Saturday, December 20, 2008

The vision paradox







When I was 12 I got my first pair of glasses. At first I was embarassed to wear them around anyone but I could see so much better practicality overtook vanity. On occassion I revisit the Dr. to have my eyes checked and the perscription tweeked. I like to see clearly and the idea of corrective surgery is totally out of the question. The older I get the worse my eyes are but the better I see. If you look at the pictures from the last blog and today's anniversary picture, you will see a beautiful woman, my wife of 39 years today. Hence comes the vision paradox. The eyes of youth saw the beauty of her youth. My aged eyes know a depth of beauty that my youth could not recognize. I am not the only one who sees it. Total strangers constantly compliment my wife on her "elegant beauty". IF only they could see the depth of her beauty, but that takes a lifetime. If I have the health of my grandfathers, 39 years is only half way. Check back in December 2047 and I will tell you of a depth of beauty that can't even be imagined now. By then you will understand what I am talking about now. It is a very Happy Anniversary. I woke up with Deanna at my side. What more could I possibley want...except 39 more years!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I've been busy

Christmas and 1st Anniversary
1970

I have spent every moment I can this week scanning old slides and photos into my computer and have not taken time to blog. There are so many wonderful pictures that remind me of what God has done I am anxious to share them with you. If I ever figure how to down load 8mm video Doni will probably disown me. You would love her in her "Amy Grant" phase. The gymnast thing didn't work out to well. It will be fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Cooking Buddies




As every grandchild is different, every relationship is different. When Zandi lived with us while their house was being built she fell in love with smoked meats. At the time I was making smoked goose, but to her all smoked meats are "smoked goose". Now when she comes over she helps me make some...most of which she eats! Making jerkey is kind of a chore unless you are making it with a grandchild, then it is a pure joy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Never give up


As Christmas approaches my mind is drawn to my parents. Mom left her cancer behind in 1985 and Dad woke up with mom in 1991. I find it cathartic to scan my dad's old slides into my computer. The picture above is of my mom's parents taken in 1972. My mom was raised literally on the Virginia/West Virginia border. The state line split the house in two. My grandfather was a typical man of his times. As a child I found the remains of his still. While a life long gambler, drinker and general abuser, he managed to raise 13 children. Mom was number 6. Times and troubles and according to here sister a boy named Tag caused here to run away to her older siblings in Baltimore Maryland during WW2. In Baltimore she meet both Jesus and my father. She was 17 when they married. Life was hard for her mother, very hard. Somewhere along the line her mother entered into a relationship with Jesus as did most of her siblings. Grandpa resisted the call of a relationship with God all of grandma's and mom's lives. Admittedly, grandpa, by all accounts, was not a very nice man but mom really desired him to find the freedom she had found in a relationship with God. I only saw him two times in my life, but every Christmas mom would feel those tugs on her heart for her family. She prayed for him her entire life but died not seeing her prayers answered. God had a special plan. A couple of years after mom's homecoming dad flew to a rest home in Virginia where my 98 year old grandfather was living. At that time he told dad that after news of mom's death one of his sons showed him the way to a relationship with God and how he too could go to heaven and be with grandma and mom forever. He entered into a new relationship with God and changed his way's as evidenced by his answer to dad's query "are you still betting the numbers?" His response: "No, a Christian man doesn't do that sort of thing". Incredible!






When Grandpa finally did pray to receive Christ, mom was right there with Jesus and knew it. Her prayers were rewarded with the shouts of praise from the angels that she got to hear! Check out my archive blog for 8-1 for a more detailed look at how prayer transcends time. Years of unanswered prayer finally paid off. Perhaps you are feeling some tugs for your friends and family this time of year too. NEVER GIVE UP. God brought my grandfather to him in his mid nineties! God will answer your prayers too. Never Give Up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The apple does not fall far from the tree!




Click on the picture to the right and compare Braxtn to her Daddy, Daniel at the same age. Double click for a larger image.

Papa's response to Tori's silly hair pictures


For Jodi



Does this help explain anything to you about your husband?







Be sure to read the comments about this particular coat when Daniel wore it at this age. It saved his life!










Saturday, December 13, 2008

For the Woman in my life

I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful men in key relationships in my life. Deanna's dad Poppy was the kindest, most self sacrificing man I have ever met. A while back I did a blog on my aversion to the movies. This was Poppy's domain, the local theater in Victorville.

For Doni


Tori was not the only adorable toddler!
Doni and Poppy 1976



I admit I cannot match Doni's photo ability but she does not have
MY SLIDES...
at least not yet.

Spiked hair?




Deanna and Doni 1974
For those who have been wondering why Darin and Ryker sport spiked hair:
It is a family thing!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tower of Terror








I’m not going to admit how Darin got 39” Karsyn on the 40+" hight restricted rides at Disneyland, but he did it all but one time. Karsyn is definitely Darin’s daughter. She road every ride, hands in the air and sometimes soaked to the bone…as in pouring water out of her boots after the log ride at 11PM! The one that surprised me was the Tower of Terror. On this ride you go up a couple hundred feet in an elevator, the lights go out and you free fall in the dark. If your seat belt was loose (like hers had to be) you will literally suspend above the seat. Most adults get a rush, most children are scarred. Karsyn, with her hands in the air, laughed her way through tower of terror…I was with her too. She loved it. The whole key to these kind of rides is to give the illusion of danger when no real danger exists. It makes you feel like you are living on the edge when in reality every possible safeguard is in place for your safety and enjoyment. Believe me, at this point in my life, if it hurts, I will not do it. But it was just really fun. It looked scary, but it wasn’t…assuming you are not prone to motion sickness. The difference between Karsyn and me was I knew the possible/probable dangers…like getting wet or motion sick. Karsyn only knew she wanted to be with her dad who said it would be fun. She entered the ride with expectations of fun, not anticipation of failure and the accompanying fear. She had a ball experiencing Disneyland's adult rides with her dad. He loved it even more with her at his side. It was for moments like these that Disneyland was built.

In a sense, our heavenly Father turns the world into one big Disneyland. Every day there is a threat of danger, (some of which are quite real). Every day Father says to trust and rejoice because He is in absolute control of the ride. He only asks us to sit back and enjoy it with Him. I want to approach life like Karsyn approaches rides at Disneyland, trusting, eager and ready for the ride.

Just for fun




I know I said I would never edit a picture, but I am waiting for Dee to hang up some cloths and was messing around with photosmart buttons becasue Doni's pictures are so cool. The top picture is the enhanced version which really brings out the smoke from the fires in California. A while back I told you about my beach bum father. This was the beach he loved. Everytime I return here I rememer how he used to take me to the outside break and turn me lose on a canvas surf mat. I was never scarred even though I was a preschooler who could not swim! I totally trusted my father and lived inside his dream, which was way better than anything I could do on my own. I wish I trusted my heavenly Father now in the deep waters and rushing waves of life as simply and purely as I trusted my earthly father back then. His answer would be the same as dad's when I asked why he put me at such risk at such an early age. "I never let you get hurt". He didn't. It was exciting and wonderful being with my father doing what he and I loved to do. It is really the same thing now. As I concentrate and remember the depth of His Love for me, my trust grows and we can truly enjoy what others shrink away from in fear. I want to ride those waves of life with the same confidence and excitent now that I had back then. How do you want to live life?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bait and Switch?






