Friday, April 29, 2011

Kate didn't say she would obey

They said what millions of others said, but she didn't say it all.

The world watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate in England. The world saw the pageantry and fanfare, the beautiful dress and the impressive celebration that followed. It was a ritual followed in England for hundreds of years. It has been replicated in smaller events around the world for centuries as well.

However, the vows of the couple were modified a bit. The vows that the couple took at first sounded traditional Old English, but there was one significant twist.

Did you catch it?

William promised to love Kate in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer until death. It is the same vow that has been shared by millions for centuries, including the funny sounding phrase "I plight thee my troth" which means I pledge to be faithful to you and you alone.

Kate gave the feminine response in her vows with the exception that she did not promise to obey her husband, only to honor and respect him. Hmmmm!

It was a beautiful ceremony filled with great pageantry. The price tag was in the millions, all paid for by the English government.

Jesus said in John 19:5-6, "..For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

It was a by the book wedding, except that the couple apparently agreed that Kate could ignore 1 Peter 3:1 "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands..."

And now the fairy tale begins!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christ wrote with one finger, did He have an Ipad?

Does anybody write in cursive writing anymore? Has email and texting killed a centuries old communication method?

I was surprised to learn a few years ago that cursive writing is no longer emphasized in many schools. Gone are the days when handwriting was considered a necessary skill. Then teachers took the time to guide a students hand to help them learn to form the letters as they placed their thoughts on paper using pen and ink.

Pen and ink? What's that? Many in this generation have never seen a fountain pen; what's it used for? Many hotels no longer feature writing paper and pens in desk drawers. Who writes when they can text.

Cursive writing is key to the soul. Handwriting experts agree that our handwriting provides keys to who we are, how we feel and what we think. These keys are hidden in the shapes, loops and curves of our letters. Just as a shaky or warbly signature indicates an elderly or sickly person, cursive writing gives clues, too.

The cursive writing gives love letters and diary entries a feel that typing or script cannot do. A typed or printed letter is not as revealing as a cursive written letter. The former is personal, the latter is more formal and businesslike.

Today there is email, texting and tweeting. It's faster and often written without thought and is often oblivious to syntax or spelling. Cursive requires a slower contemplative pace. Today's generation says cursive is too slow.

Today, it's used mostly for signatures, but digital signatures are now legal. Soon signatures will be out, too.

If cursive is not taught, how will this generation read historical documents, or personal notes?

In the past they wrote because they could not type or text. It could be that handwriting as we know it will soon fade away.

God wrote the 10 commandments with his own finger. Jesus wrote in Hebrew. John 8:6 "...Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not."

Today, they would have used an Ipad; they can write on it with one finger. Maybe they would have used a smart phone and used two thumbs.

The death of cursive writing seems such a loss!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The storm is passed, but the sandbags remain

The weatherman said it would rain and to prepare for a storm. When it didn't come Tuesday as predicted, many settled in thinking the storm had passed this area.

We were good scouts so we tried to prepare. We pulled out lanterns and candles in preparation for a flood. The flashlights had batteries and we thought we were ready.

Then it came. The rain poured and the water rose just as the weather forecast foretold.

The wind began to blow and the trees began to sway and bend. We heard hail plummet our roof. We watched the lights flicker so we anticipated an outage. We fully charged our cell phones and IPads, just in case.

We waited and the rain poured.

Around 1 am. there was a flash of lightning and a thunder clap that rumbled across the sky. It wasn't just in Monroe it was stretching across the south. The winds howled and power breakers tripped. The power of the blast popped the caps off of detectors and alarms and sirens began to scream into the watery black night.

The screeching alarm was an erie battery generated howl like that of sick crane yelling into emptiness. No one heard it, if they did, they ignored it. The alarm screamed as we scrambled to follow the smell of singhed wires. We moved from room to room but could not find it. We searched, but that search was interrupted by another crack of lightning and a roll of thunder.

I ran from the front to the back to track down the burning smell then slipped. I couldn't catch myself. My feet went into the air and when I came down there was a splash and a terrible pain in my foot. I rolled over and found
myself completely wet.

The water had begun to gurgle through the floor, slithering like a snake on a meandering path through first one room then another, soaking carpet and leaving a watery trail as it hungrily sought something dry to devour.

I struggled to stand and heard squish of water soaked carpet and watched as more water lapped at our front door.

To slow the flow I put on a rain poncho and some heavy boots and waded through calf deep water to a stack of sandbags that we stored away in case of emergencies. We had them decoratively arranged around the trunks of trees in the yard so that we could get to them quickly in case of high water.

The sandbags were cute under the trees, but they weighed about fifty pounds each. I started moving them, two at a time, in the driving rain. Joslyn was outside, too; moving sandbags and stacking them along the front of the house as the water continued to rise, lapping at the front door, seeping into a bedroom soaking the floors of the pantry.

As determined as the water was to enter, we were equally determined to keep it out. Using a soil barrel I was able to move as many as five bags at a time. Pulling 250 pounds of sandbags through the water was a slow task. I dragged them to the front, Joslyn placed them. She was real trooper.

