.

Few of us, if any, will ever find ourselves in the situation Alan Magee was in. Helpless, hopeless and plunging into certain death in a few short minutes. However, all of us will find ourselves in situations where we are forced to rely on something outside ourselves and outside our own ability. When life gets totally out of our control, what then? The loss of a job, the rebellion of a child, a divorce or a sudden life threatening illness can feel like a deadly plunge. All of these can take over our lives and emotions rather quickly , with no good end in sight. What we do, and how we respond in those times, will determine  to a large degree what the final outcome will be.

Let me suggest that what you need to do in such situations is relax and put it in God’s hands. Stop trying to figure things out or second-guess how you got in the situation in the first place. Does it really even matter once you’re in it? Worse than that , all the wasted energy, agonizing thoughts and what-if’s don’t change a thing. Do what Alan Magee did and surrender to the inevitable, be at peace within and wait till it’s over.

Ps 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God” and Proverbs 3:5-6 says ” Lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”. When all is said and done, it’s in God’s hands and you can count on the fact that He will cause all things to work for the good. Stop the manipulation, the fussing  and the striving to make things go your way.  You only see in part anyway, and God sees the whole picture from beginning to end. Like it or not, He has the upper hand!

So, why not tune your heart to God,  enjoy the view, relax and just go with the flow. When it’s over,  God will have those ready who can pick up the pieces. And you? Well, …..  you will have a great story to tell about the faithfulness of God! Now go enjoy your free-fall and take in the view. Enjoy the process because it will soon be over and, like it or not,  you are sure to have your answer!

 

 

The Missing Pieces Of Time

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Time….. It is the subject of science fiction movies and multitudes of books. It is evidenced by the decay of everything around us. It shows up when we gaze into the mirror and see wrinkles and gray hair looking back. It becomes painfully real when we go through old photo albums and see people who have gone on to their eternal rest. It never stops, has no favorites it passes by, or special people it refuses to impact. The endless march of time comes to all of us, and how it touches each can be very different.

I mention the above because the other night I was watching a favorite show of mine called  “NOVA” which is on PBS. This particular show was about three girls who were born like every other girl on planet earth. However, they were handicapped and they all exhibited something that is considered to be the rarest of unknown, and unstudied diseases on earth. These three girls do not age. At one point in their early childhood development the aging mechanism within just switched off, and no one kn0ws why.

After a lifetime of study, one genetic researcher decided to use one of the worlds largest super computers to map the entire genetic structure of these girls. After months of pains-taking analysis, the team discovered the disorder was caused by a missing or misplaced piece of  DNA. This is the master blueprint for all life as we know it, so when a piece of it goes missing that is not a good thing. The protein that is produced by this missing material is not present in these girls and because of this missing genetic material they simply do not get any older. Strangely enough, no boy has ever been diagnosed with this same disorder. It is strictly a malady that afflicts human females.

One of the girls being covered in the story was 21 years old. Any person looking at her, myself included, would have concluded she was no more than 4 years of age. Her growth and physical development simply stopped at that point and she is forever held in “suspended time” as a post-toddler. Not one inch of height, not one sign of physical development, no hormonal changes and not one bit of mental maturation or development has happened in the past 18 years. She is for all practical purposes a young child, and will forever remain that way until she dies. Most baffling of all is that doctors have no idea how long she may live. She does not show any of the normal breakdown that happens to  all living things as they age, so her life span is totally unknown.

Many questions and possibilities were raised in my mind as this show unfolded, and what they finally uncovered in their research was quite incredible. Ageing is the result of the action of specific proteins that are made by specific genetic material. When that piece of DNA is not there, the ageing process just stops. So now comes the million dollar questions I had rattling around in my brain. Could this be the proof that those in the Book of Genesis did live eight or nine hundred years as the Bible states, because the genetic material for aging was not present in God’s early creation? Is this the source of the mythical fountain of youth that Conquistadors searchEd for?  Now that we know which genes control the ageing process, are we one step closer to extending human life indefinitely? For those who have enough money and the right technology, do we really want to do this?

It would seem that science fiction has once again become science fact, and it brings to mind a Biblical reality from Genesis 11:6. In this passage the people united under their own strength to defy God and build a tower that would reach up to heaven. That is, man wanted to ascend by his own strength and intellect to become like God. The scripture says; “The Lord said ‘Behold they are one people, and they have the same language. And this is what they begin to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them'”. So, God confused their languages in that place of natural, man made unity. The personal and emotional desire to unify and build something of their own making was actually ended by God Himself! How ironic that God calls people to work together, but it always takes on a dark quality when that urge is motivated by something other than the Holy Spirit.

In the girls above, the missing pieces of DNA brought about something that looks like it has great potential, but it is actually harmful and detrimental to all who are touched by it. It is the same for those who try to bring about unity and change by misguided naturally and emotionally driven means. Pieces of the necessary DNA for a God-ordained unity are missing. Those missing pieces tend to bring about an aberrant cohesion of angry people that lack the focus and peace of something that will serve the purposes of God. This type of thing is going to fall into disorder, and will always do so in God’s appointed time.

Ephesians 4:3 says; “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. In other words, when people are working together as directed by the Spirit of God, there is going to be a clear unity and peace present. When unity and peace are not part of a combined effort, the prophetic perspective is that this is a group of misguided, naturally and emotionally oriented people who are building another “Tower of Babble”.  Whatever they are united to create is doomed to simply become a painful  example of miscommunication, and it will ultimately collapse under the weight of it’s own confusion. All of this….. because of a few missing pieces!

Don’t let the natural or emotional disruptions in life cause you to lose any sleep. The rantings and chantings of unruly mobs or fake news will make you think that the world is in chaos and poised to go up in flames. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of missing pieces in all of this, and what you see is not what’s real or lasting. Others may want to convince you they are reaching up to heaven in self-determined change, but it “Ain’t Necessarily So”, as the old song goes. There is a lot more to the story then any of them understand of are willing to admit.

The missing pieces and time itself are on our side. When we refuse to react, and we simply respond with the relaxed confidence that comes from living with a Biblical world view, the answers will eventually come. From that place of God-ordained unity and peace, the Spirit will fill in the missing pieces and bring every answer that has lasting value.

 I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see what will happen in the next few years. Expect the unexpected. Most of all know that prayer is what brought about the national change we so desperately needed, and it will only be prayer that can finish what God has now begun. Lift up your eyes and rejoice because God is about to do great things! The natural mind does not comprehend it, but those see beyond the natural will see it and rejoice!