Sometimes size does not matter. This is one of those times. This little cat is scaring the daylights out of the much bigger dog. Its a little surprising to see, yet it does happen. Reminds me of something that happened in 1968. I was working nights as a trash collector in Cohoes, NY and it was a cold rainy night, very dark night. We just pulled up to a collection of about eight cans (this was the city after all) and I had just reached out to take off the lid, when Mitch (my co-worker) distracted me for a second. I felt something on my arm and when I turned to look I saw... the beady red eyes of a rat!! One very large rat!! I yelled and the beast scurried back to its feast among the garbage. One hour later, Mitch was bit by one of these lovely creatures and went to the hospital. Scary? You bet! But somehow I made it through those days. This episode reminded me of this familiar Psalm.

Ps 23:1-6 (WEB)
23:1 A Psalm by David. Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing.
23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
23:3 He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over.
23:6 Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Yahweh’s house forever.

Life is full of danger and none of us are immune to the possibility of being hurt. It doesn't matter how big you are, or how strong, or how young. You can be hurt. But for those who trust in God, there is something extra, some confidence that only comes from above that sees us through. Of course, you have to sensible and avoid little claws, but if God is with you...it really doesn't make a difference what crawls up your arm and stares you in the eye. You have help!


David, Ninja squirrels and us

Ninja squirrel; now there's a thought! Able to fly between buildings, to bend trees with his bare feet; he is the master of all he surveys! Who says the lion is the king of the jungle? Move over, Yoshi the master ninja of the North has arrived. Really? Not on your life! But it does make me think about how God views violence. Read on to see more....

Ps 11:1-7 (WEB)
11:1 For the Chief Musician. By David. In Yahweh, I take refuge. How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain!”
11:2 For, behold, the wicked bend their bows. They set their arrows on the strings, that they may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
11:4 Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh is on his throne in heaven. His eyes observe. His eyes examine the children of men.
11:5 Yahweh examines the righteous, but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates.
11:6 On the wicked he will rain blazing coals; fire, sulfur, and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
11:7 For Yahweh is righteous. He loves righteousness. The upright shall see his face.

David was chosen by God, but that doesn't mean he had an easy life. From reading the Bible, it seems that he spent much of his time in warfare. During his lifetime he was involved in so much warfare and death that God would not let him build the temple, but left that task to his son Solomon. However, I don't think he really wanted violence because it says in Scripture that David was a man after God's own heart. Also, verse 5 shows us that those who love violence are hated by God. Strong words, simple concept. If you want to be with God, don't do violence. But I can't help but wonder, if David was a man of war and skilled in fighting... did he know Kung fu? And, I know that David had "mighty men" who fought for him, but were there any squirrels?



What makes you laugh like these kids? What gets you going so much that you just laugh and laugh and keep on laughing till your eyes water and your side hurts? Here is a passage from the Psalms to think about....

Ps 126:1-3 (WEB)
126:1 A Song of Ascents. When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream.
126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “Yahweh has done great things for them.”
126:3 Yahweh has done great things for us, and we are glad.

Israel was in exile seventy years; that's a long time. When they returned they were filled to overflowing with happiness at what God had done for them. They were HOME because God had brought them HOME. There is something catchy about laughter, something that lifts the spirit in ways beyond expression. How happy, how blessed, is the person who can enjoy the blessings of God. That one becomes like a little child in their delights and rejoices.


More than a rainbow

This picture of New Zealand is a little unusual because the rainbow looks like it just sets on the mountain and that the reflection in the water IS THE MOUNTAIN with a rainbow in it. Of course it is an optical illusion; the rainbow is just slightly above the mountain and both the rainbow and the mountain are see in. You just have to look closely to see it. Some things are indeed hard to see and even harder to believe, but the effort is worth it.

Josh 10:7-14 (WEB)
10:7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.
10:8 Yahweh said to Joshua, “Don’t fear them, for I have delivered them into your hands. Not a man of them will stand before you.”
10:9 Joshua therefore came on them suddenly. He went up from Gilgal all night.
10:10 Yahweh confused them before Israel, and he killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth Horon, and struck them to Azekah and to Makkedah.
10:11 It happened, as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth Horon, that Yahweh cast down great stones from the sky on them to Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than who the children of Israel killed with the sword.
10:12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still on Gibeon! You, moon, stop in the valley of Aijalon!”
10:13 The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Isn’t this written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of the sky, and didn’t hurry to go down about a whole day.
10:14 There was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel.

