In This Corner

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.    Matthew 5:16Candle Light

I used to keep close track of what’s happening in our government, our politics, and our country. About a year and a half ago we discontinued our cable and only have internet.  Entertainment is Netflix, and news is online.

We were spending too much time and energy over every little thing in the news cycle. I would alternately be upset, worried, angry, or joyful over every turn of events.  It was a waste!  I have better things to do with my time.

I’m still aware of what’s happening in the world and our country, but in a “headlines” sort of way. I know Trump fired Comey from the FBI, and there’s a big stink about that; whether he should have done that earlier or now, whether he did it for the right reasons, etc.  I don’t think any of us can completely know the whole story.  I don’t feel like taking the energy to slog through it.  To what end would I do that?

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys, as I wrote over a year ago.

Monkeys

Too Many to Handle

 

The country is too big. So is the world.  There’s not much I can do for the whole world.  I’ll tell you what I can do, though.

Pray, for starters. I’ve kept a prayer list for decades.  I pray for all Christians everywhere,Uganda-child-praying-closeup but especially for those who are persecuted.  I pray for all those who fight against evil, whether on the battlefield or in government.  I pray for everyone in the world who does not believe, that God would soften their hearts and give them another chance – or just a first chance – to believe.  I used to wonder if I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew with such large prayers.

God’s shoulders are big enough. He’s the One doing the lifting, whether lifting the dead from the grave, lifting a cross on His back, or lifting us in our times of need.  He’s good at it!

I also pray for very specific people; family, friends, and even people I barely know who have need. Every time I see flashing lights and hear sirens, I pray that the responders and those they are rushing too are protected and made well.

I write this blog, putting out words that I feel compelled to write. I reach the world, believe it or not; India, the UK, Japan, Mauritias, Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Viet Nam, and more.

I try to bolster other people. I had lunch with my pastor yesterday, and gave him my “two cents” on something, which ended up being helpful to him.  I try to find opportunities to randomly give strangers sincere compliments.  People are too nasty to each other; I try to take the opposite track.

I don’t think I can directly affect most of what happens in the world. It’s too big.  But…

In this corner…

boxing-4a

Not really me…

The Negligence of “13 Reasons Why”

Just because this is so important!!

BeautyBeyondBones

“13 Reasons Why.”

The Selena Gomez – produced Netflix show that remade the YA fiction novel by the same name.

The topic? Teenage Suicide.


The “13 Reasons” refer to the 13 cassette tapes the victim, Hannah, left behind, explaining why each of the 13 people on the tapes were to blame in why she took her own life.

I didn’t want to watch it. Clearly, this is not a light subject matter, and not particularly something I wanted to watch alone in my studio apartment in New York. But given my affinity for Justin Bieber, and as a result, his first love, Selena Gomez, I wanted to see what she produced.

And well, after watching all 13 episodes in less than 48 hours, I have some thoughts. Strong ones.

Suicide is never the answer. It should never even be an option. Let’s get that right out of the way from the…

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Eden

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.    Genesis 2:7-9

I entered a persuasive speech competition in college. I managed second place.  My topic: We should abandon all technology.

I had recently read a book on all the damage being done to the planet by pollution. I decided to take the position that the only way to save the planet was to stop everything; manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, and even medicine.  Everything.  I spoke about the inevitable die back that would happen, but how it’s bound to come anyway.  Let’s just bite the bullet, so to speak, and do the right thing.  I took that extreme stance mostly as an intellectual exercise.  I experimented with the concept of going overboard to make a point.

I hadn’t thought of that for many years, but a recent experience brought it all to mind again. I visited a steel manufacturing facility on a sales call.  “Facility” doesn’t do the place justice.  This is a sprawling campus; roughly ten square miles.  It has its own railroad and railway equipment repair building.  I didn’t get to see the blast furnaces, but that’s fine with me.  What I saw was…enough.PittsburghSteel

It took my colleagues and I a solid two hours just to get our passes, process ID’s, and even watch 40 minutes of training videos on all of the ways I could die on the other side of the fence. There was a test afterwards.

For example, hazardous gasses. They use a LOT of them.  If I were to see someone keel over, I should not under any circumstances try to help them; they’re already dead.  I was told to run like I stole something and get the hell out of Dodge before the gas got to me too.

I couldn’t wait.

