Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I remember something that the evangelist, Lowell Lundstrom, said a number of years ago. He said that we are all speeding toward death at the rate of 60 minutes per hour. When you are young you don't think much about a statement like that. After all, most young people think they are indestructible and will live forever. But the Scriptures say, "It is appointed unto man once to die, after that the judgement."
Yesterday I had another birthday. Thanks to the many who sent me birthday wishes. I like the ones that say, "and may you have many more." I just turned 61 and many more means more now than when I was 31. I realize now more than ever that the clock is ticking. It never stops. When it does stop for me, it is over. But it will keep ticking for everyone else who is still alive.
My goal now is to appreciate and enjoy the life I still have left. I need to make the most of it. Even now more than later. Now when I still have excellent health, I may not have that later. I need to enjoy the enjoyable years for the years of suffering with old age are sure to come. I look back at my past now and say "Alas!" because I see so much error and squandered time. I do not want to say "Alas!" again in another 10 years. But I want to look back with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I have an appointment and a great review of my life will take place. I want to be ready for that appointment.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I have always been a proponent of fair pay. Of course, fair pay is determined by the demand for labor, the skills and work ethic of the laborer, and the quality of work performed. It is not based on how badly the laborer needs a paycheck nor on how wealthy the business owner may be. The marketplace drives the worth of labor.
Having said that, in my business I have always paid above market value for labor and skilled craftsmen. It is important to me to have people who want to work for me. I also desire to reward people for their labor rather than take advantage of them.
Recently I had a gentleman who is one of my sub-contractors tell me about several jobs where he had worked where the pay was either slow in coming, or he was not paid at all. He worked for five months for one contractor who kept promising to pay him, but never did. The contractor went bankrupt and this man was never paid for his labor. This man now sub-contracts with me and we have a happy relationship because he is promptly paid after each job, and in return I receive a good day's labor.
It is heartbreaking to me to hear about those who work and don't get paid. And I believe that it is heartbreaking to God as well. It is totally wrong and immoral to not pay someone for their labor. In fact it is theft. It is trampling on the one who works. And I do not believe that God views this lightly.
The Bible says, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, and the laborer is worthy his hire."
A fair paycheck and a few bottles of Gatorade go a long way.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I always thought a mite was some tiny bug that would bite me. In Scripture it is a tiny amount of money. Jesus said of the widow who gave the two mites, "she gave more than all the others."
What we give is relative to what we have. Giving out of our abundance is no sacrifice at all. giving out of our need is some sacrifice. But giving all that we have is total sacrifice.
Perhaps sacrifice is the true measure of our love. The widow loved God so much that she gave all she had. Abraham loved and honored God so much that he was willing to sacrifice his son. Then, of course, God did sacrifice his Son.
Guaranteed, His love for us is greater than our love for Him. About the time I feel pretty pious because of a good offering I have given or some way I have served God, I am reminded of this widow, who, perhaps sacrificed the food on her table to give an offering to God.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Typically I think that hard work is a virtue. We get paid for our labor and therefore can buy the things to survive and the things that make life a little nicer. And it really helps when we enjoy our work. Even Jesus said, "The laborer is worthy his hire."
But what is a healthy balance between working to have our needs and some of our wants met and working for excessive gain? What portion of our lives are we sacrificing to work for gain? We pass this way only once. What have we left undone so that we can work longer hours? Whose life should we have touched? What pond should we have fished in? Where should we have volunteered? What book should we have read? What path should we have walked down?
No, we were too busy working, acquiring gain that one day we will leave behind. We were building a mansion that one day the kids will auction off. We were acquiring things that one day will have no meaning to anyone. But work, work work! We must work ourselves to the bone. We must work until we are mentally and physically tired. All to acquire!
In the end will we hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant?" Will our lives really have reflected what God really intended us to be? Or have we really left the more important matters undone?
Luke 9:25 "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?"
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Luke 9:20 "But what about you? Who do you say that I am?"
This could be the most important question we ever answer. Jesus asked the disciples who people said He was. They answered that some said he is John the Baptist risen from the dead, and others said the he is Elijah. Then Jesus cut to the chase. But who do you say that I am? This is where Peter came forth with his great confession.... "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." What a great answer!
But the question still needs to be asked of each one of us, who do we think Christ is? Who do you think Christ is? You answer and my answer will give direction to us for the rest of our lives. It will determine what we do with our lives, and how we conduct ourselves.
Just as important as our answer is whether or not we really believe our answer. Believing is faith and requires action on our part. It is one thing to say that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, but quite another to put our faith in Him as such.
Monday, October 4, 2010
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in Payer.
I serve a living Savior whose in the world today
I know that He is with me , whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer.
Just the time I need Him, He's always near.
He lives! He lives!
Christ Jesus lives today!
I could go on with other hymns and gospel songs. To me it is truly sad that these songs with such great messages are seldom sung in our churches today. I have talked with many who dearly miss the gospels songs and hymns. They have encouraged us and ministered to our hearts.
No, I am not opposed to contemporary music, though it is not my favorite. There are some great choruses and other stuff that sound like African chants (nothing against the Africans). But I am definitely disappointed that we have totally abandoned some great songs, with great messages, with great melodies. Not all of these songs have a loud crescendo. Some are quiet and in the hush the Holy Spirit moves and ministers.