Israel was fighting against the Amorites (really a confederation of several kings) because the Gibeonites had tricked the elders of Israel into an alliance and Israel was coming to their aid. That in itself is just an ordinary event, but HOW IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED contained miracles. God fought for Israel by means of confusion and hailstones. More than that, God listened to Joshua and the sun and moon stood still until the victory was complete. I can't explain the miracles anymore than I can explain the rainbow in the picture, but one thing seems certain; it did happen and both are real. Sometimes you just have to set back and accept things by faith and this is one of those times. Anybody have a copy of the book of Jashar?


What is it really worth?

I bet you have never seen this bill before!! Not only is it for $100,000 dollars, but it is a gold certificate. Today, with all the stress on passing "tests" in school, I wonder how many people would even recognize Woodrow Wilson, let alone know anything about him. Probably, most people would never get past the amount of the bill and just not care about anything else. Does our society really run on money? No, its not a trick question. The quick answer would be something like: "Yes, of course it does". However, since we went off the gold standard, the new bills are just paper and not backed by gold. That's why the government keeps on printing more and more and more of the stuff. What is really running the country is the PROMISE THAT OUR MONEY IS WORTH SOMETHING! That promise is becoming a little thin because of all the greed out there and the political trickery that has been so prevalent over the past few decades. Consider this passage from the book of Timothy; Paul writes:

1Tim 6:6-10 (WEB)
6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out.
6:8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.
6:9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.
6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

It really is true that the best things in life are free. I have seen people with a lack of money and also an excess of it. Those in the excess category spend more on things they really do not need, give more to "friends" and relatives with their hands out, but are not at all content. Don't love money; pursue godliness instead. Work to provide for your real needs and not your greed's and you will be happier. In case you are wondering, Woodrow Wilson, was our president during World War I and the leader who unsuccessfully tried to organize the league of nations. Frankly, I don't care how much money he had, I just know that he led our nation through a difficult time and that is good enough for me.


Just for fun!!!

Tonight my youngest daughter and her family were over for awhile. It was very nice to see ALL OF THEM, but frankly, the nine month old stole the show. She is just learning to crawl, speak and to really interact with others. She loves the cuckoo clock. Toys are nice, but a plastic bag is just her speed. Remember days like that, when simple things held your attention forever. Even when you get to be SEVERAL YEARS OLD, uncomplicated things like blowing these bubbles can hold your interest (the bubbles used to be much, much smaller, but it didn't really matter. As you grow up, your thoughts become more complicated and you become sophisticated. However, knowing God should not be like that, no matter how old you are. Listen to the words of Jesus:

Matthew 18:2-4 WEB (R)
(2) Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them,
(3) and said, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
(4) Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every single time I begin to think I really know something.... wham, something happens and whatever pride I have goes right out the window. Today was like that. I have been working with PC's ever since the middle eighties and using Bible Study Programs like PC Study Bible and e-Sword. On the advise of a friend I downloaded, installed and played with a new Bible Study Program called "The Word". This held my attention for hours and I realized that I could do a great deal with it. The best part.... its free!!!! Now I have to really start learning it and I won't really accomplish that until I take the attitude that Jesus talks about in Matthew 18. I pray that I might spiritually age backwards and learn all over again to enjoy the simple things in life. Of course, that also means having the right attitude towards God. That's all for now, I feel the urge to do something fun... Humm, I wonder where Linda put the bubble blower?


Music to sooth the beast

I don't know; is it a rat or a mouse? Whatever, its cute! Do animals really play music? Yes, I have seen seals play horns mounted on a xylophone like contraption and there are probably many others that do unusual things as well. I have always thought music was purely for enjoyment, but it can be medicinal as well. See for yourself.

1 Samuel 16:14-21 WEB (R)
(14) Now the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him.
(15) Saul's servants said to him, See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you.
(16) Let our lord now command your servants who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp: and it shall happen, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play with his hand, and you shall be well.
(17) Saul said to his servants, Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.
(18) Then answered one of the young men, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, and a mighty man of valor, and a man of war, and prudent in speech, and a comely person; and Yahweh is with him.
(19) Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.
(20) Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son to Saul.
(21) David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer.

