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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: The Cross



… they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry Jesus’ cross. Matthew 27:32

Wonder if Oscar Rivera, 26+, of the Washington area will continue to portray Jesus carrying the cross. Mr. Rivera is not actually crucified. If he had been sentenced to die this way, a medical doctor gives us the description of how the Romans did it:

“The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy square wrought-iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain.

The nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain.

With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He has to push to raise himself in order to get even one small breath.

Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the bloodstream, and the cramps partially subsided. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.

Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint wrenching cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. (Jesus was flogged or whipped before being crucified. This had already left his back in bloody shreds.)

Then another agony begins a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level– the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues– the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues.

Finally, he can allow his body to die… all this… and Bible records with the simple words “and they crucified Him.”

Many people don’t know what pain and suffering our Lord, Jesus Christ went through for us.

Jesus did nothing to deserve this type of death, yet he went willing to die, in between two thieves, so that we might be saved. And there, in between the sinners, was our slain Savior for our sins. He would have done it had YOU been the only sinner in the world.

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Landmarks



It was a sad moment when I learned that the Tastee Drive-Thru Clown was gone! The clown on the Bowling Green, KY by-pass, was a victim of the velvet hammer of progress. The nearby medical center probably needed the area for additional parking. This was one of the last places that were really fast food. You drove up to the window, placed your order, and within a few minutes, your burger, fries, and the milkshake was handed to you. You drove a few feet into the parking lot and enjoyed your meal. It served me well during my college days. My family was treated there on several trips to visit my parents. I can imagine that the local people used this as a landmark- We live near the Tastee Clown-you can’t miss it!

The District of Columbia almost lost THE BIG CHAIR that was a trademark of the Curtis Brothers furniture warehouse. It stands nearly 20 feet high and again was the reference point for directions for over 40 years. Small restaurants that were mom & pop operations are about gone. Most have given away to high rises and office buildings. Mom is not around anymore to start the day’s turkey or chicken cooking. Forget about that slice of homemade pie you like for lunch with the blue plate special. The pie is now baked in a neighboring state and trucked into the area during the wee hours of the morning.

Those of us who were born about the end of World War II knew that times were different. My father was off to farm, and my mother made sure I ready to walk to catch the school bus. At one time, I had to walk a half-mile across three fields and back again in the afternoon. I looked forward to enjoying my walk home in the woods of tall walnut and hickory trees. The gravel road to the farmhouse wandered with several twists crossing two crude cattle bridges. It was not in a hurry to get you anywhere. I always thought I would have a house built someday in one of its curves.

This never happened. When I graduated from college, I went east to work in Virginia. At vacation times, I returned to visit the homestead. It was while I was away a property dispute arose, and it was settled by bulldozing much of the woods. The old road was gone. A straight new road running alongside a new fence greeted my return, the old road would never be there again for me in this life.

Two roads diverged in a woods,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by. (Robert Frost)

As I travel on life’s pathway, Knowing not what the years may hold; As I ponder, hope grows fonder, Precious memories flood my soul; PRECIOUS MEMORIES, HOW THEY LINGER, HOW THEY EVER FLOOD MY SOUL, IN THE STILLNESS OF THE MIDNIGHT, PRECIOUS, SACRED SCENES UNFOLD. (lyrics-Sacred Selections for the Church) – Psalm 145:7

(Jacob said) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and all that thou shalt give me I will surely give a tenth unto thee. (Genesis 28:22)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Dyes



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



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

The Cracked Acorn: Out & Back LOVE



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


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 Cracked Acorn: The Beard



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

The Cracked Acorn: Pew Presence



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)


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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