I know, I know! Now that I have said something from my heart I will be labeled as a trouble maker. But that's not it at all. There is just something I get from the old hymns that ministers to my soul in such a way that nothing modern has done for a long time.
I want to sing: Drinking From the Springs of Living Water, Such Love, What a Day that Will Be, and It is Well with my Soul. And, oh ya, This is the Day, Therefore the Redeemed, I Saw God, and Surely the Spirit. You know what I mean.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed by His infinite mercy,
His Child and forever I am!
Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Redeemed, Redeemed, His child and forever I am.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
My grand daughter, Amber, was baptized this evening. It was pretty special. She accepted Christ when she was four, and now she followed the Lord in water baptism.
It reminds me when I was baptized in water. It was back in about 1970. I had moved to Minneapolis to look for work and found cheap housing at North Central Bible College dorms. I had told them that I intended to enroll in school in the fall, but really had no intention of doing that. But one Sunday morning I slept in and skipped church. Feeling a little guilty I picked up my Bible and began reading at the first chapter of Matthew. I didn't put the book down until I had finished the gospel of John. Wow! four books I had read in one sitting. And i wept all the way through. That is when I accepted Christ as my Savior. And I did enroll in college that fall.
I was then baptized in one of the lakes in Minneapolis. We found a secluded spot and a dozen of us waded out into the lake and there Alan Scott baptized me. These were the days of the charismatic movement.
Another thing that was memorable about that day was the spot we had chosen. We waded out to about waist deep. But the silt at the bottom of the lake was so soft that we began to sink in the mire. After I was baptized and stood back up the water was up to my armpits. It was with great effort that I was able to free my feet from the bottom of the lake. The others had the same problem. Even after our feet were free, the black slime clung to our legs. Leeches also thrived there.
After the baptism we decided to swim and rinse off. A few minutes later I heard someone yelling for help. It was Alan Scott, whose chine was just above the water. I saw panic on his face. He had stepped off a drop off in the water. I swam over and towed him in.
It was a day to remember.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The man in white had been chased away many times.... but he always returned. I came upon him by chance.... or was it Providence? I was now sitting near a Starbucks while enjoying a Starbucks and some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. I was not alone. My wife, Audrey, was sitting next to me and others also sat along the concrete steps looking, listening, and meditating with their own souls. The young lady sitting next to me had tears in her eyes. She said it was the most beautiful music she has ever heard.
The man in white had been in prison. No, not as a prisoner or an inmate..... but as a chaplain. His white suit contrasted with his black skin. His instruments, which were many, were lined up along where he had erected his stand and set up his amplifier and speakers. His sax music was the quality of Kenny G's. His versatility was that of Elvis Presley, and his voice was golden. His heart was pure and his mission was to tell us of Jesus Christ. His boldness put him at the corner and the crowd kept him there. And Providence brought us all the way from Denver to Seattle so this man could leave a lasting impression on my life.
There was no admission to see this guy. The crowd didn't just come an go, but rather it kept building. He played and sang for hours. People sat for hours. Some smiled, some applauded, some sipped their coffee, others wept. This plaza had become a sanctuary, a place where the Spirit of God invaded your soul.
At the end, the man in white gave his testimony.... told of his work.... told of rejection.... told of perseverance. I don't know his name and probably never will. But I will never forget him. He is one of my heros.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump of God, the dead in Christ shall rise, and we shall be changed..... we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds of the air."
Some things in life happen quickly and without warning. The Four Mile Canyon Fire near Boulder is an example. So far about 7,000 acres are burned and over 100 homes have become ashes. Many have only their car, laptop, and clothes on their backs. If they want to put fire protection around their homes, they are way too late. They were not prepared for this fire.
A lade one day came running into the train station. She wanted to take the 8:00 AM Amtrack. As she looked at the big clock across the street it said 7:58. She glanced at her watch and it said 8:00. But the clock in the train station said 8:01. She asked the clerk at the desk which clock she should go by. He replied, "You can go by any clock you wish, but you won't go by the 8:00 o'clock train because it just pulled away.
As an employer I wish I could be a little bit more like God, or Amtrack, at least. My subcontractors are almost always late to the job. They always have an excuse. It is a way of life for them. Perhaps it costs them nothing, but it costs me time, money, and other missed appointments. This is a big frustration for me. This really irks me because I am a person that is always on time and am usually early. It is a problem I will have to solve.
Amtrack has solved the problem. If you are not there waiting..... you don't go. God has also solved the problem, if you aren't ready, you don't go. I have a feeling there will be a whole lot of people not going. Being ready means you must accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. He died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Have you accepted Him? Will you do so on time?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
In my view there are certain things in life that are absolute requirements. No, I'm not talking about getting a job or owning a house. Nor am I talking about food, clothing, or other such necessities. I'm talking about things like toothpaste, popcorn, toast, coffee, and love.
Take toothpaste for instance. To me, toothpaste is not real toothpaste unless it has that very strong peppermint and anticeptic flavor. It must also contain whiteners. It needs to feel strong in my mouth when I am finished brushing and rinsing. I shouldn't feel the need to swish with a strong mouthwash.