What got me going was the one foreman we spoke with. This guy was a talker, but all he could talk about was the job, the hours he put in, etc.  He didn’t want to let us go.  He needed a human touch, and just wanted some company away from the mill and the ever-deafening noise, so we stood outside listening to him way longer than was necessary.  That’s when it hit me.

steel-being-forged-at-millThe vital part of human beings is one of the raw materials that are burned in the furnaces and milled like the steel under tons of pressure between the rollers. I watched as huge coils of steel were gradually milled down to .008” thickness.

That’s where our razor blades and pop cans come from.

Razor blades. And pop cans.

As we finally drove toward the exit, I looked across this blasted landscape that had been built just over 100 years ago. I took in the furnaces in the distance which were lit way back then and never shut off since.  We rolled past old brick buildings which showed their age in architecture and dirt.  Even the newer buildings looked old.

And I thought of Eden. Trees, lush with leaves and fruit.  Grass, cool and green under foot.  Horses and lions walking across each other’s’ paths, and beautiful birds flying about, singing the songs God gave them.

And the snake.Wilderness_from_meadow_on_Hurricane_Ridge

I wish I could show Adam and Eve the future they chose for us, even though that wasn’t their intent. I wish we could abandon technology and go back to what God intended.  But I’ve seen a few episodes of Naked and Afraid.  The ol’ place just isn’t what it used to be.

My pastor got a few laughs recently on a sermon. He noted that he hates nature and going out in it.  Picnics are silly (and I agree).  There’s always something trying to take your food away from you from ants and bees to seagulls and squirrels.  Everything out there wants to eat everything else out there.  We’re on the menu too.

Satan is the Prince of the Air who owns earth at this point I time. I can’t help thinking that steel mill is one of his get-away cottages.

No, we can’t go back. But we can go forward.  Jesus came here.  He came, He saw, and He conquered.  He conquered sin, death, and Pointy Ears.

We can move forward, riding the coattails of Jesus’ victory. We can look forward to a new Eden in the end, The End that has no end.  Nothing but the mansions Jesus told us He went to prepare for us, unfiltered communion with Him and God, and all of eternity to lap it up is ours for the accepting of His salvation.

Just say, “Jesus! I know I’m a sinner, and I can’t save myself.  I hate being riddled with sin, I hate the things I do, and my only hope is You!”

If you seek Jesus with your whole heart, you’ll find Him. He promised.

I’ll meet you there!

Knock, Knock…

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.   Romans 13:8 NKJV

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.    John 15:13

Those who have read my articles for a while now know that I’ve been very close to dying three times; double bypass, gangrene in my gall bladder, and a bad drug reaction that should have caused renal failure but miraculously didn’t.

There was another time I sort of died that I haven’t thought of in years. I was in college, asleep in my dorm room.  I dreamt I was dying.  I was lying in my grandmother’s bed in her bedroom.  There was a pastor, my mom, and maybe a few others.  I was comatose, but I could still hear.  That, by the way, is medically possible and documented.  I’ll have to tell you another story sometime.

The pastor was saying the Lord’s prayer. When he finished he said something about how it didn’t look like I was going to make it.  My mom admonished him, saying that I could possibly hear him.

As they continued to talk, I felt myself dying. It was like sinking down into blackness, and all awareness, what little I had, started fading.

Now, in a dream, this is the point where we wake up, right? Similar dreams are, for example, falling off a building, but we wake with a jolt just before we hit the ground.  We NEVER die in a dream, right?  We get right up to that moment, then something inside us wakes us up before that happens.

Well, my wake up thingy wasn’t working that night. I “experienced” dying in that dream.  It was so real, so thorough that only after a time of nothingness I began to realize that I still existed.  I was terrified!  I truly thought I was dead.  As I became more and more aware, I realized I could open my eyes, but the terror told me I didn’t want to see wherever I was.

Finally, through sheer will, I snapped my eyes open and saw…the ceiling of my dorm room. There was the closet unit at the foot of my bed.  The door to the hall.  I was drenched in sweat, and was a moment realizing what had really happened.  I had never been so shocked to wake up in my bed.

Maybe real death will be something like that. Who knows?  But here’s the thing; when Flowerswe die from this body, yet in Christ’s healing embrace, we will have that moment to choose to open our eyes.  Before we do, we’ll smell the most incredible smells.  We’ll hear the flowers singing.  We will feel more alive than we ever could have imagined.

There will be no hesitation.

Our eyes will snap open and behold paradise and Jesus welcoming us home to the mansions He has prepared for us. We will awaken to a love purer and stronger than we have ever known, the Love that took all of the death we were destined for, swallowed it whole, and destroyed it.

