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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Handwriting

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“Then HE stooped down again and wrote in the dust.  … ”  John 8:8

Handwriting took a turn in 1714 when Henry Mill of England invented a ‘writing machine.’ It was many years later, Remington & Sons mass produced the Sholes & Glidden typewriter.

About 1975. In 1978 the New York Times converted its editorial typewriters to word processors, and Jimmy Carter was the first American president to go electronic, writing his memoirs on a word processor.

The Bible was written by hand. Letters from friends to friends and to those of interest were carefully written to convey most of time personal and important information. People of years ago did not see each other as often as we do today, blame it on the proliferation of the automobile. Today, if I want to contact someone I either use my cellphone or go to my home PC and send an e-mail.

All if this is aforementioned to get to the relevant. It was the day that I received a telephone message in my home office to call my neighbor across the street. I thought it strange that over the years, I hardly ever had this happened beyond a friendly wave while walking our dog. I dialed and instantly my neighbor’s wife answered. She thought it strange that someone had addressed a letter with their address on the front of an envelope; inside it was a letter from someone who wished to remain anonymous. The contents of the letter were to warn maybe our neighbor’s husband who is a law enforcement officer that there was another known person mentioned. It was assumed that the word was to get to her husband, a law enforcement officer that there was a person in her neighborhood that was ‘evil’ and not to be trusted. Why this was done and will there be more letters, all remains to be revealed. Time has since passed and no more letters. We could assume that the ‘person’ moved away or other situations intervened.

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle.
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don’t know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?” (Peggy Lee 1920 – 2002)

Yes! Handwriting has about gone away and circuses and a lot of other things….Meanwhile the American public echoes ,”Is that all there is?” I have a mental list of things that will disappear in the coming years, say 50 years. I once thought a million dollars was something to reach for, now it is a billion dollars,,,who knows that soon it will be a trillion dollars and small countries will be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Where is a Daniel when we need him and he can tell us what the “handwriting on the wall” means to us poor citizens of the world today.You might want to read the Old Testament of Daniel 5:26-28.

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The Cracked Acorn: Making It Home

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How many times have we seen this movie! I was inspired by the movie TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH.

(WAIST GUNNER)- Captain, reporting heavy damage. Andersen’s out of it. An ME-109 was lucky.
(CO-PILOT) – I’ve taken over. Cockpit riddled. Captain injured.

The BETTY GRABLE is on her 13th WWII mission. Will this weary scarred B-17 bomber reach the target and return home. In a movie theater, this question is usually answered in about two hours.

(NAVAGITOR) – Within the target area.
(BOMBADIER) – 3-2-1 and bombs away.
(CO-PILOT) – Lost #4 was on fire. One inboard with low oil pressure. Fuel is low.

It does not look good for the BETTY G. We are taunt in our comfy seats. Fingers are crossed that our crew will make the long journey through unfriendly skies to safety. BETTY has made it before and she should do it again, but there are some terrifying moments ahead.

(BETTY G.) – Control Tower,on two engines. Have wounded. Landing gear may be damaged. Fuel about gone.
((Control) – Copy, emergency strip cleared. Good luck.

I can identify with the BETTY G. The years are beginning to show wear and tear on my covering (skin). I no longer look youthful, except in spirit. The landing gear (my legs) can’t do their job as well anymore. I try not to run and run like I was a youngster again. This is long past. I try to stay on level ground and avoid too many hills;mountain climbing is out of the picture. The enemy has made several “runs” on me. At times, I wanted to walk (fly) away and bow to the “I’m just human.” But something always whispers in my ear “be strong, be courageous for I am with you.”

So far, I have been a winner. I am nearing the target (threescore and ten). I think of home (heaven) often. Many loved ones, friends are waiting for me with smiles and breathless hugs. Do we breathe in heaven? I am working to take many with me eventually (co-pilot and crew). I have encouraged others and try to lend silent comfort in times of joy and sadness. I need your help and assistance and prayers to aid me in reaching the heavenly home. There are many forces that are determining that the journey will be bumpy and not a smooth ride. We must remain alert and not sleep lest the enemy take advantage, wound us and cause us to fail. Constant training (Bible study) must be our sword and shield. We have many examples before us that this can be done.

“Be strong and of good courage,fear not,nor be afraid of them:for the Lord thy God,he it is that doth go with thee;he will not fail thee,nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Wait on the Lord:be of good courage,and he shall strengthen thine heart:wait,I say, on the Lord.” (Psalms 27:14)

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The Cracked Acorn: Bird Brain

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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 and 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, like we do.

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 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 McDonalds.