OK, I know David played a harp and not the wind instrument that we see in the picture, but still David's efforts soothed king Saul. Saul's problem was that God had left him and this caused distress and unhappiness. Music helped Saul and ingratiated David to him and this was according to the will of God. I find it interesting that God can take the unhappiness of Saul and use it to exalt David. God works in mysterious ways and music is just one more thing to think about. Now, I know David composed many, many Psalms, but I can't help but wonder what the rodent in the picture would play? My best guess on that one would be: "The mouse takes the cheese". Runner up would be: "Cat on a hot tin roof". Perhaps this little fellow is charming a cat the way one would charm a Cobra? Whatever is going on, I still would love to hear "him" play!!


The right perspective

Strange picture; long and narrow. One of the points it makes with this perspective is size. When I look at this picture, I can't help but realize how really insignificant human beings are. We rule the planet, but are in fact quite small and dependent creatures. If something were to interrupt the food chain, we would be in big trouble. God cares for us and provides everything we truly need. Isn't it time we thought about it?

Psalms 8:1-9 WEB (R)
(1) Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, who has set your glory above the heavens!
(2) From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.
(3) When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
(4) what is man, that you think of him? What is the son of man, that you care for him?
(5) For you have made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor.
(6) You make him ruler over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet:
(7) All sheep and cattle, yes, and the animals of the field,
(8) The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
(9) Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

And when you consider this, praise is due to HIM to provides so abundantly for us. I guess I will never truly understand WHY he thinks so much of human beings, but that isn't required. What IS REQUIRED is that we appreciate HIS blessings and give thanks. Now that is the proper perspective of things.



For Eric....

Richard Milhouse Nixon leaving the white house for the last time. Disgraced, yet optimistic; rejected yet positive. I voted for him twice... who knew. He seemed to be a great man, I always like what he said and thought a great deal of him. Remember, HE is the man who went to CHINA. Then along came Watergate and then WHAM, NO MORE NIXON. This picture reminded me of a great man (men) in the old testament who did something wrong and paid the price. Read on to see who it is....

Numbers 20:7-13 WEB (R)
(7) Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
(8) Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink.
(9) Moses took the rod from before Yahweh, as he commanded him.
(10) Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring you water out of this rock for you?
(11) Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice: and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.
(12) Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, Because you didn't believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.
(13) These are the waters of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with Yahweh, and he was sanctified in them.

When great men fail in some way, it lets us all down. How soon we forget that we are ALL HUMAN, that we are ALL SUBJECT TO THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. Nixon, Jimmy Swaggart, and many ,many politic ans have fallen short of expectation, but remember THEY ARE ALL HUMAN. Of them all, I think I like Jimmy Swaggart the best, because at least he seemed sincere in his repentance. There were consequences for all of them, but some dealt with it and moved on. Both Moses and Aaron, along with Richard Nixon, still maintained a good attitude (notice Nixon's trademark V gestures) and went on to do the best they could. That's what life's all about, just doing the best you can. In 1974, I was laid off from Norton Co. and frankly I thought my world was coming down around me. At my exit interview, Jack Stryniski told me something better was out there for me.... he was right. That something better was faith and belief in Jesus and so my downtrodden status was changed and like Nixon I can think a "V" in my heart NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! So can you!


Something in common

When I came home from work today, my wife asked if minded if she bought a bird; I told her she could get anything she wanted, only if it was going to be expensive, we should talk first. A pet would really provide comfort and company during those hours when I am not around. So, when I saw this picture I wondered if she would get a pet like one of these. The birds and the cat are cute and I was a little surprised to see them co-exist so easily until I thought a little bit about the young child. She reminded me of snow white because she seemed so pure and innocent. Christians are supposed to be like that so the following passage came to mind.

1Pe 2:1-6
(1) Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking,
(2) as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby,
(3) if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
(4) coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious.
(5) You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(6) Because it is contained in Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed."