I pray that you know Christ.

I pray that if you do not, you make the effort to get to know Him. Pray with all your heart for the one thing that will fill the emptiness you feel, that you hide from everyone you know.  God already knows about it.  Jesus already died, defeated death, and rose again to be that one thing that can fill your emptiness.

Jesus Himself promised that those who seek Him will find Him:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”    Matthew 7:7-8Seek the Lord

A Cold Drink!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.    John 16:33

I read the headlines in the news, and I can’t help wondering just what is going on in thedepressed-girl-im-fine-lies-Favim_com-766188 world. Oh, I’m wondering rhetorically.  I know what’s going on; sin, death, the devil…the usual suspects.  Still, I can’t quite wrap my head around how people can conceive of doing they stuff they do.

School shooting in San Bernardino today.  It’s bad enough, killing the teacher, but he HAD to do it in front of little kids?!?  And hit two of them?

Bruce Jenner confirms sex reassignment surgery.  Guess what?  When a man has surgery to artificially replace male anatomy with female anatomy (drum roll, please) he’s still a man.  The preponderance of psychological trauma of that unexpected (?) result has caused the hospital that pioneered this operation to cease.  It causes too much harm.

Casey Anthony…  Someone is still talking about this?

China deploys 150,000 troops to its North Korean border in case Trump attacks and causes a refugee flood.

Syria gassing and fire-bombing its own people.

And the hits just keep on coming.

Then I remind myself of Jesus. He’s overcome the world, sin, death, and the devil.  He hung on the cross when it would’ve been so satisfying just to see the looks on their faces to come down.

PRICELESS!

Right up to this very second, we continue to let Him down, come groveling back, fully aware of what hypocrites we are, just wishing this would all be over, because we just…can’t…resist.

I’M SOOO SORRY! BUT THE NOOKIE WAS SOOO GOOD!!

He smiles, scoops us up, and forgives us. Again.

“Hey! This is what I did it for.  Just don’t give in next time, ok?  Make an effort.  Go and sin no more!”

It isn’t possible for me to screw up so badly that Jesus won’t forgive me when I really do repent, when I really do want to stop whatever it was I did. He’s a bottomless well of forgiveness, a cool drink of water from which we will never again thirst.

Even St. Paul, apostle to the Gentiles – that’s us – wailed over how he just couldn’t get it right.

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me…24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Romans 7

Is the sin of the world getting to be too dispiriting? Is your own sin weighing too heavily?  Does it seem like there is no end to troubles?

If you don’t know Jesus already, call out to Him. Tell Him you’re troubles.  Tell Him you’re ready to have your life changed.  He’s right there.  He’ll hear you just fine.  Open your heart to Him, and let Him do His thing right there, down deep where you hurt the worst.  Let Him give you some of that Living Water that banishes your soul’s thirst.

That’s it, isn’t it? A long, cold pull of Forgiveness right off the cross.  It isn’t like He was going to stay up there forever, right?Green Wave

Israel’s Modern Day Wars

23 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”    II Samuel 5:23-24

I remember learning as a youngster of Israel’s 6 Day War in which it defeated all of the israeli-palestinian-conflict-student-version-15-728Arab countries arrayed against it. It’s reputation as a fierce adversary became legendary.

It is only recently I’ve learned of the hidden history of Israel’s recent wars. Tales of supernatural intervention have come out of the 6 Day War.

As the war began, Israel found itself outnumbered and out-gunned on three fronts, Egypt to the south, Jordan to the west and Syria to the north. The Soviet Union had poured $2 billion worth of arms into the Arab nations. Israel’s enemies brought twice as many soldiers, three times as many tanks and four times as many airplanes to the battlefield. tank_column_somewhere

The only plausible outcome would be their annihilation. But communication broke down between Egyptian President Nassar and his general.  Other listening in on the net reported later having listened in disbelief as the Egyptian high command was not in control.

On the morning of June 5, Jordanian radar detected the Israeli Air Force taking off. They sent a red alert to Cairo but the decoding officer used the wrong day’s code and failed to decipher the vital information! The warning never came. Instead, the Israeli Air Force decimated the Egyptian Air Force on the ground, the key to the outcome of the war.

The blunders of the Arabs were unbelievable! But there was more to come as angels appeared to defend Israelis and defeat the Arabs:

6-day-war-1967-and-yom-kippur-war-map

Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide

 

A story is told of a small Jewish community, Pekiin under siege by Arabs who were determined to wipe them out. However, they encountered huge strange beings with flaming swords, and they ran away in great fear, as the astonished village rabbi watched them.

