Our sons often asked me to tell them of the “old days.” I told them how I lived on a farm and we depended on crops and livestock to give us income. Drought, disease, too much rain, and high winds could seriously damage a good crop of corn and wheat. Agriculture is the one big industry quickly affected by changes in weather.
Those who watch weather patterns predict that more and more hurricanes will come ashore and head farther north. One I remember left us without power for four days. It took me back to my childhood when we depended on kerosene lamps and cooked over wood stoves. This could happen again.
We have no other choice but to live in this physical world that God created for us. It may not always behave the way we wish. We cannot live in straw houses set upon a sandy beach.
ALL WHO LISTEN TO MY INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM ARE WISE, LIKE A MAN WHO BUILDS HIS HOUSE ON SOLID ROCK. THOUGH THE RAINS COME IN TORRENTS, AND THE FLOODS RISE AND THE STORM WINDS BEAT AGAINST HIS HOUSE, IT WON’T COLLAPSE, FOR IT IS BUILT ON ROCK. BUT THOSE WHO HEAR MY INSTRUCTIONS AND IGNORE THEM ARE FOOLISH, LIKE A MAN WHO BUILDS HIS HOUSE ON SAND. FOR WHEN THE RAINS AND FLOODS COME, AND STORM WINDS BEAT AGAINST HIS HOUSE, IT WILL FALL WITH A MIGHTY CRASH. (Matthew 7:24-27)
The crowd who heard these words from Jesus was amazed at his wisdom.
Several million people live within the shadow of the world’s most historically deadly volcano at Vesuvius, Italy. One of its violent eruptions in 79 A.D. described by Pliny the Younger buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Within a period of 19 hours, these two towns were buried in ash and the inhabitants were caught in the gas and cinders. Yet, today within the shadow of this violent volcano, smoking and sending out tremors, people carry on their daily lives as if this goes with the territory. Mass evacuations have not taken place. Volcano watchers note that there are no signs of unrest at Vesuvius at the present time. An estimated one million people live in the area of past eruptions.
Man has always been tempted to dream of gigantic projects and carry them to conclusions. The tallest building is never the limit. The biggest canal is never wide enough for our huge tankers. The oceans once beyond our reach are being dived into and harvested for their minerals. In the long term, it is now Mars. How far is “how far” and what are the limits of infinity; I am sure a scientist has an answer for all the preceding.
“When we behold the wonders of creation, The flowers that bloom the raindrops as they fall; The spacious skies and life’s perpetuation, We cannot doubt that God controlled it all. No finite mind, by mortal calculation Could frame the Truths revealed within His Word; In every trace of nature’s operation, Thy voice, O God, in mystery can be heard. Lord, I believe, yes, I believe, I cannot doubt or be deceived; The eye that sees each sparrow fall is in it all.” (from Sacred Selections)
The Cracked Acorn: Old West
Mention James Arness to anyone, “Alive or Dead?” they will say “dead.” He was the star of the long-running TV show GUNSMOKE; the cast brought the family together for an episode each week. It was early TV, and it went from thirty minutes to an hour; critics predicted audiences would never sit still that long; how wrong they were!!
MATT DILLION, MARSHALL OF DODGE CITY, KANSAS, the early western days of trains and telegraph; Henry Ford was yet to be born.
“Matthew, there’s some hot boiled coffee on the stove; dust off and sit a spell. Miss Kitty is a mite upset that you are aiming to take on the Lomax boys and the Strutters when they bring their herds in, but it’s steel a fur days off!.”
“Festus, is this all the good news you have? Check the telegraph office for WANTED, check if there are any new people in town, and then bring me the bad news.”
Matt dealt with the liars, cheats, and people with hidden motives and agendas, each week ending not too happily ever after. The injured were attended to by Doc, broken arms and legs were painfully set, and he would stay by the bed of the dying all night, waiting for morning when the fever might break. Miss Kitty made sure that all the unfortunates that were to be buried at Boot Hill had someone to say a few words – she thought that even the worst deserved a moment of reflection.
The marshal always made time for a ride into the hills. While the unsaddled big gray had a roll in the buffalo grass and then grazed, Matt dozed under “clouds that ignored the plights of mortal men.” This was a man that was close to 7 feet tall. He believed in a simple answer for difficult justice. On the way back to Dodge, he would stop by the widow Smith with seven kids to check if all was o.k. Keeping the peace and giving equal treatment to everyone was a big job for a big man.
Samson was the big man of the Old Testament. He was given super strength by God. In many ways, he was a disappointment to his Creator, but he kept the Philistines at bay, and for a few years, the children of Israel could breathe easier. As a child, I was impressed that this strong man sought to correct his weaknesses; in the end, blinded, he prayed to God for one last chance to smite his enemies; God, how wonderful, answered his prayer. “Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers(Philistines) and all the people in it, killing many more when he died than while he lived.” (Judges 16:30)
“Well, it’s time to catch the noon stage. The town’s a buzzin that Abe and Sarah had a baby out at the Ole Kristie Ranch. Crazy Joe’s riding up front today. Some say he can Winchester a notch into a coyote’s ear a mile away; that’s good in case of hostiles. A cold north wind is aggravating the sage, could bring trouble, mite be movin. May the road rise up to meet ya and that the good Lord will take a liken to ya’ll. YAH! YAH! YAH! Giddy-up!” (Numbers 6:24-26)
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 wide, and was covered over with hammered gold, a gold lid, and two 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.
