What’s Your Goliath?

10 02 2018

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

 

David faced a giant. Goliath was a career warrior who had been training to fight since he was a child. He was nine feet tall with the strength of a bear. The tip alone, on the spear he carried, weighed 15 pounds. And, his bronze helmet probably weighed as much as the scrawny David. Now, he stepped out onto the battlefield to challenge the Israelites, but, no one would come out to fight him. They knew there was none among them who could defeat this leviathan.

 

Along comes David, a skinny shepherd boy, with enough faith in God to move a mountain. We read at I Samuel 17:38 that, as Goliath started out across the expanse between the armies, David ran out to meet him. He wasn’t timid. He didn’t walk out or amble out. He ran out, without hesitation and with unspeakable confidence, to remove the head of this enemy of his people. You see, David knew something that neither Goliath nor anyone else knew-he knew God was with him. David knew, just as Joshua knew at the battle of Jericho, the victory was already his. Joshua 6:2 says, “And the Lord said unto Joshua, ‘See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.’” The battle had been won even before it began. Such was the situation for David. His faith in God told him that God had is back, to put it into today’s vernacular, and he would be victorious thanks to the power of God.

 

Everyone has a Goliath in his or her life. Mounting debt. Health problems. An addiction. A tragedy.  A difficult boss or strained relation with a friend or family member. If you believe God is the promised Messiah and you have accepted Him as personal Savior, He will help you overcome that obstacle. No giant is bigger than God. Oh, we’ll still have rough spots. We’ll still have struggles; but, He sends His angels to watch over and protect us. The battle is already won thanks to the Cross. Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter how hard life gets, there will come a time when we will spend each perfect day in the presence of God for eternity.

 

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psalms 18:2

 

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High Bid’s a Winner!

28 01 2018

Last year there was a TV commercial for one of those dating web sites that singles use to get out of, or at least share, their singledom. I’m pretty sure the dating site was eHarmony. Anyway, the young lady in the commercial said the reason she chose eHarmony over other sites was, “because you have to pay to be on there.” Whaaat? She felt there would be a higher class of people at eHarmony since they were all willing to fork over some cash to meet their mates. According to her logic, if it’s free, either it must not be any good or you’ll have to cull out a bunch of penniless losers to find a nugget worth dating.

 

Let’s Cool This Place!

So, a friend and former co-worker once told me of his grandfather’s church. It was a small wood-frame, country church…one of those churches that’s been around for a hundred years. It was a church where every Sunday morning during the summer, congregants sat waving paper fans on sticks with a picture of the Last Supper on the front and an ad for the local funeral home on the back side. The preacher, two minutes after beginning his sermon, pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and begins to wipe the sweat from his face, as he brings a sermon as hot as the air blowing through the open windows.

 

It was during a meeting of elders that a decision was made to air condition the church. “There’s no reason,” they reasoned, “that we can’t, or shouldn’t, try to make this place comfortable.”

 

So, they sent a letter to local heating and air conditioning companies requesting bids for the project.

 

The Bidding Process

Now, I have worked in government and I understand how it works. For a government entity, such as a state or municipality, the law requires anything beyond a certain amount to go out for bids. In North Carolina, the threshold requiring informal bids used to be $5,000.00. The entity would then select the provider who submitted the lowest bid. There’s an old joke about a city employee who collapsed at her desk but died while the city was waiting to get the lowest bid for the ambulance service.

 

Well, this is a private church; so, there is no requirement that they go through the bidding process. But, the logic is the same-you want the work completed satisfactorily at the lowest price-hence the bid requests.

 

So the bids came in-they sought, and got three. Two of the bids were similar…in the $8,000 range. But, the third bid was over $11,000. So, the church elders, applying some form of twisted logic, decided that if the high bidder was so much higher than the others, it must be because they provide better equipment and do better work. So, the decision was made to accept the highest bid.

 

Now, that’s just the beginning of the story. My friend went on to tell me how the following year, the church elders, pleased with the improvements to make the church more comfortable, felt it was worthy of an exterior makeover, as well. So, they decided to put aluminum siding over the weathered boards. The church spent a few thousand dollars to install the siding; but then, the following year, for whatever reason, they bricked over the siding. Wait a minute…is this a church or our government? Maybe they’ve been watching too many eHarmony commercials!

 





LET ME OUTTA HERE!

21 01 2018

 

Kids will be kids. http://www.cbc.ca

Last Wednesday morning it began to snow and the snow didn’t stop until it was nearly a foot deep. Or, as my good friend, Jim, would say, “axel deep to a Ferris wheel.” Then, true to form for the South, the next morning, the sun shined bright, the temperature rose to nearly sixty and everything began to melt. As you might imagine, after two days of unrelenting, copious melting, the ground is good and soggy.

