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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Angel

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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!)

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The Cracked Acorn: Alien Form

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Friends, can’t do without them. They are there when we need them for advice and comfort and just there for us to blow off steam. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and pop up when we least expect them.

My friends have recently tried to convince me that it is time for me to get cable or satellite television. So far I have received enough broadcast(free) outside antenna tv to supply my need for news and entertainment and I find it most conducive for taking naps. I would miss my outside forays to the rooftop for maintenance and seeing the world from a larger and different angle. I have noticed that up there, I am invisible, people out walking never look up and wave or wonder who that nut is!.

It has been said that tv is a vast wasteland, could it be more vast via cable or satellite, 250 or more channels to surf? Anyway, ALF is back, alive and well with his own LIVE TALK SHOW on cable. ALF was never alive (a puppet) was on many years ago. Alien life form(ALF) does not take the most beautiful form, by society’s standards. I don’t think that I would like to meet up with him in a dark alley. He likes cats, and not for petting. He has a long segmented snout ending in a large bulbous nose, has obviously sharp teeth, cute pointy ears, large eyes with thick lashes. He arrived crashing through a suburban roof and “adopted” by the residents. Their mission was never to let anyone see ALF in the day or at night. The writers supplied lots of scripts where ALF would venture into the night in many disguises. In one he was delivering pizza. He knocks on the door and a lady opens it and fumbles for change. We soon realize that she is blind. ALF returns and returns and becomes her friend. They eat popcorn and ALF talks a lot about cats. They enjoy each other’s company never sharing the secret that only the audience knows.

For 33 years I bought newspapers and magazines at the U.S. Geological Survey Store managed by Jim Carroll. He was blind but knew my voice and always remembered my name. I would joke and sometimes assist by identifying stacked bundles of newspapers whether they were The POST or other newspapers. I could look like ALF, John Wayne, or Cyndi Lauper, but it didn’t mattered.

Somehow we were drawn together by some unknown reason.

Just As I Am, poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing, of the mind,Yea, all I need in Thee to find.
(Charlotte Elliot – (w. 1834)Sacred Selections)

From an early age I have loved the church and the people who love the Lord because I know the reason.

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. (John 3:16, see Romans 5:8;I John 4:9)

I leave you with this question, “Is God blind?” I know the shocking answer, but do you? Send me your answer.

ALF – Live Long and Prosper

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The Cracked Acorn: The Man of Calvary

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“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 always 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 person. This may be a good thought but what does it accomplish in the sight of our God and Savior and the Scriptures.

A former supervisor loved to tell one of his college experiences. The lecturing professor had been underway for most of the hour, writing formulas all over 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 anymore.

One of the recent obituaries in the metro paper listed the passing of 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.”

Following: Ancient Poem
If the world is in us, can that likeness see, 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?

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The Cracked Acorn: Back When

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Give me that old-time religion, It’s good enough for me.   (circa 1878)

One of our sons very young at the time liked to ask me to tell him about the olden days. At that time I did not feel that old but I went ahead and tried to relate to him what it was like to live in the olden days. The rural Kentucky area where I grew up provided within a short drive less than 30 minutes to all the shopping you could afford then. The little town of Auburn was about 5 miles from the house. Its sign boasted that “Auburn is big enough to serve you and small enough to know you.” It had the drugstore, doctor’s office, and grocery store and barbershop. If we needed more variety, it was 15 miles to the county seat of Simpson County, the larger town of Franklin.

Church worship service, most of the time opened with Give Me The Bible, and we sang all four verses. Later, songbooks omit this verse: “Give me the Bible, all my steps enlighten, Teach me the dangers of these realms below; That lamp of safety o’er the gloom shall brighten, That light alone the path of peace can show.” The only Bible for the scripture reading and referring to while the preacher was in the pulpit for 45 minutes was the King James version of 1611. Today, the translations and versions in English and other languages are almost numberless. Many missionaries have the task of selecting a BIBLE that is translated into the country’s language and easily understood by that population. I count 6 versions in my office which I often refer to see if certain words have been changed or edited out for supposedly better meaning.

