For the last two weeks, ACORN has followed what could be a success story. It could be time for Jake Coles to close shop and head out for a long vacation. Lola will be left in charge. The American dream has always promised this; work hard and give your all and things happen. This could be why people are risking their lives to cross the border into the 48 States.
The season is upon us and if you blinked, you could have missed Christmas trees and toys are already in the stores. I know that other holidays are to be celebrated first but get the juices flowing so when the time comes we will help the merchants report the best spending time ever!
I know I am rushing it, but snow is already falling in the northwest. It takes me back many years as a boy that snow meant home made custard and jam cake and many songs to sing at church about the Christmas time. It might be the baby Jesus and angels in the heavens but it is always a special time of the year.
A friend in an act of kindness gave my wife a small angel statue that can display wings of different colors;it’s very impressive. Of course we do not know what these spiritual beings created to be messengers and stand in the presence of God really look like. They took a form to visit Abraham (Genesis 18) and one wrestled with Jacob(Genesis 32). Books upon books have been written on the subject of angels. TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL ran for 9 seasons on TV and made all the actors very rich. We are now in the holiday season and many stores will be selling articles pertaining to angels. If you do get to discuss angels with someone while shopping be prepared for a fully functioning system that angels are essential to our modern society. The following are a few questions people have posted on the internet:
(1) Have you ever met a supernatural messenger or envoy?
(2) When you heard someone speak about meeting angels, did you think they were weird?
(3) What do you think an angel feels when humans reject its message ?
(4) If you believe that angels exist and act in our world,how should you live your life?
(5) What image do you think of when you see angels portrayed at Christmas?
Are angels sent forth today as ministering spirits to mankind would be the question to answer. The whole concept is that this would be a miraculous event but miracles have ended (1 Corinthians 13:8-10;Ephesians 4:8-16). Since the supernatural stage no longer exist so God employs angels to implement his will on the behalf of his saints in today’s world. It cannot be proven today angels appear in the human form as in ancient times (Acts 10). BUT in extreme times of danger this should not stop us from praying that God will intervene on our behalf (Daniel 3:19-25).
The friend and my wife have passed away—I try my best to remember both as special people.
(next week, I will try to solve a problem, common to many of us!)
The Cracked Acorn: The Old, Old Story
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging for bread. – Psalm 37:25
Interesting how the Child Evangelism Fellowship started in 1937 by Jesse Overholtzer, who wanted to reach young children in the poor sections of our major cities. The target ages were from five to twelve and thought this as the best probability of someone embracing Jesus as his or her Savior. He was impressed by the scripture from Matthew, “I praise You,Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
The Milford Decision from the Supreme Court allowed the Fellowship to have Bible clubs at the end of the school day giving children songs, stories, and scriptures form the Bible ending with snacks. One teacher, age thirteen, was very successful on reaching out to youngsters by what he called speaking “childrenese.” He always ended with “Boys and girls, if you have never believed on Jesus, you have a problem,”
Lamar, a twelve-year-old, sitting with his two friends, said that he had been waiting for tangibles that the missionaries had promised. He said he had waited and waited, but nothing had changed. He had thought about going back to the club for another try, but he was undecided. “I took my heart out for God. One time should be enough.”
The Fellowship seems to have worked better in the Southern states. Bible clubs are meeting in 183 public schools in South Carolina, reaching 13,524 children. The clubs state that their additional goals are to “strive to promote positive moral character,provide training, and reinforce values.” The biggest draw is with single moms who want kids to get assistance with homework, even if they have to sit through a Gospel message.
The Bible club has had a recent convert, Edwin Parle, who is a nine-year-old, from a public housing complex in Hartford, relates the “Story” with kind of like Goosebumps, referring to the popular youth horror books written by R.L. Stine. “Well, there is something about Jesus and when you see Him on the cross you really believe in Him. He died for our sins. The afternoon sun reflected off Edwin’s wire-rim glasses, and he looked really calm and studious. (edited from LIKE I WAS JESUS-How to bring a nine-year-old to Christ By Rachel Aviv)
Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love. (Katherine Hankey, 1866)
Dear GOD, I read your book and I like it. I would like to write a book some day with the same kind of stories. Where do you get your ideas? Best wishes. (Mark, age 9)
Dear GOD, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool! (Sean, age 4)
Dear GOD, We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said You did it. So I bet he stole your idea. (Donna)
Dear GOD, Is it true my father won’t get into Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house? (Anita)
Dear GOD, I think about You sometimes even when I’m not praying. (Elliott)
The Cracked Acorn – Now old
Many yesterdays ago, I was involved in lots of car repair. I was much younger & took it in stride I was going to become the master mechanic.
