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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Puzzle

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Summer did arrive with a vengeance. After very hot and humid days and this is not good, I decided that I like winter much better; come winter when I am bundled up in my parka, gloves, and heavy clothing and using the cane around the neighborhood for a chilling walk I might think, “Hey! Summer is much better!”

Escaping from the heat and humidity I have retreated to the “World’s Smallest office” and opened a 500-piece puzzle entitled -White Roses at Portland Head, Maine. It is a little bigger than past ones and has lots of blue sky, the ocean, and moss-covered rocks along the shoreline. It requires some time to get the boundaries started and then hours of searching to match colors and different shapes.

The dictionary word PUZZLE means not only a game but: to baffle or confuse mentally by presenting a difficult problem, maybe a toy that requires ingenuity and assembly of many parts, and to be in a state of bewilderment. Solving a puzzle requires deep thinking and skill for its solution. There are Chinese puzzles, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, number puzzles, and word puzzles. There is the SALAMANDER puzzle where each piece is the same shaped sized lizard-like piece.

A good puzzle can cause us to mull over, ponder, chew over, reflect, ruminate, speculate, contemplate; each puzzle can disguise its self as a mystery, a paradox, enigma, conundrum, a maze, labyrinth, and a teaser and a question; it leaves us to solve, work out, rack our brains, crack, resolve and decipher; all this goes together very nicely to give one delightful and exciting experience.


When problems crowd into our lives, a simple puzzle can offer mental calm. Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

The NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION uses PUZZLE in two Scriptures.

Mark 6:20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
Acts 5:24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.

“God’s will is like the picture on the box top of a great jigsaw puzzle. And each person is engaged in the discernment process around a specific topic. Some may have a few of the pieces in her or his hand. Bit by bit, then, we share the pieces of the Divine puzzle, placing on the table around which we have gathered. We take turns handling the pieces, twisting them, gathering them, moving them together or apart, wanting to make sense of them.” -a comment about puzzles from an INTERNET BLOGGER.

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill, He treasures up his bright designs And works his sovereign will. William Cowper (1731-1800)

 

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The Cracked Acorn: Unbelief

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John 14:1-31 – Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

My mother amazed me that she could cook up three farm meals a day; she was adept with the kitchen utensils. The old stand-by was the sieve to quickly drain off water from hot spaghetti or boiled vegetables. I was amazed at what the tiny holes could accomplish. I have often used the “sieve” to clear the air on some of today’s highly touted media topics.

“Millions of years ago ape-like animals lived their entire lives in trees, eating the abundant fruits and nuts. The climate began to change; droughts began to turn the environment from trees into vast plains of tall grass. In order for the ape-likes to survive, they began to spend more time on the ground. They had to see above the grass so they began to adapt by walking on two legs instead of four. Since they did not have keen eyesight, they began to develop a brain that could reason and outwit the larger animals. Soon this ape became ape man and after many more thousands of years became the man of today.”

This falls through the sieve, leaving “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 soul.”  – Genesis 2:7


This in a few words is what our leading minds of today call evolution. There are many missing links in this chain of events that are waiting to be found. In the 1950s and 1960s, in some of the mental institutions, surgeries were performed on patients to relieve seizures and spells of depressions. These were called lobotomies. A large percentage were not successful but led to extensive search in the brain for memory. Recent research has found much more about our wonderful organ. If we have a mind that can give us a rich life, where then is our soul found in our brains? The sieve finds that the soul is God-given and “Oh, bless our God, you peoples! Who keeps our soul among the living, “– Psalm 66:8,9

One of the many surveys shows that there may be more than 30 million Americans that are on the fence about the existence of God. There are 6 million that declare that they are atheists and have an agenda to help people over their ideas that God is a part of our modern society. The New Age Atheists are doing well at the newsstands with “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “The God Delusion.” They are preaching the religion of reason not mentioning that the French Renaissance was based wrongly on reason. “Come let us reason together, includes the Lord our God and if we are made “white as snow” and “willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land.” – Isaiah 1:18-21.

“A 2014 survey, self-identified “atheists” make up 3.1% of the US population, even though 9% of Americans agreed with the statement “Do not believe in God” while 2% agreed with the statement “Do not know if they believe in God”. (What would a 2021 survey show?)

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The Cracked Acorn: History

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God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.  – William Cowper, 1722.

The date is November 26, 1939, another hard winter. Two brothers had married two sisters and we all lived in a tenant farmhouse, was log and then covered with weatherboarding, it was big enough for an added bedroom up a small stairway back of the only heat – the fireplace. Those were the days, we lived without electricity and telephone and anything else that we expect today.

