Category: short devotions

Person of the Year 2017

If an alien came to earth right now and settled in America it may think that all men are abusers, cheaters, demanders of personal rights and refusing to stand for the national anthem.  What happened to the greatest generation that fought for our freedom, worked hard, paid taxes and lived a life of honor?

Understand that no person yet alone generation is perfect. I’m sure women were abused in other generations. We just didn’t hear about it. I’m also sure that citizens have criticized the government and it’s leaders as well.

But…it seems like we are missing something and I picked a person this year to remind us of those long ago values.

Ray Chavez. You probably don’t know the name. He didn’t make billions of dollars with an internet invention. He didn’t get rich in real estate and become President. He isn’t an illegal immigrant or a mass murderer. He never created a protest group to fight against unjust laws. He doesn’t play football or participate in the Olympics.

Ray was born in San Bernardino and grew up in San Diego. His parents, immigrants from Mexico, both died young. Juanita Chavez died of exhaustion, her son said, while Atilano Chavez succumbed to disease.  Ray was 9 or 10 when his father passed away. In his early 20s, he married and had a daughter. Then, at 27, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the minesweeper USS Condor at Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii.

After leaving the military he became a landscaper and ran his business until he was 96 years old.  He drove his car until he was 99.  At 106 he credits his longevity to clean living, no alcohol, no smoking and little red meat. In the 1950’s his only daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in an auto accident. He and his wife adopted a 5-year-old daughter from an orphanage in 1957 to help ease their pain. His wife Margaret died in the mid-1980’s.

At age 101 his health began to decline and he lost weight. His daughter encouraged him to join a gym and get some training. He gained 20 pounds of muscle and began working out 3 times a week.

I skipped over the reason Ray caught my attention. He is the oldest surviving serviceman from the attack at Pearl Harbor. 

At 3:45 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Chavez’s crew was sweeping the east entrance to the harbor when they spotted the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine. Another ship blew up the sub and the rest of the morning passed uneventfully. He was asleep at home in nearby Ewa Beach when the Japanese bombing raid began at 8:10 a.m.

“I will never forget it as long as I live. It goes through my mind every day like it happened yesterday,” Chavez said. “My wife ran in and said ‘we’re being attacked’ and I said ‘who’s going to attack us? Nobody.’ But when I got outside I saw the whole harbor was up in smoke.”

Chavez ran back to his ship and spent the next nine days on continuous duty. Over the next four years, he rose to the rank of chief, serving on transport ships that delivered tanks and Marines to shore in eight Pacific battles.

Last December, he and Kathleen flew to Hawaii for events marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

 

“I have no secret except I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I try to eat a balanced meal,” Chavez said. “I just keep on going.”
That’s a great motto from someone who can testify to it – just keep on going.

1 Samuel 25:6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good healthto you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

Credits:
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Crazy Presidents

President Trump came under consideration as my Person of the Year. While under consideration I decided to look up some other “extreme” Presidents. I wonder what they would have tweeted while in office.

Grover Cleveland became the guardian of a girl when she was 11. He then married her when she turned 21 and she became the youngest first lady in history.

Andrew Johnson was stone drunk and passed out at his inauguration.

John Quincy Adams skinny dipped and swam the Potomac river nude every morning. A female reporter wanted to interview him and sat on his clothes until he talked to her.

Herbert Hoover permitted his son to keep 2 alligators in the White House as pets. The would crawl around the grounds and terrify everyone.

Grover Cleveland avoided military service by paying a Polish immigrant $1,500 to take his place.

Thomas Jefferson crippled his hand jumping a fence to meet his (married) girlfriend Maria Cosway.  Yes, he was married too.

Calvin Coolidge hat 2 pet lions, a pet raccoon and a pygmy hippopotamus named Billy.

James Buchanan was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. To compensate for this visual weakness, he would constantly open and close one eye at a time, depending on whether he needed to see close or far. He would also cock his head on an angle to compensate for his strange ocular condition.

