Those of us who grew up in the post-WWII era know that things were not plentiful and most were in sorry condition. One worn-out car drove by my mother almost took out the farm gates. It was traded for one that had a severe engine noise, then there was the one that stalled on every hot day.
Eventually, factories turned to make all kinds of things for the home and automobiles by the thousands. Times definitely improved and if you had a little money most things could be bought on time. I learned early in childhood that things can let you down at the worst moments. It was still the age when you might have a friend that had taken some nights courses in how to repair TVs and radios. Remember this was the vacuum tube age. You could pull a tube and test it at the local drugstore and buy its replacement. Sewing machines and household appliances worked the same way. There was always a simple way of fixing them.
Those days are gone, mainly to the shores of other countries. Things are not repaired anymore. They are replaced. If anything happens to the thing of your dreams, most of the time it is headed to the landfill. These things come in a variety of sizes and colors with built-in obsolesce. Forget the idea of buying your last TV set or possibly your last automobile. Most things do last longer but no repairs and forget about finding another one like the one you are throwing away.
Severe problems are facing our planet. One threatening environmental issue is how to deal with MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). The average U.S. person daily throws out 5 pounds of trash. The yearly accumulation is 600 million tons. It has to go somewhere and this is the problem. The highest points on most counties are nicknamed “Mount Trashmore.” Recycling sounds good but it threatens jobs in the packaging industry. States have not figured out who is going the bear the burden of the cost to reverse the trend to throw every “thing” away- to go into a landfill.
India has a population of almost 2 billion people. Urban dwellers number 800 million-plus mountains of trash are creating cancer-causing fumes. Burning it fouls the air. More than a million people are making their living and supporting their families by collecting trash. A whole new caste of people has sprung up who pick over the heaps of garbage to find things to sell or wear or YES!
Even to eat. They are known as rag pickers. There was a photo exhibit at the Reston U.S. Geological Survey showing this group of people at work digging into the piles of throwaways. These people number more than COVID-19 victims. Who will support them if refuse is ever done away with? If we “waste not, want not” there will be lots of issues to deal with. Waste has become big business all because of “things.”
Luke 12:15, says, “Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Things aren’t necessary for being happy and content.” Phil 4:12-13, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”
The Cracked Acorn: Timolo
For over 30 years the 2 antennas attached to the roof of my rambler served well to provide free TV service. It happened that 6 months ago, that suddenly ended ‘Why?” who knows, but it bugged me as to the cause.
Finally, I overcame the impulse not to climb onto the roof and explore why I no longer had free programming. So, I put up the ladder and tied it to one of the deck railings, and up I went. I discovered, ‘nothing’ for my effort. Something at the far end of the roof caught my eye and I cautiously went there to find out what it was, I almost made it when my foot caught the end of the ridge roof vent; I lost my balance and fell the 40 feet to the ground, all happened before you could say, “Jack Robinson.” I was out cold and it seemed that in a few winks, I recovered and raised up and felt good and decided to walk the 160 paces to the mailbox and check to see if I had a refund check(joke).
So, feeling ok I decided to walk about the neighborhood and enjoy the view. I saw people I knew and waved, they did not wave or notice me. I soldiered on about enjoying this beautiful day. Why was a fire truck, medical ambulance and police cars heading my way? I picked up the pace and was back home. Oh my, there were all these vehicles in my driveway and a number of neighbors were there in the mix, all surrounding and bending over something or a person on the ground at the far end of my house. All this puzzled me and no one saw me just standing there?
Whatever it was, must be awful to have all these souls here.
All this was quite disturbing me, but all the clanging and booming and chatter of noise woke me… Yes! I am in my bed and all the latter was due to eye drops that my doctor suggested…she never told me of the fine print that went with the prescription that Timolol interferes with the thinking of one’s brain. Why the 3 lbs of protoplasm I carry about and rely on should entertain the idea I wanted to plunge off my home’s roof is shelved for another day in the neural theather.
But for a few moments I lived the following:
21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21)
The Cracked Acorn: Name – Obadiah
For expecting parents who already know it is a boy could consider the name, Obadiah. I did a search on the baby names past, present and no one has considered or predicted that this name will be used. Well, I will not press the point. The kids in school would probably call your son Obey.
About a dozen individuals in the Old Testament in I Kings and the books of Chronicles wore this name. The book of Obadiah is the shortest Old Testament book of one chapter with 21 verses. History does not record any details of the life of this minor prophet. His life remains a mystery except that he was a “servant of the Lord” and was used by God to pronounce the judgment upon the Edomites.