 

So, today, Saturday, on my way to the store to do my weekly grocery shopping, I drove past a park and noticed there were a number of parents with their toddlers in the park. The little tykes were having a blast playing on the swings, sliding down the slides into the mud pool awaiting at the lower end, and doing what kids do in a park. I thought to myself, why would responsible parents bring their one, two and three-year olds to play in a park when the ground was so wet and muddy? Then (smack my forehead), like the floor when I fall, it hit me…these parents had been shut up in the house with these little hellions for three days and were at the end of their rope of tolerance. They were dying to get out of the house. Also, I’ll point out, this park was in one of the more “progressive” neighborhoods with “Resist” signs in the front yards of the older refurbished homes owned by young parents who believe spanking is a form of child abuse. Guess they figured they had better get out of the house before they snapped and betrayed their theory that little Aaron and Moonbeam should never experience spanking. Regardless of their parental theories, I can’t say as I blame them.

 





No Longer A Prisoner

15 01 2018

Friday, January 12

Lib Mathews
February 5, 1928-January 14, 2018

Dying is not easy. We watched as my mother-in-law slipped in and out of sleep growing frailer by the minute. Sleep was a welcome respite from her struggle to breathe. A caravan of caregivers of every ilk streamed in and out of the hospital room. There were doctors, nurses, therapists; each using their skills to help her, yet knowing she was living her last hours.

 

During a lighter moment the previous day, a nurse practitioner came into her room to check her condition. In a firm loud voice, he asked, “How are you today, Mrs. Mathews? Do you know where you are?”

 

“In the hospital,” she squeaked out.

 

“Good. Do you know what year it is?” he bellowed.

 

“2018,” came her feeble response.

 

“Good, good,” he continued. “Who is the president, the President of the United States?”

 

She paused. You could tell the wheels were turning by her pleated brow and asking eyes.

 

In a weak voice, she replied, “I don’t remember his name but when the wind blows, his hair stands straight up like this,” she said while holding her hand on the top of her head with her fingers extending upward.

 

Saturday, January 13

It’s the end of a long day. Breathing comes harder. She is unable to hold her head up as my wife asks her what she would like for dinner. One need not be a medical professional to discern the steady and quick decline in her condition. I get the sense she is like a prisoner condemned to the gallows for execution who is ordering her last meal. She is, after all, a prisoner. She’ll never go home again. She’ll never feel the sun warm her face or enjoy family gatherings as she has in years past. She’s a prisoner to this bed…this room…this hospital. She’s a prisoner to time. Eighty-nine years of living have brought her to a point where she barely exists, manifest in a tired body, too weak to enjoy the freedom of mobility.

 

Sunday, January 14, 12:11PM

My wife’s brother calls from the hospital-she is gone. She is no longer a prisoner.

 





Death of a Nation

6 01 2018

Israel, once a powerful and God-loving nation, was led by a succession of evil kings who encouraged idolatry. And, in spite of God’s warnings, Israel fell deeper and deeper into sin. The people disobeyed God’s commands and began to worship idols. They became corrupt. They grew greedy. They became lustful and shamelessly immoral. They drifted away from God, who had done so much to make them an independent nation, and eventually the nation was destroyed.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Look at today’s headlines. Hardly a day goes by we don’t see another example of corruption within our legal system and our government. The swamp is deep and wide. The web of deceit and corruption has become so widespread and intertwined it appears there is no way to fix it. And, while there is nothing new about corruption among politicians and powerful people, there was a time when we would hold those who were found guilty accountable for their actions. Murders, rapes and violence, in general, are on the upswing.

 

I believe that what entertains us reveals our nature. In the fifties and early sixties, for example, A wholesome America thronged to the theaters to see the likes of Tracy, Hepburn, John Wayne, Doris Day, Portiere and others. Our favorite television characters included Lucy and Ricky, Rob and Laura Petrie, the Cleavers and so on. These were characters portrayed by people who conducted themselves in a respectable manner, both on and off camera. But, we began to get away from wholesome heroes in favor of a free lifestyle without inhibitions and boundaries. We began to reject noble character in favor of a me first attitude. Like the children of Israel, we began to lose sight of what was good. We began to lose sight of our Christian values.

 

In a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2014, the number of Americans who say they do not believe in God nearly doubled, from 5 to 9 percent, as compared to a similar study in 2007. In a country of over 300 million people, that’s a large number. Sadly, the same trend continues today.

 

There is no single event to which one can attribute the genesis of America’s moral decay; but, if I had to pick a spot in history which might come close, I would go with Woodstock and the hippie movement of the late sixties. Many of those same free-loving, anti-establishment, draft-dodging potheads are brain-washing your kids on our college campuses today. Those same snowflakes are the parents who came up with the everybody wins and everybody gets a trophy insanity which gave millennials a sense of entitlement to go along with their closets filled with dusty trophies. And, as America continues this immoral spiral, we grow closer to the same fate that befell Israel in the Books of 1 and 2 Kings-the death of a nation.

 

The good news, or should I say, The Good News, is, Christ will return soon and the end will be the beginning for those who have accepted Christ as Savior and our new lives will be eternal.





Move Over Edison, There’s a New Inventor in Town!

