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From Benita, With Love

Benita is the sweetest of the sweet, a pure saint of God who continually blesses our lives with her charm and love. Benita is a poet. She recently gave Vicki and I a personal poem, and I asked if I could share it.

Graceful Hand Of The Artist

The Master of the universe, used His magnificent paintbrush and painted a gorgeous sunrise across the easterm sky.

He switched off the stars and moonlight and painted a morning so bright, with pastels and beautiful sunlight.

The same Master of Beauty sculptured your face, and poured upon you His Grace.

We simply love Benita. You would too.

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January 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ha Ha, Fooled You!

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The way we get these eggs laid in the nice clean pile of wood shavings in the nesting box is rather simple. We fooled the girls into using the nesting box instead of the floor of the coop, outside somewhere in the woods, or somewhere else that we would never find. How did we fool them? By using a decoy. And the amazing thing is, the decoy didn’t even have to look exactly correct. It was just a resemblance of the original.

Look at the picture below and you will see the decoy.

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A golf ball. When the pullets ( young hens under 1 year old) were starting to get old enough to lay, we laid a golf ball in the nesting box. Of course during the rambling around in the day, they probably investigated the entirety of the coop, and had to see the ball. It has worked to perfection. Every egg except 2 has been laid in the nesting box now, and the younger birds will pay attention as the older ones lay, and the cycle will perpetuate.

How many times have we been fooled by decoys in our lives, and ultimately gone places and done things that we later regretted? That’s the thought for the day.

Blessings!!

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Had I Known………

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The old saying goes: Had I known I was going to live this long……..I would have taken better care of myself.

I love a good joke, and one of my favorite things that I have always dreamed of is a final joke of putting these words on my tombstone. “I Told You I Was Sick!”. Of course, if I precede Vicki she will be the one who tells them what to put on the stone. I may not get my wish.

But on a serious note, and reflecting on my last post, I truly do wish I had taken better care of myself. 60 will be here all too soon and a life of running as fast as I could go has taken it’s toll on me. Not just work mind you, but things like my late teens and early twenties when I abused drugs with a vengance. Things like not learning to say no to the many requests of people who needed help with this and that.

It’s time for me to slow down. This afternoon I climbed up and down a stepladder about 2oo times while putting roofing on an overhang I’m building off the garage. My feet hurt, my ankle hurts and in the morning I really will pay for my actions today. I probably never will retire, as there is just too much work to do. But I have to learn to do it slower.

I know that there is no retirement from ministry. I have always been a firm believer that when one is called, he never retires. If he can retire, then it was not a ministry, but was a vocation. I know many will argue with me on that, but I have yet to see a scripture that speaks of retirement from ministry.

A slower pace. Yup. Thats what I need.

Blessings!

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Slower Pace

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Go to bed with the chickens, get up with the chickens. That was a topic of discussion last night at our home after a nice Bible Study on Mark 1&2. Our lives can sometimes be so full that we are literally worn out when we go to bed. Hours of sleep were a hot topic. Vicki and I normally go to bed around 10PM and get up around 5:15 AM. I have to be at work at 7, and I am almost never late. Rather, I am consitently early by at least 15 minutes. Now that translates out to 7 hours of sleep. ( We go to sleep fast) Studies say that 7-8 hours is enough for someone our age.

But is that right? Look at the chickens for a moment, or even other animals. Rocky and the girls are making their way into the coop around 4:45 PM and by dark (5:15) they are fast asleep. Around 4 in the morning Rocky starts stirring and crowing, but they dont come out into the yard until light which is normally around 6:30 AM. Do the math on that one! 11 hours, anyway you look at it.

Now, I’m not saying that we need 11 hours sleep. What I am really saying is that we need rest. God created the sabbath for man. Jesus said that in Mark chapter 2. He said that man was not created for the sabbath, but rather the sabbath was created for man. Not only do we need enough sleep in our lives, we also need that day of rest.

Now in Christian circles the accepted norm is to use the Lord’s day (Sunday) as a day to replace the sabbath. But even on that day, many times it is not a day of rest. People will find a church that has an early service so that they can go fulfill their “obligation” early in the morning so that they have a full day to pursue recreation. Is there anything wrong with recreation on Sunday? No, not at all. A day of rest was created for man, not man for it.

I know that Sunday afternoons are a time of rest for me. A time to slow down and enjoy not having to be anywhere, do anything but simply relax and wind down in anticipation of the week ahead. It is a part of a slower pace that we all need. Slow is good. Nothing wrong with slow.

Go to bed with the chickens, get up with the chickens.

January 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family Ties – Conclusion

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Hearth and Home. The place that I run to each day before dusk. The place where I know that there is a companion and friend. I laid a fire after supper tonight, and as it was beginning to waft it’s aroma throughout our home, I grabbed the laptop and now I sit here watching the History Channel, and typing this final treatise on Family Ties while my feet soak in the warmth of the red oak burning.

In this final portion, after having stated my opinion and case; having asked the pertinent questions, I turn to the true source of wisdom. God’s Word to man, the Bible.

1Timothy 5:4  “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to respect their own family by repaying their parents, for this is pleasing in God’s sight.”  In this verse we see the principle of “repaying” ones parents. How is this accomplished? By taking care of them in their old age and not tossing them to the care of others.

1Timothy 5:8  “If anyone does not take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Pretty plain words there. Being worse than an unbeliever is not something I care to be labeled by God.

Providing for our elders is love, but it is also justice. When we were young, we were helpless. Then our parents provided for all our needs. When our parents become helpless, the roles must be reversed. We must provide everything for them, to the extent of their needs.