My girls, my Bro and my wife

Several people I know make at least part of their living selling Newspaper subscriptions. The bait to try the paper is a gift card that is roughly equal to the first months subscription. In accepting the card, the person is agreeing to start a subscription to that newspaper which they can later cancel if they choose. Of course this is my simplified explanation, but the customer must be made aware that this will be an ongoing purchase until it is cancelled. It is the same way with the book, magazine and music sales pitches we hear all the time. How clear the sales person makes the continued subscription is a matter of debate but I imagine many people never hear much beyond the free gift card. It is like the TV music pitches for the oldies. Buy one at the regular price and get the second one for a penny. The fine print that you can’t read at the bottom of the screen is that now they will send you their choice for music every month for eternity if you do not cancel…in person…at their home office…in a place you have never heard of or will ever find. A lot of sales pitches work like this, including the typical pitch to receive Christ as your Savior and stay out of hell. While that is true, it is not all the truth or even the true starting point of importance. After 40 years of pastoral ministry I am becoming concerned more and more that our well meaning evangelistic efforts are at a very minimum misguided. Consider this from Andrew Murray:
“The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him—something very different.” People still decide, not yield. I believe I have lived my life trying to do your job, going for a decision that has no need to grow as apposed to yielding that has growth as its very essence.”

It seems to me that our evangelistic zeal is to get a decision not make a disciple. Are we trying to do something only the Holy Spirit can do? Notice Jesus’ way of making disciples in his time on earth. The decision was to follow, not just make a decision. I’m thinking there is a lot of baiting going on in the Christian world today that is part innocent and part ignorant. In the long run this may be doing more damage to the kingdom than it is doing good. Statistically the churches of today are much larger than at any time in history. Why are so many people making so little difference? Why is Christianity today characterized as a mile wide and an inch deep? Could it be so simple as they made a decision but never yielded? Is there something you or I can do about it? I'm thinking there is. What do you think?
If you haven’t read He Love’s Me by Wayne Jacobsen, now might be a good time. It is a great sequel to the theology behind The Shack.

Promised pictures











I just looked at Doni's pictures and if I had any ego I would never post mine. I just set the camera on auto and push the button and hope for something recognizable. I don't know what editing a picture is nor would I likely do it. I am more of a WYSIWYG potographer. I also don't know how to put a slide show together. Aimee will have to show me how. That said, here are a few I like.

Relationship and Fellowship


Mom's favorite mohawk
I loved it all but as I said before, my favorite thing at Disneyland was watching my children interact with their children. All that really says is that my treasured role on earth is being Papa. Deanna never said what her favorite thing was specifically but her comments lead me to believe it was watching her four sons interact. For her mother’s heart that was the thing she commented on the most. Every time the four boys were together, (ok they were usually poking or prodding each other) she commented on how wonderful it was. Only she could tell you why she feels that way but there is a mystery here. When the boys were small it was not uncommon for a total stranger (usually in a grocery line) to make a comment about Deanna’s “creativity” in giving birth to 4 boys who were so different. They still are in about every way you can think of. But they still prefer to travel in a pack of 4 whenever possible. It is interesting to note that the one area they separate in is in their relations with their mother and sister. It appears they do not want to share either of them with the other brothers. They typically seek out Mom or Doni alone time. Why is that? The simple answer is they are brothers, they seek and enjoy the fellowship because of their relationship. . Because they are so different, they do not always agree and sometimes it is serious but because of the relationship they purpose to improve their fellowship. That reminds me of something Andrew Murray wrote:
The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see
1 Corinthians 1:26–31). God’s friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all—we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.”
I’m glad we got to go to Disneyland and spend time working on our relationships before we all get lost in the “doing” of the season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meeting with Wayne Jacobsen

The Shack editor/contributor/publisher Wayne Jacobsen was in Arizona this weekend and I had the opportunity to visit with him for a while last night. I really enjoyed our time even though I had to share it with a few others. I found Wayne to be real, likable and worth listening too. One of the reoccurring questions asked centered around raising children, in or out of the institutional church. His answer was simple. Parents raise children, not programs. I believe that and have taught it for years. How do we teach our children? The way they did in the OT. Use life to teach life principles. To help illustrate how to do it, I posted 101 sermons in a second on immanuelmission.com. Here is a sample.

101 SERMONS IN A SECOND: Using every day life situations and common objects to keep central the message of Christ.



1. Activities: Choosing friends and activities Put food coloring in cooking oil and mix in water. Let it stand for a few minuets. Note how it separates. Sometimes there are reasons to put the together for a while, but some things will just not stay together. 2CO 6:14

2. Anger/Temper: Baking soda and vinegar in balloon. Pour backing soda and vinegar into a balloon. The expanding balloon represents what happens to us when we get angry. COL 3:8

3. Anger: Can you pop a straw? Pinch both ends of a straw and rotate the straw end over end causing the straw to wrap up on itself. The center of the straw will form a bubble. Have someone flick the end of the straw with their finger. If it is wound tight, it will pop with little pressure. This illustrates what happens to all of us when we get “wound up to tight”. The least little thing can make us POP! PRO 29:11

4. Arguing/Yelling: Have you ever tried to argue in a whisper? PRO 15:1

5. Auto Breaks: Brakes are used to slow down and stop a car. What slows down and stops our bad behavior? PSA 119:11 If we have memorized His Word, it will act like the brakes in a car when danger pops in front of us.

6. Auto Bumper stickers. What bumper sticker do you like? Should we have a bumper sticker on our car? What should it say?

7. Auto Gas fill up = Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to put gas in the car? Just like we have to keep our car full of gas, we must keep our bodies full of food and our spirit filled with Him. JOH 6: 35

8. Auto Gas Gage: The gas gage on your car reminds us to keep the tank full so we do not run out of gas and become stranded. What reminds you to keep your spiritual tank full? Sunday Worship, Bible studies, Family devotions. Heb 10;24-25

9. Auto Windshield cleaning Sometimes windows get so dirty from daily driving we cannot see clearly out of them, especially when it is dark outside. To see the road clearly and be safe the windshield must be washed. Sometimes our spiritual windshields need to be cleaned too. Sin and attacks of Satan have stained the window and it is always dark outside in this spiritual world. We clean our windshield with confession to see the life ahead with the light of God’s Word. ACT 28:26-27

10. Braces: Make braces a reminder that the tongue needs a guard. PRO 10:19; JAM 1:4. 1PE 3:10

The idea is not to lecture children in a school type setting but to trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to teach as life happens. Just keep it real. There are 89 more on the web site if you need some help getting started.

Home Again

What a week! We all decided to delay our summer vacation to go to Disneyland together as a family and it was well worth the wait through the long hot summer. In all there were 27 of us, all my children, grandchildren and Deanna's sisters. Doni refused to take the pictures so I took about 500 hoping one or two would be useable. I even found some features on the camera I got from Doni that she insists was not there when she owned it. Who knows? Doni said the best part was watching her children experience Disneyland. NO WAY! The best part was watching your children watch their children exerience Disneyland! It is twice as much fun, plus the added bonus of watching the play between the aunts, uncles and cousins....PRICELESS! Gram is displaying my idea of security: Dad's cell phone number on their arm. It failed twice. The kids were wearing long sleaves and forgot to tell security to call the number. Next time we will put it on the back of their hands!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Click on the 6

When I clicked on the picture of my 6 grandsons there was a suprise. Try it. I don't know if it works only on mine or not.

