What a wonderful world (not)

I suppose that I’m something of a “see it when you believe it” person however I realize that there are many ways to see things, including our present world situation. Having said that I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve “seen” and relate them to things that I “believe.”

I’ll start with the middle east situation…

Judah, in the book of Joshua, was told by God that He would fight for them and that they “wouldn’t lose.” He also tells them not to “ally themselves” with the survivors of these nations because they would cause them problems. Yes, that was then…but it sure sounds like now!

Joshua 23: 9-13

9 The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God.

12 But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the LORD your God has given you.

When it comes from God, it’s more than just “good advice” to the Israelite’s. This whole situation could of been avoided…but too late now. I’m sickened and saddened by the innocent bloodshed that’s happening in Gaza and I pray for the peace of all people and the safety of Israel.

Will this conflict escalate to the point that we see the Antichrist step onto the world stage and forge a peace treaty between the Israelies and the Arab’s and usher in three and a half years of world peace? (or have I just had too much caffeine?) I don’t know, but sitting here this morning next to a warm fire it seems a chilling possibility.

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/ by pinkturtle2.

War represents man’s ultimate failure…but we must look at images like these to really understand that… “have you no heart to break?” Then I pray for you as well…

The words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir ring true: We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.

Etna ash eruption during sunset by Thomas Reichart.
Revelation 6:12-14
12I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

How about the news reports concerning the increased frequency of seismic activity in and around the Yellowstone national park area. Did you know that there’s a big volcano underneath Yellowstone? I mean a really BIG volcano called a caldera whose cones can be as wide as 1500 miles across! If it erupted as it has the potential to it would reek havoc on this little blue and green rock we all live on. Of course it’s unlikely to happen at this time, but then again it’ll also probably be unlikely to happen on the day that it does blow… What I find interesting about all of this is how it might play into the biblical prophesies concerning the tribulation.

According to experts, an eruption of this “Caldera” and the ensuing volcanic ash cloud would have a devastating effect on the worlds food crops and cause mass starvation. I think that this scenario has already been anticipated by the “new world order” who have taken steps to insure “their” continued acess to food stocks and ability to produce food. They have a seed vault somewhere in a big cave with enough seed to restart agriculture…and that’s exactly what they’ll do! A third of the people on the earth will have died, a whole bunch more will have been raptured out, (Lord we pray) it won’t be necessary to “explain” where everyone went to people because I’m thinking they might have more pressing concerns just then. The people that are left will be for the most part completely at the mercy of the “powers that be” as far as having a way to get food or be connected to other life sustaining services that only they could provide. That’s when they’ll mark everybody like cattle with some kind of “magnetic ink” that can’t be tampered with or counterfeited…voila! instant world control! the one’s who control the food will control the world!

the accuracy of biblical prophesy is something like 100% so it’s really just a question of…

“when?”

Here’s some information I found about volcanic ash…

Falling ash can turn daylight into complete darkness. Accompanied by rain and lightning, the gritty ash can lead to power outages, prevent communications, and disorient people. The residue contains fluorine and is poisonous to livestock

“And the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind”.

Stars don’t fall from the sky…but a meteor that’s 100 feet in diameter has the energy equivalency of a one-megaton explosion, roughly seven times greater than that of the weapon that leveled Hiroshima. Such a meteor enters Earth’s atmosphere about every 100 years. A Tanguska-scale meteor, with an explosive energy equivalent of 10 megatons could occur every 1,000 years.

As “Doomy and Gloomy” as all of this sounds there’s a way to avoid all of it! That includes the feelings of anxiety and hopelessness so many people are dealing with right now. I’ve often wondered why (given the many great promises in Gods word) people resist it or why they turn away from it. It seems to be summed up in the saying “heaven, don’t miss it for the world!” or perhaps, “Jesus, don’t miss him for your self!” I think the Lord looks down on this world and see’s all of the deception going on and His heart breaks for those who reject Him. Christ became flesh to save us from sin, to show the world the depth of Gods love for us through His crucifixion. Those of us here on earth who have felt it seek to express in some small way that same love to others anyway we can. The most important question you’ll ever answer will be when God ask’s you “What did YOU do with my son” If you have trouble answering that question begin today to seek Jesus, invite Him in to your heart and ask Him to make the changes that need to be made. To repent is to turn, and that is what we all must do…don’t let anyone discourage you by bringing up your past or how far you still have to go,whats important is not where you are as much as which way you’re facing

Green Banana’s

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I can always tell when it’s getting to be time for me to write another blog.