You start from wherever you are in your life and root out the old, study and though Jesus' help, grow. Sounds easy, but verse 1 is not so easy for everyone. But, over time growth happens and spiritual life blossoms. As far as the picture goes, I wonder what is in the basin on her lap; maybe its something they all need... I wonder what it would take to bring us ALL together like those animals? Hint: read verse 6 until the answer comes to you.


There is happiness!

This dog loves the snow so much that it is leaping for joy. Finding delight in the simplest of things is the pathway to genuine happiness. Here is a passage from the book of Luke that talks a little bit about happiness and that is always something to reflect upon.

Luk 1:39-56
(39) Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah,
(40) and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
(41) It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
(42) She called out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
(43) Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
(44) For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!
(45) Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!"
(46) Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord.
(47) My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
(48) for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.
(49) For he who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name.
(50) His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.
(51) He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
(52) He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly.
(53) He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.
(54) He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,
(55) As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever."
(56) Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.

Two women, two babies and happiness; who could ask for more? Yet there is more because God is in the picture. He enabled an old woman (Elizabeth) and a virgin (Mary) to conceive. How do they respond; with happiness of course. Never mind the difficulty in a pregnancy of an old woman, there is happiness. God is at work, they see it and are happy. Good lesson, good example, good tidings. I just need to think about it more often and be happy. Snow problem!!


One fat cat

This is one very big, very fat cat. There may be others that are bigger and fatter, but this one is a whopper! This doesn't happen by accident; they are very well fed and PAMPERED! People can be like that too! Over fed and their every desire fulfilled; here is an example.

Deu 31:14-22
(14) Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, your days approach that you must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the Tent of Meeting, that I may commission him. Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting.
(15) Yahweh appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud: and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the Tent.
(16) Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
(17) Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them; so that they will say in that day, Haven't these evils come on us because our God is not among us?
(18) I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evil which they shall have worked, in that they are turned to other gods.
(19) Now therefore write you this song for you, and teach you it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
(20) For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and grown fat; then will they turn to other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant.
(21) It shall happen, when many evils and troubles are come on them, that this song shall testify before them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they frame this day, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.
(22) So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.

Moses was about to die; unpleasant, but necessary because of his disobedience. God foretells Israel's spiritual adultery and has Moses write a song that testifies as to what they will do. Sometimes having too much is as bad as having too little. Perhaps The United States of America should read this passage and reflect upon it before its too late. We don't have nine lives to play with; the end could be near!


Some things will never change

Jimmy Durante (left) and Buster Keaton, WOW! It has been many decades since this silent flick was made, but even this still photograph is funny. We don't make silent pictures any more and regular (low def) TV is passe, but funny is still funny, no matter what form its in. Soon 3-D will be all the rage and who knows what or even if will have TV by the middle of the century. Its nice to know that some things will never change, as the book of Malachi tells us.

Mal 3:1-6
(1) "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!" says Yahweh of Armies.
(2) "But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like launderer's soap;
(3) and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to Yahweh offerings in righteousness.
(4) Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to Yahweh, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.
(5) I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don't fear me," says Yahweh of Armies.
(6) "For I, Yahweh, don't change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

People sin, people hurt, people search for meaning in life. That's just the way it is and that will NEVER, EVER change. Neither does God. But I can't help from wondering... Since we are made in the image and likeness of God... Does God ever need a haircut? Maybe Jimmy Durante does have a job in heaven after all????


What it is

This little one sees something that has caught its interest. As far as "baby" pictures go, this one isn't very flattering, but it is quite revealing. It shows that she (??) really doesn't know what glass is all about and that just maybe she should not lick it so readily. A passage from Corinthians came to mind and I think you will enjoy it as much as I do.

1Co 13:1-13
(1) If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
(2) If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.
(3) If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.
(4) Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud,
(5) doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil;
(6) doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
(7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(8) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.
(9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
(10) but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.
(11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.
(12) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.
(13) But now faith, hope, and love remain--these three. The greatest of these is love.

There was a time when we all saw through the glass like this baby; a simpler time in our lives, when our thoughts we less complicated than today. We change, and with that change comes understanding, development and finally, decline and death. That is what it is, life as human beings know it. But there is something more, something external that guides us through all the years of constant change: love. You see, the most important thing about this picture is NOT THE BABY AT ALL, BUT THE HAND THAT IS HOLDING HER!!! We learn many things in this world and go through many changes in our lives, but if we can learn to appreciate love, then maybe we know a lot more than we think.


you win a ....