Need a little Thanksgiving help?


I am feeling a little guilty about telling you ladies thank you for all your holiday work without really committing to doing anything really significant…and since I know Dee will read this I will not commit to anything in writing here. She has already informed me that I will have to help with the turkey. It is to heavy for her. I’m ok with that. I am actually cooking myself today. I am preparing to smoke some of the salmon I caught last week to share at a party tomorrow. I did a test batch and it was really beautiful and tasted great. So I guess I’m on the “hook” for smoked salmon, turkey and toting whatever needs to be toted. I feel a little better even though I know it is very little help, but I can only give a little part of me anyway. Only God can give all of Himself. As a matter of fact, I can give you a little help, but with God it is all or nothing! To paraphrase Andrew Murray in his book Absolute Surrender, whenever I seek the assistance of God on any matter, it is all or nothing with Him. There is no way to split omnipotence. You cannot have a fraction of his power, love or any other part of his nature without having it all. It is all or nothing. God does not loan or share his power with me. As I walk in unity and fellowship with Him, HE does it, providing the power form his omnipotence. Paul picks up on this in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Since He indwells us He can do it through us. It may be our body, but that too is in him. It works something like this. Tomorrow morning Dee is going to ask me to “Help” her put the turkey in the oven and then take it out again. That is not a job we can share without getting burned! I will “help” by doing it myself, as if I were to step into her physical frame and give her my physical strength. I will do what she cannot do. Get it? When you are walking in fellowship with God, EVERTHING He can do, you can do as HE does it through you.

Hey another opportunity to rid myself of guilt…As she was walking out the doorto go shopping, Dee called out that my clothes were ready to put into the dryer. I also washed them. 2 points! (Ok they were the fishing clothes from last week that HAD to be washed, but I still did it). I’m feeling guilty again. They will be dry before she gets home and I don’t want to fold them and put them away. If I don’t hear the dryer shut off maybe I can honestly forget and not have to do it. Yes, I can shut off the alarm, close the three doors between me and the dryer….that just might work. Did I say that out loud?

Thanks Mom

Today I am tempted to pray the old Jewish prayer that begins “thank God I was not born a slave, a gentile or a woman”. I’m glad I’m not a woman this time a year. From here it looks like being a slave might be easier, or may be just the same thing, I’ve never been either so I really couldn’t say. From where I literally sit, being a woman/mom/wife/daughter/sister/grandmother/aunt, looks like a lot of work. So much to do, so many to do it for. I just don’t see how you do it. Whoever said women were the weaker sex was not looking at the big picture. Sure, I can carry in the table, but the real effort is what goes on top! My mom was a tireless and great holiday maker right up to the end when cancer took her from us. I especialy miss her this time of year. In her memory Ladies, today I honor each of you for your super human efforts to make the holidays the joy that it is. May Abba bless you richly. THANK YOU for who you are and all the added things you do this time of year. I know your family appreciates it more than they will or even can say. All your hard work and preparations will not be in vain anymore than the preparations Jesus is making for us in Heaven right now.
1PE 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

As you can see, I have not been in Arizona thus, no blogging for a while. I went to Oregon to fish and discuss The Shack with some friends. We fished more than we discussed, but it was all great fellowship.

I haven't been blogging a lot lately becasue quite honestly, I am not sure what to say these days. Some background may help. At the end of the 80's I did a life plan...all the typical stuff. The world situation being what it was I calculated that if the rapture had not occured by 2005, He may not come back during my lifetime. Recent events strongly suggest I may not have been off by too much. It appears to me theat we are in the season Jesus told us about...the one where we should know his comming is soon. This brings me to my delimma. Certain things MUST take place and indeed a ton already have. We are being set up for a one world leader, one world money system and the whole nine yards. I don't like it, but it must be. But yet I should really like it becasue it is shouting ready or not, here I come! I am not sure how I feel about how I feel...if that makes sense. Maybe you can relate. It is something like I feel about Christmas in 30 days. Christmas is comming and that is exciting to be with all the family and the festivities that go with it. There is also a certain level of anxiety with all the added expenses and pressures. And i really scarred I am going to get roped into Christmas shopping! I want Christmas to come, I really do. I couldn't stop it anyway. I want Jesus to come too, right now if possible, but I don't want everything that must come with it...If my dad were here, he would be smiling and saying "see you here, there or in the air". Grandpa would be so excited he couldn't sit still. I'm gonna get excited here shortly, it is jsut taking me a minuite to get ready. Jesus is coming back, so it really doesn't matter to much what else is going on around me. Maranatha!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Possessors or Professors

Conservative, Jewish talk show host Dennis Prager made and observation that I fear is to true. In commenting to a Jewish woman’s complaint that her Rabi did not properly alert the Jewish community to candidates who held anti Jewish positions, Prager noted that preachers, priests, and Rabbis of this generation tend to help people feel good as opposed to declaring the tenants of their faith. That my friends is definitely not a good thing…but I fear it is true. Sure truth is spoken, but disguised in such a way that it is not recognized. Here is an pretend verse by verse example from the P translation where Jesus gave his strongest warning to us from Matthew 7. Can you hear the warning?

15 Protect perceptions provided by pillow pounding pulpit preverters pretending to be prophets of power. Pretence promises pretend protection from possible problems to persons placed in proximity, while privately poisoned pups plan potential pain. 16 Preview of production produces probable personal potential. Do People pick pretend produce from parent plants purposefully? 17 Proper plants procure proper produce. Poser plants provide putrid product. 18 Proper planting prevents putrid products, Putrid plants provide paltry produce. 19 Unprofitable potential producers are pruned and perish in pyrotechnic punishment. 20 Plentiful production of pure proper produce provides positive proof of parenting. 21 The Pearly Path of Paradise is protected from Prophet professing pretending pew perchers while preparations for Paradise are possible primarily for persons participating in the primary purpose of the Parent of the Perfect. 22 Plethoras portend proclamations of prophecy, projection of profligate poltergeists and production of powerful phenomenon. 23 Perfection’s possession of Paradise plainly precludes the purloin possibility of the poverty of passion, plenty of possession pubescent pupils plan to possess paradise in perpetuity.


Clear as mud right? Here is what Jesus said in the NIV version:


MT 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. MT 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Is that plain enough? It seems people like to hear preachers say things like:

Personally purposing to prevent pillow pushing proclamations putting pabulum preferring, poor performing prodigals or pompous profligate parties in position to procure perpetual punishment I purpose proving and providing proven principles for paradise protection planning by personally preferring, preforming and publicly proclaiming powerful principles of prolific purposeful personal productivity and purity. This person and pulpit promises prayer and proven processes procuring pew percher’s paradise.