In my opinion, since the Ark was never used in a profane manner and did carry with it the fear that one could be struck down when Nebuchadnezzar in 585 B.C. destroyed the Temple, the collapse of the roof, walls, and 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.
The Ark of the Covenant is a great topic to study. In the past, I was not able to cover in-depth the details about how the ark was used and abused and then lost! The ark is to be noted as the Israelites’ most sacred relic and is last mentioned in Revelation 11:19:
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the Ark of his Covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a severe hailstorm.
The Cracked Acorn: Flies
An old story retold-you go into a restaurant for a good meal and to enjoy an outing, but before you can place your order, the “lone fly” shows up!
Immediately you want to move out of range and can’t do that, so you try to swat the rascal. You recall all the school health classes warning you that flies are up to no good. The common household fly has been found in 255 million old fossils.
But the fly is one of God’s marvelous creatures. He has a thousand eyes and sees a thousand swatters coming at him. On the farm, we killed them by the droves till DDT no longer did its job. This pest is very adaptable to all conditions and most pesticides. The lone fly will find a way to winter over, probably in the attic, and meet you in the spring. He can use his six legs that ooze glue to walk up/down/over any and all surfaces.
We in the USA cannot tolerate the flies and know their dangers, not so, in a third world country where you see people on TV, the people are covered with flies. He has a long history and was probably in the garden of Eden but had a different purpose, for, in that place, there was no sickness and death – a perfect place.
When sin entered, everything changed for Adam and Eve and their children, but also, I think, for the fly. Sinful man out of the garden and on his own had to endure the toil of making living fighting weeds and thorns and competing with nature. The fly and his 120,000 different kinds do little to aid mankind but are a serious pest to crops and have the superior ability to transmit diseases. They are part of a “challenged” world where man is a sinful creature.
The fly does not have the chance to change, but man has that God-given opportunity. “THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE; OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW…FOR HE HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, WHO KNEW NO SIN; THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.” (II Corinthians 5:17,21)
The insect world numbers over 1,000,000 species, and new ones are discovered every year. Their purposes and activities fill volumes in the libraries of the world. While some may be helpful, the vast majority are at war with man, for it seems that we are all competing for a place and for the limited food crops.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 – Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, so a little folly outweighs an abundance of wisdom. (a swarm of flies soon corrupts and destroys any uncovered dish of food in a few minutes-BARNES NOTES)
Psalm 78:45 (HIS signs in Egypt) HE sent among them swarms of flies that ate them; frogs, too, that devastated them.
Psalm 105:31-HE commands; the flies came in swarms and lice throughout their land.
Joshua 24:12 Another powerful insect –And I (God) sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. (KJV)
Thank you, heavenly Father, for the small reminders that we live in an imperfect world. A place where we have to be on our guard and place our trust and faith in you. And that whatever happens, we have the promise of an eternal home with you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN
The Cracked Acorn: New Day
Ah, a perfect day! I was leaving the town restaurant where I had enjoyed a country breakfast. I felt like Columbus sailing in search of the shores of the promised land. Traffic had not started to move. A couple of birds were jaywalking trying to find the early morning meal for the brood. Nearby off the main street, the church tower was pealing out the morning religious melodies. I kept humming. Finally, I went through the hymn book collection and found this song in a small hymn supplement by the A.C.U. Press, Abilene, Texas.
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
praise for them springing fresh from the Word!
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness on the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!
When Eleanor Farjeon wrote MORNING HAS BROKEN in 1931 the “Star-Spangled Banner” became our national anthem. Television was still a baby yet to be born. The radio was still a big hit with families that gathered around it to hear plays and the news. The Empire State Building was completed. Life was hard and stressful. The husband could be out of work and might throw a fit because there was no bread. Times were tough and lines for anything to be bought were very long. If you had any money you could buy a new Chevrolet which cost from $474 to $650.People of the 30s tried to chase away the blues and hard times by going to the movies. Tickets were very cheap and Saturday matinees were the thing. You could see the Marx Brothers in Animal Crackers, a Day At the Races, Duck Soup, Monkey Business, Night at the Opera, Room Service, Horsefeathers, or Laurel and Hardy in Flying Deuces, Sons of the Desert and of course, W.C. Fields in It’s a Gift.
We should always be thankful for a new day touched by God’s creatures. The day He has given us could have dew, rain, and the sweetness of growing grass. The beauty of a wet garden is there to awaken our senses and remind us that we are in the beauty of our Maker. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore, will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22-25)
Are you curious about Eleanor Farjeon (Feb. 13,1881-June 5, 1965)? She started reading at five and was fitted with heavy glasses at eight and came from a family of writers. She never married. She was home-schooled and loved books. She wrote 74 books and plays for children and 11 plays for adults. She was a friend of Robert Frost and a friend of many poets of her day. As a child, she spent many hours in the attic where many family books were stored. She is remembered as the author of MORNING HAS BROKEN.