Lyndon Johnson was very well-endowed and was not averse to proudly proving it now and then, often displaying his manhood to unsuspecting female journalists. Johnson was especially fond of whipping out his manhood, which he’d dubbed “Jumbo,” in mixed company.

John Adams started smoking when he was 8 years old.

Harry S Truman would get up at 5AM so he could practice the piano for two hours.

Dwight D. Eisenhower hated cats and enjoyed shooting any that came near his house. He also had squirrels trapped at the White House and re-located because they buried nuts in the yard.

The song “Hail to the Chief” was written specifically for James Madison. Because he was so small, no one ever noticed him when entered the room.

Calvin Coolidge loved having his head rubbed with Vaseline while he ate his breakfast in bed.

Ulysses S. Grant changed his name from Hiram Ulysses Grant because he hated the initials “H.U.G.” He hated music- all music. He also evicted Jews from certain parts of the country because he believed they were running a black market for cotton between the north and south.

Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electric lights in the White House, but he was terrified of turning them on himself. He had servants turn on the switches because he was afraid of electrocution.

James K. Polk was plagued by diarrhea all through his one term as president. He finally died of what he called “a derangement of the stomach bowels.”

William McKinley‘s wife was an epileptic. He would sometimes cover her contorted face with a handkerchief during formal dinner parties.

Martin Van Buren liked betting money on the outcome of elections.

Ronald Reagan once broke his leg in six different places when he ran into first base during a celebrity baseball game.

Woodrow Wilson was a gifted mimic and loved to tell racist jokes. He also liked to imitate drunks.

John F. Kennedy confided with friends that he could only be satisfied with three women a day.”  JFK’s sexual conquests allegedly include Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jayne Mansfield, Angie Dickinson, Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan, famous burlesque stripper, and rap name pioneer Blaze Starr. Jack could be shameless in his sexuality, simply pull girls’ dresses up and so forth. He would corner them at White House dinner parties and ask them to step into the next room away from the noise, where they could hold a ‘serious discussion.'”

George Washington opened a distillery at Mount Vernon.  It produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799 more than any other distillery in the U.S.  He also ran up a pretty big bar tab at City Tavern in Philadelphia.

William Taft, our largest president, once got stuck in a bathtub and had to be pryed out by four men and the aid of a pound of butter.

I take no credit for these and do not guarantee their accuracy!  Sources:

Read More: http://www.grunge.com/11730/u-s-presidents-pretty-weird-people/?utm_campaign=clip

Read More: http://www.grunge.com/11730/u-s-presidents-pretty-weird-people/?utm_campaign=clip

Read More: http://www.grunge.com/11730/u-s-presidents-pretty-weird-people/?utm_campaign=clip

Read More: http://www.grunge.com/11730/u-s-presidents-pretty-weird-people/?utm_campaign=clip

http://www.collegehumor.com/post/7035613/8-presidents-way-crazier-than-trump

http://www.neatorama.com/2016/11/03/Our-Wild-and-Crazy-US-Presidents/

http://www.neatorama.com/2015/04/08/Those-Wacky-US-Presidents/

http://www.grunge.com/11730/u-s-presidents-pretty-weird-people/

https://listverse.com/2014/06/30/10-strange-things-us-presidents-have-done/

Romans 13 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?
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Healing

I am working on my novel titled ‘Healing’. The character is faced with the challenge of praying for an amputee to be healed and for his leg to be restored. Just writing the text challenges me. I find it difficult to even write the chapter – in fiction. Why? Do I not have the faith that God can restore a lost limb? I believe in resurrection of the dead. Why do I struggle to believe that a lost limb can grow back? Is it that it is too freakish to imagine?

Consider where you limit God. Can He heal? Can He restore? What part of your life do you lack in faith for God to restore? Lay it out before Him. Remember that little mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Turn Your Speakers On

I listen to music at my desk while I work (I love Spotify!).  I have the old fashioned speakers that plug into my computer.  They have a separate power button and volume control and since I’m cheap I turn the power off to them each night to save a penny.