What it means is preachers like me need to tell it like it really is to prevent the people from falsely thinking they are going to heaven when they are really going to hell. Heaven has standards and requirements and our lifestyle is shouting loudly if we REALLY are possessors or professors.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today I am grateful not many read this blog because most would have no clue as to what I am sensing or saying here. I share and feel the pain and despair of the handful of God’s children who view the results of the elections and the struggles of sin in the lives of believing loved ones around them as failure and futility. Add to that our own feelings of failure and frailty, can the enivetable discouragement, despair and depression be not far off? Me too. To be honest, I am disappointed in a lot of things right now. My biggest disappointment is for those….you ...who read this. I know you have been trying, struggling, praying, crying, working for a deeper walk with the Lord, for more of Him and less of you. I know and share your frustration and feelings of failure. I ask the same questions. Why are we not seeing the results of revival we have prayed for? Why have I not been able to eradicate sin in my life completely? Why so many lingering losses and so few and fleeting victories? Andrew Murray put some perspective on things for me this morning in his book, Absolute Surrender. He reminded me that when God Called Abraham saying “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be thou perfect.”, Abraham was immediately obedient.. and then took the next 35 years mixing failure and faith before the great test and prefect victory of faith with Isaac on the alter. I have my own "Isaac" approaching the alter and I dont know if there is a ram in the bush. Abrahams victory encouraged me. Murray encouraged me about you too with:
It is not for nothing that there are in thousands of hearts yearnings after holiness and consecration: it is a forerunner of God’s power.
We will make it, it just takes a little more time. God is working both to will and to do scripture tells us. We have the will, the rest is on the way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Good and the Glory

My phone calls the last couple of days tell me that some people are really upset and scarred with the results of our election. Some really silly things are being said. The worst by far is "could Obama be the Antichrist?" The first time I heard that was when John Kennedy was elected and then killed and all the stories that circulated after that. I have books suggesting it was Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, any number of popes and others. President Obama may not have been your personal choice and you may disagree with his politics, policies and a whole more. I would have to admit to falling into that camp myself BUT I have been here before. I have voted for presidents since 1968 and have not won all that often. I have tons of opinions that are just that, opinions. What history tells me is that things change slowly and unpredictibly so who knows for sure what will happen? I don't but I do want to tell you what I DO KNOW and what I am supposed to do now.


1PE 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.


TIT 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
RO 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.


If your candidate lost, don't get to distressed. God is working HIS PLAN. Persoanlly, I hope it includes his final Glory soon, but in any event, He is in charge ultimately and I don't have to understand. Paul lived under one of the worst emporors in history and he said that God will cause all things to work together for our GOOD and HIS Glory. AMEN!

Look for the Good and the Glory.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The odometer of life rolls over again this month for me and my body is sending constant reminders of the many miles we have traveled. My elbow constantly reminds me that it paid for my college education playing tennis. I accept the price with gratitude. My feet wake me up in the middle of the night wanting to reminisce the many miles logged through ice covered swamps and over volcanic rock mountains with my boys in pursuit of whatever game was in season. The pain surrenders to the Tylenol and sweet recollections that summon me to once again ford the stream or climb mountain, if only in my dreams. My hands and hair recall my father and when my back is out, I do a pretty good imatation of his typical walk. My battle of the bulge recalls archived memories of my mother laying on her bed being slowly twitched to death by an electronic device wrapped around her waist that promised to make her inches slimmer! Cancer finally delivered what no machine could. Bulge battles are better. These are the true measures of life that qualify the growing quanty of life's odometer. If I were a car, I’d be tempted to trade me in. I am in the “classic” stage, but with too many miles and to much ware to be of much value. The next stage is either the antique collectable stage or the junk yard. Neither appeals much to me. Who wants to be set on a shelf and visited once in a while. Who wants to go to a junk yard? Personally, I think I am going to do with me what I do with all my cars, keep on driving till the wheels fall off! Better to burn out than to rust out. I may not be as good as I once was but…well you know the song. Why the melancholy moment? Dee just walked in and she is stunningly beautiful. Her hair is iridescent silver that announces the ageless beauty beneath. She is like her father, she refuses to give a thought to the turning pages of the calendar. We have been together for over 40 years and I can honestly and proudly declare she has never been more beautiful or desirable. Definitely a treasured collectable! No, we are not young any more, but I will treasure my Sunset Blond over all the summer blonds any and every day of the week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Love Shack

Some quick background before I get to the point. Last night was our regular Shack Discussion Group. We started with a pot luck featuring the deer I brought back from New Jersey a couple weeks ago. Most of the group never had eaten deer before and for safety’s sake we had some wonderful stand by Mexican dishes, but the three deer roasts and 7 steaks totally disappeared. I am having the stand by Mexican menu for lunch today. The group discussion and an email about the Shack from by good friend, Dr. Steven Stanley were on my mind long before sun up this morning. Steve is the smartest and most well balanced theologian I know. He is so gifted that he has been approached by the publishers is currently writing part of a new biblical commentary set for LOGOS. Rush Limbaugh brags that he can operate just fine with his “talent on loan from God with half his brain tied behind his back”. For Rush it is a brag, for Steve it’s a fact. Steve’s calling from God is to keep my feet solidly on the ground. My calling from God is to get Steve to walk in the clouds. In his email recommending the Shack as a valuable book to his church he regrets that the authors neglected the justice and holiness aspects of God, keying in on a statement made by Papa as to God’s purpose of love for mankind. I would never pick up on that distinction personally, but then again, I’m not nearly the critical thinker Steve is. It does not bother me (maybe it should) because we approach things from a totally different perspective. His approach is analytical, balanced against all positions and possibilities. He is so good at it he went to the most liberal school in Europe he could find for his PhD just to make sure he could defeat their arguments soundly on their own turf. National school evaluators declared him a “teachers teacher. In Top Gun and Men in Black speak, that is the best of the best. My approach is far more relational, which is why I always talk to Steve when it comes to critical biblical issues. This AM (and a fair part of last night) I am weighing Steve’s valid comments about the Shack against my slightly different thoughts and approach. If this were to be judged on who is technically more correct, I would probably default to Steve, but since this is just my blog I’d like to point out the difference between the technically correct evaluations of Professor Stanly and the relational observations of Papa Z. I have the more impressive title, just ask my 10 grandkids! Steve and I view things from a different perspective because our personal histories are so different. I was raised in a very strict household by an ironfisted dictator who loved me deeply and always. Steve father was not a believer and died when Steve was a young teen. They were not real close. One incident illustrates our different viewpoints. Some time I will tell you why we pulled our boys out of the public schools. It had to do with affairs, guns, gangs, blood and lawyers, but I will save that for later. Now to the point: One morning I had to check 7th grade Dustin into school a little late. When we came into the office we could not reach the counter due to the 30 rebels standing there arguing with the secretaries. The secretaries were shouting, literally, for the kids to go to class and the little rebels totally ignored the threats and refused to move. That was totally unacceptable to me. For those who have never met me, I am 6’ 2”, around 260 lb and at that time in my life was benching 300 lbs 3 days a week in the gym. (I am paying for that vanity now in my elbows). I raised my voice, (not in a yell, just volume) instructing the children, “you were told to go to class, now do it!” The room went dead quiet, every eye turned on me. There was momentary hesitation until Dusty, standing beside me, advised, “you’d better do it, he means it!”. Silently they cowered, heads down, tails retracted, leaving the office like scolded puppies. I broke the ensuing stillness with, “why do you put up with that?” The truth of the answer is the root of why we pulled the boys out of school, but their answer that day was “do you want a job?” (Which incidentally I did take some years later.) Realistically, what could (not would) I really have done if they had ignored my instructions? I could have totally destroyed them, not that I ever would. They had to make a decision on the spot with only the information provided by a peer. They only saw the size and power of the law giver standing before them and opted for swift retreat and the relative safety of a classroom. OK, the couple of menacing steps I made towards them may have had some influence on their decision, but Dusty was not afraid because we lived in relationship. He knew what I could do, hence the warning. But he lived in the balance of power and love with what I would do. Today I have no relationship with the throng of slinking children who perfectly obeyed me once in the face of certain death, mayhem and destruction! (: I do however have a wonderful relationship with Dusty, who to be honest, has not always perfectly obeyed, nor does he cower in fear. That is why I am OK with the story of the Shack. Steve’s critical analysis is no doubt precisely correct. I look forward to the well deserved lecture I will get should he read this. I may even bait him into reading it. He will agree where he can and instruct where he must. The all to oft heard two word prayers requesting God to condemn something or someone generally categorized in the prayer by IT, gives me reason to believe the public at large has no problem understanding how powerful, just and holy God is. I just don’t think they really comprehend how much God loves them. Being convinced that they are aware of his justice and power I prefer to emphasize God’s love, something I rarely hear of in public. Evidently Paul shared my concern in his day too.

