Psalm 1:3 – And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Learning about Life from trees
It’s important to have roots. In today’s complex world, it pays to branch out. If you really believe in something, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.
Be flexible so you don’t break when a harsh wind blows. Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow. Grow where you’re planted. It’s perfectly okay to be a late bloomer. Avoid people who would like to cut you down. Get all spruced up when you have a hot date. If the party gets boring, just leaf. You can’t hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life. It’s more important to be honest than poplar. (from the Appleton, Wisconsin Church of Christ Bulletin)
We are all familiar with trees, especially if you run off the road and meet up with an oak. Trees can be our friends in the hot summer and provide exercise in the fall…raking leaves. I know several and some of them my friends that have gone on before me to eternity, the results of inexperience with a chain saw or just being outside when a storm came through their area.
As a kid on the farm, we were in easy access of woods that afforded a stroll if you were not sensitive to poison oak or ivy or sumac. I remember I decided I needed a tree house and commenced to build one in a corner of the ’40 acres’ in sight of the family farm house. It didn’t take too long to be discouraged about its construction when I bloomed all over with a rash from brushing against poison oak vines. Even up to a few years ago, if you knew where to look, you could still see the remains of an unfinished vision of what a tree house would have looked like in Kentuckian fashion.
Natural and artificial Christmas trees start an average of 250 home structure fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires cause approximately 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13 8 million in property damage yearly. Again, I grew up with the annual cedar tree selected and brought into the house during the holiday season. Decorations were all home made and saved year after year. I remember that my father took extra care with lights and made sure ample water was given to the thirsty tree. I could not find how many people are injured by trees every year, it all depends on the state you live in.
I said to him, “You see that hole up near that old tree top? I’ve got five dollars there that’s yours if you refrain to chop. No beast but me can climb that tree, ’cause it’s too slippery. I can’t get up myself, unless my wife is after me, so get my wife and I’ll call her a very naughty word, and then you’ll see me give an imitation of a bird. You may not know just where to go, when my wife gets around, but when she comes, remember this, if I’m not on the ground”
Woodman, woodman, spare that tree
It’s the only tree that my wife can’t climb So spare that tree! (anon)
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—)
The Cracked Acorn: Information (the pure WORD – Proverbs 30:5)
When I was growing up and attending church the preacher would remind us that a battle was raging. It was the battle for our souls. The pulpit was pounded and supporting scriptures were quoted. The battle still goes on and will never stop. The enemy is very clever and does not rest as we do. While we sleep computers around the world are gathering information. Companies are interested in what we eat, wear, and buy. How we use what we buy is their main concern. They are establishing a predictable profile of our society’s needs. The expanded markets hope to reach all our material and spiritual desires.
You may think that you are a private person. This would be true if you lived up a muddy road on the side of a 12,000-foot mountain and made and grew all you needed. Of course, you could not have a telephone or a cell phone or have any neighbors. Electricity would be a no! no! You would have to limit your connections to the outside world. The postman would put your mail in a post office box if you knew anyone that had the P.O. address. This sounds good, no junk mail.
Information can influence the individual about what to place before the “window of our soul.” I saw this in a religious book store one Christmas season. The gospel now appears in many books, and CDs, and videos. I was looking for a replacement Bible. It was decided that recovering was more expensive than purchasing a new one.
On this very busy mid-morning shopping day in a large store in Manassas, I was amazed by the many translations and versions that populated the one Bible stand. I was even more amazed that out of the many prospective buyers I was the only one shopping for a Bible. I could have picked one and stretched out on the floor and read it from cover to cover. All eyes were turned to LEFT BEHIND and PASSION OF THE CHRIST and books about the lives of the TV evangelists. Surely, I knew what Jesus felt when he saw what was going on in the temple. No one was interested in a good Bible. Ah, to be sure, the internet, the PC, has done its job well and spread the gospel of the vast available warehouse of sugary samples.
