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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Attendance

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A comedian once said that all through grade school, he sat behind ‘”Whimpering Charlie”. When Charlie didn’t come to school, I would go over to his house and sit behind Charlie.’ This reminded me of my childhood school days. Students were seated alphabetically. This was the seating arrangement for the year. Attendance was called before the start of class every school day. It was the duty of your parents to get you to school in all kinds of weather. A two-foot snow might close schools. At the end of the year, attendance awards were given.

After worship long ago at Great Falls Church of Christ, a lady visitor asked if I would write in her journal that she had attended the church with us that day. I directed her to one of the elders, and whether he signed, I don’t know. I had never heard of a church that demanded proof that you were in worship on a Sunday morning.

Church attendance has become a concern, not only in the U.S.A. but beyond our shores. Total commitment programs, care groups, and other good ideas to improve attendance do help but eventually peak and level off. Many are placing the blame on the numerous secular activities that overlap or happen at the same time of worship. We could also add cell phones, television, and the internet that have their tentacles into our prime time. Sports place stress on members to enjoy seeing a good Sunday game in person. Our fast-paced society calls for many to have a varied work schedule. and often Sunday is the only day off to rest up for the next work week. Shopping centers and many stores are open every day and even 24/7. Newspaper chains are crying the “blues” that people are not reading. we are getting the television news from our recliners.

This is interesting! A past issue of U.S. News & World Report stated that Europe in a century of time could become non-religious and enter the banning of religious symbols and the failure to find Christianity anywhere in the populace. Humanism has given rise to the worst ideologies of the century. Spiritual boredom has given rise to hyper-individualism and a lack of confidence in the future. Many have turned away from the faith of their forefathers and have become involved in mystical ecstatic forms of spiritual experience. Populist Christian movements have claimed hundreds of thousands of youngish followers who are seeking to make Christian beliefs real in their lives and work. Christianity has become diluted with diverse issues.


This is supposedly happening in Europe, should we be thinking it cannot happen on this continent? Time will tell. God knows the future. So, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)

I LOVE THY KINGDOM LORD, THE HOUSE OF THINE ABODE; THE CHURCH OUR BLEST REDEEMER SAVED WITH HIS OWN PRECIOUS BLOOD. I LOVE THY CHURCH O GOD! HER WALLS BEFORE THEE STAND, DEAR, AS THE APPLE OF THINE EYE, AND GRAVEN ON THY HAND. FOR HER MY TEARS SHALL FALL, FOR HER MY PRAYERS ASCEND; TO HER MY CRIES AND TOILS BE GIV’N, TILL TOILS AND CARES SHALL END. BEYOND MY HIGHEST JOY I PRIZE HER HEAV’NLY WAYS, HER SWEET COMMUNION, SOLEMN VOWS, HER HYMNS OF LOVE AND PRAISE. (lyrics – SACRED SELECTION HYMNS)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Boys

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Nearly thirteen, I contracted a viral flu-like disease that kept me bedridden for two weeks.  I was delirious and kept a high temperature, causing a loss of my hair.  The doctor came to our farmhouse and administered a new drug on the market, called penicillin.  It saved my life; I did not realize how close my life was threatened and went on living due to this miracle drug.

BLUE RIVER is a movie definitely not aimed at amusement.  It will leave you disturbed as I was.  Ninety minutes about disturbed young “men” are not often on the mark; this one caused me to reflect on my school years because I have seen two examples that this movie could have used. Boys in the wonder years, a time when a youth enters the maze or sieve to emerge on the other side transformed into an adult.  During this period, you may hear, “Boys will be boys!”, “He’s really a good kid.”, “Mischief is a part of it, he’ll grow out of this.”, “Give him space, and you’ll see him amount to something.”, and the “Military will straighten him out!”

Franklin was our comic on the long school bus rides; we laughed when he could imitate others, teachers, and our drivers.  Adults were often not amused. He could be very serious, taking part in school plays, like the role of the father of a juvenile delinquent. After graduation,  he was accepted into NROTC.  This was brief, the navy decided that they did not need any future officers with lots of humor and no openings for a stand-up comic.  He married and started a family.  I saw him at an early high school class reunion. He came in late and appeared to be eager to leave.  I barely had a passing moment to say “hello.”  A few months after I had returned to Virginia, I heard that he had committed suicide.

Donnie was a nearby farm buddy.  His mother was in poor health.  Mom took me along for visits.  He had a fascination for the big kitchen matches, used daily to start the kitchen stove and fireplaces.  I think he liked the sudden explosion and the bright flame.  At other times, he could do crazy things on the farm equipment.  From this, it was a trip to Florida in a ‘borrowed’ milk truck.  He began to travel the roads and liked being a part of a crew that was fighting western forest fires.  He died in his early twenties of tuberculosis.