Popcorn is another thing. This 94% fat free popcorn just doesn't do it for me. First of all, popcorn basically tastes like nothing without butter and salt. I know, both those things are bad for you. But driving your car can be hazardous to your health also. What could be better than buttered popcorn and an ice cold Coke. Don't tell me 'warm bread pudding with caramel sauce', which could be a close second. That is also not good for you. Why do you think they provide all that butter and salt at the movie theater? If the movie is bad, at least you can enjoy your expensive popcorn and Coke.
Then think about coffee. No, I'm not talking about one of those girlie drinks they serve up at Starbucks. I mean, coffee, the way it was intended to be. This is one item that is best without all those harmful additives. You put additives in gasoline.... not coffee. Also, please don't remove the caffein. No wonder half the population falls asleep at work. I think God intended for us to drink 6 cups of coffee a day. Besides, they say coffee prevents colon cancer. I don't know if I believe that but it justifies my drinking a good hot cup of very black coffee. My heartbeat hasn't been very erratic lately, either.
Then there is toast. On this account to each his own. But, really, I don't get this white bread thing. I figure that if they have to add fiber and vitamins to it, is it really bread? When Jesus said, "I am the bread of life," I don't think he was referring to wimpy white bread. I like bread with some substance, a little grain and fiber. It's much more satisfying and makes great toast.
I think love is a lot like all these items list above. Like toothpaste it has to have a little pizazz. Like popcorn.... well, there has to be some flavor and savor. Like toast, there needs to be some substance. And like coffee, it needs to be pure and is just plain good for you.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The tax collector has been hated throughout history. In times of old they would collect for kings and heads of state. They would take from the payor not only the money the king required, but in many cases as much as three to four times the requirement. And if you could not, or would not pay, it often meant imprisonment and even death.
Even today, the tax collector is not much liked. He is even despised by many. Many have lost their homes because they couldn't pay their mortgage or the taxes on their homes, or just couldn't pay their taxes. The IRS just steps in and freezes your assets, has meetings with you, and even charges you with tax evasion. Taxes and tax collectors are the enemy of the economy, but the friend of politicians who constantly want more of your money.
Therefore, I am somewhat disturbed that Jesus called a tax collector to be one of his twelve disciples. Would he be the one to later betray Jesus. Could this guy really be trusted. you might notice that Jesus did not give the money bag to Levi, but rather to Judas, who would later betray him. And yes, the issue was money.
But when you look at it objectively, Levi (Matthew) could have been one of the most important appointees to the discipleship. It was a statement by Jesus that even the those who are considered sinners, and off scouring, are able to be saved and be followers of Christ, and even leaders in the Church. This message gives hope to a lot of us. And it demonstrates God's power to save.
Many of us were worse than tax collectors (hard to do) and God reached down with his love and grace and saved us.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
There is just something about being clean that feels great! After a hard days work, it feels great to get into the shower and wash off the sweat and grime. The hot water is also therapeutic. Even clean babies are nice. After a day of pooing, peeing, and spitting up, they get their bath and come out smelling clean and fresh. Of course the baby oil also helps.
The same is true with our souls. There is a certain joy and freshness about being clean. In Luke chapter five a man full of leprosy came to Jesus and begged him, "if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus said, "I am willing, be clean." Jesus is the only one who can clean our souls. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we would not have to. Now He is the One who can cleanse us. We can clean ourselves up on the outside, but only He can clean us on the inside.
It feels great to be clean!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Luke 4:42 says: "at daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place."
There is a lot of commotion and noise in this world. One of my least favorite places to be is at a noisy restaurant where they have the music cranked up and everyone has to talk over the music. I usually just sit there being oppressed by the music and pretending to hear the people I am conversing with. Crowded pot luck dinners at church are about the same. When I turn on my car radio and the music is blaring... I shut it off. I don't like loud TV commercials. Sorry, Harley Davidson fans, but I don't like your loud motorcycle either. I feel really sorry for the mom who has three or four kids at home. Her husband is probably sitting in some quiet office. I don't mind a jet or two that flies over my house, but I do mind an onslaught of jets. I don't like riding in a noisy car while riding in a quiet car is a pleasure. I don't like fishing at a stream where a constant flow of cars and semis are going by. I think you get the picture.
Just like all the noise in our lives, the busyness of our lives can also be distracting. The constant bombardment of new challenges, answering questions, being here, and being there can sometimes be overbearing. A hectic daily schedule and just wear you down.
Jesus was just doing his job.... teaching and healing people and casting out demons. Sounds like a fun job to me. He made a lot of friends..... and.... a lot of enemies. He held several types of classes: Classes for His disciples, classes for the common people, classes for the religious leaders. He also spent a certain amount of time hiding out and fleeing for his life. Yes, His schedule was pretty hectic and with the crowds around Him there was a lot of noise.
So what did He do? He found a place where He could be alone, away from all the hub-bub. There He prayed and meditated and got himself recharged for life. Idiots like me would probable have a lot fewer problems in life if we would follow Jesus example. We would get our batteries recharged in prayer, learn from God's Word, and bask in the quietness before we go out and meet all the challenges and live in the duties and noises of this world.