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

All four Gospel accounts refer to the baptism of Jesus by John at the Jordan river (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). The Luke account says “And the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily shape, like a dove on Him.” Because the Holy Spirit is just that—spirit—He is not visible to us. This occasion, however, was a real visible appearance, and was doubtless seen by the people. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16), and the form of the dove was assumed on this occasion to signify that the Spirit with which Jesus would be endowed would be one of purity and innocence.

Another symbol involving the dove comes from the account of the Flood and Noah’s ark in Genesis 6-8. When the earth had been covered with water for some time, Noah wanted to check to see if there was dry land anywhere, so he sent out a dove which came back with an olive branch in her beak (Genesis 8:11). Since that time, the olive branch has been a symbol of peace.

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The Cracked Acorn: Stealing

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“Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19)

A man recently said to me, “I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!” Have you ever prayed for patience? We live in a “hurry up” world. People “hurry up” so they can rush to do something else. I sometimes wonder why wasn’t I born with roller skates on my feet. Maybe what we need is just more patience. Steve Cummings, Church of Christ, Tusculum,TN

This week, I thought I would make comments about ‘patience’, but I have not quite made it to that point. It all happened this way:

With the return of nice weather, snow and ice and all that yucky stuff is out of the way. it is the time to think about the out-of-doors and doing those projects that require visits to hardware and building supply stores. It is time to give attention to our deck in the back of the house, it has done well for 26 years and needs paint or stain or something to give its wood an extent ion on life.

After travelling about and getting advice from an employee at one of those stores, I decided that sanding would be the way to go and their biggest belt sander would be the answer. I pulled one from a lower shelf and noticed that one was still on the back of the shelf, I pulled it to the front.

“Could I help you?’ was the question from a young employee. I told him I had what I wanted. At that point he inquired of his hand held inventory device and said there were 3 in stock. I had one and one was left on the shelf. I said, “It looks like one of those has taken a ‘walk.’ He said,”I am not surprised!”

A recent survey points back to the last holiday shopping season and it was estimated that 9 billion dollars was lost to shoplifting. This translates to an added cost of 90 dollars to each customer’s purchases at that time.

You don’t have to be the fastest pup in the pack to see that America has patiently accepted stealing as part of the modern buying landscape. The reason for this that the cost of prosecuting individuals caught in the act can have reactions from protective civil rights group and it becomes cost effective to look the other way. Comments, Please!

Carlson was charged with stealing a Mercedes Benz, and after a long trial, the jury acquitted him. Later that day Carlson came back to the judge who had presided at the hearing.”Your honor,” he said, “I wanna get out a warrant for that dirty lawyer of mine.””Why ?” asked the judge. “He won your acquittal. What do you want to have him arrested for?””Well, your honor,” replied Carlson, “I didn’t have the money to pay his fee, so he went and took the car I stole.

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The Cracked Acorn: Memory

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And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2:22

It was Friday. June 14,2019. The weather had been predicted to be sunny and breezy. I decided to drive to Front Royal, VA and take Route 340 south to Luray;I had never traveled this road before; the 24 miles went by quickly and soon I was shown the sign of Route 211 back east to Warrenton. I was very familiar with this road, I had taken it several times over the years to visit family in Kentucky. I retired 2004 and had not been this far out on 211 for for 15 years. Shops were closed but Jellystone Camping Park was still active and well painted and kept up.

I had about reached the foot of Blue Ridge Park, Brookside Restaurant appeared to be closed, for good. On the other side, right side was the Pineland Souvenir Shop. It appeared to have been closed for more than 10 years, vines had grown completely over the doors. Many years ago when I had my 1984 Dodge Caravan, my wife and I had come out this far on a hot summer day for a meal somewhere and when we saw this shop, I pulled over and parked. It was long, with several sliding doors that were raised for display and inside several aisles of tables. We were there the better part of an hour. Gloria was interested in all of it. I remember looking across at her, she was leaning over and staring intensely at some item that had caught her eye. There was a room at the far end given over to Elvis displays: lamps, pictures of all sizes and all devoted to the icon of the past. My loved one bought several gifts intended for friends, and then we stopped at a restaurant in Sperryville, also now closed for many years.

These were early years when after Thanksgiving, churches and homes were open with arts & crafts for sale, we went to most all of these. All this had gone away, I guess that the internet, Walmart and catalogs filling the mailbox have caused people to shop elsewhere or through the mail. My wife as most of you know , passed away last December 13th. If she was still in good health, she would have been disappointed to learn that the Pineland Gift shop was gone and the restaurant in Sperryville.