After several auto restorations I began to think, was it really worth the trouble. My father was still in good health working on the farm. In one of my visits from Virginia to Kentucky, I confided in my dad & told him it was becoming too much. I was beginning to take naps in the garage, while under the car. Dad replied he had been doing this for years; it could be under a tractor or the combine. (He once told me when he was old; I would also be old. I just hadn’t realized it had happened this quickly.)
The Bible tells us people lived into the 900s before the Flood, Methuselah, at 969. This declined till about 1000 B.C. & then maybe 70 or 80 (Psalm 90:10). Starting in 1900 U.S. life expectancy has risen from 47 to an average age of 83,today.
In this added time, we should “number” our days (Psalm 90:12) .
We should discern the future. (Deut. 32:28-29).
We should consider how life will turnout. (Psalm 39:4-5)
We will live longer if we consider our speech/behavior. (Psalm 34:11-14; I Peter 3:10-11)
We should love the Lord. (Psalm 91:14-16) Obey the Lord. (Proverbs:3:1-2,4:10)
We should fear & grow in the knowledge of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10-11; 10:27)
Note these humorous remarks from people of the past:
All would live long, but none would be old.
Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are cheese.
The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, & the second half by our children.
No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.
The older I grow the more I distrust the family doctrine age brings wisdom.
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Age doesn’t protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age.
Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked.
You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with a new ides.
( My favorite!) How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young.
Recently there have been several specials on TV about the NEW AGE & evangelistic movements supposedly sweeping our nation. I am not sure if we are looking at this from close-up or from afar. I do not see within these vast audiences a sea of grey hair.
Has the present generation forgotten ‘An aged person loved is winter with flowers’ (old German proverb). The older generation is the “splendor” of today. (Proverbs 20:39)
Psalm 92:13 & 14 says, “These who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in an old age; they shall be fresh & flourishing.”
They are the bearers of fundamental human values. Where this memory is lacking, people are rootless; they also lack any capacity to project themselves with hope towards a future that transcends the limits of the present (From theDignity of Older People).
Go, in early morning, Into the harvest white, Sing a song of gladness labor with all your might; Let the words of Jesus over this nation ring, With the coming evening, beautiful gleanings bring. For the faint & weary, carry a smile of cheer, With the sad & dreary, weeping an anxious tear. To the heart that’s aching under a load of care, Lend a hand of comfort. In the name of Jesus gather the
sheaves of today, Read the precious promises, wages, He will pay; Go with rejoicing gleaning from the fields of sin, Thrust thy glowing sickle, bring in the harvest. (#10 9 , Beautiful Gleanings –
The Cracked Acorn: Is it wrong?
“In today’s culture some people think it is not proper to tell others they are wrong. Many believe all religions are equal and the Bible contains legends as charming as the stories of other great faiths. Children are allowed to believe in all or none of many teachings. Many people believe they can make it to heaven on their own or that all ways lead to God. What is the result of this freedom?” from OPEN WINDOWS-Life Way
The preceding came from a denominational magazine in a local doctor’s office, I thought it noteworthy to quote it.
Many of the religions are advocating that we all should find a middle ground and come together to bind us all together in one faith and one religious people. This may be a good thought but what does it accomplish in the sight of our God and Savior and the Scriptures.
My former supervisor loved to tell one of his college experiences. The lecturing professor had been underway for most of the hour, writing formulas on all the blackboards, for some reason my boss said loudly “That is all wrong!” The professor turned and asked “Who said that?” Bill sheepishly raised his hand and the professor said “You may leave for today and you don’t have to take the next exam.” The professor had been writing mathematical nonsense waiting for someone to stop him. The religious world is putting us to the test. Lately, we have noticed that if you quote a Scripture to a friend or someone interested in what you believe, the response is “where did you get that?” -well it came from the Word of God, the Bible , the Scriptures,we didn’t make that up!!! or the reply can be “From what version or translation are you using?” There was a time when brethren used only the King James Version, not any more.