For days now, I’ve been hearing internal dialogue’s going on in my mind…

Phrases turned, concepts tried, meaning sought.

I chose this title because of a phrase my father used to say in reference to his health

“I don’t even buy green banana’s anymore.”

There’s something comical to me about a person seeming to have so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality. It’s as if whats of greatest importance is to engage the other person by means of “truth telling” or “gallows humor.” It also reminded me of our current economic malaise, the whole de-flation thing. Banana’s are normally about .69 a pound (green bananas) But if you wait for a short while, they bundle them up on a tray and sell ’em for a quarter a pound! They say they’re “over-ripe” but I’ve never thought so, they’re actually just right and the price is right too! Why should I care if somewhere in Central America a banana farmer has to lay off a few workers or cut the wages of some others because I wouldn’t pay .69 a LB for banana’s?


(these are the banana workers)

What am I trying to do, guilt you into paying full price for some bananas?

No, I’m just using the banana story to illustrate something I’m sure most of you already know. That for every person who holds the clean end of the stick…

(well you know what that leaves)

Also, to try to give a real life example of what each of our choices or actions say about what we really think is going on.

How about the consumer confidence level? Given the uncertain nature of our economy, right now may not be the best time to spend money on new big ticket items or take on long term debt. Many Americans are only spending on necessities and are putting off the”wants” in favor of the “needs.” Still others are of the opinion that our current economic cycle is precisely that. That there’s little cause for serious concern. To quote a late great elder statesman, one Frank Zappa, who in a song by the same name playfully mocked American people by saying, “It can’t happen here!” (please,check it out) What can’t happen? That our highly prized way of life could rather suddenly go by the wayside…

It certainly has “happened” to me!

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I find it to be the height of coincidence that my situation has so closely paralleled the bigger picture of our country, not only in the last few years but in the years since my birth in 1960. So if you’re looking for someone to blame I suppose that’d be me… I witnessed the American family becoming less relevant than the self, providing the proper mindset to embrace the rising drug culture as my “religion” in the 1970’s. I was flush with the fashion in the conspicuous eighties, doing my utmost to consume enough “whatever” to keep the wind from whistling through the hole in my soul. It’s a lot harder than you think to be tragically hip..

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told you when to run you’ve missed the starting gun…(Breathe-Pink Floyd)

A great ironic hallmark happened to me in the 1990’s, supposedly I was “over the hill” chronologically. But due to my years of drug use I was emotionally still a child in a lot of critical ways. Before this decade was through I had had it all and lost it all, I faced the new millennium sober for the first time in my adult life. I was a 40yr old “Green Banana”

A brave new century, and a new life! which seemed to me to be about putting out fires and exorcising the demons of the past by living “politically correctly” in the present. A plausible theory if you don’t start any new fires which can harbor new demons. We all must eventually confront our own frailties and understand our own new limitations. I became old early in February of 06′ when I slipped and fell on some wet steps. It was more than my rotator cuff that shattered that groundhog’s day morning, it was my invincibility. Sort of like my own personal “twin towers” moment.

They say it’s a recession when it happens to someone else, but it’s a depression when it happens to you.

My last full time job prior to being a school bus driver ended on 07/07/07…
I was blacklisted in the trucking industry when a former employer lied about me to the driver “advocacy” council, (legally libeled)
By December of last year I was behind on my mortgage and looking to put my home on the market…(I’m still in my home by the grace of God!)
By April my car had been repossessed, (which made me eligible for food stamps) and my pastor provided me with one that had been donated to him.
I went “belly up” on my credit cards, owing about 7-8 thousand dollars, I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls but nothing more than that.
I “survived” for months on money I made selling vegetables I grew, fresh eggs, and stuff I owned that I sold as well as some small odd jobs I took on.
I turned myself in to the authorities in August because I was unable to appear in court on contempt charges related to my child support and spent 10 days in jail, I was deemed too wealthy to receive “free counsel.” (I was released on 08/08/08)

Naturally, I had to chuckle when they announced in late November of this year that our country was in a recession.