This is why I value my early mornings. This is where I find my strength for the day. Even at Starbucks where they have quiet music, and a private table, I can read and meditate alone. A good Book, good music, good coffee, in a good atmosphere. I am usually ready for the day.
May God bless you with His presence and His Word.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Yesterday was Viola's funeral. In one sense it was like a great big family reunion which actually started the day before. Family poured in from all over the country. She still had 8 surviving children and their children. People came from California, Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, and.... well, you get the picture.
There was not a lot of sorrow expressed as Viola had been ailing for some time and was desiring to go to be with her Lord. But this was a chance to pay our last respects to this matriarch and to have one last large family reunion. The schedule kind of went like this:
Thursday: 3:00 pm - meet at the church for visitation, eat, take pictures, gab
5:00 pm - Family service where we all bragged about how stubborn Viola was - eat
again, gab, take more pictures.
Friday: 10:30 am - meet at the church, gab, get lined up
11:00 am - funeral
12:00 noon - eat, gab, take pictures
1:00 pm - off to the cemetery for the burial, then back to the church for
refreshments, gab, take pictures.
5:00 pm - eat again, gab, take more pictures.
Saturday: Get together, eat, gab and look at pictures.
So this is how Viola arranged for us all to get together one last time.
At home I know I can always get Starbucks. I prefer the Starbucks dark French roast although that is not what they normally brew. So it is Verona or Pikes Place. "No room"...... meaning, "black".
On the road it is different, though. Gas station coffee is usually not the best. But it does do it's job. It keeps me awake and keeps me peeing. The pit stops I must make also help to keep me awake and forces me to use my legs every now and then. I think gas station coffee is the real reason why Starbucks does so well. After a cup of Shell gas or Mobile oil (which is what their coffee really is) I'd pay anything for a good cup of Starbucks. One thing about gas station coffee is that if you run short on fuel, just pour it in your gas tank. It might even be cheaper than real gas. Just make sure there is no cream or sugar in it. Why would anyone put cream or sugar in their coffee anyway? That's one of the great riddles of life.
Right now I am enjoying a 16 oz cup of Holiday gas station coffee while I am sitting at the Toyota dealership in Devils Lake, North Dakota. They don't have Starbucks here, but they do have Toyotas. Last night in front of the old McConnel farm house there were three cars parked.... all of them Toyotas. One was my daughter's, another was my other daughter's. And the last one was my wife's. Well, my wife's brother drove his Camry up from Denver. My neice drove her Corolla up from Longmont. My nephew drove his Camry up from Denver. Sheesh! We could start our own Toyota dealership and survive by selling cars to ourselves.
But I bet a Starbucks would also do well in this part of the country. Once these people up here taste real coffee there will be no stopping them. We could put the Starbucks right next to the Toyota dealership and have a real winning combination..... especially if it is out on highway 2 where other people who know what a Starbucks is will see the sign. Better yet.... we could sell Starbucks at the gas stations where people go to fill up their Toyotas. Na, those Priuses don't use much gas and we wouldn't have many visitors. But on the other hand we might sell more Toyotas.
Friday, August 13, 2010
My Mother-In-law, whom I loved very much passed away a few days ago. Last night was the family service and today was the funeral. My wife, Audrey, sat by her bedside as she drew her last breath. She went from pain to peace in an instant. Her sorrow and suffering were over. She had an appointment with God, as we all do. And she is now absent from this earthly body and is in the presence of the Lord.
Viola evidently had a reputation for speaking her mind and not many people escaped her thoughts spoken out loud. I loved Viola and I knew she loved me back because she told me so and I know she wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it. She was one of my visits when I took my annual fall tour. I'll never forget the day that I first showed up with a beard. I had always been clean shaven until this time. When I first walked through the door she pointed at me and said, "I don't like your beard!" I knew she meant it, too. The next time I visited her I still had the beard. She said, "I still don't like your beard!"
Viola was that way with a lot of people and that is what was shared at the family service. It seemed to be a common theme. Although the stories were a little humorous, I began to think that maybe Viola was getting a bad rap. Well, a sorta bad rap anyway. It must be remembered that Viola had ten children over a period of 22 years or so, with the last child leaving home 18 years after that. So for about 40 years Viola had kids at home. I think that would make anyone a little testy at times. It might even make a mother a little bossy. But after all, isn't she really the boss?
Well, folks, the era of Viola Sinness is over. I have no sorrow for her at her passing. I do have a little sorrow for myself. I will definitely miss hearing her say that she doesn't like my beard. She was honest and I value that.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
In an earlier blog I wrote about how Jesus cursed an olive tree because it had no fruit on it. Usually a tree produces fruit after the type of tree that it is. God expects the same from Christians.
In Luke 3 many people came to John the Baptist to be baptized. John accused them of being a generation of vipers and asked who warned them to flee the wrath which is to come. Then in verse 8 he said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
In politics a new term has been used a lot lately. That term is RINO. Not as in Rhino. It means, "Republican in name only." Meaning that a person calls himself a republican but does not really uphold the republican values and platform.
A lot of Christians are like that, also. They claim to be Christians but fail to produce the fruit of a Christian. They fail to live the life style of a Christian. They are Christians in name only. The questions are: 1) Have you been born again? and, 2) Have you repented of your sins, and 3) are you actively living the Christian life style?
