Monday, September 5, 2011

RETIRE OR RETREAD?

When you reach that magic age, are you going to retire or just retread and keep on rolling?  I think retirement is the time when you stop going to work and start working to go. Working to go  on to new vistas, new challenges, new activities that are not controlled by the constants of time and untouched by the strangling tentacles of stress.
Someone has said, “Life begins at retirement”…I believe that. The question is, “What kind of life?”.. A life of trying to top your past achievements, or a life being satisfied with your past achievements?   I think retirement is a time when we have to accept our past and be willing to accept it for what it is.. “The Past!”  The only purpose for a Past is to provide experience, from which we draw, in order to create a new fulfilling present.  And don’t forget, today will be tomorrow’s past.

Even though my profession was that of an educator, all my life has been filled with photography.  Now that I have retired from the school business,  I find it fun to fill my new leisure time with creating photographic art.
 And you know what? I still have time to loaf and rest without being plagued by guilt. 

I think it is true that when we retire we should just retread and get back on the road.  But a “road less traveled.”  A road that has a maximum speed limit of 25 MPH and a rest area every 25 miles.                        

J.  Lubbock has written: “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
Doug Larson has said: “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.”

Hartman Jule writes: “Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself.
Don’t you think this would be a great time of life to use some of our newly unencumbered time for personal ministry.  Maybe volunteering in order to “Do it unto the least of these,” and in doing so, know that we have done unto Christ Himself.

 Let’s not just retire….Let’s retread and fill our days with a mixture of labor, rest, fun, and ministry, with labor being the lesser of the four…….
Writing this just wore me out!   I have got to go take a nap…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, August 5, 2011

JESUS WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN

 Jesus is not a Christian…Jesus has never been a Christian…
Jesus will never be a Christian.
One of my reasons for writing a blog is to create some provocative thinking on the part of those who read it.  I hope the title of this issue starts the old cogs turning until rust flies out your ears.  If you don't agree with me, I don't blame you..Write me a comment and tell me why...

Definition…Christian = A follower of Jesus Christ.

Consider the following lifted from Wikipedia:   The first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, which states "...in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replies to Paul the Apostle, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers, "...if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

This tells us that the followers were not called Christians until after Jesus ascended unto the Father.

Anyway you slice it, to be a Christian, you must be a follower of Christ…So Jesus could not have been a Christian and a follower of Christ because HE WAS THE CHRIST.

ONE SOLITARY LIFE
Adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis
Jesus was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself..

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
 No, Jesus is not A Christian….He is THE Christian.
Jesus  Said in John 14:6… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tax Ramblings

There is no such thing as sales tax!  You heard me, there is no such thing as sales tax! 
It is just a fictitious term devised by the greedy retail world to keep from paying their bill to the government.  They want us to think that the state government has legislated them to collect a sales tax from the consumer. That “ain’t” so Magee! 
The state doesn’t even use the term, “Sales Tax”.  What they do say is that every business and merchant has to send a percentage of their total revenue to the state every month.  They do not call it a sales tax, it is called a “Gross Receipts Tax”.  In other words it is not a tax on the consumer, but a tax on the merchant.
The state just sends a form to the business each month and says, “Write down what you took in, subtract our percentage, and send it to us.”  The state could care less where it comes from.  Since there is no law that says the business’ can’t collect their tax from us, that is exactly what they do!  Make us pay their Gross Receipts Tax.  Is that taxation without representation?  What’s new?
In the 21st chapter of Matthew there is an exchange between Jesus and a bunch of, “Holier Than Thou”, political/religous hypocrites.  17Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, tell us therefore, what thinkest thou?  Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?   Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Don’t hypocrites live a long time?   Those guys are still around to day, and an awful lot of them live in Washington DC.  It is because of that kind of repression that caused the Colonial Americans in Boston to throw a big tea party, and it is the same reason that Contemporary Americans have  given birth to the current day Tea Party.
I don’t mind paying my “Fair Share” to Uncle Sam, but just how much is my fair share?   Didn’t I hear just the other day that 35% of Americans don’t even pay any tax?  How does that work?    And how do some gigantic corporations use the loop holes and dodge paying  any tax at all? 