Yummy; chocolate covered bacon! When I told my son-in-law about it, he wasn't a bit surprised and said that he had had one at the Florida State Fair. Then, he went on to tell me about his dream meal... a sandwich of... fried donuts with a hamburger in the middle, garnished with three or four of these little bacon things and deep fried butter for dessert. There was something else too, but all I can think of is LARD and that can't be right, because everyone knows LARD just doesn't jive with the dessert. What ever the final meal was; I had one knee jerk reaction...YUK! It was just too much for even me to think about eating (and believe me, that takes a lot!!). Sometimes it takes an extreme for a point to be made and this passage from the book of Ephesians fills the bill.

Ephesians 1:17-21 WEB (R)
(17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
(18) having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
(19) and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might
(20) which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,
(21) far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.

Consider the power of Jesus; above everything! That's way more that I could even begin to understand, let alone comprehend. Add the time aspect to it, and it makes my head hurt. But, I am glad I understand at least one thing... if you are on the winning side... you win. And I don't mean some crazy sandwich, either.


I wonder who it could be

Life is full of things to do; everything from when to do your taxes to talking (or texting) on the telephone. So, we prioritize. But, I wonder, do we make the right choices? To bring it a little closer to home: Do I make the right choices? It would appear that the lady in the picture has more important things to do that to hold her newborn; but, if we only knew who was on that phone?????? Here is a passage to think about.

Mark 14:27-42 WEB (R)
(27) Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
(28) However, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee."
(29) But Peter said to him, "Although all will be offended, yet I will not."
(30) Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you, that you today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times."
(31) But he spoke all the more, "If I must die with you, I will not deny you." They all said the same thing.
(32) They came to a place which was named Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I pray."
(33) He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be greatly troubled and distressed.
(34) He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch."
(35) He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him.
(36) He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Please remove this cup from me. However, not what I desire, but what you desire."
(37) He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn't you watch one hour?
(38) Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
(39) Again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words.
(40) Again he returned, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they didn't know what to answer him.
(41) He came the third time, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
(42) Arise, let us be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."

We think that we make the right choices in life (well, at least most of the time), but do we? The truth is that we never know what tomorrow may bring; we just have to make decisions one at a time in light of our current knowledge and go from there. The disciples thought they would respond a certain way and Jesus told them otherwise; I wonder, are we (am I) the same? Only time will tell, but wait, I have to go now, the phone is ringing; I wonder who it could be?


camera ready

Is this picture real? I am not a photography expert so I couldn't say, but my guess is that it is genuine. why? Because The Bible refers to spirits (ghosts) as being real. And contact with the spirit world is not always a good thing, as this passage relating to king Saul illustrates.

1 Samuel 28:5-20 WEB (R)
(5) When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.
(6) When Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh didn't answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
(7) Then said Saul to his servants, Seek me a woman who has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. His servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor.
(8) Saul disguised himself, and put on other clothing, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, Please divine to me by the familiar spirit, and bring me up whoever I shall name to you.
(9) The woman said to him, Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?
(10) Saul swore to her by Yahweh, saying, As Yahweh lives, there shall no punishment happen to you for this thing.
(11) Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up to you? He said, Bring me up Samuel.
(12) When the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, Why have you deceived me? for you are Saul.
(13) The king said to her, Don't be afraid: for what do you see? The woman said to Saul, I see a god coming up out of the earth.
(14) He said to her, What form is he of? She said, An old man comes up; and he is covered with a robe. Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.
(15) Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disquieted me, to bring me up? Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I shall do.
(16) Samuel said, Why then do you ask of me, seeing Yahweh has departed from you, and has become your adversary?
(17) Yahweh has done to you as he spoke by me: and Yahweh has torn the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbor, even to David.
(18) Because you didn't obey the voice of Yahweh, and didn't execute his fierce wrath on Amalek, therefore Yahweh has done this thing to you this day.
(19) Moreover Yahweh will deliver Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me: Yahweh will deliver the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.
(20) Then Saul fell immediately his full length on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