EPH 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

For me to continue to tell people that God can beat them up is like preaching to the choir. They already profoundly believe that measuring every circumstance in life to evaluate God’s current attitude towards them. A century ago “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” was a powerful message. It scarred many of that generation out of hell, but (squint here if your sensitive) it did not scare the hell out of them. I’m thinking the message of God’s incomprehensible love for them just might do both. The Love Shack message makes me fell like I can fly with the eagles, not hide in a corner like a Thanksgiving Turkey awaiting the inevitable.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It Doesn't Rub Off


I am curious about how this is all going to work out. Karsyn, my 3 year old granddaughter is an artist with makeup. Last week she carried her entire inventory to church in a makeup case that was almost half her size. She really does a good job with it. Of course Sweetie and her mom Jodi are teaching her how to apply it correctly (assuming you can tolerate a 3 year old in any makeup). It is really fun to watch Karsyn and Zandi go through their makeup together. Braxton, at 2 is showing some interest too. They are all using some of the real stuff that doesn’t rub off! It will be interesting to see how their parents handle this as the girls get older. The have already said they don’t want the girls using makeup when they reach school age, but as I asked Daddy Darin the other day, “How are you going to take it from her?” He did not have a clue and will probably avoid the fight altogether anyway and leave it to Jody. (He is the one buying her most of this stuff!) Personally, my money is on Karsyn keeping most, if not all of it. They will have to negotiate limits, boundaries, colors and all that kind of stuff but really, is it all that important? To me it is a length of hair issue of another generation. I am more concerned with is attitude than color, heart than appearance. Attitudes rub in quicker than makeup and they can do a lot more harm. Makeup is not always a true indicator of the heart, especially in a 3 year old. Doni was telling me of a Goth teen being especially kind to her at the store the other day. It surprised her. Not me. When I was teaching I found that most of the freakiest looking Goth kids were actually very pleasant to be around and some of the best dressed “clean cut” kids had impossible attitudes. I have noticed something over the last 50 years that I would like to pass on. It applies to all of us on some level. What brings this to mind was something I witnessed the other day when I was in New Jersey. In an effort to save money, the local school district changed it’s bus route forcing one junior high girl from an affluent area to ride the “short bus” that serves the special needs children. A put down in her school is “she rides the short bus”. The mother was very upset for this change and vowed to drive her child to school every day rather than see her get on the “short bus”. I wondered why. I worked with the “short bus” kids. They are no physical threat, the bus ride would be shorter, fewer stops and there would be an opportunity to really help someone with a need. Personally, I think they may be missing a great opportunity here. These kids typically are simple, but very easy to love, if you give them a chance. What is the fear? I would have preferred that her mother sent a more positive message. There is nothing to fear, IT DOES NOT RUB OFF, IT ONLY REVEALS OUR TRUE CHARACTER. Maybe we could all learn/teach that lesson when we encounter people who are not just like us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Shack Reactions

Hundreds of small groups and chruches from all denominatins and walks of life are discussing The Shack. I have personally sent out nearly a hundred of my own study guides to bridge the gap for when the offical guide comes out next year. Comments and opinions are as diverse as the groups that are reading The Shack and it is my personal observation that much spiritual growth is coming from it. People are being set free to Love God and live loved.

My cousin in Kansas just happened to run across my comments in the News Week article on The Shack last month. It surprised him that I would be so “progressive”. In his terms, that would be a good thing, I think. Had he known my dad better he might not have been so surprised. Dad (Waldemar Walter) was raised in a strict German immigrant family in Los Angeles. True to the times, they had a rule for everything and Dad did a really good job at keeping the rules. So good, that I can tell you today exactly what he did the couple of times he did not keep the rules of the day. I am conflicted as I write. I want to tell you of the ONE time he did break a rule when we were together…but with 50 years of silence and loyalty I think I will leave it in the locked archives of my childhood memories. Dad an I can have one secret. For the overly curious, it was a minor fishing law violation that may not even have been a violation at all. Like I said, Dad kept the rules but he never had the rule keepers attitude… you know the one where the saints the fruit of the spirit is lemons! I think my dad would really have liked The Shack. For the upcoming Shack movie he would have casted Ma Phelps as Papa. She was everything you would imagine Papa to be except her cabin was a one room shanty with strung blanket walls. Once when I was going through a difficult emotional time Dad took me to her shanty for a personal revival. She sat me down in an old wooden chair, stood behind me, laid her hands on my head and prayed and prayed and prayed. I don’t know what she did or said but whatever was troubling my spirit melted under the warmth of her hands and prayers. For his time, Dad was on the cutting edge of Christianity. He ministered in Youth For Christ and was willing to do whatever it took, personal feelings aside, to bring teens to Christ. He had little physically to give, but gave all he had and more for the opportunity to minister. There was a popular Christian Rock band in the mid 60’s. He HATED rock but paid for the band to come and share on the local high school campus assembly and a special concert that night. He refused to listen spending the night in the parking lot. He preferred the pipe organ but loved to tell teens about Jesus any way they would listen! It really bugged him that so many lemon saints (as in loving the fruit but enjoying the sour expression) would, as he would say, “sit, soak and sour” to the point that they were “so heavenly minded, they were no earthly good”. He understood the difference between culture, times and the heart of the Gospel. His mantra was “never change the message, just the method” when it came to presenting the gospel. I guess Dad was progressive too, and that's a good thing for sure. I guess Dad was more of a pineapple Christian. He appeared to be prickly on the outside, but was pure sweet goodness on the inside.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Parties