Wonder what my “Fair Share” would be if all those folks were added back to the tax rolls and then we divided the amount necessary to run the government between ALL OF US.  I think that is what they are calling the “Fair Tax” that is currently being promoted by Gov. Huckabee and others.
I kinda like that idea, but if that were to pass we would all be paying about 23-25% of our income in taxes.  Even that doesn’t seem right.  God only asks for 10%.   If 10% is enough for God to run a world wide ministry, shouldn’t our government be able to run our country on 10%?
Well, they say the only sure things in life are death and taxes and even though I am spiritually ready to go to heaven, I don’t want to take the next plane headed that direction.  So I guess I will just quit complaining and pay my taxes……
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

COCKROACHES

When I was fourteen years old I started working for my uncle Kenneth in the darkroom of his portrait studio. 

That started an interest, hobby, and eventually a part time profession that I have enjoyed for more than 60 years.  I think it is safe to say that by the time I was twenty five years old I had spent half of my life in the dark with nothing to illuminate my world but one small red light bulb. 

But I loved that world…It was just me, the darkness, my trays of chemicals, the little red light bulb, and my friends, the cockroaches.   Yes, the cockroaches! Hundreds of them!  
You see, a photographic dark room is a very moist, dark environment and cockroaches love the darkness.   

Every day when I would come to work and turn on the main light, the floor of the darkroom would look like a miniature Indianapolis 500.

Cockroaches would be running ever which direction trying to find some nook or cranny in which to hide, because they knew the light would expose them for the nasty little creatures they really were.
Everyone hates cockroaches.  They are nasty.  They spread disease. They deposit “Little black specks” everywhere they go, and they chew on thinks we don’t want chewed on.  They are evil and I will never know why Noah let them on the Ark.

But some people are like cockroaches.  If they have evil in their hearts, they don’t want anyone to turn on the “Light of Truth.”
  
Listen to what Jesus said in John 20:3..  For every one that doeth evil hates the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”   What light is He talking about?

Listen to what He says in John 18:12,  “ I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

In John 12:46 Jesus declares,  “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
  Does that remind you of another, “Whosoever”?  How about John 3:16?  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But here is the best promise of all.  1 John 1:7  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Will Rogers once said, “Live in such a way that you won’t be afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” 
Is that another way of saying, “Live in such a way that you will never be afraid to stand in the light of God?”
  If you are struggling in darkness, accept the promise of John 3:16 and remember…….

"God will keep the light on for you!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DO YOU HAVE A GPS?

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. 
Do you own a GPS?.....I do and I love that little piece of electronic wizardry...Jo Anne won't trust it though. She still sits in the right seat with her Walmart atlas and tells "Myrtle" when she is wrong. (But at least, she is not yelling at me.)  And I have to admit that sometimes Myrtle is wrong....Like the time we were in Canyon Texas and ask it to take us to Walmart...We ended up at a cul-de-sac in a residential section of town...There was a man working in his yard and he yelled, "Are you looking for Walmart? You are the third one this week!"  It turned out that Walmart was clear on the other side of town.

And once, due to road construction and a new overpass, Myrtle and I both got so lost neither of us knew where we were.  She got so tired of saying, “Recalculating”, and, “Make a U turn” that she finally yelled out, “Dummy, Find your own way!” (Did she really say that, or was that Jo Anne?)

Oh well, I just got a new one and I think I will like it better.  With the new one I can give Myrtle a different voice, so she now speaks with an English accent and even if she is wrong, I love her English brogue.  Who knows, maybe she will take me to Buckingham Palace.

Do you know what GPS stands for?   It stands for Global Positioning System….It is our responsibility to input the destination and the GPS takes the responsibility of getting us there….It knows what lies ahead and plots out our journey.  It warns us about taking the wrong road and guides us onto the path that is best for us.  It can even lead us around troubled traffic areas and take us to places of rest and refreshment. Ultimately when we put our faith in Myrtle she will make the final turn and bring us to the end of our journey.  Then we will hear her say, “You have reached your destination.”  And I will say,  ”Thank goodness.”