The two back bedrooms are still filled with items she intended to wrap and give away. Many times she had come to my home office and had lists of small things out of the catalogs that I ordered for her over the internet. The country size mailbox really got a workout. Word must have gotten around that she is gone, no more catalogs and hardly any delivered mail. Calendars were ordered over the NET about every year for neighbors and again…friends.

For days now, I can’t get that picture out of my mind of what had caught her attention at that shop on a day so long ago. Maybe some day in another place, I can ask her.
When I saw her last at the nursing home…I could only say,”You have been a good person!”

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The Cracked Acorn: the Answer

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Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelite’s swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” (Exodus 13:19)

The highway monument sits beside the road, once its glory could be easily noticed, but now time has gone by and traffic speeds on its way into Culpeper for bargains at one of the Super stores open 24/7. One must be traveling slowly and look to the right and there it is in a madness of timothy, foxtail, clover and different types of grasses almost covering its moment of emplacement. Mother nature is doing its best to hide this interloper. We see these appointments of kindness due to a sadness and loss alongside other roads and highways. Some are complaining to the Highway Departments that these are distracting and could cause accidents, for a lack of a reason.

Within this random chaotic arrangement of clover , weeds, and display of bucolic sent from above, flowers is a subliminal message. The staked unstable monument is a Styrofoam cross
with its head dress of WalMart vinyl chain of floral flowers. It is the cross and those who sat it in the ground must believe that there is a God and that there is hope and that eventually

somewhere beyond this arena of passing joys and moments of sadness is another place, eternal and there we shall all meet again.

Why any person would place a cross to be soon cast into the landfill or crushed by an attempt to mow and clear the byways for passing motorists. I could answer that I would have the answers to more of those questions that all of us face from time to time and have to answer, “I don’t know!” and, hope this is enough to have closure.

“A little girl was riding on the airplane across the Midwest to spend the summer with her grandparents. She was reading one of her favorite paperback stories,”Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” when a young man took the vacant seat next to her. He attempted to start a conversation, “You know on long flights like this that time can pass more quickly if we have conversation. I would like to tell you, “Why there is no God and no heaven and nothing beyond this earth; you live and then you die and that’s it!”

With that the little girl looked up from her book, “Do you know why a horse eats green grass and leaves behind round clumps, the cow eats the same grass and leaves behind round patties and the goat does the same and leaves little pellets?” The young man laughed, “I don’t know.”

The little girl said, “The dimmest farmer knows and I know we have nothing to talk about,” and with that she went back to reading,”Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

A Cross for me to carry, on the road of life you see.
I know that I must tarry on to my eternal destiny.
For Jesus has a Crown of Life waiting just for me…
Dr. Donald E. Battle (written 2002)

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The Cracked Acorn: Large Copier

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When I was still working in a Federal building, I needed to make a copy of a large document. When I went to the copy machine room, I found a notice that it had moved to the 3rd floor. A reason was not given.

If you will bear with me I will attempt in my own feeble way to guide you to the new location of the same mentioned machine. Are you still with me or maybe you don’t care, it will be quite a journey. You may want to refer to this as a mission,a quest or an adventure.

First a word of advice, don’t talk to anyone on the 3rd floor, that you meet, and ask them,”Do you know where the large copier has moved?”

If you want to meet people and possibly influence them this is a good way, just watch their eyes light up because they also want to know where the large copier is located. Many of them will freely confess that they never knew there was a large copier on the 3rd floor. You can also find others who are willing to read the posted signs with you (about the copier) even though they don’t know a thing about the copier, but this is helpful if you missed much of your schooling and never learned to read. People of the 3rd floor are very friendly and will join you in searching for the large copier, you only have to ask them. The 3rd floor is very large and filled with many corridors and offices (John 14:2). This decision is up to you if you think that you need to form an expedition in your search for the large copier.

With this behind us, we want to leave our present office on the second floor and head up front into the hallway that goes to the main elevators. Take a right into the corridor that will put you up front over the “new” guard’s post. Take the small elevator up to the 3rd floor. When you have arrived, go left or go right, if you go left you will have to go left again into the hallway that takes you to the large copier, if you go right then you must go left (having previously refused or decided to not go left). Now that you are in this hallway, you will see afar off an EXIT sign, this is your point to head towards. Don’t get mesmerized at this sudden turn of events, you only want to go to the third room on the right. The room number is 3C-409 and there are two double glass doors. The doors have a lock and the code is 24. Inside is the large copier and you will have to punch in the code 5590 to start it.

People of the 3rd floor may not know the code and try to get in while you are making copies. You may choose to ignore them and whistle a happy tune while you make all the copies you want. I enjoyed this so much that I made a second trip to the 3rd floor copier on the same day but I was surprised by a lady who had entered a back door then propped open the “locked” door and let all her friends in!

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