One of the recent obituaries in the metro paper listed the passing one of the most noted Biblical translators of this age. She had degrees in all the ancient languages that had formed the first written Bible. Her last efforts were to clarify the Revised Standard Version for modern mankind. How much clearer can we make God’s Word for everyone out on the street today is either a figurative or literal question. The Church Of Christ has always taken the stance of “speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent when the Bible is silent.” We have to be alert lest we are speared by the sharp point of our intelligence and let the chance go by to say “That is wrong.”
Do we live so close to the Lord today,Passing to and fro on life’s busy way, That the world in us can a likeness see To the Man of Calvary?
Can the world see Jesus in me?Can the world see Jesus in you?Does your love to Him ring true,And your life and service, too?
Do we love, with love to His own akin,All His creatures lost in the mire of sin? Will we reach a hand, whatsoever it cost,To reclaim a sinner lost?
As an open book they our lives will read,To our words and acts giving daily heed;
Will they be attracted, or turn away From the Man of Calvary?(old hymn)
The Cracked Acorn: Three Crosses
Last Monday, I traveled to one of the remaining Cross Clusters south of Culpeper. Someone has parked a junked car on one side and they need a coat of paint.
On October 6, 1993, Bernard Coffindaffer died; he was 68. This was the end of an ambitious project that came out of “a genuine, marvelous, glorious vision” to plant crosses throughout the world.
He obediently spent 2 million dollars in the last years of his life putting these clusters in 29 states, District of Columbia, Zambia, and The Philippines. There are at least 1,864 and may be more since he listed their locations on small pieces of paper.
The Cross Clusters represent the two thieves and Christ. Coffindaffer said that the crosses infer, “Not for saints or for sinners but for everyone that Jesus died for our sins and He’s coming again.”
These California Douglas Firs stand at 20 and 25 feet. The outside ones are angel blue and the center is Jerusalem gold. At the erection of each Cross Cluster, a service was held. He said unto the people and His disciples, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) – was often quoted. Prayers for repentance and forgiveness of sins were offered. Coffindaffer once said, “The Crosses speak peace within as we struggle without.”
Mr. Coffindaffer was born in West Virginia and was left an orphan at an early age. He graduated from high school at fourteen and spent six years in the Marine Corps in the Pacific theater and was at Iwo Jima and Nagasaki, Japan. He graduated with a business degree from the University of Charleston. He massed a fortune in the oil and coal businesses. At the age of forty-two, he declared himself a minister and served seven small churches in West Virginia. The Cross Clusters have been the subject of a documentary “Point Man for God” and part of a public television series “Different Drummer.”
In the past, I have taken several pictures and thought what would it be like to be crucified and lifted up in plain view for anyone to see. Like all plans of “mice and men” the crosses are being lost now in the hustle and bustle of our world. This cluster is fighting to stay visible among commercial motel and restaurant signs. I saw how hard it must be to appreciate it at 55 mph. You can easily miss this one set in a low valley.
The center cross is gold while the outside ones are white. All three are peeling. Christ’s cross is wrapped in strings of small lights that may have been on during the Christmas seasons. If you mention crosses today to someone they will talk of the recently made roadside memorials where fatal accidents have occurred. The original statement of the Clusters was to remind travelers to never forget the OLD RUGGED CROSS. The problems of our society have made an attempt to “fog over” the Crosses, but if you know where to look there’s still hope and the ONE who hangs there still loves you and really cares. It will always be the first thing you will see when the dew and fog have gone away for a new day.
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss, My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross, But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine, So lift your cross and follow close to me.” (from Songs FAITH and Praise)
The Cracked Acorn: Writing
When our sons were in grade school and discovered the joy of writing, I asked them to write a science fiction story for me. They gave it their best! The result was quite a story of space ships, green aliens, and villains with big teeth. There were the good guys and the bad guys and of course the castle with the deep dark forest close by. I read it and praised them for a good job. Weeks later, I asked if I could see it again. No, they had thrown it into the trash and not to be found. Little did I know that we may have passed up the chance to be millionaires.