There’s something comical to me about a person seemingly having so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality.

My father passed on the summer before last, and so now it’s me that doesn’t buy green bananas…

What Child Is This?

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Having the opportunity to work around a school and “school children” has really put me in touch with a lot of my own adolescent school memories! Because of the circumstances of my own education I have a real soft spot for special needs kids or kids who just seem to fall through the cracks of the system. Based on my own life experience it’s my opinion that children’s behavioral issues (beyond simple boundary testing) are   outward manifestations of the circumstances in their lives that they have no other way to express than to “act out” what they’re feeling. They engage in these behaviors in the fervent hope that someone will understand and help them deal with the “situation” they’re unable to express in a more verbal fashion. When a four year old bites and hits and causes chaos we discipline them with swats on the butt or time outs expecting that to be more formidable or threatening to them than the scary stuff that’s already in their heads.

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I think in many cases that’s exactly what we do…and it doesn’t work,at least not for the child! It may bring them into compliance in the moment which is seen as a victory of sorts for the caregiver but I see it as a temporary symptom based treatment of much deeper issues.

Years later, When this same child who has now been labeled a “discipline problem” and who’s outgrown the previous approaches exhibits new symptoms of conditions with names like “oppositional defiant disorder” or “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” we scratch our heads and send them off to the psychiatrist for evaluations. Some get the help they need and others don’t . Its those kids that don’t whom oftentimes, in an attempt to get a need met, become involved with substance abuse, gang’s, teen sex, or even just good old fashioned stuff like being disruptive and talking back to teachers.

Sadly, conventional wisdom says that the these new problems are best handled by suspensions, expulsions, or other “bullying” techniques. Of course I’ll admit that those techniques are effective on some students, however the ones I’m referring to who have what I consider to be “special needs” are kids who have 55 gallon drums of industrial strength pain constantly leaking into their psyche to whom the idea of being suspended as punishment seems laughable or absurd, or even a relief from the daily bludgeoning they receive from peers, principals, and worst of all themselves…It is indeed a very dark place.

AK000596 by you.

Lets fast forward to the rest of their lives…

Looking into the face of this young girl we quickly remind ourselves that her circumstances don’t absolutely have the last word on her life and that they can and do prepare us for life in some very special ways. Also that we can either let our circumstances get in the way of what we want in life or choose not to which is of course true, but how many of us could summon up the necessary tenacity to see this through without a lot of VERY special help?

In this life, no one succeeds or fails alone…

There is a much more typical result for children who’ve been mishandled by the people in their lives who’s charge it was to help guide them into becoming a successfully functioning adult. You can expect them to become chronically underachieving adults whose life challenges include the inability to maintain long term relationships with people or hold steady jobs. They’re alcoholics, drug addicts,or maybe in prison…why? One reason is because when you’re young and cute and so vulnerable it’s easier to garner compassion and perhaps understanding from people, but as you grow older peoples perception is basically that you ARE your behavior which is patently false.

They may be much older but their techniques of self expression are at times much the same as a small child’s…logically it also makes sense that the actual solution would also be the same. In the life of a child or a young adult the positive influence of even one person in they’re lives can have a profound impact. When we practice “understanding” people we validate their feelings instead of beating them up for having them. Learning new and more positively functional ways to get our needs met in this life is what it’s all about!

it’s irrelevant how old they are or…who’s child is this?

Are facts the truth?

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Facts can be accurate, that doesn’t always make them right…
facts are dispassionate, the truth is compassionate
Facts are said to be “cold and hard”like a prison cell,

the truth, will set you free!

just the facts…to tell the truth!

The biggest difference between facts and the truth I’ve noticed is in how they’re used. I recently heard of a young couple planning to get married,the fact is that at least 50% of marriages result in divorce, especially when the people are under 25yrs old. It takes years to really know what it is that you want out of life or who you really are, people sometimes grow and change a lot in their early twenties. based on these “facts” I would have a hard time being supportive of the idea.