Those needs are more than financial. Older people often find themselves alone, without friends or family. They need companionship, mental stimulation, compassionate understanding, indeed love. So often the ideal place for them, when they can no longer live independently, is in the home of an adult child. Such home care enables the child more easily to meet the needs of his parent, and it gives the parent a real home, with loved ones and the support that only families can give.

The family unit was established before the Church was. The family unit is critical to the spiritual health of any community. The family unit is an integral part of the plan and will of God. We all know that the Bible declares that a man should “leave his father and mother and cling to his wife”, but trust me, this in no way relieves a man of taking care of his parents when they are old.

In this modern society we NEED the family unit. Plain and simple.

Blessings to all!

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Star

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originally uploaded by no1likhim.

Star the Clown (Vicki) having a blast with some of the kids from Mexico. Click the picture to enlarge.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family Ties – IV

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I promised to discuss a subject dear to my heart – the Dumbing Down of America. I know that I said it was to be the Dumbing Down of our Youth, but truly it goes much further than that. I will keep this short and to the point, simply because there is something heavier laying on my heart tonight. Here we go.

We have allowed far too much idiocy to enslave us as a nation via the “Idiot tube” (Television).

Reality TV is a sore, festering and coming to a boil. A never ending crescendo of pushing the censors to the edge. And the censors are in a constant state of retreat. Then our children are no better off when we allow them to continually watch the never ending parade of teenage stars on the Disney network, that always seem to be on the fringe in their personal lives. How many Disney stars can you count that have actually led a life that would be a good example for your children?

OK. Point made. No more preaching, just time for reflection on what you are watching. Now I shift gears to the true subject at hand. Vicki and I got a belated Christmas card and letter from a dear elderly couple. They are in the process of exhausting their lives savings on a “Retirement Home” that feeds them 3 meals a day, and a room to live in.

What happened to the family tie? Where are the sons and daughters that should be taking care of this couple? They followed their pursuits of the American Dream and now live far away. Has there been an invitation for the elderly couple to come live with any of them? No, I fear not. They are left to spend their money and end their lives here on earth separated from those who should be loving and caring for them.

I will not sleep as well tonight because of this. My heart aches for millions of elderly who have nowhere to turn but some form of institution that only will deplete their resources and them end up a burden on the already overtaxed system. They should be at home, in the family home, surrounded by not only children, but grand and great-grandchildren.

When will we learn this lesson?  My heart is heavy tonight.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family Ties – IV

wagon_11Many factors can cause people to move away from family when the call of God is not present. In the original expansion of America for example, vast tracts of land awaited. Families who had worked as indentured servants to various lords, governors and influential desired to have land of their own. These people, many of whom left hearth and home from Europe, had left all in the search for prosperity and freedom. But once they were established in a location, family took root there.

Today it is a different story. Disagreement, strife, and rebellion can fuel the desire to move. Unforgiveness usually is the driving force in these instances. Abuse as a child, the rebellioness of youth can cause children to maintain an attitude of unforgiveness towards parents and ultimately cause relocation and a subsequent total separation of the heart as well.

The truly sad thing in most of these cases of relocation due to unforgiveness is that sometimes children never get to meet their grandparents. Who knows, but that God may have planned for the grandchildren to be the turning point in the grandparents lives. It may have been the very thing that finally softened their hearts and caused them to repent of the very thing that drove the family apart.

As I stated before, expansion of a nation is a huge driving force of relocation and separation. Many stories exist in this country of a man and family moving west, leaving hearth and home of family behind, and once arriving and settling never again making the trip back home. America was built on such stories, and many of such are less than 200 years old.

The next installment of this ongoing essay will address a very touchy subject. It is one that I do not take lightly, and am becoming more and more outspoken about each and every day. It is, for lack of better words “The Dumbing Down of Our Youth.”

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family Ties – III

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OK Mike, (you might ask) surely you don’t mean that everyone should live in close proximity to the rest of the family? That answer would be no, not everyone. There are many who I would see as living either temporarily or even lifelong in a far away location. But before I type that list lets consider a few facts. Expansion is natural. Sometimes the population of a family group outgrows the location. In that case there are options. One is to do as the Amish do, simply move the entire family. Whole communities of Amish people move from one location to another. The family system stays intact and life simply picks up at the new location.

There are times when the resources are exhausted in a particular area and expansion must take place. One instance would be the dust bowl era in which people literally either moved, or died where they were. Drought, or natural disasters can force people to relocate.

Sometimes the separation will be temporary, such as when a person has to leave to attend school in another location. Sometimes it may be a “hitch” in the armed forces. These are some of the things through history that have always taken people from family for short times and long periods also.

Consider the missionary for a moment. The calling of God is exempt. What I’m saying is that when God calls, you respond no matter what. God will call people to leave home and hearth and begin life anew in locations sometimes half a world away. Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel’s sake,

Mark 10:30 but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the world to come, eternal life.

Our industrialized society has produced some of the greatest affluence ever seen by a people. And then again it has driven families farther apart that ever before. So that leads us to ask the question; What drives people to leave family? Consider that question and I will talk about that in the next installment.

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family Ties – II

Mom and Pop stores. Mostly long gone. The big “box” stores and Walmart have driven them out of business and we – the consumer allowed it in the alure of lower prices, one stop shopping and our fast paced lives.

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Here below is a favorite quote.

”Before the rise of modern industry… virtually the whole of humankind lived in family-centered economies. The family was the focus of the most productive activity, whether it be on largely self-sufficient farms or in small family shops… Husbands and wives relied on each other, needed each other, shared with each other, so their small family enterprises might succeed. They specialized in their daily tasks according to their respective skills. Marriage was still true to its historic definition: a union of the sexual and the economic.” —Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment