Being retired! Time to lay back. Mow the lawn. Chop a few weeds out of the garden. It’s not always “The Life of Riley!”
Consider Monday, June 20th; it is 6 a.m. I had finished my morning coffee and chat session with my friends and was on the way from Warrenton to Manassas. The reason was the result of a Sunday flyer that discounted a large stereo TV. I can remember when 18″ was enough, but now we were marching towards a 32″. Traffic was at a snail’s pace. A snail would have made better time. *I finally diverted from 1-66 to take the road past the Stonewall Memory Garden and through the Manassas Battlefield. I received an extended view of the cemetery where many souls reposed, blissfully unaware of the chaos civilization hast wrought. I was given time to reflect and even envy them in their “sleep.”(I Thessalonians 4:14). Another mile brought me to the crossroads of the old stone house where the greater part of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) was fought during a thunderstorm on Saturday, July 20, 1861. The stone house is where the surgeon amputated mangled arms and legs in an attempt to save lives. I forgot what discomfort I had at the moment.
Finally, I reached the promised land 45 minutes later, less than 20 miles, computed to be a speed of 3 miles per hour. I decided it was time to breakfast at a popular chain. I was seated, handed a menu, and left to grow old. I left. It was time for a gallon of deck paint at the world’s largest retailer. I was greeted, assisted, and left with a smile and a song in my heart to be abandoned next door by a home supplier. All I wanted was a bit of insulation for the attic. I began to tell myself that it was time to practice the Christian virtues that our minister, Phil Adams, had preached about on a few past Sunday mornings. (Hebrews 12:1-2) I began to feel better, breathing and respiration close to normal, and my blood pressure came down to an acceptable level. It was time to visit the TV store where I made a purchase and then waited nearly an hour at the wrong door for my pickup. I began to hum the lyrics to “the famous talking horse-MR. ED). I headed home only to be delayed by the train, crossing Route 29 at Gainesville. The cell phone rang. My loved one was worried. “I am not on a world tour and should be home before lunch.” A neighbor had promised to help me avoid my third hernia and help me lift the 100 lb. set into the rec room. He bailed out; he’s a policeman and was late for work. Caught in “what to do?” the neighbor’s son was available and mission completed. The rest of the afternoon was spent in painting the deck and waiting for the air conditioning serviceman. Late in the afternoon, I made an effort to take away a week’s trash but was 30 minutes too late. There was a full moon that night, and while I walked the dog, I fought off the urge to run howling about the neighborhood.
*”The Rhode Island Regiments retreated in good order, Many were without shoes and terrificed to death, some had yielded to exhaustion and were borne upon the shoulders of others who could scarcely walk themselves. All day long bodies of troops walked into the city in the pelting rain. Many of their officers killed, left ccmpanys who did not know where to go. My neighbor hurt three ribs when thrcwn from his horse. We have heard of the death of several of our friends but happy to learn that Col Flonter & his aid are safe.” (from the Mary Henry Diary of July 1861)
HOW BEAUTIFUL HEAVEN MUST BE, SWEET HOME OF THE HAPPY AND FREE; FAIR HAVEN OF REST FOR THE WEARY, HOW BEAUTIFUL HEAVEN MUST BE. (from SACRED SELECTIONS)
The Cracked Acorn: The Question
What Comes Next For Me When I Die? Many go through life, day after day, year after year until they die, and they may never have thought about it or thought to ask.
The following may help: you are not finished when you die…Many think they are incarnated into some other being…or are taken into the universal consciousness…or some even think they are annihilated….they just cease to exist anymore. They are just like Rover, they are dead all over.
Speaking of Rover, some do not think Rover is dead all over. When people get into their fantasy world thinking, they imagine Rover is in heaven. In fact, there is a movie titled All Dogs Go To Heaven. Maybe you have seen it.
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 (NRSV)…I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust and turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth?
Sadly, animals, from dogs to elephants to ants…die. And like the animals, we die, too. And the bodies of both return to the dust. But, the wisest man who ever walked the earth (except Jesus Christ, of course) was not because he went to Harvard or was born an Einstein, but because God gave the wisdom to him… to Solomon, as a gift. But, notice he says as for what is left after they die…there is a difference…the dog and the elephant and the ant, as well as all animals when they die, their spirit goes down into the earth, but not human beings, it ascends up. He says later in the same book, in chapter 12:7…the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. But notice how he says who can know?! We cannot, except God tell us. And He says the spirit returns to God.
Revelation 14:13 – Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne (God), and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” — Revelation 20:12-15
If you are in the Lord, you will be at rest. And your name is in the book of life. Rev. 3:5 Jesus says…The one who conquers…will never have his name blotted out of the Book of Life. (preacher remarks from years ago)
The Cracked Acorn: Life
Subreddits – about life – if it were a video game
Wouldn’t life be easier if it were a video game? If murder hornets were a computer glitch and could be patched? If our pets’ short life spans be reprogrammed and live longer? If all aspects of life, from broken hearts to deaths, were merely quests that could be overcome.