There have been several times that I start Spotify and no music comes out.  I immediately get angry and I’m tempted to throw the speakers across the room.  Seconds before I go ballistic the speakers are saved because I realize that I didn’t turn on the power button.  It was not the components fault for not producing sound – it was my fault for not enabling them to do their job.

How often do we do that to God?  We get angry because He doesn’t speak to us when it really is our fault that we are not tuning in.  Before you get mad at God for being silent, make sure everything is turned on and that you are listening.

Psalm 81:8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me.

Hannah thanksgiving

 

I Keep a Messy House. Can We Still Be Friends?

I’ve been seeing the blog post “I Keep a Clean House. Can We Still Be Friends?” for the last couple of weeks.  Ok, you know I can’t pass this up.   Let’s get to the point: My house is messy (some may say dirty).  I’m happy that you have a clean house.  You may be a clean freak for all I know.  If it makes you feel better, than clean to your hearts desire.  I don’t really know why anyone is concerned because they have a clean house or a clean car or a perfect yard.  I’m not sure I understand why you’re worried about offending anyone.

I am messy, some may say a little dirty.  I don’t always clean up the sink before going to bed.   My truck gets washed when it rains.  My windows get cleaned when I can’t see what my neighbor is doing.  I have a dog that sheds 365 days a year and she is tri-colored so guess what: Her hair shows no matter what color my clothes are!

I wish my excuse was some kind of Spiritual Declaration – “There are starving children in Africa.  How can you spend time cleaning when you could be feeding them?”  Or, an Artsy Fartsy “I live in my creations. Not in my cleanliness.”  Or, “I’m too busy too clean and too cheap to hire help”.

Look, some people just can’t clean. Maybe they weren’t taught to clean.  Maybe they are so depressed that they can’t clean (I think most fit here including me).  Some are not able to physically.  Life is hard and the hard gets in the way of cleaning.  I wish cleaning made me feel better.   I wish I felt relaxed  as some replied to the “other” article but that’s just not me.

If you stop by without warning, I may stand on my (also messy) front porch because I don’t want you to see my messy house.  I hope we can still be friends even though I may be embarrassed.  I might not invite you over for a visit.  Please don’t take it personally.  I just need to clean first.

Matthew 23:26  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

beagle

reference: http://herviewfromhome.com/i-keep-a-clean-house-can-we-still-be-friends/

Stairway to Heaven the Irony

Let’s talk about change.  I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s – that’s 1960’s and 1970’s for those of you born after 2000!  We had a battle in the church during that time over Rock music.   We actually had sermons and books written about it.  If you haven’t heard, it’s from the devil himself.  Some of the classic reasons were 1) evil lyrics 2) the beat – many called it syncopation 3) lifestyles of the musicians 4) It was bad and loud and it was leading kids to dance, sex and drugs.   I clearly remember attending meetings at Youth For Christ which defamed any kind of Rock music and following the meetings we were supposed to go home and burn our vinyl albums.

One of the most popular songs of that era was ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin.   If you don’t know all the evilness of this song, please google it.  There is enough written about it to keep you busy for the weekend.   I never bought into all the negative hype on Rock music.  Of course there is bad stuff in it but there is bad stuff in everything.

Advance to 2011.  Seeker churches are the ‘in thing’: Everyone dresses down in casual clothes, talented musicians play contemporary music, open auditoriums and chairs instead of pews, simple messages of hope and grace.  Hey, if it is bringing people into the Kingdom I’m all for it.  Don’t tell anyone but one of these churches played the above mentioned songs in church!  What would Bob Larson say?!!

There is an irony of course.  I’m not sure what those speakers in the 60’s and 70’s would think about playing this music in church.  If it is truly Satanic is it still Satanic if Christians are singing it in church?  What about that syncopated beat? Drums?  I doubt that these performers are old enough to remember those lectures.  They probably never burned their vinyl records or played them backwards to hear the hidden messages.

Sins come and go.  God stays the same.  We all need to get closer to Him.  Don’t worry about the irony – just keep walking closer each day.  Don’t build idols.  Don’t follow anything that leads you astray.  God is bigger than Rock music.  I’m not sure about Country music but I know He can win the battle over the stairway to heaven.