It would seem this is birthday season around our house and I have a confession to make. I am not much of a birthday person personally for reasons only Freud would find interesting. Deanna is a big birthday person…and hers is this week. My problem is the same one you may have. What can I give her that is within the reach of my budget that would be meaningful and special to her? She is what they call in the horse world and “Easy Keeper”. She is a very low maintenance wife. I know she is worth everything, would be delighted in anything, and expects next to nothing, but it doesn’t make it any easier when I try to get specific. The only thing she said she wants is a day driving the back roads in the mountains with me. I can even hunt along the way if I want. Like I said, she’s an easy keeper, always has been. I have 48 hours to figure it out. Getting presents for the Grandkids is easy, there is always a new toy they want. What is interesting to me is watching the grandkids get presents for their parents. How does a child, who owns nothing give a gift to the one who owns everything and has need of nothing that is within the range of the giver? Usually it is a hand made card or picture drawn on materials supplied by the receiver of the gift. The really wonderful thing is that gift really is treasured. How do I know? Those are the items you will find displayed on a desk or refrigerator and in a scrapbook or attic 50 years later. These gifts of relationship, of love, only grow more valuable with the passing of time. In this world where families are scattered all over the globe, I wonder how many elderly parents would give up a week of their life for an hour of personal time with their child. I think I know the answer. I have stood at the bed of many a dying person who somehow held on until the last child arrived. If you are feeling a little down about that, don’t. Just pick up the phone and call…right now. In the final analysis, the gift of relationship is the only gift that really matters. We should have known that already. It is the gift that the ultimate Gift Giver offers. Have you gotten yours?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Out for a week

I will be visiting family with my son Darin on the east coast for a week so I will not be able to respond to The Shack Discussion Guide requests until I get back. Actually, we are going whitetail Deer hunting. New Jersey is so overrun with Deer they have a 6 month long, no limit season! They are begging for hunters to come help control the deer population that again exploded exponentially this year. They make it really cheap. My cousin has an estimated 1500 deer in the woods surrounding his house in a 2-3 square mile area and virtually none of it is hunted. I get "free" tickets with my airline milage plan, but my one suitcase will cost $150 to fly on American Airlines, each way! They only allow 65" total l x w x h and the one thing I have to take back is a case that measrues 72". I cannot pay the extra $50 each way for the computer to keep up on the email etc. My Son is taking a later flight on United Air and his first two bags are free plus a carry on. We are carrying the exact same case. There was some fine print in the 6 pages of luggage instructions that may cut or eliminate the fee becasue I am flying with award tickets. Who Knows? It would have been cheaper to fly with Darin than to pay for the luggage on American Airlines. I likely will ship the bow case home UPS ground. It has to be cheaper. Last year the same trip cost me $10.

What is your soruce of Security?


THE STORY OF MOSES IN THE KEY OF "S".

Seeing the sorrow of the suffering Semitic slaves, The Sovereign Savior sought a special sensitive servant studied in the situation to stimulate the subsequential surrender of the state and secure a sanctuary for the safety and security of a shepherding society. Smelling smoke in the sky and seeing spark in the sage the snooping shepherd stood shoeless on the sanctified soil. The selected servant started to squirm stipulating stuttering and suicide and suggested a second selection of a seasoned sibling. Seeing the switch of the stick and the snake, the shaky shepherd succumbed. Straight away he sojourned south scanning the scenery for signs of his sibling's sandals in the sand. Sighting the scheduled subject the secluded shepherd shrieked a shrill sound signaling the site. Sure of success the siblings simultaneously suggested the suffering slaves seek solitude to sacrifice some sheep to their Soverign. The state stipulated stringent standards to satisfy their stubborn sole/soul Sovereign. Swarms and storms swayed the superiors but subordination of subjects seemed sensible. Skilled slaves sawing stone for Structures and Statues to stand in the sand seemed to surpass the specified sacrifice. The succeeding sacrifice of sheep secured safety for the slaves and the Spirits sword separated the stiffened superior's subjects from seasoned siblings. Snowballing sentiment started a swap in status for the subservient shepherd slaves. The shepherd's Sovereign stipulated special subsidies to sustain salary shortfalls spelling success for the subordinates. Splitting the scene splendidly supplied, suitcases stuffed, and stock secured, the stone splitting sheparding Semites strolled a strip of sand to the sea. Suddenly the sorrowing subjectors sensed a setback in service and set out to solicit the servitude of the separated slaves. Swords, shields, spears and steeds suggested the sanctuary seekers should submit swiftly, but swirling sand, sea and silt sentenced the soldiers to shivering silence. Susceptible to spoiling citizens from surrounding societies the sprinting slaves skirted the sea slowing the schedule for safety. Secret sustenance to stay starvation was supplied by sifting sand, swinging sticks and striking stone on the Sinai. Storing supplies was senseless since spoilage, spitup and sickness was sure. The shepherd's senior sister was stricken with sudden spotted sickness for subjecting the shepherd to scorn for selecting a second spouse. Separated souls settled in the soil suggesting sins sway of the senior slaves. On Sinai's secluded slope the sovereign Savior spoke several studied strong statutes still standing. Singing songs of salvation subsequent survivors succeeded in separating surrounding societies from the Sinai's soil and shores.. Some centuries since, several sons of the sand-struggle still stay, studying scripture, stuck in stupidity, seeking a sign of a second a special Son slighting the Savior summarily Slain for the sin of the sphere.


1) What is your security in?
a) Look at what moses put his security in.

2) First: Security in his setting with the King.
EXO 2:5 Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. EXO 2:10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

a) Moses had every priveledge possible as a son of Pharoah.
b) He grew up with the best Egypt had to offer.
c) Moses was very secure in this position.

3) Moses put his security in his SWORD
EXO 2:11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. EXO 2:12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
a) His position with the king caused him to think he could get way with murder.
b) By relying on his sword he shortcutted what God ultimately wanted him to do....set his people free.
i) Mans way, but not God's way.

4) Moses relied on SELF
EXO 2:13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" EXO 2:14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."
a) Raised in the Pharaoh's house Moses felt a little superior to the slaves.
i) Better educated, dressed, status..all the things the world sees today must have shown up in Moses' attitude.
ii) The salves should have been greatful, but seem INCENSED with Moses.
b) Something shows up in his attitude...
c) No one is going to follow this fellow.


The single selection of the sole slain savior secures salvation and secruity for the seeker.

Monday, September 29, 2008

12 Step Program for a Crisis

This is a copy of a letter I sent to a loved one almost 20 years ago. I thought it might help someone today with our current national crisis:

By the time you get this you will probably already made some decision about the business. I really don't know what to do anyway so my opinion isn't worth the time to read. What I do know and what is worth the time to read is found in Psalms. I do believe God speaks and will show you the way. If you mess up, it's ok, He will take care of that too. I also know that most of the things you are afraid of will never happen. What I want to share with you is a very rough outline of my new book SHATTERED DREAMS AND BROKEN PROMICES?...DAVID'S CURE FOR DISTRESS. This is what helped me when I thought I was going to die (and afraid I wouldn't) when we had so much trouble. David teaches us how to keep going and find victory in faith. As I said this is a rough outline so you'll have to do the work yourself. Follow this order and do like David did and you will find what you really are looking for and need. (let me tell you up front your biggest need is not what to do with the finances, it is learning how to lean totally upon the Lord. It you learn that, no other problems will matter.

1st offer a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE.
PSA 69:29 I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. PSA 69:30 I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
In Psalms 70 David says Praise is important to rememberwho God is.
In ch.71 David recounts past deliverance and expects there will be a future for him. God has always seen you through before, and he will this time.