Saul was afraid because God had left him and would not communicate with him any longer. So, he contacts a woman who conjures up the spirit of Samuel and the news is bad, very bad. So bad that it took all the strength from Saul. The next day, Saul and his sons did in fact die and there you have it; the end of the story. Except that all this shows that spirits (ghosts) are real. There may be those who would scoff at the mere mention of a spirit world, but just think about it, today we have made advances in astronomy that enable us to see right through the interstellar dust clouds that have hidden untold numbers of galaxies for the whole of recorded human history. We are unlocking the DNA structure the encodes the blueprint of life and even have robots on the planet Mars. Maybe proving that the spiritual world is a reality is right around the corner. In the meantime, I choose to believe in what I can't truly prove because God has shown me so many other things. I just hope that if I meet up with a ghost, I get better news than Saul did!! And, oh, yes, I hope I have a camera ready!!!

up's and down's

When I was dating my wife Linda (yes, they really had roads then) I drove on a back road that looked something like this. You couldn't go too fast or you would hit your head on the roof of the car. As far as this road goes, I think it would make me seasick, with all those up's and down's. Life is like that too, sometimes good and at other times a lot less than good. This passage from the book of Philippians helps you travel the road....

Php 4:6-13
(6) In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
(7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
(8) Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.
(9) The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(10) But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity.
(11) Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.
(12) I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.
(13) I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Life is what you make it! We get too close to our problems and suddenly they seem HUGE! But Paul gives us a stabilizer: God. Thinking is the beginning. Example is the outworking. Memory is the confidence builder. These things could be said to be true for any world-view, but Christianity is more than just a philosophy, it is a relationship. Its not just what you know and remember, but rather... WHO. With Jesus, the road is better, the way easier and problems smaller. Of course, you still have to use your head; driving down the road of life at 90 mph will still get you into trouble. My advice is... wear your seat belt and buy a convertible.


Watch out!

Dangerous, isn't it? But that is not surprising, because kids do the most outlandish things! I remember being a kid and thinking I was indestructible! Most of the time I didn't do dangerous things like this, but I did things like jumping off hay mows and taunting the bull by pulling its tail. So, I guess the question is: What is the most dangerous activity you can think of? This chapter from Romans should give you an idea.

Romans 6:1-23 WEB (R)
(1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
(2) May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?
(3) Or don't you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
(4) We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
(5) For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection;
(6) knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin.
(7) For he who has died has been freed from sin.
(8) But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him;
(9) knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him!
(10) For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God.
(11) Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(12) Therefore don't let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
(13) Neither present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
(14) For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.
(15) What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!
(16) Don't you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
(17) But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto you were delivered.
(18) Being made free from sin, you became bondservants of righteousness.
(19) I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.
(20) For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
(21) What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
(22) But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life.
(23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Danger is the possibility of incurring damage. the more severe the damage, the greater the danger. Life threatening danger is the apex, or is it? We all die, so is danger an illusion? Only if you discount the possibility of life after life. Today, you couldn't even get me near one of these boards, but stretching the truth a bit???? How about driving a little too fast or taking that iffy tax deduction? the truth is that we need to be cognizant of sin 24/7. Skateboards are dangerous, but sin is a whole different dimension. Watch out, its dangerous out there!!!


How do I look?

This is one very sad picture. The problem is perception and the perception is wrong. If it can happen on the outside, why not the inside as well? Do we have an accurate assessment of our spiritual health? Consider these words of Jesus....

Matthew 13:1-9 WEB (R)
(1) On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.
(2) Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.
(3) He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, a farmer went out to sow.
(4) As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.
(5) Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth.
(6) When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.
(7) Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.
(8) Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
(9) He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Nobody consciously wishes to be in the first three categories, but how we think about God's word to us could radically affect which of the four categories we are in. I like parables because they tell an Earthly story that has a heavenly meaning. Which in a way is what I do all the time with this post: A picture of the world around us, the word of God and a meaning, everyday! An ordinary meaning at that, because I have no illusions of being a great writer, just one who tries to see the world through the word of God. Just as long as the reflection is accurate, no problem! Anything else can cause trouble... just like the picture. Got your Jesus glasses on?


