Tinkering with Time

Guest Blogger:  Annette McDaniel

“Lost yesterday, somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, two golden hours each set with sixty diamond minutes.  No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.”

Horace Mann penned this to emphasize the value of time — still it makes me uneasy.

If I dawdle over that second cup of coffee, am I wasting time?  What about in past summers when I lounged on my deck in the cool of the morning and watched the swallows swoop toward the creek, chasing gnats.  And I can spend more than two golden hours (diamond minutes and all) watching a sunset fade from orange to pink to indigo before the stars wink on one at a time.  God’s handiwork at it’s finest!

And please don’t tell me that people-watching is a waste of time!

After retirement I removed my watch and vowed that I would sleep late and free myself from anything that buzzed,  beeped or chimed me awake.  Unfortunately, I forgot to inform my internal clock.  Attempts to go back to sleep were futile.  My eyes popped open at 6:15 a.m.   It was years before I could convince that persistent nag in my brain to let me sleep longer  Even staying up later did not work.  I was groggy but wide awake at that arbitrary hour each morning.

Of course we need to keep track of appointments and important events (meal-time and visits with  friends come to mind).  Time must be considered too when traveling but, since the airlines ask us to arrive at least two hours imagesahead of scheduled departure, aren’t we wasting time?   Unless we are people-watching?

Do we like it in the spring when daylight-saving time robs us of that one hour we will not recoup until November?  We can thank Benjamin Franklin for that.  In 1784 he extolled the virtue of the concept because it would save candles.  Years later our federal government agreed.  After diddling with the issue, around World War I to save fuel, Congress convinced the country,  post-World War II to observe daylight-saving, nationally. Eventually the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was passed with the last of the hold-out states coming on board as late as 2005.

Our perception of time is also an issue.  Time is relative to the observer.  With children, special occasions seem as if they will never arrive.  Later in life, birthdays come around with speedy regularity that some folks would just as soon forget.

King Solomon once observed that “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Our task is to find our purpose and pursue it.  Time flows like a river.  One can sit on the bank and watch it flow, or launch out.  Choosing to go with or against the current is our option as well.  Either way, time spent doing what we were created to accomplish is never wasted .

Headed Up? Headed Down? It Depends…

Guest Blogger Pastor Bill Zulker from Pennsylvania shares a brief but beautiful piece of truth.

I started flying lessons with him when I was 79, and then helicopter lessons when I was 81. I now have about 150 hours floating around in the sky. What a thrill!

I remember what my flight instructor told me a few years ago. One of the best lessons I learned was when he stressed the difference between “Altitude” and “Attitude.”

Altitude is how high or high low you are flying.
Attitude is whether you are headed up, flying level, or headed down.

He kept saying, “Watch your Attitude” “Watch your Attitude.”
There is even a gauge on the instrument panel that shows what your attitude is!

If the nose of the plane is pointed too high, there may not be enough power to keep it afloat.
If the nose is pointed too low, you will hit the ground and crash.

SOOOO…. the lesson in life is this:

When the going gets rough, or the trials seem difficult, then “WATCH YOUR ATTITUDE!” 

It will make all the difference in the outcome.

The Gospel of Luke in 12 Minutes!!

This is a guest post from a wonderful storyteller and man of GOD….
His website is:  www.blessedbythespokenword.com

The Story of God and the Caterpillar

As written by guest blogger Charles E Pennington ll

This morning as I began my quiet time I was urged to write you a story about a caterpillar with so many legs.

GOD quietly spoke to the caterpillar and said if you will just turn from your ways, die to yourself, I will change you into the most beautiful butterfly. You will not have to use your many legs to inch up this tree as you will be free to just soar to the top with the wings like an eagle.

The caterpillar resisted and said “No” to that quiet voice and continued inching up the tree in defiance. He watched as several of his friends hearing that same voice stopped and began forming a cocoon. He looked on in disgust and believing he knew best….traveled farther out on the tree limb.

As he inched away from the trunk of the tree he was quickly spotted by an old owl. The owl flew down and ate him at once. When the caterpillar went before GOD, he found GOD in tears and the caterpillar begged for his mercy.

“Oh, my child” GOD said, “I cry not that you refused to obey me….but I cry for all the joy I had planned for your life that was lost.”

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If Every School Principal…..

This is article from desk of Dennis Prager….. (www.dennisprager.com)
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If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.  I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American.

This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity, race and non-American nationality based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America , one of it sthree central values — epluribus Unum, “from many, one.” And thisschool will be guided by America ‘s values. This includes all after school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America ‘s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here –it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English — but if youwant classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor , everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f -word, you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue… There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate — to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

Christless Christmas

(Today’s post comes from Herman Leonard in New Roads, Louisiana)

There isn’t much on the shelf today that truly epitomizes just what Christmas means to me

Oh, there are decorations, lights galore as you stroll down the aisles, an occasional artificial tree.

Have we elevated ourselves only to look down upon GOD, self-efficient in every way, no longer in need?

Are we self-designated saviours without need of assistance, relying upon our good works, which is sinful indeed?

There is no hope for a generation who thinks like this, nothing but judgment that awaits them in the end.

We must reach out to JESUS and cling to His cross, for this is reality and the message of Christmas, my friend.

When I celebrated my first Christmas on the day of my salvation, oh what joy it brought and blessed relief!

Because JESUS is my reality now for He came and found this sinner, of whom I was indeed chief.

I cannot imagine living one day without Him now, and I thank Him so much for His sacrifice on the tree

JESUS died to save sinners, not self-appointed saviours, this is the heart of Christmas and what it means to me.

I celebrate my LORD and SAVIOUR, my Redeemer each and every day, He is not only a part, but indeed my very life.