You would have to be on Mars or totally out of touch to have missed the stir about the J.K.Rowling’s Potter series of fantasy witchcraft books. These have made her the richest woman in England.
It all started when she, a single parent, was forced to support her infant daughter. While her child was napping, Rowling started writing the first book at a table in a cafe. The books soon to end with the seventh one are now in most bookstores, schools and libraries. They are being applauded for being the catalyst to spur the 8-18 age group into a pell-mell race to grab the first edition at a price of nearly thirty dollars. Reading has jumped up 31% and has made reading “fun.” Many have tried to explain this reading surge translated into the languages of over 200 nations. Much has been written in the newspaper and on internet analyzing the interest among our young people in the Potter books. Books on magic and fantasy have been written over the years and are now cluttering the shelves of the used book stores. None have ever created a crazed reading stampede as these books.
What are the glaring short comings of the Rowling’s series? – God is not mentioned at all as the supreme being. Heroes have all the power and fly around on magic broomsticks and cast spells. A sinister being appears in the form of a gigantic snake. The main character’s mother returns from the dead in the form of an animal. Many put all this aside in the justification of these books and now movies as being sheer unadulterated brain floss entertainment and that’s that! This is one time the experts agree that too much exposure to this kind of entertainment “desensitizes our society to the occult.” This could well be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for many of our youth who really can’t handle one more peer driven pressure activity. Australia has tried to place warning labels on such books when placed in the local libraries.
Remember the drive to place the TEN COMMANDMENTS into the schools. The first commandment is: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.(Exodus 20)
We have to keep this is mind that God has not changed because thousands of years have passed.
HE has also said from brother Paul, “And now, brothers, as I close this letter let me say this one more thing, Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Phil. 4:8)
The Cracked Acorn: Love
If you are a serious reader of a broad realm of literature, you probably know how the sun works with its atomic furnace and how many miles per hour the planet Earth spins on its trip around our closest star. We all have our own solution of the energy crisis and know about digital recorders and what a HDTV is and why it is so much better, all for nice living and enjoyment.
What do you know about love?
Many books are written on this eternal subject. Music shops are catering to our tastes and desires of this wonderful human trait. The dictionary defines “love” as the deep and tender feeling of affection or attachment or devotion to a person or persons. It can be a strong, passionate attraction for a select individual. The blame is sometimes laid at the feet of Cupid with his bow and arrow.
At an early age I realized it was good to be with my parents. In later years, I knew this to be love. I cannot recall those early years when I first noticed that there were other tiny people (like myself) in the world. They were called girls. They seemed to have a mystery all their own and did things boys did not. They liked dolls and were more likely to go crying to their mothers. We boys tried not to do that, probably get a “whooping” before we could explain that the girls did it!
Through my teen years my soirees to satisfy my curiosity about womankind was rewarded by a slap to the face, shrugs indicating I was kin to insect-life. If I caught the eye of a fair damsel and she saw me; I got crossed-eyes and a tongue stuck out at me. I never gave up; I guess I thought this was some form of love. My father was always involved in farming. My mother watched from afar and would say,”It’s all part of growing up!” I was almost out of my teens at the time. On a trip home from shopping for groceries, I saw a roadside tree with mistletoe and thought to try to gather some. I knew of its supposedly powers and I did my best to harvest a few twigs. I never did, the stuff grew at the top of the tallest oak trees.
Sources say that the ancient Druids thought that mistletoe kept away lightning, disease and misfortune of every kind. The wood if carried warded off sickness and cured wounds (DO NOT APPLY TO ANY WOUND). The plant itself if eaten in any form,including the berries is deadly. It doesn’t bother the birds. If laid near your bedroom door it will give you restful sleep. Burn it and evil will be banished. Wear it around your neck to achieve invisibility. In Romania, home of Dracula, it is called the “vampire plant” since it thrives on the food of its host. In Europe it can grow to small shrub size. One of the myths was that if you kissed anyone under the mistletoe, the person fell madly in love with you.
The BIBLE sums it up about true love in John 3:16