The first two of these three are relatively easy. Accepting Christ is easy. Being sorry for your sins of the past is easy. But living as a Christian, now that's the hard part. But that is where the rubber hits the road. This is where others will know who we are. This is also how we become a blessing to the kingdom of God.
I don't know about you, but my fruit tree seems a little barren lately. Perhaps I am too self absorbed. It's time to bear fruit.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Viola Sinness was my 93 year old mother-in-law..... until last night when she passed away in her sleep. She was one of my favorite persons and I know that she liked me. I respected her and it was hard for me to see her fade away and suffer the way she did, especially over the past year. Her daughter, and my wife, Audrey, was with her at the very end. So, she was not alone and Audrey was where she wanted to be when this moment came. I feel a great loss, but no sorrow, for I know that Viola is where she wants to be. Whatever sorrow I am experiencing is for myself for there is now another empty place in my heart.
I want to express my condolences to all of her loved ones. God's peace will fill your heart with the knowledge that Viola is with Him. "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." Right now Viola is younger than us all and her youth is eternal. I wish these tears of mine would stop flowing.
I went on a big hike with my friend, Cory Buckman, on Saturday. The intention was to do two peaks in one day, both of them fourteeners. For those of you outside of Colorado a fourteener is a mountain that has a 14,000 summit. Our selection was Grays Peak and Torey's Peak. I was up there twice before and knew it would be an arduous hike.
The hike turned out to be longer than we thought it would be as we had to park three-quarters of a mile downhill from the trail head. I'm not sure what happened since 5 years ago, but I think I lost a little spring in my step. One thing I do know is that my knees hurt a lot more this time up than last time. They hurt even worse on the way down. Not too bad, though. Only like knives stabbing me under the knee cap on each step. But all-in-all it was a great experience.
One thing we failed to do was make the final push up to the summit. For me it was a question of whether I would walk down the mountain. Gotta get those knees fixed before Obama says I'm too old.
Cory was like an old horse headed for the barn after a hard day's work. The closer we got to the truck the faster he walked. I hobbled along pretty good keeping up with him. After my next cortisone shot I think I will try it again.
Also, today I am in Estes Park, Colorado. This is a beautiful place and a nice place to get out of the heat. I'm in the loft of a cute little coffee and stationary shop looking out the window at the mountains. I have the entire loft all to myself, which is good for me, but bad for business. They also have the nicest easy listening music playing. I don't have the photos ready of the hike, but I have attched some photos of Estes Park. I
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In the midst of the worst trials of life there is hope and refreshing in reading about the birth of Christ. The Gospel of Luke contains my favorite account of this. This account tells of the conception and birth of John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. John was born to Elizabeth and Zachariah. And this was when they had no hope for children because they were in their old age. Yet, against all hope Elizabeth conceived and gave birth to a son who would be the forerunner to Jesus Christ. Luke records Elizabeth's song which is a song of joy. Then, later, Zachariah's song.
But Mary, the mother of Jesus, also had a song of her own, rejoicing that she would be the mother of her Savior.
When I was dealing with a very heavy burden today, I read this account of the conception and birth of Christ. In this account I found hope and peace. I was reminded once again that no matter how badly I have screwed things up and how badly I hurt, that a Savior was born for me, and that I can bow at the cross and find cleansing and relief. So even in my darkest moments I can find a song to sing.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I remember getting a pretty package for my birthday when I was a child. It sat on our kitchen counter for a couple of days prior to my birthday, and I wondered all the time what was in the package. I so hoped it was something I wanted. My mind wandered thinking about the good things it could be. I asked my mother what was in it. She said that I would have to find out when I opened it. In reality, I had no idea what was in the package.
With the health care bill that was passed earlier this year, Nancy Pelosy said that we would have to pass the bill, then find out what is in it later. That seems kind of reckless, but it did pass and we as Americans are stuck with it and we will find out what it in it as time goes on. What we do know is in it is more government spending and taxation.
Now we are faced with the same situation with the finance reform bill. Gibbs told us that we need this and we should pass it an find out what is in it later. Once again it was passed and we will definitely find out.
It seems to me that we have a bunch of blind men leading our nation as of late. If you and I operated the way Congress does we'd go bankrupt in no time. Oh, wait! I think this is exactly what is happening to our government. Our leaders are leading us into bankruptcy. We just blindly follow so long as we think there is something in it for us. And there is.... hard times. Harder times than we have had.
But once hard times come, The President, Congress, and the Senate will absolve themselves of all responsibility and will somehow blame it on the banks, or the insurance companies once again. I, for one, no longer trust the president, or congress to make decisions that are best for me or for my country. They have proven themselves as a bunch of charlatans, serving only themselves.
They want you to drive a Prius while they ride in a limo. They want to restrict your healthcare, but not their own. Your retirement fund decays and disappears while their government pension is guaranteed. You get the picture.
They want businesses to hire while making it harder to do so. An example of this is that if I hire someone I must pay half of his social security. But at the same time I must pay all of my own. So for two people I must pay the bill for one and a half. Therefore, why should I hire? We penalize those providing the jobs then wonder why they don't create jobs.