But hey, if you are a Christian, you have a GPS that is a lot more dependable than Myrtle.  Your GPS is God’s Positioning System.  He doesn’t need a map, He is the map.  He says that “No one makes the journey to the Father except through Me.” As our guide He reminds that, “There is a way that seems right  unto man but the end there of leads to death.”  Aren’t you glad that He doesn’t take us down those roads but instead, “Leads us in paths of righteousness.”

He knows every rest stop and just when we need them.  Doesn’t it feel good when you don’t think you can go any further that He comes along side and says, “Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.”

If we make a mistake or miss a turn, thank God for His grace that steps in and  says, “Repositioning, Repositioning.”  “ Don’t worry, just trust Me, and I will lead you back.”
“And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:8
 

I think the best part of the journey will be when God’s GPS says, “You have reached your destination”, and I can say,  "Thank God, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
God's GPS - Don't leave home without it!!
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

WALKING AND HEARTBURN

Did you hear about the little man who was told by his doctor that he needed to walk at least one mile a day and call him back in two weeks so he could see how he was doing?  Well, in two weeks his phone rang and the little man said, “Doctor, I have followed your directions exactly as you prescribed.  I walked one mile a day for two weeks.”  “Great, The doctor said.  How are you feeling?” To this the man replied, “Oh, I feel wonderful, but I have no idea where I am.”
That could have been me!   Every morning I hear those dreaded words when Jo Anne says, “Come on Dale, it is time to go to the mall and walk.”  Ugh!  But hey, I’m just glad I am able to walk, so I’m really not complaining. (I don’t think) I just wish the stores would change their displays more often. 

But you know, the most important walk all of us take is the walk through life!   What we see as we go along depends on our attitude as we walk.  Or as some might say, “The color of our glasses.”
This week following Easter reminds me of two men who took a seven mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus.   They had just heard that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that He had risen from the grave. I bet they were not talking about the weather or the political climate of the day. 

I would like to point out four things that stand out to me about their walk and how they relate to us today.
1.       As they walked, they were more interested in the things of God than they were in the things of the world.  And because of that, Jesus Himself appeared and walked along beside them.  As we walk down our journey of life, if we are more interested in the things of God than we are the things of the world, Jesus will be our traveling companion as well.

2.       After walking with them for the entire day, Jesus, “Opened their eyes” so they could recognize Him and gave them a new vision of who He was and what He could mean to them along their journey.  In that same way, He wants to remove the “Spiritual Cataracts” from our eyes so that we can see things through His eyes of love and compassion. He wants us to be able to see His will for our lives.

3.       After Jesus left them they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us?”  How long has it been since you’ve had “Spiritual Heartburn?”  I find that the closer I walk with Him, the more often I experience the heartburn of His spirit. And don’t give me a Zantac!  Let er burn!

Why not read the story for yourself from Luke 24:13-35 and see what He says to you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

SECOND FIDDLE

I read where a great orchestra leader was once asked which instrument he thought was the most difficult to play. Without any hesitation, he quickly replied, “The second fiddle. Without it there would be no harmony.”


I think the greatest second fiddle player in the Bible is John the Baptist. He never auditioned for first chair. He is a reminder to us that our position in life is to be in harmony with the One whose shoes we are not worthy to unloose.

Think about how vital those second fiddle positions are in our church or home or at the workplace. They are filled with unsung heroes who quietly maintain the harmony and make sure the “first position” looks and sounds good.
 
I have no doubt but what you know several of these folks.  As a matter of fact you are probably thinking of one or more of them right now. People who are the, " If they don't make it to heaven, I don't have a chance," kinda of people.
 
Let's make it a point this week to tell them how much we appreciate the invisible yet vital roles they play in our lives. 

I think Jesus might have had the second fiddle in mind when He said in the thirteenth chapter of John, “Verily, verily, I say unto you. The servant is not greater than his master.”
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John 1:27
”He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”