2nd offer a SACRIFICE OF FAITH (this should really be first).
Where do you look when trouble comes. Where do you put your eyes?
PSA 4:4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah PSA 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.

3rd allow yourself HOPE.
3:1 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." Selah 3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. 4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands (of Dollars) drawn up against me on every side. 7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Selah

4th COMMIT YOURSELF TO ACTION
The action is found in ch. 56-57 David was running from Saul and knew he did not need to fear mand (55) and hid beneath the wings of God, ie. Let him protect you reputation, pride, finances etc.

5th place your CONFIDENCE AND TRUST IN THE LORD
12:6 And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. 7 O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.
13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. Actually others had bad days too: see ch.69
Actually what is the other choice? You eithe trust God or trust yourself....no contest!
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

6th REMEMBER PAST SALVATION
71:15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. He never failed before.

7th. EXPECT VINDICATION
Psa. 26:1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. 2 Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

8th WAIT PATIENTLY
27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. This is an active choice of your will.
ch.62 Stand silently waiting for the lord.
121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you--the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
How long do you wait? ch. 122:2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.
What do you do while you are waiting? Ch. 55 16 But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. (keep it up until you get an answer.)

9th BELIEVE GOD WILL RESCUE YOU
Read Ch 55

10th STAY FOCUSED ON THE WORD
ch 119 Read.
ch 43:3 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

11th STAY DEPENDENT ONLY ON GOD
ch. 7171:1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.
There are lots of rescue verses. The main point is God never failed.

12th PLEA FOR HELP
Psa 63:16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant. 17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

LAST: IF YOU MUST GRIPE AND COMPLAIN BECAUSE OF THE PAIN...
Do not sin against the Lord with your lips. See Noah and Abraham
Proper complaint is taken directly, respectfully, and honestly to God.
39:1 I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." Don't dishonor Him before the weak and unbelievers. It is ok to cry out to God, he did too. 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? Just be careful how and when you do it.

REMEMBER; THE REAL AND LASTING CURE FOR DISTRESS IS TRUST

One final thought: If the Lord were going to destroy you...124:1 If the LORD had not been on our side--let Israel say-- 2 if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, 3 when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (ie. You'd be dead already)

Well that's it in a nutshell...I know it will help if you will let it.

Say UNCLE!

My father’s brother, my Uncle Roland, is 12 years younger than my father. When I was a toddler, Uncle Roland was a star athlete in high school Since my parents worked, I was often at my grandparents house when my uncle came home from school, always, to my memory in his varsity sweater. He was my hero, so much so that my grandmother knitted me a matching letterman’s sweater complete with an authentic varsity patch on it. I have a picture of Uncle Roland and me when I was about 3 years old in our matching sweaters. We are easy to tell apart. I am the adorably cute one. I was too young to remember clearly, but I would imagine that I was underfoot at most every opportunity, especially for a teenage boy with other things to do besides entertain a toddler. By the time I was 7 Uncle Roland got married and went into the Navy. I remember the family meeting him when his ship came in from one tour of duty, his last I think. He had been to Japan for some months. Even at that early age I had a strategy to get his attention which would logically be given to his wife, Aunt Helen. I didn’t ware glasses back then but for that occasion I donned a pair of round oriental wire frame glasses. The response was not what I expected, but I did get his attention, which was all I really wanted. Christmas was a special time. Uncle Roland was half way between his 3 siblings and the competing cute grandkids. He was the star of Christmas, entertaining all of us every year. As I grew to be a teen we would often wrestle…like I had even the slightest chance! NO way. I enjoyed being defeated and gleefully called UNCLE (a title he always insisted on in any situation) in absolute surrender to my very superior opponent. It was great to be bested by the best. I remember our last match. By then I was married and was as big as Uncle Roland and a college athlete. I was a youth pastor and taking on all comers, usually several at a time. I had it in my mind that I could best my uncle at wrestling. NO way could I out run him, he was fast. We got into a little match in the surf at Huntington Beach at a family summer outing. I did well but I knew that to truly beat him I would have to hurt him, or he me. I was totally unwilling to do that…but sadly to stubborn to say Uncle one last time. I wish I had said uncle. Looking back, although I was just coming into my mature body, he was at his peak, early thirties, great shape, very athletic. Had he wanted to, he could have turned it up to a notch I did not yet have. He would have won, but he let it go with a draw…of sorts, meaning I would not say Uncle and he would not hurt me to make a point. We never wrestled again. I think our relationship lost something that day. Were I actually as mature as I believed I was, I would have said UNCLE one last time and let him retire the unbeaten and unchallenged champion he was. A title of love and respect he earned over the years of playing with and caring for me. I rarely see him anymore, but to this day he is very special to me, that will never change.

I was reminded of this wrestling as I read Andrew Murray. He reminded me of another wrestling match I cannot win and should not even try to win, yet I do. I live with one regret for a wrestling match that should never have taken place, why live with another? I need to just say UNCLE one last time. Andrew Murray advises:

And now, I desire by God’s grace to give to you this message—that your God in Heaven answers the prayers which you have offered for blessing on yourselves and for blessing on those around you by this one demand: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands? What is our answer to be?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brian

Brian is my brother. For those who do not know me, I rarely make in-law distinctions but for the purist, technically he is my wife’s, sister’s, husband’s, older brother. To my children he is Uncle Brian and because he lives in California they do not know him very well, which is a pity, because he is worth knowing. This blog is really more for my children and grandchildren. I want them to know how much Brian has always meant to me and why. I met Brian through his brothers, Dale and Marty. We were often together. Dale and I raised a few birds together, Marty was one of the few people who came around me and my father to work at church or Youth For Christ. Someday I will tell you about amazing Marty. My kids know Uncle Dale pretty well so they know his stories. I did not know Brian very well before he went off to Viet Nam as an MP/foot soldier. He was a nice boy from a solid Christian home that was totally unprepared for the horrors of the front line. By the time he left the military he was severely injured, both physically and emotionally. To be honest, he was scary. When he got home no one knew how to help him transition back into normal civilian life. I was a youth pastor in our home town and had a totally useless degree in Psychology, but I wanted to help. I was spared the Viet Nam experience and I felt helping Brian transition would be one way I could contribute. Those first few months were to say the least interesting. Brian would call, usually about once a week, seeking help. Sometimes he had been drinking, sometimes he was just in some place, some state of mind, I had never been. I said he was scary. I never felt threatened but I understood why others might. In the middle of a seemingly normal conversation he would drift off and explain how he could cut your head off with one jerk of a piano wire around your neck or mock demonstrate how he could incapacitate you with a strategic blow from the cane that was, of necessity, always at his side. Many nights Brian slept on the front couch and Deanna made me slide the bed in front of the door so he could not get in. I quickly learned that I had no way of relating to Brian’s experiences that if the retelling was only 10% true, it would have been utterly terrifying. I had not seen what he saw or had to deal with what he dealt with. He hurt in ways that I did not know how to reach. I threw out my degree in Psychology and went straight to The Book. It usually took 2.5 hours and it always followed the same pattern. Brian would call and I would meet him or he would come over, usually between 11 and 12PM. Brian would tell me what was on his mind. It was always a blend of memory, confusion, frustration, depression and desperation. After he had gone through the story twice I would pick up my Bible and start reading passages to him that I thought would help. The first passage did not always or even often help. Somewhere between the first and Twelfth passage Brian would stop me with “that’s it, that’s what I need.” Rarely did I understand what it was about that particular passage but it was usually between 2 and 3 am so I didn’t really care, or dare ask. Brian would be off to sleep in a few minutes. That process continued for months and Brian ultimately made it all the way home mentally. Physically he still needs the cane, a part of his contribution to our freedom. As Brian improved I asked him to help me out with the youth group I was taking care of. We ran a Junior High group of up to 90 on Wednesday nights from 4 to 8 PM and a large High School group on the weekends. Very quickly Brian became indispensible to me. If I told of all the stories it would take hours, but for my Grandkids, I want to record a sample because once Brian risked his life for me…literally, and once a man’s life was spared because Brian was NOT there and more often than not, Brian could read my mind or anticipate where I would be and what I would need.
Story ONE: First you need to know that as youth pastor I had to drive the church bus. I don’t like to drive the church bus, as a matter of fact I hated the church bus! We were only 90 minutes out of Downtown LA and it was not unusual to run the kids to some event, ballgame, beach or whatever in LA. Brian and I usually made the trips alone with 40 or so kids. The bus was critically unreliable and Brian drove a cb radio equipped escort car. I was behind the wheel of the bus but Brian did the driving from the escort car. Before a trip to an unknown area Brian would plot out our course. As I would drive down the freeway Brian was better than any TOM TOM today. He would block the traffic behind me in the lane I needed to go to and I would hear my instructions on a TUBE STYLE CB radio. I didn’t even have to look in the mirror to see if the lane was empty. Of course I looked, but it was always empty. We were on a side street off Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The bus was packed and the breaks failed while coming down a hill into a blind intersection. I frantically told Brian of the problem. " No breaks, I’m gonna run the stop.!" Quick as a flash Brian passed the bus and shot straight into the intersection, stopped the station wagon in the middle, jumped out and stopped all the traffic as the brakeless bus full of teens ran the stop and through the intersection. Would we have wrecked? Maybe, I do not know. All I know is Brian, with no though for his personal safety brought a major street in Hollywood to a full stop seconds before I got there.