The Edomites had a history of over 1,700 years and were destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman general Titus. Today, there is little material evidence that they ever lived, no language or literature has survived the ages. The Edomites were Israel’s bitter enemy and took every chance to gain advantage through deceit and trickery. They were ‘unneighborly’ neighbors’. When they were not at war, they were hiding in their high fortresses in the hills. Here they had every military advantage. They had the reputation of treaty breakers and were a cruel uncircumcised nation. The book of Obadiah was written during the time when Edom helped the Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar capture Jerusalem and then Edom took the opportunity to take over control of part of Israel’s land (Negev). They already had a firm grip on the trade routes that ran through the area.
How did all this come about and why did the Lord exercise His patience and hold back His anger so long. To understand this we go back to Genesis, chapters 26 and 27. Esau had married Hittite women and caused his parents, Isaac and Rebekah, much grief. Although Esua was the older, Rebekah came up with a scheme to have Isaac give the birthright blessing to Jacob. It was successful but Jacob fled the land in fear of Esau. The brothers after many years did meet and forgive one another but the descendants of Esau never became close with the nation of Israel. Esau had despised his birthright and because of this his issue never became the people that loved the God of Israel. The Edomites (Numbers 20) would not allow the Israelites to pass through their territory (note: the word “land” in never used) on the way from Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land. Later in history, both King David and King Saul were to fight against the Edomites.
Edom wanted to be a mighty prideful nation without God. Edom refused the covenant of circumcision that would have set them apart. The two nations began with Jacob and Esau. There was violence to the brother (Judah) verse 10; indifference to Judah’s troubles (11); rejoiced over Judah’s troubles(12); oppressing Judah’s people(14). Obadiah was the instrument of the news that God would overthrow and destroy the nation of Edom. God was going to punish sin and protect those who love Him as He will also do today. A quick study of Obadiah assures us that God always hates injustice done to those who love Him and keep His commandments. Obadiah reminds us that God is still on the side of those who strive to follow His will. Maybe, in years to come, there will be a tablet excavated in the Biblical land that will give us details of how he came to be called to do God’s will. We know that he did what God asked and that is why his name means the “servant of God”.
The Cracked Acorn: Diablo
Cast all anxiety on HIM- HE cares (1 Peter 5:7-)
(The following is fiction or maybe not!)
It was somewhere at the start of fall in Homer, Kentucky. Darkness was closing in; Tim and Joel had given a neighbor a long day’s free help with fallen leaves, clearing the gutters on their friend’s house, and a general cleanup before bad weather came. At the moment they were in severe conversation on where the car had been parked. They agreed that they would have to cross through the local cemetery to the ride home.
Even to this day… many do not agree on the following:
Our pilgrims were quiet as they passed into the hallowed ground and walked among Smiths and Jones, It was strange how soon it was too dark to see clearly. Suddenly, ‘something’ took form and attacked Tim with a sudden vicious force that it also when finished went to Joel, who stepped back and fell hitting his head on a stone, lay unconscious, who later said that he remembered his friend crying out in pain, “Help me! The pain…please someone help me!”
When Joel finally came to, in the hospital that the police were trying to find out l what had happened. Joel asked about Tim and no one seemed to know where Tim was. Was his mind playing tricks? (The following may have been from too much morphine given to Joel.)
“Joel said that he would always remember that somewhere in his injury, that he no longer heard his friend crying for help!
Because (you won’t believe this!!!) The stone angels in the cemetery had taken form and were bending over Tim, wiping the blood from his forehead and saying,”It’s ok we are here, we heard your call and were sent !”
Joel: “It was a marvelous scene: the lit area and the angels doing their work for his friend. Yes! I know no one will ever believe me, but I was there. Tim was now quiet but alive and then the angels took him under their wings, a flapping of many heavenly creatures, and they all rose into the night sky, and were gone! ”
Gone where? The arm of the Law thinks it was all due to grave robbers, but all those very heavy stone angel statues were gone, that must have taken some force and heavy lifting! On close inspection, there were no tracks or any indication that this was the answer.
Now any night in Homer, pass by Joel’s house and you will see every inside light is on, every night! Is this to frighten what some think now is Diablo- the prince of evil that snared and injured our friends. It sounds like what happened, If I am ever in Homer after dark, I will stay clear of the cemetery and the spot where lies the Smiths and Jones.
To this day, no one can tell you where Tim is! (But we know.) – Luke 16:22
The Cracked Acorn: Angels
SECRETS OF THE BIBLE COLLECTOR’S EDITION U.S. News & WORLD REPORT has a colorful section about angels. The word is mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. The word angel has always been interpreted as a “messenger.” They do God’s bidding, can be helpers or protectors. Hebrews 1:14 defines angels as “ministering spirits.” Some think angels are watching over loved ones.