26 11 2017

I consider myself somewhat of an inventor. I came up with the idea for the GLH System, but Ron Popeil, the most prolific inventor of our time, beat me to the patent office. You remember the GLH System, don’t you? GLH stands for “Great Looking Hair.” That was the hair-in-a-can. You get a color that matches your hair and spray your bald spot. What could be easier?

 

I was about 8-years old sitting in churchone Sunday morning, behind Lloyd Sturgis. Mr. Sturgis was about 180 years old with a grey ring of hair surrounding a large patch of bald, freckled scalp. The sunlight, streaming through the window behind me, lit up this bald spot and I thought to myself, if he had some grey paint, then he could paint that spot and it would blend in with his hair, and wouldn’t reflect the sun.

 

Then there was bacon scented underwear. Okay, I realized when I looked back and saw every dog in the neighborhood following me that I hadn’t thought that one through.

 

But this one is a sure-fire winner. I call it the writer-printer. It’s a machine with a standard keyboard. Above, and in front of the keyboardis a roller with a knob on each end. You simply roll a piece of blank paper in behind the roller, and using the keys, you type your message. At the same time, you print out a copy! Time saved! No separate printer to buy and hook up. Let’s see you beat me to the patent office this time, Ron Popeil!

The Writer-Printer

 





Idols and Statues

21 11 2017

Recently, I was having a conversation with one of my favorite people-one of my sons- about the statues that are being removed or destroyed all over the country. He wasn’t terribly concerned because, he felt that all statues are idols. A statue, like anything else, is what you make it. Statues are erected for many reasons; they commemorate historical events, or pay tribute to influential people. Many people view statues as art; some, as we are seeing in the news, view a statue as an object of hate; others see them as no more than a lump of granite or bronze without appreciating the talent required to make them. And, yes, there are some people who will worship statues. They have chosen to put an inanimate object before God. But, regardless as to how one might view a statue, it is a choice they made. So, yes, a statue can be an idol, but only if one chooses for it to be.

 

Merriam Webster defines idol as a representation or symbol of an object of worship. An idol is anything one puts before God. That could be a car or truck, a job, a craving for money, success or power and so on.

 

Not Exactly the Family Truckster

I once did safety consulting for Porsche. Inside a garage in the facility, awaiting delivery to their new owners, were two 918 Spyders, each valued at over one million dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a car and I’m glad for those who have the money to own one. I don’t, for one minute, begrudge anyone from enjoying such luxury. And I’m sure there are different reasons as to why one would spend a million dollars on a car. It may be because they like the feel of the car when sitting in the driver’s seat. You don’t drive a 918 Spyder-you wear it. The attitude of some may be, I have the money, why not enjoy it. But then there may be some who love their new Spyder…literally love it as much as they do their own family.

 

But it need not be a million dollar car that is the subject of one’s worship. When I was just a kid, around 12 years old, a particular school teacher at the local junior high school, and her husband, owned a Morris Minor. The Morris Minor was a British made car built from 1948 until the company stopped production in 1972.

 

I was in my front yard, along with a friend, and we were throwing a baseball. An errant throw went past my friend’s glove and sailed toward the street. At that moment, the school teacher, whom I was just about to meet for the first time, drove by in her Morris Minor. The ball bounced off the left rear fender and left a small dent. The teacher stopped the car, jumped out and looked at the dent. She then ran over toward me with a look on her face that said you just hit my 918 Spyder with a baseball. I could see her rage manifest by her cracking voice and the red moving from below her collar upward until it reached her hairline. She reminded me of an old Popeye cartoon in which Sinbad the Sailor squeezes Popeye until his head looks like a radish. She was extremely angry, but not as much as her husband, who was also a school teacher, was when he came to my house later that evening to voice his displeasure to my parents. He ranted about how long he had had that car and how much it meant to him. I remember hearing him say something about the car having 300,000 miles on it and how he had already…now I’m not making this up…bought a plot so when it finally died, he planned to have it buried. In other words, your object of worship need not be a million dollar car.

 

The Golden Calf

The Israelites grew impatient while waiting for Moses to come down from Mt. Sinai; so, they decided to take matters into their own hands and pooled their earrings, bracelets and other items of gold, and melted them down to cast into a calf. Now, they could have left it at that and things would have been okay, but when Moses returned to camp, he saw them dancing and paying homage to this idol-this false god, they had created. They could have placed it in the center of the camp, on a granite base, as a statue… not to worship, but to honor God, or even Moses for that matter. Or, Aaron, the ring leader, could have taken it home and used it as a door stop or used it as a paperweight. But no, they had to worship it. They reveled in it. They expected it to provide them with blessings they felt they weren’t getting from God. But that’s when things went downhill for these people.

 

An idol, regardless of the form it takes, is a choice. People choose to pursue worldly interests and ignore the one true God. People see hate or adoration in a statue. People put personal desires ahead of everything else in their lives. Worship the one true God and put your faith in Him. That will get you to heaven and make America great again.