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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Is it wrong?

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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 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)

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The Cracked Acorn: Dyes

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Oh, my! It has happened again, sadly, I remember the gravy on the tie given to me by my piano teacher or the favorite ballpoint pen in my shirt that leaked at the wrong time. Take it to the cleaners and ask them to do their best and not always does a stubborn stain disappear. My father in the fifties worked as a knitter in a hosiery mill, making seamed ladies nylons. When they came off the machine they were white and had to be sent to the dyer. Here the hose was submerged in a vat for several hours to change the white to rose or beige or the latest colors that the market demanded. I was told that white nylon was the strongest and could be weakened by the dyes. Supposedly this art appeared in the Middle East about 5,000 years ago and our word “dye” in an English word.

In Biblical times, garments of beautiful colors were very expensive, both for the cloth and for the dyes. A garment signified importance or elevation in respect.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:3,4)

The Egyptians were the masters of color and the Hebrews may have brought this to perfection when the tabernacle was built. The Lord told them to “make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet” (Exodus 26:1), “And they shall take gold, and blue, and scarlet, and fine linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.” (Exodus 28:5,6) and in the vail “And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fined twined linen of cunning work,” (Exodus 26:31) This vail was torn when Christ was crucified. (Matthew 27:51)

Purple was seen as a royal color and desirable to buy, one of Paul’s converts at Thyatira was Lydia, a seller of purple. Today, all these wonderful and bright colors are easily found on all our clothing. Some translators have attached meanings to certain colors, such as WHITE-purity and innocence; BLACK-mourning, affliction, a calamity; RED-bloodshed; PURPLE-royalty, luxury; BLUE-deity, sky, and heaven; SCARLET-war, valor; GREEN-life, youth, and abundance. The red, white, and blue are in our flag. The book of Esther is a “colorful” book of the Bible and worth the reading and re-reading especially the description of the palace of King Ahasuerus.

Our hymnal has two songs that reflect color. BEAUTIFUL ROBES OF white, Beautiful land of light, Beautiful home so bright where there shall come no night; Beautiful crown I’ll wear, Shining and bright o’er there, Yonder is mansion fair, Gather us there. and BEHOLD A STRANGER AT THE DOOR! He gently knocks, has knocked before, has waited long, is waiting still; you treat no other friends so ill. But will He prove a Friend indeed! He will, the very Friend you need! The man of Nazarene ’Tis He, With garments dyed at Calvary.

For us, older gentlemen who still wear ties -remember said, “If your children see you get a spot on your best shirt they’ll send you to a nursing home!” Once at work, I saw the cure for this, a gentleman in the cafeteria just tucked his tie inside his shirt while he was eating. Does not work for bow ties.

May the good Lord bless and keep you, Whether near or far away. May you find that long-awaited,

Golden day today. 

May your troubles all be small ones, And your fortune ten times ten, May the good Lord bless and keep you,

‘Til we meet again. 

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Physician

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Times are changing. Correct that! They have changed.

I have used the same physician for 30 years. In the beginning, an office visit was easily scheduled and welcomed. A session consisted of at least a half hour’s conversation in which we discussed my general health and pinpointed concerns that could cause problems.

In the first several years I could walk in, and wait for an appointment, or maybe telephone and talk to the doctor. Prescriptions were easily re-filled and medical advice freely given. I knew the receptionists and nurses by their first names. But lately, I find my medical visit may be days away. And when I finally arrive at the office I may have the nurse interview me and write a prescription. I know the doctor is still there, I hear them call his name, and he answers from somewhere in the bowels of the waiting rooms.

Once the office had a few waiting when I arrived, now it is full – they must have gotten up earlier than I. The doctor never returns my calls and the receptionist act as a go-between; it’s either “you better come in” or “do you need to see the doctor”. Are people sicker than ever or is this the result of good health coverage. Our old country doctor said that people only got sick after the sun went down – now it seems to be 24/7. I feel now that I should really have a serious problem before I take the doctor’s time or get in the way of people who may be sicker than I!

What I have experienced through the years with my medical doctor can so easily happen to our religious life. When we come out dripping from the baptismal waters, we are eager to continue our one on one talks with our Lord. As the years go by, circumstances can intervene to stunt our fervor and our prayers maybe “when it is convenient.”