But we do not really know what the angels are doing today! We may have entertained angels unaware but still who can say that they have seen an angel. At the holiday season, angels are all about us in the malls and in the lyrics of the season’s carols. I would like to say that all of us have our guardian angel and that we would never fall into the path of harm or even death, but I cannot. A television show like TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL wanted us to believe that angels cover the full range of duties to God’s people and even sometimes in non-believers who after being saved by an angel turn to a firm belief in God.
Duties are: The host of angels is involved in worship & praise in heaven (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4-4). They serve as messengers to communicate God’s will to men Acts 7:52-53). They gave instructions to Joseph, the women at the tomb, to Philip and to Cornelius (Matt, 1-2, Acts 8:26 & 10:1-8). They provided food for Hagar, Elijah, and Christ(Genesis 21:17-20,1 Kings 19:6, Matthew 4:11). They protected Daniel and his friends (Daniel 3 & 6). They released the apostles out of prisons (Acts 5 & 12). In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we have a record where the angels carried Lazarus away to “Abraham’s bosom” when he died(Luke 16:22).
Angels are marvelous, but we have to be careful that they are not incorrectly placed and confused with God, they are clearly placed between God and man, they are not eternal but created (Colossians 1:16-17). Judges 13:18 says they are beyond human understanding and not omniscient. Their glory consists in unique service to God’s divine will. Paul speaks of a tendency among some to elevate angels at the expense of Christ(Colossians 2:18). Artists through the ages have tried to show angels in paintings to glorify them, giving them bodies of flesh. We know that they can take this form but their existence is spiritual. When Stephen was at death from the stoning his face shone like that of an angel (Acts 6:15)-can we say that his face showed the purity and beauty of one who is in the presence of God?
Genesis 28:10 – And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
Children’s Angel Ideas: When it gets cold, angels go north for the winter. Sara,6; Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else. Mitchell,7 ; My guardian angel helps me with math, but he’s not good with science. Henry,8; Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his Son, who’s a very good carpenter. Jared,9; All angels are girls because they wear dresses and boys don’t go for that. Antonia,9
The Cracked Acorn: Puzzle
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)
The Cracked Acorn: Savior, Pilot Me?
Somewhere in my house is a small framed picture of a lighthouse and a small sailboat in an inlet. It reminds me of my few experiences with boats; here a storm may be brewing at the end of the day.
The lighthouse has not switched on its light. It may be late autumn. Leaves are changing colors on the shore. The shore of the lighthouse is rocky and the other shore may be one of safety. The small sailboat is trying to reach land near a small cottage in the woods. The sailboat is very small in comparison to the lighthouse. The threatening rock ledges are partially hidden by the lashing waves. The coming storm is definitely too powerful for the small craft which has its single sail to the fullest extent.
The lighthouse stands as a warning for the boat to stay away and not to come near the rocks. Does the sailboat see that it is in danger and will a warning from the lighthouse soon flash a warning that danger is at hand; this painting has all the possibilities of tragedy.
The artist of this painting must have known something of life. The sailboat is too small. The inlet of safety is filled with hidden dangers. Without an experienced pilot, the captain may not know these waters and how to get into the shore to escape the coming storm. The passengers may have been lulled into their nice voyage and have not been aware that soon their lives may be in danger.
The light is not on in the lighthouse, does anyone care that a ship is in danger. The waves are viciously hitting the shore churned by a distant force while on the shore things still deceptively appear to be calm. Time may be running out for our sailor at the end of the day.
In 1986, divers discovered a small boat preserved at the bottom of Lake Kinneret near the area of the Galilee Sea. It is 25.5 feet long and 7.5 in width. It probably had a square sail on a single mast. It carried a crew of five and maybe 15 passengers. It has a shallow draft and could be rowed by 4 in staggered order. This craft was probably made up of junked boats by the Migdal Jewish family boatyard.
There’s talk of restoring the dubbed “Jesus Boat.” HE and his disciples could have sailed in this very boat. Boats were very important in the Biblical past and are mentioned 50 times in the Gospels.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4)
Edward Hopper in 1871 was well aware of the loss of life due to the many shipwrecks and sinking of his day. He wrote these lyrics JESUS, SAVIOR, PILOT ME.
Over life’s tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal. Thou canst hush the ocean wild. Boist’rous waves obey Thy will. When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar, May I hear Thee say to me, “Fear not, I will pilot thee”
Now cast off and remember in a storm head for the cuddy. Stay on true course and avoid winkles in the main.