Old and new

This picture is both the past and the present. Locomotives in the museum and on the tracks; both exist at the same time. This picture brought to mind something I recently heard about via a podcast; a six stroke engine. The last two cycles inject water into the piston and the resulting steam adds additional power (and cooling) to the operation of the vehicle. It also does one other important thing.... adds additional miles per gallon of gas. This world is a beautiful creation as well, but there awaits something better. Read on to see.....

Isaiah 65:17 WEB (R)
(17) "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Revelation 21:1-5 WEB (R)
(1) I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.
(2) I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
(3) I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
(4) He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away."
(5) He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words of God are faithful and true."

Isaiah's prophecy is yet to be seen, but because God's predictions always come true, faith tells me it will come to pass. Cars driven with gasoline and steam are wonderful things, but a whole new world; well, that will be something wonderful. I wonder what will power the cars then?


Too close for comfort

Sometimes the unexpected happens! Then you realize it; I did something really, really stupid!!! But, what has happened, HAS HAPPENED. That was me, yesterday; I said and did things that in retrospect, I wish I had not done. And today someone said something to me that I haven't been able to put out of my mind and so I thought of this passage.

Mark 10:17-27 WEB (R)
(17) As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
(18) Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except one-God.
(19) You know the commandments: 'Do not murder,' 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not give false testimony,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and mother.' "
(20) He said to him, "Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth."
(21) Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross."
(22) But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.
(23) Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"
(24) The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!
(25) It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
(26) They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, "Then who can be saved?"
(27) Jesus, looking at them, said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God."

The man who came to Jesus was a good man. An honest, sincere man, but he had a problem...money. Jesus knew his heart and loved him in spite of it, but because of his problem challenged him anyway. The rich man made his choice, and it wasn't the right one. Jesus surprised and amazed his disciples by his words about wealth, but it really wasn't the wealth that was the real problem; it was trusting God. So, I come to verse 27, which for me is very important. Why, because with God, ANYTHING is possible, even overcoming the most overwhelming problem. You knew it once, Gary... remember!



When it comes to marriage, I believe in L-O-N-G engagements! Why? Because marriage is about commitment, not infatuation. LOVE IS A DECISION, not a just feeling. As with any decision, there are consequences and they make change over time, but in the giving of oneself to another it has been my experience that you receive far more than you give. It is only natural that from time to time, the male of the species may feel a little constrained (alright---trapped), but a family needs stability and that means control, which can be interpreted as being trapped. But, true freedom is an illusion, because even single men have to work, pay bills and all the other things it takes to be a responsible adult. While thinking about responsibility, this passage came to mind.

Genesis 3:1-16 WEB (R)
(1) Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?' "
(2) The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,
(3) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "
(4) The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die,
(5) for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
(6) When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.
(7) The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
(8) They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.
(9) Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"
(10) The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
(11) God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
(12) The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
(13) Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
(14) Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
(15) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
(16) To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

There were problems in the first marriage. Adam didn't think for himself and his wife was a little naive. But she was his wife and he her husband. The consequences of their actions had ramifications far beyond anything they could have even dreamed of. However, God put them together because it was better than being alone and I like to think that neither one is truly complete without the other. Is marriage a trap? I guess the answer most people give will depend if they are happy with their spouse or not. However, as far as I can see, you are OK just as long as you don't try to wiggle out of it... then snap...

A sense of humor

My daughter gave me this picture of a "Jackalope". Some say this is a mythical creature and others that it is a rabbit that has a disease; frankly, I could go either way on the subject. This particular one shares company with a lizard in a modified fish tank and the lizard hasn't said a word either way. So, its origins are open for discussion and I hope at least a few of you will research the topic. When I saw this picture today, I thought of the book of Genesis, in the place where Adam named all the animals.

Genesis 2:19-24 WEB (R)
(19) Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
(20) The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him.
(21) Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
(22) He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man.
(23) The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
(24) Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.

If you were expecting to see the Jackalope listed, dream on; its not there. But God did give man the right to call all creatures whatever he wanted, so I guess you can do what you want. There was one special one made for Adam, who was just right for him. And she has been ribbing him ever since. I know this to be true, because my wife has been kidding with me for many, many years. We never have discussed the Jackalope, though, so I guess her kidding days have a bright future. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor????