It was five years ago when I wrote about my Dad that I had confided to him that while working underneath my car that I would sometimes take a short nap. He told me that he had been doing that for years. It took me by surprise that I was already doing what I thought of an older person’s habit. I now find that naps overtake me at inconvenient times when I am trying to watch an interesting television program.
I have returned to the fascinating arena of sleep. Medical experts on the subject find that we have always needed sleep. It’s the prime ingredient for the healthy recipe of a long life. Americans are finding it harder and harder to squeeze eight hours of “downtime” into their lives. One out of three suffers chronic reasons denying them adequate rest. It can be shown that close to fifty percent of the drivers in the morning and evening commutes have not prepared themselves for this daily stress test and face the possibility of causing or being part of a serious accident. High auto and medical insurance rates are the indicators that show we as a nation are not admitting that we need to heed what the Lord has said in the Scriptures.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain, you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for HE grants sleep to those HE loves. Psalm 127:1,2
Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverb 5:23,24
The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. Ecclesiastes 5:12
Note: how the Lord uses the word “sleep” in I Thessalonians 5:1,6
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (I understand this to mean metaphorically that we are not to “sleeping” by worldly standards but to stay conscious of the fact the Lord may return for those He has given sweet restful physical sleep.)
How much sleep do we need? Margaret Thatcher was notorious for existing three to four hours a night, and she wasn’t exactly an underachiever. Many would be proud to have her level of achievement.
We cannot live without sleep. “There’s an account of a coast-to-coast airplane crew who put the plane on autopilot and then all fell asleep. The plane, loaded with passengers, overshot the destination and was a hundred miles out to sea before air traffic control was able to wake them over the radio.” from UNDERSTANDING HUMAN LIMITS IN A WORLD THAT NEVER SLEEPS by Martin Moore-Ede.
So if you are building up a sleep debt, here are a few tips. Try them – could save your life and others with you: Avoid energy drinks, caffeine with loads of sugar, try to sleep in a noise-free place, avoid strenuous exercise late in the evening, cut out stress and worries – if possible, have a light snack before bedtime, some say to keep the television and radio out of the bedroom and try to avoid long naps during the day.
The Cracked Acorn: the Ark
… 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.
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.
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.)
The Cracked Acorn: Traffic
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.
The Cracked Acorn: A Visit
“Blessed be His glorious Name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory.” – Psalm 72:19
“Xlaatukazada nikto” is a phrase originating from the 1951 science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still. “Klaatu” is the name of the humanoid alien protagonist in the film. Klaatu (Michael Rennie) commanded Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) that, were anything to happen to him, she must utter the phrase to the robot Gort. In response, Gort relented from destroying the Earth and brought Klaatu back from death.’ (WIKAPEDIA)
If you have not seen this classic sci-fi black/white movie, please do so because it may soon be truer and larger than life. For the past 50 years, a group of scientists has been peering through their telescopes observing the heavens for signs or signals that are intentionally produced. So far, millions of radio signals received per minute have turned out to be just static. The federal government has given up funding and millions of dollars are now being collected to unite 13 countries’ resources to continue the search.
SETT (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is sure that the time of discovery is nearer than ever before. Current findings point to tens of billions of planets that may have some life, maybe not as we know it! Telescopes are now pointed towards two-star systems in the Northern Hemisphere that show promise and have earned the name of Project Dorothy – a reference to another movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” A fellow worker at the U.S. Geological survey, his daughter was so fond of the latter movie, he bought her a copy and a TV set for her bedroom, so she could watch it anytime.
We could let out a guffaw or two about aliens from other worlds coming to visit us, but we cannot deny the amazing advances that have come our way over the past 50 years and that anything could happen. Growing up in a farming community, I had never seen anyone from a foreign country. Hearing talk about Japan, England, or France was unbelievable for me. Two world wars tied our country with other nations with different languages and cultures.
The holiday season always comes fast, and whether we know the exact day that Jesus was born does not really weigh-in, as much as we do pause during Christmas to recognize that an “alien” came here in a special way to change our lives and the whole human race. After almost 2,000 years, mankind is still struggling to recognize this wonderful gift and practice the message of Christianity. If we cannot do the steps to enter God’s kingdom then it will definitely be hard to accept anyone visiting from another world.
There is, beyond the azure blue
A God, concealed from human sight
He tinted skies with heav’nly hue
And framed the worlds with His great might.
“By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:3
“None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” -1 Corinthians 2:8
The Cracked Acorn: Shapers
This newspaper article covered these news items: Stella Oselaw,78, had to leave New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina and then had to leave her host home because of out-of-town relatives. Louis Farrakhan was quoted, “If you don’t have a desire to help yourself, nobody will help you.” Taylor Behl, 17, was buried. She was trying to find new friends online. Cyndi Lauper is alive still singing – “Girls just want to have fun!” Gloria Estefan stopped singing long enough to write a book for kids about her bulldog, Noelle. Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher are still around at 80 years of age. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is in town assuring us that oil will still flow to us from the land of “milk and honey.” Charles Ramsey of D.C. Police warn us about driving after drinking there’s a zero-tolerance if you are stopped with a measurable amount of blood alcohol level.
Have you heard of these people – Ho Chi Minh, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Ganhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King, Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, V.I. Lenin, Pope John Paul II, Ronald Ragan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Sanger, Lech Walesa, Mao Zedong. (If you recognized any of these you are probably near 50 years or older. These people shaped the last century.)
How about these! Condoleezza Rice, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. Bill Frist, Donald Rumsfeld, Mark Malloch Brown, Gordon Brown, Ali Hussain Sistani, Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, Hu Jintao, Kim Jong II, Manmohan Singh, Thabo Mbeki, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Mahmoud Ali, Ariel Sharon, Javier Solana, John Howard, Chen Shui-bian, and Hugo Chavez. (You may have scored higher on these personalities. They are shaping today’s world and the years of the next generation.)
These people by faith were certain of what they hoped for and sure of what they could not see: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Esua, Joseph, Moses, and Joshua. (32) And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, (33) who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. (39) These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. (40)God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (HEBREWS 11)
These predictions may come true in less than 100 years: human technology will bring about “artificial” life, medical procedures will be performed by computers and scientists will be able to explain the images on the Shroud of Turin, computer viruses will develop “intelligence”, there will be one world currency, most countries will have a 4-day work week, extraterrestrial intelligence will be found and confirmed, and schools in the USA and Europe will require classes in defending against, not the students, but robot attacks.
Take care and arm yourself with the sword of love!
The Cracked Acorn: Bad News
Psalm 119:133 Establish my footsteps in Your word.
Early morning breakfast people like to share their problems. I overheard one patron complain that since his property backs up to the Rappahannock River he is always having his canoe stolen. It has been nearly impossible to stop it!
I remember at a past U.S. Geological Survey lunchtime, a talk centered around one of our fellow lunchers who mentioned that when he was retired he would no longer read the newspapers,” too much bad news.” I admit that he’s mostly correct, but it sells, maybe we need to know the bad news, and then we can try to avoid it. The really bad news is that the days are gone when students were told about Honest Abe and that he walked miles through the snow to return a book or to return borrowed pennies. This was the time when it just seemed the right thing to do and also that many of our presidents were avid Bible readers and applied its good message in their lives.
A large Virginia Reston-based company is attempting to rebuild its image after a billion-dollar fraud case-the largest in corporate history. The company has hired an ethics officer complete with staff to train employees “to do the right thing.” The ethics officer admits that there’s no guarantee against unethical behavior that can go beyond the limits of the law. I keep thinking WWJD, what would Jesus do!! It is a sad day when we have to “train” adults to be fair to one another, don’t steal, don’t lie, and all the other “don’ts” that hold our society together.
A teacher of one of my long-ago summer vacation Bible schools(lasted a week) told the class that he grouped thieves and murderers together. Steal a carpenter’s tools, he and his family starve. Steal someone’s automobile, do they suffer, yes. A car is stolen in the USA every 20 seconds, add the yearly world-wide rate, and these stretch around the equator,3963 miles. What has happened? Could it be that gone are the days when the basis of a sound living (based on the Bible) was taught in the schools?
Remember there was a time when your mother sent you out to romp with your friends and said, “Now remember, play nice!”
Song: Footprints of JESUS #416
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling, “Come follow me!” And we see where Thy footprints falling, Lead us to Thee. Footprints of Jesus, that make the pathway glow; we will follow the steps of Jesus, where’re they go.
Galatians 5: 22-24, But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; and here this is no conflict. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to His cross and crucified them there.
Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Institute Address, February 27, 1860.
“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
The Cracked Acorn: Pure Gold
Gold sells for an oz. at $1,836…one ingot (2.2 lbs.) for $62, 383.
Once gold went for $30 an oz if you bought twelve ingots now worth $748,596 and more. Why is this? Predictions are that within 20 years all the available gold will be mined. There will be no more huge deposits to be exploited at this moment.
For thousands of years, gold has had particular magic of its own, being the most sought after of earth’s metals. It commands respect, can be made into coins or easily put into attractive adornments. People have gone to extremes to locate it to fuel wars while leveling mountains and forests. India has a huge gold market buying ¼ of all that is mined. Brides need gold jewelry to bring to their marriages. In Chennai, the low caste of the population sweeps the streets behind jewelry factories trying to recover maybe a gram to help feed their families. On some Indonesian islands, farmers have abandoned sown crops to work in the mercury laden pits to make 5 dollars a day. This is an instant leap from poverty in these areas. All gold finds a market, legal and otherwise; after India, China is the 2nd largest buyer of gold articles.
“It is just a shiny, yellow substance we dig out of the ground, but we have such a deep-seated romantic relationship with gold that most of us believe it could never be a realistic investment option for us mere mortals. But with fears over the security of everything from cash to commodities and housing, could gold really give you the security you want? Or is this mystical metal subject to the global economic downturn? As with any other investment, gold can go down as well as up in value; at $1,030.80 an ounce in March, it is now trading close to the $1800 mark.
However, while even the biggest banks can go bust, not even ambitious City traders can destroy gold. Gold will always be worth something.” (comments from Wall Street) “Ophir was the famous gold-producing region prominent in the Old Testament. It is believed to have been located in southwest Arabia in what is now known as Yemen. It may have included a part of the adjacent African seaboard. Yemen was famous for its gold mines, which are known to have still existed in the ninth century B.C.
Ophir was visited by the trading fleet of Solomon and the Phoenicians. Solomon’s navy was fitted out at Ezion-Geber, then traveled to Ophir, taking “four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there” <1 Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; 2 Chr. 8:17-18; 9:10>. At the northern end of the Gulf of Aqabah, Ezion-Geber (modern Tell el Keleifeh) was excavated by Nelson Glueck. Solomon used the copper of the Arabah, smelted at Ezion-Geber, as a stock-in-trade. His Tarshish or “refinery” fleet sailed down the Red Sea and spent part of three years to make the trip, explainable by long hauls in excessively hot weather. In exchange for copper, Solomon’s refinery fleet brought back not only the fine gold of Ophir <1 Kings 10:22>. Gold of Ophir garnished Solomon’s armor, throne, Temple, and the house of the forest of Lebanon <10:14-19>.” (Unger‘s Dictionary)
… And the main street was pure transparent gold, like glass. (read Revelation.21:19—)