The worship service like today ended by extending an invitation for baptism or for prayer on someone’s behalf. For years baptisms in the summer were done in a nearby creek, and in winter in the nearby town in a church that had a baptismal pool; I and a neighbor were baptized in it The old creek is gone; a new landowner changed its direction and gone is the willow tree and the steps down into the water.

Priscilla J. Owens (1829-1907) was a Sunday school teacher in Baltimore, Maryland, and taught in the public schools for a half-century. She was a member of a denominational church and most of her hymns were written for her Sunday school class. The year 1878 when Give Me The Bible was written was a quiet year noted only by the world event, the rise of Joseph Stalin-as Premier of the Soviet Union.

A child’s problem:

One afternoon a little boy was playing outdoors. He used his mother’s broom as a horse and had a wonderful time until it was getting dark.

He left the broom on the back porch. His mother was cleaning up the kitchen when she realized that her broom was missing. She asked the little boy about the broom, and he told her where it was.

She then asked him to please go get it. The little boy informed his mom that he was afraid of the dark and didn’t want to go out to get the broom.

His mother smiled and said, “The Lord is out there too, don’t be afraid.” The little boy opened the back door a little and said: “Lord if you’re out there, hand me the broom.”

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The Cracked Acorn: Thinking

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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

I am thinking about “thinking” this week. With the quick advancement and application of technology to all our needs and wishes, thinking has taken a blow to the neural system. Oh, I don’t mean the kind of thinking that leads to those really good jobs and a promotion or maybe a pat on the back for work well done. In my past work life, I enjoyed the thinking that went into writing programs that solved surveying problems and made fast searches of databases, far quicker than one could ever turn pages or apply the Helen Wood Speed Reading Method.

No, I am thinking of “thinking” as I mentioned before, this is not irrational or rational thinking, but random thinking- the kind that lacks any definite plan or order or purpose. Random thinking does not have an assigned value or may not mean anything at all, it just exists for the moment and then is gone. Thinking does not solve any or all or even the smallest of our worries or lend itself to any of our pleasures..one of the tenants’ girls that gathered with me at the school bus once told me that I could get into trouble for doing my own thinking. Does that mean that we should get others to help us do our own thinking…eh?…this is a question to ponder.

Random thinking may appear to be nonsense or lackadaisical unprecedented thoughts. People that can think in a random fashion may have fewer problems understanding the outside world. This type of thinking may not have a definite aim or purpose and is not sent or guided in a particular direction; it should occur without our prompting. Random thoughts have no weight and may not have a value or a defined direction; they happen and go off into space on an indefinite and infinite and undefined path of travel, even if space is curved, such thoughts have their own way.

Martin Luther believed that there was nothing random in understanding the Bible. As an outcome, he believed that free will was limited to low-level human decisions. So when one sins against another, they are limited on how to respond through forgiveness and loving actions. To sum up, he believed that unbounded randomness is severely limited to the point that our behaviors that are patterned and ordered step in and that is the end on anything close to a random response.

Donald Knuth from Stanford remarked that God exerts dynamic control over the world without violating any laws of science, and it suggests that what appears to be random to humans may not, in fact, be so random. “We may not agree with Martin or Donald about their views but know that God does not operate from a base of chaos or spin a wheel to decide that some random action or decision should be taken. If God then does not do the aforementioned, then out of the window goes the “theory” of evolution.”

Maybe it is time to go out on a hillside somewhere and unclutter our minds of why the sky is blue or why fish cannot swim backward or why if I eat enough green vegetables will it make me any smarter or why isn’t yodeling a written language or if the Bible is so clearly written then why are there in today’s society, so many various translations of God’s Word.

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The Cracked Acorn: Things

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Those of us who grew up in the post-WWII era know that things were not plentiful and most were in sorry condition. One worn-out car drove by my mother almost took out the farm gates. It was traded for one that had a severe engine noise, then there was the one that stalled on every hot day.