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

 

Allergies

Warning: This article discusses peanuts, tree nuts, red dye, milk and dairy products.  Anyone who is allergic to these should use caution.

What has caused the explosion of allergies?  I was born in 1960 and I didn’t know anyone who was allergic to food.  If any of you are that old, did you know anyone with allergies?  I visited my kid’s middle school a few years ago and ate lunch in the cafeteria.  They have entire tables for allergy free foods.   If you want to bring in a snack to a classroom today you need a computer program outlining what is acceptable.  Class lists now list banned foods from nearly 3/4 of the class.

I’m no scientist and I didn’t research to see what the theories are.  I’m sure I will get some quality feedback trying to educate me.  Maybe its linked to climate change?  I’m not downplaying allergies.  They can be very serious and I feel for people who suffer from them.  According to a local pastor, there can be no nuts on his church property or four of the members will die.

What have we done to ourselves and our society to make this drastic change in 50 years?  Is it genetic tampering?  Chemicals?  Pesticides?  I’m serious….how did this happen so radically and in such a short time?  We are supposed to be the healthiest nation and yet we are obese (me included) and we suffer from every food ailment possible.

What was meant to be a blessing has turned into a curse.  Do you know why?

Genesis 9:3   Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

food

 

 

Protesting Vice President Pence

Another week, another protest.  Another week and we will see support for the protest and support against it.  If you thought the anger would end after the election, you were wrong.  Even if Hillary had been elected, the anger and protests would have continued and it may have been worse.

There are three ways to react to a situation, movement or belief.   We can protest, support or be  apathetic.  When we join a side, it is very difficult to see the other side.  It goes both ways – that’s why there is very little agreement in today’s political state.  All of us are seeing events from “our” side and “our” side only.

Let’s take the Mike Pence speech at Notre Dame.  Students walked out quietly to protest his speech.  Some of us (me included) blasted them for being snowflakes or hater tots.  My side said they were “disrespectful”.    The other side declared this a “peaceful protest” and supported the student’s free speech.  In their opinion the students carried out a protest in the correct way.  President Obama addressed ND students in 2009 and was heckled by anti-abortion activists.  Were they disrespectful or were they correct in what they did?  Were they disrespectful or exercising free speech?

Who is right and who is wrong?  Maybe both and maybe neither.  All of us vote by our heart, beliefs, opinions and values.  Opinions change and in time, history’s opinion will change as well.

Let’s look at the most famous situation that ended in support and protest:

On a Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem.  Crowds gathered to cheer Jesus as he rode into the city.   A week later the crowds yelled for Jesus to be crucified.  We have always wondered if some of the same people cheered one week and turned the next week.   Beside the amazing turn of events in one week, there were two other issues going on:  People on the ground at that point really didn’t know what was going on (for real).  Many of those cheering in the first week had false expectations that Jesus was coming to be a king and that he was going to free the Jews from Rome.    They were cheering but for the wrong reason.   A week later the people were paid or told by their leaders that Jesus was a fake and needed to be killed.   Those people thought they were right as well.   What’s even more amazing is that another group of people sat at home on both of those occasions and were apathetic or ignorant to the whole situation!

If social media and 24 hour news were present in Jerusalem during that week, the city may have been destroyed by protests.   On the other hand, the end results probably wouldn’t have changed.  There would still  be people who thought Jesus was going to save the Jews from Rome and those who wanted him crucified.  The only difference would be the amount of hatred, yelling and name calling between the two sides.

Screaming on social media would not have saved Jesus from the cross.  The 24 hour media could not have rushed the Crucifixion before God’s timing.

So what is the answer?  We study.  We learn.  We try to be as educated on issues as we can.  We have civil debates to compare ideas.  We love through differences and we show grace and tolerance.  What we don’t do is share hate for hate.  We don’t ridicule.  We don’t denigrate the other side.  We never strike out in violence.   I have to confess that I fail at this often.  I get too angry and judgmental.   I post nasty comments.  Friends point it out and I confess and delete and try to do better.   Tomorrow is another day.  I hope I do better but I won’t promise!  Sorry for my offenses and for keeping me in check.