What's in this new financial bill. Once we know, we won't like it. But we will definitely find out as it unravels.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In Mark 13 Jesus' disciples were concerned about when the end would take place. Jesus did not give them a direct answer because, as He said, "the angels of heaven, not even the Son of man knows the exact time." But he gave then signs of the end.
The beginning signs included: false prophets and false christs arising. Let's not mistake these as the modern day evangelists that have fallen. As far as I know, none of the claimed to be Christ, and their message was not false.... they simply failed. The false prophets will be those who present another way that contradicts God's word and the false christs will be those who actually claim to be the way. At any rate, they are deceivers. They entice men to go the wrong way, which seals their doom because they believe a lie.
Also, in the beginning nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be wars and rumors of wars. This has been happening throughout the history of man.
Then there will be earthquakes and famines. These have also been with mankind for a long time.
Then Jesus changed things up to issues that will be very close to His coming. This includes persecution for the gospel, betrayal of children and parents, and being arrested. This, of course has been happening since Jesus first came on the scene. But as of late there has also been a renewed trend of persecution against Christians. In many nations you can be arrested and imprisoned for being a Christians, and in some cases put to death. I know of not other religion that bears this consequence. In the last 5 or 6 decades we have seen a shifting away from Christianity in the United States. It seems to be politically correct to view Christians as bad people, but not muslims. More persecution is on the way.
Then immediately before the end time the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give it's light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. I don't know exactly what all that means. I do know that without the sun the planet would be frozen. I tend to believe that with wars, volcanic activity, other pollution it may cause the sun to become a haze, the light of the moon and the stars may not be able to be seen. The earth will be in political chaos as wars are being fought. It is in this atmosphere that the "Son of man will come in His glory." At that time He will gather His own together. After that, God's judgement will fall on the earth.
Friday, July 9, 2010
In Mark 11:12-14 Jesus cursed a fig tree. He was on His way out of town, was hungry, saw a fig tree, and went to the tree for fruit. There was no fruit.... only leaves. He said, "may no one ever eat fruit from you again." The next day as they walked past the same tree, they saw that it was withered from the roots up.
The lesson is, Jesus expects everything to bear fruit after it's own kind. A peach tree should bear peaches, a tomato plant should bear tomatoes, cattle should bear cattle, and so forth. This also applies to Christians. As Christians we should bear fruit. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what kind of fruit. Bearing fruit makes the Christian life interesting, worth while, and profitable for both us and the kingdom of God.
Each of us should ask ourselves what kind of fruit we will be bearing today. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit will cause us to be happy and prosper. Bearing no fruit at all will cause our souls to wither.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
British Petroleum has done a number on the oil industry, and so have the problems in Europe. Of, course, President Obama's moratorium on deep water drilling has had a big part in contributing to the sagging oil industry. Many of these oil stocks are down as much as 40-50 percent over the past couple of months. Thousands of oil workers are out of work because of the moratorium. Pretty sad, isn't it?
However, what our president and other environmentalists fail to understand is that our country and our world is still dependent on oil. It is still one of the cheapest and most readily available energy products.... and our world is still set up that way. All of that leads to this: There is going to be an oil shortage, which will then push up the price of crude oil. The result of this is that oil companies will once again see increased profits..... but this time with less production. Oil stocks are poised to go up. Want to make some money? That's where I would invest..... am invested.
Of course, if you want to buy the best and most dependable stock, you can always buy Apple (AAPL) at nearly $275 per share.
Knock Starbucks if you want to. That's the other black gold (black coffee). Or you can buy some Starbucks stock, buy a cup of coffee, and watch your stock go up. They are recovering nicely and most Starbucks shops I go into are constantly busy. And I visit a lot of Starbucks. If people have to choose between coffee and food.... they must be choosing coffee.
Monday, June 21, 2010
"Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them, except Jesus." Mark 9:8.
Jesus took Peter, James and John up a hight mountain. There He was transfigured before them and his clothes glowed whiter than any bleach could get them. While on the mountain they saw Jesus talking with the prophet Elijah and Moses. Then a mist came over the mountain and when it cleared they saw only Jesus.
The message here is that we often get our eyes on the wrong thing. Elijah was a great prophet and Moses was a great leader. When there are great prophet and leaders there is a tendency to promote these people to an almost godlike position. But the Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ should be the focus of Christians everywhere. Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind of fire. Moses, God's servant is dead. But Jesus Christ lives forever more.
When we take our eyes off Jesus we can also get off-track very easily. And while we are going off-track we can rationalize what we are doing. At these times we are living in the mist that not only hides Moses, and Elijah from us (or anyone else we may have set on a pedestal) but the mist also hides Jesus and his will for our lives from us. Once we re-focus our eyes on Jesus the mist will clear and we will once again see Jesus only as our Lord, and His Word as the guide for our lives.
Once we get re-focused we can then see how far off track we have been. This calls for sorrow and rejoicing. We have sorrow over our wayward ways and the damage and hurt that it causes. But we have joy that we have been restored. There is a bittersweetness here. But this is better than only bitterness that comes with staying with our waywardness.
"Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full on His wonderful face,
And the things of the earth with grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."