Whats the truth? The truth is that what’s impossible with man IS possible with God, when a husband and wife put God first in their marriage He’ll bless it. a generation ago it wasn’t unusual at all for people to get married at 16 or 17 yr’s old! Those are the ones celebrating their 50th and 60th anniversaries today! Who disregarded the “fact” that at times they were perhaps very unhappy with their spouse in favor of the truth which is that “nobody’s perfect” and that we’ve all done some pretty dumb things! Whose ability to let go of the dead weight of condemnation and remember what it was they loved about this person to begin with carried them over the rough patches.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “speaking the truth in love?’ The term ‘truth in love’ is actually redundant. You can’t have the truth without love. It says in the Bible that God is truth and that God is love. Facts are often used to accuse or discourage someone, or in a condemning manner,are you starting to smell something? who IS the accuser of the brethren? That’s right! our enemy himself, Satan…Whats interesting to me about all of this is that when we use the “facts” to tear someone down we ourselves are also left vulnerable to the same attack! This is an area that I know I’ve screwed up in…why? Because I live in a world of facts, as critical, judgmental and deadly as a heart attack to a person’s Christian walk…So now, it’s only the truth that can set me free, the truth in love!

Telling people that they’re responsible for the results of every choice they’ve made in life may be a fact…but it’s not the truth!

People make some of life’s most important decisions during their teen years at a time when their least qualified to make them! They don’t always have parents or counselors in their lives to help them make good choices. So we heap responsibility or “blame” onto people who are least able to discern truth from fact and then wonder why they resort to lifelong self-destructive behaviors. Based on what I’ve observed being an adult is no magic solution to the problem either, sadly we become even quicker to verbally injure people with our “great truth”.

It’s that sort of thinking that drove me to the edge and had me convinced that I basically had no place among decent folks. And it’s that sort of behavior that I can’t sit by and allow to be used to bludgeon others with.

I just can’t…

Because it’s not the truth!

Blessed

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What does it mean to be blessed? We say that we’re a blessed nation, constantly thanking God for our many blessings and praying for other people who we think are suffering or somehow in need of a “blessing.” Sometimes I wonder if we’re as blessed as we think. We see refugee’s in war ravaged places who are starving and have only the sparse clothes on their backs but what we don’t see or understand is that these people have a blessing WE don’t.
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We just celebrated Thanksgiving…how thankful were you? Was it just another day? just another opportunity to over eat? or was it manna from heaven? Remember the story of the Israelites in the desert? They were fed “manna” that was new everyday. There were a couple of reasons for that, one of which was so that nobody could horde it… also, because it’s our nature as people to turn our back on God when we have what we need and God knew that. In order for them to continually experience the love and blessing it was necessary for them to be kept humble so that they wouldn’t forget or confuse the source of the blessing. God was blessing them by keeping them close to Him! God was blessing them by teaching them humility, God was blessing them by teaching them trust and dependence…

We’re so incredibly blessed in this country to have so many church’s and the freedom to worship God in the way we see fit. We dress up in our Sunday best and listen to preachers talk about how we’re not the church we should be. We kinda feel bad for a minute or two but it’s easy enough to brush that aside and contemplate what to eat for lunch or think to ourselves “How perfect! we must deserve each other because you’re not the minister you should be either” Meanwhile, somewhere in Sub Saharan Africa people are being delivered from demons and all kinds of disease, healed from sicknesses,truly brought into the presence of the Lord! These people may not have a three bedroom house or a buffet of food to pick and choose over but what they do have is a real relationship with Christ! They’ve been in his presence, they’ll never be the same.

What’s the difference between us and them? They’re believing on Christ for everything, they’ve got no other “safety net” to catch them, it’s absolutely a matter of life and death! That’s a right here and right now blessing not a “Lord, please continue to bless me and my family so that we don’t have to find out you’re really all that we need!” kind of blessing!

I think that there needs to be a drastically different approach to the evangelistic movement here in the U.S. We need to be treated like the spiritually poor people we are! We need to be given a crash course in honesty about ourselves and where we are. If we could somehow strip away all of the “window dressings” and our “prosperity” to reveal the truth perhaps then we might actually be “blessed.” If we could lay down our pride long enough to bend a knee before God and cry a few repentant tears we might experience forgiveness. Perhaps if we went through another “great depression” we might rediscover what it means to be thankful, to be dependent, and then, having “gotten over” ourselves…experience the love and blessing our Heavenly Father longs to give us!