During the 1967 six day war, Gershon Saloman lay badly wounded and saw Syrian soldiers moving into their area shooting wounded Israeli soldiers. They were about to shoot him, when all of a sudden they fled the area leaving their weapons behind. The Syrian soldiers later reported to UN officers that they saw “thousands of angels” surrounding the wounded soldier and that was why they ran away.

An Egyptian tank commander in the Sinai desert surrendered his vastly superior force to an Israeli unit when a mirage caused him to see hundreds of their tanks when only a dozen were really there.

All through the 6 Day War, one improbable miracle after another occurred. The combined Arab armies numbered 465,000.  Israel had 275,000.  What followed was 6 days of impossible events that literally handed Israel the victory.

Reports of supernatural and angelic interventions on sixdaywarIsrael’s behalf came from both the Israelis and the Arabs. The prophet Zechariah had foretold that in the end times, God will defend Israel and send His angels to fight for and with His people. Zechariah 12:8 “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the House of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”

Another soldier, Yisrael, a cab driver who was drafted, tells of joining the paratroops. He and another reservist were sent out on patrol.  Just the two of them.  All of a sudden an Egyptian half-track appeared filled with troops and bristling with machine guns.  There was nowhere to run or hide, so they simply pointed their weapons at the truck and waited for the first shot.

It never came. The halftrack halted and just sat there.  Curious, they approached.  He continues:

We found 18 armed soldiers inside sitting with guns in hand, with a petrified look on their faces. They looked at us with great fear as though begging for mercy. I shouted ‘Hands up!’ As we were marching them and I had returned to a state of calm, I asked the Egyptian sergeant next to me, ‘Tell me, why didn’t you shoot at us?’ He answered, ‘I don’t know. My arms froze – they became paralyzed. My whole body was paralyzed, and I don’t know why.’

The two Israelis took the captured Egyptian unit back to their base.

There are numerous accounts of phenomenal luck, inexplicable screw-ups, and even armies of angels making appearances. Such reports come from both the Israelis and the Arabs.  Foreign reporters present to cover the war also wrote of miraculous events occurring, all happening in favor of the Children of Israel.

I invite you to sample the links provided below as well as do your own research. God is still as active now as He was in Biblical times!

http://supernaturalearth.myfreeforum.org/sutra1531.php

http://elijahmantle.typepad.com/blog/2009/11/miracles-during-the-6-day-war-in-1967.html

http://www.templemountfaithful.org/leader.htm

http://jerusalemthisweek.blogspot.com/2009/01/miracle-war-story-zvika-greengold.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/jun/06/1967israelsmiracle

http://supernaturalearth.myfreeforum.org/sutra1531.php

Let It Shine!!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.    Matthew 5:16

Light Shining from Darkness

And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…

 

I had the experience of meeting someone I’d been conversing with on line for over a year now. And, no, it was NOT a bad experience!

 

“Oh, you, uh…you met a new friend on the internet. Mm-hm.  Wellll…let me know how that works out for you.  By the way; how do feel about going through life with only one kidney?  I’m just asking.”

Nothing like that, OK? I couldn’t help wondering if we’d each come across in person as we have over email.  Written communication is often mis-interpreted.  Plus, I started wondering what there would be left to talk about when we do meet!

It turns out there was a lot to chat over, laugh over, and get serious over. We checked up on family situations, re-hashed funny stuff, got into a few things too hard to convey by email, and found out that we each found the other to be very much what we perceived by email.

Even more so for me. Replaying the hour in my mind, I finally realized a few key things that are so important, the things that left me even more impressed than before.

BEING INTENTIONAL – The impact of eye contact, gesture, and focus came across like a wave. Some people shake hands like they’d rather not.  This person started the visit with a huge hug!  There was no half-way approach to anything, whether a good laugh or shared concerns.

Too many times I deal with people who can’t express themselves, have no passion for anything in life, nor have any idea why they are alive let alone what to do with that gift!

BEING POSITIVE – This person can talk about anything, good or bad, and recognize the positive that is possible. It’s not a Pollyanna attitude.  It’s an understanding that comes from the deepest pain, the darkest grief, and having been rescued from those depths.  It’s a matter of compassion that can even weather attacks from others for nothing more than expressing an idea.  The attacks always hurt, but the grace under fire is always there too.