What if you could get in touch with the higher power that developed the program – the existence of God – and whether or not he cares about us is a deep, philosophical question that (the writer of Subreddits) most people will wrestle with at some point or other, and it’s a scary question not to know the answer. All suddenly becomes less serious and less threatening because it doesn’t matter if you as an individual. It matters only to your character. (apologies to Travis Andrews of Wash. POST)
Yes! I have a computer but never got far into games. SUBREDDIT, so I read from the edited prior article is like FaceBook, but 650,000 souls also treat it as a game. A “The Game Store” has opened here in town; I must go in and see what is offered. As I have learned in the past, I will have to move up to a much faster computer to stay abreast of the times. Will it be worth it?
What if the answer to “Why?” Many are rushing to online devices and services to exercise their protoplasm to pose questions and post remarks to the giant audience in cyberspace that all questions have answers, do they? Where are the answers? I remember a lady in a Sunday School class admitted that she had lots of questions and would instead wait until she was in heaven to get the answers from the Lord.
Calculus was invented to answer questions with long, infinite answers. Calculus will chop off the infinite part and give the searcher a finite answer. A teacher many years ago would answer a question by saying, “For your needs, the answer is, ….”
That would certainly help us all with life’s questions, I think?
Now, I am fighting off an urge to return to a game I purchased many years ago. SIBERIA – Deep in alpine valleys, Kate uncovers a secret that has unexpected turns and twists; her business trip is a journey across a land where time throws all her values into question…and becomes a pact with destiny…
In times like these, you need a Savior,
In times like these, you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.!
( a hymn of long ago) [I wonder what the 650,000 are doing at this moment?]
The Cracked Acorn: Limitations
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept, and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. – Genesis: Chapter 2: 21-22
A part of the day’s routine for me is to drive to the nearby SHEETZ for the morning newspaper – it should be after midnight, but for once in a blue moon, I am out at 10 p.m. – so I intended to get coffee, a snack and return a few hours later for the POST. DITTO – I am in the snack aisle and looking over the goodies; a woman is on her knees looking at the bottom shelf; she was after Mrs. Freshley’s Cinnabon Twirls (make life Sweeter!) – I got down and found them for her, so then she told me all the details about this wonderful eatable, I listened and finally wandered away, but not until she complimented my choice of what I was carrying – Quaker Maple/Brown sugar Instant oatmeal.
I didn’t want Decaf at the coffee bar and needed something stronger. “Emma” came over and told me of her favorite coffee’s strong choice (Sumatra & Choice) – I followed through. She beat me to the checkout. “Emma” has red hair and is maybe in her 50s, well-dressed in a casual, expensive style. I would guess she was the outdoor type and could hold her own with the best if that should happen. It came my time to pay, and I mentioned my “contact” to the clerk and that I intended to remain inside until I knew she had departed the parking lot. Now I wish I had seen what she was driving. I knew I would never have to speak another word if we ever developed a relationship.
“A man must know his own limitations!” – Clint Eastwood.
Emma is the name of my father–in–law’s girlfriend’s sister. I last remember her in Albany, NY; I dropped her off at her apartment, and then she followed me back to the car and kept talking; eventually, I told her I had to leave, or my family might declare me missing!
READER’S DIGEST – “The police were following a car with an elderly couple inside. At a stop light, the woman fell out. She was o.k., and the police followed and pulled over her husband. “Sir! Did you know that your wife fell out at the stoplight?” He replied, “Oh, thank you, officer, I thought I had gone deaf!”
The Cracked Acorn: Stuff
The following was given to me by a young lady at church. In a corner of the article, it was inscribed “Alice.” It is so well written about our society that it has done its job, and I hope that Alice ( bless you and your stuff, are happy!).
“Every fall, I start stirring in my stuff. There is a closet, drawer, attic, and basement stuff. I separate the good stuff from the bad stuff; then I stuff the bad stuff anywhere the stuff is not too crowded until I decide if I will need the bad stuff.
When the Lord calls me home, my children will want the good stuff, but the bad stuff, stuffed wherever there is room among all the other stuff, will be stuffed in bags and taken to the dump where all the other people’s stuff has been taken. Whenever we have company, they always bring bags and bags of stuff. When I visit my son, he always moves his stuff so I will have room for my stuff. Their stuff and my stuff—It would be so much easier to use their stuff and leave my stuff at home with the rest of my stuff. This fall, I had an extra closet built so I would have a place for all the stuff too good to throw away and too bad to keep with my good stuff. You may have this problem, but I seem to spend a lot of time with stuff, foodstuff, cleaning, medicine, clothes, and outside stuff. What would life be like if we didn’t have all this stuff?