Eventually, we are drawn away from the center and feel alone. It is difficult more than any other time in history to remain from the first day dedicated to keeping our family tie to the Lord; our Lord whom we confessed and were baptized into His Kingdom. This is why our Christian family is so important, encouraging one another as we see the day approaching(Heb.10:25); we know not when our Lord may return.

Remember: Matthew 4:24 – And His fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.

Luke 4:40 When the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.

Song: #291 – Songs of Faith and Praise, The Great Physician now is near

The Great Physician now is near,
  The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
  Oh, hear the voice of Jesus!

Sweetest note in seraph song;
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

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The Cracked Acorn: Out & Back LOVE

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Nowadays everything comes either already assembled or in a kit with easy to put together instructions, usually in as least three languages. The early kits used to brag that the final product was easily produced using a 4-year-old child. Yes, you the adult, soon found out that it did indeed take a child to get the final three or four pieces together. I have attempted model airplanes and cars but my interest was recently pricked when I saw a boomerang kit, of course, easy to assemble.

What is the secret of a boomerang and what are its mysteries. I have learned not to be lured by the temptation of an easy product. Most of us have heard the song “My boomerang won’t come back.” You want your boomerang to come back or do you? We have all thrown sticks and this was probably done eons ago to bring home the family meal. The oldest such type “boomerang” dates to Poland at 18,000 years ago. The people that lived then did not want theirs to come back, only today, the ones that we see are manufactured for people to have fun
at picnics and special events. Research shows that the flight of these special sticks employs a complicated branch of mathematics.

If you are having dreams about boomerangs it could indicate that you are wondering about your reactions with other individuals and whether the results are positive or negative. In our society, the boomerang has become a cliché for a miscalculation that recoils on its maker. Early in WWII, the first torpedoes were equipped with primitive metal detectors, and many times the torpedoes would curve and home in on its own mother ship, the boomerang effect.

Recently I heard a song that said “God’s love is like a boomerang.” I am sure that God wants His love returned through us His children. If we were to love others unconditionally (as we should) without any doubt about how it would be returned, the whole world would be a much better place. Imagine if you could, no war or crime, all the hate of today gone!!!

Life is like a boomerang-
for if you crave love you must give it out
cast away the hate, resentment, and grief
speak the word of Love throughout.

Life is like a boomerang-
if you believe you can you will
but if your belief is nothing but idle words
you forever will standstill.

Life is like a boomerang-
to succeed you must believe success
simply wishing will not do it
for the Divine takes nothing less.

Life is like a boomerang-
Love all, forgive and bless
and God will give you what you need
for He wants nothing less. (poet Ellen M. DuBois)

Here’s an example of our love -Great Hymns of the Church#406

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 THINE HAND. FOR HER MY TEARS SHALL FALL, FOR HER MY PRAYERS ASCEND; TO HER MY CARES 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.

Matthew 19:19 – “Honor your father and mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”.

Exodus 20:12  “And, You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

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The Cracked Acorn: The Beard

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It was close to noon on a summer day in 1860, the train had stopped for water at Westfield, New York. A tall gangly man stepped off at the far side of the train and made his way across the field to a small farmhouse. There he knocked, the screen door opened and Abraham Lincoln entered to visit with Grace Bedell. She was eleven and had written President Lincoln and suggested that he would get more votes if he grew a beard. He grew a beard and was elected. The beard may have turned his failures for office into a successful one; history leaves us with that possible conclusion. Lincoln stayed for about half an hour and walked back to the train and into our hearts as one of our most beloved presidents.

The above is the movie version. Lincoln was advised by delegates of his own party to grow a beard, thinking that it would help him to win the 1860 election. It has been thought that President Lincoln was encouraged by a letter from young Grace to stop shaving. She mentioned that she was sure that all of her four brothers would vote for him if he grew a beard. “My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you too but I will try to get everyone to vote for you.” After the election, Lincoln passed through Westfield and spoke from the train. He saw Grace in the crowd and invited her onto the platform, obviously to show her his beard and give her a kiss on the cheek. Many say that this was the last time that a politician actively used a suggestion from the public.

Note: It is believed that some early tribal, nomad people were very hairy and took pride in a well-trimmed beard. A king of that era would certainly have the finest sculptured beard. It was the symbol of his terrible power. Roman soldiers were the first to abandon long facial hair. In close quarters of combat, it was thought that grabbing the beard might give your enemy the advantage.