There’s a book that surpasses the sages, A volume of wisdom divine; And the glory that gleams from its pages, No splendor of earth can outshine. “Tis the light which will guide is to glory, The Sword of the Spirit of might; And to dwell on its beautiful story Is of heaven the sweetest delight.”
TIS THE BIBLE! THE BIBLE! OUR GUIDING STAR THAT LEADS FROM EARTH TO HEAV’N, THE BIBLE! THE BIBLE! WE LOVE THE PRECIOUS BOOK OF TRUTH WHICH GOD HAS GIV’N. (#502 Sacred Selections)
The Cracked Acorn: Puzzles
I like winter much better; come winter when I am bundled up in my parka, gloves, and heavy clothing, but there comes a time when I will think “Summer is much better!” Escaping my season’s problems I retreat to the “World’s Smallest office” and open a 500-piece puzzle entitled – White Roses at Portland Head, Maine. It is a little bigger than past ones and has lots of blue skies, 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 you a delightful and exciting experience.
When problems crowd into our lives, a simple puzzle could 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)
The Cracked Acorn: Subreddit – Life if it were a video game
Wouldn’t life be easier if it were a video game? If murder hornets were a computer glitch and could be patched? If our pets’ short life spans could be reprogrammed and, live longer? If all aspects of life from broken hearts to deaths were merely quests that could be overcome.
What if you could get in touch with the higher power that developed the program – the existence of God – and whether he cares about us is a deep, philosophical question that (the writer of SUBREDDIt) most people will wrestle with at some point or other, and it’s a scary question not to know the answer. It suddenly becomes less serious and less threatening, because it doesn’t matter if you as an individual. It matters only to your character. (apologies to Travis Andrews of Washington Post)
Yes! I have a computer but never got far into games. SUBREDDIT, so I read from the edited prior article is like Facebook, but 650,000 souls treat it as a game, also. There is “The Game Store” that has opened here in town; I must go in and see what is offered. As I have learned in the past, I will have to move up to a much faster computer to stay abreast of the times. Will it be worth it?
What if the answer to “Why?” Many are rushing to online devices and services to exercise their protoplasm to pose questions and post remarks to the giant audience out there in cyberspace that all questions have answers, do they? Where are the answers? I remember a lady in a Sunday School class admitted that she had lots of questions and would instead wait until she was in heaven to get the answers from the Lord.
Calculus was invented to give answers to questions that have long infinite answers. Calculus will chop off the infinite part and give the searcher a finite answer. A teacher many years ago would answer a question by saying, “For your needs, the answer is, ….”
That would certainly help us all with life’s questions, I think?
Now I am fighting off an urge to return to a game I purchased many years ago. SIBERIA – Deep in alpine valleys, Kate uncovers a secret that has unexpected turns and twists, her business trip is a journey across a land where time throws all her values into the question…and becomes a pact with destiny…
In times like these, O be not idle Be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock! This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One This Rock is Jesus, the only One Be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock! In times like these I have a Savior In times like these I have an anchor I’m very sure, I’m very sure My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock (a hymn of long ago) [I wonder what the 650.000 are doing at this moment?]
The Cracked Acorn: Out with the old
The old year will soon be part of our memories and the new year has begun. There is still time to make a list of things to do for improvement in our lives or just to tidy up chronic items that never seem to ever go away. Most would agree on the following and add your own to this list:
Spend more time with family and friends, enjoy life more, get out of debt, learn something new, help others, get organized. (Is there a way to conquer each of the above or any that you wish to add?
Time is our biggest enemy and limits our ability to enjoy life (as I see it!) because we are a time-conscious society. Many are lost in debt and cannot begin anything new. There are always opportunities to help others. Getting organized and staying that way for all the seasons is very difficult.)
This beautiful prayer written many years ago may answer our needs.
A NEW YEAR’S PRAYER
A whole new year is mine today…
May I be wiser, Lord, I pray!
I’d strengthen friendships, old and true
And learn to cherish new ones, too;
To keep on learning and to grow
A little deeper as I go.