Eventually, factories turned to make all kinds of things for the home and automobiles by the thousands. Times definitely improved and if you had a little money most things could be bought on time. I learned early in childhood that things can let you down at the worst moments. It was still the age when you might have a friend that had taken some nights courses in how to repair TVs and radios. Remember this was the vacuum tube age. You could pull a tube and test it at the local drugstore and buy its replacement. Sewing machines and household appliances worked the same way. There was always a simple way of fixing them.

Those days are gone, mainly to the shores of other countries. Things are not repaired anymore. They are replaced. If anything happens to the thing of your dreams, most of the time it is headed to the landfill. These things come in a variety of sizes and colors with built-in obsolesce. Forget the idea of buying your last TV set or possibly your last automobile. Most things do last longer but no repairs and forget about finding another one like the one you are throwing away.

Severe problems are facing our planet. One threatening environmental issue is how to deal with MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). The average U.S. person daily throws out 5 pounds of trash. The yearly accumulation is 600 million tons. It has to go somewhere and this is the problem. The highest points on most counties are nicknamed “Mount Trashmore.” Recycling sounds good but it threatens jobs in the packaging industry. States have not figured out who is going the bear the burden of the cost to reverse the trend to throw every “thing” away- to go into a landfill.

India has a population of almost 2 billion people. Urban dwellers number 800 million-plus mountains of trash are creating cancer-causing fumes. Burning it fouls the air. More than a million people are making their living and supporting their families by collecting trash. A whole new caste of people has sprung up who pick over the heaps of garbage to find things to sell or wear or YES!

Even to eat. They are known as rag pickers. There was a photo exhibit at the Reston U.S. Geological Survey showing this group of people at work digging into the piles of throwaways. These people number more than COVID-19 victims. Who will support them if refuse is ever done away with? If we “waste not, want not” there will be lots of issues to deal with. Waste has become big business all because of “things.”

Luke 12:15, says, “Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Things aren’t necessary for being happy and content.” Phil 4:12-13, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”

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The Cracked Acorn: Birds

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Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? (Matthew 6:26)

I love birds, there’s no other way to say it. I don’t know if I wish I were a bird. There are some things birds can do that we cannot do. Sure, we can fly into the air, etc. but it has its faults. We have to construct airplanes to do this and at a great cost.

For the time though, think of how many birds there are in the world and all kinds of them. It is no wonder that Jesus used them for a teaching example. Their needs are taken care of, and they do not worry about tomorrow as we do. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? (Matthew 6:26)

It all came to me one morning in one of the Warrenton parking lots. I had no sooner pulled up and was about to get out of my car that I noticed a sparrow lit and was soon walking about seeing if someone had left behind a crust of bread. I wondered where he/she had come from and what hiding place concealed his/her nest. I assumed that he/she ‘shopped’ often at all the local McDonald’s.

Have you ever heard someone use the term ‘bird brain’, sure you have? Birds are in comparison to us, very small and do have a tiny brain. The brain that the birds have is just right and according to avian studies puts them on a reasonable scale of intelligence. Birds can see better and learn at a rapid pace to know where to search for food and where the best and safe and comfortable housing can be found.

The hymn ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.

Birds are mentioned in at least 93 places in the Bible.

It is unfortunate in our modern society that we overlook the appreciation of the one creature made by God. In our daily rush, we do not have the time to study and observe the many kinds and colors of the birds that fly above us and sometimes impede our way in the world. Many wise people have advised us to stop and ‘smell the roses’ and also to watch the birds because we could learn more about life from them.

As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mark 1:10)

On the wings of a snow-white dove. He sends his pure sweet love. A sign from above. On the wings of a dove. When troubles surround us when evils come. The body grows weak, the spirit grows numb. When these things beset us, he doesn’t forget us. He sends down his love on the wings of a dove. (Ferlin Husky, circa 1984)
and last:

Q: Where do birds meet for coffee?
A: In a nest – cafe.

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