When I was 4 days old, Russia invaded and tried to cross in deep winter on frozen lakes and surprise Finland; my father often remarked about this short war (the WINTER WAR). The reason; when the Russians were out on the ice, the Finns dynamited it and that was that for a while. Dad often remarked about this thru the years. Farming is daily devoted work and not that exciting, I guess this is why he often remarked about this bit of history and laughed. I never asked where he got this and why he was amazed at past history. Now, I think it was from our battery radio, bought from Sears, Roebuck via the mail.

Farming is different now and machines have taken over, not many laborers are left in the wide-open spaces. I now have outlived most of the ones I knew back when. Most late nights I go into town and get the morning newspaper, often have to wait and I listen to WMAL radio and hear how the Space Station is doing and how vaccines are wonderful to get.


A few days ago, WMAL covered WW2 and noted that Russia only protected their homeland and did well at that. It mentioned the 1939 ”Winter War” between Russia and Finland, I thought of Dad and listened to what the following remarks would be: The Finns had just blown the ice and got the Russians really badly, only 3 survivors and the Finns had them in tow. A Russian asked the Finns, “I guess now you will shoot us?” The reply was, “Oh no!” The 2nd Russian asked, “I know you will shoot us?” again the Finns, “No, we will give you food and medical, you will not be shot.” The 1st Russian then asked, “Will you loan me a gun?’, the Finns handed him a gun which he took and turned, shot the 3rd Russian – who was a political officer. (my eyes glistened, father would have really enjoyed that bit of humor.)

This action between the 2 countries ended in a draw. Russia thought it was not worth the great efforts to win.

When World War 2 came, Hitler’s army made it an additional front to invade Russia and it would all be over by deep winter. Of course, it never happened, Russia waited and let the hard winter of deep snow and ice stop the invaders. Past history must have been a lesson Russia never forgot.

Oh, the depth of the riches and the knowledge of GOD… – Romans 11:33

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The Cracked Acorn: Dye Stain

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Yes! I remember when I got gravy on the best tie given to me by my piano teacher. It happened another time; it was a ballpoint pen in my shirt, leaked at the wrong time. It was taken to the cleaners and asked them to do their best. 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” is 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, and 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 on our flag. The book of Esther is a “colorful” book of the Bible and worth 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, and BEHOLD A STRANGER AT THE DOOR! ‘Tis HE, With garments dyed at Calvary.

For gentlemen who still wear ties -remember it was said, “If your children see you get a spot on your tie they’ll send you to a nursing home!” Cure: wear bow ties!

May the good Lord bless an’ 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: FRB180916

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You may wonder what happened to Capt. Janeway. Here are some of her Star Trek Voyager traits:

  •  She drinks coffee, not that sissy “Earl Grey” stuff.
  • Beams down to the planet like real Captains should.
  • Can speak “techno-babble” with the best of them.
  • Hasn’t quoted Shakespeare — yet.
  • Will give you two days off to handle a life-shattering experience.
  • When Janeway lands her ship, it can take off again.
  • When Janeway says ‘I don’t like you!’, she means it!
  • Janeway has a First Officer with a tattoo.
  • She doesn’t let any pesky Federation Admirals get in her way,
  • 40 episodes and without surrendering the ship.
  • Never worries about meeting a son she never knew she had.
  • Doesn’t force her crew to wear awful outfits; her outfit never wrinkles.
  • She doesn’t waste time learning a foreign language.
  • Doesn’t have a Counselor on board (thank God!).
  • Janeway doesn’t have to point which way to go when they set off.
  • Has a manly voice and draws her phaser at the first sign of trouble.
  • The crew members never try to take over the ship.
  • When “Q” asked her to run away with him, she refused.
  • This female Captain is willing to admit when they’re lost and pulls over for directions.

(enough of this Star Trek humor, I’m still laughing!)

It seems we never get tired of TV adventures into the heavens. So, we have been to the moon and may go again…there’s lip service that it may happen that a jaunt to Mars could happen.

The year 2007 provided a puzzle for those who make it their profession to study the darkness while we sleep. Kenzie Nimmo, a Ph.D. student noticed that a galaxy was producing an FRB ( ‘fast radio burst’). You think this is a signal from extraterrestrial intelligence. Her team is fast on to studying and solving this one, FRB 180916. Why is this occurring 500 million light-years on a 16-day cycle, like clockwork?


Some think it is 2 stars revolving about each other! (male and female? I knew you were thinking that?)

The puzzle gets extra complex when it is being found that other FRBs are out there. Now it has been found that there is one from inside our own galaxy, the Milky Way, not to worry it’s close by only 30,000 light-years from us. Those who have on their thinking caps say that all this is due to highly dense neutron stars hiding in these galaxies. Whoa! That comment blew me over!