To cast aside each grudge and grief,
And hold fast to a firm belief
That life is joyous, gracious, good,
When lived in terms of brotherhood.
To welcome fun, and play awhile,
To lighten work with a pleasant smile!
To thank the Lord and every day
Remember Him, and kneel and to pray,
In gratitude for strength and health
And blessings which are all my wealth.
This year’s a gift from God to me
To spend, or use, or set me free…
A whole new year is mine today…
May I be wiser, Lord, I pray.
A NEW Year’s Blog suggests that we start 2021 by cleaning up our language and also not using the following: doggone, dog gone it, darn it, dern it, by gosh, con sarn it, gol dern it, gol darn it, ye gods, ye gads, cheese and crackers, dag nab it, dad bern it, dang it, son of a buck, son of a sea crook, son of a sea horse, son of a biscuit eater, gee whiz, dad blast it, shucks, blast it, drat, gosh darn it, gosh dern it, con found it, ding bust it, by golly, hang it all, what in the sam hill, oh shoot, for heaven’s sake, mercy me, I swan and oh pshaw. Horse feathers, fiddle-dee-dee and piddle-dee-dee, holy mackerel, holy Toledo, holy Jehosephat, phony baloney, fiddlesticks, jeepers creepers, I’ll be hanged, I’ll be switched, you tell ‘em, I studder, well bust my buttons, shoot, for gripe’s sake, heaven help us, for Pete’s sake, it’s a stinkin’ lie, that’s a heck of a note, he’s full of malarkey, he’s full of beans, lawsy, that’s a lot of bunk, he’s full of baloney, by jingle and heavens to Mergatroid.
The Cracked Acorn: Prayer Station
Prayer, that beautiful English word -the Biblical word that offers us spiritual nourishment “in seasons of distress and grief My soul has often found relief and oft escaped the tempter’s snare, By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.” (W. Walford, w. 1845)
Dennis Bunboo, a recovering alcoholic, had the vision to build a prayer station near one of the metro area’s busiest traffic corners where more than 19,000 cars pass each day. This came to fulfillment and passersby left notes “cancer spreading, please pray”, “Help me off heroin addiction”, “I am homeless, pray that I find a job.” The small station became a fixture for prayer to those in distress; people came and prayed silently for help and comfort from God, and then refreshed went on with their daily lives.
Anything out of the ordinary in today’s world seems to have a short shelf life. Five days after the prayer station opened; Bunboo’s station received phone calls from people familiar with his past. He failed to reveal that he was listed in the county’s common offender registry. The county detective and the station agreed that Dennis,62, had made a clean break with his past, but the detective said that he worked on the premise that “once a convicted offender always a convicted offender.” So now for some undetermined date in the future, the prayer station is to be closed.
At a church we once attended, it became known that one of our returning visitors was possibly carrying AIDS. Imagine this!! We who represent the church exist for the purpose of reaching others and one walks in off the street. He had AIDS and members were concerned. But not for long, he was found murdered in his apartment probably for a small lottery winning. Gone was support to someone who needed it!
Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians to the point that they were delivered in chains and suffered unto death for believing that Jesus was the Christ, the son of God. Saul(Paul) was converted and baptized but fellow Christians were anxious about his past. (Acts 9:26)
The Scriptures abound with help and encouragement for us to leave behind our old nature and look forward to the wealth that we have in our God. He is our everything! Martin Luther summed it up by writing “There but for the grace of God go I.”
In I Peter 5:7,8 “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Let’s close with a verse from #922 (Songs of FAITH and PRAISE)
I HEAR THE SAVIOR SAY, “THY STRENGTH INDEED IS SMALL; CHILD OF WEAKNESS WATCH AND PRAY, FIND IN ME, THINE ALL IN ALL. JESUS PAID IT ALL, ALL TO HIM I OWE; SIN HAD LEFT A CRIMSON STAIN, HE WASHED IT WHITE AS SNOW. (Elvina Hall, w. 1865)