For He penetrated a heart that had become stone by the the SPIRIT of His WORD, slicing through as a knife.

A Christless Christmas, I wouldn’t even consider because I know Him now, and no greater love have I ever known,

Love was demonstrated on His Cross as He laid life down, and thank You, my Saviour, for this love that was shown.

(The poet’s own commentary on Christless Christmas)

It seemd as though there is a new celebration out there that supercedes the joyous time of Christmas and it’s called “Black Friday.”  People pushing each other to get there first to the items on sale with no regard to the people before them. It’s a mad, mad rush! Get all I can and can all I get is the new attitude these days, Most are not shopping for others but for themselves. This is so far from the heart of Christmas.

To sum up what Christmas truly means, we need only to look at John 3:16-17 which says: “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten SON what whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For GOD did not send His SON into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Some how or another, we have “wrapped up” ourselves into this commercialization of Christmas, and if we are honest with ourselves, for the most part have put CHRIST off tot the side. I know this sounds hard but it is the truth. JESUS is the heart of Christmas and, yes, He is the Reason for the Season. There were no Christmas trees at the manager and the only Light was the star that settled over CHRIST’s birthplace which led the Wise men there. This is so important to grasp because all of these other things are menial in comparison.

I always knew that CHRIST died for the world. Most people do. What I didn’t know in my heart was that CHRIST died specifically for me. Until that day I received Him into my heart and it became personal. Now i view it in a totally different perspective, it’s ALL about JESUS!

To take CHRIST out of Christmas means you are only with “mas” or as I see it “mess.” We can never find true peace until we have an encounter with the “Prince of Peace.”  If you don’t know Him, you can. He is never far from those who call upon Him in sincerity of heart, not in mind. GOD is not playing games. He was serious when He sent His SON to save us. Serious enough to have Him crucified, nailed to the Cross for our sins, a place we deserved to be.

Let’s make “CHRIST” the focus of Christmas again. All of these other things are okay but they should never replace JESUS. Finally, these words from Christian singer David Meece:

“We were the reason He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost, He gave all He could give,To show us the reason to live.”

This, my friend, is the true meaning of Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas at a Gas Station

Sent to me as an email….compliments of my friend Al Enderle (Santa Ana, California)

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The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. “Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger. “I see you’re busy, I’ll just go.”

“Not without something hot in your belly.” George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew … Made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said. There in the driveway was an old ’53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. “Mister can you help me!” said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. “My wife is with child and my car is broken.” George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

“You ain’t going in this thing,” George said as he turned away.

“But Mister, please help …” The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. “Here, take my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.”

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. “Glad I gave ’em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new ones .” George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. “Well, at least he got something in his belly,” George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered that the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. “Well, shoot, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

“Those tires ain’t gonna get ’em through the winter either.” He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln . They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the right leg, the officer moaned, “Please help me.”

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. “Pressure to stop the bleeding,” he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

“Something for pain,” George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. “These ought to work.” He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. “You hang in there, I’m going to get you an ambulance.”

The phone was dead. “Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car.” He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. “Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.”

George sat down beside him, “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. “Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.”

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked.

“None for me,” said the officer..

“Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.” The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. “Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before

“That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer.

“Son, why are you doing this?” asked George, “You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.”

The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!”

The cop was reaching for his gun. “Put that thing away,” George said to the cop, “we got one too many in here now.”

He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pea shooter away.”

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. “I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week.”

George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.”

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. “Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Bein’ stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.”

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. “Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.”

“Shut up and drink your coffee ” the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. “Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

“Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?”

“GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.”

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

“That guy work here?” the wounded cop continued.

“Yep,” George said, “just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.”

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?”

Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas boy … and you too, George, and thanks for everything.”

“Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.”

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. “Here you go, something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.”

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.”

“And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.”

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. “Here’s something for that little man of yours.”

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

“And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too,” George said. “Now git home to your family.”

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.”

“Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.”

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you left?”

“I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?”

“Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was gettin’ a little chubby.”

The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. “That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And how do you know all this?” asked the old man.

“Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.”

The stranger moved toward the door. “If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.”

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

“You see, George … it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.”

George fell to his knees and replied, “Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus”

The Eternal Magic of Thanksgiving

A Special Thanks goes out to our guest blogger…..Al Enderle of Santa Ana, CA ______
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Is Thanksgiving just a relic of the past that needs to be forgotten, or does the significance of that special day have lasting meaning for all of us?

So many years have past since 1621 when the Plymouth Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. We have not experienced the persecution  or the hardship the Pilgrims faced. We do not know what it is like to leave our homeland, experience starvation, and see our husbands, wives and children die along the way. How can one adequately explain the miraculous timing of Squanto’s appearance just when the Pilgrims desperately needed help? Was it just a coincidence that he could speak the English language?

Do we have reason to be thankful that the Pilgrims brought with them their Judeo-Christian heritage upon which the foundation of our country was based? The very freedom we enjoy and the just laws we have came from that meager beginning. There were no military battles or conquering heroes. There was only a remnant of humble, God-fearing people who recognized the fact that, without God, life was purposeless.

The Pilgrims believed that morality could not be trusted on any other foundation but that of Christianity and that no government could be secure that was not based on the absolute values that come only from God. America has never been perfect, but it became the greatest nation in modern history. Unlike great nations of the past, America has been a benefactor rather than a conqueror-possessor. We fought not only for our own freedom but for the freedom of others.

Yes, we have a great deal to be thankful for and most of all we have a great God to be thankful to. Let us do as our founding fathers did and give thanks to God not only this Thanksgiving Day but every day of the year. Might we re-dedicate our lives to God’s will so that our country will again receive the blessings and protection that only God can assure.