The Scriptures make mention of beards. In Leviticus 19:27 – “You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” This was a commandment to the Hebrew people. In II Samuel 1-12, King David attacked and conquered the country of Ammon because they had shaved off half of the beards of David’s envoys. The theme of Psalm 133 is unity – “Behold, how good, and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;” The beard was a prized possession of the Bible for in Isaiah 50:6 – “I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that plucked off my hair. I hid my face from shame and spitting.”

The Gospels tell us that Christ was treated as a criminal. Matthew 26:67- “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands.” Mark 14:65 – “And some began to spit on him and to cover his face, and to buffet him,” Luke 22:64-65 – “And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy to him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. And said, Hail, King of the Jews!and they smote him with their hands. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe!”

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The Cracked Acorn: Pew Presence

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A comedian said that all through grade school, he sat behind “Whimpering Charlie.” When Charlie didn’t come to school, he 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 parents to get you to school in all kinds of weather. Two-foot snow might close schools. At the end of the year, attendance awards were given.

After worship service years 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 wanted 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 iPhones, television, and the internet that have their tentacles into our time. Sports place stress on crowds 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 workday. 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.

U.S. News & World Report has stated that Europe may be Islamic by the next century. This is linked to the banning of religious symbols and the failure to mention the effect of Christianity on the populace. Humanism has given rise to the worst ideologies of this 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 are trying to claim followers who are seeking to make Christian beliefs real in their lives and work. Christianity has become diluted with diverse groups and issues.

This is supposedly happening in Europe, should we be thinking it cannot happen on these shores? Time will tell. God knows the future. “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! -lyrics – SACRED SELECTION HYMNS

Satan exists… eternal salvation is possible only through His Son… Jesus lived a sinless life on earth… God is all-knowing, all-powerful, the perfect deity who created the universe and still rules today. “Happy is that people, in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” that is (Psalm 144:15)

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The Cracked Acorn: Hard Times

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The KENTUCKY DERBY has been delayed this year. It is a nostalgic event from my childhood when we traveled in our Kaiser to Louisville to my uncle and aunt’s home, their only child, Doris, was still alive. From there we drove out to Churchill Downs to make a day of it. I was probably 12 years old at the time. I recall that the crowds were large, and I was small lost in the adults out on the infield. The men wore brimmed hats and the ladies had their flowery hats to keep the sun off. When the race was over, there was quite a flow of people using the tunnel under the track to reach the parking lots. It was not time to get separated from your parents.

The band would strike up the state song MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME. I noticed that last year it appeared that most were not singing, maybe the lyrics were not on the program sheets or many were not from Kentucky. The old tune has bittersweet words – By ‘n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door, weep no more my lady, oh, weep no more, today. We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home far away. When Stephen Foster wrote it in 1853, there surely were days of hard times for everyone. While some lived lavishly, others barely made it from day today. Typhoid fever, tubercular disease, cholera, smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, syphilis, and consumption stalked and carried away the rich and poor alike. Life was short, but 167 years later we only read about such a time shortly before the Civil War… In our time the Lord has been good.

My parents could remember the Great Depression when jobs were nonexistent and you were fortunate to live on a farm. My dad often told the story of the man who went to see his doctor. He told the doctor he was feeling poorly. The doctor asked him what he was eating. “All we have to eat is peas.” The doctor said. “That’s your problem, your blood has turned to pea soup!”

The song of that day was -THEY USED TO TELL ME I WAS BUILDING A DREAM, AND SO I FOLLOWED THE MOB WHEN THERE WAS EARTH TO PLOW, OR GUNS TO BEAR, I WAS ALWAYS RIGHT THERE ON THE JOB. THEY USED TO TELL ME I WAS BUILDING A DREAM, WITH PEACE AND GLORY AHEAD, WHY SHOULD I BE STANDING IN LINE, JUST WAITING FOR BREAD? SAY, DON’T YOU REMEMBER, I’M YOUR PAL? BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?

I doubt that there were many in the crowd the last May 7th at the 131st running that really know what an “a hard time-come knockin at the door” means. We truly live in the greatest country on this green earth. It is humbling to remember when times were not so good.

That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 23

O Beulah land, sweet Beulah! As on the highest mount I stand. I look away across the sea Where mansions are prepared for me, And view the shining glory shore, My heaven, my home forevermore. (lyrics from SACRED SELECTIONS)

In closing, I saw this wise adage posted in a store, Do Not Resent Growing Old. Many Are Denied The Privilege …
(Irish Blessing)

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