Who did they see on the Mount of Transfiguration? In the end it was only Jesus. Who is it you see guiding your life?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Boycott, Boycott! Folks any one can boycott anyone or anything for any reason. That doesn't mean that it's always the right thing to do. Arizona is now getting boycotted by several places for their newly adopted immigration law. Notwithstanding that the law mirrors Federal law and is the correct thing to do. The City of Boulder Colorado is boycotting Arizona and so is the City of Los Angeles. I think Arizona will count the cost and stand by their guns.
Arizona has a large border with Mexico where Mexican workers seem to think they can come and go at will. They are here working illegally, not paying taxes, and straining Arizona's health care and social services systems. They are getting a free ride while legal immigrants and American citizens are footing the bill through the taxes they pay, and the jobs they are losing to the illegals.
I think Arizona should put the illegals on trucks and ship them to LA and Boulder, and other such places and let them pay the expenses for these illegals. It's easy to bitch about Arizona's immigration law when you are several hundred miles away and don't have to deal with their problems, but it is another thing when they are in your own back yard, taking your job, and stressing your welfare system.
Do these politicians have no shame, or do they have no brain? Actually, they do have a brain but have no shame. Their re-election depends on catering to the illegals and those who receive welfare. Figure it out, only 50 percent of Americans are net tax payers, which means the other 50 percent are net tax receivers. The leaches of this country generally vote for democrats. Thus the boycotts. These politicians have to show their welfare recipients that they are earning their keep.
But let's think about this realistically. There are hundreds of thousands of others who would like to immigrate to this country from Europe, the middle east, the far east, Africa, and so on. It is very difficult for them to immigrate here. They make the proper applications, undergo a background check, have to be interviewed, and have to have a very good reason to immigrate here. But with our Mexican neighbors it seems that none of this is required. They don't even have to register, although they are here illegally. I don't think it is too much to ask for them to come into our country through the proper system. Why are we punishing Arizona for enforcing a law that mirrors Federal law? I think it boils down to this: votes. Ya, I know that you are supposed to be a US citizen to vote. But I'm not stupid enough to believe that it actually works that way.
One of my favorite cities in the US is San Diego. But I am boycotting San Diego until this California city puts enough pressure on LA to lift their boycott of Arizona. I know it doesn't mean much, but, hey! as long as we are in the boycotting mood. Also, I don't think I will do business in the Republic of Boulder, either.
Now, after reading the above you may think that I am against Mexicans coming into this country. Actually, I'm not. I'm all for it. Let's just make sure they are here legally, and when they work, they pay taxes also.
Enjoy your Starbucks folks!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Some of you older folks know how the song goes.... "Ever hear of LeRoy Brown? Meanest man in the whole darn town." That takes me back to the days when the Democrats were calling the Republicans "mean spirited." Because the Republicans didn't go along with every welfare program, they were considered mean spirited. And of course the most mean spirited of all was Rush Limbah.
But as I listen to the Democrats now days, I believe they have become the epitome of mean spiritedness. The chant their "no way, no how." every chance they get. They rail against the banks, the car manufacturers, WalMart, stock brokers, insurers, oil companies, coal companies, loggers, doctors, hospitals, and just about anybody that makes any money. That is everyone who makes money excepting themselves. The likes of Pelosi, Wrangle, Reed, Frank, Emmanuel, and of course, the famous Hilary Clinton, herself. They strong arm a coerce. They use unconstitutional means to get bills passed. They have no respect for their constituents, unless, of course they are the one-third of Americans that think the way they do.
The LeRoy Brown of this generation is Barak Obama. He tries to sound nice while playing dirty. Fortunately Americans have caught on. He could be the best thing that has happened to the Republican party in decades. The elections this fall will be sweeping landslides toward the Republicans. That is, of course is if those bone headed Republicans can manage to stay out of trouble. They keep asking me for contributions, but they aren't getting it. Prove to me they are truly conservatives with a moral compass, then I will consider contributions.
Hey, I just joined Starbucks Coffee club that seems to have a lot of rewards. The more I go to Starbucks, the more blogs. Lucky you! LOL. Enjoy a cup of Starbucks while you buy a bunch of Citigroup..... the next big gainer on the market. $4.40 a share, what are you waiting for?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Yesterday I laid out 8 rules to trading options at hard times. Rule #3 said not to buy options when there is a sharp upturn in the market. And Rule # 8 said not to hold options over night. I broke both these rules and paid. I bought options in Ford Motor because they had just come off a small downturn and it seemed like market conditions were right. So I bought them at the end of the day and held them over night.
This morning the pre-market was trading up. Even the Wall Street Journal said that stocks were pointing to another positive day. In the pre-market trading Ford Motor was up 14 cents. The minute the market opened stocks started tumbling.
The reason for the tumble is this: our Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanski got up and mumbled something in public about raising interest rates. These guys have two problems: 1) Every time they open their mouths the market goes down. 2) They are addicted to raising. That's right. They always want to raise something. If it isn't interest rates, it's taxes, or fees, or something else that makes your life a little more miserable. It just doesn't sit well with investors.