Finally, our Ph.D. student comments that “this is all-important to determine a source to see that not only is there notable FRBs but there could be non-repeating FRBs, and to see if this is  invaluable for our understanding to provide a more lucrative way of finding more FRBs.”

Capt. Janeway…Where forth art thou?

Joshua 10:13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed. The sun that came out of his chamber like a bridegroom, and rejoiced as a strong man to run his course, stopped his course at once; and the moon that walks in her brightness proceeded not on, but both stood still, motionless, and continued in this position until the people had avenged themselves on their enemies.

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The Cracked Acorn: Bible Truth

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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 anymore.

One of the recent obituaries in the metro paper listed the passing of one of the most noted Biblical translators of this age: who had degrees in all the ancient languages that had formed the first written Bible. The 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?
(an ancient hymn)

 

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The Cracked Acorn: True Love, not turnips!

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“For GOD so loved the world, HE gave us HIS only SON…”– John 3:16

It was a hot, sultry, humid, awful southern day! A report had come back from a visit to the garden, the okra was gone and most all of anything left fit to eat was having a hard time of it, one could boil the withered turnips and then add salt and pepper for taste, to fill the stomach, perish the thought, but maybe it might take form before the day ended. The two discussed searching the empty cabins to look for a piece of salted hog shoulder.

The women sat on the once stately front porch, wondering, not talking, was there anything beautiful that they could see worth punishing their dry lips to talk about. One more sweep through the land and there would be nothing left. The sound of repeating thunder was not the work of coming rain, but more devastation. The stately trees on both sides of the long entrance lane could not take any more shelling, “Please Lord, save us the trees, if you do that…we’ll swear a few words and then eat the turnips for supper.”…these outspoken few words brought forth a chuckle!” Scarlet added an acid laugh with, “I hope that no more scarecrows come through, asking for something to eat!”, Millie nodded. (from, ACORN)

“It was then that Scarlett saw a dreaded sight, a bearded man coming slowly up the road under the cedars, clad in a ragged mixture of blue and gray uniform; his head was bowed low, and he dragged his feet, very slowly. “I thought we were done with all this, and he’s probably going to ask for food!”(Scarlett knew who the crippled figure was!!) In an instant, Melanie held up her faded skirts and shot off the steps; She raced with incoherent cries and threw herself into the dirty soldier’s arms. One of the kitchen help tried to hold Scarlett back… Let me go, you fool; it’s Ashley, her husband.” (Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND)


How can we older folk forget that classic film in glorious color, the 1st of its kind, 1939?

Joseph #2 in Egypt, knew his brothers, forgave them. No wonder that we often think of him as definitive of CHRIST-like virtues. Genesis 45: 15 – Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward, his brothers talked with him.

The prodigal son… Luke 15:20 – But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.

And I remember… at the Springfield Church of CHRIST… the father in the pew in front of us, begin to hug his little daughter, and squeeze her tightly until she called out, Dad, Stop, I can’t breathe!

May the good LORD squeeze you tightly until we meet again!

 

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Oct
28
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10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 4th and 5th. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 9 and 10 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]
Oct
29
Fri
9:00 am Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 29 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Edmonds Lane Field: Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Rappahannock, Goose Creek Association, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District and We Plant Trees, for volunteer tree planting at Sky Meadows State Park![...]
6:00 pm Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Oct 29 @ 6:00 pm – Oct 30 @ 9:00 pm
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Non-profit organization Crown Vic Kiings & Queens, of Winchester, Virginia, is hosting our annual car club TRUNK OR TREAT, in Front Royal, on October 29th. The event is free but donations are greatly appreciated, as[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]
Oct
30
Sat
9:00 am Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Edmonds Lane Field: Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Rappahannock, Goose Creek Association, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District and We Plant Trees, for volunteer tree planting at Sky Meadows State Park![...]
1:00 pm Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Oct 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Fall Craft Festival @ Fort Valley Museum
Fort Valley Museum Fall Craft Festival – Annual Fundraiser October 30 & 31, 2021 | Saturday 1-4pm, Sunday 2-5pm Come by and support the Fort Valley Museum at our annual Fall Craft Festival (formerly “Christmas[...]
1:00 pm Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Oct 30 @ 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Feed the Homeless Trunk or Treat @ T-Bone's Bar & Grill
Non-profit organization Crown Vic Kiings & Queens, of Winchester, Virginia, is hosting our annual car club FEED THE HOMELESS/TRUNK OR TREAT on October 30th. The event is free but donations are greatly appreciated, as Crown[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 30 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]