SHINING – Yeah, this one is tougher to convey. Let’s start with a cliché’ and see how that works: The eye are the window of the soul.  Well, those eyes shone.  There was a light in there that came from somewhere deep inside, a confidence of being.  They shared a peace and acceptance with me that I think we all see too seldom.

And in case you’re wondering, that light was Jesus.

My friend is alive for one reason alone; acceptance of God to save and heal body and soul, leaving it all to Him. That’s it.  Nothing more, because nothing else is needed.  When you let Jesus’ light shine through your eyes, everything you do will be intentional.  You intend to talk about God.  You intend to treat people with courtesy and grace.  You intend to reflect the positivity you have learned from a God with Whom all things are possible.  Most of all, you…

shinelogo-800

 

A Life Saved by Death

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’     Luke 16:22-24

Does God exist? There are a great many proofs in this world that He does.  His fingerprints are all over creation, both in the complexity of all that exists, from the subatomic level to the universal expanse.  God is there from Extra Large to Extra Small.

I took a different perspective on near death experiences a while back, writing about the events that can happen at death; Seeing Death.  You might be interested, not in what people report after having been clinically dead, but in what those who witness death sometimes see.

Today I want to share a video of someone whose life was changed by dying; Ronald Regan. Not the former president, but the advisor.  He lived a very violent, sad life as a child and young adult.  One night he screwed with someone he shouldn’t have and bled out.  The ER didn’t think he had a chance.  But he did.  He just had to go to hell first.  Go ahead; at 16:38, it’s a short view.

To go from down and out with drug and alcohol problems to one of the top political fiigures in the country is astounding…unless a high power is involved.

Smart Blond

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.    Philippians 4:8

Many years ago I was an instructor at a small, private college. I taught classes on Shakespeare, Interpersonal Communications and Oral Communications (writing and delivering speeches).  It was in the Interpersonal Communications class that I experienced the best success of my teaching career.  The irony was that I didn’t have a clue until the term was over.

One student was a pretty, thirty-something blond. A wife and mother, she had decided to try going back to school.  She was bright, contributed in class, and wrote some very good papers.

write-my-paperOne requirement of the class was to write a reaction paper on every reading assignment in the text. She was one of the better writers on this exercise.  She got mostly A’s and a smattering of B’s.  One day after class she stayed behind and asked me about her grades.  Her concern was that I was just being nice and giving away A’s.  I assured her that she was earning everything she got and that I enjoyed her papers.

She seemed to accept that, and I thought no more about it.

A brunette walked into my office shortly after the term was over and grades were out. I didn’t recognize her at first.  The blond was gone, but the smile looked familiar.  I complemented her on her new look.  Imagine my surprise when she credited me with the change.  That’s when, as Paul Harvey would say, I learned…The Rest of the Story.

A teacher in her grade school had, for some inexplicable and inexcusable reason, felt it necessary to tell that she wasn’t very smart.  She drilled it in a bit further, telling her that she’d probably never amount to anything.

The child she was took those murderous words to heart. There was pain, despair, and

legally-blonde

Dumb Blonde?

finally acceptance.  As soon as she was old enough, she died her hair blond.  Most her life had been spent being the dumb blond, safe from expectations and disappointments.  With a cute face, cute figure, and dumb smile, an essentially nice person lived the lie of stupidity for most of her life.  Her grades followed her new-found identity, and she settled into a life of mediocrity.

 

 

Then came my class. At first she thought I was just being nice to the dumb blonde.  Pitying, she thought.  Then she started to believe.  She started to believe just enough that she had to ask, expecting her grade school teacher to rear her ugly head, yet hoping someone else would show up.

After hearing my affirmation of her work, she dared to believe that that grammar school gorgon was wrong. She decided to leave her dumb blond persona behind, and dyed her hair back to her natural color.  She started to become the person she should have been for all of those years.

Brunette selfie-756x1024

Just smiling!

So, concluded the brunette sitting opposite me, she was planning to keep moving ahead with her delayed education. She wanted to say thank you and let me know what a difference I had made in her life and her family’s.

 

All of that from me just being honest, engaged, and…nice to someone.

Who would’ve thought?

Atheists and Quantum Theory

While I personally do not believe that quantum theory is yet a complete theory, as a philosopher/theologian, I derive some satisfaction in that its implications challenge the ideas of material realists who find no need for there to be a Creator-God. Quantum theory holds that fundamental reality consists not of actual “stuff” but of […]

via Atheists and Quantum Theory — Im ashamed to die until i have won some victory for humanity.(Horace Mann)