Story Two: On another weekend outing in San Diego I had to step between two gang members and another youth pastor who had caught them doing something they were not supposed to be doing. I don't remember waht. This youth pastor was also a school bus driver in LA where they are taught NEVER back down to a gang member. When I arrived all I saw was the gang member take a swing at the pastor, the pastor whack him up side the head with a big Bible…really and the second gang member behind the pastor draw back a metal skate board preparing to split his head open. I grabbed the skate board from the gang banger and now I was the center of attention. A knife came out quickly, then another weapon. I held them at bay for probably 10 minutes with their skate board. I prayed that Brian would not show up. There is no doubt in my mind that had he seen them threatening me, he would have used force, which given his training would likely have been deadly. I do not believe I could have stopped him, he is that loyal. He scarcely left my side the rest of the trip.

Story Three: On another trip to Lake Havasu I accidently broke my assistant, Chuck’s legs on the way out of town. How is another story. He had planned the trip, I was just along for the ride. We left Chuck in the hospital and Brian and I continued on the trip. When we arrived we used the first day to teach the kids how to operate a canoe on a short 6 mile trip down the river. Day two was a 20 mile canoe trip through Topoc Gorge, down Lake Havasu to the London bridge where we were to camp, somewhere. Before leaving, I told Brian to take the escort car around to London Bridge make whatever arrangements were needed then, and here is the fun part…find me where the river opens up into the lake and tell me where to go. After hours of paddling we finally cleared the river and we could see where Lake Havasu would be, but it was to far away to actually see. I did not know it at the time, but there are NO roads in that area. We paddled a ways and I saw a small peninsula sticking about 25 yards out into the lake. I had no idea were Brian might be but from the lake, it looked to be as good a spot as any. As the nose of my canoe touched the bank, Brian stepped out of the brush that lined every inch of the shoreline and handed me a fresh 44 oz Circle K coke. I still don’t know how he timed that or even found us, but that was typical for Brian. All the arrangements were made and the trip went perfectly...except for breaking Chucks legs...

Story Four: Another time one of the mothers in our church called me. It was early afternoon. She was at work as a nurse at the local hospital. She left her oldest child Skip, (I am not going to change the name to protect the innocent because Skip was NEVER innocent. He was the most lovable scoundrel I have ever known) home with his sick little sister who was to young to be alone. The call was void of much detail. Skip and a buddy had “borrowed” an neighbors dune buggy and rolled it. They were injured, but how much no one knew. Mom was not exactly sure where they were so sending an ambulance was out of the question. She asked me to go find them and do whatever needed doing. They were in Lucerne Valley, about 25 minutes from where I was…at normal driving speed. I made it a little faster. There is a huge dry lake in the area and miles of dirt roads in every direction. I drove straight to the place of the “borrowed” (as in they were not going to keep it, just drive it a while) rail and began my search. Skip liked speed so I looked for the straightest, longest road. Yep, their they were. Not to badly injured, but in need of medical attention. The same for the rail. One problem. I still have a sick child that cannot be left alone any longer. What to do? While pondering the problem Brian came driving up. He had no reason to be there, knew no one any where near there, did not know of the problem, but there he was. He drove up and all I said was Brian, Skip is hurt, I need to get him and his buddy to the hospital. Skip's sister is home alone, find her and stay with her until someone shows up. All Brian said was “Right Boss” (which is what he mostly said anyway) and drove off to care for the sick girl till mom got home. There is NO reason (save divine providence) for Brian to be where he was but this story is not the exception, it was the rule. Brian was always anticipating what I was going to need before I knew I needed it. He always had a willing heart and a good solution. He never let me down. How could anyone not love a man like that. That was over 30 years ago. What has Brian been doing since I moved? The same thing, just with other people, although I seriously doubt they have the bond or stories we do. Brian for me, is beyond special. I think some days he gave my guardian angels the day off. I started off trying to help Brian. I received far more that I ever gave. I wish everyone could have a Brian in their life. Some time I will tell you about Marty, Brian’s little brother. After I left Apple Valley, he did for my Dad what Brian did for me. I shouldn’t but I will probably tell you why I hate Dave, Becky's husband, sometimes too. Don’t be shocked, I have told him to his face but he keeps raising the bar so high it makes most of the rest of us men look bad. I must admit, I have been richly blessed by the men in my life. I hope I have given to them even a fraction of what they have given to me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Signs of the Times

I like to read really old stuff to see how things have changed. I was reading St. Augustine's lament on the failure of the school system. It seems in his day, almost 2k years ago, the teachers were more interested in justifying poor behaviour and a moral-less society than they were in teaching something of value. I'm sure glad that changed! Yea, right. I was also reading an author that wrote in the late 1800's. He was talking about the Hope of Believers when Christ would return to earth. He said we were supposed to watch for the signs and compares the scriptural signs to his day. He speculates on things like "aeroplanes" and the possibility of Israel getting a foothold in Palestine. I find that stuff fascinating and encouraging, especially in these days. If there is an interest, I will post some summaries here for your consideration. I will likely do a series on it this fall in church after we finish Philippians. Of course that is assuming we are still here. Let me know if your interested.