The world missed out on having a comic, great actor, a NASCAR driver, a smokejumper, or a possible expert on explosives.  Today, I am sure things would have been different; we will never know!

 A man came to Jesus and got on his knees. He said, “Lord, have pity on my son. He is very sick and at times loses the use of his mind. Many times he falls into the fire or into the water. I took him to Your followers, but they were not able to heal him.” Then Jesus said, “You people of this day have no faith, and you are going the wrong way. How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”  Matthew 17th chapter, 14-17. (from TODAY’S ENGLISH version)

 

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The Cracked Acorn: Angels

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A friend in an act of kindness gave my deceased 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. In the holiday season, 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 exists, 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).

What children say and think about angels:
“My guardian angel helps me with math, but he’s not much good for science.”

“Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!”

“Angels taking us to heaven talk about what went wrong before you got dead.”

“Angels live in cloud houses made by God’s son who is a carpenter.”

“All angels are girls because they’re always wearing dresses.”

“I can’t understand why an angel would shoot an arrow through someone in love.”

“My grandma is an angel helping me while here on earth.”

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
The bed be blest that I lie on.
Four angels to my bed.
Four angels round my head,
One to watch, and one to pray,
And two to bear my soul away.”

 

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The Cracked Acorn: Friends

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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 we have received enough broadcast(free) outside antenna to supply our need for news and entertainment and I find it most conductive 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 to people out walking, they 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.


When I have newspapers and magazines at the U.S. Geological Survey Store managed by Jim Carroll. Jim has never seen me. He was blind but knew my voice and always remembered my name. I joked and sometimes assisted by identifying stacked bundles of newspapers whether they were THE POST or WASHINGTON NEWS. I could look like ALF, John Wayne, or Cyndi Lauper, but it didn’t matter.

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?”

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The Cracked Acorn: Self

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It was in the summer of 1849 that Phineas Gage, a railroad construction foreman was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. A dynamite blast went off and sent a tamping iron through the air. It passed through Gage’s head, and he survived. Before the accident, he was an efficient worker and shrewd businessman. The accident changed him and made him a profane person, with little regard for others. He also could not make plans for the future. His friends remarked that he had become “the other Gage.”

This and other incidents have prompted research into what is our “self.” Scientists are searching to explain the complex cohesive neural process that explains why we are happy or unhappy.

Children up to the age of 12 years are in the SELF-learning process and tend not to be bothered by changes in routines and life in general. Adults do not react the same way once SELF has been formed. Sources note that once the brain is fully formed that an action has a programmed response. Like computers, our thinking system is not only programmed to think and act but in the background, there is also the planned response. We put a lot of time into SELF. If a test is given with an equal number of questions on SELF and questions about others. Later we can recall the SELF questions but not those about others. How people can become less SELFish and learn to live and contribute to the lives of others is one of the wonderful traits of being human, never to ever be learned by a machine with artificial intelligence.

How we react to our daily lives and how flexible we are to responses from our fellow man is the key to the peace and tranquility we all seek. We all know of individuals who are still at a later time in life trying to find “SELF.” They are reaching for everything that can tell them that they are alive. Some need the thrill of skydiving or cliff jumping to say “Yes, this is the SELF, I have been looking for!” Whatever future studies show, the study of our SELF and how it drives our lives will continue to be interesting reading.


Books that have been written on SELF are: A Self Less Ordinary, Is Self Special? The Lost Self, Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain-and How It Changed the World. These are just a few of the many books written, to understand our SELF. It all started with the following Biblical Verse.

Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.

Today we still remain seekers:
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. You know the commandments:’Do not commit adultery, “Do not murder, “Do not steal, “Do not bear false witness, “Honor your father and your mother.'” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. (LUKE 18:18-23)

 

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The Cracked Acorn: the Ark

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… God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us… Hebrews 11:40

“The question of whatever happened to the ark of the covenant, an ornate box containing the laws handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai, has been a source of intense speculation for over two millenniums, The ark had a pre-eminent role in the Bible from its creation until the time it was placed in the Temple’s holy of holies during the days of David and Solomon. But sometime between 970 B.C. and 586 B.C., the ark disappeared, and no one knows what became of it. Does it still exist? Or was it destroyed thousands of years ago?” (From Eden to Exile by Eric H. Clines)

If you like myself, believe that the Bible is the spoken inspired literal word of God, you know that without a doubt that the ark of the covenant did exist. It was constructed of acacia wood, a little over 4 feet long and 2 ½ feet high and 2 ½ feet width, was covered over with hammered gold, a gold lid, and 2 cherubim of hammered gold and could have weighed between 400 and 500 pounds.