Matthew 26

 

Sin Tax

We are moving into an era of “Boutique Taxes” as I call them.   A better term is probably “Behavioral Taxes”.   This is not a new idea but it is quickly picking up popularity.  The idea started as “sin tax” and it was gladly put on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.  Conservative America didn’t fight them because it was a tax on “sin”.   The “sinners” didn’t object because they enjoyed their sin so much they didn’t care if it was taxed.  They admitted it was wrong and in some kind of weird thinking “they deserved the tax”.

Our governments are always looking for a new income stream to fund burgeoning budgets.  Instead of blanket taxes that make everyone mad they are turning to these focused taxes.  Here are a couple of examples:

Gasoline tax: a penny here and a penny there and no one is supposed to notice.  The money is supposed to go to road improvement but does it really?

Marijuana tax: can’t beat them….join them and tax it.  I mean really….who is going to object to this tax?  No one.

Soda tax: https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/its-not-rocket-science?utm_term=.egqN7EQ8WW#.cmzMB4ePkk.  I believe this will take off like the space shuttle.  Add a little more fuel and this will be everywhere by 2018.  I don’t care about the other sin taxes but this one will hurt me when it comes to my neighborhood.  Or….will it help me to stop a nasty habit?

Our governments have got on to something.  They can raise taxes and be socially correct.  They can punish people for non accepted behavior and even make changes in said behaviors.   How many have stopped smoking because of the cost and attention?  Will the same happen with sugar?  On the other hand they can legalize illegal behavior, control it and earn income from it.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

Let’s take this concept to a broader scope (because you know the government will).  What if they tax divorce?  How about abortions? (oh, yes that could be another blog coming!)  Salt?  Obesity?  What if they take it farther – taxing churches that have certain views?  Bibles?  TV?  Twinkies? Ice Cream?  Is this an over stretch of our governing bodies or are they right in being the big brother and taxing “bad” behavior?  Should they be permitted to legalize behavior in the name of tax and control?  How about prostitution?  Gambling is already out of the box and will never go back.  Our states even promote it with their lotteries.

If a small potato chip bag goes from $1 to $2 because of a salt and oil tax will you stop eating them?  Will a poor person stop?  We’ll see.

Romans 13:7
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
mountain dew

Left Over Spirituality

I had left over chicken cacciatore for lunch today.  I microwaved it for 2 minutes and took a bite – it seemed ok.  When I dug down to stir it up the bottom was still ice cold.  I nuked it another minute and stirred and then ran it for another minute.  It turned out pretty good but I’ve had microwaved leftovers that could frighten a dog’s pallet.

There are a couple rules about leftovers: 1) The food needs to start out great  and be appropriate for heating up later.  Ex.  A quick stop at McDonalds may seem like a good idea when in a hurry but don’t ever microwave a Big Mac and fries.  Just trust me.  2)  It needs to be fresh – a microwave is not going to help “dead” food with mold on it.  3)  Eat it fast before it starts to go downhill.  Microwaved foods seem to have a half life and can’t be heated a 3rd time.   4) When in doubt, throw it out.   If a fresh run to McDonalds is better than the leftover, don’t eat it.

So….One of the problems in Christiandome is people constantly feeding others old leftovers that are warmed up in the microwave.   For my generation, it was choir and quartets on Sunday nights.  I could see the mold growing from the back of the church!  Fresh food in that period was hippy Jesus music.  That sound was tough and spongy when I tried to serve it to my kids.

What are you eating now?  Leftover prosperity gospel?  Warmed up end times doctrine?  Stir fried house church?  Grilled King James only scripture?  Maybe you are one of the 30-40 somethings that would rather starve than eat another re-heated meal that gave so much nourishment to your parents.

Here’s an idea.  Grow a garden with the food you like.  Make something fresh and delicious that makes you healthy.  Just remember, that no carb diet or vegan diet or gluten free food that YOU love may not be good for your kids in ten years.

Mark 2:22 (NIV)

22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

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