Now, there is all that stuff we use to make us smell better than we do. There is the stuff to make our hair look good. Stuff to make us look younger. Stuff to make us look healthier. Stuff to hold us in and stuff to fill us out. There is stuff to read, stuff to play with, stuff to entertain us, and stuff to eat; we stuff ourselves with the food stuff.
Well, our lives are filled with stuff…good stuff, bad stuff, little stuff, big stuff, useful stuff, junky stuff, and everyone’s stuff. When we leave all our stuff and go to heaven, whatever happens to our stuff won’t matter. We will still have…good stuff God has prepared for us in heaven.”
NOTE: My garage is cluttered with “I may need that stuff for some reason someday.” There is always a need for stuff that, if not used, may call for a visit to the nearest hardware store, and their stuff then costs more! Mine is free, or so I think! The dictionary defines stuff as an unlimited amount of materials needed for the various activities and emergencies that could come our way during one’s lifetime. (Ole English and circa 1840)
Matthew 6:19-“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,…but lay up treasures in heaven,’
The Cracked Acorn: The Note on the Door
This is a true story. I know personally the party involved. Love dwindled, unhappiness and dissatisfaction grew, daily fussing and fighting characterized the relationship of husband and wife, and ultimately, a divorce wrecked the home, leaving two bewildered, emotionally scarred children in its wake. The father gained custody, and the mother went her own way, doing her own thing.
The children loved their mother. The strange thing about love – it’s so often blind to the faults of those we love. Months went by, and the mother longed to see her children. She mustered up the courage to visit. Leaving her car at the curb, she walked to the front door only or find no one at home. But posted on the door was a note from the youngest of her two boys, the seven-teat-old. It read, “Mother, I’m at the park. Please come to the park.” She hurriedly made her way to the park, and there, sure enough, was the little fellow. After the preliminary hugs and kisses, the mother, still amazed by the note, said, “Honey, how did you know I was coming to see you today?” He answered.
“Oh, I didn’t,”
“But what made you put the note on the door if you didn’t know I was coming?”
In response, the love-starved little one said, “I put a note on the door every day, every time I leave, ’cause I knew you’d be coming to see me.”
“I knew you’d be coming to see me!” I wonder if there are not those OUT THERE, life’s rejects, those hurt by cruel circumstance, those whose life seems to be hopelessly going nowhere, those groping for some spiritual meaning in their lives, who are daily placing a note on their door which reads, “I’m not at home just now, but please – PLEASE – come find me..”
by David Ladd, preacher
Facts and Statistics
Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development.
According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 7,000 children in 2012. Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China, followed by Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver, according to research from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay, and neural atrophy in the developing brain.”Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries). In 2012, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. —American Surveys Digest—
Student A: I can spell my mom’s name! Teacher: Oh yeah? How do you spell it? Student A: M-O-M.
Student B: That’s how you spell MY mom’s name, too!
“We love him because he first loved us.” – 1 JOHN 4:19 KJV
The Cracked Acorn: The Eternal Garden
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Genesis 2:8
The grandchildren wanted to know why Grandma was always reading her Bible. They decided it must be like school; she was studying for her finals.
The SECRETS OF THE BIBLE – will test your knowledge of the Bible. As a child, I have always wondered if they would ever find the spot of the Garden of Eden; the Sunday morning children’s dream of the docile animals and the fruit would keep one young forever.
With refinements of aerial photography, GPS, and global tectonic studies, several theories point to the great possibility that there was such a place. Writing started about 3000 B.C.; two of the four rivers mentioned in the Bible are still here today- the Tigris (Daniel 10:4)and the “Prat,” known from ancient texts and translated today as the well-known Euphrates.
The idea of an Eden would have been known to the race of Sumerians in that area -the fertile crescent- and passed down to the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and finally to the Israelites, and then made its way into the Hebrew Bible. Another conjecture is that if the Garden of Eden were any place on earth, it would have been near the previously mentioned rivers.
A professor at Southwest Missouri University has suggested that the underwater area where the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers spill into the present Persian Gulf would have been the likely place in ancient times.
A relatively unknown idea is that “the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the story of Abraham – all took place in a small area between the Black Sea in the Ararat range in Turkey.” One scientist claims to have identified four of the rivers of Eden from NASA satellite photography. Further, this same person claims to know the location of the Ark of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments, Solomon’s Temple, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel.
If all these places are found and certified, will it change how we think of the Bible? I doubt it! Biblical studies conclude that “man may never find Eden outside the pages of God’s WORD.”
Meanwhile, Grandma can keep on reading her Bible and believing every word as God gave it.
There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting.
There’s a place that is wondrously fair
For it glows with the light of His presence
‘Tis the beautiful garden of prayer
O, the beautiful garden, the garden of prayer!
There, my Savior awaits, and He opens the gates.
To the beautiful garden of prayer
(Eleanor Schroll, 1878-1966)