The Cracked Acorn: Door
Weekends and holidays are the prime times for advertisers to stuff flyers into the daily newspapers, adding to what I call the “pulp padding.” You can’t escape a peek at the ones that are the home suppliers. I like the nice color photos of doors of all types. Some of these beauties can stop a vacation to Disney World. If one is installed for your front door I am sure you will fall down and worship its varnished wood and stained floral glass panels. Fingerprints will never mar its glossy sheen and you will hang a sign on its brilliant brass knob requesting everyone to come to the humble back door. A door of this quality could even go as a Mother’s Day gift, think about it!
The word door may have entered our language through an English family name, Dore, meaning the entrance to a narrow valley. We use the word every day: Close the door when you leave. She forgot to lock her car door. They live two doors up the street from us. His office is the third door down the hall on the left. A day cannot go by without the use of the word DOOR.
The Egyptians put into their tombs a false door. It was to serve as an imaginary passage for the deceased between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Lavish inscriptions were on the false door referring to the countless offerings that the deceased is about to receive. Sometimes a life-sized statue of the deceased was placed before the door as if it had just stepped out of it.
We can’t live without them. They keep the cold drafts of winter outside and the cool air inside during the hot sultry days of summers and keep the swarms of hostile insects outside. Properly fitted, a door can be locked for security purposes. Doors keep us from falling out of our cars. Closed doors can stop the spread of a home fire. Doors give us privacy and absorb outside traffic and neighborhood noises. A door can have many names: trap, stable, barn, French, garden, pet, revolving, and automatic door. Whatever its name, a door serves a very distinct and useful function.
DOOR in God’s Word: (2)BUT HE THAT ENTERETH IN BY THE DOOR IS THE SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP. (7)VERILY, VERILY,I SAY UNTO YOU, I AM THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP. (9) I AM THE DOOR: BY ME IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED AND SHALL GO OUT, AND FIND PASTURE. (John 10);
(20)BEHOLD I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK: IF ANY MAN HEAR MY VOICE, AND OPEN THE DOOR, I WILL COME IN TO HIM, AND WILL SUP WITH HIM AND HE WITH ME. (Revelation 3);
(12)FOR I WILL PASS THROUGH THE LAND OF EGYPT THIS NIGHT, AND WILL SMITE ALL THE FIRSTBORN ON THE LAND OF EGYPT, BOTH MAN AND BEAST; AND AGAINST ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT I WILL EXECUTE JUDGEMENT: I AM THE LORD. (13)AND THE BLOOD SHALL BE TO YOU FOR A TOKEN UPON THE HOUSES WHERE YE ARE: AND WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD(ON THE TWO SIDE POSTS AND ON THE UPPER DOOR), I WILL PASS OVER YOU,- (Exodus 12)
An old saying in the south “Katie bar the door” meant “something unstoppable is coming!” and “Katie bar the kitchen door” suggested that you had better watch out!
The Cracked Acorn: Diet
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well – Matthew 6:33
Newspapers and television dote on articles about exercise & diet. Low carb has entered our vocabulary and lite and no sugar and low sodium, are items found in most food stores. We want to get the threescore and ten and even more and enjoy good health along the way. We have been educated that harmful substances could be in the food we eat and in the water we drink.
I grew up on a farm where salted pork was a staple and we knew nothing about fatty foods and high blood pressure and cholesterol. We just had our three big meals a day and worked hard. We did not know about pizza, ethnic foods, and fast food, it was before the microwave oven. My diet expanded when I left home for a federal career.
More and more you meet individuals who drastically change or modify their lives to be physically fit. I remember a dental hygienist that ran every morning with her dog. Daily did all the yoga positions that took 90 minutes and thought it was really good for the body and the mind. She shopped at the natural food stores and said that you would never see her in a fast-food franchise. Her favorite health food was: amaranth, quinoa, and kosha grains mixed with cloves of garlic. She said it had to be done just right or it would really stay with you; I wondered if her friends stayed with her.
The Scripture point to the needs of the body and the spirit.
Psalm 78:24, 25 – and He rained down upon them, manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.
I Timothy 6:7, 8 – for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world, but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Matthew 4:4 – Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
John 6:35- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:5o, 51 – This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and never die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.
From the stage play OLIVER
Food, Glorious Food! Hot sausage and mustard! Please! Custard Food, Glorious Food!
Don’t care what it looks like, burned, underdone, Don’t care what the cook looks like! Just think of growing fat and that full-up feelin
Food Glorious Food! What wouldn’t we give for that extra bite more, that’s all we live for! Wonderful, Glorious, Marvelous Food!
Just picture a great big steak, fried, roasted, or stewed, Oh, Food, Glorious Food!
There’s nothing to stop us from closing our eyes and imagining; Food, Food, Glorious Food!
(Oliver the orphan and his fellow mates had nothing but daily gruel and dreamed of tables loaded with Food, Glorious Food!)