We covered the entire front of the house with our "decorative" sandbags; they slowed the water.

My sons and daughter-in-law showed up to help, but we had just about used up all of the bags. They assumed the city had bags out and they drove Kita's truck through tire high water to the sanitation department only to learn that there was no sandbags or crews to help.

DeSiard street was like a river. The beautiful new homes built in the DeSiard Street area were water soaked. A car with a woman and child stalled, a wrecker came to her rescue.

Joslyn began calling the elderly in our neighborhood. We could see the water rising at their homes, too. They had no sandbags. The phones were down, but she kept trying. We were prepared to help, but it didn't happen.

We sat in our living room and looked out of the window. As quick as the rains came, they were gone. Not a single drop.
The waters that were crawling over the top of our sandbags began to recede quickly. We could see the ground.

We'll be ripping up some carpet, mopping up some water and throwing out some things that were water soaked, but all in all it wasn't that bad.

As I looked at my water soaked carpet, wet clothes, and the water sitting in my flooor, I thought of a bible passage that says in
Psalms 107:29-31, " He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

At 4 a.m. the weather forecast flashed on my IPad: 64 degrees and clear skies.

When the sun rises, the clean up will begin and maybe that alarm will finally stop yelping.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You can TIVO your movies but not your life

If you could Tivo your life, what parts are worth seeing again?

There is a wonderful gadget on my television, it's called a TIVO. It records movies, news and other broadcast to insure that I don't miss them. I can anticipate upcoming broadcasts and often get replays of old broadcasts, all with a touch of the remote.

What if life offered a TIVO experience. It would be interesting to see the replay of all the episodes that happened in my life that I missed while I was doing what I thought was important.

I probably missed a lot.

Fast Forward. There's a life coming up, I don't want to miss any of it. Too bad I can't TIVO it and cut out all of the commercials and obligations: reading, studying, praying, serving, earning a living and all of that mandatory stuff. It would be really neat if I could just get down to the part where I will be blessed. If I fall, I can skip to the part where I get up on the TIVO edition of my life.

That would be cool! Skip what don't like and zero in on the good parts! Is there anybody out there that sells one of these life TIVO's?

Unfortunately TIVO's only work on television sets, not human lives. We have to live one day at a time, commercials and all. We can't skip the tears and go straight to the smiles; neither can we skip the pain and jump to the joy. We must live each day at a time.

There is a bible scripture in Psalm 118:24 that says, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Today is the next installment of your lifetime episode...No Tivo!

Your Movie's on!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jailed for Easter Sunday worship?

What if they said you couldn't worship on Easter Sunday? Would you go to jail to do it?

While there are 1.2 billion Christians in the world who are celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter, there are millions who do so at the risk of their lives.

In Beijing China the Shouwang Church is growing, but those who worship do so at the risk of their lives. Religious freedom is nonexistent there. They bought a church and the government shut it down.They rented sites, the government shut that down, too. They tried to meet outside and the government arrested them all. The Chinese government won't allow it and has cracked down during this Holy Easter week.

Of course our government won't say anything because the Chinese own our debt and most of our major factories use the country's cheap labor to build everything from automobiles to cell phones.

Those who want to worship Christ must do so under threat of jail or possibly death, not just in China but all over the Middle East. Christians are being jailed and murdered in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and many other places in the world.

Yet, they continue to meet and worship, not with the hope of prosperity like many in America. They worship Christ for who He is, the risen savior. They pledge themselves to serve Him, even if it means death.

A bible passage says in Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

The irony is that many in the free world, who do not face the threat of death or persecution, won't celebrate Easter in worship today, but will wash their cars instead.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our cell phones are watching us and God is too!

Your cellphone is watching you, recording your every step, in minute detail! With the right app, it can draw a step by step map of everywhere you have been for the last year.

That's the revelation that has shocked the world this week as many learned that IPhones, Ipads and Android phones store GPS location data about user movements, even when the phone is off;for as far back as a year.

That revelation instantly sparked concerns from cheating spouses, criminals studying targets, and anyone else involved in mischievous activities. Others have found it rather amusing to retrace their steps on a map over the last year. Nearly everyone is upset that they were not told that they were being watched.

Good or bad, it all means Orson Wells' projection of a "Big Brother" state where the government knows your every movement is getting closer..or has arrived.

Of course, God has been tracking our movements since creation. His goes beyond just our movements: He tracks the words we say and the thoughts that we think and He takes note of them.

It's not a secret, the fact that He watches and knows is written clearly in his life manual that he developed for all of us to read.

There is a bible passage in Psalm 139:1-5 that says, "O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me."

God knows our every step and thought, whether we own a cell phone or not.

The good thing is that He sees us when we stumble and helps us up again. He sees us cry and wipes our eyes.

He sees us sin, too and is disturbed by our actions.

He sees us as we are every second and minute of the day.. and loves us anyway!

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