Now, I understand that a lot of people don't like investors. Why, I'm not sure. I think it might be jealousy. But folks, our economy is lubricated with investors' dollars. People willing to take the risk to finance a company that produces a product that creates jobs. A lot of people don't like the guy that provided their job. That's OK. take away the investors and there will be fewer jobs.
One of the things I am very fond of is a good cup of coffee. Starbucks does this reasonably well. I like their coffee, I like their atmosphere, and i like it that they have broadband service. I even like their paper cups. Oh, and they make real cheap office space.
When I see a sign for a coffee shop I am reasonable sure that I can get coffee there. But it seems the last few times at a certain Starbucks, coffee is not a priority. At this particular Starbucks I can almost count on them not having any coffee ready. It happened again this evening, making it my 4th trip in a row to this store where I've had to wait for them to brew a pot.
In fact, one time I had to wait for them to brew two pots. Yes, that's right, two pots!. I placed my order and was told they needed to brew some, so I watched them brew, they poured it up and gave some to two other customers and i was told that they had to brew another pot. Now, wait a minute! these are big urns! Why were they out of coffee? I was told that they brewed only a quarter of an urn the first time. I'm not sure that all the people that work at Starbucks have all their marbles. Some of them are two cards short of a full deck.
Well, anyway, I had to wait 15 minutes for a cup of coffee at a shop that specializes in selling coffee. I just don't get it. Audrey was finished with hers and waited while I enjoyed mine.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The most important person in my life is my wife, Audrey. She was beautiful the day I met her, beautiful the day I married her and is beautiful yet today at the age of 58. But even more beautiful is her quiet, constant, and calming spirit. I know of no one else who can fly out of town every week and work in another city and still have the time to pay attention to her kids, and relatives, visit her mom in North Dakota, go to church and read the Bible through in one year.
Yesterday was her birthday. We had time for a nice celebration before I took her to the airport where she boarded a plane for Dallas. Our daughter Amy and her three kids were here. We had a great time. The menu was spaghetti, French bread, angel food cake with strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and cool whip. O how the kids love the cool whip!
And of course, I brewed a pot of Starbuck's coffee.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I have often wondered about those who build their house on top of a mountain. Why do they do it? It just seems like an awful lot of work to get home. Why would anyone do it? Well, today I got my answer.
Today I went up above Golden to do some roof repairs. A very curvy road wound up the mountain until I saw a sign that said, hidden entrance. That was the beginning of this guy's driveway. His driveway wound up the mountain for about a half-mile. This was real hairpin turns with no railing. Then I pulled up to this huge chalet with a triple car garage. I met the owner, Steve, then we went up on the roof. The sight was absolutely awesome. The road below us looked like a tiny ribbon. Downtown Denver was in the distance and looked absolutely small. The eagles were spiraling over head. And the landscape was gorgeous.
Steve explained that elk sleep in the back yard, pumas live on the next ridge, and that coyotes ate two of his dogs. He explained that the trail to the Gregory gold mine went right past his property. There was a town of 300 voters whose sole job was to assist speculators up the mountain and help them camp for the night before they moved on the gold fields. Back then Golden was.... well.... golden.
And one of the nicest parts about today's excursion up the mountain was that I found a new Starbucks.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I remember the days when socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, and scarfs were normal Christmas gifts. Yes, we even ate the fruitcake back then. We also got a big bag of curly Christmas candy, peanuts, an apple and an orange when we went to our church's Christmas service. There were five of us kids so there was a lot of candy and peanuts. The apples usually got soft spots before we got around to eating them.
This Christmas I was reminded of those days when my six-year-old grandson opened some of his gifts. He had been anxious to open the gifts. He stared under the tree and begged to open them. He was so disappointed when his first gift was socks, his second gift more socks plus underwear, his third gift pajamas. In the attached photo he is very disappointed while holding up his gifts for a picture.
Fortunately, he did get some kind of space laser gun that makes noises that will drive his mother absolutely crazy. That is thanks to grandpa and grandma (us). And he also got a wii. That was driving his mother crazy the first day.... but not his dad. In fact, I think it was his dad that was driving his mother nuts.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Running has always been one of my favorite sports. In Jr. High I tied and all school cross country record. At basic training in Fort Leonardwood, MO I was the second fastest miler in Echo Company. Even into my 40's I kept running, usually three to five miles a day. I ran 5K, 7K, and 10K races. I ran these races in 6 to 7 minute miles. My best race was the Bolder Boulder 11 years ago. At age 49 I came in 14th in my class (ages 40-49). I felt then, that the next year I would really do well the next year in my new age class.
That was not to be. The years from running on the pavement had taken it's toll on my knees. There were times I could hardly walk. I tried to come bak several times but it always led to more pain and times of heavy medication and difficulty walking. The steroid shots began, pain pills, and glucosamine. All of this just so I could walk. This led to inactivity.... which I hate. I was using 3 ibuprofin up to 4 times a day.
Well, this past week I decided to get back on the treadmill, no matter how much it hurt. I don't know what's happening for sure, but I have been putting in two miles a day at endurance level and my knees feel better than they have for years. I'm down to 2 to 4 ibuprofin per day! And I feel a lot better.
I no longer run, but do a strenuous walk that works up a heavy sweat. I'm feeling stronger each day. But I will no longer run like the wind. I am now the tortoise versus the hare.