Exodus 25 and 37 give us details of how it was made. Eventually, it contains two tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a pot of manna. If it has survived through the ages it is popularly thought to be in a secret chamber deep within the Temple Mount, underneath the present-day Dome of the Rock. This could have been done before the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C.


Or
In January 1979, Ron Wyatt claimed that his team had found the ark in a cave system north of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, but something happened that they were never able to retrace their steps to document their discovery.

Or
The ark was removed during the reign of Manasseh and taken to Egypt. The latest claim is that the ark has been seen in a church in Aksum, Ethiopia.

Here’s an opinion, since the ark was never used in a profane manner and did carry with it the fear that one could be struck down that when Nebuchadnezzar in 585 B.C. destroyed the Temple, the collapse of the roof, walls, columns – the ark of the covenant was crushed and reduced to rubble, lost in the destruction or unearthed to be melted down for its gold. The people had been taken into slavery and so closed a great chapter of the nation in bondage.

Others believe that the ark was placed in the Temple during the days of David and Solomon and somewhere between 970 B. C. and 586 B. C. it disappeared. Does the ark still exist today or was it really destroyed thousands of years ago? (After a study, you might supply your own conclusion.)

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The Cracked Acorn: Traffic

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The ALL NEWS radio was mentioning the growing concern about traffic cameras. They not only watch the traffic but also are appearing on street corners in our major cities. Running a stop light or being in the wrong lane at HOV time can cost you major bucks not to mention a blemish on your driving record. Two such citations can force you to take a written part of the driver’s examination and your insurance rates may also go up. So no wonder that citizen groups are looking into the matter and thinking whether this is a just or an unjust action placed on the average person. Many think that this is a reason or way for local governments to increase revenue. Politicians are replying that it helps traffic flow and saves lives.

In my satellite tracking days at Invercargill, New Zealand, our group was invited to speak at the local Rotary Club. The club has a set agenda, and we were the welcomed guests. I love New Zealand. One of the members stood up and announced the weekly misbehavior he had noted. Individuals were named and fined for jaywalking, parking in the wrong spots, or just wearing the wrong color jacket on a certain day. It was all in good fun. Everyone enjoyed it. The fines were small and put into the kitty for a good cause.

Years later, my sons came home from school and wanted me to know that the teacher had talked about the evils of tobacco and alcohol. This was good, and I did not have a negative thought about this type of education. I did mention from a fatherly position that there was another side of this “coin.” The teacher did not note that these controlled substances were heavily taxed by the government. The “sin” taxes were often used to pay school expenses or even to pave roads possibly connected with the schools. I was wanting my sons to think logically that the world is a huge cow pasture, and you have to be careful where you step.

(1) What shall I say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (3) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him by baptism unto death so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. ROMANS 6:1


A LITTLE HUMOR:
A man was driving down the road. He passed a traffic camera and saw it flash. Astounded he had been caught speeding when he was doing the speed limit, he turned around and, going even slower, he passed the camera. Again he saw it flash. He couldn’t believe it! So he turned and, going at a snail’s pace, he passed the camera. Again he saw the camera flash. He guessed it must be faulty, so home he went. Four weeks later he received three traffic fines in the mail, all for not wearing a seat belt.

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Upcoming Events

Apr
13
Tue
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]
9:00 am Basic Pistol Shooting Class @ Warren County Community Center
Basic Pistol Shooting Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 17 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Basic Pistol Shooting Class @ Warren County Community Center
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department and Defensive Firearms of Virginia, LLC will be holding a Basic Pistol Shooting Class for those interested on Saturday, April 17, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.[...]
10:00 am 2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 17 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
2nd United States Cavalry - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Get up-close and personal with history. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the 2nd US Cavalry as they perform daily tasks of the Union soldiers. Activities[...]
Apr
18
Sun
9:30 am Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 18 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and prompts, we[...]
10:00 am 2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 18 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
2nd United States Cavalry - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Get up-close and personal with history. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the 2nd US Cavalry as they perform daily tasks of the Union soldiers. Activities[...]
Apr
20
Tue
all-day Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department Mad Science Kit contains experiments that focus on fun, interactivity, and entertainment. Participants ages 6-12 will be able to perform four (4) experiments, including Dyed Carnations, Lava Lamps,[...]
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]